Week two is upon us and with it brings the NFL’s annual round of market corrections. Everything we thought we knew after week one may be rendered as obsolete as a pay phone. The key to week two survival is not to double down on success or failure, but to treat them as suspicious entities.
This series will provide LMP’s spread picks, as well as provide fantasy input into a few players from each game. The format may see tweaks, week to week. But for now, here goes nothing.
Thursday, September 14th
Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals (-6)
It’s only week two, but this game has more than a faint aroma of “loser leaves town” to it. With Houston’s offense in turmoil, the Bengals prevail at home. However, the Texans will cover the spread if their defense decides to show up.
Start ‘em: Tyler Eifert
Andy Dalton only targeted his star tight end once, last week. Look for him to try and get Eifert involved early.
Sit ‘em: DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins recorded a whopping 16 targets in week one. The Texans don’t have many other options in the passing game. The Bengals know that too.
Sunday, September 17th
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens (-8)
The Browns looked spry against the Steelers, but I don’t see their offense putting together a lot of sustained drives against this elite, Ravens defense. Baltimore will cover.
Start ‘em: Joe Flacco
The Ravens didn’t have to throw much, last week. Expect to see more variety this week, against a Cleveland secondary that was just torched by Antonio Brown.
Sit ‘em: Isaiah Crowell
It’s Crowell (17 rushes for 33 yards in week one) versus a talented and experienced linebacker-corps, led by Terrell Suggs. I’ll take the latter.
Buffalo Bills @ Carolina Panthers (-7.5)
The Panthers travel home to take on the first place Buffalo Bills (just making sure you’re paying attention). The Bills are better than people give them credit for, but shouldn’t present much of a challenge for Cam Newton and company.
Start ‘em: Kelvin Benjamin
Benjamin (1 reception, 25 yards) was a no-show in week one. Look for the Panthers to take advantage of Benjamin’s 6-5 size against a Buffalo secondary whose average, cornerback height is 5-11.
Sit ‘em: Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey didn’t look out of place, in his NFL debut. Still, the presence of Jonathan Stewart limits eats into his carries. And, the Panthers’ coaching staff has maintained they will monitor the rookie’s workload, this season. He’ll have his moments, but I have to see more before I trust him with a start.
Arizona Cardinals (-7) @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts looked rudderless last week, but catch the Cardinals at the perfect time, who are reeling after the loss of star running back, David Johnson. It’s probably not a blowout, but I don’t see any scenario that doesn’t involve Arizona covering a touchdown spread.
Start ‘em: Frank Gore
If the Colts aren’t handing the ball to Gore on damn nearly every play, they’re doing something hideously wrong. From a sheer volume perspective, safely pencil him into your RB2 slot.
Sit ‘em: Kerwynn Williams/Andre Ellington
One of these guys may have some value, week to week, but until we see how the timeshare will play out, it’s hard to trust either of them.
Tennessee Titans (-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags are like your ex: they always show up when you don’t want them to. With the sound of the Jacksonville bandwagon revving up off in the distance, expect a return to form. Titans will prevail and cover easily.
Start ‘em: Marcus Mariota
There are a lot of mouths to feed in Tennessee, making it hard to predict who will end up having a big day. The safest play is the man whom everything funnels through. The quarterback’s rushing ability will add cushion to his floor.
Sit ‘em: Leonard Fournette
Expect Tennessee’s stingy defense to stack the box and make Blake Bortles beat them through the air. If you invested a high pick in Fournette, you’ll probably have to start him, but I’m avoiding the rookie in daily lineups.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)
The Eagles might be this year’s most-improved team. This week will be a good barometer for just how far they’ve come. I still like the Chiefs to win handily at Arrowhead.
Start ‘em: Alshon Jeffrey
Kansas City’s secondary is smarting over the loss of safety Eric Berry. Carson Wentz took some deep shots in week one and only needs a few to go through on Sunday, to make it a good day at the office for the Eagles’ off-season addition.
Sit ‘em: LeGarrette Blount
If the Eagles are trailing, don’t expect them to stick with the plodding Blount, who sees minimal involvement with the passing game as it is.
New England Patriots (-6.5) @ New Orleans Saints
The Saints have to be licking their chops after seeing the Chiefs run all over the Patriots in week one. Defensively, they’ll have to do a better job pressuring the quarterback than they did in week one – otherwise, it’s going to be a long night for them. I think it will be. New England covers.
Start ‘em: Rob Gronkowski
The tight end was a non-factor in week one, but Belichick never goes to the same game plan twice in a row. I expect him to get at least one on the board in a game where the Patriots should be able to move the ball.
Sit ‘em: Saints running backs
I’m not exactly going out on a limb here, but the Saints’ offensive line woes plus a murky timeshare equals a stay-away for me.
Minnesota Vikings @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5)
I could see this game going either way, but I’ll take the more-experienced Steelers; their offense plays better at home. Pittsburgh will win, but Minnesota covers the 5.5 spread.
Start ‘em: Martavis Bryant
Bryant is the classic example of a boom or bust guy. Minnesota has a good secondary, but with the attention focused on Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, Bryant could slip through the cracks. Start him as an upside flex.
Sit ‘em: Kyle Rudolph
He’s going to get his touchdowns, this season, but I can’t recommend starting someone with such a low-usage rate (3 targets in week one).
Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneeers (-7)
On paper, the match-up favors Tampa Bay. Of course, it remains to be seen how rusty they will be, after sitting out week one action. It might be close in the first half, but I expect the Bucs to have pulled away by the start of the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay covers.
Start ‘em: DeSean Jackson
The lackluster Bears secondary gave up some big plays to Atlanta. That’s music to the ears of Jackson, who will be eager to make a splash in his Buccaneers debut.
Sit ‘em: Jordan Howard
Howard didn’t look bad, last week, but certainly didn’t look like the force he was in 2016. Now he’s going up against a stout defensive-front while also dealing with a shoulder ailment.