Each week Studs & Duds will take a look at the best and worst match-ups from around the NFL and choose 4 players that could mean the difference between fantasy success or failure. Based on the scoring system established by Yahoo!’s Flames and Lames, Studs and Duds is off to an above average start to begin the season. After getting just 3 picks wrong in Week 1, S&D hopes to improve upon its 5-3 record with a solid Week 2. Do you have some of your own Studs and Duds in mind? If so, put your picks and predictions (no explanation for picks necessary) in the comment section below and see if you can beat us at our own game.
Based on the scoring system established by Yahoo!’s Flames and Lames, Studs and Duds is off to an above average start to begin the season. After getting just 3 picks wrong in Week 1, S&D hopes to improve upon its 5-3 record with a solid Week 2. Do you have some of your own Studs and Duds in mind? If so, put your picks and predictions (no explanation for picks necessary) in the comment section below and see if you can beat us at our own game.
Jason Campbell / QB / Washington Redskins - (vs. Rams) Campbell was able to put up good numbers last week against a Giants defense that is pretty solid. He’ll face a much weaker Rams pass D this week that has already allowed three passing touchdowns in just one game. Because of the stud-worthy game RB Clinton Portis will most likely have, you can expect Campbell to find open receivers down field throughout the game when the ‘Skins run any play-action passing plays. Also, don’t be surprised if Campbell uses his own running skills to punch one in himself.
Prediction: 16-26, 240 passing yards, 2 total touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 35 rushing yards
Nate Burleson / WR / Seattle Seahawks - (vs. 49ers) Burleson had one of the better games of his career last week, and you should get your hands on him now before he puts up an encore against San Fran in week 2. It’s looking like he could be one of the surprise receivers of the year with multiple things going his way in ‘09. First, his knee is finally back to being in game shape after he missed all but one game last year when he injured his ACL. Second, he has a healthy Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback throwing him the ball. Third, and probably most importantly, he finally is playing opposite some other very solid receiving options. With WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh drawing most double teams, and TE John Carlson likely to garner attention from linebackers, Burleson will have plenty of opportunities to get open down-field and rack up lots of yards. San Fran’s pass D isn’t bad, but there’s no doubt that Burleson will have plenty of opportunities to rack up stats.
Prediction: 8 receptions, 106 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Jamal Lewis / RB / Cleveland Browns - (vs. Broncos) It’s a no-brainer to stick with what worked in week 1 and play the running back match-up against the Broncos again this week. Many fantasy owners were way down on Lewis during drafts this year and he’s still available in almost 30% of Yahoo! Leagues. If you can grab him for this week’s matchup, do so, and if he’s riding the pine on your team you’ll want to plug him in if one of your better running backs has a tough matchup this week. Lewis won’t be putting up good numbers for too many more games, but after averaging 5.2 yards per carry against the stout Minnesota run defense last week, there is no doubt he can have a huge game against a Broncos rush D that allowed Cedric Benson to rack up 17 fantasy points in week 1. Just keep in mind though that Lewis’ flame will eventually burn out at some point this year.
Prediction: 18 carries, 106 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 2 total touchdowns
Todd Heap / TE / Baltimore Ravens - (vs. Chargers) Did we just have a Todd Heap sighting in week 1? After stringing together back-to-back stud worthy years in ’05 and ’06, many fantasy experts thought Heap was in the fast lane to fantasy stardom. However, an injury in '07 caused Heap to fall off everyone’s fantasy radar and he's become rather irrelevant to fantasy owners the last two years. With his 74 yard, 1 touchdown performance last week, owners should start to take notice of him again. It seems logical that he would be a great target for a young quarterback like Joe Flacco. Combine that with the fact that the Ravens don’t really have a star WR and you can see that Heap has all the opportunity in the world to be a breakout fantasy TE once again. He’ll face a Chargers D this week that gave up 97 receiving yards to the Raiders’ QB-TE combo of JaMarcus Russell and Zach Miller, so don’t be surprised if Heap is able to surpass the 100 yard mark for the first time since 2005.
Prediction: 7 receptions, 105 yards, 1 touchdown
Tom Brady / QB / New England Patriots - (vs. Jets) This will easily be the riskiest pick S&D makes all year, but it’s not that crazy when you consider a few things. This is not the same Jets team that Brady and the Pats used to walk all over. The Jets’ defense is much improved and new coach Rex Ryan has brought a new sense of toughness to the team as seen in their week 1 win over the Texans. Ryan will also want to keep the New York fans happy in the home opener, so you can be sure that he will keep the pressure on Brady throughout the game. Don’t expect Brady to have enough time to throw the deep balls that usually make him successful against the Jets, and the short game will be up against a strong New York line-backing core. The Pats will have to rely on their very suspect running game in order to win this one, but no matter what they do it’s going to be a struggle to beat this Jets team that is on the rise.
Prediction: 23-46, 195 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, -5 rushing yards
Dwayne Bowe / WR / Kansas City Chiefs - (vs. Raiders) Bowe was able to put up 44 receiving yards to go along with a touchdown last week against a solid Ravens defense. Not a bad game since the backup quarterback, Brodie Croyle, was the one throwing the balls. However, this week against the Raiders you can count on the fact that Bowe will be covered by arguably the best corner in the league, Nnamdi Asomugha, all game. That will mean little opportunity for Bowe to get into the end zone. The fact that Cassell is likely to sit out again this week also adds to the downside of playing Bowe. If you can, plug in either a backup WR off your bench or grab another WR with an easy matchup this week off the free agent wire.
Prediction: 2 receptions, 31 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Maurice Jones–Drew / RB / Jacksonville Jaguars - (vs. Cardinals) Jones-Drew had a very solid game against the Colts in week 1. He was able to rack up over 120 total yards and rush for one touchdown. He’s clearly a start-able fantasy RB every week, especially in PPR leagues, but this week you should temper expectations for one big reason. The Jaguars will face a Cards defense that did a very good job of shutting down the 49ers Frank Gore in week 1. That’s relevant because Gore and Jones-Drew are very similar backs. They are both dual-threat RBs and both run very hard, using their power to pick up yards. Some will argue that Gore was able to get 2 TDs against Arizona so how could that be bad for Jones-Drew. Well, those touchdowns can be attributed more to luck than anything since Gore only averaged 1.4 yards per carry throughout the contest. Arizona will also want to make a statement after being upset last week by the 49ers, so you should expect the Jags to be playing from behind most of the game, which means lots of passing plays.
Prediction: 14 carries, 47 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 28 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
John Carlson / TE / Seattle Seahawks - (vs. 49ers) Seattle will face off against a Niners defense this week that made Arizona QB Kurt Warner look his age. Expect the Seahawks to get the passing game going (as shown by the recommendation of Burleson as a Stud), but don’t expect much of the passes to make their way into Carlson’s hands. Sure Carlson was the top fantasy TE last week after grabbing 2 touchdowns to go along with 95 receiving yards, but this week will definitely be a different story. He’ll have to deal with San Fran’s star linebacker Patrick Willis and you can expect things to get physical. Carlson will have his hands full blocking the pass rush and protecting his QB, which means a letdown for those of you who grabbed him off the waiver wire hoping he could catch magic in a bottle two weeks in a row.
Prediction: 4 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns