FANTASY PLAYS: In Week 2, don't overreact to opening games
Heading into the second full week of the fantasy football season, it's important to not overreact too much to the opening games.
One full slate is not enough to establish pure trends yet.
Here's what to watch and plan for in Week 2:
TIGHT END TURNAROUNDS
Gary Barnidge was shut out in Week 1. He should bounce back against the Ravens with Josh McCown taking over at quarterback again. Delanie Walker was held to three catches for 42 yards in the first week, but the Titans should make more of an effort to get him the ball against the Lions. Coby Fleener caught one ball for 6 yards in his Saints debut. He has a better matchup against the Giants this week. Barnidge and Walker should definitely be started, and Fleener has to prove himself with his new team, but this may be the week to do it.
Dez Bryant was held to eight yards on one catch last week, and Ezekiel Elliott ran for just 51 yards. Look for both Dallas playmakers to rise in Week 2 against the rival Redskins. Dak Prescott will make a strong effort to get the ball to Bryant often, as the offense may open up a bit more this week. Elliott is a key if the Cowboys want to control the clock, and he should get a lot of usage to balance the offense and take some pressure off Prescott.
Adrian Peterson was very disappointing in the first week, as he rushed for 31 yards on 19 carries. Now, owners who drafted him in the first round are quite concerned. His Week 2 outing against Green Bay will be a pivotal performance. Peterson is likely going to be fired up to show that his clunker against the Titans was just a fluke. In a rivalry game against the Packers, with Sam Bradford likely taking over controls of the offense, Peterson should display his better form. Keep the faith and expect a strong statement that he is still not close to being done.
HIGH FLYING BIRDS
Carson Wentz led a seemingly explosive offensive attack in a Week 1 opener against the Browns. Now the Eagles have another good matchup at Chicago, but this is the first road start for the rookie, and he is expected be without tight end Zach Ertz. Look for Philadelphia to rely heavily on Ryan Mathews, who is a good start as a second running back, and Jordan Matthews will be peppered with a lot of targets. If Wentz can pass his first road test, the Eagles may be a better fantasy resource than projected in the preseason.
Without Keenan Allen, the Chargers' offense becomes less dynamic. Travis Benjamin may now be overmatched as the potential No. 1 wideout, and Tyrell Williams must prove himself before he cracks your lineup. Philip Rivers now becomes much less of a sure thing as a top-12 quarterback. But Danny Woodhead should get a lot of additional work in the passing game and Antonio Gates can bounce back from a quiet opener as the Bolts host the Jaguars this week. Don't start any of the San Diego WRs, but Woodhead and Gates should be in point-per-reception lineups, and Melvin Gordon deserves some flex consideration after a good opener.
The Seahawks frustrated fantasy owners in Week 1, scoring only 12 points against Miami in what seemed to be a very good matchup for their passing game. Russell Wilson suffered an ankle injury, and Tyler Lockett dropped a pair of passes. Wilson is ready to go for Sunday's matchup, but it won't be an easy assignment for him, although it's hard to bench him if you drafted him as your starter. The Rams have a strong defensive line and always give the Seahawks fits no matter where they are in the standings. The Seattle offense may be erratic in what could be a close and low-scoring NFC West matchup. Thomas Rawls has regained the starting RB job, though, and is worth a start as a second running back. Hope for a respectable outing from Wilson and for Lockett to boost his totals with some yardage after the catch.
New Orleans exploded for 34 points in its season opener, led by 424 passing yards and four TD passes by Drew Brees. But they also allowed 35 points, and the Giants' offense appears poised to hurt the Saints' defense this week. Eli Manning could be headed for three TD passes or more, and even his secondary targets, such as promising rookie Sterling Shepard, and Victor Cruz on the comeback trail, are worthy of starting consideration. Rashad Jennings could finish off a TD drive or two. The New York defense has improved, so don't expect Brees and co. to roll quite as easily as they did against the Raiders.
The Colts legitimately looked like they had the worst defense in the league last week against the Lions. But how much advantage can the Broncos take of the matchup this week? Demaryius Thomas has a hip issue that may prevent him from fully exploiting the Indianapolis secondary, and the team's only true playmaker in the passing game besides Thomas is Emmanuel Sanders. Thomas is likely to be a game-time decision and is a risky fantasy start despite the friendly matchup. The Broncos play in a late game Sunday and there will be safer alternatives in the earlier games. Sanders is a must-start as a third wide receiver, though, and C.J. Anderson is a great daily play. The Broncos may lack the firepower to make the best of the situation if Thomas is not himself, and their defense may get overworked against Andrew Luck as well. Do not bench Luck despite the fact that he faces Denver.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com.