The first week of the 2012 NFL season is in the books, and the first game of Week 2 was played Thursday. Hopefully you didn’t have too many Bears or Packers players going, as it was a slow-go for fantasy options in that game, unless, of course, you had the Green Bay DST going. In that game RB Matt Forte suffered an ankle injury in that game, so if you’re still able to make moves, consider adding RB Michael Bush if he is still available.
As far as the Week 2 schedule is concerned, there are a few games fantasy owners will want all players active. The Minnesota-Indianapolis game figures to be an unexpected treat, and the Denver-Atlanta game figures to provide plenty of fireworks under the dome. If you owns the defenses of any of those teams, you’ll definitely want to make alternate plans.
Surprise start of the week: Christian Ponder, Minnesota (at IND): The Colts defense allowed 314 passing yards to Chicago’s Jay Cutler in Week 1. If you watched the game Thursday in Green Bay, you saw how much Cutler struggled against the Packers. That should tell you a little bit about the Colts secondary. Look for the second-year QB in Minnesota to exploit some big-time holes and find a lot of room downfield. Ponder also has a surprisingly healthy RB Adrian Peterson to hand the ball, too, which will force Indianapolis to guard against the run.
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy plays: Sam Bradford, St. Louis (vs. WAS), Robert Griffin III, Washington (at STL), Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (at CIN)
Sit of the week: Alex Smith, San Francisco (vs. DET): Last week, we really liked Smith in Green Bay. However, this weekend he’ll be playing on Sunday night against a hungry Detroit Lions pass rush led by DLs Cliff Avril and Ndamukong Suh. Smith should be under continuous pressure all evening, and the best course of action will be short, underneath options and those out of the backfield. Smith might find the end zone once or twice, but the yardage just won’t be there in Week 2. Let’s face it, Smith remains more of a caretaker to the offense, no matter what they added in the offseason for a boost.
Others who should be riding the fantasy pine: Joe Flacco, Baltimore (at PHI), Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (at NYJ), Russell Wilson, Seattle (at DAL)
Surprise start of the week: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati (vs. CLE): The Browns pass defense held Philadelphia’s Michael Vick mostly in check in Week 1, but they were minced for 150 rushing yards. The ‘Law Firm’, as Green-Ellis is affectionately nicknamed, showed well in his team debut Monday in Baltimore against a much more stout rush defense. He should pay big-time dividends for fantasy owners who rolled the dice on him midway through their drafts. In fact, if you have depth at the position, after this big weekend it might be a great time to dangle BJGE in a trade while his value is at its pinnacle.
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy plays: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay (at NYG), Trent Richardson, Cleveland (at CIN), Stevan Ridley, New England (vs. ARI)
Sit of the week: Ahmad Bradshaw, N.Y. Giants (vs. TB): The Buccaneers rushing defense had it on lockdown in their Week 1 win. While it is true they were dealing with a Panthers team missing RB Jonathan Stewart to injury, they still shut down RB DeAngelo Williams. More importantly, they contained dynamic QB Cam Newton, who ran all over everyone last season. Bradshaw will get the lion’s share of the carries for Big Blue, but he will find little running room against the suffocating Bucs D, which looks like they’re back.
Others who should be riding the fantasy pine: Reggie Bush, Miami (vs. OAK), Chris Johnson, Tennessee (at SD), Beanie Wells, Arizona (at NE)
Surprise start of the week: Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants (vs. TB): There were a lot of angry fantasy owners in Week 1, and a lot of angry Giants fans, as Cruz struggled in the team’s opener Wednesday, Sept. 5, against Dallas. He had several drops, and in turn, many impatient fantasy owners dropped him. That’s foolish. Cruz had one bad game, and he will be back, especially with a favorable matchup this weekend. Look for Cruz to bounce back with at least 80-90 receiving yards and a score, if not more.
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy plays: Andrew Hawkins, Cincinnati (vs. CLE), Stevie Johnson, Buffalo (at KC), Nate Washington, Tennessee (at SD)
Sit of the week: Torrey Smith, Baltimore (at PHI): Smith showed his big-play ability early on in the game Monday against Cincinnati, breaking free for a 52-yard reception on the team’s first drive. After that, however, he was nearly invisible. Smith has plenty of ability, but consistency is key. Right now, fantasy owners cannot be guaranteed that Smith will provide that type of consistency to depend on him week in and week out. Against an Eagles pass defense which allowed just 111 yards in Week 1, albeit against the listless Browns, Smith is best left to your reserve squad.
Others who should be riding the fantasy pine: Brandon Lloyd, New England (vs. ARI), Lance Moore, New Orleans (at CAR), Randy Moss, SF (vs. DET)
Surprise start of the week: Fred Davis, Washington (at STL)
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy plays: Greg Olsen, Carolina (vs. NO), Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota (at IND)
Sit of the week: Dennis Pitta, Baltimore (at PHI)
Others who should be riding the fantasy pine: Brent Celek, Philadelphia (vs. BAL), Dustin Keller, N.Y. Jets (at PIT)
Surprise start of the week: Phil Dawson, Cleveland (at CIN)
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy play: Ryan Succop, Kansas City (at BUF)
Sit of the week: Rob Bironas, Tennessee (at SD)
Other who should be riding the fantasy pine: Steven Hauschka, Seattle (vs. DAL)
Surprise start of the week: Raiders DST (at MIA)
Other solid, less- than-obvious fantasy plays: Chargers DST (vs. TEN), Cowboys DST (at SEA)
Sit of the week: Broncos DST (at ATL)
Others who should be riding the fantasy pine: Eagles DST (vs. BAL), Falcons DST (vs. DEN)