Let’s take a look at 10 fantasy matchups that owners should be thinking about heading into Week Two.
1. Tony Romo vs. the New York Giants Defense
The Rundown: Romo was outstanding in Week One, posting a 140.6 QB rating as he threw for a career-high 353 yards and three touchdowns. Owners should be advised that while we’re high on Romo this season, he played an extremely soft Tampa Bay secondary that allowed touchdown passes of 42, 66, and 80 yards.
Preview: Don’t expect the same magic when the Cowboys host the Giants on Sunday night. Romo was sacked only once by the Bucs and didn’t face nearly the kind of pressure he’ll see against Big Blue.
Projection: 279 passing yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions.
2. Kellen Winslow vs. the Buffalo Bills Defense
The Rundown: Winslow caught five passes for 30 yards and one score against the Cowboys on Sunday, giving fantasy owners a productive opening weekend. The only concern here is that four of his five receptions came in the second half, when the Cowboys were putting the game away and playing a safer style of defense.
Preview: Don’t think for a second that the Tampa coaching staff didn’t see the Patriots bust up the Bills’ Cover Two defense Monday night by using tight end Ben Watson. Watson caught six passes for 77 yards and scored two touchdowns by running down the seam (the weak spot in the Cover Two) in the fourth quarter.
Look for the Bucs to try to stretch the defense on the outside so Winslow can make plays over the middle. Remember, starting linebacker Paul Posluszny is out with a broken arm.
Projection: Seven receptions for 71 yards.
3. Ray Rice vs. the San Diego Chargers Defense
The Rundown: As predicted, Rice looked outstanding against the Chiefs in Week One, touching the rock 21 times for 120 yards and averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He’s the featured ball carrier on an offense that will throw the football more this season than last, which will open up running lanes by preventing opposing defenses from stacking eight men in the box.
Preview: The Chargers’ defense got lit up by the Oakland rushing attack in the first half of Monday’s game, allowing 105 yards on the ground. The coaching staff made the necessary adjustments at the half, and San Diego limited the Raiders to just 43 yards on the ground during the last two quarters.
Expect Rice to see plenty of touches on Sunday, but it won’t be as easy to gain yards against the Bolts as it was the Chiefs.
Projection: 20 touches, 107 total yards, one touchdown.
4. Houston Texans Offense vs. Tennessee Titans Defense
The Rundown: The Texans were awful in Week One against the Jets (at home nonetheless), controlling the clock for a pitiful 21:14 and racking up just 183 total yards. Steve Slaton was ineffective, Matt Schaub looked awful, and Andre Johnson was nonexistent.
Preview: The Texans are headed for a 0-2 start. Tennessee’s defense was impressive Thursday night against the defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers, as it sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger four times and forced three turnovers. Houston is soft up front and is hitting the road for the first time this year.
Look for the Titans’ offense to establish the run game and control the clock (just like the Jets did), forcing Houston to play Tennessee’s style of football.
Projection: Schaub is going to struggle, and Slaton’s only chance of putting up reliable fantasy numbers is by busting a big play. Johnson is the only must-start as the Texans will have to throw for four quarters if they want to have a chance to win in Week Two.
5. Matt Hasselbeck vs. the San Francisco 49ers Defense
The Rundown: Hass looked every bit as good as we thought he would by completing 25 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns against the lowly St. Louis Rams. The most impressive number in Hasselbeck’s stat line was 69.4, as in his completion percentage for Week One. Be advised: Any numbers posted against the Rams this season will be somewhat misleading. They’re a bad football team.
Preview: Week Two will be a good test for the Seattle offense as it heads to San Francisco to take on a 49ers team coming off a big-time win over the defending NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals.
The Niners limited Kurt Warner all day last Sunday, sacking him three times and forcing two interceptions. Remember, the Seahawks’ starting left tackle, Walter Jones, is still out with a knee injury.
Projection: 255 yards, two touchdowns, one interception.
6. Russell, Murphy, and Heyward-Bey vs. the Kansas City Chiefs Defense
The Rundown: We told you guys all summer to avoid DHB, so if he’s on your roster for some unknown reason, feel free to dump him now in order to upgrade your receiving unit. The Raiders played the Chargers tough Monday night but didn't have enough as JaMarcus Russell put up pedestrian-type numbers (12-of-30, 208 yards, one TD, two INT), and the defense couldn’t hold late.
