Every week, Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com breaks down all of the matchups from Fantasy perspectives.
Darren McFadden will be the key to keeping the Raiders in the game, and should at least post adequate numbers. McFadden does have a shoulder issue, so expect to see some of Michael Bush, even though he will likely not do enough to help fantasy owners. Jason Campbell does not have the weapons to truly challenge the Buffalo defense, especially with Jacoby Ford out. The Raiders did not let the Broncos run the ball effectively last week, but Fred Jackson is regularly solid and should still finish with at least respectable rushing totals. C.J. Spiller scored a garbage time TD last week but should still not be started in most leagues. Ryan Fitzpatrick should challenge a Raiders secondary that is simply not the same as it was in the past, and will likely throw more than one TD pass. Stevie Johnson is a must-start, as there are no indications his groin problem is a major issue. Scott Chandler looks like a one-week wonder, so do not bank on a repeat of Week 1. Bills TEs have teased in the past and then disappeared thereafter.
The Lions defensive line is a powerful and destructive force that can limit the rushing yards of Jamaal Charles, but he should build his totals as a receiver as Matt Cassel uses him to ease pressure on a collapsing pocket. Cassel will be under a lot of heat and expect the Chiefs offense will continue to sputter. Dwayne Bowe is in for another disappointing week. Matthew Stafford should have time to pick apart the Kansas City secondary and he will be a top QB start in Week 2. Jahvid Best is looking good running inside and Stafford does a nice job of getting him the ball in space. Calvin Johnson is expected to play and should be locked into lineups, but Nate Burleson and Brandon Pettigrew will also fare well as Stafford effectively spreads the ball around.
Expect a big game from Matt Forte this week. This is a "homecoming" for the Tulane product, and players often perform well in such emotional circumstances. A balanced attack should help Jay Cutler play well enough, and Johnny Knox is his best pass-catcher. The Saints should be able to run the ball adequately, and look for Mark Ingram to get more carries this week in an effort to get him into more of a rhythm. Brian Urlacher is now expected to play, so Ingram probably will not roll up above-average totals even if he scores. Darren Sproles will get a healthy amount of touches again and is a good flex play, and Pierre Thomas looks like a good bet to finish with decent final numbers. Expect Drew Brees to throw at least two TD passes, and he will look often to TE Jimmy Graham with Marques Colston out. Devery Henderson is not dependable, so expect better numbers from Robert Meachem, who has better possession skills.
The Colts are looking very vulnerable to the running game, especially if Gary Brackett is held out. Expect a much better all-around performance from Peyton Hillis this week. Colt McCoy is doing a good job of exposing defensive weaknesses. He is a decent plug-in this week if you are in dire need of QB help, which is the case for some owners who drafted the injured QB from the other team. McCoy will continue to utilize TEs Ben Watson and Evan Moore. Kerry Collins will not be as bad as he was last week, but he won't offer consistent offensive continuity, either. The only Colts pass-catchers you can start are Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. The latter should fare well enough as Collins has more time to throw this week. Cleveland will often load up against the run, so do not expect much from Joseph Addai.
It will likely be another very tough week for the fading Donovan McNabb, as I expect the Tampa Bay defensive line to crush the pocket and Percy Harvin to get shut down by double teams. Don't expect the Buccaneers to be able to completely shut down Adrian Peterson, who will still build quality rushing totals even if he does not score. Look for LeGarrette Blount to bounce back this week as the Vikings defense spends a lot of time on the field. Expect Josh Freeman to have ample time to throw, and he should finish with more than one TD pass. When Freeman is going well, that means fine production from Mike Williams and quality PPR production from Kellen Winslow. The passing game will click, giving Blount chances to punch the ball into the end zone.
