Rigberg’s Matchups Week 2

Broncos @ Chiefs

The two AFC West rivals meet up in what should be a tough defensive battle. It’s probably not time to hit the panic button on the Broncos’ passing offense just yet, but this probably won’t be a week where it shines. Still, it’s hard to sit Sanders and Thomas just yet. Rival running backs Jamaal Charles and CJ Anderson should be heavily featured in this one, and standout tight end Travis Kelce should do well. Sit just about everyone else.

Patriots* @ Bills

You know Rex Ryan is excited for this game. After throttling the Colts week 1, the Bills defense will look to keep up its excellent play against their hated rivals. While the Bills offense isn’t too threatening, Karlos Williams may be worth looking at as a high-upside play if Shady’s hamstring injury is still nagging him come Sunday. On the Pats* side of the ball Gronk and Scott Scott Chandler are likely to get looks in the redzone. Edelman should be the beneficiary of several quick passes to combat a defense that will be blitzing a lot.

Titans @ Browns

Holy shit, Marcus Mariota looks pretty good. After tearing apart the Bucs week 1, Mariota’s Titans take on another soft looking defense. While Mariota needs to prove he can keep up his excellent play when everything is not going his way. I have trouble recommending too many players in this matchup, but if you need to start someone Bishop Sankey may have another good performance against a bad run defense.

Texans @ Panthers

Two tough defenses square off in Carolina this week. There aren’t too many great looking fantasy players in this game, although Hopkins should be a locked in starter if you have him. The Panthers offense without Kelvin Benjamin is also pretty bad and it’s hard to recommend starting Johnathan Stewart against JJ Watt and Jadaveon Clowney. Basically stay away from everyone but Hopkins.

Cardinals @ Bears

After dismantling the Saints week 1, the Cardinals travel to Soldier field to face the surprisingly not totally terrible Bears. John Brown and Carson Palmer should do well against a weak Bears secondary. David Johnson looks like the most talented non-injured back in Arizona and should be starting by the end of the season. Right now though it looks like Arians is giving the nod to CJ2K, who might not be a bad play. On the Bears Matt Forte will have a harder time against a Cardinals front that’s much stronger than Green Bay’s, but should still be locked in as your starter. Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennet are other starts.

Chargers @ Bengals

STEVIE JOHNSON ISN’T DEAD. As many predicted, Stevie Johnson returned from the fantasy grave last week, along with Keenan Allen and a strong Chargers offense. Allen, Johnson, and Rivers will face a tougher secondary on the road in Cincy but should still do well. Geno Atkins remains a force upfront and Melvin Gordon’s lackluster start will likely continue. Woodhead and Oliver seem like more talented backs, and Woodhead is someone to start if you need to. For Cincinnati, Tyler Eifert should have another good game as Andy Dalton stared him down in the redzone multiple times last week and Eifert rewarded him, making some impressive catches in traffic. The level of trust Dalton has in Eifert is a good sign for the tight end. AJ Green should bounce back after a disappointing week 1, the Bengals should be forced to pass more in a tighter contest this week. Jeremy Hill should also carry over his excellent week 1 play into his home opener.

Lions @ Vikings

The Vikings looked completely flat in their season opener against San Fran, and will be looking to bounce back against a division rival in front of a home crowd. Adrian Peterson will face another tough front this week but is still locked in as a starter. AP is the only Viking I would be confident starting after their disappointing week 1 showing, but Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson remain players with good potential. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate should bounce back this week, as the Lions didn’t have to pass too much after they built up a 21-3 lead quickly in San Diego. Ameer Abdullah is also really good at football and remains a good flex/RB 2 play with high upside.

Buccaneers @ Saints

A showdown between two teams from the worst division in football. Two bad defenses face off this week and Brees, Cooks, and Ingram should have a field day against a defense that gave up 4 TD’s to Marcus Mariota. For the Bucs, Vincent Jackson had a TD negated by a penalty last week and should bounce back against the Saints’ poor secondary. If healthy, Mike Evans is also a must start.

Falcons @ Giants

After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Dallas, the Giants will look for a win in their home opener. Odell Beckham had a disappointing showing but should be ok this week. The Giants offense looked sluggish and unprepared last week and it’s hard to recommend anyone else as a starter. Julio Jones’s huge week 1 performance will be burned into my nightmares for a while and his excellent play should continue this week. Tevin Coleman also looked impressive in his rookie debut and is a possible start against a soft Giants front.

