Fantasy Preview: Week 2

Posted Sep 13, 2013

It's fair to call Week 1 a fantasy football free-for-all. Sure, we have some idea of who's good and matchups that might be favorable, but inevitably things happen that none of us could have seen coming.

So, if Week 1 is a free-for-all, then what's Week 2? Maybe a 2-year-old's birthday party. You think you have it under control, and then, bam – tears start flowing, someone's vomiting in the corner, and a few parents start bathing their kids in Purell because they started eating grass rather than cake.

OK, maybe that's not the best analogy, but here's the point – there's still a lot we don't know, and you have to be careful not to overreact to Week 1's results, lest you start crying and vomiting after your starting lineup scores 50 points and your bench scores 100 points.

There are some things we can learn from Week 1, but it's important to balance last week's performances with known talent levels and preseason expectations. If you do that, hopefully you can have your cake and eat it, too. Hey, it beats eating grass.

Here are some key numbers to know about every game, plus a stud, sleeper, stumbler or injury concern to watch for with a brief explanation why. Note that the “studs” are guys who are either better than most owners realize or established stars who owners might be foolishly thinking about sitting.

Rams at Falcons

Stat to know: The Rams know all too well what Steven Jackson can do, and after allowing 86 rushing yards to an inferior group of RBs/offensive linemen from Arizona last week, there's a good chance Jackson will have a solid game against his old team. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry and had five catches on eight targets in Atlanta's opener, so the opportunities will be there.

Sleeper: WR Chris Givens (Falcons could focus on stopping TE Jared Cook; Atlanta's corners like to gamble, potentially leaving Givens open downfield.)

Chargers at Eagles

Stat to know: Ryan Mathews played just 20 snaps last Monday, five fewer than Ronnie Brown. It's tough to know what to expect from the Chargers against Philadelphia, but traveling across the country on a short week doesn't figure to help anyone in their offense, especially Mathews.

Sleeper: TE Brent Celek (Only three targets in the opener but was wide open on all of them; San Diego allowed 94 yards and three TDs to Houston TEs last week.)

Cowboys at Chiefs

Stat to know: Dwayne Bowe only had 30 yards last week, but he received six targets in a game in which Kansas City didn't pass much in the final quarter. Expect a bounce-back performance against a Cowboys' defense that allowed 428 passing yards in their opener.

Injuries: RB Jamaal Charles, quad; WR Dez Bryant, foot (Both practicing and fully expected to play.)

Dolphins at Colts

Stat to know: The Colts gave up 5.2 yards per carry last week, but Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor had the majority of that production. RB Darren McFadden only averaged 2.8 yards per carry. This isn't as good of a matchup as it looks for Lamar Miller, who split time and ceded goal-line carries to Daniel Thomas last week.

Sleeper: Dolphins D/ST (Indianapolis allowed four sacks to Oakland; Miami had six sacks and three INTs against Cleveland last week.)

Titans at Texans

Stat to know: Kenny Britt received just two targets against the Steelers, and Kendall Wright played only 19 snaps. Pittsburgh's stellar pass defense had a lot to do with that, but things don't get any easier with a trip to Houston. Despite allowing four touchdown passes to San Diego, Houston only yielded a 48.3-percent completion percentage and 195 yards. Don't expect much from Tennessee's receivers.

Stud: RB Arian Foster (24 touches last week, seventh most among RBs.)

Redskins at Packers

Stat to Know: Green Bay allowed just 2.6 yards per carry to San Francisco last week, another zone-read team that has an even faster quarterback than Washington (at least right now with Robert Griffin III less than 100 percent). And once again, there's a decent chance the Redskins will fall behind early. It could be a tough day for Alfred Morris.

Stud: WR Pierre Garcon (Team-high 11 targets last week; CB Casey Hayward still out for Green Bay.)

