Week 2: Player Upgrades
Player Upgrades is intended for fantasy football diehards. Each week when setting a lineup, a closer analysis is necessary to find out which players are destined for a great performance. Sometimes it is a favorable matchup or it can be as simple as an increased role due to an injury. Very few players are matchup-proof in this game. For every Aaron Rodgers or Ray Rice, there are a dozen players who could potentially be interchangable depending upon a number of factors.
This weekly article isolates your best options for a statistical breakout from Week 1 to Week 17. Let FFToolbox do the homework for you! Instead of scouring the waiver wire and opening up 20 tabs to compare and contrast players, let Player Upgrades be your guide. Each week, we will identify seven players (typically two QBs, two RBs, two WRs and one TE) that you should consider starting and we'll break each player down with some analysis.
Starting QB Matt Cassel takes some guts and so does recommending him. The logic behind this suggestion is simple though. The Kansas City Chiefs face Buffalo in Week 2 and in case you missed it, the Bills' pass defense was atrocious in Week 1 after allowing New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez to pass for 266 yards, 3 TDs with only 1 INT. Cassel was unremarkable in Week 1 (258 pass yards, 1 pass TD, 1 rush TD, 3 turnovers). The Chiefs were forced into a lot of passing situations after getting tattooed by Atlanta's dynamic, high-scoring offense. This put a lot of pressure on Cassel to make plays, which led to turnovers. Look for a more balanced attack in Week 2 and a more even-keeled performance by Cassel against a befuddled Buffalo secondary. Let's remember that the purpose of this article is to make big calls and if you're looking for an upgrade at quarterback, you probably need some serious help.
Am I really going to list QB Robert Griffin III for the second straight week here at Player Upgrades? After a jaw-dropping Week 1 performance where the rookie put up 320 pass yards, 2 TDs and 42 rushing yards against a solid New Orleans defense, you better believe it. Griffin and his Washington Redskins face St. Louis in Week 2 and although the Rams played admirably in a loss against the Detroit Lions last week, this is another great matchup for him. The Skins kept it relatively simple for Griffin, allowing him to mix in the occasional deep ball amongst a myriad of short passes. Getting the ball into his playmakers' hands quickly and easily allows for minimal risk for turnovers. The Rams' defense looked improved, but still has a long way to go. Griffin made Skins fans believers after one game and another great outing would really solidify his status as a stud.
RB Donald Brown has FFToolbox's full endorsement in Week 2. Despite only seeing nine carries in Week 1, that wasn't Brown's fault. The Colts went down very early against a vastly improved Chicago Bears offense to open the regular season. This caused the team to lean heavily on QB Andrew Luck to throw the ball around. Indy has a less formidable Week 2 opponent with the Minnesota Vikings coming to Lucas Oil Stadium. Against a more equal foe, finding a better balance on offense will give Brown more touches and therefore more opportunities to accumulate fantasy points. Minnesota was average at best against Jacksonville's running backs in Week 1. This matchup isn't a home run, but it's a stand-up double if you'll allow me to complete this baseball analogy. Consider Brown a RB3/flex option for Week 2.
Since RB Fred Jackson is out nearly a month due to injury, this places the onus of Buffalo's rushing attack onto the shoulders of RB C.J. Spiller. In Week 1, Spiller went nuts against the typically stout New York Jets defense with 194 total yards and a touchdown. Although the Chiefs' run defense was reliable in only allowing 84 rushing yards last week, that has more to do with the fact that Atlanta, their Week 1 opponent, didn't really need to run the ball as they passed the ball up and down the field. Spiller's penchant for big plays and a presumably large workload make him an easy choice to repeat his opening game success. Since he can also catch the ball out of the backfield, he's a PPR gem as well.
Throughout his career, WR Vincent Jackson has been a hit-or-miss type player. One week, he will go off statistically and the next, he will produce next to nothing. Identifying his big weeks is key to utilizing him in fantasy football. Since the Tampa Bay Bucs travel to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Giants in Week 2, now is the time to keep Jackson in your starting lineup. As most of us saw last Wednesday night, the Giants struggled mightily to contain the Dallas Cowboys' passing attack. Jackson saw 10 targets in Week 1 and should he see that much attention in this upcoming game, he can only improve. New York is dealing with injuries across their secondary, which is going to cause a lot of problems in defending Jackson as they slide defenders around to compensate for inexperienced play from their Nos. 2 and 3 corners.