Week Two has officially begun after a terribly played, sloppy Thursday night game between the New York Jets and New England Patriots. It's time to check out the Sunday matchups, but first a quick recap of our Thursday picks.
We loved Jets TE Kellen Winslow after his Week One performance, but unfortunately if you listened to my advice, he put up a stinker to the tune of just three catches for 16 yards. To be fair, nobody on either team, outside of Pats' WR Julian Edelman, did much of anything, especially after the the rain hit in the second half.
We hated Chris Ivory in this matchup. While he did have a decent 52 yards on 12 attempts, he once again failed to get in the end zone, and had a fumble. He also seems to be in a full time share with Bilal Powell, who continues to see more and more playing time, especially in the red zone. If you sat Ivory, you made the right move this week, and if he doesn't turn it around soon, he may not even be worth owning the rest of the way.
Now on to Sunday's games.
Week 2 NFL Matchups: Fantasy Football Analysis & Sit/Start Advice
Washington Redskins @ Green Bay Packers, Sunday 9/15, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Robert Griffin III, QB
Pundits have dissected his first game of the season in every possible manner, but despite the loss in Week One, RG3 put up decent fantasy numbers. Depending on your league's scoring system, the QB probably got you somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 points. Look at what Collin Kaepernick did to the Packers defense in Week One, and its easy to predict a very good day for RG3. Analysis: RG3 is a must start.
Matchup We Hate: Packers RB's
Yes, LeSean McCoy torched the Skins' D in Week One, but you won't see anything like that here in Week Two. First, the Packers are going to be a throw-first team. Second, the Pack's lead back, Eddie Lacy was terrible in Week One. His 14 carries for 41 yards was bad enough, but he had a costly fumble, and was benched for much of the first half. The team's second leading rusher was Aaron Rodgers with 13 yards. Ouch. Analysis: Avoid using Lacy until he proves himself. Sit him.
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans, Sunday 9/15, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Houston DEF
Yes, Houston gave up 28 points to the Chargers in Week One, but that was against QB Phillip Rivers, and even though the San Diego QB seems to be on the decline, he's still head-and-shoulders better than Jake Locker. The Texans' defense has playmakers all over it, especially if Ed Reed returns this week, while the Titans' offense has question marks everywhere, with the exception of Chris Johnson. Analysis: The Houston DEF makes for a great start this week.
Matchup We Hate: Chris Johnson, RB
In case I haven't made it obvious yet, I'm not high on CJ2K this year. Actually, it's not so much that I'm not high on him-- he still can play, but his team leaves much to be desired. Teams are going to load up against the Titans' RB all season until Jake Locker proves he can beat someone, and that isn't going to happen against a good defense like that of the Texans. Analysis: If you're deep at RB, sit Johnson for a more favorable match-up.
Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts, Sunday 9/15, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Colts Tight Ends
Miami had all sorts of trouble defending against tight ends last season, and that trend carried over into this season when they were torched by Cleveland's Jordan Cameron in Week One to the tune of nine catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Until proven otherwise, any TE going against the Miami D is going to be a favorable matchup. If you have an injury at tight end already or a matchup you're not comfortable with this weekend, you can probably still grab the one of the Colts TEs, as they are both owned in fewer than 50 percent of both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues. Dwayne Allen is the guy to own, but he's questionable to play due to a hip injury. If he misses the game, and you need a TE, grab Coby Fleener. Analysis: Keep an eye on Allen's injury. If he plays, he's the guy we really like. If he's out, Coby Fleener could have a nice day.
Matchup We Hate: Lamar Miller, RB
Last week, Dolphins RB Lamar Miller was on my hate list, and I was right on the money when he put up probably the worst numbers of any starting RB. I hate to pile up on the guy, but all the rumblings from the preseason were that Miller, despite being the more talented back, had failed to separate himself from Daniel Thomas. As the first week began, it seemed as if this could be a time-share situation, and after Miller's dismal Week One effort, there is no way I'm touching him until he shows some signs of life, regardless of his matchup. Analysis: Sit Lamar Miller.
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears, Sunday 9/15, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Jay Cutler, QB
Unless you're in a deep fantasy league, Bears' QB Jay Cutler is probably on your waiver wire, but if you waited too long in your draft, and ended up with a QB like, say, Ben Roethlisberger, you may want to pick up Cutler for his matchup against the Vikings this week. Look at what Matthew Stafford did to the Vikings in Week One, and when you really think about it, there are a lot of similarities to Cutler and Stafford. Both have big arms. Both guys have a dominant go-to wideout. Both guys have a an elite RB that can catch balls out of the back field. Both guys can be mistake-prone. I'm not a Cutler guy at all, but I'm even less impressed with the Vikings pass defense. Analysis: If you are not sure about your QB's matchup this week, and Cutler is available in your league, grab him and start him.
