Despite Clausen, Smith still a fantasy starter this week

Tennessee at New York Giants

The Steelers may have issued a blueprint for containing Chris Johnson last week, aggressively eliminating his cutback opportunities. The Titans will likely find ways to adjust their game plan, though, and the Giants' front seven is not nearly as disciplined as Pittsburgh's. Expect Johnson to deliver a nice rebound performance. Vince Young must play well to hold onto the starting job and should be more careful this week. That means mediocre passing and fantasy totals as he attempts to limit turnovers. The Titans' defense is looking good so far, and will not let Ahmad Bradshaw slip away often. Eli Manning is going to have to carry the offense, and will provide uneven fantasy totals. Tennessee's secondary will be focused on containing the fast-rising Hakeem Nicks, so Manning will look to the dependable Steve Smith often. Look for him to have his best game of the young season. Mario Manningham may not find much run-after-the catch room this week.

Cincinnati at Carolina

The Panthers have allowed five TD passes in two games, most in the league so far. That makes this is a good week for the star-studded Bengals passing game to get into a groove. Expect more than one TD pass from Carson Palmer, and Chad Ochocinco is a nice starting option. Terrell Owens is not yet fully in sync with Palmer, so his yardage numbers may be limited. However, he should get a few scoring chances. A quality air game should open up some running lanes for Cedric Benson, and he will get some opportunities to score from short range.

The Bengals will be well aware that Carolina wants to run the ball to keep pressure off Jimmy Clausen, and DeAngelo Williams will not perform up to expectations again. Keep Jonathan Stewart reserved for another week. If the Panthers do score, it will be through Steve Smith, so do not bench the superstar wide receiver. Even inexperienced quarterbacks need to complete passes to someone, and Clausen obviously knows who his go-to guy will be.

Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers have allowed over 111 yards per game in the first two weeks, and the Steelers should be able to establish a respectable running attack through Rashard Mendenhall. Charlie Batch is a savvy veteran and will take what the defense gives him. He will connect with Hines Ward frequently, and Ward's PPR totals should be satisfying. Finding Mike Wallace downfield, though, will be a more formidable challenge. Cadillac Williams is dealing with a hamstring problem, and Pittsburgh's run defense has been great, so the Buccaneers will have much trouble moving the ball on the ground. Josh Freeman has started off the season well, but this matchup looms much larger than his first two. As a result, both he and impressive rookie Mike Williams will be statistically silenced.

Buffalo at New England

The Patriots defense has looked vulnerable in the first two weeks, yet can regain some respect here. Blitzing Ryan Fitzpatrick should keep the Buffalo QB from establishing any continuity. He may occasionally locate Lee Evans when playing from behind, though. How the Bills will look to rotate their RBs is anyone's guess in a week, so it's best to simply avoid the situation. Buffalo's front seven can be exposed against the run, and this may be the week Benjarvus Green-Ellis starts to emerge as a viable fantasy option. Look for the Patriots to use him to successfully eat up the clock in the second half. Of course, that will follow an angry passing barrage in the first half. Tom Brady will put the Jets loss behind him at the expense of another division rival. Randy Moss and Wes Welker will be top starts this week, and rising rookie Aaron Hernandez should certainly remain active in fantasy lineups. Another first-year TE, Rob Gronkowski, should get some opportunities to score in red zone and goal line situations.

Cleveland at Baltimore

The Browns have surrendered nearly 130 rushing yards per game in the first two weeks, and the Ravens will be determined to get the ball to Ray Rice often. Expect a big all-around day from Rice, as he quickly eases pressure on his beleaguered QB. Joe Flacco will be able to pick his spots when he wants to throw. Expect a minimum of two TD passes with far fewer mistakes than we saw in the first two games. Anquan Boldin is a prime start this week, and Flacco is already looking for T.J. Houshmandzadeh in some key situations. Cleveland cannot offer much on offense, and Seneca Wallace will commit more than one turnover, even if he is the victim of some tipped balls. Wallace can create on the run and escape the rush, but he simply does not have the playmakers to challenge the Ravens. Baltimore's front seven will dominate and force the Browns into many adverse offensive situations. Peyton Hillis may not sniff the end zone this week.

