NFL Fantasy Matchups - Week 2

Check here every Thursday for game-by-game fantasy analysis. We give fantasy owners the edge heading into week two of the NFL fantasy season.



Carolina Panthers (0-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-0) 1:00 FOX
Many picked the Panthers to be the NFC champion represented at this year's Superbowl. But Carolina looked anything but super against the Falcons last Sunday. We'll chalk the poor performance up to game 1 jitters and being off their game due to the lack of WR Steve Smith in their lineup (plus loss of their left tackle for the season). Although many want to believe that QB Jake Delhomme and RB DeShaun Foster bounce back this week, Smith is still listed as questionable and likely won't play in week 2. Monitor this situation closely and play your Panthers with caution if Smith does indeed need another week. The Vikings looked surprisingly good against the Skins. Much of the Minnesota's success was due to acquisition of OL Steve Hutchinson - who busted holes for versatile RB Chester Taylor all night. Taylor's stock is rising after Monday's game and he's waking from sleeper status, but Carolina's defense may be a bit tougher this week. Although veteran QB Brad Johnson looked sharp, he remains a reserve on most fantasy teams.

Buffalo Bills (0-1) @ Miami Dolphins (0-1) 1:00 CBS
Although Buffalo held their own against the Patriots, I think they'll struggle this week in Miami. RB Willis McGahee should have some nice production and is worth a play as the Bills try to establish a ground game early. For Miami, I like their offense to find a groove this week against Buffalo. QB Daunte Culpepper, RB Ronnie Brown, and WR Chris Chambers will get on track at home and put up some nice fantasy numbers. Chambers tore up Buffalo last year and is itching to repeat the performance this week.

New York Giants (0-1) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) 1:00 FOX
Expect each of these two teams to continue what they started last week. The Eagles' QB Donovan McNabb will key on WR Donte Stallworth and RB Brian Westbrook in the passing game and Westbrook will run effectively to provide balance to Philly's attack...all with success. The Giants' versatile RB Tiki Barber (like Westbrook) will again gain huge yardage, but is less likely to score. I also like QB Eli Manning to connect to WR Plaxico Burress and TE Jeremy Shockey for some big plays in a potential high-scoring game (esp. without Philly CB Lito Sheppard in the lineup).

New Orleans Saints (1-0) @ Green Bay Packers (0-1) 1:00 FOX
New Orleans RBs Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush combined for well over 200 total yards last week against the Browns and should trump the performance against Green Bay. I like both backs evenly, but expect McAllister to get the bulk of the touches in the running game. QB Drew Brees will also do well, but any TD throws will be spread among several candidates (incl. Bush). For Green Bay...well...they looked really bad last week. On the bright side, the Pack did play an extermely dominant defense and possibly aren't as bad as the Bears made them look. Regardless, we'd stay away from all Packers except for maybe RB Ahman Green...maybe.

Houston Texans (0-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (1-0) 1:00 CBS
Houston is better than last year's miserable team and is on track to win a few this season...but not this Sunday. Fantasy owners may want to consider the Texan passing attack as they will have to play catch-up not long after the opening gun. I like QB David Carr to throw a couple of scores and hook up with WR Andre Johnson for some nice gains. Eric Moulds may also do well here, but to a lesser extent. For Indy, play all of your starters...Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, etc... Indy's running back situation hasn't completely evolved and may not for a few weeks. I believe Joseph Addai will eventually emerge as the main RB in the offense, but Dominic Rhodes will continue to split carries with Addai for the near future - making neither RB a perfect play.

Detroit Lions (0-1) @ Chicago Bears (1-0) 1:00 FOX
Mike Martz' offense may have to wait until week 3 to get things moving. The Bears' defense is looking like it's 1985 and Detroit will be happy just to get on the board at Soldier Field. I don't like any Lions in this game unless you have WR Roy Williams on your roster (who is always a must play regardless of the matchup). For Chicago, RB Thomas Jones and WR Muhsin Muhammad are solid starts and should have nice games as the Bears defense gives the offense some great field positions to work with.

Cleveland Browns (0-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) 1:00 CBS
Play all Bengals starters in this game. Expect QB Carson Palmer to connect with WR Chad Johnson (and T.J. Houshmandzadeh if he plays) for a huge game. I also like RB Rudi Johnson to pound the ball for over 100 yards and a score. For Cleveland, count on RB Reuben Droughns to have a nice game against a soft Cincinnati run defense (although DT Sam Adams has helped). I also like TE Kellen Winslow to emerge as the focal point of the Cleveland passing game and have a solid effort here.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-0) 1:00 FOX
Tampa Bay should rebound from last week's miserable shut-out effort against the Ravens. I like RB Cadillac Williams to have a solid game and also like WRs Michael Clayton and Joey Galloway to get something going in the passing game. Tampa Bay will be tough for Atlanta to run upon, but QB Michael Vick will confuse the Bucs' defense and dump plenty of passes to RB Warrick Dunn (making up for what he doesn't get on the ground). TE Alge Crumpler is also a good fantasy play for the Falcons as Vick looks for the sure-handed tight end over the middle.

