Week 2: Sit 'Em
The banged up Steelers head to Cincinnati for a divisional clash with the Bengals in week two. Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense got off to a miserable start to the season, not only losing a home game to the Tennessee Titans, but also losing all-pro center Maurkice Pouncey for the entire season with a knee injury. The Steelers offense could not get anything going in week one, as Roethlisberger threw for just 191 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The lack of an effective running game also hurt Roethlisberger's chances of having any time in the pocket. The shaky offensive line, lack of running game, off-season losses of Mike Wallace to Miami and Heath Miller to injury, all add up to Roethlisbeger being a shaky fantasy play right now. The Bengals defense should be able to put immense pressure on the banged up Pittsburgh offensive line this week, potentially forcing mistakes from Big Ben. Fantasy owners should look elsewhere for a starting quarterback this week.
This week's Sunday night showdown between the 49ers and Seahawks could be a preview of a potential playoff match-up in January. Both the 49ers and Seahawks got off to good starts to the season; the 49ers opened with a hard-fought home win over the Packers, and the Seahawks eeked out a tough road game with the Panthers. Expect this week's match-up to be a physical tilt, with both teams attempting to set the tone early. While both offenses could put up points, one player I would be careful about starting this week is Frank Gore. The 49ers' starting running back struggled in week one, amassing just 65 total yards on 23 touches, though he was able to find the endzone against the Packers (something that will be more difficult to do this week against a stronger Seahawks defense). The aging running back should still see the ball close to 20 times this week, as Kendall Hunter rushed only six times in week one, but fantasy owners should look elsewhere if possible for an effective RB 2.
The second year running back struggled to get anything going on the ground against the Browns in week one, and could continue to struggle in Indianapolis this Sunday. Miller touched the ball 11 times in week one, but was only able to muster a measly ten yards and lost touches, including at the goal-line, to Daniel Thomas. Miller will not struggle as badly this week against a weaker Colts defense, but should not be trusted in fantasy leagues until he proves he is worth a start. The Dolphins' offensive line failed to open any running lanes for the young running back in week one, and that unit could continue to struggle as the season progresses. With Daniel Thomas being mixed in throughout the game and at the goal-line, Miller's fantasy potential is no more than a RB 2. Fantasy owners should keep Miller on benches until the Dolphins figure out their offensive line issues, especially this week.
The Chiefs opened up the 2013 season with an impressive win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but did not feature Dwayne Bowe in the offense as much as fantasy owners had hoped. Bowe caught just four passes for 30 yards and was targeted only six times by Alex Smith. Smith employed his patented dink and dunk passing game, as evidenced by his 5.1 yards per attempt average, and by the fact that fullback Anthony Sherman led the team with 44 receiving yards. Fantasy owners need to hope that Andy Reid opens up the offense more as the season goes on, allowing Bowe to make big gains down the field. Until the Chiefs start taking more risks, Bowe will be a shaky play, especially as a WR 2 (which he was drafted to be in most fantasy leagues). If you start just two wide receivers, it may be beneficial to look elsewhere this week.
The second year coming out party for T.Y. Hilton has been delayed by the Colts' wide receiver depth chart. Most fantasy owners expected a jump from Hilton this year following a good rookie season, but following the Colts' signing of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Hilton has taken a backseat in the offense. Hilton played only about 50 percent of the offensive snaps in week one, a number that must increase for Hilton to live up to his fantasy draft position. Many owners drafted Hilton to be a WR 2 or high end WR 3, but until he gets himself onto the field more often, he will be a boom or bust WR 3 at best. Hilton caught just three passes for 20 yards in week one, a number that could be improved upon this week if he can connect on a big play or two. If he continues to be used as a situational player, he is too risky for me to start in fantasy leagues. Keep him on your bench this week.