As the second Sunday of this year's fantasy football season approaches, we look forward to which players will either sink your squad or push you over the top no matter what format you play in.
This article will have three players from each position, not including kickers because to be honest one never can tell. One whom I expect to be in the among the top point scorers, one player who will disappoint and a third sleeper pick. Not to mention a super-deep sleeper.
Stud: Cam Newton, CAR
While last week was a tough outing for Newton in Tampa, he returns home to take on—what many will soon realize—perhaps the worst defense in the NFL. No offense to the Redskins, but having a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back lead their team to 40 points in their NFL debut has to put up red flags about the opposing defense. Newton, who is the most dominant runner in the league at the position, should shred the Saints defense.
Projected Stats: passing: 275-yds/2TDs/0 INTs; rushing: 85-yds/ 2TDs
Dud: Robert Griffin III, WSH
As mentioned before, RG3 may have had his dominant 320-yard 2-TD performance in large because of the Saints defensive struggles. That, combined with the improved St. Louis Rams defense under Jeff Fisher should be cause for concern for RG3 owners. The Rams forced Matthew Stafford into a three interception. Sure they allowed him to throw for 355 yards, but Washington does not have Calvin Johnson, or anything close. Sorry Pierre! Not worth benching but don't expect a repeat of last week.
Projected Stats: passing: 245-yds/1 TD/2 INTs; rushing: 35-yds/0 TDs
Sleeper: Matt Cassel, KC
This one is pretty simple. Mark Sanchez threw three touchdowns and the New York Jets scored 48 against Buffalo in week one. Come on Buffalo.
Projected Stats: passing: 325-yds/3 TDs/0 INTs
Stud: Chris Johnson, TEN
It's funny how the fantasy world can lose faith in a guy after one week. Sure he was not himself last year. Sure ran for four yards on 11 carries against the Patriots. But he did stop getting carries when the team went down early, and he did have 47 yards on receptions. Not to mention this year's Patriots defense is nasty! Oh and if you own him he was one of your first two picks.
In case you didn't notice, Johnson's week two opponent San Diego, allowed Darren McFadden to catch 13 passes for 86-yards in their game last week. I expect the game to be closer for Tennessee and for them to lean on Johnson.
Projected Stats: 150 total yards/ 2TDs
Dud: Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG
How many yards will Chris Johnson run for in 2012?
Bradshaw had a good opener against Dallas, registering 93 total yards and a touchdown against a stout defense. This week he faces Tampa Bay, a team who he crushed for 104 yards on just 14 carries in their last meeting in 2009. This Tampa defense is a lot different. Last week they faced a team in Carolina who seemingly you must focus on the quarterback in order to beat. Still, they put an emphasis on shutting down the run game of Carolina. Including Cam Newton, the Panthers running game amassed all of 10 yards. Bradshaw should do a bit better, but not much.
Projected Stats: 46 total yards/0TDs
Sleeper: Jonathan Dwyer, PIT
In week one, Dwyer was only able to manage 53 yards on 11 total touches against Denver. While his numbers didn't show it, there were some flashes of what could become a very good NFL running back. He can carry a heavy workload coming from Georgia Tech's run happy triple option, and has shown the ability to break the big one, having snapped off a 76-yard rush against Tennessee last year. All that combined with the Jets giving up 194-yards on just 16 touches to C.J. Spiller in week one, spells a big day for Dwyer.
Projected Stats: 120 total yards/1TD
Stud: Demaryius Thomas, DEN
Thomas showed in week one how good he can be with a legitimate quarterback. In his first game with Peyton Manning, Thomas caught five balls for 110 yards and a score. That touchdown was a 71-yard strike in which Thomas showed off his track-star speed. He goes back to his home state of Georgia this week to play the Falcons. Atlanta's best cover corner Brett Grimes is out for the season and the game looks to be an high scoring affair. With friends and family in the dome, Thomas gets to run wild on turf. This could be fun for Thomas owners.
Projected Stats: 165-yards/2TDs
Dud: Brandon Lloyd, NE
Brandon Lloyd showed in Week 1 that he has overtaken Wes Welker as the Patriots' No. 1 wide-out option. Welker sat out on roughly one-third of the offensive snaps and seems to be having his role reduced. That being said Lloyd is going to be shadowed by Patrick Peterson on Sunday. Peterson literally shuts down receivers a la Darrel Revis and Deion Sanders. There wont be much there for Lloyd this week, although he could get a cheap touchdown.
Projected Stats: 32-yards/0TDs
Sleeper: Mike Williams, TB
If you saw what Kevin Ogletree did against New York in week one, you know why. The secondary for the giants was torched, and by a receiver who has been a fantasy nobody for his entire career. Williams has been a reliable fantasy option in the past and scored a touchdown in Week 1. With Vincent Jackson getting most of New York's attention, Williams should see plenty of balls thrown his way.
Projected Stats: 88-yards/1TD
Stud: Jared Cook
Last week Brandon Meyers had 65 yards against San Diego. Who is Brandon Meyers? An Oakland Raiders tight end. If you know football, you know that Jared Cook is on the brink of becoming a household name. No matter which Tennessee quarterback is throwing the ball, they will rely heavily on Cook.
Projected Stats: 90-yards/1TD
Dud: Jason Witten, DAL
Witten amazingly started and played in the week one opener after recovering quickly from an injured spleen. That being said, Witten didn't look like him self. I am no doctor, but I would venture to say he is not quite 100 percent. If I am wrong and the extra week helped, this could blow up in my face.
Projected Stats: 55-yards/0TDs
Sleeper: Heath Miller, PIT
Scott Chandler had 38 yards and a touchdown against the Jets in Week 1. Miller had 50 yards and a touchdown against Denver in Week 1. More importantly the Steelers seem to be developing their short passing game. This means a big year for Miller, who has always had the ability to be a great fantasy option. I think he proves that for the second straight week.
Projected Stats: 65-yards/2TDs
Stud: New England Patriots
Analysis: Kevin Kolb is starting for Arizona
Dud: Baltimore Ravens
Analysis: Andy Dalton and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are not Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy. Right?
Sleeper: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Analysis: Until they prove me wrong, I am a believer!
SUPER-DEEP SLEEPER: Andrew Hawkins, CIN
At only 5'7" Hawkins, put up 88 yards on eight catches against Baltimore in Week 1. This week the Bengals face Cleveland, without Joe Haden. This means the team's cornerback's are all bumped up one slot, leaving Hawkins to be most likely be defended by someone who normally wouldn't play much on a bad team. Pick him up and start him if you can!
Projected Stats: 120-yards/1 TD