Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Smart Matchup Players, Sleepers and More
The first week of the 2012 fantasy football season is in the books, and right now fantasy teams are a matter of extremes. You're either winless or undefeated, with no middle ground in between.
With that said, much like in the National Football League, you have to have a short memory in fantasy football, so whether you're trying to get off a skid or keep your momentum rolling, here are a handful of very favorable fantasy matchup plays and sleepers for Week 2.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings (at IND)
One of the more surprising fantasy developments to emerge from Week 1 was the relatively heavy workload of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
Less than nine months after tearing his ACL and MCL, the sixth-year pro didn't just play, but carried the load in the Vikings' overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, toting the rock 17 times for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
Even more importantly, Tom Pelissero of ESPN Twin Cities reports that Peterson didn't experience any swelling or soreness in the knee, so with a very favorable matchup upcoming with the Indianapolis Colts, Peterson can be inserted back into fantasy lineups with confidence.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (vs. KC)
To say that Week 1 was a game the Buffalo Bills would just as soon forget is an understatement.
Not only was the team smoked by the New York Jets in the season opener, but the Bills also lost starting running back Fred Jackson for the foreseeable future to a sprained knee.
That thrusts C.J. Spiller back into the starting lineup and into fantasy consideration this week.
No running back scored more fantasy points over the last three weeks than Spiller a year ago, and with a matchup on tap against a Kansas City Chiefs squad that surrendered the eighth most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs last year, Spiller is a strong play in Week 2.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts (vs. MIN)
Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne is far and away the most accomplished pass catcher on the Indianapolis Colts' roster, so it wasn't surprising to see the 12th-year veteran lead the team in targets in Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bears.
What was surprising was just how many times Wayne was targeted, as quarterback Andrew Luck looked his way a whopping 18 times en route to nine catches for 135 yards.
If that trend continues this week at home against the Minnesota Vikings, then Wayne should be in for another big day, as the Vikings were the third friendliest fantasy matchup in the NFL for opposing wideouts in 2011.
Davone Bess, WR, Miami Dolphins (vs. OAK)
It's a "Hard Knocks" life.
At least it was for the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, as the team followed their appearance on the HBO television series by being throttled by the Houston Texans 30-10.
There wasn't much that went well for the Dolphins passing game last Sunday, but wide receiver Davone Bess managed to lead all Miami wideouts in catches, hauling in five balls for 45 yards.
The sledding should be a lot easier this week at home against the Oakland Raiders, who looked just as bad in their first game as the Dolphins and who lost cornerback Ronald Bartell to an injury.
Granted this isn't the sort of fantasy play that inspires a great deal of confidence, but facing an injury-depleted secondary that allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers a year ago, Bess is a serviceable plug and play for fantasy teams that are hurting at the position.
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears (at GB)
The Chicago Bears rolled the Indianapolis Colts 41-21 in Week 1, spurred on in large part by the strong play of quarterback Jay Cutler, who threw for 333 yards and two scores in the win.
The seventh-year pro should be set for another strong showing when the Bears travel to meet the Green Bay Packers in a big NFC North showdown Thursday night.
The defensive woes that plagued Green Bay don't appear to have been remedied yet, and given that the Packers were a top-five fantasy matchup for opposing quarterbacks last year, Cutler is one of the best matchup plays at his position in Week 2.
Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona Cardinals (at NE)
I'll freely admit that this isn't a fantasy play for the faint of heart, but there's not much in the way of sneaky plays at the quarterback position this week for fantasy owners in deeper leagues.
That leaves Kevin (gulp!) Kolb of the Arizona Cardinals, who came on in relief of the injured John Skelton in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
After an abysmal preseason, Kolb was sharp in leading the Redbirds to a game-winning score, completing six of eight passes for 66 yards with a touchdown.
The Cardinals will likely be playing catch-up Sunday against a New England team that allowed the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last year and surrendered over 200 passing yards and a score to Jake Locker of the Tennessee Titans last week before he got hurt.
Like I said, not for the faint of heart, but sometimes desperation is a powerful motivator.