Through two weeks, some fantasy owners have reaped the benefits of monster performances from Tom Brady, Matt Stafford and Cam Newton. Others are spinning their tires with first-round picks gone mild like Chris Johnson.
Relax, aspiring fantasy experts, it is still early. Like the real NFL teams, even if you are 0-2, there is no reason to worry unless you drop that all-important third week.
If you have been waiting for one of your top picks to bust out, here are 10 stars poised to do so in Week Three.
Matt Ryan got the worst of his matchups out of the way early. He only faces two pass defenses that rank in the top 10 throughout the rest of the season: the Detroit Lions (whose secondary is very suspect if you can stop their pass rush) in Week 7 and the Tennessee Titans in Week 11.
Ryan has struggled against tough defenses. He opened up the year by taking a pounding from the Chicago Bears, then took on the Philadelphia Eagles’ Pro Bowl trio of cornerbacks. Ryan still threw for four touchdowns against the Eagles but added two interceptions. The yardage was not there either, as the touchdowns were primarily the result of long Michael Turner runs.
Chris Johnson goes up against the Denver Broncos’ 28th ranked rush defense in Week 3. Next up is the Cleveland Browns, who rank a comfortable 24th in the league.
In fact, Johnson only has to play three more defenses ranked in the top half of the league: The Pittsburgh Steelers, the New Orleans Saints and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Owners who have been patient with the struggling first-round pick will likely be reaping the benefits down the stretch.
Frank Gore goes up against an average Cincinnati Bengals’ rush defense in Week 3. After the Bengals, things look even better, as Gore takes on subpar rush defenses in the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gore is another big-time back that held out through the majority of the preseason, and his fantasy owners are paying the price: Gore has just 106 rushing yards and a touchdown through two games. If Gore can get rolling against the Bengals, he should be poised for some successive big weeks.
Chad Ochocinco??? He's old! He's washed up! What's he doing on here???
Chad-the-receiver-formally-known as Johnson goes up against a Buffalo Bills’ defense that just gave up 328 yards to Jason Campbell. I’ll chalk this one up to the "now or never" category.
Ochocinco has been a huge disappointment to owners hoping for anything close to a Randy Moss effect in New England. The former Pro Bowler has three catches for 59 yards through two games. With a favorable matchup, he is going to either pick up on the Patriots’ system now, or well...never.
In Week 3, Reggie Bush goes up against a 24th-ranked Cleveland Browns’ rush defense that is susceptible to the big run.
Bush will probably never be a sure thing from week to week, but he has some favorable matchups going forward after Cleveland: the Kansas City Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills (twice), the Oakland Raiders and a grudge match against the Patriots.
Bush looked like a viable every-week threat with 94 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots, but in typical Reggie fashion, disappeared against the Houston Texans. Expect more of the same pending matchups.
Ben Roethlisberger has the pleasure of facing an Indianapolis Colts' defense that could not stop Victor Ortiz with a sucker punch. (Too soon???)
Ben Roethlisberger has left a lot to be desired for owners who saw his schedule feature the NFC West and AFC South and thought they got the steal of the draft. After his epically bad performance against the Baltimore Ravens, Big Ben rebounded by throwing for nearly 300 yards but only one touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks.
After a 2010 season that projected to 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns in a 16-game schedule, Roethlisberger has disappointed. Look for the Steelers' quarterback to throw for around 300 yards and at least two touchdowns against the Colts' pillow-soft defense.
Donovan McNabb seems to be getting his game back, and that can only be a good thing for Percy Harvin. On Sunday, Harvin faces a Lions' defense that has been impressive so far, but whose secondary is definitely beatable.
With Sidney Rice gone, Harvin was expected to have a big season as the team's premier downfield threat. Harvin could not do much with McNabb throwing for 39 yards in Week 1 but improved in Week 2. Look for a big day in a shootout with the Lions.
Rob Gronkowski's tight end buddy, Aaron Hernandez is out for at least the next two weeks. With a matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Gronkowski is poised for a huge day.
To say Gronkowski has struggled is a stretch. But for all those greedy fantasy owners who have been thinking, "Gronkowski's a beast, but if only he did not split touches with Hernandez," now is your time. Enjoy it: I see 100 yards and two touchdowns coming your way.
The Atlanta Falcons' defense has disappointed, ranking in the bottom 18 against both the pass and the rush. That bodes well for big LeGarrette Blount.
Entering the season, I believed Blount had 1,300-yard potential—you have to love a 250-pounder with the athleticism to jump over defenders. Somewhere along the line, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching staff lost the memo. Blount received a dismal five carries in Week 1, followed by a modest 13 in Week 2.
The Bucs have seen mixed results offensively thus far. Look for them to recommit to Blount and the run game from here on out.
Jahvid Best is one of the most explosive athletes in the NFL. It is time for his athleticism to show up on a week-to-week basis. Best has a favorable Week 3 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
Best is a true dual-threat option and should be a stud in PPR leagues. After the Vikings, Best only a few tough weeks against the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers that will stop him from being a weekly factor.
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