NFL Week 2 Preview

Each week, We Love Sportz will give you a look at the upcoming week in the NFL. I will be joined by my friend and writer for FantasyPros, Jeffrey Greco, as we each give you our Top-10 teams, look at which teams are trending up and down, tell you who to start and sit in fantasy football, and tell you which games deserve your attention. We’ll start it off with Jeff’s Top-10 before Week 2.

Jeff’s Top-10 Teams

1 – Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh made a statement with their 38-16 win in Washington on Monday Night Football without Le’Veon Bell or Markus Wheaton. Their offense will roll all year long.

2 – New England Patriots
The Patriots beat an NFC Super Bowl contender without Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, or Dion Lewis on offense. Holding the Cardinals to 21 points is no easy task, making Palmer look like he still played for Oakland.

3 – Green Bay Packers
The Pack is back. Jordy Nelson looked healthy, Eddie Lacy thinned out, and Davante Adams didn’t look incompetent. If their defense can hold teams back enough, Rodgers and Co. should put up plenty of points per game.

4 – Houston Texans
Houston at 4? That’s right. Osweiler looked good in his debut, and already has a great chemistry with weapons Lamar Miller, Will Fuller, and DeAndre Hopkins. When J.J. Watt is less limited, their defense will also terrorize teams, making them a scary team to play.

5 – Arizona Cardinals
Everybody is already saying that without a botched snap, they Cardinals should have won 24-23. I agree, but there are some minor concerns. Arizona can’t become totally reliant on Larry Fitzgerald to carry the offense every game.

6 – Seattle Seahawks
Seattle did a terrific job on defense, limiting Miami to 250 yards and 10 points. However, with Wilson hobbled and the running game less dominant, they could seemingly struggle to put up points in future weeks.

7 – Carolina Panthers
Without a doubt, Carolina wins the season opener if the referees call the (multiple) illegal contact penalties on Denver. Regardless, Cam didn’t look like himself all game, and the Panthers defense let Trevor Siemian put up 14 points in the 4th quarter.

8 – Denver Broncos
Speaking of Denver, they still deserve to be a Top-10 team. However, they are primarily carried by the defense and C.J. Anderson. This is great, but can they get it done with “average” quarterback play all year in the AFC West?

9 – Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr will have something to say about that. Oakland went all-in Sunday to beat New Orleans and succeeded. They have a potent offense and a great pass rush. The only worry would be their secondary, which looked god awful on Sunday.

10 – Kansas City Chiefs
Without Jamaal Charles, Kansas City stormed back from a 27-10 deficit in the 4th quarter. Alex Smith had a career game and Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West looked great in the backfield. If only they somehow didn’t let San Diego grab a big lead in the first place.

Next 5 Up – Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts

Jay’s Top-10 Teams

1 – New England Patriots
No Gronk, no Brady, no Lewis, no Ninkovich, no problem. Yes, they were one bad snap away from a loss, but I don’t care how you do it, you defeat the Cardinals in Arizona, that is a big deal. Just wait til this team gets Brady back.

2 – Pittsburgh Steelers
I was big on the Steelers offense going into the season, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how well their defense played on the road in Washington under the bright lights on the big MNF stage. This team will get a big boost in a couple weeks with the return of Le’Veon Bell.

3 – Carolina Panthers
Yes, they lost on Thursday night. But Cam Newton was beat up (illegally for the most part), and they were still on the road in a hostile environment against one of, if not the, best defenses in the history of the league. The Panthers will be fine.

4 – Green Bay Packers
I’m not surprise that the Packers had to squeak one out in Jacksonville, but they earned the win, and there was a lot of good to take from the game. Jordy Nelson looks like his old self, and that means that Aaron Rodgers should be back to his old self. That’s good news for GB fans.

5 – Kansas City Chiefs
I’m willing to forget all about the 1st half of the game on Sunday. I think this team is a Super Bowl contender, and they stepped up and played that way in the 2nd half and overtime. A big matchup with the Texans looms in week 2.

6 – Houston Texans
The jury remains out on Brock Osweiler, but the Texans looked good on Sunday in their 23-14 win over Chicago. Lamar Miller played well, Will Fuller caught a touchdown (and dropped another), and the defense played as advertised.

7 – Arizona Cardinals
I don’t think it’s time to panic yet, but the Cardinals should have easily handled a depleted Patriots team at home on Sunday night. Bruce Arians got out-coached, simple as that. They get to stay at home this week, but they’ll be tested again by the Buccaneers.

