Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2015
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 2 of the 2015 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em Carson Palmer (ARI, QB)
With Andre Ellington injured and Chris Johnson stepping up, the Cardinals are likely to lean on the passing game against the Bears. Chicago didn't give up many yards to the Packers through the air last week, but they did give up 3 TD's to Aaron Rodgers. We expect Palmer to be a Top 10 QB this week.
Start 'em Sam Bradford (PHI, QB)
Next week, when you look back at the Philly/Dallas game, don't be surprised if this game has more total points scored than any other matchup. Bradford underwent an x-ray on his ankle and it came back just fine this week so we expect him to come out guns blazing. It's a good matchup and we have Bradford in the Top 10 this week.
Start 'em Ameer Abdullah (DET, RB)
We were hoping to see him with more touches, but watching Abdullah play last week had moments that were reminiscent of another Lions RB from not too long ago. If you watched Carlos Hyde tear up the Vikings, you should be salivating at this opportunity because Adbullah has the opportunity to do the same thing. Looking at the FFN rankings, he's an easy RB2 this week.
Start 'em Justin Forsett (BAL, RB)
Justin Forsett disappointed many fantasy owners last week as the Broncos were often in the backfield before he even had the ball. Fortunately, Forsett has an opportunity to redeem himself against a Raiders team that bled fantasy points to RB's last year and let Cincy's Jeremy Hill tally 18 points against them.
Start 'em Chris Ivory (NYJ, RB)
One of the cool features of FFN is the Defensive Dashboard. Click on a player name on the rankings page and you'll see how other players have performed against the same defense. When we click on Chris Ivory's name, we see LeSean McCoy with a decent day against Indy last week. Ivory is coming off a monster Week 1 where we saw the Colts give up even more points to the whole Buffalo backfield. Expect Ivory to light it up.
Start 'em Terrance Williams (DAL, WR)
With Dez Bryant out (possibly for the fantasy season), there will be a lot of targets and points to go around. Terrance Williams should see his share go up which is why he was such a hot commodity on the waiver wire this week. The Falcons threw all over the Eagles last week letting Roddy White hit double digits in PPR and Julio Jones double digits in every conceivable format. Expect Williams to be busy this week.
Start 'em Jarvis Landry (MIA, WR)
Jarvis Landry turned in a decent performance last week and we expect him to build upon that momentum this week even though Jacksonville's secondary is better than most think. They shut down a Kelvin-Benjamin-less Panthers offense leaving guys like Ted Ginn and Philly Brown with scraps. Landry should finish this week in borderline WR1 territory.
Start 'em Vincent Jackson (TB, WR)
With Mike Evans either sidelined or limited in action, VJax makes for a nice flex play this week against a Saints defense that brought Larry Fitzgerald back to fantasy relevance last week. In fact, Jackson cracks the Top 12 this week in standard scoring which marks the first time we've seen that in years.
Start 'em Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TB, TE)
The tight end position this year is quirky. If you don't have Gronk, Kelce, Witten, or Graham, you likely had some question marks at this position during your draft. We got to see Austin Seferian-Jenkins finally emerge last week and should see more of the same this week. He'll face a Saints defense that just gave up 14 points (18 in PPR) to Arizona's Darren Fells (go ahead - look up Darren Fells). ASJ has a great matchup.
Start 'em Ladarius Green (SD, TE)
With Antonio Gates sidelined for another few weeks recovering from suspensionitis, it's Ladarius Green's show in San Diego. 74 yards and a score is a fantastic day for anyone and Green is on a roll. Ride this train while you can. He's ranked 13th this week on FFN but should certainly finish as a TE1.
Start 'em St. Louis Rams (STL, DEF)
The #1 ranked defense this week on FFN is the St. Louis Rams with a decent floor and a fantastic ceiling. Who knows what's going on in Washington (lots of double meaning with that question) right now? Kirk Cousins is going to get rattled. DeSean Jackson is a no-go. Expect the Rams to bring pressure all day long.
Start 'em Cody Parkey (PHI, K)
Yes he's human and he missed last week, but don't give up on Cody Parkey. We expect a nice bounce back this week in what many believe will be a shootout against Dallas. Parkey is ranked 6th this week on FFN so expect a Top 10 performance.
Sit 'em Marcus Mariota (TEN, QB)
Many fantasy owners rushed out to grab Mariota from the waivers this week, and just because you have your shiny new toy does not mean that you have to play with it right away. Mariota deservingly received the AFC offensive player of the week last week throwing more TD's than incompletes, but Cleveland is not Tampa Bay, and the Browns defense will bring Mariota's value crashing down...for at least this week.
Sit 'em Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
What happened to Matt Stafford? He's borderline terrible without Calvin Johnson, and even with him last week, Stafford was barely a blip on the fantasy radar. The Vikings have kept Stafford grounded the last two meetings and kept Kaepernick to just 165 yards on Monday night. Too many question marks around Stafford right now to confidently start him.
Sit 'em Melvin Gordon (SD, RB)
Perhaps our expectations for Melvin Gordon were too high coming into the year. One week does not make a season, but the workload was almost evenly split between Gordon and Danny Woodhead last week with Woodhead putting up ridiculous numbers. Gordon comes into this week's rankings at #23 essentially making him an RB3.
Sit 'em Frank Gore (IND, RB)
Calf cramps? Seriously? C'mon Gore - pull your diaper up and get back on the field. Frank Gore was one of those players where the change in scenery was supposed to be a fantasy blessing instead of the curse we saw last week. This week doesn't get any better as he faces the Jets and their top-ranked rush defense. New York eliminated the ground game against Cleveland last week and could do the same against Indy.
Sit 'em Andre Johnson (IND, WR)
If T.Y. Hilton's knee keeps him out of action this week, expect Andre Johnson to spend some time on Revis Island. Like Gore, our expectations for Johnson in Indy were awfully high coming into the season and his ADP value was such that we own him in plenty of leagues. Week 1 was disappointing and Week 2 could be even worse.
Sit 'em Amari Cooper (OAK, WR)
Yes, there's talent there. Yes, he gets a lot of targets. No, he isn't a great option this week. The Ravens just turned Peyton Manning and DeMaryius Thomas into mere mortals. What are they going to do to Derek Carr (if he even plays) and Amari Cooper? If you picked up James Jones off the waiver wire, Jones will likely be a better producer this week even without a repeat of last week. We're playing Pierre Garcon and Steve Smith over Cooper this week.
Sit 'em Delanie Walker (TEN, TE)
It was just a few weeks ago that Delanie Walker was being called the security blanket for Marcus Mariota. The question now is who is the security blanket for Walker himself? With a sprained ligament in his wrist, Walker is no sure thing to play this weekend even though he says he'll be on the field. Leave the risks for Vegas. There are safer options this week than Delanie Walker.
Sit 'em Owen Daniels (DEN, TE)
Owen Daniels and Gary Kubiak should have been a match made in fantasy heaven, but Daniels wasn't relevant last week and will likely be bench material this week against a Chiefs defense that kept Houston's tight ends powerless and shut down plenty of TE's in 2014. The promise of Owen Daniels isn't going to pay off this week.
Sit 'em Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT, DEF)
If you're a long-time reader at FFN, you know that it's pretty rare to see the Steelers D on the Sit column, but what else can we do? When we watch nobody line up on Rob Gronkowski, you know that there are serious question marks in that secondary. Expect a healthy dose of Carlos Hyde and perhaps we even see Colin Kaepernick reach fantasy-relevance this week. This is not your father's Steelers D.
Sit 'em Robbie Gould (CHI, K)
When one of the best kickers in the game goes up against one of the best defenses in the game, we're going to generally side with the defense. After all, you can't kick a field goal if you can't get into position in the first place. The Cardinals should be flying high making this a difficult game for Gould to excel.