Week 2 of the NFL season is fast approaching. So what better time to gaze into my magical crystal ball and provide you with some scintillating, out-of-nowhere, predictions for the upcoming week in fantasy football.
1. The Buffalo Bills Prove They Are An Elite D and Shut Down Brady and Gronk
You just know that Rex Ryan has something up his sleeve. He knows the Patriots better than any other coach, having faced them many times when he was leading the New York Jets. The Bills just shut down arguably the most potent offense in the league by completely stifling Andrew Luck and the high-octane Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots have far less weapons than the Colts, so the Bills will pressure Brady all game forcing him to dump the ball off to Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis. Plus, you have to love the swagger that the Bills' defense is playing with right now.
2. Nick Foles Has A Better Fantasy Week Than Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers is playing against the Seahawks, which isn’t an easy task. But quickly name as many Packers offensive players as you can. See, the Packers have a whole lot of talent to work with. Now, quickly name as many Rams offensive players as you can. No, Todd Gurley doesn’t count because he isn’t playing yet. So how on earth will Foles have a better fantasy day than Rodgers? Well, if Foles can put up 297 yards and two TDs against the Seahawks, imagine what he can do this week against the Washington Redskins.
3. Danny Woodhead Will Be A Top-12 Fantasy Running Back
It appears that the guy you want to own in the Chargers' backfield is Woodhead and not super-hyped rookie running back Melvin Gordon. Woodhead scored 18.2 fantasy points in standard leagues last week thanks to 42 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Woodhead might not be an every-down back, but he is the Chargers' goal-line back and if the Chargers are down this week against the Bengals (like they were last week against the Lions), which is likely, then Woodhead won’t come off the field. Helping you rack up fantasy points - especially in PPR leagues.
4. Drew Brees is Back
How long has it been since Drew Brees played like the Drew Brees of old? Seems like forever ago. There was a time when Brees was easily a top-3 fantasy QB when he played at home in the Superdome. This is the week when Brees and company get back on track. The lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers come limping into town after getting trashed by Marcus Mariota. Brees might not have Jimmy Graham anymore but with Brandin Cooks, emerging Brandon Coleman and running back Mark Ingram, who can catch a pass when called on, the Saints just have too many options for the Buccaneers to contend with. Look for Brees to throw for over 350 yards and three TDs. The only thing that might hold him back is if they get off to a huge lead too early in the game.
5. Greg Olsen Plays Like Greg Olsen
Heading into the season Olsen was projected as an easy top-3 tight end. Heck, many experts had him ranked as the No. 2 tight end behind Rob Gronkowski because he was the only receiving threat left on the Carolina Panthers. SO what happened in Week 1? Olsen only gets three targets, catches one, yes one, for a pathetic 11 yards. Not cool. Never fear though Olsen owners. The Panthers and Cam Newton know that if they are going to have any chance of winning or a successful offense that Olsen needs to be involved more this week against Houston. There’s no doubt that the Texans will be pressuring Newton all day, which is perfect for Olsen because one thing Newton does well is avoid the rush, and one thing Olsen does well is get open when his quarterback is flushed from the pocket. Expect a seven-catch, 90-yard and a touchdown kind of day from Olsen.
6. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson Rekindle Their Love Affair
Perhaps the biggest shock of Week 1 was that Megatron had a measly two receptions for 39 yards on only four targets. Now that stat line can be attributed to the fact that the Lions jumped out to a huge lead early against the Chargers, but as San Diego started to come back, you’d think that the Lions would start to look Megatron’s way to keep them in the game, which didn’t happen. In Week 2, Megatron is going to be a focal point of the Lions' "air it out" attack. How’s eight catches for over 130 yards and a touchdown sound?
7. Carlos Hyde Does it Again
Temper your expectations though. Hyde won’t go off for another 168 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Hyde has one big thing going against him this week. There’s a history of running backs who travel from the west coast to the east coast, and are three-point or more underdogs, to struggle in those types of game. You can’t argue with history. Luckily for Hyde’s fantasy owners he’s playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers who are no longer the “Steel Curtain” of yesteryear. The Steelers' D isn’t any good and the 49ers know that if they have any chance of winning they need to do it on the ground with Hyde and Kaepernick, so expect another 100 yards rushing and another touchdown.
8. LeSean McCoy Trashes the New England Patriots
Okay, I admit – this one might be too easy. After all, last week DeAngelo Williams managed to run for 127 yards against the Patriots and Williams is like 53 years old. McCoy appears to be close to 100 percent and the Bills are going to need him because Bill Belichick and the Patriots are going to blitz Tyrod Taylor early and often, so Buffalo's offense is going to need McCoy to counter that approach. The only negative against McCoy is that backup Karlos Williams is probably going to steal some carries and probably a touchdown. But never fear, McCoy should at least match Williams' Week 1 numbers against the Patriots.
9. Marcus Mariota Struggles in Titans' Loss To Cleveland
Week 1 for Marcus Mariota was unreal. He had the Midas touch as everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. Unfortunately like 0.3 percent (I made that up) of fantasy teams had Mariota in the Week 1 starting lineup. Which brings up the question – if a quarterback throws four touchdowns in a game and no one in fantasy land starts him, do those four touchdowns actually count? Apparently they do as Mariota was one of the most appealing waiver wire targets after Week 1. But please lower your expectations. Mariota’s big game was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, perhaps the worst defense in the league. This week Mariota goes up against the Cleveland Browns, a team with a pretty solid defense that will shut Mariota down forcing the Titans to use as much Bishop Sankey as possible. That’s a recipe for success for the Browns.
10. Pierre Garcon (circa 2013) Returns
By now you should know that DeSean Jackson, the Redskins' No. 1 wide receiver, is out at least a few weeks with a hamstring injury. This will mark the triumphant return of the 2013 version of Garcon where he had 113 catches on 182 targets for 1,346 yards and five TDs. That was the only season Garcon has played in Washington without Jackson around. The Redskins' ground game is going to be bottled up against St. Louis' impressive front four, forcing Kirk Cousins to throw the ball more than the Redskins would like, allowing Garcon to have a huge day, especially in PPR leagues. Garcon should approach upwards of eight catches for 100 yards but no touchdowns, sorry to burst your bubble.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.