Evan Silva


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Week 2 Game Matchups

Friday, September 18, 2009

4:15PM ET Games

Baltimore @ San Diego

Week 2 will go a long way towards proving whether Todd Heap's rebirth is real. The 29-year-old enjoyed his best game in nearly two years last Sunday against Kansas City, and now faces a Chargers team that has serious problems stopping the tight end. They were the worst NFL team at doing so in 2008, and opened 2009 by surrendering 96 yards on six catches to Zach Miller. And Miller wasn't just getting open, he was wide open...San Diego's run defense is also vulnerable with every down-line starter (DEs Jacques Cesaire and Luis Castillo, and NT Jamal Williams) dealing with an ailment. That bodes well for Ray Rice, whose quicks and ability to turn the corner are a mismatch for the heavy Chargers front seven...Don't expect Joe Flacco to throw 43 times in a game again this year. This remains a run-heavy team, and it would be impossible for Baltimore to regularly dominate time of possession like it did in Week 1 (40:20).

We can safely chalk up Chris Chambers as done. He just doesn't get open anymore...Same goes for LaDainian Tomlinson, who showed no burst on his preseason runs, or in Week 1 against a Raiders defense he once routinely dominated. A phantom ankle injury has LT2 "questionable" for this game. We never saw the injury happen and he had ten carries after it, including gains of 11 and 13. Seems like an excuse for his obviously declining role. Even if he's active, he's not to be touched in fantasy leagues...Don't believe speculation that Michael Bennett, 31, will get a large dose of carries if Tomlinson is out. Darren Sproles is much more likely to be employed as an every-down back than Bennett is to help your fantasy team...Except for Chambers, get your members of the Bolts' passing attack going against Baltimore. If the Ravens have shown a weakness under new coordinator Greg Mattison, it's that they'll struggle to stop the pass.

Cleveland @ Denver

The early outlook for Knowshon Moreno is gloomy. Denver is opening with a matchup-based four-man committee that starts Correll Buckhalter and uses Peyton Hillis and LaMont Jordan as well. Moreno ran scared in his debut against the Bengals, was severely outplayed by Buckhalter, and even blew a blitz pickup to get Kyle Orton drilled. At this rate, Moreno may not be usable in fantasy for several weeks...Orton, who's finally healed after a preseason finger laceration, is a nice sleeper QB1 play. The Broncos have no rhythm to their ground attack as they struggle to adjust from zone blocking to a power system, and may need to resort to the pass. Orton will benefit from a full week of practice together with Brandon Marshall, who should also be in lineups...Eddie Royal is a strong buy-low candidate if you can pull off a late-week trade. Royal, coming off a two-catch, 18-yard opener, will face Browns RCB Brandon McDonald, who he roasted for 164 yards and a TD on six grabs last year.

Braylon Edwards' one-catch, 12-yard opener is a definite concern. He's a deep threat playing with a quarterback that's not being encouraged to throw downfield. Brady Quinn threw a pretty deep ball at Notre Dame, but either it hasn't translated to this level or it's on the coaching staff. Until coordinator Brian Daboll comes up with creative ways to get Edwards the football, he needs to be on benches...Keep a close eye on the Browns' running back situation this week. 2008 third-down back Jerome Harrison returns from a knee injury, but both James Davis (shoulder) and Jamal Lewis (neck) are banged up. Ideally, Cleveland would be using a Davis-Harrison rotation by midseason that could provide explosion and two pass-catching threats out of the backfied. But the matchup is right for Lewis, so use him as a low-end RB2 or FLEX if he starts at Denver.

Pittsburgh @ Chicago

The loss of Brian Urlacher won't be as apparent this week with Willie Parker showing no pop as a runner and allegedly still nursing a preseason hamstring injury...Look for the Steelers to take to the air again as Chicago breaks in a new starting right corner (Zackary Bowman, replacing Nathan Vasher) and likely a new safety (Danieal Manning, replacing Al Afalava). Pittsburgh will probably be minus Limas Sweed (foot), but Santonio Holmes is poised for another big game. He's a similar player to Greg Jennings, who burned up Chicago for 6-106-1 in the opener...Wait a week to use any members of the Pittsburgh ground "attack." If the Steelers do go to a spread-type offense as it's been rumored and coordinator Bruce Arians would probably like, Mewelde Moore could wind up as the featured ball carrier. Parker and Rashard Mendenhall simply aren't getting the job done.

The Packers double-teamed Greg Olsen in every possible passing situation last Sunday night, resulting in his Week 1 one-catch flop. The Steelers are without SS Troy Polamalu (knee), however, and probably won't take the same approach because of their blitzing priorities. Olsen may also run more pass routes to account for Desmond Clark's (cracked rib) loss. Keep Olsen in your lineup; he's certain to come back around...You may not even have heard of him, but third receiver Devin Aromashodu's return from a quadriceps injury is major for Chicago. A deep threat with good size (6'2/200), Aromashodu was a training camp hero and will push rookie Johnny Knox out of the wideout rotation. Knox had 80+ yards in the opener, but too often cut off his routes. It cost Jay Cutler at least one interception...The matchup is terrible for Matt Forte, but he remains a strong bet for 20+ touches and should get a goal-line carry or two. He's always hard to sit.

Sunday Night Football

NY Giants @ Dallas

Dallas has the Giants right where they want 'em. New York is short LCB Aaron Ross (hamstring), DT Chris Canty (calf), and OLB Clint Sintim (groin), while nickel back Kevin Dockery (hamstring), SS Kenny Phillips (knee), and FS Michael Johnson (shoulder) will be game-day decisions. Don't sit Marion Barber, whose dominating Week 1 effort reconfirmed that he is Dallas' featured back. Felix Jones had just six touches in the opener, and got hurt. Again...Looking back, I should've picked up on the fact that New York's injury woes at corner (especially Dockery's absence) would bode well for Redskins slot receiver Antwaan Randle El. Let's not make that mistake again, as the Giants will continue to rely heavily on undrafted free agent Bruce Johnson. Patrick Crayton is the Cowboys' go-to inside receiver. He won't repeat his 135-yard, one-score Week 1, but Crayton could rack up catches down the seams. After beating out Miles Austin in camp, Crayton is again very relevant in fantasy...Roy Williams looked great in the opener, but will likely struggle against RCB Corey Webster. Webster, who shut down Santana Moss (two grabs, six yards) last week, is being used as a "shadow" corner with Ross sidelined and will track Williams all over the field.

Hakeem Nicks' 2-3 week foot injury opens the door for Mario Manningham to play a significant number of snaps. The Giants' best big-play receiver, Manningham started Week 1 over Steve Smith and generated 58 yards and a touchdown on four targets. Dallas, playing musical chairs with Orlando Scandrick and Mike Jenkins at right corner, let left-for-dead Bucs receiver Michael Clayton post his highest yardage total since Week 13 of his fluky 2004 rookie season in Week 1. The Giants have a spread the (limited) wealth passing attack, but Manningham has the physical tools and situation to have a big night in a big game...What happened to the Dallas run defense? Carnell Williams and Derrick Ward combined for 180 all-purpose yards on 27 touches (6.6 yards-per) and two touchdowns against the Cowboys last week. And Brandon Jacobs already has their number.

Monday Night Football

Indianapolis @ Miami

Rookie Austin Collie won the third receiver competition in camp because of his effectiveness in the slot. Pierre Garcon, however, draws the starting nod with Anthony Gonzalez (knee) out indefinitely. Keep an eye on the speedy D-III product. He's not worth using against Miami, but could post some big games in a high-octane offense...Dallas Clark projects as the other main beneficiary of Gonzalez's absence, and he goes against a Miami safety corps that let Tony Gonzalez get loose for 73 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. SS Yeremiah Bell was the victim on Gonzalez's spinning score. Expect roughly 10 targets and 100 yards from Clark in this one...Miami's run defense remains stout with the light flipping on for potential-ridden NT Paul Soliai. The 355-pound mammoth has made it a 50:50 timeshare with reliable starter Jason Ferguson and helped hold Michael Turner to 65 yards on 22 carries in the opener. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown, who both struggled last Sunday, should stay on fantasy benches.

The reemergence of a rotation with Ricky Williams is concerning for Ronnie Brown owners, at least temporarily. Ricky looked spry on his nine Week 1 touches and scored a TD. Brown still got the football more (10 carries, three catches), though, and his workload will increase by the week. With LT Jake Long struggling in pass pro and Colts RE Dwight Freeney on the slate, expect a decidedly run-heavy mindset from Tony Sparano's club...The Colts are amazingly resilient in the secondary. Third-round rookie CB Jerraud Powers showed he was NFL ready by helping to limit Jacksonville to 122 passing yards in the opener. Slot man Davone Bess is going to rack up catches all year, but the yardage ceilings of Miami wideouts are limited, especially if the Fins run as much as we anticipate on Monday night...Anthony Fasano fumbled twice in the opener, but a benching isn't imminent. In fact, look for the Dolphins to get him involved in the passing game early to restore Fasano's confidence and chemistry with Chad Pennington.

Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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