We’re just a day away from the Thursday night kickoff to Week 2 of the 2015 NFL season. Week 1 was exciting and featured impressive fantasy performances from some notable stars like the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
There were also a few surprises, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ DeAngelo Williams. That’s all history now. It’s time to look ahead to the Week 2 schedule and each fantasy position for the upcoming week.
I like the NFC South to produce the best QB performances of Week 2.
Drew Brees will take aim at the same Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that allowed four passing touchdowns to the Tennessee Titans’ Marcus Mariota in Week 1. Brees has to be licking his chops, as he knows the seams of Lovie Smith’s Cover 2 defense should be open.
Because the Bucs didn’t do a great job of stopping the run, or getting consistent pressure on Mariota, the rookie should have time to go through his progressions. If Brees gets the same opportunities, he could throw for 400 yards and three scores.
No QB is in better position to shine.
The New York Giants secondary should have a hard time containing the Atlanta Falcons’ Julio Jones. That will give quarterback Matt Ryan a chance to have a big day. Veteran receiver Roddy White is no longer a No. 1 threat, but he’s still capable of providing Ryan with alternatives if the G-Men start to double Jones.
After Matt Forte and the Chicago Bears ran for 189 yards against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, owners of Marshawn Lynch should be fired up. Lynch will get his chance to go for big yards on Sunday against what looks like a weak Packers run defense.
Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers thinks his unit’s poor tackling was the culprit, but the Bears won a lot of the individual battles at the line of scrimmage. Per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Capers said: “We have to tackle better. Part of that is again the speed of the first game, it’s the first regular season game. Forte is a good runner. We’re going to see good runners every week.”
Lynch had a decent performance in Week 1 with 73 yards rushing and another 31 receiving, but he didn’t find the end zone. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s defensive line was getting overpowered by the Bears up front. What will happen in Lambeau Field on Sunday night?
The Packers could win again, but you can bet Lynch hits 100 yards and finds his way into the end zone at least once.
If there was an all-underutilized team from Week 1, the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson should be the starting running back on that squad. He had just 10 carries as the Vikes were trampled by the San Francisco 49ers 20-3.
You have to expect A.P. will get more touches in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions. Detroit gave up 499 yards of total offense, and the Vikes and A.P. should be ready to strike with a ground-focused attack. This won’t be another weak performance from Peterson.
Jones is looking like a guy who might lead the NFL in receiving yards and touchdowns. After his nine-catch, 141-yard, two-touchdown performance, Jones is set to victimize the Giants.
New York’s pass defense wasn’t sharp in Week 1. Despite the fact that the Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant left the game early with an injury, the Giants still surrendered 27 points and 356 passing yards. The Giants have no one to match up with Jones. He’ll eclipse 100 yards with another score in this game as well.
As long as he’s healthy, you can pencil the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown‘s name near the top of the wide receiver rankings every week. With the Steelers still without speedy wide receiver Martavis Bryant, due to suspension, Brown will be an even bigger focus for Ben Roethlisberger.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce became a star last season, and he picked up right where he left off in Week 1. Kelce had six catches for 106 yards and two scores against the Houston Texans.
Against the AFC West rival Denver Broncos, Kelce will be instrumental in KC’s win. Yes, that’s a prediction. Denver’s defense looks to be among the best in the NFL. That said, if there’s a weakness in the team’s pass coverage, it might be at linebacker.
The Broncos will struggle to find the athletes big and fast enough to take Kelce away from QB Alex Smith. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid loves to employ the short passing game, which creates several weapons to defend within a five-yard span. Kelce will find his spots in the coverage and play well.
Peterson won’t be the only Vikings player to do well on Sunday. Kyle Rudolph has some of the best hands at his position, but he’s been slowed by injuries in his career. The Lions are a defense in transition without Ndamukong Suh.
Rudolph will take advantage of the Lions’ decreased physicality up front and find paydirt from the red zone.
Despite giving up 31 points in their Week 1 upset win over the Seattle Seahawks, the St. Louis Rams defense looked great. They sacked Russell Wilson six times and picked him off once. That performance came against a team many pegged for a Super Bowl appearance.
What happens when Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn and the very underrated secondary take shots at Washington? The latter moved the ball well in its Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins, but they could manage just 10 points. The Rams will lock down Washington and prove to people that they are an elite defense.
The Packers weren’t capable of taking advantage of the Bears’ lack of depth at receiver, but the Arizona Cardinals should be able to. Cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Tyrann Mathieu have the athleticism and ball skills to make the day miserable for Jay Cutler.
Despite the Bears’ probable struggles with the Cardinals defense on Sunday, I’m still tabbing Robbie Gould as the best kicking option in the league. Even though Chicago moved the ball well against the Packers, it still settled for three field goals.
Gould is as automatic as any kicker in the league. If he’s given a shot inside 50 yards, you can just about guarantee he’s putting points on the board. Touchdowns figure to be hard to come by against the Cardinals defense, so Gould could again be splitting the uprights with regularity.
Graham Gano has a similar situation with the Carolina Panthers. He didn’t come through in Week 1, as he only converted two of his four attempts, but the chances should be plenty with a lot of Panthers drives figuring to stall short of the goal line.
In Week 2, I have faith he’ll get some easier opportunities at home against the Texans, and he should be good for three field goals.
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