Cam Newton should come back to earth this week, as the Packers defensive line brings considerably more pressure than a nonexistent Cardinals front did last week. Steve Smith should still be started now that he has a QB that can actually command some respect. Expect the Packers front seven to stuff DeAngelo Williams often, so avoid using him this week if you can. The Panthers secondary was prone to breakdowns last week, and will be no match for Aaron Rodgers. Greg Jennings, is of course, a must-start, and the emerging Jordy Nelson is a fine WR3 this week. James Starks is quickly becoming the go-to RB in Green Bay, and is a very good flex start for Week 2.
Marshawn Lynch might produce better when the Seahawks make a needed QB change in the near future, but he must be benched against an angry and swarming Steelers defense this week. Tarvaris Jackson looked pretty bad last week against the 49ers, and will be downright ugly in Week 2. You simply cannot start any Seahawks this week. The Seahawks defensive front seven might be able to keep Rashard Mendenhall from running wild early, but the passing game should be so effective that the he will finish off more than one scoring drive with a TD run. He will also be needed to milk the clock later in the game, so look for his final numbers to be very good. Ben Roethlisberger can put this one out of reach early and is a very good starter. Mike Wallace will deliver another 100-yard day, and expect Hines Ward to find the end zone.
Do not hesitate to reserve Chris Johnson if you have other above-average options at RB. It's going to be another rough week for the Tennessee star, as he works behind a line that had trouble with Jacksonville's front seven last week. Matt Hasselbeck is still getting in tune with the Tennessee offense and will likely struggle after an inconsistent season opener. The only Titan that is a surefire starter is Kenny Britt, who can challenge any defense. If the Steelers could not contain Ray Rice, the Titans do not have much hope. Joe Flacco has more balance in his receiving corps than ever before, and is a solid starting option for Week 2. Anquan Boldin would have scored twice last week if not for a penalty flag, and is on his way to a nice rebound season. Ed Dickson should be open frequently over the middle and is a quality option.
The Cardinals need to keep their defense off the field as much as possible, which means a lot of carries for Beanie Wells this week. Wells will have to work hard for his yardage against a revamped and aggressive Washington front. Kevin Kolb did a good job of valuing the football in Week 1, and while he may not throw for 300 yards again this week, expect a decent outing. Larry Fitzgerald should find the end zone, and Early Doucet will perform well enough to show last week's outing was no fluke. Tim Hightower is a prime RB2 start as he faces the team that traded him away. Rex Grossman can never be fully trusted for an extended stretch, but the Arizona pass defense looked atrocious in the opener, and Grossman is good for two to three TD passes this week. Santana Moss is a must-start, and you should also roll with TE Fred Davis, who is on the rise. Anthony Armstrong also deserves WR3 consideration.
Maurice Jones-Drew is playing with something to prove. Facing the Jets gives him the chance to make a strong statement about his effectiveness, so expect at least a respectable outing from MJD. He is not going to back down to the New York defense. The Jaguars have nothing else to challenge the Jets with, but Jones-Drew is not going to deliver a statistical stinker. No other Jaguars players should be started. The Jets need to establish an adequate ground attack, but it may not be possible with Shonn Greene right now. They are better off peppering the secondary with strikes to Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. Mark Sanchez is good for more than one TD pass and Dustin Keller will post at least decent numbers even if he is not a scoring recipient.
Alex Smith will be an unfortunate target for a Dallas defensive front seven that should constantly pressure him and force questionable decisions and inaccurate passes. The Cowboys defense is a top one-week play if you are looking for a plug-in defense. Smith will likely throw more than one interception, even against an injury-riddled Dallas secondary. Vernon Davis is the guy Smith goes to under pressure, and if the 49ers QB can manage one TD pass, it will be to his tight end. Frank Gore will be busy as the Niners try to stave off the pressure with their running game, and is a must-start. Tony Romo will get rid of the ball quickly against a 49ers defense that applied good pressure last week against the Seahawks. Romo will be fired up to put a Week 1 collapse behind him and is a top start. Miles Austin will enjoy a good day and look for Jason Witten to deliver another outstanding performance. Dez Bryant may not be 100 percent but should still be started if he can play. A strong passing game will open up wide running lanes for Felix Jones, a very good RB2 start.