8 – Seattle Seahawks
It could be time to panic for the Seahawks though. The offense looked downright anemic at times during the game against Miami. They played well when they needed too, but Russell Wilson is now hobbled, and the game was at home. They need to play better against a team like the Dolphins in front of the 12th Man.

9 – Oakland Raiders
It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. The Raiders are going to compete for a division title this year, and they will depend big time on Derek Carr. The defense struggled Sunday, but we have to remember that the Saints have one of the most high-powered offenses in the league.

10 – Denver Broncos
Yes, the defense is still elite, and that defense will single-handedly win them some games. That being said, Trevor Siemian is just not a good quarterback. He’s going to single-handedly lose them some games.

Next Five Up – Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens

 

Trending Up/Trending Down

Up:

1 – Detroit Lions
Detroit is a team I had counted out all year long and while their defense is still very bad, their offense functioned very well without Megatron. In fact, it was running backs Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah that thrived in the passing game on Sunday.

2 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is certainly trending up and creeping towards the Top-10. Winston is the real deal, and Evans, Martin and Sims are great targets to have. Their run defense looked great and if they can hold back the passing game, they could compete for the division title.

3 – New York Giants
The Giants are my current favorite to win the NFC East. Now, that isn’t saying much, but their offense is their lifeblood and they have a lot going for them. Beckham Jr. is legitimate, Vereen seems to fit more in the system this year, Victor Cruz looked like his old self, and rookie Shepard is already contributing.

Down:

1 – Los Angeles Rams
Wow are these Rams bad. I mean, I thought they would struggle and post a Jeff Fisher type 6-10 or 7-9, but this week’s final game was hard to watch. Case Keenum couldn’t pass. Todd Gurley couldn’t get past the line of scrimmage. The defense couldn’t stop the predictable Chip Kelly offense. I think they get crushed this week by a hobbled Seattle.

2 – Washington Football Team
“Do you like that” Washington Football Team? I knew you were overrated, but boy did Monday night tell me how much. Kirk Cousins looked awful when he was targeting anybody but Jordan Reed. They didn’t keep Josh Norman on Antonio Brown all night either. Dysfunction and drama will fill the season, and they won’t make the playoffs.

3 – San Diego Chargers
Even without the loss of Keenan Allen for the year, the Chargers always seem to be trending down. Sure, Melvin Gordon looked decent, but they blew a 17-point lead in the 4th quarter. Rivers will focus on elders Woodhead and Gates for the remainder of the year, which doesn’t bode well for this bottom-5 team.

 

Jeff’s Fantasy Start/Sit

*Note from Jayson: Please do not take these literally. These are just players that Jeff thinks will have either good weeks or bad weeks, or have good matchups or bad matchups. I would never suggest you start Joe Flacco over Cam Newton, but I might suggest you start Joe Flacco over Blake Bortles/Philip Rivers/etc.

Quarterbacks

Start:
Eli Manning
Eli plays the depleted Saints secondary in Week 2. If he was drafted as part of a committee, he is your play this week.

Matthew Stafford
Albeit being drafted so late, Stafford has another great matchup versus Tennessee in Week 2. Start him over the likes of Luck (versus Denver) this week.

Joe Flacco
Even without the Perriman, Flacco still has Wallace and Smith to throw to. When he plays Cleveland’s defense in Week 2, you’ll be happy you started him.

Sit:
Andrew Luck
If you have the luxury of a good backup, this is the week to sit Andrew Luck, as he faces off against the terrific Broncos defense.

Kirk Cousins
I am not convinced that he will play well against Dallas. It will be a low scoring game that is run-focused. Don’t force your hand with Cousins.

Alex Smith
Don’t you dare start Alex Smith after his fantastic game 1. Kansas City will be playing Houston in Week 2 and won’t be getting much of anywhere offensively.

Running Back

Start:
Stars
For the love of Harambe, poor Week 1 performances should not make you bench the likes of Adrian Peterson or Todd Gurley

Latavius Murray
Many people don’t like Murray for the remainder of the season. Well, in Week 2 he’s going to play Atlanta and their awful front seven. He’s an RB1 in my eyes.

T.J. Yeldon
With Chris Ivory still potentially out for Week 2, Yeldon should be a solid RB2 in any league, especially against San Diego.

