By Anthony Stampone
Position by position Start’em, Sit’em, and Sleeper look at fantasy Hashtag Style
Matt Ryan: The connection between “Matty Ice” and Julio Jones have the Falcons off to a surprising 2-0 start and are taking on a very banged up Dallas Cowboys squad this week. The Cowboys are missing their top corner back for the entire season and that is going to make for a long day for the Cowboys secondary with Roddy White and Julio Jones coming to town. Expect Ryan to have a big day and put the Cowboys in position to play in a shootout that they aren’t equipped to do right now.
Russel Wilson: Off to a slow start as a team, the Seahawks couldn’t be happier to be back home facing the sad and struggling Chicago Bears. Expect Wilson to pick this secondary apart and find plenty of running lanes as the Bears are still struggling to adjust to their new 3-4 base defense. Wilson could conceivably be the highest scoring QB this week in fantasy!
Josh McCown: This could also be in the literal sense. What Cleveland sees in the veteran is baffling, and with Johnny Manziel showing some flashes in his start last week, I think it’s time the Browns give the young QB a chance to prove he belongs. McCown isn’t even a game manager anymore, leave him on your bench or drop him for a free agent that may be available in your league like Tyrod Taylor that has a lot of promise.
Sam Bradford: Now that all the preseason narratives are over and done with, and all the hype over Bradford looking effective and efficient in the Chip Kelly’s offense, it is pretty clear to see he is not going to be the fantasy machine people thought he was going to be. Often over drafted due to unsubstantiated hype, this is not the week to play Bradford. He has been a liability so far this season for the Eagles. Mix that with that fact that the Eagles will have the limping DeMarco Murray playing this week and facing a vastly improved and downright scary defense the Jets are running these days, play your other QB and you should do better than if you start Bradford.
Sleepers: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Blake Bortles, Peyton Manning
Jeremy Hill: Yes, the Bengals have a tough defense they will play this week in the Ravens, but in the first two games this year the Bengals have been flat out dominate! The Ravens will do their best to make a game of it with their defense, but the Bengals are a complete team. As long as Dalton can reframe from costly turnovers, expect the Bengals to get up early and look to pound the rock and ride out their lead to a win as the Ravens are short on weapons to keep up even in a mid-range scoring game.
Latavius Murray: Oakland is coming to Cleveland after and impressive win over the Baltimore Ravens. Cleveland still has the NFL’s worst rush defense, even with the offseason additions they made to bolster the unit. Look for Murray to have a big day carving up the Browns’ front seven and if Cleveland decides to load the box to sell out and stop the run, Murray can still get you plenty of points especially in PPR leagues catching passes out of the back field on swing passes or as a check down on play action.
DeMarco Murray: Yes, it has been confirmed that despite a recent hamstring injury, Murray will play this week for the NY Jets. So far this season, Murray looks lost in Kelly’s offense and has been very ineffective. Add in that he has a hobbling injury, one that can hinder a running backs ability to cut and push to take off running in openings, do not expect to see Murray to do much of anything this week.
Carlos Hyde: Hyde has shown this season that he may be able to live up to the hype he had coming out of college and be a dominate three down back. The problem Hyde has is he plays for a team whose offense is predicated on him being extremely successful early and late in games. Facing the Cardinals this week, who have a very aggressive and strong defense, and a high power, high octane offense, do not expect Hyde to see the ball much as the 49ers will have to pass much more than they want to if they want to hang with the high flying Cardinals. It’s not Hyde’s fault he won’t perform as well as he could this week, he just plays for a team that won’t be able to hang with what might be the best team and most complete team in the NFC.
Sleepers: LeSean McCoy, Bishop Shanky, James Starks
Larry Fitzgerald: Last week Fitzgerald proved he is far from being “old and washed up” as he caught three touchdown passes to help the Cardinals cruise to a victory over the Chicago Bears. What might be more impressive than the three TD catches was the connections Fitzgerald and QB Carson Palmer showed with each other. Look for the two veterans to work together for another win and for Fitzgerald to be a big part of that in the passing game.
Allen Robinson: After a big game in which Robinson reeled in two TDs to help Jacksonville upset the Miami Dolphins, expect him to continue to rack up fantasy points this week. Robinson and QB Blake Bortles seem to be picking back up where they left off at the end of last season and there could finally be a try QB & WO connection in Jacksonville. The Jaguars do have to travel to Gillette Stadium this week to face the Patriots whose offense is absolutely on fire right now. Look for the Jags to fall behind early and have to rely on the tandem to Bortles and Allen to have even a slight chance to make it a game this weekend up in NE.