Browns at Ravens

Stat to know: Three Browns – Jordan Cameron (13), Greg Little (10) and Davone Bess (10) – had double-digit targets last week. However, only Cameron managed more than 47 yards. Cleveland's receivers (and quarterback) are obviously in a different class than Denver's, who had big success against Baltimore, so only Cameron is worth starting this week.

Stumbler: WR Torrey Smith (Averaging 38.7 yards per game in his career against Browns' CB Joe Haden.)

Panthers at Bills

Stat to know: The Bills allowed 4.5 yards per carry last week, tied for seventh most. DeAngelo Williams averaged 5.1 yards per carry and got 20 touches (17 carries) against a tough Seattle defense. He likely won't see goal-line work, but Williams is still a good bet for a nice yardage day.

Stumbler: RB Fred Jackson (C.J. Spiller is still the lead back; Panthers allowed just 2.7 yards per carry last week.)

Vikings at Bears

Stat to know: The Bears allowed Cincinnati's tight ends to catch all 10 of their targets in Week 1. Kyle Rudolph was nearly invisible for the Vikings (two catches on four targets), but the Bears clearly have a weakness in the middle of their defense that Rudolph should be able to exploit.

Stumbler: WR Jerome Simpson (Bears allowed just 19 receiving yards to Cincinnati's No. 2 WR last week.)

Saints at Buccaneers

Stat to know: Pierre Thomas (nine) tied with Mark Ingram for the team lead in carries last week, and Darren Sproles (eight) was right behind them, plus had six targets. The Bucs, who boasted the league's No. 1 run defense last year, were strong in Week 1 against the Jets (3.1 yards per carry), so it's likely another touchdown-or-bust game for Ingram.

Sleeper: WR Kenny Stills (86 yards on five targets last week; could get more targets with Darrelle Revis likely covering Marques Colston.)

Lions at Cardinals

Stat to know: The Lions allowed a 64.3-percent completion percentage to Christian Ponder and the Vikings last week; Carson Palmer and the Cardinals completed 65 percent of their passes against a team with a pass rush similar to Detroit (St. Louis). Given that this game is in Arizona, you can expect a few big plays in the passing game for the Cardinals, making both Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts legit starting options (along with Larry Fitzgerald).

Sleeper: TE Brandon Pettigrew (Cardinals allowed 141 yards and two TDs to Rams TE Jared Cook last week.)

Jaguars at Raiders

Stat to know: In the seven games in which both Cecil Shorts and Chad Henne saw extensive playing time last year, Shorts averaged 12.7 fantasy points, only once scoring below 10.1. With Henne under center this week and a favorable matchup against the Raiders, Shorts is in play as a WR3.

Stud: RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Raiders allowed 4.9 yards per carry last week, fifth most.)

Broncos at Giants

Stat to know: With 12 touches, Knowshon Moreno led all Broncos RBs last Thursday, and even though he received just three targets, it was clear that he was the preferred option on passing downs. The Giants gave up eight receptions to Dallas RB DeMarco Murray last week, so Moreno should have a nice all-around game.

Sleeper: TE Julius Thomas (Giants gave up eight catches, 70 yards and two TDs to TE Jason Witten min Week 1.)

49ers at Seahawks

Stat to know: Both the 49ers and Seahawks have vaunted run defenses, but Marshawn Lynch went over 100 yards in both of their games last year, and Frank Gore went over 100 yards in one. Both backs struggled in Week 1, but they should be started this week since they both had at least 17 carries.

Studs: QBs Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick (Both had at least 16.9 fantasy points during their head-to-head Week 16 showdown in Seattle last year, with Wilson scoring 31.7.)

Steelers at Bengals

Stat to know: The Steelers struggled in virtually every facet of their offense last week, but Emmanuel Sanders did lead the team with 12 targets. If anyone on Pittsburgh has value this week against a tough Cincinnati defense, it's Sanders in PPR leagues.

Stumbler: RB Giovani Bernard (Just five touches last week, Steelers allowed just 2.7 yards per carry and no receptions to Tennessee's running backs.)