Oakland Raiders (0-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (1-0) 1:00 CBS
As Mike Dikta said about the Raiders at half-time of their MNF game - "This is not a good football team.". Until proven wrong, I have to agree with Ditka on this one. RB Lamont Jordan is a workhorse and Randy Moss is a stud WR, but the supporting cast of the Raiders (including their outdated management style) may not be what it takes to get it done in today's NFL...making any Oakland fantasy plays beyond risky. On the other hand, Baltimore looked better than expected against the Bucs last Sunday. I like QB Steve McNair and WR Derrick Mason here. Watch TE Todd Heap's progress...he's a great start if he's healthy. RB Jamal Lewis surprised and played well last weekend, but is still a risky start due to lingering injuries and depth at Baltimore's RB position.

Arizona Cardinals (1-0) @ Seattle Seahawks (1-0) 4:05 FOX
I'm huge on the Cardinal offense and don't care who they're playing...they'll produce! Play QB Kurt Warner, WRs Larry Fitzgerald / Anquan Boldin, and RB Edgerrin James (rookie 6'8" TE Leonard Pope is still developing). The Seattle defense is tough against the run and I normally wouldn't recommend playing the opposing RB (James in this case), but Arizona has so many offensive weapons for defenses to cover that James will be a strong fantasy factor all season. For Seattle's offense, I like (as always) stud RB Shaun Alexander to have a huge game. QB Matt Hasselbeck should have no problem finding WR Darrell Jackson early and often. Although the Seahawks just signed quality WR Deion Branch, it may be too early to throw him into your lineup if you have other alternatives.

St. Louis Rams (1-0) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-1) 4:05 FOX
The Niner defense looked awful last week and needs to play better if they want to keep their team in the game against St. Louis...I'll believe it when I see it. Play QB Marc Bulger, RB Steven Jackson, and WR Torry Holt in this one. The Rams should score a bunch of points. For SF, I was impressed with RB Frank Gore and what he was able to do in both the running and passing games against Arizona. Gore absolutely went off and was at the top of all fantasy running backs in week 1...which is reason enough to consider playing him this week if on your roster. We'll wait and see what Gore is able to do against the Rams, however, before we bump him up another rung on the fantasy ladder.

Tennessee Titans (0-1) @ San Diego Chargers (1-0) 4:15 CBS
WR Drew Bennett is the only fantasy player worth considering on Tennessee's team. Sorry, but the Titans just look confused and sub-par...and their staff isn't helping the situation much with the quarterback indecisiveness (still not sure why Volek was placed in the doghouse after past signs of promise). San Diego will only magnify the issues with Tennessee and force the Titans to a disappointing 0-2 start. Expect big games for San Diego's offensive fantasy weapons at home...including QB Philip Rivers, RB LaDainian Tomlinson, and TE Antonio Gates.

New England Patriots (1-0) @ New York Jets (1-0) 4:15 CBS
I really like rookie RB Lawrence Maroney for New England. If he's not on your roster, then trade for him (esp. in keeper leagues). QB Tom Brady will find the open receiver and have a great game against the Jets (he always does). Surprising many, Jets' QB Chad Pennington had a great game against the Titans last Sunday with his 300+ yard effort (and a 72% completion percentage). The Jet may fall back to Earth a bit a little against the Pats, but he's worth consideration for Trent Green owners and may do okay. WR Laveranues Coles is also worth a play this week.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) @ Denver Broncos (0-1) 4:15 CBS
Speaking of QB Trent Green, he spent the early part of the week in the hospital recuperating from the wicked hit to the head against the Bengals. Green will be okay, but isn't expected back in the lineup until at least week 4. Enter Damon Huard...who hasn't started a game in 6 years. As always, play the stud (RB Larry Johnson)...but we advise against playing any other Chiefs. Look for Denver QB Jake Plummer to rebound against KC and have a nice game. I really like WR Javon Walker this week. RBs Tatum Bell and Mike Bell will have a collective great game, but who knows who get's the bulk of the carries/stats...what a nightmare for Bell owners.

Washington Redskins (0-1) @ Dallas Cowboys (0-1) SNF 8:15 NBC
It's Cowboys vs. Indians...again - and this one should be especially exciting on SNF with Joe Gibbs against Bill Parcells. But who thought these teams would each enter with 0-1 records?! Fantasy speaking, I like RB Clinton Portis, TE Chris Cooley, and WR Santana Moss for the Skins. For Dallas, even though the Cowboys didn't win last week - I was impressed with their offense (other than the 3 interceptions). WR Terrell Owens is a stud and should be played in every league format until he gets hurt or quits. I like the Cowboys to be productive in the running game, but not enough to recommend either back (Julius Jones / Marion Barber) with a RBBC approach. QB Drew Bledsoe will probably bounce back for the Boys, but can't be recommended just yet.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) MNF 8:30 ESPN

This game is probably the best one on the card...and it's on MNF! Both of these teams are very similar with strong defenses, making fantasy plays tough. Steeler RB Willie Parker is worth playing if you have to, but he'll have better games against lesser run defenses in the future. If QB Ben Roethlisberger plays for Pittsburgh, he's a decent start...but not great. Ditto for Jacksonville's QB Byron Leftwich, although there is no question of whether he'll play. WR Matt Jones may be able to bust one for Jax in prime-time.



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