Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans
Kyle Boller and the Ravens are coming off of a tough Sunday night game against the Colts. Boller was knocked out of the game that made the Colts' defense look like the '85 Bears. Anthony Wright filled in for Boller and showed some promise. Wright will start this weekend against Tennessee and should shake up the passing game a bit (although we don't recommend adding him to your lineup). Jamal Lewis and Chester Taylor will collectively put up significant yardage against the Titans, but there is yet to be a clear winner in the Ravens' backfield. The Steelers ran all over Tennessee last weekend, so it's still okay to start Lewis if he splits with Taylor. Even though the Colts put up 27 on Baltimore's defense, we don't expect Tennessee to score half as many. The Ravens defense will rebound and shut down the Titans as Pittsburgh did last Sunday. Edgerrin James may have rushed for 88 yards against the Ravens, but only because of Indy's passing threat. Chris Brown will be held in check on the ground while Steve McNair struggles to find anything through the air.
Buffalo Bills @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
J. P. Losman was adequate against the Texans, but it was the Bills' defense that won the game (with the five Ryan Lindell field goals). Willis McGahee will get a bunch of carries for the Bills, but this game will be low scoring in a defensive match-up. For the Bucs, don't expect the same game from Cadillac Williams that he had against the Vikings. Williams is a future star, but not this week.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
The Lions have a ton of offensive weapons, but totaled only 254 yards against the Packers' lowly defense in week one. The Bears have a much tougher defense and should be up to the test at home. Detroit will still score a touchdown or two, but who scores? Last week, rookie Mike Williams and TE Marcus Pollard caught balls for TDs. But basically it becomes a fantasy crap shoot with Roy Williams and Charles Rogers also in the mix at WR (esp. against a formidable defense). RB Kevin Jones may do okay, but we recommend staying away from Joey Harrington and the Lions' wide receivers in this game if you have other options. Although the Lions held the Packers to 46 yards rushing last week, we expect the Bears to pound with Thomas Jones in a solid running scheme. Jones should be able to post near 100 yards and a score behind the Bears' solid offensive line as Kyle Orton continues to learn the NFL ropes.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
As always, play your studs! This includes Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Edgerrin James for the Colts. We can't stress enough that the Colts had 49 touchdowns through the air last season while adding another ten on the ground. Manning had 368 yards against the Jags in Indy last year and we see no reason to predict anything otherwise this Sunday. Byron Leftwich typically plays the Colts well. In Indy last October, Leftwich threw for 300 yards (over 100 to Jimmy Smith) while Fred Taylor ran for over 100 on the ground as Jax handed Indianapolis their only home loss. Although the Colts (with new acquisition Corey Simon) looked like a different defense against the Ravens, we expect Jacksonville to again put up points against the Colts with Leftwich, Taylor, and Smith. We'll give the Colts ‘D' another week or two before we're convinced they're the real deal.
Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Vikings suffered a surprise loss to a scrappy Buccaneers team in week one and go on the road to face a tougher offense in Cincy this week. Carson Palmer threw for 420 yards (24 of 36) against the Browns and Rudi Johnson galloped for 126. Expect more of the same from the Bengals at home with Chad Johnson getting into the touchdown mix. Minnesota's defense has their better games ahead of them, but we don't expect them to quite find it against the Bengals. Cincinnati has an up and coming defense, but gave up 373 yards to the Browns….and the Browns don't have Duante Culpepper. C-pep will look to Nate Burleson and Travis Taylor often in this high scoring affair. The Vikings had a shocking low of 26 rushing yards last week and can only improve, but we'd stay away from any Vike's running back until we see some consistency at the position.
New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers
Jake Delhomme and the Panthers have to bounce back from last week's home loss to the Saints. But they must face the two-time defending Superbowl champs in a replay of Superbowl 38. We believe the Panthers to have the most to lose in this one and like Delhomme to rebound with at least one TD strike to Steve Smith. RB Stephen Davis had a solid game last week and will again get his share of work this Sunday against the Pats. New England quarterback Tom Brady seems to always play well enough to win and has had plenty of time to prepare for the Panthers. We like Brady and Dillon to both have decent numbers in week two's best matchup.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Houston Texans
Put everything on Pittsburgh in this one. Houston totaled only 120 yards and seven points against Buffalo, while Pittsburgh blew out Tennessee 34-7. Steelers' running back Willie Parker tries to match last week's 209 total yards against a Texans' defense that gave up 152 rushing yards to Buffalo. Houston QB David Carr and RB Domanick Davis both really struggled against the Bills. Carr and Davis will adjust somewhat, but will again be limited by another tough defense. Carr may look more for star wideout Andre Johnson to help jump start the offense.
San Francisco Forty-Niners @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Niners won only two games last season while Philly had a hard time losing. But, as irony would have it, SF upset the Rams in week one's biggest surprise while the Eagles lost to the Falcons on Monday Night Football. Having said that, we're going to pretend that last weekend didn't happen. Start all fantasy Eagles including Donovan McNabb (he's fine), Brian Westbrook, Terrell Owens, LJ Smith, and David Akers. The only fantasy Niners worth having in deeper leagues are Kevan Barlow and Brandon Lloyd…who should both be on the bench for this match-up.
Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks
Michael Vick is an absolute stud on the field, but he's barely in the top 20 most weeks in fantasy football. He keeps defenses in a constant state of flux with his athleticism and his ability to make things happen on the field. Vick typically runs for 50-80 yards and throws for under 200 with maybe only one touchdown…he only had 17 total TDs last season combined (passing and rushing)…not a good fantasy player. We rarely recommend starting him if you have other options. We do like versatile Warrick Dunn and tight end Alge Crumpler in this match-up against the Seahawks. Seattle will be glad to be home this weekend, while forcing opponent Atlanta to fly cross country following a Monday night game. Shaun Alexander will rush for over 100 yards and a score. Matt Hasselbeck will key on Darrell Jackson for a big game with Bobby Engram benefiting on occasion from double teaming on Jackson. Mike Holmgren is planning to put Peter Warrick on a faster track into the Seattle offense, but we believe it is still much too early to put him in your line-up.
St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
Play all Rams. St. Louis was embarrassed in San Francisco and will be huge this week against the Cardinals. In the loss, Mark Bulger still threw for 362 yards. Expect Bulger, Steven Jackson, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, and Jeff Wilkins all to have a piece of the pie this week as the motivated Rams put up big fantasy stats. Ironically, the Cardinals may benefit. Kurt Warner looked impressive in his loss to the Giants last weekend. Larry Fitzgerald caught 13 balls for 155 yards and should be started each week regardless of the opponent. Anquan Boldin will also get his share of catches this week. Rookie running back JJ Arrington was horrible last week, but he will rebound against the Rams with many opportunities in this high scoring game.
Cleveland Browns @ Green Bay Packers
This may be Brett Favre's last season as a Packer and fans are feeling sick. Top ten Packer wide receiving stud Javon Walker tore his ACL against the Lions in game one. Green Bay mustered only 216 total yards against a previously considered porous Lions' defense. If you drafted Ahman Green with your first or second round pick, you have to play him against the Browns (and he may actually do okay). Ordinarily, a match-up with the Browns is always welcomed, but we don't like what we saw from the Packers last week. Speaking of the Browns, WHO IS FRISMAN JACKSON? Jackson caught eight balls for 128 yards and a touchdown and isn't even listed in most fantasy mags. We consider this a fluke and don't recommend picking him up to be your team's lifesaver. As a matter of fact, we'd stay away from all Browns even though they played a respectable game last Sunday against the Bengals.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets
We would have thought in the pre-season that this match-up was one-sided in favor of the Jets. But the Jets had a sickly performance against the Chiefs while the Dolphins showed they could play…amassing 426 total yards and 34 points in their defeat of the Broncos. This game has us scratching our heads. We like what Gus Frerotte has brought to the offense. He has good receivers in Chris Chambers and Marty Booker, but we don't yet recommend Frerotte as a number one QB except in bye week situations. Chris Chambers, Marty Booker, and TE Randy McMichael may put up 200 yards collectively with a touchdown or two, but it's tough to pick a winner that carries the load. The Jets were absolutely abysmal last week with their seven fumbles, three sacks, etc. But, even though their only points were scored within the last 30 seconds, they did net 390 total yards. Pennington eventually left the game, but managed to throw for 264 yards. Take a chance on Pennington this week only if you must. Mike Nugent may end up a top kicker for Jets, but not if they continue to turn the ball over upon crossing mid-field.
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos
Tight End Antonio Gates is back this week and will again produce as Drew Brees' favorite red zone target. Gates should be started each week and viewed as a top wide receiver for leagues that don't differentiate between tight ends and wide receivers. Gates' 81 catches and 13 TDs last season make him a fantasy stud. LaDanian Tomlinson is perhaps the best fantasy player in the league and should never leave your lineup. Denver's strength is their linebackers. Brees will have a decent game, but will have better match-ups as the season progresses. Tatum Bell will start at running back for Denver due to an injury to Mike Anderson. Bell is a worthwhile start as a solid number two running back. Jake Plummer should be able to find Ashley Lelie at home for at least one touchdown.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders
Play Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson if you're lucky enough to have them in your line-up. Coach Dick Vermeil stuck to his game plan last week by playing Johnson every third series, and LJ capitalized upon the opportunity. Trent Green is a solid NFL quarterback and will put up decent numbers as the Raiders key on the Kansas City running game. Kerry Collins, Al Davis, and Randy Moss love the deep ball…and will throw it with some success. Collins and Moss should hook- up for at least one score and big yardage. Off-season acquisition RB Lamont Jordan looked decent against the Patriots and should follow-up with another solid game against the Chiefs.
New York Giants @ New Orleans Saints
The Giants put up a whopping 42 points last weekend, albeit 14 of those points from special teams. Eli Manning threw two TDs, but was just 10-23 for 172 yards and two interceptions. He'll need to have a bit more poise this weekend as he faces an emotional Saint team that must play its home game on the road in Giants' Stadium on Monday night. The Giants will again mix up their offense as they alter between throws to Plaxico Burress and rushes/throws to versatile Tiki Barber. The Saints will pound the ball with Deuce McAllister against a Giants' defense that held Arizona to 31 rushing yards on 21 carries. Aaron Brooks will look for Joe Horn and Dante Stallworth through the air just enough to keep the Giants honest.
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
Bill Parcells may be again working his magic. The ‘Boys looked well rounded in their impressive 4th quarter defeat of the Chargers last week. The Redskins may have a solid defense, but we love Jones this season and wouldn't hesitate to start him with confidence. Joe Gibbs pulled Patrick Ramsey early for Mark Brunell in a lackluster offensive effort against the Bears. Brunell has been in the league forever and can't be the answer to this offense. The only offensive ‘Skin we'd touch is Clinton Portis who rushed for over 120 yards against a decent Bears team. If you are in a league that plays defenses, Washington may not be a bad play.
NFL Fantasy Matchups - Week 2
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