First, allow me to start of this week’s entry with an apology: To anyone (including myself) who started Buffalo’s defense, I am sorry. Negative points? Just a horrible showing against a tepid offense. Find a new defense on the waiver wire, fast.
Now, back to business.
After a stellar Week 1 showing in which I correctly picked one out of six Aces (sorry, there is no sarcasm font rich enough for that statement), I am here to give it another swing as we enter Week 2 of the NFL season.
A couple projected Aces, including Robert Griffin III (25 points) and Matt Forte (18), had solid games on Sunday, but came about a touchdown short of my projections. They were nowhere near the other duds that I whiffed on, though, including DeAngelo Williams (0.4 points) and the aforementioned Calves (-2 points). Such is life in fantasy prognostication.
This week, I am trying to dig a little deeper for fantasy gold with some of these picks, and with only a week’s worth of defensive statistics to stack up against, it can be difficult to tell if a team’s performance will be the norm or simply an aberration. Check back at the beginning of next week to see if I improved on my percentages.
Aces – Week 2
WR Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs (@ Buffalo Bills) After a measly 5.3 points in a Week 1 blowout against Atlanta, I am looking for Bowe to bounce back against my new defensive heel. Buffalo gave up two touchdowns to a wet noodle throwing to a paper sack (aka Mark Sanchez to Stephen Hill), and Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel looked comfortable in the early stages of his game last week, placing throws with accuracy and confidence. Once KC unleashes its tag-team wrecking crew of Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, the play-action will be wide open for Bowe to reel in some catches. Prediction: 85 yards receiving + 1 TD = 14.5 fantasy points
RB Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins (vs. Oakland Raiders) Oakland did a nice job of shutting down the run on Monday night against a weak San Diego offensive line, allowing only 32 yards on the ground, so on the surface this looks like a sucker bet. Keep in mind, however, that San Diego was starting Ronnie Brown and Curtis Brinkley, and Oakland’s performance is less impressive. I actually like Bush more as a pass catcher this week. Miami is not outstanding on the offensive line, but Bush is pretty much their only weapon, and Oakland did leave plenty of checkdown passes to Brinkley and Brown open for play against the Chargers. Add in the whole traveling-across-the-country-on-a-short-week cliché, which I don’t normally ascribe to, and Bush is a nice play against the Black Hole. Prediction: 55 yards rushing + 63 yards receiving + 1 TD = 17.8 fantasy points
WR Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints (@ Carolina Panthers) Colston played a pretty uncharacteristic game last Sunday. Sure, he hauled in four catches for 71 yards, but he also left a few plays on the field with costly drops. Look for him to reignite the fire this week against a Carolina secondary that looked great because it was playing against a far lesser quarterback in Josh Freeman. Prediction: 120 yards receiving + 1 TD = 18 fantasy points
WR Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers (vs. New Orleans Saints) Is it going to be fair for me to pick a wide receiver who faces the Saints every week as an Ace? Well, until New Orleans’ secondary starts to lock it down, the answer is yes. Playing opposite Steve Smith, LaFell pulled in 65 yards and a touchdown last week for a modest fantasy showing. The third year receiver out of LSU has a size advantage (6’2″, 210 lbs.) over most corners, making him a prime red zone target for Cam Newton. Look for New Orleans to leave him in single coverage as they devote safety help to Steve Smith, and start counting the points. Prediction: 97 yards receiving + 1 TD = 15.7 fantasy points
WR Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams (vs. Washington Redskins) Washington’s defensive front absolutely harassed Saints quarterback Drew Brees last weekend, which means Rams signal caller Sam Bradford is in for a long day. Look for St. Louis to try and get the ball out of Bradford’s hands on quick slants and bubble screens, meaning Amendola’s workload should increase over last week’s 5 reception, 70 yard day. When healthy, as he is now, Amendola is a mini Wes Welker, racking up yards after the catch, which means big points in deep leagues. Prediction: 87 yards receiving + 7 yards rushing + 1 TD = 15.4 fantasy points
RB Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. New York Jets) Breakout special! Lost in the hullabaloo surrounding New York’s sudden outburst of offense last week was that their defense yielded a whopping 195 rushing yards to Buffalo’s runners. I am not saying Dwyer is going to put up C.J. Spiller numbers this week, but he played three times as many snaps as Isaac Redman against Denver, meaning he is going to have an opportunity to come close. Prediction: 125 yards rushing + 26 yards receiving + 1 TDs = 21.1 fantasy points
WR James Jones, Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago Bears) After being targeted six times last week by Aaron Rodgers, Jones should already be on your radar. With 81 yards and a touchdown, he put up respectable numbers, but the roster in Green Bay is so stacked with receivers it is difficult to know who is going to be the top dog each game. Greg Jennings, however, is nursing a hamstring injury on a short week, which means his nine targets from last Sunday’s match are going to be spread around, and I have a feeling Jones is going to be the one to collect. Prediction: 110 yards + 1 TDs = 17 fantasy points
QB Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (@ San Diego Chargers) With CJ2K looking more like R2D2 last week, combined with the return of Kenny Britt, Locker is a great sleeper play this week. He is said to be doing fine after a shoulder injury sent him home early on Sunday, and his mobility will allow him to avoid the hurt of San Diego defensive end Corey Liuget. Less Johnson means more passing, and Locker is going to surprise a couple people this weekend with RGIII-type numbers. Prediction: 257 yards passing + 2 TDs + 55 yards rushing = 23.8 fantasy points