Start 'em, Sit 'em, Smash 'em
While the Sunday live chat is no more, I’m still available to answer any and all fantasy questions throughout the week on twitter @JoeFortenbaugh if you use the hashtags #FSTLV and #GMCFF. Fire over some good ones and they just may end up on the Fantasy Sports Network Sunday morning between 10:00am-12:00pm eastern.
WEEK 2 SURVIVOR PICK
Last week: Lost with Chicago, won with Philadelphia
Plan A: Green Bay Packers over New York Jets
Plan B: Tampa Bay Buccaneers over St. Louis Rams
Why: The Packers are an 8.5-point favorite playing at home on extra rest following an ass-kicking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. The Jets will find a way to generate some pressure, but that secondary is no match for what Aaron Rodgers and company will be bringing to the dinner table this Sunday.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Record: 0-1 (lost with Tampa Bay over Carolina)
This week: BUFFALO BILLS (+1) vs. Miami
Analysis: This line has been all over the place since hitting the market last Sunday, according to the odds board SportsbookReview.com. Buffalo opened -1 but was quickly bet against to Miami -1 before reversing trend once again to Buffalo -1 (There are still some Buffalo +1s out there). Miami is 3-7 in their last ten trips to Ralph Wilson Stadium while averaging just 13.3 points per game with a staggering 25 turnovers. But the real reason we love this play has to deal with the home field advantage Buffalo will possess on Sunday. Ralph Wilson Stadium is already one of the toughest places in the league to grind out a win, but the Bills fan base will show up in full force this weekend following the news that Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula has been approved to purchase the Bills…and plans on keeping the team in Buffalo. These fans are gassed up for a home opener that features a hated division rival. Now we just need quarterback E.J. Manuel to protect the football.
LVH SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS
Last week: 2-3
Once again, our final plays will be posted over the weekend as the Big Puma and I continue to work through the card. Here are the games we’re currently targeting:
BUFFALO BILLS +1 vs. Miami Dolphins
GREEN BAY PACKERS –8.5 vs. New York Jets
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS -6.5 vs. Chicago Bears
NEW YORK GIANTS +2.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals
HOUSTON TEXANS -3 at Oakland Raiders
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS -5.5 vs. St. Louis Rams
START ‘EM UP
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Atlanta): The Falcons surrendered an average of 22.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterback last season (fifth-most in NFL) and that trend continued in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints when Drew Brees threw for 333 yards and a score in a losing effort. Atlanta’s secondary is loaded with question marks entering a Week 2 showdown with Cincinnati, where the Falcons will travel outdoors to play a non-conference opponent. Dalton threw for 301 yards and a touchdown last week at Baltimore and should find even more success this week in the Bengals’ home opener.
Also consider: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at NY Giants), Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (vs. Dallas)
Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots (at Minnesota): Vereen’s 12 touches at Miami last weekend resulted in 71 total yards and a touchdown. But more importantly, owners should note that Vereen was targeted eight times in the passing game while fellow running back Stevan Ridley was given just eight carries. Ridley is still in head coach Bill Belichick’s doghouse and, for the moment, it appears as if Vereen will operate as the featured back in New England. The Pats are steaming after a Week 1 loss put the franchise in the AFC East cellar for the first time in quarterback Tom Brady’s career, so expect this offense to come out firing Sunday at Minnesota.
ICONThis is one of the most favorable matchups Andy Dalton will encounter this season.
Kendall Wright & Justin Hunter, WRs, Tennessee Titans (vs. Dallas): Posted a combined stat line of nine receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets in Week 1 at Kansas City and are now set to face the NFL’s worst defense this Sunday. The Cowboys surrendered an average of 24.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers last season (seventh-most in NFL) and emerged from a Week 1 home date with San Francisco having allowed 28 points and 319 yards of offense in a cakewalk for the Niners. Wright and Hunter should have a field day with this secondary.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (vs. Miami): Rode him last week and were rewarded with 64 total yards and a touchdown in an upset win at Chicago. Back on the train in Week 2 for a showdown with a Miami Dolphins defense that permitted an average of 20.2 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (ninth-most in NFL). Ralph Wilson Stadium is going to be rocking this weekend following the news that Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula will become the new owner of the Bills with no intention of moving the team out of town. Don’t underestimate this city’s home field advantage.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Philadelphia): Returned from 2013 ACL surgery to post a 9-98-0 stat line with a team-high 13 targets in last Sunday night’s loss at Denver. Should see plenty of opportunities to cash in against a Philadelphia secondary that allowed undrafted Jacksonville rookie wideout Allen Hurns to catch four passes for 110 yards and two scores last Sunday. Vegas has this Monday night total lined at 54 points for a reason. Expect a high-scoring affair.
