Aren’t we all glad week 2 is in the books? It was a crazy week for fantasy football. Who would have guessed that the following players would have ALL scored 6 points or less in standard leagues: Steven Jackson, Darren McFadden, Marques Colston, Chris Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, Jay Cutler, Jamaal Charles, and even Andre Johnson? And who would have guessed that the following players scored 17 or more fantasy points in week 2: Andre Brown, Jackie Battle, Danny Amendola, Dante Rosario, or Reggie Bush? Making your picks in fantasy football is a fickle game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Last week I didn’t do so well with my Studs and Duds picks, but hopefully things will look up in this week’s installment.
As I have mentioned before, these articles consider the ESPN and Yahoo standard scoring projections for players at each offensive position (QB, RB, WR and TE). I’m going to choose 2 players at every position to highlight: one as a "stud" and one as a "dud". A Stud is one who I think will significantly beat their projected total, and a Dud is one who I think will fall short of their projected total. It’s also worth mentioning that generally speaking, I’ll try to avoid players with injuries as it’s too easy to pick them as Duds if they’re unlikely to play. I will also keep a running tally at the end of the post each week to keep track of the accuracy of my predictions. If I can do better than 50% by season’s end, I’ll call it a success. So read on after the jump to see who my picks are for Week 3.
Stud: Brandon Weeden vs BUF
This week was difficult, as most of the QB projections were pretty close to what I think will happen. But as I looked down towards the bottom of the barrel, I decided to take a chance on a rookie (always risky!), and will predict Weeden to outscore his projection. Coming off of a 322 yard, 2 TD, performance against the Bengals in week 2, he’s up against the Bills and their 27th ranked defense against quarterbacks so far this season. Even though the Bills signed Mario Williams to help out their pass rush, he currently has 0 sacks. The Bills were 13th worst against QBs last season and so far, it looks like they’ll be bad again. ESPN has Weeden projected for only 10.3 points, and Yahoo is also down on him with a projection of only 11.3. I think he has a very good shot at posting 15 or more points this week.
Dud: Jake Locker vs DET
ESPN finally tamed their QB projections, so it was very difficult to find someone over-projected (No Vick this week…he’s projected by ESPN at only 13.9!). But, seeing Jake Locker projected as a top 15 QB raised my eyebrows a bit. After two weeks, he’s averaging a mere 10.7 points per game. Sure, Kenny Britt returns this week, and he’s facing Detroit who was 9th worst against the pass last year and could be involved in a shoot-out with Matt Staffford. However, Detroit has been able to keep opposing QBs in check so far through the first two weeks, holding both Sam Bradford and Alex Smith to under 18 points each, oh and Locker’s other receiver Nate Washington isn’t quite 100%. I don’t think Locker is as good a QB as either Bradford or Smith yet either. ESPN has Locker projected for 15 points, while Yahoo has him projected for 19.17! I think he’ll fall short of his Yahoo projection by at least 4 points this week.
Stud: Willis McGahee vs HOU
First, the matchup isn’t awesome. Second, Denver is coming off a short week after Monday Night football. So, I can understand why ESPN has him projected so low. But, he’s coming off a huge night against Atlanta, and was a 1000+ yard rusher last year. He may be a bit older, but he doesn’t have quite the wear and tear that other older backs might have (cough, Stevenjacksondeangelowilliams, cough). I still think John Fox is committed to the run, and he may be even more after a 3 interception night for Manning. While Houston was excellent against the run last year (2nd best), they are only 17th best after the first two weeks, and I can’t help but think they miss Mario Williams. I’m really not going overboard here with this pick, because ESPN has McGahee projected for only 6.2 points, while Yahoo has him projected for a much more respectable 11.63. I think he outperforms the ESPN projection by at least 4 points this week.
