I can’t believe it’s already time for Studs and Duds Week 2! Week 1 offered some of the most exciting football I can remember in awhile. Eleven of the sixteen games were decided by one score or less! That’s what I call parity. The NFL continues to maintain its status as the most exciting sport to watch because of this parity. Each and every week any team can truly win, and that’s a beautiful thing.
My week 1 picks started off pretty weak with both Kelvin Benjamin and CJ Anderson going off, both players I listed as Duds for the week. It got a little better with Spencer Ware and Ryan Mathews both enjoying great success and Jimmy Graham, Jordan Cameron and Antonio Gates all doing pretty much nothing.
Luckily this isn’t an exact science, and I get 16 more weeks to redeem myself for all the miserable picks that were week 1. With a better idea of how teams are playing and what to expect, let’s get into the Studs and Duds Week 2. As always, Hit me up on Twitter (@the1andonlypz) anytime with questions, comments and all your reactions to this edition of Studs and Duds.
Matthew Stafford vs. Tennessee Titans
Stafford continues his fantasy football prowess, despite going undrafted in more leagues than you’d expect, he came out and blew up a terrible Colts defense, just as he should. Titans defense let up 236 yards and no scores vs. Shaun Hill, so I like his chances for another 300-yard multi-touchdown performance.
Joe Flacco vs. Cleveland Browns
Average Joe put up 260 and a score in week 1, now gets a Browns defensive unit that allowed rookie Carson Wentz to put up 278 yards and two scores, despite playing in just one preseason game. Seriously, go look at the Browns depth chart, tell me if anyone scares you. They will likely be in this column often.
Blake Bortles vs. San Diego Chargers
While finding the end zone only once in week 1 was disappointing, Bortles did manage to throw for 320 yards. This week, he gets a Chargers defense that allowed a huge comeback led by Alex Smith last week, forfeiting 363 yards through the air to the often criticized “game manager”.
Tyrod Taylor vs. New York Jets
What a miserable game for Taylor and the Bills last week, and now they face a defense easily twice as hard as Baltimore’s in the Jets. With a possibly nicked up Sammy Watkins, a vanilla Rex Ryan offense, and a match-up vs. a defense that recorded 7 sacks against the Bengals, I’m avoiding Taylor at all costs.
Philip Rivers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
This will be a pretty common opinion this week, and while I’d love to go against the grain on it, I just can’t. Rivers lost Keenan Allen for the season again, and nobody else stepped up in that game AT ALL. The coaching staff plays ultra-conservative when it should step on the gas, and the Jaguars defense held Aaron Rodgers to 199 yards passing in week 1.
Andrew Luck vs. Denver Broncos
You can’t sit Luck after what he did last week, it’s impossible. However, temper expectations going into week 2. The Broncos defense looked as stout as ever vs. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers to open up the season, holding the 2015 League MVP to just 194 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.
Rashad Jennings vs. New Orleans Saints
Jennings recorded 75 yards on 18 touches last week and now gets a Saints defense that was shredded by any and all running back the Raiders threw at them.
Lamar Miller vs. Kansas City Chiefs
We finally get to see Miller play the work-horse role, getting 28 rushes in his opening game as a Texan! The Chiefs defense allowed 177 total yards and 3 touchdowns to Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon last week, clearly, they’re hurting without Justin Houston on the field.
Jonathan Stewart vs. San Francisco 49ers
Stewart ran the ball really well last week against a strong Denver Broncos defense. Now he gets a 49ers defense that’s riding high, fresh off a 28-0 shutout of the division rival Rams. I expect the Niners to come back down to earth this week. Look for Stewart to pop off at least 100 yards and a score.
Running Back Duds
TJ Yeldon vs. San Diego Chargers
The match-up is pretty solid this week, but I am just not sold at all on Yeldon. Call it a gut thing, or call it a reaction to the 21 rushes for 39 yards stat line in week 1. Chargers didn’t let up a lot on the ground either, but they were shredded by dump offs and screen plays, so if he’s gonna be successful, it will be there.
