This column is a part of a weekly series that offers Fantasy Football advice from Guy Ginsberg, Marty Schnapp, Jason Harward, Nirav Desai and Isaiah Freedman.
As usual, the first two weeks of fantasy football reveal a lot. Players who we believed to be non-factors have been studs, while players we thought would have a big impact have been subpar.
Let’s comb through the players this week that have an opportunity to surprise us; may that be in a positive or negative way.
Smith has yet to play a game this year, because he fractured his ribs a month before the season, but not to worry. This week, Smith is expected to debut against the Philadelphia Eagles and their dumpster fire of a secondary. His lightning speed makes it easier for him to blow by opponents and pick up huge chunks of yards in small doses. On Monday, the Jets were unable to run the ball against a Colts team that should not be able to stuff opponents at the line of scrimmage. This means that they will throw to their receivers even more, and Smith, a second round pick, is the perfect player to catch every football thrown to him.
Week Three projections: 5 receptions for 78 yards, 1 touchdown
Johnson is the first player in NFL history to record a receiving touchdown, a rushing touchdown and a returning touchdown in the first two weeks of the season. Coach Bruce Arians stated in a news conference the day after the game that Johnson will “be featured more and more every week.” More than he has put up already? Sign me up!
Week Three Projections: 78 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns
Megatron? A Bust? Well, yes. Playing a lockdown secondary that features Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, plus having a banged up quarterback, bodes for a poor performance from Calvin. Johnson may make his living by making the big, 50 yard catches, but Harris makes his living by breaking up those 50 yard bombs. A showdown like no other! Unfortunately, this one will go to Harris, who has never given up a big play in his career. That is not a typo.
Week three Projections: 6 catches for 65 yards, no touchdowns
While Williams was arguably the best fantasy back in the league over the first two games, the real best running back in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell, will return after his two game suspension. Bell will resume the starting position again, meaning that Williams’ number of carries will drastically decrease. It was fun while it lasted.
Week three Projections: 5 carries, 35 yards
Okay, Evans did put up a stink bomb last week, but he was coming off a bum hamstring, and went up against a tough-as-nails corner in Brandon Browner. The size and athletic ability that Evans possesses will make it easy for Jameis Winston to chuck the ball fifty yards and pray that Evans comes down with it. And he probably will.
Week Three projections: 8 receptions, 127 yards, 2 touchdowns
Desai’s Decent Dudes
The 25-year-old followed up a 9.40 point performance in Week One against a formidable Washington secondary with an 11.50 point performance in Week Two in Miami’s 23-20 loss against Jacksonville. Yes, the NFL annually exiles the Jaguars to London for being the Jaguars. Yes, you likely have never heard of Rishard Matthews. Ignore both of those things! Quit being such a negative Ndamukong and look at Matthews’ elite abilities! On top of that impressive display of respiratory force, tight end Jordan Cameron and running back Lamar Miller are reportedly nursing injuries, leaving Matthews as one of Ryan Tannehill’s sole healthy weapons. Against an inconsistent Bills defense that was embarassed by Touchdown Tom and the Patriots in Week Two, Matthews will be primed to put in another moderately impressive performance.
Week Three Projections: 9 receptions, 75 yards, 1 touchdown
Remember when everybody was excited for a couple of weeks last season because Cousins looked like a legitimate QB1 in fantasy football? Boy, that was almost as exciting as that season when everybody thought Robert Griffin III would make the Colts regret drafting Andrew Luck first overall. Eventually, Cousins was unmasked as the type of quarterback who is currently projected to score 12.83 points against the Giants defense in Week Three. The reason you should forgive Cousins for last year’s letdown by picking him up is that the Giants are the Giants, the same team that gave up two consecutive close losses while Eli Manning contorted his facial features into the reliable Manning struggle face. Jordan Reed is not a bust, do not pay any attention to what I said about him last week.
Week Two Projections: 26/35 completions for 270 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
It seems Manziel is a trendy player to own right now after he gave up turning up at parties for throwing up 50-yard bombs to Travis Benjamin on Sundays. Sorry to throw a wet blanket over your 2014-era dream of Johnny Football lighting up the NFL, but Manziel will not find much success against the Raiders in Week Three if he is watching the Browns’ new starter, Josh McCown, do that instead.
Poor, poor Andre Johnson. It must have been more devastating for the faded star to have a nationally televised self-realization of his weakened abilities in Week Two than it must have been for Colts fans to watch it happen. Retire in peace, Andre.
Week Three Projections: 4 receptions, 45 yards
After reportedly expressing his anger with being barely targeted in his first two regular season games since being traded from a place where the summers can kill you to a place where the gloomy skies will make you wish you were dead, the second best tight end in fantasy will finally live up to his title in Week Three. Pete Carroll took time away from denying 9/11 was a terrorist attack to respond to Graham’s comments, leaving no doubt that the franchise, which has dealt with toxic locker rooms for the past two seasons, will be looking to get Graham involved in the passing game. Additionally, there is a reason you have not heard anybody extolling the merits of Chicago’s defense, which has scored a grand total of negative one fantasy points thus far in the season. I am going to predict nobody will be talking about the Bears defense for good reasons after they get demolished by Graham and the Seahawks this week.
Week Two Projections: 9 receptions, 75 yards receiving, 1 touchdown