Travis Benjamin: Yes, I am telling you to sit a young man who has been tearing up the fantasy boards for an otherwise sad Cleveland Browns team. With Johnny Manziel given his seat back on the bench, don’t expect much magic between McCown and Benjamin as you would see if Manziel was throwing the passes to Benjamin. As I said earlier, I do not know what the Browns see that McCown offers them that Manzieldoesn’t, but it appears to me one thing is for sure; he does not offer the big play passing game Manziel does.
Mike Evans: Off to a much slower start than many may have expected, Evans hasn’t even caught a pass yet this season as the team is adjusting to their new #1 overall pick Winston. Winston and Evans have yet to show any chemistry and with having to travel o Houston to face an always strong and aggressive defense, do not expect the Winston & Evans connection to start this week.
Sleepers: AJ Green, Brandon Marshal, Donte Moncrief
Rob Gronkowski: Need I say more? Already being considered one of the best of his position in the history of them game, “Gronk” is also arguably the biggest passing game match up on a week by week basis in the entire NFL. With Jacksonville coming to town, I expect the Patriots to air it out early and often, and Gronkowski will be one of the beneficiaries of poor match ups and coverages being rolled his way and he will still get his catches, yards, and TD(s).
Delanie Walker: While he may be off to a slow start this season having only caught three passes so far this year, expect that to chance this week as the Titans face a very weak pass defense in Indy. Both teams are struggling early this year, but this game has the potential to be a shoot-out, and Walker could see a lot of favorable match ups against LBs and safeties that should leave him open for some big catches and plays.
Jordan Cameron: Already banged up just two weeks into the season, Cameron is off to a bad start in his first season in Teal and Orange. IF Cameron plays, he is banged up and will be facing a nasty tough defense against the Bills that will be looking to put their stamp back on their defense as one of the best units in the entire NFL. With Buffalo’s front four and ability to hold up in coverage when needed (expect when the play Tom Brady), expect the Bills to send extra rushers at Tannehill early and often, which means if Cameron does play, he will have to help out in protection more than I am sure he wants to, to keep from Tannehill being looking up at the sky from his back most of the game.
Heath Miller: The Steelers offense has been as advertised this year, and they get back Le’Veon Bell back this week which is just going to make them even better. The problem the Steelers to run into this week is arguably the best defensive front in the NFL. I still expect the Steelers put up points in this game but Miller is going to spend a lot of time on the line helping protect Big Ben so he can hit his skill players down field.
Sleepers: Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, Jared Cook
Buffalo Bills: The Bills go to Miami with a major chip on their shoulders after they were pick apart of the Patriots in a game the Bills hyped up and truly felt they were ready to win. Well not only did they not win, but they were torched for over 500 yards of total offense. The good news for the Bills; the Dolphins are not the Patriots, not even close. The Bills have owned the Dolphins over the last three seasons, racking up 23 sacks in six games, which translates to just shy of four sacks per game. The Dolphins interior has struggles especially the guards, and add in the fact that starting LT Brandon Albert may miss this game due to injury, and it should equate to another long day for Ryan Tannehill.
Denver Broncos: Through two weeks into the season, the Broncos defense has been downright nasty. If not for the defense the Broncos could easily be 0-2 right now. The Broncos travel to Detroit this weekend to play the Lions on SNF. Expect the Broncos to attack, batter and bruise an already banged up Matt Stafford. I expect the Broncos to leave this game victorious, and again I expect this to happen because of their high powered defense, not their slowly but surely getting better offense.
Jacksonville: The Jaguars have to travel and play the Patriots this week, whom seem hell bent on “showing everyone up”. Unfortunately, they inflated or deflated balls Tom Brady is well, let’s admit it; still one of the very best in the game, and so far this season he is playing like it. The Jags are next on his radar, and they do not have the tools to slow Brady and that high octane offense.
San Diego: With no pass rush, a questionable front seven, and having to face Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings this week, this is not the week to play them. Yes, the Chargers still have one of the best in the league in Eric Weddle and he is a manic all over the field but he can only do some much. Expect the Vikings to move the ball and score some points against this defense. The Charges do have the offense to still win this game, but it won’t be won because of their defense.
Sleepers: Atlanta, Carolina, Green Bay
Survivor League Pick:
By Anthony Stampone
Position by position Start’em, Sit’em, and Sleeper look at fantasy Hashtag Style
Carson Palmer: Coming of his second ACL injury in the same knee, there was a lot of questions as to whether or not Palmer could be the QB he was last season as he lead the Cardinals to a 6-0 start prior to his injury. Last week Palmer to those questions to rest against the Saints. While I realize the Saints aren’t scaring anyone defensively Palmer looked really good in his first game back. Expect much of the same from Palmer this week as he faces a rebuilding and still adjusting Bears defense that still has a lot of questions in its secondary. Palmer is has the weapons and arm, and system to make Sunday a long day for the Bears defense, and with the potential return of Michael Floyd to give Palmer yet another dangerous weapon to unleash bombs to, Palmer is going to have another strong week.