Frank Gore vs. Denver Broncos
I would have expected more than 78 yards vs the Lions, but that game was a pass for pass shoot-out. Really tough game here against the Broncos now, whose defense has started right where it left off last season, allowing just 64 total yards to JStew in week 1.
LeSean McCoy vs. New York Jets
I said it last week and I’ll continue to say it, the Jets have one of the best front 7’s, if not THE best, in the NFL. McCoy had a decent performance last weekend vs. Baltimore, but so did the Jets, holding Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard to 61 total yards. With the Bills offensive struggles, especially along that line, I don’t expect to see much running room for Shady.
Wide Receiver Studs
Will Fuller vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Well that was unexpected! The Notre Dame rookie came out swinging, actually out-targeting the great DeAndre Hopkins! I don’t expect that to be a trend, but with how wretched the Chiefs secondary looked last week, I fully expect Fuller to break a deep touchdown here.
Emmanuel Sanders vs. Indianapolis Colts
With Thomas playing on a bum hip, Siemian should lock on to Emmanuel Sanders this week vs. a defense that would be considered lucky if it didn’t break the record for most passing yards allowed in a season.
Dez Bryant vs. Washington Redskins
Tough week 1 for Bryant, who was rarely targeted as Dak Prescott looked to gain his footing in his first real NFL action. It was a much different Dak than we saw in the preseason, almost as if the coaching staff drilled it into his head to play “mistake free” causing the young gun to avoid the hard throws, and take the dump offs. I think the message will be clear this week, GET DEZ THE BALL.
Wide Receiver Duds
Sammy Watkins vs. New York Jets
There’s no way you can trust Watkins at this point, and while AJ Green blew up Revis island last week, I can’t imagine a hobbled Watkins would enjoy the same success. Play the wait and see game here, there are a ton of solid options at WR this year. Check out Zach Marmer’s Week 2 Streaming Options for other solid options.
John Brown vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brown had a very disappointing week 1, and it’s clear the concussion-like symptoms he’s been experiencing have effected his play. Fitzgerald and Floyd are the clear 1-2 year, and despite an excellent match-up vs. Tampa, I have to recommend holding off until Brown is fully healthy.
Tavon Austin vs. Seattle Seahawks
This one’s just a touch too easy, eh? I love Tavon Austin, I think he’s a scrappy, explosive player that can break out at any given moment. That said, as long as Case Keenum is playing like he is, no Rams player is worthy of a start outside of Gurley, especially the receivers.
Tight End Studs
Delanie Walker vs. Detroit Lions
A quiet week 1 for Walker should be redeemed this week against a Lions team that made Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle look like all-stars last week, allowing 88 yards and 3 touchdowns to the position.
Julius Thomas vs. San Diego Chargers
A solid week 1 for Thomas, and another easy match-up here vs. a Chargers team that let up 10 receptions to the TE in week 1. Kevin Steele and I talked about whether or not Thomas would return to his Broncos form on our Week 1 Gameday Podcast and it looks like he’s on the right track.
Jermaine Gresham vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Not used to seeing an Arizona TE get involved, but Gresham did just that last week vs the Patriots, pulling in all 4 of his targets for 41 yards. There’s a lot of mouths to feed here, but with Brown battling concussion symptoms, it’s now or never for Gresham to get involved.
Tight End Duds
Zach Miller vs. Philadelphia Eagles
What a disappointing start to the season, pulling in 3 of 4 targets for just 14 yards. No easy match-up this week either, facing off against an Eagles defense that held Gary Barnidge to a goose egg.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. Arizona Cardinals
Easy to get excited here, it was an impressive play for ASJ there in week 1, but let’s try to pump the brakes a little here. He finished with just one reception for 30 yards on the day, but that TD was oh so sweet. This week he gets a Cardinals defense that held the supposed “top 5 option” in Martellus Bennett to just 3 of 5 for 14 yards.
Vance McDonald vs. Carolina Panthers
This has more to do with the situation than the player. McDonald put up two receptions, one of which was for a score last week, rewarding players who rolled the dice on him in week 1 vs the Rams. This week, he faces a Panthers defense that is sure to give Blaine Gabbert fits, leaving for very few opportunities in the passing game. There’s better options out there for week 2 (see aforementioned Streamers article).