The Broncos are banged up, and the Bengals are going to perform better than expected in this one. Bank on another strong outing from Cedric Benson, as he soars past the 100-yard mark again. Andy Dalton makes smart decisions for a young passer and Jermaine Gresham will be one of his top targets. Still, it's too early in Dalton's career to use A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson. Kyle Orton may be without top WR Brandon Lloyd, and that makes him a very risky start. Plug in Eric Decker if you are a desperate for a WR option. Knowshon Moreno may not be able to go in this one, either, so Willis McGahee should be busy and look for him to find the end zone.
Should Steve Johnson be in your starting lineup? Or was his 2010 season just a fluke. **Scott Engel knows**. **More ...**
Hide the defenses here, especially in fantasy football. Expect the Chargers to use their RBs to try to control time of possession as much as they can. Ryan Mathews is a viable flex start this week, and while Mike Tolbert is dealing with a knee issue, he has practiced and is a fine TD option again. Philip Rivers should deliver very good numbers against a defense that had some trouble handling Chad Henne last week. Vincent Jackson will be one of the top Fantasy WRs of the week, and Antonio Gates will certainly perform better than he did in the opener. The Chargers secondary will be less forgiving than Miami's, but Tom Brady will be good for at least two TD passes. Wes Welker is the obvious must-start, and Deion Branch is a respectable WR3 in PPR leagues. Look for Chad Ochocinco to score as Brady tries to get him back into the flow, and while both New England TEs look like must-start players, Aaron Hernandez will stack up more catches and yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a top TD finisher for a great offense.
The Dolphins defense was embarrassed last week, and while Miami may come after Matt Schaub with some more success this week, the Houston QB should throw a minimum of two TD passes. This will be a big week for Andre Johnson as he goes "home" to Miami. Owen Daniels will get more receiving opportunities with Kevin Walter out. Jacoby Jones is unreliable, but can be a good plug-in this week. If Arian Foster plays, he may split the workload with Ben Tate. The Texans front seven should contain Reggie Bush well enough, so don't expect him to score this week. Henne will feel more pass pressure than he did in the opener, and will not come close to his Week 1 numbers. Brandon Marshall is still a good bet for at least six catches and 80 yards. Henne must realize he simply has to get Marshall the ball even in short range, and the big wideout will do the rest.
The Falcons put on an exhibition of shoddy tackling last week, and that does not bode well against the likes of Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy. Vick is primed for a big outing in an emotional homecoming, and McCoy should be busy as a as a pass-catcher en route to another impressive statistical finish. DeSean Jackson is a must-start, but reserve Jeremy Maclin until he looks like he is at full strength again. Look for Michael Turner to receive a heavy workload as the Falcons try to win the time of possession battle. Matt Ryan will be a solid, but not outstanding fantasy selection for the second week. He must be careful and take what the Eagles defense gives him on many downs. Roddy White will likely be busy as a PPR option and Julio Jones should catch several balls even though his yardage numbers may not be outstanding.
Cadillac Williams could get the start in place of Steven Jackson for the Rams, but do not put him in your lineup over a more proven successful runner or player with real upside. Williams has been historically mediocre and will not perform at a high level when a defense actually has time to prepare for him. Sam Bradford will have to be conservative because of his bruised finger. Mike Sims-Walker should begin to step forward as a necessary possession target for Bradford. Eli Manning is facing the prospect of working with much less weaponry than in the past. Hakeem Nicks is dealing with a knee injury and depth is now a real concern at wideout. Manning is not a recommended start against a defense that will bring a lot of heat on him. The Giants will lean heavily on their ground game, so start Ahmad Bradshaw as a RB2 and consider Brandon Jacobs for your flex spot.
For more advanced insights and breakdowns, check out the RotoExperts.com Xclusive Edge package, which includes VIP access to all content from Scott Engel, a 15-year Fantasy veteran analyst with sites such as CBS SportsLine and ESPN.com, and an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame.