Week 2 Fearless Forecast[the_ad id=”63198″]I didn’t get all of my Week 1 bold picks correct but overall fared pretty well. After all, it’s supposed to be about picking outlandish events, not making easy calls. Let’s take a quick look at how I did for Week 1.
Where I was right: Nailed Spencer Ware as a top-10 RB, Will Fuller was awesome, Mike Wallace scored as I called, Amari Cooper was huge, Isaiah Crowell, Dwyane Allen TE5 was perfect, I said Miami would hang with Seattle, DeSean Jackson had 100+ and Jesse James was a popular waiver add.
Where I was wrong: Screw you CJ Spiller, Blount was actually pretty solid, Oops…Cardinals, Gio Bernard was lousy and Todd Gurley…well- Jeff Fisher hates us.
So overall, I’m giving myself an 11-9 mark, which is pretty good for “bold” picks. Since it was a success, I’m happy to say I’m back for another shot at making some unorthodox calls for Week 2.
1. Cam Newton produces 300+ yards of offense and 3 TD’s
Cam is easily the No. 1 quarterback for me this week in Gridiron Experts weekly projections. The Panthers are still steamed about the way Week 1 ended for them in Denver and I’m not at all buying into San Francisco’s shutout against the hapless Rams. I think a well-rested Panthers defense is going to shut down the 49ers offense and Newton will have numerous opportunities to produce- and he will early and often on Sunday.
2. Travis Kelce will be the No. 1 scoring TE
I was probably the highest in fantasy football on Kelce’s fantasy prospects for 2015, ranking him as my No. 2 tight end in standard scoring. If you drafted Kelce you’re starting him every week, but Week 2 seems like one of those games where the four-year veteran can be a true difference maker. Houston just lost LB Brian Cushing for six weeks to an MCL tear and that further weakens a linebacking corps that has struggled in pass coverage- a weakness Andy Reid has exploited repeatedly. Check out how Kelce destroyed this defense twice last season. Keep in mind that both of these games were in Houston, which is once again where this game will take place. I expect the Texans’ linebackers to be overmatched yet again and for Kelce to have another huge game.
3. Odell Beckham goes over 150 yards and 2 touchdowns
Last year’s game between the Giants and Saints was an instant classic, with Drew Brees and Eli Manning combining to throw 13 touchdowns. In that game, Odell Beckham had his best game of the season, with 8 receptions, 130 yards, and three touchdowns. While I don’t necessarily expect 90+ points in this contest, the Saints pass defense looked just as bad in Week 1 as it did last season. New Orleans is designed to outscore teams and has no DB’s that can contain Beckham for long. He’ll be huge again this week in New York’s home opener.
4. Ezekiel Elliott runs for 100+
I’m taking another stab here after coming up woefully short last week. Elliott had a successful debut because he got into the end zone but was mostly bottled up and limited to 2.5 yards per carry. Alfred Morris broke off some nice runs in that game, so I don’t think it was the line. With a week’s experience and practices to fix those issues, I think Elliott gets on track against a Washington club that just got gouged on the ground by DeAngelo Williams. Bonus Pick: Watch for Morris to get a chance to stick it to his former club with a potential goal line tote.
5. The Bengals will struggle to score in Pittsburgh
6. Joe Flacco will be a top-10 QB
Finally, Flacco’s numbers against this opponent have been trending in the right direction and I expect another 20+ point effort here.
7. Ben Roethlisberger will be huge
Despite the low-scoring potential for the Bengals offense, the Steelers have done just fine at home with Ben Roethlisberger. Dating back to 2014, Big Ben has started 14 games at Hines Field and has been nothing short of spectacular in those contests. Roethlisberger averages 347.3 yards per game with 33 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in the Steelers last 14 home games. Look for another 300+ yard, 3+ TD performance in Pittsburgh’s home opener.
8. Julian Edelman catches 10 balls
The Jimmy Garoppolo era got off to a nice start and the Patriots offense looked quite similar to the unit usually commanded by Tom Brady. Even without Dion Lewis and Rob Gronkowski, Garoppolo was able to move the ball well, focusing on short passes to Edelman and taking shots downfield to Chris Hogan. For Week 2, the matchup should be a lot better for the Pats and Edelman faces a very lucrative matchup with Miami CB Byron Maxwell.
9. The Titans could be surprisingly productive
Tennessee was actually doing a good job in Week 1 before shooting themselves in the foot and allowing the Vikings defense to score two touchdowns. The Titans sold out to stop RB Adrian Peterson, but won’t be able to do that this week against Detroit’s potent passing attack. Of course, the Lions defense isn’t of the same caliber as Minnesota’s, so while the Lions are racking up points, they’re also likely to give up plenty too. I like QB Marcus Mariota in particular this week and think he could be a top-10 fantasy QB. Also, a thumbs up to RBs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
10. Jameis Winston will struggle
Winston was great last week, tossing four scores and leading the Bucs to another win against the Falcons. But according to Gridiron Experts Opportunity Index metric, Winston’s efficiency last week far exceeded what can normally be expected and is highly likely to come crashing back to earth this week in a far tougher matchup in Arizona. It will be tough to sit Winston, but he’s barely on the QB2 radar for me and could struggle to produce against a defense still fuming about dropping last week’s home opener.
