By Sal Leto (@LetoSal)
Week two is already here and while we had some rough surf we managed to keep our head above water. Put on your life vest because we're jumping right back in and testing the deep sea for this week’s picks.
Carson Palmer @ Indianapolis Colts
I know right? You think I’m sipping too many margaritas around the pool deck. We just watched as Palmer looked ready for retirement a week ago. Well, just in time to cure his ills is none other than the Colts. It was ugly for the Colts in all facets of the game last week and it's likely to continue. When Jared Goff puts up 300+ yards and gives way to the back-up, you know you have big problems. So a combination of bad defense and losing David Johnson makes this a week to expect plenty of play from Carson and the wide receivers.
Joe Flacco vs Cleveland Browns
Anyone who has listened to me in the past knows my saying is “never start Joe Flacco.” So what gives here? The Cleveland Browns. Yes they played well a week ago against a good Steeler team but truth is this is not a good defense. This is still the team that gave up 36 touchdowns a year ago and five of those went to Flacco. Joe also had passing totals of 302 and 296 yards when facing the Browns in 2016. So if you're looking at your QB1 and he has a bad matchup or you're streaming you could do worse than Flacco this week.
My Boys Can Swim (more good starts)
Russell Wilson vs San Francisco 49ers (15 road TDs against in 2016)
Derek Carr vs New York Jets (16 road TDs in 2016 oh and it's the Jets)
Alex Smith vs Philadelphia Eagles
This is the classic Alex Smith trap game. He looks all impressive and aggressive and a week later lays an egg. In 2016 Smith opened with a similar high output performance for 28 fantasy points. In week two? 3.6 total points. In 2015 he opened up with 23.2 fantasy points. In week 2? 5.1 total points. Don't fall for this. The track record is there. It's Alex Smith for crying out loud.
Marcus Mariota @ Jacksonville Jaguars
I told you last week this Jacksonville team defends the pass well and oh man did they batter Houston. They didn't even need DBs. With 10 sacks it was obvious there was no time to throw a pass. Mariota looked ordinary against an ordinary Oakland pass defense a week ago and returns to the site where his season ended a year ago. I'm leery of having him in my lineup this week.
Sinker Stinkers (more guys to avoid)
Andy Dalton vs Houston Texans
It was about as ugly as it could get last week for Andy. Add in a pissed off Texans defense out to avenge last week's shellacking and…fuhgeddaboudit.
Ben Roethlisberger vs Minnesota Vikings
Faces the Vikings, who were fifth best at defending QBs in 2016 and kept Brees out of the end zone last week.
Ty Montgomery @ Atlanta Falcons
We definitely learned something last week. This is Montgomery’s job and they want to feed him. This quote came from the organization “we want him to be our David Johnson”. I'm buying it. The Falcons were worst in the league in 2016 in all three categories defending pass catching running backs. They gave up 109 receptions 870 yards and six touchdowns. Last week they gave 11 receptions and a touchdown to Bears running backs. If not for Jordan Howard looking away before catching the ball at the one yard line they would have given up another score. I'm expecting plenty of two way action from TyMo this week.
Dalvin Cook vs Pittsburgh Steelers
All systems are go for Cook. Twenty five touches in his first game on the Monday stage and he delivered. Lat Murray going to take touches? I’m not worried as he only had two on opening night. Pittsburgh was seventh worst against RBs in 2016 and with a tougher matchup for Bradford this week I expect a heavy lean on the rookie.
My Boys Can Swim
Jay Ajayi @ Los Angeles Chargers
The bull has been caged up for an extra week and is raring to get it going. The Chargers were generous to running backs in 2016 allowing over 2,000 total yards 100 receptions and 21 total touchdowns.
Jonathan Stewart vs Buffalo Bills
If you listened in week one you got an RB1 performance (Bills fourth worst against RBs in 2016)
Isaiah Crowell @ Baltimore Ravens
All that talk about the revamped offensive line in Cleveland and it produced 40 yards on 20 RB carries. Crowell had a whopping 1.9 yards per carry facing a below average Steeler run defense. The Ravens mostly held all three Bengals backs in check last week and are coming off a top seven season defending running backs. There could be a lot of stacked boxes this season begging the rookie Kizer to beat them through the air.
Adrian Peterson vs New England Patriots
I'd like to think his squawking would lead to more touches but I have a hard time seeing it that way. This could have been the worst possible landing spot for AP. I spent all offseason defending why he’ll out touch Mark Ingram then rookie Alvin Kamara got more touches than them both in week one. Six touches and you gotta believe watching Dalvin Cook in purple getting fed all night and breaking his rookie debut record was eating him alive. There's no doubt in my mind if he touched the ball he can be effective but he wasn't even used inside the five. Gotta wait to see this one shake out.
Carlos Hyde vs Seattle Seahawks
The offense looked every bit as bad as it has in the past (Seattle 8th best against RBs in 2016).
Frank Gore vs Arizona Cardinals
Even split in carries with rookie Mack week one. (Arizona 1st in defending RBs in 2016)
Terrelle Pryor @ Los Angeles Rams
Do I think the Rams are better? Yes. Do I think they're as good as they play against the Colts last week? No way. There's a much better QB rolling into town this week and he and his top wide receiver are not happy with how they played last week. Rams were the fifth worst defense facing wide receivers last year and gave up seven 100+ yard games and 21 touchdowns. This has got the look of a get right game for Washington.
Golden Tate vs New York Giants
Absolutely the Giants are one of the best teams in the league at slowing down opposing wide receivers. The run game is not clicking in Detroit though and the Lions will have to rely on Stafford to keep them in this one. Tate put up an 8-122 stat line in week 15 last season against these Giants.
My Boys Can Swim
Tyreek Hill vs Philadelphia Eagles
Philly second worst in defending WRs and gave up 7 monster stat lines to WRs in 2016.
Michael Crabtree vs New York Jets
After some red zone struggles a week ago for Cooper, who is also banged up at practice, this could be a big target week for Crabs.
Martavis Bryant vs Minnesota Vikings
Yes it was week one and we in the fantasy community tend to overreact. It didn't look like Ben and Martavis were on the same map though. Looks like the time away hurt the chemistry and here come the Vikings who were second best at defending wide receivers in 2016. Plus they held all Saints WRs from any big plays last week. This looks like another week that Bryant will stay in check. He could be a good buy-low candidate if he flops again and I believe there will be better days ahead.
Dez Bryant @ Denver Broncos
We spoke many times on the podcast about the tough schedule early in the season for Dez. This is not an exception here against the Broncos. They were number one a year ago against wide receivers, allowing less than .5 TDs a game. I see a lot of Zeke and more of the quick over the middle stuff to Witten and Terrance Williams.
Tennessee WRs @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Titans are going to need the running game to survive this week.
Nick Boyle vs Cleveland Browns
Let's face it. When it comes to tight ends, you usually have one you're rolling with each week. If you missed out on one of the studs and you're in need then Boyle is the guy for you. He lead all TEs on his team in snap count a week ago with 49. This week he faces last year's worst tight end defense who picked up where they left off yielding two touchdowns to Jesse James in week one.
Jack Doyle vs Arizona Cardinals
Sadly, our Colts weapons are all downgraded until Luck returns. Don't expect Doyle to find much room vs the best defense defending tight ends in 2016. They renewed their dominance last week in holding Eric Ebron to two catches for nine yards a week ago.