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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 2

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Ben Roethlisberger vs. SEA

In a record setting week for quarterbacks, Roethlisberger had three interceptions and two fumbles in a blowout loss to the Ravens. Expect a big bounce back from the Roethlisberger in the Steelers’ home opener. The Seahawks gave up the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season and while they held Alex Smith to just 124 yards last week, the score and quality of Smith had more to do with that than a great Seahawks defense. Expect Roethlisberger to put up big numbers this week.

Jahvid Best vs. KC

Best may never be a great NFL running back, but he did get 21 carries last week, had 116 combined yards and will likely get most of the carries as long as he can stay healthy. The Chiefs looked horrible last week giving up 154 yards on the ground. Until further notice, the Chiefs defense may be a matchup that fantasy owners look to take advantage of each and every week.

Peyton Hillis vs. IND

While a lot of things have changed in Indianapolis due to Peyton Manning’s injury, one thing that remains consistent is the Colts do not have a great run defense. The Colts gave up the eighth most rushing yards last season and the third most catches to running backs last season. The Colts began 2011 by allowing 167 yards on the ground to the Texans without fantasy stud Arian Foster. Hillis should have a much better day than his 57 rushing yards in Week 1 and could match his six-catch performance.

Vincent Jackson vs. NE

For as big a stud as Jackson has become in the fantasy wide receiver world, he has only had one big performance since 2009. Many of his limited 2010 games were like last week’s two-catch, 31-yard performance against the Vikings. This week, the matchup improves in what will most likely be a shootout against the Patriots. The Patriots allowed the second most catches to wide receivers, the eighth most yards and 32 targets last week to the Dolphins. Look for Jackson to have his first big game of 2011 this week.

Owen Daniels vs. MIA

Daniels was targeted by many fantasy owners as a breakout candidate at tight end, as he began 2011 healthy for the first time in several years. Daniels, though, was limited to two targets in the opening week win over the Colts. But Daniels was a victim of circumstance as the Texans jumped out to a big lead early, and the Colts never stopped the run. Matt Schaub should throw more than 24 times in Week 2, so expect Daniels to be a big target against a very questionable Dolphins pass defense.


Cameron Newton vs. GB

Newton had an amazing 422-yard passing performance in Week 1 against the Cardinals, surpassing anyone’s wildest expectations. This week, the matchup gets extremely tough against a Packers defense that allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points in the air last season. Newton isn’t Drew Brees, and doesn’t have his weapons, so expect tight coverage on Steve Smith and a ton of pressure on Newton. Newton may throw for some yards, but expect enough mistakes to keep out of a top-15 quarterback performance this week.

Chris Johnson vs. BAL

Because he was a top-10 pick in most leagues, Johnson will more than likely be in your starting lineup unless you have incredible depth at running back. Johnson’s 24 yards rushing may seem more like at outlier in Week 1, but it is more common than one might think. Last season in half of Johnson’s games he rushed for 66 or fewer yards. Johnson is the true feast or famine back, and don’t be surprised if he starves once again this week against a Ravens run defense that allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points last season to running backs and stopped the Steelers cold in Week 1.

Maurice Jones-Drew vs. NYJ

America’s running back as he is known on Sirius NFL Radio had a nice 97-yard, one-touchdown performance in a Week 1 win over the Titans. However, MJD may struggle this week to come close to that level of productivity against a Jets run defense that allowed the second fewest fantasy points to running backs last season and had an outstanding Week 1 performance against the Cowboys, limiting them to just 48 yards on the ground. Jones-Drew may have to be in your lineup but probably won’t have one of his better weeks.

Marshawn Lynch vs. PIT

The good news for Lynch owners is he appears to be the main back in Seattle as he got more than 60 percent of the carries in Week 1. The bad news is he gained just 33 yards on the ground and is matched up against a presumably irate Steelers defense that was torched for 170 yards on the ground by the Ravens. Until the sample size gets larger, we will assume the Steelers run defense is closer to the 2010 unit that allowed the fewest points to fantasy running backs and will call for another tough week for Lynch.

San Diego DEF vs. NE

This may become an obvious every week call that you don’t start your defense against the Patriots, no matter who you have. The Patriots have scored over 30 points in nine straight regular season games and in that time quarterback Tom Brady is on a 28-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The Chargers have one of the better defenses in the league but Sunday’s contest has all the making of Packers-Saints Week 1, so this may not be the best week to play a defense that figures to be a pretty good fantasy defense in most weeks.