11. The Rams upset the Seahawks[the_ad id=”58837″]After a horrendous performance on national TV last week, nobody thinks the Rams will do much of anything against the powerful Seahawks this week. But don’t underestimate how much this game means to Jeff Fisher and the Rams, who are playing the first game in Los Angeles in more than two decades. They’ll be pumped for this one and for some reason the Seahawks have struggled against this opponent. The Rams have won three of four from the Seahawks, and the only loss was a 10-6 slugfest in Seattle last season. Also, there are varying reports of how healthy QB Russell Wilson is for this week, and he’s almost certainly not going to run as much- which is a huge part of Seattle’s offense. Look for a low scoring game and don’t be shocked if the Rams pull off a big upset.
12. CJ Anderson goes over 125 rushing yards
After one week, it looks pretty clear that the Denver backfield belongs to CJ Anderson, who was huge against a tough Carolina opponent in the Thursday NFL opener. The Week 2 matchup should be much easier for Anderson and the Broncos, who face a hapless Indianapolis defense that was just shredded at home against Detroit. In that game, the Colts surrendered 228 total yards and three scores to the Lions running backs. Indy’s offensive line will also struggle to contain Denver’s pass rushers and lead to more opportunities for the Broncos offense. Expect Anderson to grind out another big week.
13. Amari Cooper scores 2 touchdowns
Atlanta’s pass defense is fading, as evidenced by allowing Jameis Winston to drop four touchdowns on them last week- at home. The Week 2 matchup won’t get any easier for the Falcons, who to travel cross-country to face an Oakland offense that just outscored the Saints in New Orleans. If Cooper can start to become a bigger part of Oakland’s offense around the goal line (he was finally targeted there last week) he’s going to be a top-5 receiver in the NFL. The Falcons won’t have any answers for him this week and will lose big in the Black Hole.
14. Allen Robinson will struggle
As great as Allen Robinson was last season, a disproportionate amount of his production came when he was matched up with lesser cornerbacks. This week, A-Rob should be shadowed by San Diego CB Jason Verrett, who did an outstanding job against Robinson last year. There’s no way you sit Robinson if you’re lucky enough to have him on your fantasy squad, but he could have a quiet Sunday, maybe scoring around 10 fantasy points.
15. Antonio Gates gets over 15 PPR points
When San Diego and Jacksonville played last season, Antonio Gates had a huge day- catching four of six targets for 53 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With WR Keenan Allen lost for the remainder of the season, QB Philip Rivers will look back to his favorite target to pick up the slack. Gates also seems to play better at home and I’m expecting him to be right up there with Travis Kelce as the top-scoring fantasy tight ends this week.
16. Kirk Cousins shreds the Cowboys
We all saw the Redskins offense look terrible in their opener, but they’ll bounce back in a big way in Week 2. The last time Dallas traveled to DC, Cousins completed 80% of his passes and threw three touchdowns in limited action. Expect a lot less short passes this week and more big plays downfield for Cousins and WR DeSean Jackson. Cousins is a locked-in QB1 this week.
17. Adrian Peterson rebounds with 100+ yards and a touchdown
The Titans did an outstanding job stacking the box and holding Peterson to a mere 31 rushing yards on 19 totes last week. But that was with Sean Hill at quarterback and on the road. The Vikings will open U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday night with Sam Bradford under center and will undoubtedly be geared up in front of a natioal TV audience. Peterson has scored a touchdown in eight straight regular-season games against the Packers, and I think that count goes up to nine after Week 2.
18. Aaron Rodgers will be held under 250 passing yards
Minnesota has one of the top defensive units in the NFL and the Vikings have done a solid job limiting Rodgers. In the past four games against Minnesota, Rodgers has been limited to an average of only 216.25 passing yards per game, with more sacks than TD passes. I think the Vikings win this game and it starts with another solid job defending Rodgers.
19. The Bears DST is a top-5 play this week
Probably available on your waiver wire, the Chicago Bears defense is a sneaky pickup this week and it’s all about the opponent. Although the Eagles got a victory in their opener, they are still being quarterbacked by an inexperienced rookie making his first road start. Defensive-minded head coach John Fox, who is infamously untrusting of rookies- should have his squad ready to attack Carson Wentz and confuse the rookie into committing turnovers.
20. Jordan Matthews tops 100 yards and scores again
Matthews looks like he’s going to be the focal point of Doug Pederson’s new offense in Philadelphia. Matthews’ 13 targets last week were second-most in the NFL. Matthews also won’t be stuck in the slot as much as he was under Chip Kelly and will be used some on the outside when the Eagles can dictate favorable matchups. With TE Zach Ertz out this week, Matthews should again exceed double digit targets and has a very good matchup with a Bears secondary that just allowed a rookie WR to go over 100 yards. A line of 8/120/1 looks like a reasonable expectation for Week 2.