Here’s who I like and who I don’t like in Week 2:
IN: Rex Grossman, Redskins
Grossman is looking very comfortable running Washington’s offense — he had a fantastic opening week against the Giants (305 yards, two touchdowns) and has the potential for another big game Sunday. The Redskins face the Cardinals this week, a defense that looked anything but impressive after rookie Cam Newton’s record-breaking performance in Week 1. Grossman may be inconsistent, but he’s a safe play for Week 2.
OUT: Cam Newton, Panthers
Speaking of Newton, he may have feasted on a weak Cardinals team in his NFL debut last week, but now the defending champs are coming to town. The Packers’ secondary is vicious and opportunistic while the defensive line will make life difficult for Newton. Throw in the fact that Green Bay’s offense will put up a lot of points (pressure on Newton to keep up) and the rookie could be in for a tough afternoon.
IN: Cedric Benson, Bengals
I didn’t give the Bengals much of a chance last week against the Browns but they proved me wrong. Benson, who rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown, was a big surprise and he has a juicy matchup against the Broncos in Week 2. Denver’s rush D looked dreadful on Monday, allowing 190 yards to Darren McFadden and company and there’s no reason to think that Benson can’t do damage as well.
OUT: Frank Gore, 49ers
I understand you’re unlikely to bench Gore. I’m not saying you should, but if you do play him, proceed with caution. Gore may have touched the ball 25 times Sunday, but his results were less than impressive: 59 rush yards and 19 receiving yards against the lowly Seahawks. The Cowboys, despite their late-game collapse versus the Jets, were solid against the run in Week 1, allowing just 45 yards. Expect the 49ers to have major issues moving the chains against an angry Dallas team.
IN: Mario Manningham, Giants
Manningham was a non-factor against Washington last week (just 49 yards) but he could be a No. 1 option when the Giants face the Rams on Monday night. First off, fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks is hurting and might not play. Even if he does play, he likely won’t be 100 percent, which could help Manningham. Looking at the Rams, their secondary is banged up (Ron Bartell is out for the season while Bradley Fletcher hasn’t practiced) so Manningham could have plenty of chances to make some big plays.
OUT: Kenny Britt, Titans
Britt was an “In” last week and came up big with 136 yards and two touchdowns, but that was then and this is now. In Week 1, the Titans faced the Jaguars; Week 2 it’s the Ravens — a bad matchup to say the least. It’s true that Baltimore is more effective against the run than the pass but the big question is how many chances will Matt Hasselbeck get to throw the ball downfield? The Ravens D was suffocating last week, forcing a franchise best seven turnovers — a bad sign for anyone on the Titans offence.
IN: Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
Despite his age, the future Hall of Famer insists that he isn’t slowing down and his Week 1 performance confirmed that. Even though he didn’t find the end zone, Gonzalez had five catches for 72 yards and he can expect to see a lot of open field on Sunday against Philly. While all the attention will be on the Eagles’ secondary shutting down Roddy White and Julio Jones, the middle of the field could be ripe for Matt Ryan and his tight end.
OUT: Scott Chandler, Bills
Chandler was one of the best fantasy stories from Week 1, finishing as the top scoring tight end after his 63-yard, two-touchdown performance. Prior to that game against the Chiefs, Chandler had just one career catch. Will he be able to keep it up? That kind of production is difficult to repeat so don’t expect those kinds of numbers against an Oakland team that allowed just 32 yards to tight ends last week in Denver.
IN: Dan Carpenter, Dolphins
Carpenter had a relatively quiet game against the Patriots last week (three extra points and a field goal) but then again the Dolphins were trailing for most of that one. Chad Henne was surprisingly effective against New England and he could do well again this week versus a so-so Texans pass D. Carpenter will take advantage, especially if the Dolphins struggle in the red zone.
OUT: Adam Vinatieri, Colts
Vinatieri, like many Colts fans, is hoping that another week of practice did a world of good for Kerry Collins. If he can’t get the offense moving, Indy will be looking at an 0-2 start. Vinatieri had abysmal numbers last week (one extra point and he missed his lone field goal attempt) and you shouldn’t consider playing him until Collins gets more comfortable calling the shots (or until Peyton Manning returns).
Detroit may have pulled out a win over Tampa in Week 1, but the Lions D didn’t reward fantasy owners with a lot of points in the victory. But the unit should make up for that in a big way this Sunday thanks to a juicy matchup against the suddenly offensively-challenged Chiefs. Ndamukong Suh should keep the heat on Matt Cassel, who will have issues getting the offense moving.
There were good things and bad things for the Falcons D in Week 1. The good: Kroy Biermann and his 50-yard interception for a touchdown. The bad: Jay Cutler threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Things could get ugly this week for the defense when Mike Vick returns to his old stomping grounds. The high-flying Eagles will put up lots of points so you should avoid the Falcons at all costs.