QB: Michael Vick vs. SD – After allowing 346 passing yards and three touchdowns to Matt Schaub, the Chargers venture to Philadelphia to face Michael Vick. Vick is coming off a mint performance, in which is threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns through the air while adding 54 rushing yards and a score on the ground. Combining Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy with Chip Kelly almost seemed unfair against the Redskins; don’t expect the Chargers to stop them.
RB: Eddie Lacy vs. WAS – Coming off a tough matchup against the 49ers stout run defense, Eddie Lacy draws a much more inviting matchup this weekend. The Redskins gave up more rushing yards than any team in the league last week (263) by a margin of 92 rushing yards. And don’t just attribute it to volume, as the Redskins gave up the 2nd highest yards per carry at a clip of 5.4. This will be Lacy’s first opportunity to exploit a favorable matchup.
Stevan Ridley vs. NYJ – Despite being benched last week, the Patriots need Stevan Ridley. This isn’t just my opinion – Bill Belichick agrees. With injuries to top playmakers Shane Vereen, Danny Amendola, and Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots would be foolish to sit their one remaining proven playmaker. The last time these teams met Ridley cruised to 97 yards on 21 carries (4.62 YPC). With the Patriots desperate for playmakers, I expect Ridley to see a monster workload.
DeAngelo Williams at BUF – Although he isn’t as spry as he once was, DeAngelo Williams is locked in for a monster workload. With Jonathan Stewart inactive and Mike Tolbert nursing a tender hamstring, Williams received 20 touches against the Seahawks and finished with a respectable 100 total yards. This week, he faces a more favorable Bills defense that was torched by Shane Vereen for 159 yards on 21 touches last week.
David Wilson vs. DEN – David Wilson’s opening night was an absolute nightmare for his fantasy owners – he fumbled away his chances and was benched for almost the entire 2nd half. Despite that, here are the facts: While filling in Da’Rel Scott looked like a plodder and injured his knee in practice yesterday. Despite being signed by the Giants, Brandon Jacobs already looked like a shell of his former self on the 49ers a year ago and admitted he currently isn’t in game shape. That leaves mega-talented David Wilson, who despite struggling in the opener, rushed for 5.0 YPC as a rookie. Coach Tom Coughlin knows better than anyone that the Giants “need” Wilson. This isn’t the best matchup but for those who drafted Wilson high and don’t have other options, start him.
WR: Julian Edelman vs. NYJ – It’s become painfully obvious that the Patriots are higher on Julian Edelman than many fantasy writers expected. Last week, Edelman played 83-of-94 offensive snaps and with Danny Amendola injured, he’ll likely play every offensive snap. Kenbrell Thompkins proved unreliable in the opener and with no Amendola to throw to, I expect Brady to rely heavily on Edelman. I don’t expect him to top his two-touchdown performance, but I could easily see him topping seven catches.
Cecil Shorts at OAK – While the disappointing opener will have many owners benching Cecil Shorts, Chad Henne’s promotion to starting quarterback provides reason for optimism. While Gabbert is extremely conservative, Henne brings more of a gunslinger mentality to the Jaguars. In five full games with Henne last season, Shorts averaged 5.2 catches for 83.6 yards and three touchdowns.
Chris Givens at ATL – Chris Givens struggled in the opener going up against top cover corner Patrick Peterson and finished with just two catches for 27 yards. This week he’ll face the Falcons who were torched by Brees and the Saints for 357 passing yards last week. This matchup would become even more favorable if Asante Samuel is inactive again.
Lance Moore at TB – With Lance Moore it comes down to predicting which games he will break out – this looks like one of those weeks. Facing Tampa Bay’s stout run defense, I could see the Saints dropping the running game and coming out in some heavy passing sets – using the short passing game to supplement their lack of a run game. If you’re in bind at wide receiver because of guys like Roddy White and Danny Amendola, start Lance Moore.
TE: Greg Olsen at BUF – Coming off a five catch, 56 yard performance against the Seahawks, some owners weren’t happy with Olsen after seeing other tight ends like Jared Cook and Jordan Cameron explode for big games. There are positive signs: Olsen was targeted a team-high ten times out of 23 Cam Newton pass attempts. Olsen also has a much easier matchup this week facing the Bills – start him.
QB: Andy Dalton vs. PIT – As I said last week, throughout his short career Andy Dalton has been better at exploiting the weak matchups than performing against the league’s top defenses. In his two starts against Pittsburgh last season, Dalton completed 38-of-69 passes for 383 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Owners should aim higher.
RB: Ryan Mathews at PHI – I thought the opener was extremely disappointing for Ryan Mathews’ owners. While he found paydirt, Mathews didn’t even finish with the most snaps at running back on his team. Ronnie Brown played 25 snaps, Mathews finished with 20, and Woodhead with 10. That kind of timeshare kills fantasy value. Running behind a bad offensive line with minimal involvement in the passing game is a bad recipe for fantasy running backs.
Mark Ingram at TB – After rushing nine times for 11 yards, owners can look for better options than Mark Ingram. I know he’s the favorite for goal-line carries but no run defense was better than the Bucs last season and he’s once again going to find himself with no where to run. This weekend is a better matchup for Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas’ skill sets.
Rashard Mendenhall vs. DET – This will be another tough matchup for Mendenhall, who faces a Lions defense that made Adrian Peterson work for his points. Take away Peterson’s first rush (the 78-yard rushing touchdown) and he finished with 15 yards on 17 carries. As we learned from the Patriots/Lions preseason game, the Lions have a very stout defensive line.
WR: Greg Jennings at CHI – After struggling to make an impact against the Lions, I’m not optimistic about Greg Jennings chances against the Bears. He’ll be guarded by Peanut Tillman, which doesn’t improve his odds.
Brian Hartline at IND – While this is another plus matchup for Hartline, I don’t expect the same results. Look for the Dolphins to get Mike Wallace involved early and often. In 16 games last season, Hartline had just one touchdown and three 100-yard games – don’t expect another.
Stevie Johnson vs. CAR – After finishing with just three catches for 39 yards and touchdown, I’m not confident in Johnson’s chances this week. The Bills ran 34 times last week compared to just 27 passes. Johnson will need a high percentage of those targets to maintain solid value – I’d rather rely on a team that passes more frequently.
TE: Fred Davis at GB – After catching just two passes for 22 yards in the opener, Fred Davis isn’t looking like a solid start. Backup tight end Jordan Reed seemed to be the more involved tight end on the Redskins, as he caught five passes for 38 yards. You can find a better start for this week.
Thanks for reading. Hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM or post below for any lineup questions you guys have!