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INDIANAPOLIS --- Week 2 is overreaction week in the NFL. If you listen to sports talk radio around the country, so often your team is either going to the Super Bowl or the sky is falling. It's often that way in fantasy football too. How many of you dropped Odell Beckham Jr. after he didn't play week 1 last year only to be kicking yourself the second half of the season.
Somebody in one of my leagues dropped 1st round rookie WR DeVante Parker last week, after he wasn't quite ready for more than 2% of the snaps following an injured foot in the preseason. I will be picking him up. Why? Because he's a complete receiver, and I don't see Jarvis Landry filling the role of running the deep routes in Miami. That gives Parker upside, when he only has to compete with Kenny Stills. Stills only played in 40% of snaps week 1.
Fantasy owners, don't panic. Andre Johnson will be fine. Frank Gore will produce. Randall Cobb needs to get healthy, but is the #1 target for Aaron Rodgers. We heard these same "sky is falling" proclamations last year about Eddie Lacy and Tom Brady in fantasy land.
There were also some surprises week 1 that I am already buying into as useful for the long haul. Here they are:
QB Carson Palmer
QB Philip Rivers
RB Carlos Hyde
RB Chris Ivory
RB Danny Woodhead (PPR leagues)
WR James Jones
WR John Brown
WR Brandon Coleman (played more snaps than Marques Colston)
TE Tyler Eifert
K Zach Hocker
As for week 2 specifically, here are the players I'm highlighting:
Week 2 Start 'Em ( 16+ points for QBs, 10+ for RB/WR; 6-3 last week)
Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (at CHI) - I usually hesitate to pick Pacific time zone teams playing at 1pm Eastern, but Palmer has been too good when healthy. More than 300 yards and 3 touchdowns last week, when I led off this column with him last week, and I'm going back to Palmer again. I started him last week over drafted QBs Eli Manning and Philip Rivers in my league, and I'm doing it again. What's the worst case scenario? The Cardinals get behind and have to throw more?
Eagles QB Sam Bradford (vs. DAL) - Bradford had a solid start with 336 yards and a touchdown but 2 interceptions also hurt at Atlanta. The point though is the Eagles run so many plays under Chip Kelly that his quarterback's usually get a ton of opportunities. Bradford threw 48 passes week one. I don't expect that again, but maybe a couple of the Eagles rushing touchdowns become passing TDs week 2. I like Bradford more than Rivers, Brady, Stafford, and Mariota who all have tough match-ups this week.
Lions RB Ameer Abdullah (@ MIN) - Only 11 touches week 1, but that's all the rookie needed to collect 94 total yards and a touchdown. Abdullah is electric. Joique Bell was not week 1 rushing for just 14 yards on 6 carries. Lions Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi was asked this week if Abdullah has surpassed Bell: "We'll see." In fantasy football, take talent over potential opportunity every time.
Chargers RB Danny Woodhead (@ CIN) - If you had to guess a Chargers running back would rush for two touchdowns week 1, you would have obviously guessed 1st round pick Melvin Gordon, right? WRONG. Remember Woodhead? The PPR marvel is back, and Philip Rivers trusts him in the red zone. I don't expect the rushing touchdown trend to continue, but I do expect the receiving touchdowns to start coming, along with healthy snaps for as long as Gordon is not reliable in pass protection.
Saints WR Brandin Cooks (vs. TB) - If you're playing FanDuel this week, load up on Saints. Go ahead and play three of them. For traditional fantasy, Cooks was disappointing week 1 in a tough match-up against the Cardinals secondary, but I fully expect him to bounce back on the turf inside the Superdome.
Cowboys WR Terrance Williams (@ PHL) - Dez Bryant broke his foot, and somebody has to catch passes from Tony Romo.
SLEEPER OF THE WEEK - Saints WR Brandon Coleman (vs. TB)
TIGHT END WEEK 2 SLEEPER (nailed Tyler Eifert for you week 1, start him again if you can get him, still available in 43% of NFL.com leagues) - Eagles TE Zach Ertz (vs. DAL), played 70% of snaps in his first game since groin surgery...encouraging.
Honorable Mention - Titans QB Marcus Mariota (perfect passer rating week one, but let's see him do it again against a tougher defense and on the road at Cleveland before starting him...ton of other options out there at QB)
Week 2 Sit 'Em ( < 16 points for QBs, < 10 for RB/WR; 2-4 last week)
Patriots QB Tom Brady (@ BUF) - In the last 5 games against Rex Ryan, Tom Brady has only averaged 223 passing yards and 1.4 TDs per game. Plenty of other QB options out there that I'd feel more confident in that Brady's recent average of less than 15 fantasy points per game vs. Rex Ryan.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford (@ MIN) - Stafford underwhelmed me in a great match-up last week at San Diego with 13 fantasy points. The match-up is tougher this week against a Vikings team that is traditionally solid against the pass.
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (vs. HOU) - 81 total yards last week at Jacksonville, but I expected more. It's a tougher test this week against Houston. I'm just not sure about the fantasy fire power of this Panthers offense. They should win games, but I expect them to be low scoring. Plus, Stewart always has Cam Newton or Mike Tolbert around to vulture touchdowns.
Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon (vs. MIA) - I wasn't as high on Yeldon as other fantasy experts in the offseason. Week 1 he posted 67 total yards against Carolina, but it's a much tougher match-up week 2 against the Dolphins front 7. If you have other options, utilize them this week.
Packers WR Davante Adams (vs. SEA) - He already had James Jones snag two touchdowns ahead of him last week, and now he has to face Richard Sherman.
Lions WR Golden Tate (@ MIN) - Much of his production last year came without Calvin Johnson active. Week 1? Just 24 yards in a good match-up against San Diego. Now, the Vikings solid secondary is coming. Others I like better this week: Amari Cooper, Pierre Garcon, Percy Harvin, Brandon Coleman
Week 1 Pick 'Em Up Best Picks - Chargers WR Stevie Johnson, Patriots RB Dion Lewis
Get ahead of the waiver wire curve next week and stash one of these guys away. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won't. But it only costs you your last bench spot. (Must be under 50% owned on NFL.com to qualify)
Titans QB Marcus Mariota (49.7%)
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (7.0%)
Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (16.6%)
Cardinals RB David Johnson (25.8%) (he's the better rest of season pick-up, not Chris Johnson)
Browns RB Duke Johnson (43.2%)
Cowboys RB Christine Michael (3.4%)
Saints RB Khiry Robinson (0.9%)
Colts WR Donte Moncrief (40.9%)
Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (24.3%)
Saints WR Brandon Coleman (1.3%)
Chargers TE Antonio Gates (47.3%, 4-game suspension)
Eagles TE Zach Ertz (36.6%)