Matchup We Hate: Kyle Rudolph, TE
I'm not panicking over Kyle Rudolph's poor Week One numbers (2 REC, 27 YDS), and I still think he will be a very good TE1 going forward, but there are two things about this matchup that concern me. First, the only thing I like less about the Vikings than their pass defense, is their passing game on offense. Second, look at Kyle Rudolph's career numbers against the Bears. In four contests, Chicago has held Minnesota's tight end to an average of just over 22 receiving yards and a single score. Analysis: There are better matchups than Rudolph this week probably floating around on waivers. Sit Rudolph and look elsewhere. (NOTE: If an owner in your league panicked and dropped Rudolph after Week One, like somebody did in one of mine, grab him if you have a player you can drop.)
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens, Sunday 9/15, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Baltimore Defense
Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, the Baltimore defense still has playmakers, and after getting lit up by Peyton Manning in Week One, the Ravens are going to make sure to put their stamp on this game defensively. This new Baltimore D isn't one I'm going to run with every week, but there is so much going for them in this matchup. It's the Ravens' home opener, they get to face Brandon Weeden, and honestly, can anyone see them throwing up back-to-back stinkers? I can't. Analysis: Start the Ravens D with confidence and expect a big day.
Matchup We Hate: Jordan Cameron, TE
On the flip side, as much as I like Jordan Cameron this season, there's a lot working against him in this matchup. Last week, the Ravens' defense was smoked by Denver TE Julius Thomas, but Denver is an elite team with a ton of receiving options. Think about it: if you're a defensive coordinator, are you going to take your chances on a second-year TE with five games under his belt, or let Eric Decker, Wes Welker, and Demaryius Thomas beat you? The Browns don't have options like that in the passing game, they don't have Peyton Manning at quarterback, and after his breakout game last week, the focus of the Ravens' pass defense is going to be on Cameron. Cameron might still have a decent game since he is undoubtedly Cleveland's first option in the pass game, but there's no way Baltimore is going to allow him to pull a Julius Thomas. Analysis: Take your chances with Jordan Cameron if you want, but there may be better matchup options on your waiver wire.
San Diego Chargers @ Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday 9/15, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Michael Vick, QB
Last week, I blew it by identifying DeSean Jackson as a poor matchup, and after one week, I'm sold on the new Philly offense. Lost in LeSean McCoy's monster Week One numbers was Michael Vick's 20-plus fantasy points. Vick went undrafted in many leagues, and after watching him run what he called "60 percent" of Chip Kelly's offense, it's not a stretch to see him being able to at least duplicate the numbers he put up against a Chargers' defense that looked pretty bad in Week One. Analysis: If you need a QB and Vick is available, grab him ASAP. If you have him already, start him.
Matchup We Hate: Ryan Mathews, RB
I liked Ryan Mathews as a sleeper pick late in drafts going into the season, but now I don't know what to make of him. Mathews had a dismal 33 rushing yards on 13 carries (2.5 YPC), and the Chargers seemed committed to using Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown much more than anyone would have expected. Mathews is the most talented guy of the group, but if this is going to be a running-back-by-committee situation, not only is he not worth starting, Mathews is probably not worth owning. In Mathews' favor is the fact that the Eagles' defense is not that good, and with the fast pace of Philly's offense, he probably will get many more opportunities to put up numbers. Analysis: Ryan Mathews is too risky to start until his role is better defined. Sit him.
St. Louis Rams @ Atlanta Falcons, Sunday 9/15, 1PM
Matchup We Love:Matt Ryan, QB
Matt Ryan has become one of the most reliable fantasy options at QB. He doesn't offer the flash of some other guys, but he rarely will hurt you. This matchup, however, could be a really huge day for the Atlanta QB. Carson Palmer was able to put up almost 20 fantasy points against St. Louis in Week One, and that was while being sacked four times, throwing a pick, and losing a fumble. Ryan has more weapons on offense than Palmer, and won't get hit or hurried as much. Analysis: Start Matt Ryan with confidence.
Matchup We Hate: St. Louis DEF
For the second week in a row, I'm picking the Rams defense as a matchup I hate. I used the Rams last week anyway in one of my leagues, despite my reservations. They were able to get me nine fantasy points on the strength of an interception and a fumble recovery, and their pass rush was able to get through Arizona's weak offensive line for four sacks. When they weren't able to get to the QB, Carson Palmer lit them up for 327 yards and two touchdowns. In other words, much of the Rams' defensive success revolves around the pass rush, and there is no way they are going to get to Matt Ryan the way they did Palmer. The Rams may be in for a long day defensively. Analysis: There are surely better options on your waiver wire this week. Avoid the Rams defense.
Carolina Panthers @ Buffalo Bills, Sunday 9/15, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Steve Smith, WR
The Bills did not put up the stinker many, including myself, had expected against the Patriots in Week One. What they did show is that they cannot stop opposing wideouts without Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gillmore, as evidenced by Julian Edelman's big game. Steve Smith is a better WR than is Edelman-- he's Carolina's number one receiving option, and has a QB that can get him the ball deep. Analysis: This could end up being a huge day for the Panthers' elder statesman. Start him with confidence.
Matchup We Hate: EJ Manuel, QB
Chances are Bills' rookie QB EJ Manuel is still on your waiver wire, where he should be. Every league has that one guy who wants to jump on the next big thing, and as much upside as Manuel has, don't let that guy be you. If you do own Manuel, sit him this week against a very solid, and improving Carolina defense. Analysis: Sit EJ Manuel.
Dallas Cowboys @ Kansas City Chiefs Sunday 9/15, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Dallas DEF
This is a matchup of the two highest scoring defenses from Week One, and while many experts are picking the Chiefs' D as a good matchup, I'm going the other way, identifying the Dallas defense as a matchup we love. Both defenses are solid, but the Chiefs put up their numbers against the Jacksonville Jaguars, while the Cowboys did so against the NY Giants. Big difference in offenses there. The Cowboys' defense looked great against Eli Manning and company, and while he's an upgrade from what Kansas City had a year ago, Alex Smith is no Eli Manning. Analysis: Start the Dallas D with confidence.
Matchup We Hate: Kansas City DEF
I'm going the other way than many experts, and recommending that you avoid the Chiefs' defense, unless both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant don't play, which won't likely happen. The Dallas offense is very potent, and it's going to take more than stopping a putrid Jaguars team for me to pick the KC D to do anything against the likes of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Miles Austin. Analysis: Look for a better matchup elsewhere unless both Romo and Bryant are out.
Key Injuries: Tony Romo QB, DAL (probable), Dez Bryant WR, DAL (probable), Jamaal Charles RB, KC (probable)
Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals, Sunday 9/15, 4PM
Matchup We Love: Detroit DEF
The Cardinals are 1-0, and finally look like they have a quarterback that can get their talented receivers the ball. With that said, I still like the Lions' defense to have a huge day Sunday. The reason lies at the line of scrimmage, where Detroit's ferocious defensive line will match up against a porous Arizona line that allowed four sacks of Carson Palmer to the St. Louis Rams in Week One. Palmer may still get his numbers, but Detroit's defense has a real chance of putting up major points for you this week with sacks and turnovers. Analysis: Start the Lions' defense and expect huge results.
Matchup We Hate: Rashard Mendenhall, RB
The Lions gave up the most fantasy points to a running back last week when Adrian Peterson put up close to 30. So why do we hate Arizona's RB Rashard Mendenhall this week? Well, after Peterson ran for a 78 yard touchdown on his first carry, the Lions held the best back in the NFL to 15 rushing yards on 17 carries the rest of the game. Of course, he still found the end zone two more times (one rushing, one receiving), but hey, he's AP. Rashard Mendenhall is no AP. Analysis: Rashard Mendenhall will have a tough game Sunday. Sit him.
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 9/15, 4PM
Matchup We Love: Jimmy Graham, TE
Playing in just his second game in two years, Jets' tight end Kellen Winslow was able to grab seven balls for 79 yards and a touchdown with rookie QB Geno Smith throwing to him. The Jimmy Graham/Drew Brees connection can duplicate those numbers with their eyes closed. Analysis: Start Jimmy Graham with confidence.
Matchup We Hate: Mike Williams, WR
Mike WIlliams is a very good receiver with a knack for getting in the end zone, but for some reason, he has never performed particularly well against New Orleans. He's averaged fewer than 65 yards per contest in six games against them. The Saints did give up some big days to Atlanta's receiving corp in Week One, so Williams could break his cold streak against the Saints, but if you have depth at WR, you may be able to find a safer match-up elsewhere. Analysis: Williams is nothing more than a flex option at best this week, but if you can avoid him, do it.
