Week 2 fantasy football thoughts

      September 18, 2011 @ 11:39:53 PDT


I watch a lot of football; maybe to the point where it's unhealthy (so what if I forgot to eat or feed the dogs). Not only do I have several games going on TV and the various Red Zone channels flashing all of the teams in scoring range, I also have Sirius radio going in the background. Now I've advanced to the point where I'm watching DirecTV's NFL Ticket on my iPad, too. It is almost information overload, so you'll have to forgive me if I'm still twitching on Monday and Tuesday.

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

There have been some good games already this year, but I have to say it may take awhile for one to top the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders battle during Week 2. The game was fantastic. It's almost as if the Bills knew I picked them to win in my pick 'em challenges and didn't want to let me down. It was an exciting, on the edge of your seat kind of game; a very positive showing from two less than dominating teams.

Gut Feel

It was another unbelievable showing by Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton. Throw out the interceptions today against the Green Bay Packers, Newton is showing the poise and leadership of a player years beyond his freshman experience. Throw out everything you thought entering the season, Newton is one of those players who elevate his level of play -- and those of everyone around him -- on game day. I have just as a hard time writing it as you do buying it.

Be patient with Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson. I know how incredibly frustrating it is having your first-round pick start the season with two mediocre showings, but we have to be realistic here. Johnson missed virtually all of training camp and the preseason; it's going to take some time for him to have his football legs under him.

Kudos to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Despite a fractured rib, he returned to the field to lead the team to a come-from-behind overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Maybe that'll take some of the media spotlight off of him for a day or two.

I've been drooling over Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford for almost two months in this space. I know it was the Chiefs he just sliced and diced, but the guy is in for a tremendous fantasy season if he stays healthy. I have him on many teams, and may actually have to start debating playing him over Drew Brees in one of them if this keeps up.

The Green Bay Packers need to realize soon that James Starks is the most dynamic of their tailbacks. He had 85 yards rushing on nine carries, but he needs more touches. Ryan Grant had six rushing attempts and three receptions, which is just enough to continue hurting Starks' upside.

The Kansas City Chiefs have fallen apart. They've been blown out of the water in back-to-back games, and things won't get any easier next week traveling out to San Diego to take on the Chargers. Another bad game or two and the team is going to have to consider sitting Matt Cassel even though they don't have anything better at quarterback behind him.

Houston Texans Ben Tate ran very well for a second consecutive week, posting his second career 100-yard rushing game in as many weeks. Arian Foster (hamstring) doesn't seem to be at 100 percent health, so don't be shocked to see a total time share situation develop in Houston. It's becoming obvious it's the system far more than it's the players in it. Consider both backs capable plays for the foreseeable future barring Foster missing more time with the injury.

Panthers receiver Steve Smith is now a weekly start in fantasy football leagues until you hear otherwise. He hauled in six receptions for 156 yards against the Green Bay defense.

San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews needs the football more. I'm not down on Mike Tolbert; in fact, I've been very impressed with how well Tolbert has performed on third downs and how soft his hands are. Mathews, however, has so much higher of a ceiling. I've been impressed with his vision and how quickly hit hits seams.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams finished with minus-four yards on one catch; unfortunately for fantasy owners, he also had a touchdown reception in the game - it came back due to a penalty. After two weeks of play, its clear teams have studied a lot of game tape on Williams; they're finding ways to take Josh Freeman's favorite target out of games.

New York Jets running back Shonn Greene averaged just 3.1 yards per carry, rushing 16 times for 49 yards against the Jaguars. This should be a major concern if you've been banking on Greene to the bell cow the Jets said he would this year. If he doesn't get his act together soon, running backs Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell might start seeing a regular supply of touches.

If there is an ounce of smarts in the Chicago brain trust, they'll turn around and give running back Matt Forte the new deal he definitely deserves. The last thing they need is Forte to get irked and walk out. For as much talk there is about Jay Cutler, this system is powered by Forte.

Packers receiver James Jones has just three targets in two weeks and only two receptions. I'm thinking it's time to punt.

I think it's safe to say Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is back in game shape. I had him in several lineups entering Sunday, and then I sat him last minute in all of them. A couple touchdowns and close to 200 yards later, Maclin has earned his spot in starting lineups everywhere moving forward.

Miami Dolphin running back Daniel Thomas looked good in his first career NFL game, rushing 18 times for 107 yards. He also caught one pass for 10 yards. Provided he can stay healthy, look for him to see the majority of the touches with the team sprinkling in Reggie Bush on stretch plays and on passing situations. Not ready to bank on Thomas as any better than a No. 3 fantasy back, though, and he is going to need to start finding the end zone.

Early Waiver Wire Thoughts

These are some knee-jerk reactions to what was seen during Sunday's games. KFFL's official Waiver Wire recommendations will be released Monday afternoon, as we'll have a better understanding of many situations and injury updates.

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers - If for some reason Newton escaped being claimed in your leagues last week, snag him immediately. I still don't believe he'll be consistent, but it's become clear in two weeks that he is going to score more fantasy points than anyone anticipated - he may already have. In two games, he has thrown for 854 yards and three scores while tacking on 71 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Kansas City Chiefs - McCluster, in some leagues, has the ability to be used at either running back or wide receiver, which provides even more potential bang for this pickup. Look for him to handle the receiving duties and some stretch running plays; goal-line shots (if the Chiefs can ever get that far downfield) will probably fall to Thomas Jones.

Thomas Jones, RB, Kansas City Chiefs - Jones should see most of the heavy lifting at running back, but he is going to share duties with McCluster. If you're desperate for depth at running back, Jones and his high-mileage legs are still worth a look.

Roy Helu Jr., RB, Washington Redskins - I've been on the Helu bandwagon for quite some time and he showed some of his spark in Week 2, rushing 10 times for 74 yards and catching three passes for 38 yards. Tim Hightower (21 touches) still led the way amongst the backs, but Helu has a gear none of the other Washington backs do. Look for him to continue seeing action, but his numbers will be inconsistent unless he can wrestle away the No. 1 duties.

Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos - We were high on Decker during the summer and his late-round value is already providing strong returns. The weak Denver "D" is going to put them in many situations where they have to go to the air.

David Nelson, WR, Buffalo Bills - Nelson has been targeted 20 times in two games, catching 14 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. He had 10 receptions in Week 2. We've been saying for awhile someone opposite Stevie Johnson has to step up; Nelson is making a strong case to be the legit No. 2 option in this pass-friendly system.

Fred Davis, TE, Washington Redskins - Six catches, 86 yards and a touchdown later, Davis showed he and Rex Grossman are on the same page. If he slid through your league's waiver wire in Week 2, don't make the same mistake this weekend.

What did you like/dislike during Week 2? Which players are high on your waiver wire radar? Share your thoughts and help other fantasy footballers entering Week 3 in the space below.

Don't forget to follow @kffl on Twitter for all of the latest NFL and fantasy football news, and you can keep up with all of my shenanigans and random thoughts by following @rblaptop

Catch me and other KFFLians Wednesday evenings on Big Lead Sports on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio from 10 pm - 1 am ET on Sirius 210 and XM 87.

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About Ryan R. Bonini

Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the FSWA, received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.

His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NFL.com, and many others. He has also been featured on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA, FSWA and FSTA.

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