Christine Michael/Thomas Rawls
These are both flex plays, but the Seattle RBs could be leaned on heavily with Wilson hobbled by an ankle injury. Expect them to put up good numbers against Los Angeles.

Super Important PPR Headline: Danny Woodhead
Danny Woodhead is a must-start in PPR every week that the Chargers don’t play the Broncos. Against Jacksonville, Woodhead should have seven catches and a score.

Sit:
Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman
If you can swing this with other RBs on your team, bench Freeman this week. Oakland has a great front seven that will stop both Freeman and Coleman from getting anywhere this week.

Frank Gore
You’ll be able to use Gore as a Flex/RB2 one day, but not this week. Playing Denver will make Gore an irrelevant part of the game.

Jamaal Charles
Even if he plays, he won’t get the full workload of carries. Keep Charles on your bench until he has a successful game.

Wide Receivers

Start:
Golden Tate
The Lions will take on the subject secondary of the Titans in Week 2, and you’re going to want Tate’s 8 catches, 110 yards and touchdown in your starting lineup.

Willie Snead
Snead is a Flex play every week, and a WR2 this week when he plays the New York Giants, whose secondary hasn’t been good for years. Expect another 80 yards and a score.

Sterling Shepard
Also in the New Orleans/New York game is rookie Shepard, who should see significant work in the passing game against the Saints’ awful secondary.

Sit:
Mike Evans
I know you probably drafted Evans as your WR1, but Patrick Peterson will follow him all over the field this week. He’ll need to score a touchdown to be worth his ranking this week.

TY Hilton
TY Hilton is a boom/bust player who doesn’t get consistent volume. I will go out on a limb and say that his upside for a big game is limited by the Denver defense.

Tyler Lockett
With Wilson injured, I wouldn’t start any receiver but Baldwin for Seattle. Even if they are playing the Rams.

Tight End

Start:
Antonio Gates
Read this now, but Gates is a top-10 tight end for the rest of the season. I don’t care how old he is, but he is a must-start nearly every week.

Gary Barnidge
Barnidge was successful because Josh McCown was present. Now that he’s back, Barnidge should put up Top-10 numbers.

Jason Witten
Witten was a favorite target of Prescott in his debut, and I’d expect that to continue in Week 2 versus Washington.

Sit:
Coby Fleener
I might have to put this guy here every week. He shouldn’t even be on your fantasy team. He shouldn’t have been ranked as a top-8 tight end. He can’t catch. AND is the SIXTH option in the passing game behind Cooks, Snead, Thomas, Ingram and Cadet. Please just don’t. Drop him now and add Clive Walford or Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Add Jacob Tamme for crying out loud. At least he gets targeted! I can not stress enough how useless I think this guy is. Trade him for the Saints defense. They might have more touchdowns by the end of the year.

Martellus Bennett
Bennett was primarily used as a blocker in his first game, and I’d expect that to continue when Gronkowski and Brady both return.

Jimmy Graham
Who? Oh yeah this guy. Don’t be tempted by his name. His quarterback is hurt and he isn’t the player he used to be.

Jay’s Matchups of the Week

Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Sunday 9/18, 1:00 pm CBS

This game will always be enjoyable to watch. I don’t know if there are any two teams who hate each other more than the Bengals and the Steelers. Add on top that it’s the Steelers’ home opener, and this one should be fun. Reportedly the officials have been put on alert for the game due to the history between these two teams. That’s all I need to hear to make me tune in.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) @ Houston Texans (1-0)
Sunday 9/18, 1:00 pm CBS

Two teams I have in my Top-5 will do battle with some early season momentum on the line. The Chiefs come in riding high off of their huge comeback victory over the Chargers, while the Texans had a come-from-behind victory of their own over the Bears. I don’t expect this game to be high scoring, and could come down to which offense can make a big play at the end of the game.

Green Bay Packers (1-0) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
Sunday 9/18, 8:30 pm NBC

The Vikings will open their brand new stadium as they play host to their bitter rivals, the Green Bay Packers. Could we see the Minnesota debut of Sam Bradford? Potentially, but with Aaron Rodgers in town, this one will probably come down to how good the Vikings defense can play, coming off of a two touchdown performance last week against Tennessee.

That is all for We Love Sportz’s Week 2 NFL preview. Good luck to all you fantasy players this week, and enjoy Week 2 of the football season!

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