Week 1 of the 2013 NFL regular season was filled with thrills, but not everyone was so pleased. Some of the top names in fantasy football underwhelmed, and thus, doubts have arisen about the validity of said players.
The question is, which fantasy football stars will recover in Week 2?
Whether it was an All-Pro player who was shut down by a team effort or a star who struggled to find his rhythm, there will be an inevitable bounce back. Said players are far too talented to let this become a trend, and in Week 2, they'll remind the world of why they're so highly regarded.
Get these players into your starting lineup, no matter the risk.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 7th Season
2013 Season Statistics
4 REC, 37 YDS, 0 TD
Normally, I'd be hesitant to support a player who's about to be defended by Patrick Peterson for 60 minutes. In those cases, Calvin Johnson wouldn't be coming off of an underwhelming performance against a Minnesota Vikings squad that he should've torched.
Is Calvin Johnson still elite?
Peterson will give him trouble, but this is Megatron we're talking about—he'll get his catches.
Johnson caught just four passes for 37 yards during Detroit's Week 1 34-24 win over the Vikings. He had a touchdown grab, but it was called off after video review, and from there, he never seemed to recover.
Reggie Bush breaking out for 191 total yards of offense is a major reason why Matthew Stafford didn't look Johnson's way, as is the heavy coverage he faced. Even as Arizona throws one of the NFL's true shutdown corners at Johnson, this isn't just an average receiver we're talking about.
The last time Johnson failed to top 100 yards in consecutive games was Oct. 28, 2012. The last time Johnson faced the Cardinals, he caught 10 passes for 121 yards and received 17 targets from Stafford.
The matchup is unfavorable, but the same can be said about what Peterson is about to endure.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Experience: 3rd Season
2013 Season Statistics
16/23, 125 YDS, 1 TD, 0 INT; 5 ATT, 38 YDS, 0 TD
During the opening week of the 2013 NFL regular season, Cam Newton was 16-of-23 for 125 yards and a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks. To go with his career low in passing yards, Newton ran the ball five times for 38 yards.
Expect much bigger numbers against the Buffalo Bills.
According to ESPN, Newton attempted just three passes of more than 10 yards during the Panthers' season opener. This is hardly surprising, as Carolina designed a game plan to work around Seattle's elite defensive backfield.
Buffalo may have quality defensive pieces, but there's no reason for Newton to do anything other than unleash a vertical fury.
Newton is still fantasy football's premier duel-threat quarterback, as no one possesses the combination of passing and rushing production that the former Auburn star does. Even if you took the run away, Newton would still be elite by historical measures.
Just check the numbers.
. @Panthers QB Cam Newton reached 8,000 pass yards in Week 1, his 33rd game, tying for 5th fastest in NFL HISTORY.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 11, 2013
If you're going to allow a conservative performance against a defense of Seattle's caliber to create doubt about a star player's production, you're going to have a very uneasy season. Newton is going to be just fine, and he'll continue his path to superstardom against Buffalo.
After all, he can only go up from here.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Position: Running Back
Experience: 3rd Season
2012 Season Statistics
9 ATT, 46 YDS, 0 TD, 1 FUM
During Week 1 of the 2013 NFL regular season, New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley had trouble holding onto the ball. He was credited with one fumble, but his mishandling was deeper than that.
Before you go jumping to conclusions, however, note that the player who replaced him and shined, Shane Vereen, is injured.
Patriots announced they placed RB Shane Vereen on Injured Reserve with a designation to return.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 10, 2013
New England's only option is to give Ridley another chance.
When he was on the field, Ridley ran for 46 yards on nine carries, good for an average of 5.1 yards per attempt. He's also the player who ran for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012, thriving in short-yardage situations and helping to move the chains with 82 first downs.
Even if the New York Jets are displaying signs of recovering defensively, Ridley should be in store for a big day.
In 2012, Ridley played the Jets twice, running for 65 yards on 17 carries in the first meeting and 97 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in the second. There's no question that there's risk to starting Ridley, but there's one thing that statistical metrics can't measure: Ridley needs to prove himself.
Ridley is a genuine star running back, but without a standout performance, he could lose the trust of his coaching staff. Don't expect him to let that happen.