Drew Brees: The Bucs opened the season against what should have been a favorable match-up playing a rookie QB with passing game weapons that don’t really open anyone’s eyes as must stop players and got absolutely torched! Drew Brees is back home in his comfort zone which not good for even some of the better defenses in the NFL. Expect Brees to lock and load early and often and making a statement to the Bucs that they still have a long way to go before they are going to even be considered a threat in the NFC South. Ingram, Colston, Cooks, and Watson to have big days against a weak defense. Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David can only do some much.
Ryan Mallet: The carousel ride that the QB situation in Houston has been somewhat expected this year. Unfortunately for Brian Hoyer he was on a much shorter leash than he was at least publically led to believe he had after getting pulled during last weeks’ game in favor of Mallet. Personally, I don’t think it matters which one of these two QB’s play for the Texans, neither is going to put up enough numbers with any kind of consistency for them to be your starting QB, even in leagues that have two QB’s. Yes, the Texans have a stud in DeAndre Hopkins, but we have saw this same scenario play out in Houston before (Andre Johnson his whole career there anyone)!?!
Nick Foles: Was anyone else surprise that Nick Folescame out in week one and had a respectable game against the Seahawks throwing for 297 yards, completing nearly 67% of his passes and a touchdown? I know I was. With that said the Rams offense will actually face a better defensive front in Washington this week and expect Foles to be on the move and even sacked several times in this game. Yes, the Redskins may actually be one of the worse teams in the NFL but one area they aren’t week is that defensive front. That defense frustrated and held a better QB than Foles last week, keeping Tannehill and the Dolphins to only 10 points. Foles is not as good as Tannehill and doesn’t have the weapons the Dolphins do, this might even be an upset game waiting to happen.
Sleepers: Ryan Tannehill, Tony Romo, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Justin Forsett: Baltimore has one of the best O-lines in the NFL and an above average QB in Flacco, but they do have one big problem with their offense; they lack receiving talent outside of Steve Smith. With that said expect the Ravens to send a heavy dose of Forsett the Raiders way this Sunday. He is a homerun threat every time he touches the ball and expect the Ravens to use that nasty offensive line to open up lanes for Forsett to run free, and expect him to catch some passes and make something out of it all day against that Raiders D. Yes, the Raiders do have two of the best young pass rushers in the game with Kahlil Mack and Aldon Smith rushing the passer, but one of the best ways to slow a good pass rush is well executed screens plays and Forsett is just the guy to accomplish that.
Chris Ivory: After having a nice game against the Browns, expect Ivory to continue to rack up good fantasy value this week against a Colts defense that has had trouble stopping the run for several season in a row now, and it appears this year won’t be any different. Ivory may not match last weeks’ total of two TDs but he should get at least one and top 100 yards on the ground.
Frank Gore: Yes, this is a repeat of last week but it makes sense. Frank Gore didn’t see the ball much last week for several reasons, one of which doesn’t show well for him. Frank Gore only toted the ball 8 times for 31 yards, not exactly what the Colts where hoping for when they signed the bruising veteran back this offseason. The other reason Gore didn’t see the ball often last week, is simple, the Bills shut him down. Expect much of the same this week as the Colts face the Jets who also are very stout against the run. The Jets do everything they can to force you to pass and even then you may not want to do that. A much improved defense head lined by their new head coach and the signing and drafting of several key starters on an already strong front seven from a year ago, and you can see why Gore should stay on your bench this week.
LeSean McCoy: There are just too many questions surrounding McCoy and his health to trust playing him this week, even though the Bills are playing against a weak D-line in New England that was gashed by 32 year old DeAngelo Williams last week. I expect the Bills to run the ball early and often but the runs will be split between McCoy (if he even can be effective), and rookie Karlos Williams as he has the downhill smash you in the face type running style that was effective last week against this Patriots defense.
Sleepers: Karlos Williams, Melvin Gordon, Jonathan Stewart
Antonio Brown: Playing a better defense that I believe many people thought was going to come out of the Bay area, and Le’Veon Bell still suspended for this game, I suspect the Steelers offense do what it has done best for quite some time; get Antonio Brown the ball. Brown’s insane streak of 34 straight games of at least five catches for at least 50 yards will not end this week. With the Steelers missing two of its primary player makers due to suspension expect Brown to continue his dominance as arguably the best WO in the game right now. If the 49ers are for real and last weeks’ Monday night manhandling of the Vikings isn’t a fluke, expect Brown to help keep the Steelers in this game.
Terrance Williams: Replacing what Dez Bryant does and means to the Cowboys offense is an impossible feat for Williams. However, with the Cowboys top WO for an extended period of time and with some legitimate skill and speed himself, Williams will be up to the task to see more targets and have some impressive stats this weekend. Playing the Eagles and their fast paced offense, I expect this game to be a high scoring affair. Williams will have more than his fair share of targets and chance to have a big day against a weak Eagle secondary that just got touched by the Falcons last week.
