Fantasy Football: Start Edelman, Bench Mathews
Julian Edelman played 83 snaps and scored two TDs in Week 1.
Michael Vick (Eagles): Vick had some shaky moments, but when he’s on the field and healthy, the Fantasy numbers will be good in this fast-paced offense. Vick passed for 203 yards, two TDs and rushed for 54 yards on nine carries with a TD in Week 1 against the Redskins. The Eagles had a big lead at halftime and Vick only threw five passes in the second half. If the game was closer, the numbers could have been better. Vick faces a Chargers defense that fell apart in the second half against the Texans last week and now they travel to the east coast against an offense that can be difficult to prepare for.
Robert Griffin III (Redskins): Some might have trepidation of starting him after watching him last week in his first game back off a torn ACL. It was no surprise to see some rust from RGIII. The good news is he looked more comfortable in the second half against the Eagles. He finished 30-for-49 for 329 yards with two TDs and two INTs. He added 24 rushing yards on five attempts. Green Bay showed it can be vulnerable against the pass last week against San Francisco.
Eli Manning (Giants): Based on last week, it is difficult envisioning the Giants defense slowing down the explosive Broncos offense. Couple that with the questions surrounding the Giants running game right now and Manning will likely be throwing a lot again in Week 2 after going 27 of 42 for 450 yards with four TDs and three INTs in a Week 1 loss to Dallas.
Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers): The Steelers were decimated by injuries in Week 1 and the loss of center Maurkice Pouncey is big and bad news for the offense. The Steelers have no running game and Roethlisberger was sacked five times in Week 1 against the Titans. He went 21 of 33 for 191 yards with one TD and one INT. It will be a tough week against the Bengals.
Josh Freeman (Buccaneers): Freeman was abysmal last week against the Jets and he finished the 2012 season on a down note. Some might look at the matchup against the Saints defense and think he will get well, but the New Orleans defense played well against Atlanta last week. The last time Freeman faced the Saints in December, Freeman threw four interceptions and some are already calling for backup Mike Glennon to take over.
Alex Smith (Chiefs): While Dallas gave up a lot of yards via the pass last week against the Giants, the Chiefs are not built to play that way. Don’t go based strictly on the matchup. Smith made a lot of short throws en route to 173 yards and two TDs last week against the Jaguars.
Marshawn Lynch (Seahawks): There might be some temptation to bench Lynch this week because of a daunting matchup against the 49ers run defense. Lynch also had a tough time last week against a very good Panthers’ front seven, rushing for just 43 yards on 17 carries. Lynch has had success against the 49ers. He has rushed for 100 yards in three straight games against the 49ers and two TDs. In that span, he has averaged 107 yards and 4.9 yards per carry.
DeAngelo Williams (Panthers): Williams had an arduous matchup in Week 1 against a stout Seahawks defense and performed well. Despite a fumble late in the game, Williams had 76 yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 14 yards. The matchup is easier this week against the Bills.
Eddie Lacy (Packers): Lacy was benched after a first-half fumble last week, but was brought back into the game in the second half and scored a TD. In a tough matchup for the rookie in his debut against San Francisco, Lacy had 14 carries for 41 yards with a TD. The Packers are going to rely on Lacy and he gets a Redskins defense that was shredded by the run last week.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Bengals): While many hoped Giovani Bernard would get a bigger workload in Week 1, it was Green-Ellis who still got most of the touches with 14 carries for 25 yards and a score. It was a tough matchup against the Bears and it won’t be easier in Week 2 against the Steelers.
Rashard Mendenhall (Cardinals): Mendenhall had 16 carries for 60 yards against the Rams last week. Now, he will play against the Lions, who despite allowing a 78-yard TD run to Adrian Peterson on the Vikings first possession, held Peterson to 15 yards on 17 carries the rest of the game. The Cardinals offensive line will have problems against the Lions defensive line.
