Week two of the NFL season saw its favorites start to show their strength while the race for the number one selection in the NFL Draft had an important matchup. The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks had impressive wins and showed that they are the teams to beat in their conferences. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars to give the Jags a leg up in terms of getting the number one selection.
Week two also meant another week of fantasy football and the chance to give your league notice on who is the team to beat or the team that will get beat over and over. Also, another week of fantasy football means another week of hits and misses from this column. The hits: Julius Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Marlon Brown, Brian Hartline, James Jones, Darren Sproles (in PPR leagues), and DeAngelo Williams. The rest are classified as misses (especially disappointed in Jared Cook and Vincent Brown).
Remember: This column is not designed to spotlight the top options at each position. If you are looking for advice on start/sit options or top players at a specific position, check out our rankings and other columns throughout the week. This is going to be a weekly spotlight of one player from each game this weekend that has a shot to be a nice flex or last starting option (a WR3 or RB3 for example). Will they all produce a large number of points? No. These are nice lottery tickets to fill in on your team and give you a chance to steal the win.
Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals
Tyler Eifert (Cincinnati Bengals) – Five targets in each of the first two games is nothing to gloss over for the former Golden Domer. He’s looking like the number two target in the Bengals’ offense behind the great A.J. Green. Eifert gets the Packers, a team Vernon Davis ripped up week one. I like Eifert to get four or five catches, 60 yards and a score in a great matchup week three.
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Chris Givens (St. Louis Rams) – Givens gets a good matchup week three against a Cowboys secondary that can be suspect in their coverage skills. Sam Bradford looked Givens’ way quite a bit last week and I don’t think that will decrease in a game where the Rams will most likely need to continue to throw the ball to stay in the game. Look for Givens to get five receptions, including one or two over 30 yards, and maybe a score too.
San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans
Kendall Wright (Tennessee Titans) – I was going to go with Eddie Royal, but that does not fit the purpose of this column after his breakout the past few weeks. Wright, on the other hand, does. He has the most targets by Jake Locker (15) and catches on the team (9). The Chargers have given up a bunch of passing yards and scores this season, which is encouraging for a Titans team that has struggled on the offensive end. Wright will get a chance to grab a score with about 40 yards when he’s cleared to play.
Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings
Bobby Rainey (Cleveland Browns) – Still don’t get the trade of Trent Richardson to the Colts for what is most likely a mid- to late- first round pick. I believe that Rainey is going to get the carries right off for the Browns as Willis McGahee gets into football shape and learns the offense in Cleveland. Since he’s going to get the most carries, Rainey is worth a flex slot this week. I’m thinking 50 yards rushing and a touchdown in garbage time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots
Kenbrell Thompkins (New England Patriots) – Mr. Preseason has fallen on some tough times as he entered the regular season. The good news: Tom Brady has been looking Thompkins’ way often and throwing there often (21 targets in two games). The bad news: Thompkins has only caught six of those 21 passes thrown to him and there have been some bad drops along the way. Thompkins has the talent to produce; he showed that in the preseason. With the lack of other targets to throw to (beside Julian Edelman), Brady has to keep tossing it around to Thompkins. After what was a grueling week of practice after that horrible performance against the Jets, I like Thompkins to step up and start holding on to the ball. Six receptions for 60 yards and a score is needed to not only help win the game, but secure his place in the rotation as Brady’s weapons come back from injury.
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints
Jim Dray (Arizona Cardinals) – Carson Palmer likes throwing to his tight ends over the years (see Myers last year in Oakland). Dray has stepped into the pass catching tight end spot on the Cardinals’ roster, until Rob Housler returns from injury. The seven targets from Palmer resulted in five catches for 31 yards last week. I see Dray as a sneaky tight end or desperate flex play that has the opportunity to score given Palmer’s past use of tight ends.
Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins
Nate Burleson (Detroit Lions) – Nate has been PPR gold so far getting six and seven catches in the first two games respectively. While scoring touchdowns is rare for Burleson, a touchdown may come to fruition against a Redskins defense that has struggled to stop anyone so far this year. Stafford likes to find him on short to intermediate routes and 60 yards on seven receptions should be expected this week.
