Now that we have 2 weeks of fantasy football play in the books, we can get a more definitive look at every player and have multiple games to rely on as evidence of future contributions.
Nothing could have been a better cure for the Bills’ woes than a matchup against Kansas City. After trouncing the Chiefs 41-7 in last year’s season opener, the Bills won this game 35-17. CJ Spiller is certainly making a name for himself; he’s averaging over 10 yards per carry through his first 2 games and has 4 rushing scores. It will be interesting to see how the Bills decide to split the carries when Fred Jackson comes back. But for right now, the return on investment is through the roof for Spiller, who got drafted as a depth running back for many. The way he’s playing, Spiller looks like a true fantasy starter the rest of the year, even after Jackson’s return.
On the negative side, missing player reports have been filed for Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson, and Darren McFadden. Charles had a good week 1 against Atlanta (16 car, 87 yds), but was stuffed against the Bills to the tune of 6 carries and…3 yards. Ouch. Romeo Crennel chose to roll with Shaun Draughn as the change-of-pace back to Peyton Hillis most of the game. It could be that the Chiefs were protecting Charles from injury in a blowout, but it will be interesting to see next week if Charles gets back to business.
For Johnson and McFadden, two guys that got drafted as first running backs for lots of teams, things seem to be going from bad to worse. Both got the benefit of receiving yards in the first week, but that value disappeared in week 2. I have a hard time believing that things will be this bad for each of these backs the rest of the season, they are way too talented. But with Johnson (19 car, 21 yds this season) and McFadden (26 car, 54 yds) struggling so immensely early on, teams will be looking to deal. These are still guys that could be your second running back going forward. Don’t panic too much here.
Matt Forte has found himself back on the injury report. Forte injured himself in the Thursday night game against the Packers, but reportedly avoided the dreaded high ankle sprain. Still, ankle injuries have a tendency to linger throughout the season. Those of you that drafted Michael Bush, rejoice. Bush posted only 5 fantasy points this week, but look at his next three matchups, likely all of them with Forte out: St. Louis, Dallas, Jacksonville. None of those teams should scare you, and Bush should be a bona fide starting running back as long as Forte is out.
How about that Robert Griffin III? In a performance every bit as impressive as Cam Newton’s last year, Griffin has posted back to back games over 20 points. Look, I don’t expect RG3 to put up 30 points every week, much like how Newton tailed off. But RG3 has established himself as a fantasy starter, especially in deeper leagues with 12+ teams. He will have weeks where his passing stats carry him (like week 1), where the rushing stats hold him up (this week), and there will surely be legendary weeks when he gets both aspects of his game going. Safe to say, RG3 has arrived.
If I’m looking for a big player to go for in a trade this week, it’s Matthew Stafford. After throwing 3 picks to St. Louis and proving unable to break the 49ers iron defense, Stafford has posted very pedestrian numbers. Things can only go up for Stafford, and they will in the coming weeks against Tennessee and Minnesota. If you missed out on an elite quarterback and have trade options, take a look into making a blockbuster for Stafford.
Look at the New York Giants as well. After dropping the season premiere to the Dallas Cowboys and going into halftime down 24-13 to Tampa Bay, Eli Manning started throwing the ball left and right and got his first comeback victory of the 2012 season. Manning threw for an insane 510 yards and 3 touchdowns, but 3 interceptions cost him a spectacular fantasy week. But it’s no secret that Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are the guys Manning will look to more often than not. 42 of Manning’s 51 passes were directed to those two and TE Martellus Bennett. Cruz and Nicks were both drafted highly as top wide receivers, and this week they affirmed that draft value. There will be big weeks and there will be small weeks, but Cruz and Nicks will both perform for your fantasy team.
All those with Carolina players on their fantasy football team took a huge collective sigh this week. Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, and Jonathan Stewart all found the end zone en route to solid fantasy weeks. Mike Tolbert also got a goal-line rushing touchdown, which further complicates things. I don’t think Carolina did us any favors in showing who is going to be the biggest fantasy contributor in most weeks, and I don’t think that question will ever be answered. If you have Williams or Stewart, get what you can for them in a trade after this big week. Newton is the only one of that group that can be trusted weekly.
This game was more of an indicator of how bad the New Orleans defense truly is this year. They looked just as brutal this week as they did in week 1 against Washington. Take note if you’re the owner of players from the Giants, Dallas, or Tampa Bay, as these players will see this Saints defense in the fantasy playoff weeks. Sure it could get better, but all the turmoil from the bounty scandal sure seems to be taking a toll in New Orleans.
What in the world is happening to the New England passing attack? Tom Brady has posted two straight weeks of mediocre fantasy statistics and isn’t even in the top 10 quarterbacks! Stevan Ridley has been a focal point of the offense, registering 39 carries to this point. But Wes Welker, king of the PPR leagues, only has 8 catches so far, and the Patriots might be preparing for life without Welker. You can also add Aaron Hernandez’s ankle injury to the list of problems. Because of Tom Brady’s track record, I have to believe that he’ll get back to being an elite quarterback at some point. Tennessee and Arizona were far from elite defenses, so there should be some reservations about the New England offense. But only owners of Welker and Hernandez should be concerned for the long term.
To wrap things up this week, here’s my list of players that need to be added from the waiver wire this week: Alex Smith, Sam Bradford, Jackie Battle (depending on Ryan Mathews’ status), Andre Brown, Daryl Richardson, Donnie Avery, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Brent Celek, Martellus Bennett.
That’s all folks, and best of luck in Week 3.