Some of the confidence you may have had in your lineup last week at this point has been replaced with nervousness. What if you’re leaving the sleeper of the week on the bench? What if your early-round pick disappoints like he did last week?
There’s no such thing as a surefire guarantee in real or fantasy football. But let’s look at a few guys who have great potential to put up big points and a few others who may underachieve.
QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
The New Orleans Saints pass defense has been a mess so far this year, letting the Arizona Cardinals’ Carson Palmer shred it for 307 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 1. The next week, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Jameis Winston had a huge bounce-back game with an efficient 207 yards, one score and no interceptions.
So you can understand why Newton, who was picked much earlier in 2015 fantasy drafts than Palmer and Winston, will probably explode against New Orleans.
Newton’s receivers are definitely some of the worst in the NFL, but he still has tight end Greg Olsen and his own legs, which provided 76 yards and a touchdown last week.
RB C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos
Anderson was a first- or second-round pick in most drafts, but he’s produced a total of just 56 rushing yards and zero touchdowns through two games. However, if one fantasy bust is poised to break out in Week 3, it’s him.
The Broncos are visiting the Detroit Lions Sunday night, who are 0-2 and have been gashed on the ground by their first two opponents. Detroit has allowed an average of 147 rushing yards and four total touchdowns, ranking 28th and last in the NFL, respectively.
With his job possibly on the line, Anderson will come through with some nice points in Week 3.
QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson has gotten off to an OK start to the fantasy season, putting up decent stats in the face of a terrible Seahawks line. If you drafted him as your No. 1, maybe you’re a little bit disappointed.
But whatever you do, do not leave him on your bench against the Chicago Bears.
Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer combined for a 128.0 passer rating in Weeks 1 and 2 versus the Bears, accumulating seven passing touchdowns. At home, Wilson is primed for another big game against the helpless Chicago defense with his dual-threat abilities. The Bears have zero sacks through two games this season, which suggests that the Seattle offensive line may be able to play a good game for once.
Add in the fact that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says running back Marshawn Lynch is a game-time decision for the contest, per Around the NFL’s Dan Hanzus, and Wilson’s workload looks ideal for a huge fantasy outing.
QB Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill is having a solid fantasy season, but you have to consider who he’s played—the Washington Redskins and Jacksonville Jaguars, neither of whom are known for shutting down their opponents’ passing games.
Against the Buffalo Bills, he’ll have to face a talented unit fresh off a disappointing loss to the New England Patriots. Not only that, but Tannehill is only probable due to an ankle injury, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel‘s Omar Kelly. That could compromise his mobility, should he play.
Additionally, the Miami Herald‘s Armando Salguero reported Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert is doubtful for Sunday because of a knee injury. Kelly provided some context for that:
Tannehill is hobbled, playing against a good defense and will probably be missing his left tackle Sunday. That spells trouble.
RB Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans
For all of the Indianapolis Colts’ problems right now, their run defense has surprisingly not been an issue during their 0-2 start.
Sure, they’ve allowed 248 rushing yards through two games, but opponents have only gotten 3.9 yards per carry so far. The Bills and New York Jets both got off to leads against the Colts in Weeks 1 and 2 and milked their running games to run out the clock, which inflated their numbers.
Many will play Sankey here against the Colts because of Indy’s reputation as a weak team against the run, but don’t make that mistake. The second-year back is talented, but it’s likely he won’t gobble up a bunch of yards in Week 3. The Titans probably won’t be leading this contest most of the time, which means Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota may actually be the better fantasy play.
WR Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
Being Drew Brees‘ No. 1 wide receiver automatically made Cooks a high pick in most draft picks. But Saints head coach Sean Payton announced Friday that Brees’ shoulder injury will keep him out of the game against the Panthers, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett. Luke McCown will be filling in for the 36-year-old veteran quarterback.
With Brees out and the underwhelming McCown (68.3 career passer rating) in, Cooks becomes an easy sit for any fantasy owner who has decent depth at the wide receiver spot.
Carolina has also been stingy against the pass. The Panthers have only faced the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars so far (two teams with less-than-stellar quarterbacks), but they’ve stopped both aerial attacks nonetheless.
Read more Fantasy Football news on NerdyFootball.com