New York Giants at Carolina Panthers
Ted Ginn (Carolina Panthers) – There is one thing that is for sure … Ginn is fast and can still blow a top off opposing defenses. What may be lost on some people is the fact that he got eight targets last week. EIGHT!! He’s better than LaFell and he was targeted as the number two receiver. Newton found Ginn on a deep touchdown against Buffalo and I can see that happening again against a Giants’ secondary that has been very susceptible to any offensive attack that lines up across from them. If you feel lucky, this lottery ticket may get you a deep score on one of his four receptions.
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens
Marlon Brown (Baltimore Ravens) – Week one and week two looked almost like carbon copies (four catches on six targets with a touchdown). The only difference was the 20 yards (65 yards week one and 45 yards week two). Flacco seems to like the 6’5” receiver as the number two option in the passing game. With Ray Rice injured and questionable for this week’s game, the Ravens will have to rely more on the passing game and Brown will be able to take advantage of the extra work. Five catches for 65 yards and a score is what I foresee in Brown’s future.
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins
Charles Clay (Miami Dolphins) – Welcome to the NFL Charles Clay!! Well, he’s been in the league since 2011, but I haven’t really felt any impact from the former Tulsa star. For the Golden Hurricane, he put up some big receiving numbers, along with rushing numbers, as the running back/fullback/tight end. In the NFL, it’s been a wait, but I think the time has come to elevate him to a top ten tight end. He’s become a quick favorite of the Dolphins’ play callers and quarterback. Five receptions for 80 yards and a score are very possible against the Falcons.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Stephen Hill (New York Jets) – Well, Geno Smith needs to throw it to someone and Hill is the best option for the rookie to throw to. Hill has been targeted nine and eight times in the first two games respectively. Hill has big play capabilities (see his career at Georgia Tech) and can stretch the defense with his speed and win jump balls with his height. Going against the Bills, he gets a defense that he can win some battles against on the outside. Six catches for 70 yards and, if he’s lucky, Geno throws him a touchdown.
Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers
Vance McDonald (San Francisco 49ers) – At the time of this writing, Vernon Davis has not practiced this week. And if Davis misses Sunday’s game or is limited to a small amount of snaps, I like McDonald to pick up the slack as the number two passing option behind Boldin. The second round selection this year showed his pass catching abilities all throughout his collegiate career. I see six receptions for 50 yards and a score if Davis does not play; three receptions for 30 yards and a possible score if Davis sees limited snaps.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks
Robert Turbin (Seattle Seahawks) – This game is going to be a blowout by the Seahawks as the Jags are atrocious. Since it’s going to be pretty one-sided, I don’t see Marshawn Lynch, aka Mr. Beast Mode and aka The Skittles Man, playing much; he’ll be getting some rest in the second half. This is where Turbin steps in and takes the garbage time glory. If you are desperate for a running back or a flex play, there is a great chance for Turbin to gets some major run in the second half. It’s going to be 50 yards and a late score as the Seahawks roll the Jags.
Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers
Martellus Bennett (Chicago Bears) – I’m done with Isaac Redman and any running back that graces a Steelers uniform after I picked them for good performances week one and two. Moving on, Jay Cutler has finally found a number two passing target in Chicago to take some pressure off of Brandon Marshall. Bennett caught the game winning touchdown last week (his second of the day) and totaled seven receptions. I think that this connection is for real and not an early season fluke. Bennett may think that his coach is like Willy Wonka (please look up that audio clip as it is magic) and I’d like what he’s drinking. Five receptions for 60 yards and a score are coming up against the Steelers.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Eric Decker (Denver Broncos) – Decker gets selected mostly because he has not scored yet this season. The old “he’s due” reasoning is not the most sound way of thinking, but against the Raiders, I like Manning and the offensive staff to get Decker on the board in what will sure be a blowout. And it’s not like Decker has not put up any numbers so far this season (11 catches for 119 yards). Six receptions for 60 yards and his first score of the season is what I predict for week three.
As you head out into the rest of week three in the NFL, take these suggestions with a grain of salt. This is all about filling that last flex spot in your starting lineup with a guy that has a good matchup or a solid chance of production. These guys are my best options for that to occur. I wish everyone luck in their third week of the season and hope you establish your team as a contender.