Amari Cooper: I’ll be honest, I bought into the hype of Cooper being the next big rookie WO to have a major impact in his first season out of college. Now, I am not saying he was going to be ODB Jr., but I felt he was going to catch a lot of passes and put up some impressive fantasy stats as a rookie WO in the NFL this year. With QB Carr questionable to play, and Raiders facing a very talented defense even with Suggs out for the season, there are just too many variables to start the young WO this week.
Charles Johnson: I am not sure where the magic between Bridgewater and Johnson came from last season, but after last weeks’ pounding at the hands of the 49ers, it seems like they have some work today. Last weeks’ loss can’t be pinned on just these two players, but this off-season has been full of “don’t sleep on these two”, well last weeks’ performance put me to sleep. While Detroit’s defense isn’t what it was last season, it’s still a good unit. Leave Johnson on your bench this week and play someone else until Johnson and Bridgewater start showing signs that they can catch magic in a bottle again and get rolling.
Sleepers: Eric Decker, Randall Cobb, Torrey Smith
Greg Olsen: If I were you and I have Olsen on my fantasy team I play him every week! Even if you feel you have a better match up this week with one of your other TE’s, play Olsen as your flex option. Until someone steps up as an outside receiving threat, I would play Olsen as he already was one of Cam Newton’s favorite and most reliable targets in the passing game, and that is only going to either remain the same or Olsen may even see more passes coming his way.
Charles Clay: Playing in what might be the game all week in the NFL this week, the Bills and Patriots should be a fun exciting game to watch, and one in which Clay has his official coming out party as a Buffalo Bill. The Bills are a heavy run oriented team and love to use two and three TE sets often. Do not expect this to change, however with all the weapons the Bills possess on the offensive side of the ball and their determination to run a stacked line look to get the Pats to sell out to stop the run, look for Clay to sneak out of some of these formations and make some important catches this week. Too big for a DB and too fast for most LBs, Clay is a match-up nightmare, and it should pay dividends this weekend.
Jace Amaro: The Jets OC Chan Gailey and his grizzled veteran QB Fitzpatrick love to spread the field and get the ball into the hands of their play makers, unfortunately for Amaro, he’s not one of them. The Jets will look to repeat the Bills success last week against the powerful Colts. Look for the Jets to run early and often even out of spread sets, and follow it up by mid-range passes to Marshal and Decker, leaving Amaro in to block or be a short check down option and he won’t see the ball often.
Both Baltimore TE’s: Neither young TE Maxx Williams nor Gilmore Crockett can seem to take the chance to lock down the starting job for the Ravens. For a team really lacking for passing game weapons that is very concerning. As the year goes on I am sure one of the two young TEs will rise to the occasion andtake the position for good, but for the time being do not rely on either to be consistent contributors to your fantasy team.
Sleepers: Jordan Reed, Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz
Baltimore: Even though the Ravens come into this game 0-1 after a heart breaking lose to the Broncos that ended with pick-six, this defense is strong and will be hard to score against all year long. Yes, Suggs is out for the year, but do not expect this defense to just fall apart. Signing Babin should help replace some of Suggs’s production rushing the passer, they still have Elvis Dumervil and an outstanding secondary lead by Will Hill. Look for the Ravens to keep scores low, force turnovers, and still get to the QB all season long including this week against Oakland.
Cleveland: The Browns came into the 2015 season having many believing that their defense could be amongst the best in the NFL. After last weeks’ 31-10 thrashing at the hands of the Jets I am thinking they may be overrated. Yes, the Browns do have some impressive talent on defense, but it doesn’t look as though they are playing to their potential. With a rookie QB in Mariota coming to town with limited receiving threats at his disposal you would think I would suggest to play the Browns defense, but with how badly they were picked apart by a journeyman QB and a rebuilding offense, I do not expect them to do much to slow down the hot rookie this week.
Sleepers: Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals
Survivor League Pick:
By Anthony Stampone
Position by position Start’em, Sit’em, and Sleeper look at fantasy Hashtag Style
by Anthony Stampone
If there has been anything that we as Bills fans may have been sick of waiting for answers on has been, “Who is our starting QB”? In addition to that question the next most prevalent and probably annoying question has been, “Who is the primary back up to our starter”? Every single day we have been bombarded with a non-stop influx of news and subjective points of view from all corners of the football world as to which one of our three quarterbacks was leading the competition. The circus that has surrounded this competition seemed to even be perpetuated by our HC Rex Ryan by seemingly down playing the quarterbacks in the competition except Tyrod Taylor and taking every chance he could to remind the fan base that Tyrod was there if his name was neglected to be mentioned by a reporter asking about the QB competition going on since OTAs and mini-camp.