It wasn't a handshake Lions fans and Detroit fantasy owners had to look for Sunday night; instead it was more like four quarters of being punched in the mouth between whistles.
A blockbuster Sunday of big offense ended with a whimper as the 49ers posted a boring but brutally fundamental win. San Francisco's punishing running game and suffocating defense grinded Detroit into submission and looked positively old school in the shadow of Week 2's fantasy fireworks.
Earlier on Sunday, Robert Griffin's fantasy legend grew, Eli Manning's arm amazed, the Eagles got out of their own way and Reggie, C.J. and Trent made it a huge day for running backs.
Best Performance in a Dolphins Win: Reggie Bush nearly equaled his entire Week 1 rushing total on one run Sunday with a 65-yard touchdown burst. Bush rolled up 172 yards total, cementing his role as a low-end RB2 or high-end flex, despite a moribund supporting cast. But leaner days are coming, especially with a rookie quarterback. Still, Bush is an every-week starter. Even on poor rushing days like against Houston in Week 1, Bush's all-purpose ability makes him a constant yardage threat.
The Golden Arm Award: Eli Manning took lemons and made an Arnold Palmer, turning a disastrous first half into a fantasy stat-gorging box score by game's end. Offsetting his three early interceptions with a trio of TD passes, he hit the 500-yard mark and spread the wealth ash Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz both enjoyed big days against the Bucs. It helped take some of the sting off of Manning's slow start in the season opener. He might be in line for more big outings after an injury to Ahmad Bradshaw.
Best Breakout Rookie: Trent Richardson also showed that a poor supporting cast doesn't have to mean box score doldrums for owners. After a poor debut, the Alabama rookie rolled up his first 100-yard, multi-touchdown day and dazzled the Browns fans in desperate need of a star to cheer for (albeit in a loss, but no plan is perfect). Richardson, like Bush, is going to be up and down thanks to his supporting cast. But unlike Bush, Richardson is sturdier and built for goal-line violence as a short-yardage threat. Richardson, who also is an all-purpose threat, is a solid RB2 going forward, just be prepared for plenty of inconsistent outings.
Best Houdini-like Escape: Michael Vick and the Eagles got their first lead of the game against the Ravens with 1:55 left and kept it, despite four turnovers. Vick salvaged his one-touchdown pass day with 371 passing yards and a rushing score while his supporting cast all took turns with box score production. This, amidst the sloppy play, makes the Eagles one of the most frustrating fantasy stocks for owners to invest in. Once the offense stops shooting itself in the collective foot, it could be pretty dangerous.
The Roller coaster Award: Hard as it may seem to believe, the New Orleans Saints look ordinary with only occasional flashes of brilliance. The fantasy production has been solid for most Saints owners, but Drew Brees has four interceptions in two weeks. Had it not been for two rallies, the final numbers could be a lot uglier all the way around. So far this season the Saints have scored 29 fourth quarter points as a result of having to play catch-up thanks to early-game struggles and a nonexistent defense. This is a tough trend to keep up, especially since the Redskins' and Panthers' secondaries are far from air-tight, and the Saints will see plenty of better units going forward.
The Fred Jackson Benefactor Award: NFL rushing leader C.J. Spiller had another dominant performance to push his two-week total to 292 yards. Only a season ago he was trying out as a fourth receiver to just get on the field, when a Fred Jackson injury gave Spiller all the carries and on-the-job experience he could handle. With Jackson injured again, it's no surprise to see Spiller go nuclear. The question is how effective will a two-headed backfield be once Jackson comes back healthy? Spiller might be a prime sell-high candidate once Jackson starts inching his way back to the active list.
Best Wes Welker Impression: Danny Amendola. Remember the preseason hype last year that Josh McDaniels was going to turn the onetime Texas Tech standout into Welker 2.0? One season-ending injury and head coach firing later and Amendola is fulfilling that promise in a different offense for a different coach. With 25 targets after two games, Amendola clearly has become Sam Bradford's go-to option.
Survivor Pool Disaster Award: The egg that New England laid in Arizona was hard to explain and stunning to see. Tom Brady was sacked four times and pressured aplenty as the Pats' offensive line proved porous. Through two games, Brady has been merely pedestrian. On the plus side, Stevan Ridley has established himself as the RB1 the past two weeks and Wes Welker came back from the dead in Week 2 with a patented PPR-friendly nine-catch performance. The outcome may have been an anomaly, but the fact that the Patriots' offense has yet to start cooking with gas, as they say, is a worry.
The Sudden Impact Award: Robert Griffin III continues to defy the odds and is on his way to becoming offensive savant Mike Shanahan's greatest creation ever. The rookie QB's two touchdown runs and solid passing day -- despite the absence of top target Pierre Garcon -- is further proof he is a must-start every week. Although Griffin will run into the proverbial rookie wall eventually, enjoy the ride.
Mr. Invisible Award: Jamaal Charles. After solid Week 1 debut, Charles barely cracked the 20-yard all-purpose mark Sunday with a Chris Johnson-like three yards on six carries. Peyton Hillis took some of that work, leading with 66 yards but fumbling on the goal line. Charles' issues go deeper than Hillis, as the Chiefs offensive struggles seem systemic. A late rally helped revive Dwayne Bowe and pad Matt Cassel's stats, but the Chiefs look far from right.
Mr. Invisible Runner-Up: Which fact is harder to believe -- that the Cardinals are 2-0 or that Larry Fitzgerald has had little to do stats-wise with their success? Fitzgerald's one-catch performance Sunday boosted his totals to five catches and 67 yards for the year. Seriously? Fitzgerald is bound to break out eventually, but for those who risked drafting him knowing Arizona's QB struggles better hope it happens sooner than later.
Disturbing Trend To Watch: While not at the panic-button pushing level yet, Darren McFadden owners have a right to be nervous. Through two games, DMC has 54 yards on 26 carries for a 2.1 average. Usually it's been poor healthy and some unlucky breaks that have slowed down McFadden; this time it's opposing defenses, and they're doing it with ease.