Week 1 produced a doozy for fantasy owners but Week 2 will hopefully provide some clarity as to which players and teams will rise and fall this season. Here are some great and not-so-great plays for this week:
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
When your fantasy player is going against the Jets, set it and forget it. Last week the Jets allowed 190 rushing yards against Buffalo. Bills running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 110 yards. His teammate Mike Tolbert racked up 42 yards and quarterback Tyrod Taylor had an additional 38 yards on the ground. In an impressive return to pro football last Sunday, Raiders back Marshawn Lynch had 76 rushing yards against one of the league’s best rush defenses in the Titans. This week, Lynch has an easy matchup against the Jets. I look forward to the return of Beast Mode.
Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots
Sunday, Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks travels to New Orleans face off against his former team. As the Patriots’ outside receiver I see Cooks playing a similar role to the one Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs had Monday night in which he torched the Saints for 93 yards and two scores on seven catches.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers host the Bills Sunday and the latter had one of the leakiest run defenses in the league last season. That said, the Bills have made shoring up the run defense a point of emphasis in the offseason. The unit excelled in the preseason and held the Jets to just 38 rushing yards Sunday. BUT it’s the preseason and the Jets. The run defense gets a real test in Week 2 against the rush-heavy Panthers. I believe the Bills’ defense is better than last year, but I don’t think they’ll pull a 180. With Carolina coach Ron Rivera saying he doesn’t want to overuse running back Christian McCaffrey, I like Jonathan Stewart’s chances of getting a nice workload and finding the endzone.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers take on the Chicago Bears at home this Sunday in what will be Tampa’s first game of the season after their opener was postponed. I like Rodgers as a volume play against the Bears, even though Chicago held Atlanta to just 64 yards rushing on 28 carries in Week 1. Rodgers rushed for nearly 500 yards on 116 carries in seven games last season.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns
Despite all the offseason talk about Cleveland’s great offensive line, running back Isaiah crowell rushed 17 times for just 33 yards for a pitiful 1.9 yards-per-carry average in Week 1. This Sunday, Cleveland travels to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Ravens who limited the Bengals to just 77 rushing yards as a whole.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
The Titans lost their opener to the Raiders in Week 1 and head to Jacksonville to face a tough defense that recorded ten sacks against the Texans last week. Now, Tennessee has a better offensive line than Houston so I don’t expect another 10-sack effort from Jacksonville’s D but the upgrades this team has made on defense through the years are finally beginning to show and the Jags could end up being a matchup nightmare for fantasy owners this season. Coming off a game in which the Titans didn’t do much running the football, I expect their smash mouth-style to return in Week 2 leading to less opportunities for quarterback Marcus Mariota to throw the ball. I also think the Jags can get pressure on Mariota who struggled more than most quarterbacks in Week 1 when he had a defender in his face, according to Pro Football Focus.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles head to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Chiefs, who are coming off a season-opener in which they held Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to just two catches and 33 yards. The Chiefs picked up where they left off last year, allowing just four touchdowns and 738 yards to tight ends through 16 games. Given that track record, fantasy owners should leave Eagles tight end Zach Ertz on the bench come Sunday.
Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts
The sky is falling in Indy and things will get worse before they get better, at least for Frank Gore owners that is. The Colts host the Cardinals Sunday and Arizona was one of the stingiest defenses against opposing running backs a season ago. With no Andrew Luck, the Colts may be playing from behind which bodes ill for Gore’s usage as the game wears on.