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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 2

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Andrew Luck vs. MIN

While Luck didn't have the success in Week 1 fellow rookie Robert Griffin III experienced, his overall numbers weren't bad. Luck threw for more than 300 yards, and while he did have three interceptions, his overall decision making was good. This week, Luck catches a break in facing the Vikings pass defense. The Vikings allowed 260 yards and two touchdowns to Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars last week and last season allowed the most points to fantasy quarterbacks (18.9) in standard scoring leagues. The Colts don't possess a powerful run game or a great defense, so look for Luck to air it out and be a little luckier this week.

Jamaal Charles vs. BUF

Entering last week, there were concerns about the number of carries that Charles would get coming off ACL surgery. Due to the score against the Falcons, the Chiefs were forced to abandon the running game for a majority of the second half, but Charles still wound up with 16 carries for a solid 87-yard performance compared to just seven carries for Peyton Hillis. The Chiefs should find the game much more competitive this Sunday, and Charles should benefit in his matchup against the Bills. The Bills allowed nearly 100 yards and a touchdown to the plodding Shonn Greene and last season allowed the third most fantasy points to running backs. Look for Charles to be a solid start this week and continue to put his nightmare 2011 season behind him.

Alfred Morris vs. STL

Morris is the hottest running back pickup off the waiver wire this week, and while that may not necessarily mean season-long success, at least his hot start should continue for another week. The Rams gave up the second most fantasy points last week to running backs, including three touchdowns, and last season allowed the fourth most fantasy points to the position (20.3). Morris should once again be a nice start and, at least for this week, has Mike Shanahan's confidence.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. CLE

The Law Firm is coming off a strong Week 1 against the always tough Ravens run defense, gaining nearly 100 yards on more than five yards a carry and scoring a touchdown. Week 2 should be another successful day in court facing the Browns. The Browns allowed more than five yards a carry to running backs last week and were the sixth worst fantasy run defense in 2011. This, combined with the 248 yards and two touchdowns they gave up to Bengals running backs in two games last season, bodes well for another strong game from Green-Ellis.

Oakland DEF vs. MIA

Last season, the Rams, Chiefs, Browns and Jaguars were the offenses to start a fantasy defense against, regardless of the quality of the defense. Their offenses were so poor it was inevitably a productive day for a fantasy defense in that matchup. This year it appears the Dolphins will be one of those matchup-friendly offenses. The Dolphins scored just three offensive points last week, have a rookie quarterback who isn't named Luck or Griffin III, have just one offense weapon (Reggie Bush) and made four turnovers last week. The Raiders were respectable against a much better Chargers offense on Monday night and figure to be a solid matchup play this week.


Matt Schaub v. JAC

Schaub was efficient last week, throwing for 266 yards and a touchdown on just 31 pass attempts. Schaub has always been a solid quarterback, but because of a strong running game and lack of receiving weapons outside of Andre Johnson, Schaub is often viewed as a second-tier fantasy quarterback. This week, Schaub faces a Jaguars pass defense that is one of the most underrated in the league. Last season, it surrendered the eighth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and gave up just 342 yards and two touchdowns in two games against the Texans. The Jaguars got off to a good start against the Vikings and figure to make it difficult for Schaub to have fantasy impact this week.

Michael Vick vs. BAL

While Vick threw four interceptions last week, his 56 passing attempts allowed him to break the 300-yard mark and throw two touchdowns. This week it is almost impossible to forecast Vick throwing anywhere near the number of passes he did in Week 1, and without high volume Vick should struggle. The Ravens held Andy Dalton in check Monday, allowing just 227 yards and no touchdowns in a blowout win. Last season, the Ravens were the toughest defense for fantasy quarterbacks to score against and held quarterback to just 135 rushing yards all season. Vick will have big fantasy games, but this matchup suggests that Week 2 will not be one.

Kevin Smith vs. SF

As good as the Ravens pass defense is, it might be surpassed by the 49ers run defense. The 49ers led the league last season in allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs and started 2012 with a masterful 18 yards allowed to running backs in Week 1 against the Packers. Smith had a solid 62-yard one touchdown performance last week against the Rams, but this should be a week in which Smith finds your bench and is only in the lineup in the deepest leagues.

Laurent Robinson vs. HOU

Robinson had a decent start to Week 1, catching five passes in the Jaguars loss to the Vikings, but has a tough matchup against the Texans this week. While the nine points allowed to Dolphins wide receivers (third fewest in the league in Week 1) was expected, the Texans have also been excellent in this category against the Jaguars. In two games last season, Jaguars wide receivers were held to just 14 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. Look for Blaine Gabbert to be more like the Blaine Gabbert of 2011, and Robinson's numbers to suffer this week.

Green Bay DEF vs. CHI

In many fantasy publications the Packers were projected to be a top-10 defense, and while they still might be, Week 1 wasn't a great start. They face a tough test Week 2 against the Bears. The 49ers scored 30 points, amassed 377 yards, averaged more than six yards a play and didn't turn the ball over last week against Green Bay. The Packers did get four sacks, but this week face a potentially much more dangerous quarterback in Jay Cutler, with a weapon in wide receiver Brandon Marshall that the 49ers just don't possess. The Bears line has been much improved, only allowing an average of 2.3 sacks per game in Cutler's 10 starts last season. Don't be surprised if for the second straight week the Packers defense struggles and finishes outside the top-12 fantasy defenses.

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