Week Two kicks off in two days, so it’s time to start thinking about who to start and who to sit on your fantasy rosters.
Let’s take a look at some key players heading into this weekend’s action.
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Get them in the lineup
1. Kellen Winslow, Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Winslow got off to a good start this season by catching five passes for 30 yards and a touchdown last week against the Cowboys. Don’t think for a second that the Bucs' coaching staff didn’t notice New England tight end Ben Watson chewing up the Bills’ secondary on Monday night.
Watson caught six passes for 77 yards and two scores and was put in position to exploit Buffalo’s cover-two defense.
2. Washington Redskins D/ST
This is a tough, physical unit that has the pleasure of heading to St. Louis to take on a soft Rams team. St. Louis was shut out and only mustered 247 total yards of offense in Week One at Seattle.
Look for Albert Haynesworth and London Fletcher to cause disruption all over the field.
Side note: This also means running back Steven Jackson is a rough start this weekend, while Washington running back Clinton Portis is a strong play who should put up some respectable numbers.
3. Darren McFadden, Running Back, Oakland Raiders
I’m not very high on McFadden for the season, but he’s a great play this week at Kansas City. Although he’ll lose some touches to running back Michael Bush, McFadden lit up the Chiefs in Kansas City during their Week Two showdown last year by rushing 21 times for 164 yards and one score.
After watching Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, and Le'Ron McClain all post solid fantasy numbers last week against the Chiefs, owners should expect McFadden to do the same.
4. Terrell Owens and Lee Evans, Wide Receivers, Buffalo Bills
The Buccaneers’ secondary was awful against the Cowboys in Week One, allowing quarterback Tony Romo to throw for a career-high 353 yards and three touchdowns. Dallas scored on passes of 42 (Miles Austin), 66 (Roy Williams), and 80 yards (Patrick Crayton) as it exposed the Tampa secondary for the better part of the afternoon.
After implementing a reserved aerial attack in Week One at Foxboro, expect Buffalo offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt to get his two best weapons involved on Sunday for two reasons: one, because it gives the Bills a good chance to win, and two, because Van Pelt won’t want to hear Owens complaining in the locker room after the game.
Bonus Start: Bills running back Fred Jackson is a solid play this weekend as well.
5. Philip Rivers, Quarterback, San Diego Chargers
I’m hoping most of you think this one is obvious, but I’ve gotten a lot of questions about Rivers this week, so I thought now would be the perfect time to address the situation.
First off, you used an early draft pick on this guy for a reason. Why would you want to sit him?
Second, over the past two seasons, Rivers has been outstanding in home games:
QB Rating: 100.4
Yes, Baltimore is a tough defense. But if LT can’t play (and even if he does, chances are he won’t be productive), how else is San Diego going to move the football? Ding, ding, ding! That’s right, by passing it.
Three more guys to consider
1. Steve Slaton
He’s rushed for over 100 yards in his two previous games against the Titans.
2. Kyle Orton
The Browns’ defense is soft, and I have a feeling this could be the week Orton makes some noise. Don’t expect a monster, but 250 yards and two touchdowns is not a reach.
3. Todd Heap
He caught five passes for 74 yards and one score last week against the Chiefs. His opponent in Week Two (San Diego) allowed Oakland tight end Zach Miller to catch six passes for 96 yards Monday night.
Send them to the bench
1. LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles, Running Backs, San Diego Chargers
Baltimore has not allowed a 100-plus-yard rusher since 2006. LT is dealing with a high ankle sprain, so even if he plays, he’s going to be severely limited.
2. Antonio Bryant, Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bryant got off to a sluggish start this season (two receptions for 29 yards), and after taking limited reps in practice on Wednesday, he was held out of practice on Thursday due to knee pain.
It may take a couple more weeks for Tampa’s top target to get back to 100 percent, so don’t take the risk this weekend.
3. New York Jets D/ST
Everybody is high on the Jets after their Week One dominance of the embarrassingly soft Houston Texans. This is a solid unit that will be a good start most of the season, but this week, Tom Brady and company come to town for a divisional showdown.
How comfortable would you feel starting a defense against Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker?
4. Jay Cutler, Quarterback, Chicago Bears
Cutler has Pittsburgh this weekend. Enough said.
5. Marion Barber, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
If you’re weak at the running back position, you’ll likely have to start Barber in the hope he can punch in a touchdown from inside the red zone. But be advised: The New York Giants have a very tough and very deep front seven. M.B. III is going to have to fight for every yard he gets.
Since 2005, Barber has played the Giants eight times. In those eight games, he’s carried the ball 81 times for 298 yards (3.7 YPC) and three touchdowns.
In addition, he’s only rushed for more than 55 yards twice.
Three more to bench
1. Matt Schaub
In four career games against the Titans, Schaub has only completed 53.3 percent of his passes and thrown for just one lousy touchdown. His QB rating: a paltry 60.8.
2. Willie Parker
The Bears did a nice job against Packers running back Ryan Grant last week and should find even more success against a below-average Pittsburgh offensive line.
FWP has only topped 100 yards rushing twice in his last nine games and has rushed for just seven touchdowns since the start of 2007.
3. Dwayne Bowe
He’s only caught 15 passes in his four career games against Oakland and has never scored a touchdown on the Raiders. He’s also never caught for more than 100 yards when playing the Chiefs’ hated division rival.
Five injuries to watch
1. Donovan McNabb, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
McNabb has been held out of practice all week due to a fractured rib he suffered against the Panthers in Week One. Owners should look for another option.
2. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Wide Receiver, Seattle Seahawks
Housh missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday because of back spasms. His status for Sunday’s game at San Francisco is uncertain at this point.
3. Anquan Boldin, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals
Boldin has been limited in practice all week due to a nagging hamstring injury. If he is able to play, he will not be 100 percent.
4. Matt Cassel, Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Cassel continues to try to make his way back from a sprained MCL he suffered against the Seahawks during the preseason. He’s been held to limited reps all week.
5. Pierre Thomas, Running Back, New Orleans Saints
Thomas told reporters earlier in the week that he’s going to play this weekend. With Mike Bell and Reggie Bush also getting touches, he’s not the best of starts on the road against a tough Philly defense.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh
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