Once again taking on the task of identifying those over performers and under performers from the previous week of fantasy football is Ryan Hallam, creator of Fighting Chance Fantasy. So, join Ryan as he takes us through the Week Two Studs and check back tomorrow as he takes a look at the Week Two Duds. And if you have any questions for him, email firstname.lastname@example.org for Week Three fantasy football advice.
Note: All point projections read in this recap are from standard scoring leagues (non-PPR) and are projections made by the Bruno Boys staff
Matt Schaub (Houston Texans)—Houston and Tennessee in a shootout? Who saw that coming? Well, Schaub brought a gun to that shootout and was masterful. He racked up 357 yards and four touchdown passes.
Based on his weak Week One, Schaub was ranked with the assumption he would score just 11 points, but he was the high point scorer for quarterbacks with 30 points.
Hallam’s Take: I still don’t fully trust Schaub, but that is mostly because of his injury history. When he is in there, Schaub is fully capable of having games like this. It was really unexpected against a fine defense like Tennessee, so those of you Schaub owners who were going for the bridge after last week, take a breath as you are back into the game.
Byron Leftwich (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense woke up a little bit this week and Leftwich didn’t play quite as terrible as predicted, at least according to what the numbers say. It is also uncharacteristic of the Tampa Bay offense to throw 50 times, but Leftwich did just that.
In doing so, he threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns (and two INTs). In my opinion, Leftwich was correctly predicted to score just 10 points, but due to Tampa airing it out, he rose to the fantasy occasion on Sunday and nearly doubled that with 18 points.
Hallam’s Take: I am almost willing to bet that you won’t find Leftwich in this article again for the rest of the season. MAYBE once more, you know what they say about a blind squirrel. I would not even want Leftwich to be my bye week replacement on my roster.
Kevin Kolb (Philadelphia Eagles)—With Donovan McNabb’s injured rib not healed enough to play, Kolb finally got a real shot to show what he is capable of. Against a soft Saints’ defense, in a game that they were way behind in, Kolb put up pretty good fantasy numbers.
He threw for 391 yards, and although he threw three picks, he was also good for two touchdowns. He was looked upon to score just eight points for your team, but came up with a nice 17-point game.
Hallam’s Take: Watching the game, it was tough to decide what Kolb was going to be. Sometimes he looked like Joe Montana and sometimes he looked like Joe Mama. Given the state of McNabb’s rib, don’t be surprised if Kolb starts another game or two.
I believe he played well enough to earn another start, but my guess is by the time the bye weeks come around McNabb will be healthy.
RUNNING BACK STUDS
Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans)—Johnson did it all on Sunday, rushing and receiving. After his disappointing first game, people were down on the Titans' running game, but things looked as good as ever on Sunday. Johnson had three long touchdowns on his way to a fabulous day.
He had 197 yards rushing, 87 more yards receiving on nine catches and three touchdowns. He was expected to score 16 points, but blew that out of the water with a 39-point day as he was the high fantasy scorer of the week.
Hallam’s Take: “Every Coach’s Dream” turned into "Every Fantasy Player’s Dream" with this unbelievable performance. Johnson should have been drafted with no later than the sixth overall pick in the draft, and while you shouldn’t expect games like this again, he should be one of the best running backs in all of fantasy throughout the season.
Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers)—It was the second consecutive great game for Gore as he broke two huge touchdown runs. The Seahawks' defense might not be the best unit in all of football, but they aren’t a bunch of slouches either.
If it wasn’t for the fact that he rolled his ankle and ended up leaving the game for much of the second half, Gore might have made a run at the single-game rushing record. On top of his 39 rushing yards, Gore ran for 207 yards on just 16 carries with two touchdowns.
Hallam’s Take: I’ve never been a huge fan of Gore because he sometimes seems to lack that burst and he has had enough knee problems to last three lifetimes. But the 49ers have lived up to their promise to run the ball over and over and over, and Gore seems to be running like a rookie again.
Don’t forget his injury history, but right now Frank Gore is a heck of a guy to have on your fantasy team.
Willis McGahee (Baltimore Ravens)—It was the second consecutive impressive fantasy performance from McGahee despite getting limited carries. To go with his 16 receiving yards, McGahee rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. I can’t say that I disagreed with his predicted point total of just four, but McGahee came through with 20 on the day.
Hallam’s Take: He could rush for a touchdown every single week, and I would still tell you to stay away from this guy. Ray Rice should be getting the majority of the carries and is the better back. Even if you disagree with me on that, it is almost a certainty that he will get injured at some point.
If you own McGahee, I would try to trade him right now as his value can not possibly get any higher.
WIDE RECEIVER STUDS
Andre Johnson (Houston Texans)—OK, Johnson owners, you can relax now. After his incredibly subpar game against the Jets, Johnson bounced back nicely with a ten-catch, 149 yard game. Johnson also scored two touchdowns.
Even as one of the top-ranked receivers of the week with a 17-point projection, Johnson still outperformed his projection with a 26-point outburst.
Hallam’s Take: I am really hoping that you didn’t do something stupid like go and trade Andre Johnson after his first bad game. This is more of what to expect from him, as he is one of the best in the game. He is a virtual lock for over 100 catches and double-digit touchdowns, and he should be treated as an elite receiver.
Mario Manningham (New York Giants)—It seemed like the Sunday Night game between the Giants and Cowboys would have plenty of defense in it, but defense was clearly optional. The Manning/Manningham connection was the most popular of the night as the former Michigan Wolverine caught ten passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.
With the state of the Giants passing game still in flux, Manningham was only projected for four points...he scored 21.
Hallam’s Take: I’m not quite ready to proclaim him the new number one guy in New York yet, but I would certainly be heading to the waiver wire in any league I was in for Manningham. He isn’t a big, tall guy, but certainly showed last week that he can get open and he can catch the ball.
Don’t expect these ridiculous outbursts on a week-to-week basis, but he looks to be the best option for consistency for the Giants.
Michael Sims-Walker (Jacksonville Jaguars)—Filling in for the injured Troy Williamson, Sims-Walker might have put himself on the fantasy map. Big things were not expected of Sims-Walker this week with his low point projection of just five, but he came up big. In a game where the Jaguars threw it an uncharacteristic 43 times, Sims-Walker had six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown giving him 16 fantasy points for the week.
Hallam’s Take: Whether Williamson’s injury will keep him out for a long time or not, I am still not buying in to the breakout of Sims-Walker. Jacksonville’s offense doesn’t throw very much typically, and I don’t have faith that David Garrard can get the ball where it needs to be.
Perhaps if he has another strong game I could think about giving him a chance on my roster, but right now I think that this is something that might happen a couple times a season, but don’t expect consistency from this guy.
TIGHT END STUDS
Kellen Winslow (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - The Bucs were actually able to get something going through the air this week and Winslow was able to get into the end zone for the second consecutive game. It was an impressive game for the ultra-talented but ultra-troubled tight end as he caught seven passes for 90 yards and that touchdown. He was projected for only seven points, but scored 16.
Hallam’s Take: Talent has never been the question with Winslow. His problem has always been health, whether it be football related or motorcycle riding related. He also seems to take some plays off and seems to not show up for some games.
He is likely your starter if you waited a while to pick a tight end, and he should be started every week if his role on your team is as the No. 1 guy. Given the inconsistency of his team, his production will be hard to predict, but you have to like the start he is off to.
Rian Lindell (Buffalo Bills)—The Bills had one of their more impressive offensive days in a while and Lindell was a major benefactor of that. He hit field goals from 20, 27, 31, and 43 yards and tacked on three PATs to boot. He was only projected to have six fantasy points in a game that didn’t figure for much offense, but Lindell was able to put up 15.
Hallam’s Take: Kicking in Buffalo, NY is going to get awful tricky in the next six weeks or so. Snow, rain, wind, and ice are staples of Western New York. I would ride Lindell until about Thanksgiving, and then I suggest looking for another kicker. Outside of a road game in Atlanta, the Bills have four of their last six games at home.
Buffalo Bills D/ST (3 Stars)—The Bills didn’t have a bad week against the Patriots in the Monday night opener as far as points were concerned, but they were even better in Sunday’s game against the Bucs. Sure they gave up 20 points, but that isn’t horrible as they had two interceptions and two sacks.
The big play was the interception return for a touchdown by Donte Whitner. I don’t think I would go out and grab them as I don’t expect them to be on the studs list too many times, but this was an impressive performance, and much better than the three-star ranking they were afforded.