Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers | Week 2
The kickoff weekend of the 2011 NFL season went as-scripted in some games, but others gave us a few results that raised some eyebrows.
The same goes for fantasy football, where the first batch of games every season gives us plenty of reason to completely overreact, good or bad.
So, as you get prepared for week two, whose value is on the rise, and whose is trending downward?
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Newton’s performance against the Cardinals in his NFL debut was the most surprising individual performance of all.
The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner threw for 422 yards with a pair of touchdowns, and ran for another score. We all know he’s dangerous with the ball in his hands, but he also looked extremely comfortable airing it out.
The matchup gets significantly tougher this weekend with the Packers coming into town, but he has the looks of a potential Michael Vick-type fantasy performer.
Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins
Tony Sparano insisted that Bush would be featured in the Dolphins’ offense, and that proved true in week one against the Patriots.
Bush didn’t excel on the ground (11 carries, 38 yards), but he did catch nine passes for 56 yards with a touchdown.
He’s the only back the Dolphins used with consistency, so feel comfortable putting him into your lineup.
Cadillac Williams, RB, St. Louis Rams
Looks like the Caddy still has a little gas left in the tank.
Williams performed very well after Steven Jackson left week one’s game against Philly with an injury, rushing for 91 yards on 19 carries while picking up an additional 46 yards on five catches.
With Jackson likely to miss this Monday’s game with the Giants, Williams is lined up to start.
Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers
Think Smith is glad to see Cam Newton back there?
After a few subpar years (with subpar quarterbacks), Smith went wild in his first game with Newton under center, catching eight passes for 178 yards with a pair of scores in the loss to Arizona.
He’ll likely go through a few down weeks as Newton continues to adjust to the NFL game, but it’s quite the encouraging start, nevertheless.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
Nelson was huge in the Super Bowl, and got off to a nice start in week one against the Saints, catching six passes for 77 yards with a touchdown.
He appears to have overtaken James Jones amongst Aaron Rodgers’ preferred targets, and, with Donald Driver being nothing more than a short-yardage possession receiver these days, Nelson’s stock is on the rise.
Scott Chandler, TE, Buffalo Bills
Productive fantasy tight ends are few-and-far between, so when one starts the season the way Chandler did (five catches, 63 yards, two TDs), people tend to notice.
There’s obviously no way of knowing how involved Chandler will be in the offense going forward, but his size makes him an intriguing target in the red zone for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Might be worth a look.
Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
He was playing with sore ribs, but Cassel looked pretty pedestrian against Buffalo in the season opener.
He did go 22-36, but amassed just 119 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
A matchup against Ndamukong Suh and that Lions defensive front is not what the doctor ordered here.
Ryan Grant, RB, Green Bay Packers
Grant will still likely get a decent number of touches, but he clearly looked worse than James Starks in week one.
The Packers prefer to spread the field and chuck the ball around anyway, so there isn’t much room in the Pack’s backfield for two guys.
He could be a goal-line guy, but until we see it in action, steer clear.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
Stewart carried the ball just five times fewer than did DeAngelo Williams against the Cardinals, but he doesn’t appear to be as involved in the Panthers’ offense as he has been in years past.
Until we see more of an equal split here, you might want to leave J-Stew on the bench.
James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers
As Nelson rises, Jones falls.
With Randall Cobb in the mix, as well, Jones may fall even further down the ranks.
Derrick Mason, WR, New York Jets
Mason’s potential was limited from the start, but if Plaxico Burress had taken longer to get re-acclimated to the NFL, then Mason could’ve been the beneficiary.
Burress looked strong in week one, though, while Mason caught just three passes for 19 yards.
Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins
Cooley is a bit nicked up and still not at 100 percent, which makes Fred Davis the better play of the two Redskins pass-catching tight ends.
He could still get better as he gets healthier, but Davis’ 100-yard performance in week one might tip the scales a bit.