What’s up fantasy playas?
After dropping my season opener, I finally got into the win column a week ago (Yee haw!) thanks to big games from my Denver trio of Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas and Matt Prater on Monday night. Although this is his 10th year in the league, McGahee still looks like he has a lot of gas in the tank. And I’m very hopeful that he does.
Thomas, meanwhile, looks like a budding star. Last week, Peyton Manning targeted him eight times, and Thomas caught all eight passes for 78 yards and a score. Although the Broncos have to play a very stout Houston defense this weekend, don’t be surprised to see Thomas have another productive day. Thomas and Manning have developed a solid rapport, and he’s a matchup problem for any secondary in the NFL — even a Houston secondary that ranks No. 1 in the league against the pass. Granted, though, the Texans have played two poor passing teams in Miami and Jacksonville.
It was officially announced today that Giants tailback Ahmad Bradshaw will miss the game between New York and Carolina on Thursday. Bradshaw injured his neck in the second quarter of the team’s comeback win over Tampa Bay last week, and could miss more than this week’s game if the injury is slow to heal. Teams are always cautious about neck injuries, so monitor his situation closely.
If you own Bradshaw, or if you need more production from your tailback spot, more than likely you were on the waiver wire attempting to pick up Andre Brown, who is expected to start in place of Bradshaw. Brown filled in nicely for Bradshaw a week ago by running for 71 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Rookie first-round pick David Wilson is currently in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse (for fumbling issues), so Brown will be the man with the plan when the Giants take on the Panthers. Carolina’s run defense has been shoddy at best through the seasons first two weeks so far, so Brown could be in line for some nice stats.
Another hot waiver wire pickup this week has been St. Louis Rams receiver Danny Amendola. Amendola hauled in 15 passes for 160 yards and a score in the Rams 31-28 win over Washington last weekend. Amendola is a name most fantasy owners are familiar with, but, in years past, his production has been very unpredictable. But he’s always had a good connection with quarterback Sam Bradford, so that’s a big positive in adding the Wes Welker clone. If Amendola can produce versus the Bears defense like he did in Week 2 against the Skins, then Amendola owners could have a fantasy find on their hands.
If you’re hurting at receiver or tight end this week and are looking for a waiver wire sleeper, take a glance at Houston tight end Owen Daniels. The Broncos defense has allowed touchdowns to tight ends in back to back games, and Daniels is still one of the better receiving TE’s in the league. On the year, Daniels has 10 catches for 134 yards. He has been targeted 17 times.
Last week, I mentioned that San Diego, Dallas and Tampa Bay would be good defenses to own. Although I didn’t particularly like the matchups that the Cowboys and Bucs had, I thought they could be useful options as the season goes on. As for San Diego, they did a good job of holding a limited Tennessee offense in check and turned out to be a double-digit scoring play. The Chargers don’t have a good matchup with the Falcons this week; therefore I don’t recommend starting them. I do recommend starting the Cowboys, however, considering they’ll be playing their home opener.
If you haven’t already figured it out, home openers in the NFL are deadly on opponents. Just ask Dallas, Denver, Cleveland, Baltimore, Kansas City, New Orleans, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Oakland, the New York Jets, Washington, Tennessee and Detroit. All of those teams were visiting teams in home openers in Week 2, and they all lost.
Let See The Field:
Michael Bush, RB, Chicago: With Matt Forte’s ankle still in question, it might be a good thing to let Bush see the field. Bush looked impressive in the Bears loss to Green Bay last week, and he could have a big day against a weak Rams run defense.
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis: Brown is off to a slow start this season, but playing a Jacksonville team that ranks second-to-last in the NFL in run defense might help the Colts running back get on the right track. Brown has big-play ability and he could show that against the Jaguars.
Dallas Cowboys Defense: I know the Cowboys got embarrassed a week ago, but I look for them to rebound in a big way against Tampa Bay. It’s Dallas’ home opener and DeMarcus Ware and company will be looking to take out some frustration on a Bucs offense that’s played surprisingly well so far this season.
Owen Daniels, TE/WR, Houston: The Broncos have had a hard time covering quality tight ends so far this season and don’t expect that to stop against Houston. Daniels isn’t an elite option, but he could be a nice fill-in player this week if you have an injury to a starter and need so help off the bench.
Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants: Brown, a big, powerful back, will be starting in place of Ahmad Bradshaw. Get him active and see what he can do against a shoddy Carolina run defense.
Show the Splinters:
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants: Bradshaw suffered a neck injury against Tampa Bay last week and will not play versus Carolina.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants: Nicks broke his foot in the offseason and had the injury re-aggravated in the team’s win over Tampa Bay. Nicks is expected to miss Thursday night’s game at Carolina.
San Diego Chargers Defense: The Chargers D played well against the Titans a week ago, but the Atlanta offense is a different animal. Keep the Chargers stashed away if you have the roster space considering they’ll be useful again in the future.
Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England: Hernandez is out for a few weeks after injuring his ankle so keep him stashed away.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia: Maclin is still dealing with a hip injury so monitor his situation closely. Even if he is healthy, Maclin would be a risky start against Arizona’s underrated defense.
Wes Welker, WR, New England: Welker has been lost in the shuffle in New England’s offense this season and he has a tough matchup going up against the Ravens defense. If you have another quality option besides Welker, than you may want to consider replacing the Patriots slot receiver. Rob Gronkowski and Brando Lloyd are clearly the top two options for New England’s pass offense at the moment.
Keep an Eye On:
Michael Turner, RB, Falcons: Turner was arrested early Tuesday morning for a DUI and it will be interesting to see what his role will be this weekend at San Diego. Turner owners might want to monitor his status to make sure he is worthy of a start this week. Turner owners might also need to think about adding backup Jason Snelling just in case Turner is disciplined by the team or not.
Follow Matt on Twitter at MattLowe777 or at @Lindyssportsmag