Denver Broncos @ New York Giants, Sunday 9/15, 4:25PM
Matchup We Love: Brandon Myers, TE
Lost in the shuffle of Julius Thomas's break out game and Peyton Manning's record tying performance last Thursday was the fact that the Bronco's gave up a bunch of yardage and points of their own, including a very good day from Baltimore TE Dallas Clark (7 REC, 87 YDS). With Champ Bailey most likely to miss the game, and the question marks that surround the Giants' running game, the younger Manning brother will be chucking it all over the field. The entire Giants' receiving corp could put up big numbers, but if too much focus ends up on Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, Myers will be the beneficiary. Analysis: Start Brandon Myers with confidence.
Matchup We Hate: David Wilson, RB
David Wilson has a ton of talent, but he simply cannot hold on to the football, and that is a surefire way to lose playing time in the NFL. After his dismal performance against Dallas last week, there is no way you can start him and take the chance that he'll ride the pine again for ball security issues. The return of Brandon Jacobs, who has had previous success under Tom Coughlin, also means Wilson could have an even shorter leash than before. Analysis: Hopefully you have running back depth, because David Wilson is not a starter until he proves he can hold on to the ball and stay out of his coach's doghouse.
Start 'Em: Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Myers, Peyton Manning, Demayrius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders, Sunday, 9/15 4:25PM
Matchup We Love: Terrelle Pryor, QB
I was shocked at how competitive the Raiders were in Week One, and a lot of that has to do with the play of Terrelle Pryor. The Raiders' quarterback was able to throw for over 200 yards and a score, and rush for over 100 yards. Even with his two interceptions, Pryor put up over 20 fantasy points. I truly believe that the Jags, not the Raiders, are the worst team in the NFL, and I can see Pryor having another big fantasy day this week. Analysis: Terrelle Pryor is not a must-own, but he may be worth a start in deeper or two QB leagues.
Matchup We Hate: Jacksonville players whose initials aren't MJD
The Jacksonville Jaguars are terrible, period. Only two guys on the entire team are worth owning: Cecil Shorts and Maurice Jones-Drew, and the only Jones-Drew is a must-start on a weekly basis. Not much else to say, except stay away from anyone in those hideous two-tone black and gold helmets. Analysis: MJD is startable, and Cecil Shorts is a flex play at best, but if you can find a WR who has a QB that can get him the ball, I'd look there instead.
Start 'Em: Terrelle Pryor, Denarius Moore, Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks, Sunday 9/15, 8:30PM
Matchup We Love: Marshawn Lynch, RB
The San Francisco defense is one of the best in the NFL, but that hasn't stopped Seattle's Marshawn Lynch from putting up good numbers against them. In his last three games against the Niners, Lynch has rushed for at least 100 yards in all of them, and has two scores to boot. I'm not ready to write off Lynch after Week One, and this could be a good game for him to get back on track. Analysis: Lynch is probably your top RB, so sitting him is probably not an option to begin with, so start him with confidence.
Matchup We Hate: Anquan Boldin, WR
San Francisco wideout Anquan Boldin is going to be in most lineups after his monster Week One game (13 REC, 208 YDS, 1 TD), but there is no chance he comes anywhere near those number against Seattle on their home turf. Top to bottom, the Seahawks have the best secondary in the NFL, and this has the chance to be a tough, low-scoring, grind-it-out defensive struggle. Analysis: Anquan Boldin is a flex play at best this week. If you're deep at WR, it may be wise to look for a more favorable match-up.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals Monday, 9/16 8:30PM
Matchup We Love: Bengals DEF
This is more of an indictment of the Pittsburgh offense than an endorsement of the Bengals' D. The banged up Steelers struggled mightily in Week One. They have zero running game, the offensive line stinks and the receiving corp is thin. The defense will keep the Steelers in games all year, but the Bengals can score against anybody, and they will have no problem outscoring the Steelers on Monday night. Analysis: If the Bengals defense is still available, pick them up and use them. If you have them start them with confidence.
Matchup We Hate: Ben Roethlisberger, QB
Unless you're in a two-QB league, Ben Roelisberger should probably be on your waiver wire. If you own him, it's probably time to look for a QB in a better situation. He simply doesn't have enough around him to be valuable in the fantasy game. He's going to grind out just enough production to be competitive, and the team is going to rely heavily on it's defense to win games. Analysis: If Big Ben is your QB, find a replacement ASAP or it could be a really long season for you.
Suicide Pick of the Week:
Last week, we took Kansas City to defeat Jacksonville, and they did so in dominating fashion. This week, there are some tough matchups, but we are going to pick on the Jaguars again this week, and select the Raiders as our suicide pick of the week. Since most suicide pools allow you to pick a team only once to win, this may be the only time this season to feel comfortable picking Oakland to victorious on Sunday.
Good luck with your match-up decisions on Sunday. Don’t forget to check back at RotoBaller.com this Sunday for any last minute fantasy football analysis & updates, and Monday night matchups.