However, Louis Murphy was a bright spot, hauling in four passes for 87 yards and a score. Oakland needs to throw the ball to somebody this season (besides Zach Miller), and Murphy is making his case to be that guy.
Preview: Oakland heads to Kansas City on Sunday to play a defense that gave up 38 points and 501 total yards in Week One to the Baltimore Ravens. Don’t expect the same type of production from the Raiders, but they should be able to move the ball and put some points on the board.
Projection: Russell is too inconsistent to consider a starting QB this weekend, so don’t bother putting him in your lineup unless you’re desperate. We already told you to dump DHB, so Murphy is the only possible option. Expect the Chiefs’ secondary to keep an eye on him: five receptions for 62 yards.
7. Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars Defense
The Rundown: The Cardinals’ rushing game was nonexistent against the 49ers as Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower combined for 15 carries, 44 yards (2.9 YPC), and zero touchdowns.
Hightower was a factor in the passing game, though, as he caught 12 passes for 121 yards, but San Francisco was willing to sacrifice the short dump-off passes in exchange for solid coverage on Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin (combined eight receptions for 90 yards).
Preview: The Cardinals travel across the Mississippi in Week Two, where they went 0-5 during the regular season last year. The Jags looked very impressive against the Colts’ rushing attack in Week One, allowing just 71 yards on the ground.
The Cardinals need to provide Warner with adequate protection if they want to move the football and get back to their winning ways in Week Two.
Projection: Wells—eight carries for 37 yards; Hightower—15 touches for 70 total yards.
8. Jason Campbell vs. the St. Louis Rams Defense
The Rundown: Campbell posted a decent Week One stat line, considering he was on the road in New York against one of the best defenses in the NFL (Giants). The Redskins' signal caller finished his first game of 2009 with a 93.6 QB rating as he threw for 211 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Preview: If there’s one defense you want to play in order to build some confidence, it’s St. Louis. The Rams were torched for 28 points and 446 total yards in their Week One loss at Seattle. The downside here is that the Redskins may feature a run-heavy attack in the second half if they have a comfortable lead and are looking to drain the clock.
Projection: 286 passing yards, two touchdowns.
9. The New Orleans Saints Backfield vs. the Philadelphia Eagles Defense
The Rundown: Mike Bell and Reggie Bush sliced and diced the Detroit Lions in Week One, combining for 212 total yards. Pierre Thomas is set to return this weekend after sitting out Sunday’s game with a sprained MCL, giving the Saints three backfield options to choose from.
Keep in mind, the Saints' pass-heavy offense will force Philly into several nickel and dime coverages, opening up the running lanes underneath.
Preview: The Saints are heading into a hostile road environment to play a defense that smoked the Panthers last Sunday, forcing seven turnovers and limiting Carolina to just 169 total yards.
Star running back DeAngelo Williams was held to just 37 yards on 13 carries. With three running backs splitting the workload for New Orleans, there may not be enough touches to go around.
Projection: Bush should have an impact in the passing game but will be nonexistent when it comes to the run (six receptions for 42 yards). Bell and Thomas are risky starts because they’re the Saints’ between-the-tackles rushers, which means they’ll be competing with each other for carries. Look for them to combine for roughly 21 touches for 85 yards and one score.
10. Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal vs. the Cleveland Browns Defense
The Rundown: Marshall (four receptions, 27 yards) and Royal (two receptions, 18 yards) were non-factors in the Broncos’ fluke 12-7 win in Cincinnati on Sunday. Quarterback Kyle Orton threw for 243 yards, 87 of which came on his lucky touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley.
Preview: Expect more out of both receivers this weekend. Denver returns home to welcome a Cleveland Browns team that was manhandled in a 34-20 loss to the Vikings in Week One. The Vikings put up 310 total yards of offense, with quarterback Brett Favre only being asked to throw 21 passes, which resulted in 110 yards through the air.
The Browns’ defensive front got run over by the Minnesota offensive line, which is exactly what will happen again this weekend when Cleveland runs into a very physical and effective Denver line.
Projection: With a week of work under his belt, look for Marshall to grab seven passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. Royal should catch around six to eight passes as well, resulting in roughly 80 yards through the air.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh
Check out more fantasy analysis at the National Football Post.