Detroit at Minnesota

The Lions defense has not looked improved as hoped, but the staggering Vikings seem to be ripe for another fall. Detroit needs the victory as badly as Minnesota, and will slug it out with the Vikings, producing quality fantasy totals along the way. Jahvid Best is a must-start, even against the much-ballyhooed Minnesota defensive line. The Lions will continue to get Best the ball in space, and he should come through with at least acceptable all-around numbers. Shaun Hill will not hesitate to take chances against the Vikings secondary, and Calvin Johnson could have his best game of the season. Adrian Peterson will be very busy helping the Vikings win the time of possession battle, and there is an apparent need to not let Brett Favre carry the offense right now. Favre has an under-performing group of receivers, and even against the seemingly soft Lions, you cannot safely lean on any pass-catcher other than Visanthe Shiancoe. Bernard Berrian may come through with a few key catches this time, but Favre remains a risk against a hungry divisional opponent.

Atlanta at New Orleans

The Falcons have not allowed a TD pass in the first two games, but they have allowed over 130 rushing yards per game on the ground. Pierre Thomas will get a lot of work this week and is a top RB2 start, as Atlanta has been prone to surrendering long runs early in the year. Drew Brees will end the TD drought against the Falcons, even if he does not post stellar numbers. Brees should throw more than one TD pass, and with the Saints depleted at RB, Brees will throw more often in some shorter-yardage situations. That is good news for Marques Colston's owners, and Jeremy Shockey may re-emerge as a prime contributor in the passing game. The Falcons will depend on Michael Turner to help them control the clock and keep the Saints offense off the field. Since he cannot be overworked right now, Jason Snelling should be considered as a flex option. Look for a possible split workload at RB. Matt Ryan will be cautious against a very sturdy New Orleans secondary, so don't expect better than mediocre totals. Roddy White, however, produces against all levels of opposition.

Washington at St. Louis

The Rams have allowed over 142 yards per game on the ground so far, although Clinton Portis does not seem to be one who is fully capable of taking advantage of the matchup. Portis is a great bet to score again, yet you should not start him over a much more regularly productive running back based on the matchup alone. Donovan McNabb will move the ball very effectively with a mid-range passing game, and Chris Cooley will deliver outstanding totals. Expect Santana Moss to get open often and score at least once. The Washington pass defense has been regularly attacked throughout the first two weeks, so start Mark Clayton with confidence in larger leagues. The Redskins may force a few turnovers, yet will also allow Sam Bradford to throw more than one TD pass. Steven Jackson is battling a knee problem, and Bradford will have to come through in some critical situations. The rookie will convert a few times when he has to, and Clayton is his obvious money wide receiver.

Dallas at Houston

The desperate Cowboys will come out throwing, yet will operate a controlled passing attack in an attempt to win the time of possession battle. Tony Romo is a strong start, as he will be very busy and should throw more than two TD passes. The Texans will have no answer for Miles Austin, and Dez Bryant will start to look like an impact player. The Cowboys do not allow any of their RBs to establish a true rhythm, though, so keep Marion Barber and Felix Jones reserved. The Texans have outstanding offensive balance, and while Dallas has been stingy against the run so far (63.5 YPG allowed), they have not yet faced a RB as formidable as Arian Foster this year. Foster is a must-start, and Matt Schaub will find the weak spots in the Dallas pass defense, as they can be exploited deep. Jacoby Jones is a good bet to score, and while Kevin Walter won't produce nearly as well as he did last week, he is still worth strong starting consideration as Schaub distributes the ball well.

San Francisco at Kansas City

The 49ers are starting to progressively improve on offense, and will punch holes in a Chiefs defense that has performed above expectations so far. Frank Gore will rip off some long runs as the Chiefs aggressive front seven misses tackles and pays the price. The Alex Smith-to-Vernon Davis connection will click nicely, and Michael Crabtree will come through with a respectable performance. The San Francisco LBs will stuff Thomas Jones often, and Kansas City will have to get the ball to Jamaal Charles in space to keep the offense moving. That will be the goal, but Charles will be stopped from making any big plays and is a risky start. Matt Cassel will absorb several sacks and will not be able to get the ball to Dwayne Bowe when he needs to. The Chiefs WR will disappoint his fantasy owners again.

