Week 2 brought only marginal improvement over my Week 1 Aces picks, but those few who delivered did so in a big way.
On the heels of tremendous fantasy performances by Dwayne Bowe (22.2 points), Danny Amendola (20 points), and Reggie Bush (31.7 points), I “improved” my overall Aces picks to a record of 4-10 for the first two weeks of the season. Carolina wide receiver Brandon LaFell was one more New Orleans missed tackle away from helping me out in the win column, but Green Bay’s James Jones (-0.1 points) and Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Dwyer (4 points) might as well have been one-ply toilet paper in one of those commercials where they pour a bunch of blue liquid onto it. Ugly.
If this were baseball, I’d take a .400 batting average. Unfortunately, football does not afford the luxury of such mediocrity, so let’s see where this week’s picks take us.
But I am not looking to make easy picks to pad my stats, here. I will try and find some little-used players that can help give you an edge in your league. Here’s to wishing the both of us the best of luck this weekend.
Aces – Week 3
RB Andre Brown, New York Giants (@ Carolina Panthers) Surprise, surprise. Ahmad “Glassjaw” Bradshaw is hurt again, paving the way for a backup running back to lead you to fantasy glory. But instead of 2012 first round pick David Wilson being the next man up, the Giants are turning to Brown, the back who led them against Tampa Bay last week with 90 total yards and a touchdown (plus a two-point conversion, to boot). Against Carolina’s soft run defense (28th in the league, allowing 146.5 yards per game), look for the Giants to feed Brown early and often. Eli Manning will be without wide receiver Hakeen Nicks this week, and even with an extra serving of Victor Cruz’s salsa, I still expect Brown to be the best runner on the field tonight. Prediction: 115 yards rushing + 22 yards receiving + 1 TD = 19.7 fantasy points
RB/WR Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs (@New Orleans Saints) Another week, another receiver playing against the Saints on the Aces list. New Orleans has been eaten alive by speedy receivers lining up in the slot or in the backfield over the first two weeks (Pierre Garcon in Week 1, Brandon LaFell in Week 2), but few will see McCluster as someone to worry about. On the contrary, I feel he poses a threat to the Saints’ poor tackling secondary simply due to his speed and elusiveness, and the fact that Bowe will draw extra coverage after last week’s breakout session. McCluster may not get in the end zone, but he will consistently catch passes and move the sticks on Sunday, making him especially valuable in PPR leagues. Prediction: 116 yards receiving + 12 yards rushing = 12.8 fantasy points
RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. San Francisco 49ers) I know what you’re thinking: “No one can run against the Niners, they have an intimidating front line and play smashmouth, old school football, yadda yadda yadda.” Fine, I will give you that San Francisco is giving up less than 65 yards on the ground per game, but they have also faced two pass-heavy offenses who aren’t exactly burning it up in the elite running back category (my apologies to Cedric Benson and Kevin Smith’s moms). There is no way I am sitting AP just because he has a difficult matchup, and when he sniffs the goal line, he is going in. Prediction: 94 yards rushing + 2 TDs = 21.4 fantasy points
WR Andrew Hawkins, Cincinnati Bengals (@ Washington Redskins) An undrafted free agent out of Toledo better known for coming in second place on a football reality show, Hawkins has added a Percy Harvin-like dimension to the Bengals’ offense that has given opponents fits over the first two weeks of the season. Look for more of the same this week as he lines up all over the field against Washington, whose injury-ridden defense was strafed in its first two games against similar players in Darren Sproles and Amendola. Prediction: 87 yards receiving + 1 TD = 14.7 fantasy points
QB Sam Bradford and WR Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams (@ Chicago Bears) Bradford has quietly put together an efficient two games to start the season, amassing 508 yards and four touchdowns while giving Rams fans some confidence as the team hung around late against Detroit in Week 1 and upset Washington in Week 2. While on the surface this matchup against Chicago looks difficult, the vaunted Bears defense of yore is no longer, as they currently rank 22nd in the league against the pass. Chicago will aim to take Amendola away from Bradford, especially in the red zone, leaving Gibson – he of 104 yards and two touchdowns on the season – free to roam. These two are both sneaky plays in deep leagues this week. Predictions: Bradford – 285 yards passing + 2 TDs = 19.4 fantasy points; Gibson – 85 yards receiving + 1 TD = 14.5 fantasy points
RB Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints (vs. Kansas City Chiefs) Widely regarded as the least-worthy fantasy option in the crowded New Orleans backfield, Thomas showed last week why the Saints should cut their losses with Mark Ingram and make it a two-man show between PT and Sproles. Thomas accrued massive amounts of yards after contact in last week’s contest on his way to 143 yards from scrimmage and a new nickname, “The Yac.” Sure, Ingram vultured a touchdown after Thomas carried the entire Carolina D to the goal line, but Thomas will surely be the go-to guy again out of the backfield and in the screen game this week against a poor Chiefs defense, and I expect him to receive his due and get to dream up an end zone celebration on the fly. Prediciton: 96 yards rushing + 32 yards receiving + 1 TD = 18.8 fantasy points
D/ST Arizona Cardinals (vs. Philadelphia Eagles) After holding Seattle in check in Week 1, fake football pundits were intrigued by Arizona, but certainly not impressed. But when you hold Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to a handful of field goals, it’s time to get excited. Going up against the league’s top offensive unit isn’t exactly a matchup to relish, but I am intrigued simply because of the opportunities for big plays that Arizona will be presented with. Michael Vick has been throwing interceptions (6), LeSean McCoy has been fumbling (2), and return man Patrick Peterson is always a threat to run the ball back. In the battle of the birds, the Cards will certainly give up some points, but will make up for it with an aggressive front that will pressure Vick and force some turnovers. Prediction: 1 Points Allowed 14-20 + 2 INTs + 3 sacks + 1 fumble recovery + 1 TD = 16 fantasy points