Before I get into the early Sunday game fallout, I'll give you the truncated version of the Thursday Night slopfest between New England and the Jets. Ready? Hold onto Brady and Ridley, be patient with Gronk. It will get better. As for the Jets? Geno is a long way off before he's startable, and unless you enjoy migraines, don't bother with Stephen Hill. Moving on, folks...
Bernard Pierce- Likely not available in 12-14 team leagues, but by some strange stroke of luck that he is, he's your top priority this week. Ray Rice left the game after hitting the turf untouched, with what trainers are calling a left hip flexor strain. Pierce stands to gain a sizable workload in an offense that was already depleted. If he's there? Empty your wallet.
Joique Bell- Time is running out, especially with Reggie Bush leaving the week 2 matchup with the Cardinals early, in what appeared to be a knee injury. Matt Stafford loves to check down to his RB, and Bell is a proven commodity in this backfield. Catch him if you can.
Eddie Royal>- Yes, I thought he was a bum along with Robert "Cape Fear" Meachem, but he won't be denied his James-Jonesian red zone gluttony. Five TDs in two weeks is no longer a fluke. Could there be regression? Sure. Royal certainly has his immediate skeptics, but just as Danario Alexander was rosterable last year in standard leagues, Royal is worth an add as well.
Marlon Brown- How many times do I have to tell you?!! Okay, this is the third time, and the final time, because he won't last long. Brown was targeted twice in the red zone on a late drive, the second throw resulting in a TD--his second in successive weeks. He'll likely be a hot commodity, so expect to drop some decent FAAB coin.
DeAndre Hopkins- One of our favorite rookies at 2 Mugs, Hopkins had his coming out party, with a 7/117/1TD stat line on the day. Worth an add if he's out there in redraft, he will certainly have some nice weeks as a flex option. My only concern is his number in the pecking order as it pertains to the red zone. With the running game of Foster and Tate still prominent, and the TE tandem of Daniels and Graham finding the end zone yet again this week, Hopkins might be a better PPR flex in redraft leagues. In Dynasty leagues? The sky is the limit.
T.Y. Hilton & Coby Fleener- Our buddy Evan Silva loves his big play talent (as do we), but his week one usage was worrisome. This week? Hilton jumped off the page with the Dolphins choosing to minimize Reggie Wayne. Darius Heyward-Bey is set for an MRI on his injured shoulder, so Hilton assumes a WR2 role and could be a fantasy superstar for the next several weeks and beyond. Is Fleener sustainable week to week? It's hard to say, despite just missing a 2nd TD that was called back on a penalty. Both have talent and promise, but weekly production could still be spotty...especially for Fleener
The following players are good buy low/trade candidates based on their week 1 production, and expected upticks going forward.
Cam Newton- While he didn't have a bad day, his OL was beat up by Mario Williams (4.5 sacks), and he was under pressure all day. He did connect with Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn, but was a disappointment with his feet...only rushing for 15 yards. If the last two years are any indication, Newton will bounce back, and after two down weeks, frustrated owners will be ready to sell.
Trent Richardson- Crazy right? After a bad showing by the Browns vs their division rival Ravens, the Browns look like fantasy sells all around. Weeden's injured thumb is a bit of a concern (day to day), but with Josh Gordon returning from suspension, things open up for Richardson. Do your best to pry this thoroughbred from someone who isn't "in the know."
Eric Decker- Don't hate me for this one, but much like Lamar Miller, you have to give a guy time to right his wrongs. After an early drop, Decker actually lead his team in catches (9/87), despite a bum fight of a matchup between the Manning Brosephs. This is a pass first offense, so while we thought his value couldn't get any better, this low grade showing from Denver only helps his "buy low" look.
Demarco Murray- His PPR value continues to roll, but if you looked at his rushing numbers, they looked pedestrian on the surface. If you can muscle him away from someone who has a man crush on Knowshon Moreno, make a celebrity wife swap and get the better keeper in Murray.
Knowshon Moreno- If you feeling like loving this running back, I can't "second that a Knowshon." Bad puns aside, a workload of 13 carries a week won't pay the bills, even if he did find the end zone twice this week. This is Peyton's team, and the running game is the lesser opening act, even if this week was an anomaly.
Cecil Shorts- It pains me to say this, it really does, because Shorts is a vastly talented wide receiver. However, this episode of "Cops" they roll out every week in Jacksonville will only amount to bad decisions and pepper spray in your ocular cavities. I don't blame Cecil, I blame Bad Chad & Dread, White & Blaine. I'm sitting Cecil until they add an expansion team to the NFL that the Jaguars can bully for four quarters.
Running backs for Atlanta and Green Bay, Not Named Eddie Lacy or Steven Jackson- Jackson left with a thigh injury this week, and Lacy was presumably concussed by the human missile, Brandon Meriweather. While James Starks filled in admirably, he's just a guy if there ever was one, and likely a one week rental. The same goes for Jackson. While his thigh injury could keep him out for a week or so, you can do better than the spotty production in PPR of Snelling and Rodgers.
SNF Takeaway-It is abundantly clear that the "12th Man" is not a manufactured home field advantage (okay maybe the stadium structure IS, but whatever), and it's a stark reality for your opposing fantasy offense. Colin Kaepernick has now laid two fantasy eggs in Seattle, and will likely continue to do so in the future, as he seems to get rattled quickly with the molar rattling crowd noise. Both Kaepernick and Anquan Boldin should bounce back next week, as well as Frank Gore. Monitor Vernon Davis' hamstring injury very closely, as these inuries tend to nag. I'd take a flier on Vance McDonald for next week if Davis is held out (especially if you stream TEs). Kaepernick only has Boldin to rely on, and McDonald looked good in relief.
As for Seattle, they'll continue to dominate at home, and despite the best effort of the Niners, they couldn't stop Marshawn Lynch. He's your RB1, regardless of matchup. Russell Wilson looks to be more of a low end QB1 going forward, unless his WRs make a big step going forward. Right now? It's still looking too inconsistent to rely on any one WR for Seattle for fantasy production.
MNF Wrap-Up- When your leading WR is Manny Sanders (5/78) and your lead RB is Felix Jones (10/37), things are not very good from a fantasy or more importantly, reality standpoint. Roethlisberger faces the Chicago and Minnesota defensive lines in successive weeks before his week 5 BYE, and it probably will be a needed rest for his contorted frame at that point. I'm not starting any Steelers at this point, and waiting for Antonio Brown's value to increase before I sell high.
It was nice to see Gio Bernard fine the end zone twice on only 8 carries (one TD through the air), but that workload is still a tough to trust week to week. The Bengals still let BJGE close out games (he had 22 carries), but he's clearly the speedbump for this uptempo offense. I'd take a flier on Bernard as a flex in week 3 vs. the beatable Green Bay defense, as Bernard has some of that C.J. Spiller-less is more type-upside. The rest of this offense keeps chugging along, as A.J. Green is still your #1 despite a down week, and it looks like Jermaine Gresham still looks like the streaming TE to own in Cincy, as Dalton tends to trust his veteran TE a bit more at this point, although Eifert flashed at times. Everyone else is too spotty to worry about starting at this point, and Andy Dalton was lucky his skill players bailed him out this week, as his accuracy is Tebow-esque at times.