Ryan Mathews (Chargers): The good news is Mathews matched his TD total in 2012 in Week 1. The bad news is he played just 20 snaps, as he was taken out on a lot of third-down situations. The Chargers had a 28-7 lead against the Texans and that is a scenario where Mathews should get the snaps and perform. The Chargers will likely be trailing often and that is not good for Mathews, who had 13 carries for 33 yards against the Texans. The Eagles defense looked much better than most anticipated in Week 1.
Julian Edelman (Patriots): Danny Amendola is unlikely to play Thursday night due to a groin injury and Edelman will step into his role and he heavily targeted, as the Patriots are depleted by injuries on offense. Edelman was involved in the offense even with Amendola on the field, playing 83 of 94 snaps in Week 1 against the Bills. He had seven receptions for 79 yards and two TDs and is the only receiver on the roster that has played with Tom Brady before this season.
Cecil Shorts (Jaguars): Shorts didn’t record a catch through three quarters last week against the Chiefs. He had 11 targets, but only had three catches for 40 yards. Blaine Gabbert played a big part in that result, and Gabbert is out Week 2 against the Raiders. Chad Henne will start and while he’s not great, he gives Shorts a better chance to succeed.
Marlon Brown (Ravens): Brown steps into a starting role with Jacoby Jones injured. Brown looked good in the preseason and had four catches for 65 yards with a TD in Week 1 against the Broncos. The Browns will likely shadowTorrey Smith with Joe Haden and that could mean a lot of targets for Brown.
Roddy White (Falcons): I can’t blame anyone for starting White last week. He never misses a game and he was active. Later we found out he has a high ankle sprain and was used as a decoy, finishing with two catches for 19 yards. He didn’t practice Wednesday and said the ankle won’t heal for a while. Hold off on this decision until Sunday, but right now be prepared to have another option. If the decision comes down to Edelman on Thursday or White, go with Edelman.
Jerome Simpson (Vikings): Don’t chase last week’s stats, where Simpson surprised with seven receptions for 140 yards against the Lions. Simpson has flashed before and never shown consistency, and he has Christian Ponder as his QB. The matchup this week against the Bears is not appealing.
Kenny Britt (Titans): It’s tough to count on Britt right now until we see some life from the Titans’ passing game. The Titans went run-heavy in Week 1 as Jake Locker attempted just 20 passes and Britt had one catch for 15 yards. The Titans are going to be a conservative offense and playing at Houston won’t be easy.
Jordan Cameron (Browns): After a lot of preseason buzz, Cameron delivered in Week 1, catching eight passes for 108 yards with a TD against the Dolphins. He had 13 targets and will be involved heavily again this week against the Ravens as Josh Gordon misses another game due to suspension.
Julius Thomas (Broncos): Defenses are so concerned with the other Broncos’ weapons on offense that Thomas is often going to be getting favorable matchups. He caught five passes for 110 yards with two TDs in Week 1 against the Ravens. Thomas gets another juicy matchup against a bad Giants defense that allowed two TDs to the tight end last week.
Brandon Pettigrew (Lions): Pettigrew is in a position to succeed in a high-octane, pass-heavy offense, but he’s not that good. He had two catches for six yards, lost a fumble and dropped a pass. Don’t be surprised if Joseph Fauria starts taking looks away from Pettigrew. Fauria scored in Week 1.
Dallas Clark (Ravens): The stats from last week look good as Clark caught seven passes for 87 yards. If you watched the game, it was painful to see Clark. He had a few drops, including one that would have been a TD. He had 12 targets, but looked slow. It’s highly unlikely Baltimore throws 62 times this week against the Browns.
Alex Henery (Eagles): The Eagles offense looked good last week and will move the ball consistently.
Mason Crosby (Packers): Like last week, when the Packers scored four TDs and didn’t have a field goal, it could be a quiet week for Crosby against the Redskins.
New England Patriots: The Patriots defense wasn’t great last week on the road in Buffalo, but it should be much better at home against the Jets on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The defense is improved, but with the Saints on tap it is not a good matchup.
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