Hot or Cold: Week 2

With week one in the books it’s time to take a look around the NFL to see which players have the potential to set your roster on fire and which ones seem to be cooling down. I’ll try to avoid the obvious candidates for the players that are heating up, in addition to focusing in on higher profile players that could leave your team on ice this week. I will also be taking a look at their performance in week one, as well as what the matchup holds for them in week two.

Hot:

Quarterbacks:

Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 2 Matchup – Arizona Cardinals

Winston started off his sophomore campaign with an impressive performance on Sunday that saw him finish as the third highest scoring quarterback entering Monday night. He showed great rapport with his star receiver, Mike Evans, and spread the ball around to multiple receivers. Many saw him as a breakout candidate entering this season, and he looks to be on his way to fulfilling that hype. One week isn’t enough to crown him the MVP by any means, and he’ll face off against an intimidating secondary in Cardinals in week two. However, Arizona gave up 264 yards and a touchdown to Jimmy Garoppolo in his first start with a banged up offense. I like Jameis’ chances to put up solid numbers again this week.

Matt Stafford – Detroit Lions
Week 2 Matchup – Tennessee Titans

The matchup between the Lions and Colts had all components to end up being a high scoring affair, and the teams did not disappoint. The Lions put up 35 points on Sunday, and Stafford threw for 21 of them. His performance has him as the 4th highest scoring QB as of Sunday night, and he should see similar success in his next game against the Titans. Shaun Hill of the Vikings was able to throw for over 230 yards against Tennessee last week, and Stafford has the talent at his disposal to greatly surpass that. I like his odds to finish in the top 5 at his position once again.

Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
Week 2 Matchup – Chicago Bears

With Dak-Mania sweeping the nation, it wasn’t difficult to overlook another rookie making his NFL debut. Wentz didn’t exactly amaze in his first start, but he was able to lead his team to victory against the Browns. He accounted for 278 yards and two touchdowns, which was a better performance than the likes of Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, and Blake Bortles. Granted, Cleveland is simply a bad football team, but Wentz made some nice throws and showed solid chemistry with Jordan Matthews. The Eagles face the Bears in week two, and Brock Osweiler was able to put up serviceable numbers in his first start against them. Wentz is a guy to keep your eye on if he continues to play the way he did on Sunday.

Running Backs:

CJ Anderson – Denver Broncos
Week 2 Matchup – Indianapolis Colts

There were a ton of people in the fantasy community that were very much down on Anderson coming into 2016 (myself included), and for good reason. He was selected in the first round in many drafts last year, and his poor performance left a sour taste in many owner’s mouths. The Broncos offense had a rematch against the stout Panthers defense to kick off the season, and I was not expecting much from Anderson. Boy was I wrong. He rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown and added an additional 47 yards and a touchdown on four catches. This was enough to secure his spot as the third highest scoring back in week one. Denver faces off against Indianapolis in their second endeavor, and CJ will have an opportunity to have another great game against a Colts defense that gave up a ton a yards against the Lions backfield this week. With Trevor Siemian at the helm, it’s clear the Broncos want to run the football. If Anderson can keep up the momentum, then he very well realize his potential from last year.

Theo Riddick – Detroit Lions
Week 2 Matchup- Tennessee Titans

I debated including Ameer Abdullah this week, and he deserved it after a solid opening performance. However, I’m rolling with Riddick here for the simple fact that the Lions are mostly ineffective on defense and should be playing from behind a lot this season. Riddick only racked up 45 yards and a touchdown on the ground but hauled in 5 catches for 63 yards and another score as well. This secured his spot as the 4th highest scoring running back heading into Monday night, and I look for that trend to continue as long as the Lions are playing from behind (which should be often). The Titans all but made Adrian Peterson invisible on Sunday, so the Lions might be forced to move the ball through the air if the same happens to Abdullah. While holding value in standard leagues, Riddick has tremendous potential in PPR leagues as well.

Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons
Week 2 Matchup – Oakland Raiders

There were rumblings in the offseason that Tevin Coleman would push Devonta Freeman for touches this year. While many shrugged this off as preseason mumbo jumbo, it appears that the Falcons were not blowing smoke if Sunday was any indication of how the season will play out. The snap counts were a little too close for comfort for Freeman owners, with Coleman seeing 13 touches to Freeman’s 15. The former was able to do a little more with his opportunities racking up 117 yards. It’s not quite time to hit the panic button just yet, but if Coleman is able to continue to prove himself this backfield could quickly become a timeshare. The Falcons will play the Raiders this week, so I would look for this to be a decently high scoring game between two talented offensive teams.

Wide receivers:

Willie Snead – New Orleans Saints
Week 2 Matchup – New York Giants

Big Willie Style made a splash last season and was a popular waiver wire addition in almost every league. With the addition of Coby Fleener in the offseason and draft selection of Michael Thomas, many in the fantasy community were calling for Snead to regress some this season. That was certainly not the case against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The Saints passing game was fantasy gold in week one, and Snead finished as the 4th highest scoring receiver. This was only two spots behind his teammate, Brandin Cooks. New Orleans was atrocious on defense last season, and that trend looks to continue early in 2016. Snead and the Saints offense will face off against the Giants in week two, which could turn into another high scoring game. I have no problem rolling Big Willie out two weeks in a row.

Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers
Week 2 Matchup – San Francisco 49ers

Benjamin was a beast in his rookie year and looked primed to have a huge sophomore season before suffering a season ending injury last year. This caused him to tumble down the wide receiver rankings in 2016 with many fearing that Devin Funchess may have taken over as Cam Newton’s favorite receiver. If week one was any indication, Benjamin has been incredibly underrated. He only played around 50 snaps on Sunday, but that was enough for him to haul in six passes on twelve targets and a touchdown. Once the Carolina coaching staff feels more comfortable with his health, then Big Kel will become an absolute nightmare for defenses with his size and athletic ability. The Panthers will play a questionable 49ers defense this week, so look for Benjamin to have another solid week.

Will Fuller – Houston Texans
Week 2 Matchup – Kansas City Chiefs

The signing of Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller had some a little apprehensive regarding the Texans receivers this season. After the first week its clear there isn’t much to worry about. Will Fuller made an immediate impact on Sunday and looked impressive as he racked up 107 yards on 5 catches and a touchdown. While he won’t regularly outplay fellow teammate and top ten fantasy pick Deandre Hopkins, Fuller is definitely worth taking a strong look at moving forward. The Texans will play a solid defense in the Chiefs this week, but the Chargers were able to score and move the ball through the air with some efficiency. Fuller appears to be a player you’ll want to consider adding to your lineup.

Tight Ends:

Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys
Week 2 Matchup – Washington Redskins

Jason Witten has been a fantasy staple for as long as kids about to enter high school have been alive. He’s seen a decline in recent years with his quarterback incurring injuries and his team bringing in more youthful talent at wide receiver. However, rookie Dak Prescott appeared to take a liking to him in week one, and Witten is still a proficient tight end. Dak will have his growing pains as he develops, which means Witten could act as his security blanket moving forward. The Redskins boast a secondary that added one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Josh Norman but are a little thin outside of that. I like Witten for the foreseeable future.

Julius Thomas –Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 2 Matchup – San Diego Chargers

Thomas emerged as a huge fantasy asset in his time with the Broncos in Peyton Manning’s second to last season. His success bought him a sizable contract with the Jags last year, but he was largely ineffective for most of the season due to injuries. His performance on Sunday left him tied for 2nd with Dwayne Allen at the right end position. While Jacksonville did their part to improve defensively this offseason, it appears they still have some work to do which will lead to situations where they need to throw the football. Thomas was targeted 5 times and is an end zone threat in this offense. The Jaguars face off against a Chargers team that allowed Travis Kelce to have a solid day. I look for Thomas to do the same if he’s able to recover from a minor sprain he suffered on Sunday.

Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings
Week 2 Matchup – Green Bay Packers

It was unclear what we would see out of Minnesota after Teddy Bridgewater suffered a season ending knee injury in practice a couple weeks ago. The Vikings decided to roll out veteran Shaun Hill, and he managed the game well. Its clear Kyle Rudolph will be heavily involved in the offense as long as Hill is under center. Rudolph hauled in 4 catches on 8 targets for 65 yards and could duplicate that performance against the Packers in week two. If Green Bay can limit Adrian Peterson and gain an early lead on the Vikings, then Minnesota may be forced to turn to the passing game.

Cold:

Quarterbacks:

Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills
Week 2 Matchup – New York Jets

Tyrod Taylor was a popular sleeper pick this year but was severely limited against the Ravens on Sunday. He threw for a mere 111 yards and was unable to get anything going on the ground. He finished second to last in fantasy scoring. He has a long way to go before the sleeper prediction pays off for those who drafted him. His star receiver, Sammy Watkins, aggravated the foot injury that plagued him last season, so if Watkins is limited I don’t like Taylor’s chances of bouncing back against a Jets team that will want to focus on stopping the pass after giving up 366 yards to Andy Dalton on Sunday.

Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears
Week 2 Matchup – Philadelphia Eagles

Jay Cutler is a yearly cause of frustration for fantasy owners everywhere. He always has moments where he looks like a competent NFL quarterback but has never really lived up to the expectations the Bears had when they gave him a big contract a few seasons ago. From the looks of things, Cutler will struggle again this season. He was impressive in the first half against the Texans Sunday but fell apart when it mattered most. He’ll face an Eagles defense that only allowed 190 yards against the Browns last week, so I wouldn’t be rolling him out anytime soon.

Phillip Rivers – San Diego Chargers
Week 2 Matchup – Jacksonville Jaguars

Rivers has been a fantasy staple for owners for what seems like forever. Often overlooked in favor of younger players, he has managed to stay relevant and put up serviceable fantasy stats year in and year out. The biggest issue he’s faced in recent years has been the injuries his offensive counterparts have suffered, and that trend continues in 2016. His favorite target, Keenan Allen, has once again been placed on injured reserve and will be out for the season. The Chargers don’t have many options left at the receiver position, and time will tell who steps in to fill Allen’s spot. I’m staying away from Rivers this week against an improved Jacksonville defense.

Running Backs:

Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
Week 2 Matchup – Green Bay Packers

AP defied critics last season and proved he still had plenty of gas left in the tank. He was a top 5 pick in drafts this season, but that was before Teddy Bridgewater was injured and done for the year. Expect Peterson to see a lot of 8 man fronts as long as Shaun Hill is under center for the Vikings. He managed to gain only 31 yards on 19 carries in the win over the Titans on Sunday, and he’ll have another tough matchup against the Packers this week. I’m not exactly ready to hit the panic button just yet, and I’m not advising you to bench your first round pick. However, I would keep an eye on your waiver wire and start trying to add some depth at the running back position in case AP continues to struggle.

Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals
Week 2 Matchup – Pittsburgh Steelers

In a week where Andy Dalton threw for 366 yards, it was disappointing to see Gio only catch two passes for 5 yards on Sunday. Bernard is the receiving threat in the backfield for this offense, so this stat line is somewhat concerning when you consider how prolific the Bengals offense was in the passing game against the Jets. Cincinnati will face a Pittsburgh defense that held Washington to 16 points on Monday night, with all but 7 of those coming from field goals. Gio will likely be hit or miss as long as Jeremy Hill is healthy, and Dalton spreads the ball around to other receivers.

Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
Week 2 Matchup – Oakland Raiders

If I own Devonta Freeman this season, then I’m a little concerned with the way the Falcons used him on Sunday. He was invaluable in his breakout campaign last season, but it seems that Atlanta wants to incorporate Tevin Coleman into the mix as well. Each player saw similar touches, but it was Coleman who was able to make the most of the opportunity racking up 117 yards. Freeman will still be in the mix considering his performance last season, but I’m keeping an eye on his touches to see if the Falcons give him more chances Sunday against an Oakland team that gave up a ton of points against the Saints last week.