Dud: Stevan Ridley vs BAL
I don’t know what ESPN sees in this matchup, but Ridley is projected as their 2nd best running back for week 2. Baltimore still has a great defense, even though they are a bit banged up right now, and young in the front 7. While they are currently ranked as the 16th best fantasy defense against RB, they still haven’t allowed a 100 yard rusher this year. So, my prediction on a Dud, largely hinges on whether or not Ridley can find the end zone. ESPN has Ridley projected for an insane 18.1 points, while Yahoo is maybe even a little too conservative at 8.73. I think he lands somewhere in the middle, but will fall short of the ESPN projection by at least 5 points.
Stud: Wes Welker vs BAL
The Patriots are pissed off. Tom Brady is pissed off (I’m even pissed off, because I got kicked out of the Survivor pool!). I mean, who loses at home to the Cardinals? Aaron Hernandez is out this week, and sure, the Pats just signed Kellen Winslow and Deion Branch…and yeah, technically Julian Edelman started over Welker in week 2. It’s true: there is a lot of turmoil right now. But Welker was still targeted 11 times and came down with 5 catches for 95 yards last week. I get the sense that Welker might have started the season in the doghouse after dropping that pass in the Super Bowl last year, and then of course, he was franchise tagged instead of given a contract extension earlier in the offseason as further punishment. And you never know what is going on in the mind of Belichik. But, Welker is still a favorite target of Brady having been targeted 16 times in 2 games (only 4 targets behind Lloyd), and he is projected at a criminally low 6.8 points by ESPN this week, while Yahoo has him at a more reasonable 9.05. I think Welker will beat his ESPN projection by at least 3 points and regain his prior glory.
Dud: Brian Hartline vs NYJ
This is almost too easy of a pick. I can understand the justification for a decent projection: he’s the only WR in town, outside of Davone Bess, and he does have some decent straight line speed. Plus he caught 9 passes for over 100 receiving yards last week. But that was against Oakland’s pathetic defense, and he’s still not a great route-runner. Oh yeah, and Darrelle Revis has returned to practice after missing last week due to a concussion. ESPN’s projection of 13.1 is too generous, especially when compared to Yahoo’s projection of 3.86. I think he’ll miss the ESPN projection by at least 5 points.
Stud: Tony Gonzalez vs SD
I don’t like to use the same guys in consecutive weeks, but if ESPN is going to keep hating on Tony Gonzalez, I’ll have to keep putting him here. He’s done nothing but catch 12 balls for 123 yards and 2 TDs over the first two weeks, good for an average of 12.15 fantasy points per week. He won’t catch a TD every week, but the Falcons are morphing into a pass first offense this season, and the age-less TE is still getting his targets (tied for 2nd most on the team). San Diego is ok against the TE (12th best), but I think he’ll do better than his pathetically low ESPN projection of 4.1 points. I like Yahoo’s projection of 8.4 much better, and with that in mind, I predict he’ll score at least 4 more fantasy points than his ESPN projection.
Dud: Jacob Tamme vs HOU
Has anyone noticed that there are a LOT of tight ends with a first name that starts with J? In addition to Jacob Tamme there is: Jimmy Graham, Jason Witten, Jermaine Gresham, Jared Cook, Joel Dreesen and even Jermichael Finley. What is with that? And what is with the ESPN projection of 11.4 points? Houston was 4th best against the TE last year and is 3rd best after 2 weeks this year. Combine that with the fact that Tamme is seeing exactly half as many targets in the passing game as Demaryius Thomas, and still less than Eric Decker, and it means he pretty much has to score a TD to be relevant. He didn’t score in week 2 and the result was 2 catches for 13 yards. I like Yahoo’s projection of 3.95 much better. Tamme will underperform his ESPN projection by at least 4 points this week.
RB Mark Ingram
WR Brandon Lloyd
TE Tony Gonzalez
QB Jay Cutler
QB Michael Vick
RB Reggie Bush
WR Stevie Johnson
TE Scott Chandler
Overall Record: 8-8, 50% accurate
Daily Norsemen Fantasy Team Records
Death Star Vikings: 2-0
Blair Walsh Project: 1-1
Team CCNorsemen: 0-2