Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 2
Colts vs. Redskins
Is trust in Andrew Luck misplaced?
There were clear highs and lows in Andrew Luck’s debut performance against the Cincinnati Bengals. He eclipsed the 300-yard mark and tossed a pair of touchdowns. However, his interception in the red zone was costly early in the game, and the offense sputtered later in the second half. A signature part of the team’s competitiveness against Cincinnati was success on third downs. Luck completed 10-of-13 attempts for 118 yards and a 104.0 passer rating. That said, there are still concerns with his decision making. The obvious is Luck’s inability to avoid hits, but even the throws he makes are aggressive in the simplest terms.
Rather than sending Ryan Grant deep and utilizing hs speed, Luck opted for the more difficult back shoulder throw. Washington’s corners forced a more accurate Sam Bradford into tight windows last week, and are capable of seizing any opportunity presented by an errant throw from Luck. A Week 2 matchup showcasing two respective parties that performed well in their first game, Luck projects as mid-range quarterback option this week.
Can the Colts’ weapons separate from an impressive Washington defense?
Indianapolis only offers a trio of weekly plays outside of the quarterback position. T.Y. Hilton dealt with some inconsistencies against the Bengals, missing on some chances, but capitalizing on a red zone slant. Josh Norman forced Hilton into my WR1 Potential, second-tier when analyzing RB and WR matchups. Marlon Mack plays as a fairly safe RB2 option when healthy, but he’s yet to show anything super promising. The second-year back was limited in practice all week and remains questionable for the game. Full-PPR leagues make him an option if he starts, but even that comes as a risk following this backfield’s performance a week ago.
Jack Doyle plays as the more consistent tight end option in Indianapolis. He caught an impressive seven catches on 10 targets last week. Luck regularly looked his way in critical situations, most notably the near third down-conversion where Doyle ultimately fumbled away the game. Nevertheless, Doyle acts as a short-to-intermediate security blanket with regular snaps because of his blocking ability. Eric Ebron made his debut as a Colt with a number of penalties and an impressive touchdown route.
The catch itself was easy, but it highlighted his ability to play as a red zone mismatch. Luck has always found a way to extract additional value from his receivers in the red zone (see Dwayne Allen and Donte Moncrief). Beyond situational mismatches, though, the former Lion lacks any proof of opportunity.
Is there anyone else with value?
One can never forget the oh-so-valuable Adam Vinatieri. The 45-year-old converted a trio of kicks last week from 21, 38, and 51 yards. His lone miss came on a 55-yard try where he has plenty of distance. Indianapolis has made a habit of stalling in opponent territory just shy of the red zone over the past year, making Vinatieri a regular favorite option for those that missed on the top kickers in the draft.
The Redskins are coming off a dominant victory over the Arizona Cardinals in which both their offense and defense dominated. Alex Smith and both of the Skins running backs were able to move the ball with ease right though the teeth of the talented Redbirds defense. Now, any knowledgeable football viewer, and even more so any fantasy football player, knows that the Colts defense is and has been several tiers below that of the Cardinals; things certainly should be just as good, if not better, for your Redskins fantasy players. Regardless, we’ll dig into the circumstances of the matchup to see who might benefit the most from this matchup…
Like Jesse James Looking at an Open Bank Safe
This is what I imagine Alex Smith will see when he lines up against the Colts defense on Sunday. Despite a duo of immensely talented backs flanking him, Smith will no doubt air the ball out in this one. Given the Colts above-average offense, I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith continues to drive the ball downfield well into the 3rd quarter. With this cake matchup, I see Smith as a top 5 QB for this week; however, don’t be surprised if we see the ever-so-rare Alex Smith pick in this one as the ‘Skins look to fire their offense on all cylinders.
Who’ll Join Alex in Balling Out?
In last week’s matchup, the ‘Skins got a secondary I personally think belongs in the top 10 in the NFL, while this week they…don’t get that. Though most have likely abandoned Josh Doctson after his quiet preseason and week 1, I expect the extremely talented sophomore receiver to get on the same page with his QB in this one in a big way. While Doctson will benefit immensely from this matchup, so too will Paul Richardson in my opinion as the former Seahawk is deployed and catches passes all over the field. I expect Jamison Crowder to put up his usual steady-eddy line, but I think his primarily short route talent won’t be showcased much in this one as the ‘Skins will move the ball with ease elsewhere. If we don’t see a big game from Richardson, expect that production to shift right into the waiting arms of Jordan Reed, as the thankfully healthy TE should have zero issues with the Colts coverage linebackers. (Update: Paul Richardson was added to the injury report with a shoulder injury, so keep an eye on that. If he doesn’t suit up, expect BIG(ger) numbers from Jordan Reed.)
The Rock WILL BE POUNDED
First of all, get your mind out of the gutter! Now, with that out of the way, I’d like to make it known to you readers, if you didn’t watch the ‘Skins week 1 win, that Adrian Peterson IS BACK BABY. Seriously, the man averaged more yards after contact than any back in Week 1 and looked visibly revitalized as he ran. In a game where the Redskins should gain a healthy lead, and the O-line should dominate, expect similar domination from AP as he gets a likely 20-25 carries ALL DAY. “But what about Chris Thompson?!” Don’t worry, he’ll get his too, and more likely than not continue his insane TD production in the process.
Can We Get Some Defense Too?!
Well, unfortunately, the Colts do do that whole offense thing pretty well. With a healthy Andrew Luck, and a duo of talented TE’s in Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron, the ‘Skins defense will be hard pressed to replicate their utter domination from Week 1. I expect a pick or two as Luck tries fruitlessly to force the ball downfield to T.Y. Hilton, but I wouldn’t be starting the ‘Skins D outside of 12 teamers with a couple teams stashing the other competent defenses.
Predictions: EVERYONE GETS POINTS (except Vernon Davis)
Alex Smith: 29/40, 380 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
Josh Doctson: 4 rec, 85 yards, 1 TD
Paul Richardson: 6 rec, 65 yards
Jamison Crowder: 4 rec, 45 yards, 1 TD
Jordan Reed: 6 rec, 70 yards
Adrian Peterson: 24 rushes, 110 yards, 1 rush TD, 2 rec, 30 yards
Chris Thompson: 5 rushes, 35 yards, 4 rec, 60 yards, 1 rec TD