Wide Receivers:

Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys
Week 2 Matchup – Washington Redskins

There was some concern that Dez would suffer with Dak Prescott at the helm of the Dallas offense, but I’m not sure we were expecting a 1 point performance in week one. Prescott wasn’t stellar against the Giants, but he wasn’t terrible my any means. He found success in short to intermediate routes to the likes of Jason Witten and Cole Beasley. Dez won’t have games like this regularly, but he may struggle to perform up to his standards as Prescott continues to develop. Bryant will have a tough match up against Josh Norman and the Redskins this week, so he could continue to underperform.

John Brown – Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 Matchup – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Owners that rolled out John Brown against the Patriots this week were sorely disappointed in the outcome. Brown was only targeted four times and caught one pass for 8 yards. The big concern here is Brown’s health as he missed a lot of time in the preseason. Furthermore, he was only on the field for 57% of the Cardinals snaps. It’s possible he just needs some time to get into game shape, but the first week was troubling for the receiver many people thought would lead the Cardinals receivers this season. Arizona will face a Tampa Bay defense that gave up 334 passing yards to the Falcons, so there could be some opportunity for Carson Palmer to have a big day. Hopefully Brown will be a part of it.

Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
Week 2 Matchup – Indianapolis Colts

Demaryius Thomas enjoyed a few years of fantasy dominance with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. Manning’s retirement coupled with the announcement of Trevor Siemian as the new quarterback sent Thomas falling down draft boards this season. Siemian was decent in his first start as a Bronco, but he wasn’t able to connect with his top target the way owners would have liked. Siemian should continue to improve, so Thomas should be able to bounce back. Denver will play Indianapolis this week, so the matchup is favorable. I’m just a little pessimistic until I see something that tells me Siemian and Thomas can connect more often.

Tight Ends:

Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns
Week 2 Matchup – Baltimore Ravens

Barnidge seemingly found the fountain of youth last year and had the most fantasy points of his career. He was a top 5 tight end taken in most drafts this season, so naturally many owners are in panic mode now that their starting tight end started off 2016 without recording a single catch. Part of this was due to RGIII’s mediocre play in the opener. You never like to see injuries happen, but with news of Griffin being placed on injured reserve, fantasy teams can breathe a slight sigh of relief. Barnidge should be reunited with Josh McCown who threw many of the passes he hauled in for his career year last season. Unfortunately, the Browns will play a Ravens defense that held Tyrod Taylor in check for a measly 111 yards on Sunday. The matchup this week doesn’t bode well for Barnidge.

Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints
Week 2 Matchup – New York Giants

The offseason acquisition of Fleener to the Saints caused him to automatically become a potential top 10 tight end in fantasy drafts. Not soon after rumors surfaced of Fleener struggling to learn the offense and performing poorly in training camp. Owners that ignored this news had a rude awakening Sunday. In a game where Drew Bree’s threw for 423 yards, Coby Fleener was only targeted 4 times and caught one pass for six yards. If I’m a Fleener owner this week I’m searching my waiver wire for a better option until I see proof that he can click with Brees. The Saints have a tough matchup against the Giants this week, so all the more reason to explore other options.

Zach Miller – Chicago Bears
Week 2 Matchup – Philadelphia Eagles

Zach Miller was a popular sleeper pick this year due to the rapport he showed with Jay Cutler last year, as well as Martellus Bennett being signed by the Patriots in the offseason. Unfortunately for Miller, Jay Cutler is still the quarterback for the Chicago Bears. There will be weeks where he performs well, and there will be times where you’re wondering how he still has a starting job. Miller’s production will rise and fall with Cutler’s. He’s worth keeping on your team as a second option, but I don’t consider him a week to week starter at this point. The Eagles should pose a decent challenge to the Bears offense this week, so I’m sitting tight on Miller for now.

As we venture into the second week of NFL action it’s important to be conscious of the players on your roster that are performing well and ones that you may want to keep an eye on. Blindly starting players because of where you drafted them can quickly run a team into the ground if those players are on a cold streak. It can be difficult to come to the conclusion that your 2nd round pick may be better left on your bench, but those decisions are what will help win you a fantasy championship.

As always, please feel free to give us a shout on Twitter @No_HuddleFFB if you have any questions or concerns regarding your lineup or just want to chat about fantasy football. Best of luck this week!

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