With so many options to choose from, sometimes fielding a fantasy lineup can be quite the headache. Obvious are the starts akin to Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, Matthew Stafford, Adrian Peterson and the games other bigger names. However, it’s the tougher choices – namely the less obvious starts – that will end up winning your league.
Here are a few names you might want to consider.
Carson Palmer QB Arizona – Carson Palmer might be dealing with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder, but it didn’t stop him from throwing over 300 yards with two touchdowns against San Diego last week. Palmer should find similar success this week, albeit on the road, when Arizona takes on the New York Giants who surrendered 341 yards in the air to Detroit in Week 1. Palmer has a big play weapon in Michael Floyd and don’t discount Larry Fitzgerald just yet. The good news for Palmer is that RB Andre Ellington seem like he will be able to play through his foot injury, giving Palmer another dangerous passing option. Monitor his status, but it sounds like he will be ready to go. Start Palmer as a high end QB2.
Frank Gore RB San Francisco – Chicago just gave up 193 rushing yards at home to Buffalo in Week 1. With QB Colin Kaepernick expected to get his running yards, Gore and rookie RB Carlos Hyde should also see significant rushing yardage in the team’s home opener. Gore only tallied 66 rushing yards in Week 1, but he should not have too much trouble eclipsing the 110-yard mark in Sunday night’s Week 2 showdown. Gore is 31 years old and was expected to slow down last season, but still managed to put up 1,128 rushing yards with 9 rushing touchdowns - the second highest in his prolific career. Start Gore with confidence as your RB2 with expectations of 100+ rushing yards and a score.
C.J. Spiller RB Buffalo – Spiller’s timeshare with Fred Jackson will continue throughout the 2014 season barring injury. Still, both can be effective options with Spiller having much more potential due to his powerful burst and electrifying speed. This week Buffalo goes up against a Miami defense who held New England to just 89 rushing yards and 226 passing yards. But Miami is on the road in Week 2 and has a slew of defensive players battling injuries – though most should end up on the field Sunday. Buffalo is coming off a big upset where they manhandled Chicago on the road in Week 1 and will be looking to carry that momentum into Week 2 against Miami. Spiller can be dangerous when he finds a hole and is always a candidate for a big play. Big play of not, Spiller should still put up serviceable numbers this week, enough to qualify as a decent RB2 option.
Kelvin Benjamin WR Detroit – Kelvin Benjamin was much of a secret by the time your league had its draft, but he still probably didn’t go as high as his worth this season will dictate. The 6’5” 240 pound rookie receiver wasted no time in making his name known in the NFL churning out a 6-catch, 92-yard performance with a touchdown to boot. And this was on the road against a should be tough Tampa Bay defense with back up QB Derek Anderson at the helm. This week Benjamin plays at home against Detroit and starting QB Cam Newton is expected to return. Newton will often be hurried by Detroit’s aggressive D-line, but Benjamin is a big target that has speed and the ability to get open in a hurry. I fully expect Benjamin to put up similar numbers to what he did in Week 1 with the potential to haul in his first 100-yard receiving game. Benjamin is a very nice WR2 option and maybe even a lower end WR1 for Week 2.
Reggie Wayne WR Indianapolis – Reggie Wayne was drafted in the latter rounds of so many fantasy drafts this year – much lower than receiving counterpart T.Y. Hilton. The thought process was that the Wayne is now 35 years old, had ACL repair surgery last season and that Hilton has taken over as the big go to option for QB Andrew Luck. Well, as we all saw in Indy’s Week 1 opener at Denver, Wayne is back and better than ever. He is obviously the guy that Luck entrusts catching 9 of 13 targets and seemed to get open at will. Hilton will still be a major part of the Indianapolis passing game, but Wayne looks to be a bigger part. Yes, it was only one game, but Wayne sure showcased himself as a top league receiver in Monday night’s battle with the AFC champs and showed zero indication that he plans to slow down. As long as Wayne’s big-time play holds up, he should hold borderline WR1 status and that especially goes for this week’s matchup at home against Philadelphia that let Jacksonville’s Chad Henne pass for two first quarter touchdowns. Wayne will light it up in Philly, especially in PPR leagues). Expect 7 or more catches, lots of yards and Wayne’s first score of the year.
Larry Donnell TE New York Giants – Larry Donnell is separating himself from the TE pack. QB Eli Manning has always liked hitting his TEs and this year should be no different. Donnell, a 6’6” 265 pound target, had preseason completion from Daniel Fells and Adrian Robinson, but has established his starting role in Week 1 by catching 5 or his 8 targets for 56 yards and a touchdown grab against Detroit. Coach Tom Coughlin had mentioned a committee attack at TE but Donnell is certainly Manning’s go-to guy. New York has a tougher defensive matchup in Week 2 against Arizona, but they are at home and Donnell should still have plenty of opportunities. In leagues that start two TEs, Donnell is a nice play this week, but can even be useful in one TE leagues as a replacement for injured players like Jordan Reed or Jordan Cameron.
Hot Pick Up Bust of the Week
Terrance West RB Cleveland – New Orleans can give up the rushing yards – especially on the road, where they find themselves in Week 2 at Cleveland. The question is, how much Cleveland will be running the ball. In Week 1 New Orleans was on the road battling Atlanta where they gave up 123 rushing yards. Of course, Atlanta has a much more potent offense and not only kept up with Drew Brees and company but pasted them with 445 passing yards. West, who is starting in place for the injured Ben Tate, may find his team unable to keep up with New Orleans’ high flying offense and not getting as many run opportunities, most likely trailing early on. Plus, he has fellow backfield mate Isaiah Crowell to contend with. West has been a popular pick up this week, but it’s just not in the cards for him to put up fantasy relevant numbers in Week 2. Hold onto him and hope he starts at home in Week 3 vs Baltimore where it will be much more of a smashmouth type game that could offer plenty of run opportunities. Unless you are desperate for RB help this week, West should be on your bench.