Fantasy football is all about matchups, which is why it's not always a good idea to start one of your star players.
Case in point: Marshawn Lynch—one of the best running backs in the NFL and a fantasy stud—was shut down by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. He touched the ball 19 times for just 52 total yards, disappointing fantasy owners across the nation.
The Panthers upgraded their defensive front in a major way this past offseason, and the results speak for themselves.
On the other end of the spectrum, Peyton Manning feasted like a king against the Baltimore Ravens, passing for 462 yards with seven touchdowns. The Ravens lost two Hall of Famers this past offseason, along with a couple other starting defenders, and Manning capitalized.
With that in mind, here's a look at the best and worst fantasy matchups on the slate for Week 2.
Start: Peyton Manning at New York Giants
There's no way Manning can stay as hot in Week 2, right?
Well, the elder Manning may not toss seven touchdowns against his brother in the Big Apple, but New York's secondary is ripe for the plucking.
Which Manning will be better in Week 2?
Even if Prince Amukamara is cleared to play (unlikely, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post), the Giants don't have enough talented defensive backs to defend the weapons at Peyton's disposal. Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and tight end Julius Thomas are all capable of having monster games when these two teams meet up on Sunday.
Make no mistake about it: Peyton Manning is going to have another huge game, and you'd be a fool to sit him.
Sit: Colin Kaepernick at Seattle Seahawks
As a lifelong fan of the San Francisco 49ers, I'd like to believe that Kaepernick will have 400-yard passing games every week. But as an analyst looking at this matchup, I advise fantasy owners who have a solid backup to bench Kap for the 49ers' trip up to Seattle.
Seattle held Cam Newton to 125 yards passing and 38 yards rushing, and he scored just one touchdown Sunday.
Kaepernick is a better passer than Newton, but Seattle's secondary is second to none. Cornerback Brandon Browner didn't even play against Carolina, and the Seahawks will be even more difficult to beat through the air should Browner return in time from his hamstring injury.
Anquan Boldin will likely have a harder time against the physical Seattle corners, passing lanes will be tighter, and nobody should be surprised if Kaepernick ends up throwing an interception or two.
Start: Doug Martin vs. New Orleans Saints
Martin had a difficult go of it against the New York Jets, but he's going to bounce back with a huge game against the Saints. Steven Jackson gained 7.0 yards per carry against New Orleans this past weekend, and for the life of me I can't understand why he only ran the ball 11 times.
Rest assured, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't limit Martin's touches in Week 2. Remember, this is the same Saints defense that allowed 2,361 rushing yards last year. Martin will have a field day.
Sit: C.J. Spiller vs. Carolina Panthers
After a miserable season opener against the New England Patriots, Spiller goes from the frying pan into the fire in Week 2 against the Panthers.
Boom or Bust: C.J. Spiller vs. Panthers
As was discussed in the introduction, Lynch was held in check in Week 1, gaining just 52 total yards with zero touchdowns.
Last season's Defensive Rookie of the Year, Luke Kuechly, leads a dominant front seven that looks scary this year. Rookie defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short are dynamic in the middle, and it's going to be difficult for any team to run the ball effectively against the Carolina defense in 2013.
Start: Jordan Cameron at Baltimore Ravens
We recently witnessed the unheralded Julius Thomas wreak havoc on the Ravens secondary. He caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns as a secondary weapon for Petyon Manning.
Based on what we saw from the Browns on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, Cameron is a primary weapon in Norv Turner's offense. He caught nine passes for 108 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets to lead the Browns in all four categories.
Thomas was able to find open spaces in Baltimore's zone, and Cameron will do the same. Plus, Miami's defense features better linebackers than the Ravens. Cameron is set up to have a huge game as Brandon Weeden's top target this week.
Sit: Dwayne Allen vs. Miami Dolphins
Allen has struggled to stay healthy this summer, and he was once again banged up in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders when he hurt his hip.
After sitting out the second half, Allen's MRI luckily came back negative. Head coach Chuck Pagano hopes he'll be ready to practice on Wednesday, as noted by reporter Mike Chappell:
Pagano: Dwayne Allen. MRI came back negative. Be in Tues for treatment. Hopefully be able to roll Wed— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) September 9, 2013
Even if he does play, Allen's health is a huge red flag right now. Continue to sit until he proves otherwise.
Start: DeSean Jackson vs. San Diego Chargers
Eric Weddle can't defend the entire back end by himself, which is why the Chargers are in deep trouble this year on defense. Weddle's the only defensive back on the roster with any clout, and he's playing with a bunch of young players who haven't been tested.
This means DeSean Jackson will have a field day in the Philadelphia Eagles' upcoming matchup with San Diego.
Jackson and quarterback Michael Vick have always been a dynamic duo, and Philly's passing game will be bolstered by a potent rushing attack this year. With LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown tiring out opposing defensive fronts, Vick will have more time to throw the ball.
Sit: Dwayne Bowe vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys gave up a ton of passing yards to the Giants Sunday night, but Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs will present a much easier challenge.
Eli Manning has the arm strength and a talented trio of receivers to stretch the field and make every throw in the book. Smith, on the other hand, must rely on short timing patterns to move the chains. Bowe is a strong, physical receiver, but Smith isn't the quarterback most conducive to the big play.
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bowe caught just four passes for 30 yards and zero touchdowns. No reason to expect any more from him this week against the Cowboys.
Start: Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans
Right now, the Tennessee Titans are a one-dimensional team on offense, and it showed against the Steelers in Week 1. Jake Locker barely completed half his passes and threw for just 125 yards. The team struggled to run the ball, averaging 2.7 yards per carry.
Houston's defense is a step above Pittsburgh's these days, and Tennessee is going to find it even tougher to make headway against J.J. Watt and Co. in Week 2.
Even if Chris Johnson finds some running room, Locker's inability to sustain drives with his arm will doom the Titans to a big loss at home against their divisional rivals. If Tennessee manages to total 250 yards in the contest, I'll be thoroughly surprised.
Sit: Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions
Reggie Bush has added another dimension to Detroit's offense, which was already potent before his arrival.
As the Minnesota Vikings clamped down on Calvin Johnson and the rest of the Lions receiving corps, Bush found open lanes underneath and had a monster game as a result. He finished with 191 total yards and a touchdown, and the Lions ended up with 469 total yards and 34 points.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, struggled to contain tight end Jared Cook and allowed 299 total passing yards to Sam Bradford. Even more concerning is the fact that Arizona failed to register a single sack. Matthew Stafford is going to have a huge game this week, as will Johnson and Bush.
Start: Dan Bailey vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Dallas can move the ball on offense between the 20s better than just about every team in the league. Red-zone struggles frustrate the heck out of coaches, but they're great for fantasy owners who have Bailey on their rosters.
Against the Giants in Week 1, Bailey hit on all three of his field-goal attempts and drilled in three more PATs.
The Chiefs feature an underrated defense that is capable of getting to the quarterback and making plays in the secondary. Chances are Tony Romo and the 'Boys offense will stall out a few times in field-goal range, meaning Bailey will have plenty of opportunities to score.
Sit: Dan Carpenter vs. Carolina Panthers
It's likely going to be a long, long day for EJ Manuel, Spiller and the rest of Buffalo's offense; scoring opportunities will be few and far between for the Bills.
Carpenter didn't attempt a single field goal against the Patriots, though he did hit three extra points. He'll be similarly bored against the Panthers, and fantasy owners should look for an alternative this weekend.
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