The inaugural week for the 2013 NFL season was one of the most unpredictable openers in recent history. It was also a rough one for fantasy football prognosticators, as many big name talents faltered and plenty of under-the-radar players came out of nowhere to put up big numbers.
Finding those unheralded players is often the difference between winning and losing. Let’s take a look at a few players that have the chance of surprising fantasy owners with a big game in Week 2.
Matt Schaub (QB)- So nearly every fantasy football analyst beat the idea into your brain to wait on draft day to select your fantasy signal-caller. If you listened and are planning a QB rotation bases on match-ups, this is a good week to look at Matt Schuab. The Texans have been kicking the Titans around lately and Schaub has a tremendous history against Tennessee. Going back to his last eight starts against the Titans, Schaub has tossed 17 touchdowns against one interception. With Arian Foster struggling last week, the Texans are likely to be prepared to attack Tennessee’s inexperienced secondary with an improved passing attack, and Schaub looks like a good best for a couple of touchdown strikes.
Ahmad Bradshaw (RB)- With Vick Ballard now out for the season, Ahmad Bradshaw is due to take over as the Colts’ featured running back. When healthy, Bradshaw has shown all the skills necessary to thrive in a West Coast offense. Now sitting behind Bradshaw on the depth chart is first-round bust Donald Brown, so there should be little worry about a time-share or committee moving forward. This week the Colts have a tough matchup against Miami’s front four, but Bradshaw should be a good bet for 20 touches and a handful of receptions, making him a decent flex play in deeper fantasy leagues, with significant value in the upcoming weeks.
DeAngelo Williams (RB)- Another veteran runner with a nice match-up to consider as a flex play is DeAngelo Williams. Last week, Williams churned out nearly five yards-per-carry and caught all three targets against one of the NFL’s toughest defenses. Williams also commanded 16 of Carolina’s 20 hand-offs, so he looks like a good bet to see plenty of action out of the backfield as Carolina’s featured back. This week, the Panthers get an opportunity to face a Buffalo run defense that surrendered 205 total yards in an opening week loss.
Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd (WR)- The Arizona passing attack looked rekindled under new arrivals Carson Palmer and head coach Bruce Arians. Now the Cardinals will host their home opener against one of the league’s weakest secondaries in the Detroit Lions. Last week, Roberts caught eight of nine targets for 97 yards against a much better St. Louis secondary. Meanwhile, Michael Floyd caught four balls for 82 yards. Friday came late-breaking news that star WR Larry Fitzgerald tweaked a hamstring in practice and will be a game-time decision this week. That makes it even more attractive to plug Arizona’s other receivers in this Sunday. Should Fitzgerald miss this game, or be limited,Roberts and Floyd could again approach the century mark and get into the end zone.
Marlon Brown (WR)- Brown actually got the surprise start over Jacoby Jones in Baltimore’s season opening loss to Denver. In that contest. Brown caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown on only six targets. Those looks are sure to go up, as Jacoby Jones (knee) will miss at least a month and Brown will stay in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future. Brown is a huge (6’5″) target that has the looks of an excellent red-zone threat. This week, the Ravens will be looking to avenge their embarrassing national television loss in their home opener against the Cleveland Browns. Furthering Brown’s potential this week is news that elite Cleveland CB Joe Haden will be shadowing Torrey Smith, leaving Brown to face lesser coverage.
Brandon Pettigrew (TE)-Based on match-up alone, Pettigrew looks like a sure-fire TE1 this week. Detroit travels to Arizona to face a Cardinals defense that just surrendered 141 yards and two touchdowns to Jared Cook. Granted, Brandon Pettigrew isn’t near the athlete that Cook is, but Arizona isn’t likely to be able to shore up their defense in one week- especially considering that Pettigrew will be low down on the Arizona defensive priority list behind Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Nate Burleson. There’s a pretty good chance that Pettigrew will be a forgotten man this week and that could lead to some nice fantasy production.