Philadelphia at Jacksonville

Michael Vick will prove he is well worthy of the starting nod, as he moves the ball crisply against a defense that has allowed 600 passing yards in the first two weeks. Vick will throw strikes to DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. Look for Celek to re-emerge as a short passing option. LeSean McCoy has become nearly unstoppable in the red zone and should be good for at least one TD run. The Eagles have allowed over 123 yards per game on the ground so far, and will not look any better against a determined Maurice Jones-Drew. He will be out to erase the lingering memories of a frustrating Week 2 outing. David Garrard will have to be careful after a turnover-riddled performance last week. If Mike Sims-Walker gets double covered, Garrard will not force the issue. Sims-Walker should be started, but do not expect outstanding fantasy production from him. Garrard may opt to look for Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis in key situations.

Indianapolis at Denver

This is obviously not a good week for the Broncos to be dealing with injury concerns in the secondary. Peyton Manning will provide his owners with more stellar numbers, and Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie will roll up impressive numbers. Pierre Garcon will also get some opportunities to make plays downfield. Joseph Addai will get some chances to score from short range, and Donald Brown will continue to become a more integral part of the Colts offense. The Broncos will depend on the running game to help them keep the Indianapolis offense off the field as much as possible. Knowshon Moreno lacks breakaway ability, yet is always a threat to score near the goal line. Kyle Orton is efficient and will not hurt your fantasy team if you are scrambling for a starter. He spreads the ball around well, and that makes many of his pass-catchers risky plays until we see more of the group develop together. Eddie Royal, however, will be a frequent target in red zone scoring situations.

Oakland at Arizona

Darren McFadden is running with more authority than ever before at the NFL level, and he has quickly become a strong RB2 start this season. Bruce Gradkowski is not feared by defenses, yet he does garner respect and makes Louis Murphy worth considering in larger leagues. The Raiders have surrendered 280 yards in the first two games, and Tim Hightower is running with a sense of purpose, as he knows Beanie Wells will eventually overshadow him. Hightower is an optimum starting choice this week. Larry Fitzgerald will have to work hard for catches against Nnamdi Asomugha, but you cannot bench the Arizona superstar. Derek Anderson will sputter against the Oakland secondary, and do not count on any other Cardinals pass-catchers to make significant plays, especially with Steve Breaston (knee) hurting.

San Diego at Seattle

The Seahawks can be vulnerable to power running, so Mike Tolbert becomes a quality option this week. Philip Rivers will benefit from good run support, and the Seattle secondary will have much trouble containing Antonio Gates. Seattle does have the ability to limit opposing No. 1 wide receivers, so Legedu Naanee is a better start than Malcom Floyd. Seattle needs to get Justin Forsett rolling, and he will be useful as a flex player. Matt Hasselbeck has made some errant throws, yet he also has a short memory and is playing with confidence. He is a good plug-in if you are dealing with QB issues. Deon Butler is quickly becoming a favored target for Hasselbeck, and should be monitored closely for future use. Hasselbeck will continue to try to get the ball to John Carlson, who should become more involved in the flow of the passing game in the weeks ahead.

New York Jets at Miami

When these two intense rivals meet up, you can throw all numbers and possible trends out the window. Emotion spurs these teams when they match up, making players on both sides quality starts. Mark Sanchez is useful if you are desperate for QB help, and Jerricho Cotchery is his favored pass-catcher. Start Cotchery and Dustin Keller with confidence. LaDainian Tomlinson will feed off the highly charged atmosphere and is a strong flex start. Shonn Greene is also a threat to break off nice chunks of yardage. Chad Henne will throw more than one TD pass, and Brandon Marshall will enjoy his best game as a Dolphin so far. Ronnie Brown will get his chances to score near the goal line and Ricky Williams deserves consideration as a flex starter.

Green Bay at Chicago

The Bears have looked very good against the run so far, so Brandon Jackson does not have a much of a chance to make a dent in their front wall. Keep the Packers RB reserved. Aaron Rodgers will have to carry the offense and should stack up a lot of pass attempts. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Jermichael Finley are all strong starts, especially in PPR formats. The Packers have allowed only one TD pass so far, with 10 sacks. Jay Cutler's deep drops make him very vulnerable to big hits this week and he is indeed a risky start despite his hot start. Johnny Knox and Devin Hester only have limited upside for Week 2. Matt Forte remains a solid option, because Cutler will have to look for him often to get himself out of trouble.

Scott Engel is a member of the FSWA's inaugural Hall of Fame class. If you want your Fantasy questions answered quickly by Scott and the RotoExperts staff, consult them for live and e-mail advice.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.