49ers @ Steelers

The 49ers come to Pittsburgh after their surprisingly successful debut, and Carlos Hyde should have another good game against a Steelers team that does not play defense. Torrey Smith is someone to think about starting if your week 1 receivers disappointed, as this secondary looks about as awful as most people expected. Antonio Brown will continue his convincing campaign to be called the best receiver in football, he simply cannot be stopped. The rest of the Steeler’s offense should probably be avoided this week against a defense that looked much better than most expected.

Rams @ Redskins

Not to many fantasy starters in this matchup. The Rams always play the Seahawks tough, and a lot of their success looked like poor defense rather than good offense. The Redskins defense also looked surprisingly competent against Miami, particularly in stopping Lamar Miller. The Rams defense also looks terrifying. Aaron Donald continues to be amazing, dropping into coverage last week against Jimmy Graham. I would stay away from this matchup.

Ravens @ Raiders

After being suffocated by the intimidating Broncos defense week 1, Flacco and the Ravens have a much easier test on the road against Oakland. Steve Smith and Justin Forsett didn’t look great last week. It’s too early to hit the panic button considering the team they were facing, but I would avoid starting them unless you have no other choices. As for Oakland, they’re still Oakland. While Amari Cooper looks good, the Ravens have one of the tougher defenses in the league and I would avoid starting any Raiders.

Dolphins @ Jaguars

The Dolphins take a break from NFL play this week when they travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars. The Dolphins offense sputtered last week in a game many thought would be a blowout. However, the Jaguars are probably the best team in the league to bounce back against. Cameron, Landry, and Miller should all have a good day against the Jags. Hopefully no one fell for the Jaguars’ annual attempt to convince everyone they are a professional football team this offseason and you avoided putting any Jags on your fantasy squads.

Cowboys Cowpies @ Eagles

The Eagles offense came out flat against a Falcon’s defense that might be better than expected this year. However a second half surge showed some of the potential of this squad. Jordan Matthews is clearly the most talented receiver on the team and carry over his fantastic play from week 1. The running game got away from the birds as the Falcons D sold out to stop the run. Expect a more balanced attack this week. Demarco Murray should have a good game against his former team, and Darren Sproles is a good flex play. Agholor was invisible in his debut, but was facing star corner Desmond Trufant. Agholor had the snaps to be productive, but I would wait a few more games for him to start contributing significantly. The loss of Dez Bryant obviously is a huge blow for the Cowboys and neither Randle nor McFadden looked impressive in their debut for the evil empire. Terrance Williams is someone to consider starting at WR 2/3 against an Eagles secondary that continues to have issues stopping big plays.

Seahawks @ Packers

The newest incarnation of the Legion of Boom looked pretty terrible in their debut without Kam Chancellor. Even without Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers should be able to have success against a weakened Seattle secondary. The rapport between Rodgers and James Jones evidently is still in place. After catching about 27 touchdowns his first week back in Green Bay, it looks like Jones never left the team. The level of trust Rodgers has in him is a good sign of things to come. Cobb, Adams, and Lacy are also fantasy starters this week. For Seattle, Lynch will look to take advantage of a soft Packers run defense and Jimmy Graham should find more success than he did in his debut for the Seahawks.

Jets @ Colts

Two teams whose starts could not have gone much differently. The Colts face another tough AFC East defense this week, and Todd Bowles’s squad will face an offense with many more teeth than what the Browns fielded against them. If TY Hilton misses this game, Dante Moncrief should be starting on your fantasy team. Andre Johnson looked his age in his debut with Indy and probably won’t find too much success against another tough defense. Gore will have another rough outing and probably won’t have an opportunity to make an impact until week 3. For the Jets, Chris Ivory should have a good game against a bad defense if the Jets can keep the game close. Eric Decker may have a good game as Vontae Davis will likely be covering Brandon Marshall, but he is still only a boom or bust wide reviever.

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8 Sleepers to target

Arian Foster: ADP 101

Arian Foster was the number 5 running back last year for standard fantasy football leagues, despite missing three games and being limited in several others. This year his draft stock plummeted from a first round pick to his current ADP of 101 after a preseason injury. The initial diagnosis for Foster suggested that he would be sidelined for most of the season, but there is growing optimism that the Texan could only be sidelined for 4-6 weeks. If this more recent diagnosis is correct, Foster could miss as little as two regular season games, which would put him in the RB1 pool for the rest of the year. If he can get healthy quickly, Foster is a steal at 101.

Stevie Johnson: ADP 197

After his second disappointing fantasy season Stevie Johnson is essentially free in fantasy drafts. Johnson posted three 1,000 yard seasons in Buffalo before 2013, when Buffalo was one of the worst passing offenses in the league and Johnson’s numbers fell off. The 49er’s passing offense was not much of an improvement last year, and while Johnson did not rack up impressive stats, he posted the most efficient year he’s ever had. He caught 70% of passes thrown his way and had the 7th most fantasy points per snap for receivers who played at least 25% of team snaps. This year Johnson will be playing with the best quarterback of his career and reports are already coming from camp that he and Rivers have developed a great rapport. Stevie Johnson could be a huge steal this year, and going so late it’s hard to find a reason not to take him.

Davante Parker: ADP 155

Parker was a first round pick by a team that is seeing a lot of turnover in its receiving corps. Last year’s rookie receivers were exceptional, but this year’s class has a chance to make a huge impact too. Standing at 6’3” and having exceptional body control he has a chance to make a big contribution in Miami. With Jarvis Landry as the only returning receiver in a strong offense, Parker has an opportunity to put up big numbers. At his ADP there is no reason not to take a cheap flyer on him.

Ryan Mathews: ADP 104

Jason Peters wants the Eagles to have two 1,000 yard rushers this year, and Mathews certainly has the talent to achieve that. While Murray is undoubtedly talented, he is coming off a huge workload in 2014 and will likely split carries with Mathews to some extent. Murray’s workload also makes him somewhat of an injury risk. Even without a Demarco Murray injury, Mathews still is very likely to outperform his ADP. If Murray goes down though, Mathews should be a solid RB1.

Eli Manning: ADP 83

Last year was Manning’s first year with new OC Ben McAdoo’s west coast offense, which led to huge jump in the quarterback’s numbers. Manning posted his lowest interception total since 2009 and a career high 63.1% completion rate, the fourth best of all quarterbacks with 600 or more pass attempts. He accomplished all this with a whole host of injuries to his offensive line, receiver core, and running backs. Eli Manning ranked in the top 10 for both touchdowns and yards in 2014; this year with Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. starting off the year healthy and the addition of pass catching weapon Shane Vereen, Manning has a chance to be a solid fantasy starter at QB, which is a steal at 83.

John Brown: ADP 110

Last year John Brown was forced to play the majority of the season with Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley, and Logan Thomas throwing to him and finished with 48 catches for 686 yards and 5 touchdowns. If Palmer had been healthy the entire season Brown could have posted a much better stat line. Larry Fitzgerald is declining and Floyd not only had a disappointing season last year but also has suffered from a preseason hand injury. The stage is set for Brown to make an impact in Arizona, possibly as Palmer’s number one target. While betting on Palmer’s health might not be something many people want to do, it’s worth it where Brown is going in most drafts.

Devin Funchess: ADP 109

Funchess has a chance to rack up a ton of targets as Carolina’s number 1 receiver this year. A second round pick out of Michigan, Funchess comes in at 6’4” and 232lbs, very similar to Kelvin Benjamin’s 6’5”, 245lb frame. With Benjamin sitting on the sidelines due to a torn ACL, Funchess has a chance to attain similar results to last year’s rookie. Benjamin racked up 146 TGTs, 1,008 YDs, and 9 TDs last year, which stood out as borderline WR1 stats. Funchess has a chance to see the same amount of production this year, much more than his ADP would suggest.

Virgil Green: ADP 262

Many fantasy owners are gravitating towards Owen Daniels as the Broncos tight end to own this year in fantasy. Green however is 6 years younger than Daniels, who is entering his age 33 season. Daniels hasn’t played a 16 game season since 2008, and this injury history makes Green a prime breakout candidate. Green’s prowess as both a receiver and a blocker shows up on tape, and in many scouts opinions he has been criminally underutilized in Denver below Julius Thomas and now Owen Daniels. Expect a shift in the Broncos pecking order at some point during the season due to injury, age, or purely skill.