Zack Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (at Indianapolis): One of our top sleeper recommendations entering the 2014 season, Ertz caught three passes for 77 yards and a touchdown on four targets in Week 1 against the Jaguars. The Stanford product will rarely function as a high-volume pass-catcher in the loaded Philadelphia offense, but should benefit from a combination of favorable coverage matchups and red zone targets to produce quality fantasy stat lines on a semi-regular basis.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, D/ST (vs. St. Louis): The Rams offense looked absolutely pitiful in the team’s humiliating Week 1 home defeat to the Minnesota Vikings, mustering a grand total of just six points and 318 yards of offense. Play against this unit until further notice, as it appears the undrafted and relatively unknown Austin Davis will be under center for the team’s Week 2 road date at Tampa Bay.
Also consider: Buffalo Bills (vs. Miami)
SIT ‘EM DOWN
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (vs. Seattle): Bad spot for Rivers and the Chargers, who have a short week of preparation following Monday night’s loss at Arizona to get ready for a well-rested Seattle team that dismantled the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. We love Rivers’ potential for a big 2014 season, but Week 2 is not the time to expect a solid stat line.
Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams (at Tampa Bay): His stock is in free fall due to a combination of playing on a horrific offense and the emergence of backup Benny Cunningham, who is likely to continue pilfering carries. Stacy carried the ball 11 times for only 43 yards last Sunday against Minnesota (3.9 YPC) and should struggle to find open running lanes once again this week against a relatively stacked Tampa defense.
Rivers has a dreadful matchup with the Seattle defense this weekend.
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants (vs. Arizona): New York’s piss poor excuse for an offensive line has quarterback Eli Manning under constant duress, making it difficult for the two-time Super Bowl winner to plant his feet and drive the ball to his most reliable target. Cruz emerged from Week 1 having caught just two passes for 26 yards on six targets and faces a daunting showdown this Sunday in the form of Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson, who kept Keenan Allen in check last Monday night. Owners are advised to look for another option.
Also consider: Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers (vs. Seahawks)
Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions (at Carolina): Posted a respectable stat line in Week 1 against the Giants when amassing 51 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, but Week 2 presents a big step up in class for Bell and the Lions. The Panthers surrendered just 13.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs last season (fourth-fewest in NFL) and limited former fantasy stud Doug Martin to just nine yards on nine carries last Sunday. In addition, Detroit is traveling outdoors for this game in which Bell and Reggie Bush will no doubt share the workload just like they did in Week 1. Limited carries against an elite defense is a recipe for disaster.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. St. Louis): Hauled in just four passes for 36 yards on nine targets in the opener and faces another quality defense this Sunday in the form of the St. Louis Rams. Until quarterback Josh McCown demonstrates that he can consistently and effectively move the football up and down the field, owners need to pay strict attention to Jackson’s matchups on a week-to-week basis.
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers (vs. Detroit): For as shaky as Detroit’s defense was in 2013, the team did a nice job limited opposing tight ends (5.8 fantasy pts/gm, second-fewest in NFL). Olsen should benefit from a plethora of targets now that quarterback Cam Newton is back under center, but the emergence of rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has given the Carolina passing game another bona fide option. We’ll pass on Olsen for this week, but in most instances, he’s a lock for your starting lineup.
New England Patriots, D/ST (at Minnesota): This was supposed to be one of the better fantasy D/ST units in the game, but the Pats were gashed for 33 points and 360 total yards in the opener at Miami. While we fully expect New England to bounce back strong in Week 2, the team is on the road once again, this time to face a non-conference opponent in Minnesota. This D/ST has to show us something before we go back to believing the hype.
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