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Fantasy Football: Week 2 Preview

Posted Sep 14, 2012


Chargers RB Ryan Matthews is expected to return from injury this week and could be a big play against the Titans. (Getty Images)

Week 1 is in the books, and as usual, plenty of things happened that will cause fantasy owners to overreact.

We're here to help sift through the finds and flukes and set you on the right course for Week 2. With that in mind, here are some key numbers to know about every game, plus a stud, sleeper, stumbler or injury concern to watch out for with a brief explanation why. Note that the “studs” are guys who are either better than most owners realize or established stars who owners might be foolishly thinking about sitting.

Redskins at Rams

Stat to know: The Saints only ran 10 times against the Redskins last week, so don't be fooled by Washington's “third-ranked” run defense. Steven Jackson is still clearly St. Louis' best offensive weapon, and he should once again approach or surpass 20 touches. In six career games against the Redskins, Jackson has averaged 108.7 total yards while scoring four TDs.

Injury: Pierre Garcon, Foot (Aldrick Robinson would start in his place).

Texans at Jaguars

Stat to know: Blaine Gabbert had his best passer rating as a starter last week (96.1) and seemed much more comfortable in the pocket. An improved Gabbert could make fantasy starters out of Justin Blackmon, Laurent Robinson and even Marcedes Lewis. If Gabbert looks good against a tough Houston defense, it's time to buy into the Jaguars' offense.

Sleeper: TE Owen Daniels (league-best 87 yards for a TE last week).

Buccaneers at Giants

Stat to know: Vincent Jackson only registered four catches for 47 yards in Week 1, but he was targeted 10 times, tied for 11th most among all WRs. Teammates Mike Williams and Dallas Clark were only targeted three times and once, respectively. Jackson could be in line for a breakout game against a suspect Giants' secondary that gave up over 300 passing yards to the Cowboys.

Stud: RB Doug Martin (tied for league lead with 28 touches last week).

Browns at Bengals

Stat to know: Cincinnati's Andrew Hawkins hauled in eight of nine targets on Monday and could become a viable complement to A.J. Green in the Bengals' offense. He's worth keeping an eye in all formats. Teammate Jermaine Gresham almost matched Hawkins with eight targets. Even though he only caught three of them, it's good to know he's still a big part of the offensive game plan.

Sleeper: Bengals' D/ST (Four Browns' turnovers, two sacks allowed last week).

Raiders at Dolphins

Stat to know: Reggie Bush and Darren McFadden accounted for 41.4 percent 38.6 percent of their teams respective offenses last week. Even with Oakland limiting the Chargers to just 32 rushing yards and Miami limiting the Texans to just 2.4 yards per carry in Week 1, both backs are must-start RB1s.

Sleeper: WR Denarius Moore (Replacing Rod Streater, who had 10 targets last week, in the starting lineup).

Chiefs at Bills

Stat to Know: Jamaal Charles and C.J. Spiller are two of the most explosive backs in the league, shown by the fact that they accounted for two of the longest three runs in Week 1. With Fred Jackson (knee) out, Spiller is a legit upper-tier running back. Charles should also get that distinction after ceding just seven carries to Peyton Hillis against Atlanta.

Sleeper: TE Scott Chandler (TD last week, two TDs against Chiefs last year).

Ravens at Eagles

Stat to know: Jeremy Maclin's hamstring injury might keep him out of Sunday's game, but that just means more targets for DeSean Jackson, who was thrown to 11 times in Week 1. Even if Maclin plays, both and Jackson should be in starting lineups. If Maclin is out, Jason Avant would see more targets, but he hasn't shown enough to merit a spot in fantasy lineups.

Stumbler: WR Anquan Boldin (possible matchup with Nnamdi Asomugha).

Vikings at Colts

Stat to know: Percy Harvin was targeted eight times and rushed five times, including once on the goal line last week. Even with Adrian Peterson looking close to 100 percent, Harvin is Minnesota's key weapon in this game. The Colts were torched by Bears for over 300 passing yards last week, making Harvin and TE Kyle Rudolph high-percentage plays.

Sleeper: Vikings D/ST (Five Colts turnovers, shoddy offensive line play last week).

Cardinals at Patriots

Stat to know: Dating back to last season, Beanie Wells has averaged just 42.4 rushing yards per game over his past five contests. After last week's seven-carry, 14-yard effort, Wells is squarely on the outs with fantasy owners, and his backfield mate, Ryan Williams (eight carries, nine yards), is close to joining him. This week, the Cardinals have to deal with a Pats' defense that limited Chris Johnson to just four rushing yards.

Sleeper: WR Andre Roberts (Nine targets, TD last week).

Saints at Panthers

Stat to know: Several of New Orleans' players inflated their stats in garbage time last week, according to the Sporting News' Garbage-Time Tracker. Drew Brees added 65 yards and a touchdown, while Lance Moore used garbage time to get over the century mark with two catches for 34 yards. Both Brees and Moore are still worth starting, but Darren Sproles, who didn't have a carry and produced 7.9 of his 11.5 fantasy points after the game was out of hand, is a risky play.

Sleeper: WR Brandon LaFell (TD last week, Saints gave up 311 passing yards).

Cowboys at Seahawks

Stat to know: Miles Austin turned in a solid performance with 73 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, but his score came after a blown tackle and he was targeted only four times -- seven fewer than Kevin Ogletree, one fewer than Dez Bryant and just one more than Jason Witten. Austin has plenty of upside, but it would be nice to see him get more looks.

Injury: Sidney Rice, knee (More targets for Doug Baldwin and and possibly Golden Tate if Rice is out).

Titans at Chargers

Stat to know: Ryan Mathews (clavicle) is believed to be on track to play on Sunday, and if he does, he's a solid option against a Titans' defense that gave up the sixth-most fantasy points to RBs last week (24.3). The Chargers managed just 32 net rushing yards against the Raiders, so Mathews' return would be a boost for the whole offense.

Stumbler: WR Kenny Britt (only expected to play 20-25 snaps).

Jets at Steelers

Stat to know: The Steelers are known for their run defense, but the Broncos managed a respectable 94 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown against Pittsburgh on Sunday night. The Jets won't be afraid to challenge Pittsburgh on the ground, making Shonn Greene, who ranked second with 27 carries last week, a better-than-you-think play.

Sleeper: RB Jonathan Dwyer (Expanded role, Jets gave up 195 net rushing yards last week).

Lions at 49ers

Stat to know: Michael Crabtree was clearly Alex Smith's favorite target last week, getting nine passes thrown his way compared to five for Vernon Davis and four apiece for Mario Manningham and Randy Moss. Crabtree has big upside this week, especially when you factor in that he tied a career high with nine catches against the Lions last year.

Stud: QB Matthew Stafford (293 yards and two TDs vs. SF last year, should throw close to 50 times).

Broncos at Falcons

Stat to know: Atlanta ran just 23 times last week, with five of those carries coming as they were running out the clock late in the game. Fantasy owners are justifiably leery of Michael Turner after his 11-carry, 32-yard performance, but he's always a candidate for a short TD run given Atlanta's high-powered offense. Don't give up on Turner yet, but downgrade his value in yardage-heavy and PPR leagues.

Stumbler: Jacquizz Rodgers (just seven non-garbage-time touches last week).

Matt Lutovsky is a fantasy football writer for Sporting News' Fantasy Source. You can read more of his work on the Fantasy Source football homepage at http://fantasysource.sportingnews.com/football/free?affiliate_code=sn_navigation 

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