By Stephen Dolan
And the upsets have started to make waves throughout the NFL in Week 2. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who entered play on Sunday as 10-point underdogs, pulled off the 26-19 victory over the New Orleans Saints. The Oakland Raiders—another underdog—took down the Baltimore Ravens, who fell to 0-2 on the season. There were plenty of individual breakout performances in Week 2, and we have some guys to keep on the radar for big Week 3 plays.READ MORE: UMD Doctoral Candidate, Anat Kimchi, Stabbed To Death In Downtown Chicago
Play: Tom Brady (vs. JAC)
Brady looks like a man on a mission this year. After completing 78.1% of his passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns in Week 1 against the Steelers, Brady followed that up by throwing 59 times for 466 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday against the tough Buffalo defense. The Patriots signal-caller has not thrown an interception yet this season, but faces a Jacksonville defense that is on the rise. Despite improving over the off-season, the Jaguars are facing the hottest quarterback in the NFL on his home turf. Play Brady.
Play: Peyton Manning (vs. DET)
Manning hasn’t looked like his old self so far this season, completing just 58.8% of his passes for 431 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions while taking seven sacks through the Broncos first two games. Yet, Denver is 2-0. Manning can get back on track against a Lions team that has struggled defensively with the loss of star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Detroit boasts the 30th overall defense presenting a favorable match-up for Manning.
Other Good Plays: Ben Roethlisberger (vs. STL) for $8,500, Matt Ryan (vs. DAL) for $8,300
Pass: Matthew Stafford (vs. DEN)
Stafford got hit hard on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, leaving him “very sore,” according to Lions head coach Jim Caldwell. So he is not a lock to start on Sunday night. Despite playing well, Stafford has not had much time to operate in the pocket, leaving the Lions passer hang out to dry. The former No. 1 overall pick threw 53 times for 286 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings. He gets an unfavorable match-up as the Broncos have not allowed a passing touchdown and have forced two interceptions from each of their opposing quarterbacks through the first two weeks. Pass on Stafford.
Other Passes: Joe Flacco (vs. CIN) for $8,100, Russell Wilson (vs. CHI) for $8,400
Play: Jamaal Charles (vs. GB)
Charles is a jack of all trades in the Chiefs offense. He has rushed for 182 yards and one touchdown over the first two weeks of the season, but also has nine receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid sometimes, inexplicably, abandons the running attack, but Charles is versatile enough to still withstand that as a threat in the passing game. The Chiefs face the Packers on Monday night and Charles gets a favorable match-up against Green Bay’s 31st-ranked rushing defense.
Play: Le’Veon Bell (vs. STL)
Bell returns from his two-game suspension to a Steelers offense that is clicking on all cylinders. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for over 700 yards in the first two weeks of the season, forcing defenses to respect the Steelers passing attack while opening up room on the ground for backup running back DeAngelo Williams. Bell rushed for 1,361 yards and eight touchdowns last season, but also put up 83 receptions for 854 yards and three touchdowns. The multidimensional back is a threat in the Pittsburgh backfield and gets a good match-up on Sunday as he faces a Rams defense that ranks 30th in the league against the run.
Other Good Plays: Karlos Williams (vs. MIA) for $5,300, Bishop Sankey (vs. IND) for $6,300
Pass: DeMarco Murray (vs. NYJ)
Murray has not been able to get much going on the ground in his first season with the Eagles. He has rushed 21 times for just 11 yards through the first two weeks of the season. He has salvaged his fantasy value a bit by contributing in the passing game, but not nearly to the level expected coming into the season. With the Eagles offense struggling and the Jets defense showing tremendous improvement over last season, pass on Murray.
Other Passes: Chris Johnson (vs. SF) for $6,200, Frank Gore (vs. TEN) for $7,000
Play: Julio Jones (vs. DAL)
Jones is a force in the Atlanta offense and is quarterback Matt Ryan’s favorite target. He has 22 receptions for 276 yards and two touchdowns on the season – he was inches away from a third touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Giants on Sunday. With a Dallas secondary missing the likes of Orlando Scandrick, Jones should be in line for another big afternoon to start off his already impressive season.
Play: Julian Edelman (vs. JAC)
Edelman has the privilege of being Tom Brady’s top wide receiver in New England. Edelman has been as consistent as they come this season posting back-to-back games of 11 receptions for 97 yards. The only difference between Week 1 and Week 2 was that Edelman scored twice on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. He faces a pass defense that has allowed 502 yards through the air to the Redskins and Dolphins to start the season. Play him.
Play: Randall Cobb (vs. KC)
The Packers wide receiver showed he would not be slowed down by a shoulder injury as he hauled in eight receptions for 116 yards on Sunday. He now has 154 receiving yards and a touchdown on the season facing the 23rd-ranked Kansas City Chiefs passing defense. Aaron Rodgers will likely still look Cobb’s direction despite the emergence of James Jones in his return to Green Bay.
Other Good Plays: Brandon Marshall (vs. NYJ) for $7,400, Allen Robinson (vs. NE) for $6,600
Pass: Andre Johnson (vs. TEN)
Johnson has struggled to get on the same page with Andrew Luck through the Colts first two games. He caught just four passes for 24 yards in the Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills, posting just 4.4 fantasy points in FanDuel leagues and tallied just three catches for 27 yards in Week 2’s loss against the Jets. He is facing a Titans defense that has allowed just 339 yards through the air the first two weeks of the season. Pass on Johnson.
Other Passes: Calvin Johnson (vs. DEN) for $8,200, Doug Baldwin (vs. CHI) for $6,000
Play: Rob Gronkowski (vs. JAC)
Set it and forget it. Seriously. Gronkowski has been a monster for the Patriots this season catching five passes for 94 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 only to follow it up by catching seven balls for 113 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Defenses have not been able to slow down Gronkowski and, as long as he stays healthy, that shouldn’t change against the Jaguars on Sunday. Jacksonville allowed Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron to put up 62 receiving yards in Sunday’s win. Play Gronk.
Other Good Plays: Tyler Eifert (vs. BAL) for $5,900, Ladarius Green (vs. MIN) for $5,600
Pass: Jason Witten (vs. ATL)
Witten played well against the Eagles on Sunday, pulling in seven passes for 56 yards after catching eight passes for 60 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 1 victory over the New York Giants. The issue this week is that Witten got beat up by Philadelphia on Sunday, spraining both of his ankles and his knee in the win. Witten’s injury, combined with the injury to quarterback Tony Romo, makes him a risky selection for Week 3, if he plays at all.
Pass: Jermaine Gresham (vs. SF) for $5,300
- Play: Matt Bryant (vs. DAL) for $4,800
- Play: Mason Crosby (vs. KC) for $5,000
- Play: Brandon McManus (vs. DET) for $4,900
- Pass: Robbie Gould (vs. SEA) for $4,800
- Pass: Greg Zuerlein (vs. PIT) for $4,800
- Pass: Dan Carpenter (vs. MIA) for $4,700
- Play: Texans (vs. TB) for $5,000
- Play: Buccaneers (vs. HOU) for $4,100
- Play: Seahawks (vs. CHI) for $5,300
- Pass: Chiefs (vs. NE) for $4,300
- Pass: Rams (vs. PIT) for $4,500
- Pass: Lions (vs. DET) for $4,400
- QB: Matt Ryan (vs. DAL)
- RB: Bishop Sankey (vs. IND)
- RB: Karlos Williams (vs. MIA)
- WR: Julio Jones (vs. DAL)
- WR: Jordan Matthews (vs. NYJ)
- WR: Allen Robinson (vs. NE)
- TE: Rob Gronkowski (vs. JAC)
- K: Matt Bryant (vs. DAL)
- D/ST: Buccaneers (vs. HOU)
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.