Fantasy owners were treated to another slate of high-flying, high-scoring games on Sunday. Seriously, the highlight reels were replete with fantasy and fan boy goodness for Week 2. Of course, fans of the Jaguars, Chiefs (double-ugh) and Seahawks sought out “Bar Rescue” or Emmy Award coverage.
Let’s start with the last game first, a thriller in Atlanta.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan didn’t dominate the Philadelphia defense in Sunday’s home win, but he made the most of opportunities afforded him by the defense. Ryan completed 17-of-28 passes for 195 yards and tossed four touchdown strikes (Roddy White and Ovie Mughelli . He was intercepted twice and absorbed four sacks, but he undoubtedly surpassed expectations against the all-star cast assembled in Philadelphia.
Future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez broke free as the Eagles clamped down on the Falcons’ star wide receivers. Gonzalez led the Falcons with seven receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Age is just a number for the longtime star. He’s amassed 12 receptions and 155 receiving yards in two games.
The Eagles spoke of their inability to stop the run coming into Sunday night’s showdown with the Falcons. For most of the night, Philadelphia contained Turner. He then found a hole and ripped off a 61-yard sprint midway through the fourth quarter before finishing the drive with a three-yard touchdown run. Turner finished the game with 114 rushing yards and gave fantasy owners a bonus 32-yard reception.
The stories of the night obviously circled around Michael Vick’s return to Atlanta. Vick and the Eagles built a lead. He sustained a concussion and made waves by pointing at the scoreboard on the way to the locker room. Vick’s three turnovers dragged him back to the “indifference” range of things this week.
However, Vick did make a fantasy star out of Jeremy Maclin. Maclin didn’t have much of a role in the Eagles’ opener, thereby leaving Maclin a big question mark for Week 2. He emerged as the dominant option for Philadelphia on Sunday, racking up 13 receptions in 15 targets for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Maclin couldn’t make THE catch that mattered most down the stretch. He dropped a critical pass from backup Mike Kafka (you knew I’d get my Northwestern guy some run) to end the Eagles’ last big drive at the Atlanta 22-yard line.
Running back LeSean McCoy posted another dominant performance. He rushed for 95 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns. McCoy hasn’t been the PPR machine that owners had anticipated entering the season, but he’s run well inside and out. He’s averaged 6.6 yards per carry through two weeks (217 yards and three touchdowns).
The loss of Arian Foster to a re-aggravated hamstring overshadows the Texans’ 2-0 start and convincing road win at Miami. Matt Schaub didn’t decimate the Miami pass defense as Tom Brady did in Week 1, but he certainly performed well for fantasy owners in Week 2. Schaub completed 21-of-29 pass attempts for 230 yards with two touchdowns. He absorbed three sacks, but did not commit a turnover.
As you’d expect, Schaub connected with Andre Johnson for one of his touchdown strikes (Owen Daniels hauled in the other). Johnson finished with seven receptions for 93 yards, his second straight game with seven receptions. He had 95 yards in Week 1 with a touchdown, so you can’t argue with his consistency.
Ben Tate was planted firmly on owners’ benches for Week 2 following the return of Arian Foster. He took over when Foster left because of his lingering hamstring woes and racked up 103 rushing yards. Tate added four receptions for 32 yards. Tate joins Michael Turner and Fred Jackson as the only tailbacks to rush for at least 100 yards in Weeks 1 and 2.
There wasn’t much to get excited about from the Miami offense, but Brandon Marshall continued his strong start to 2011 with six receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. Marshall has amassed 218 receiving yards on 13 receptions through two weeks. He’s paid off nicely for trusting fantasy owners thus far.
Do I need to say much about Tom Brady? Brady obliterated a strong San Diego pass defense on Sunday afternoon, registering a ridiculous total of 423 yards on 31-for-40 passing with two sacks and three touchdowns.
As always, the New England tight ends were front and center during the score-a-thon. “The Beast,” Rob Gronkowski, caught four passes for 86 yards and continued his red zone dominance with two touchdowns. Gronkowski finished back-to-back games with 86 receiving yards and three of his 10 receptions lit the proverbial lamp.
Aaron Hernandez snagged seven receptions and scored for the second straight week as well. Hernandez finished with 62 receiving yards. Hernandez sustained a knee injury in Sunday’s win over San Diego. It’s not believed to be serious, but it’s something to watch.
Deion Branch produced another big day for Brady as well. He caught eight passes for 129 yards against the Chargers, a fantastic follow-up to his seven-reception, 93-yard effort from Week 1.
Strike up the band for BenJarvus Green-Ellis as well. Green-Ellis rumbled downfield against the Chargers for 70 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown run. Given the dominance of the New England passing game, Green-Ellis hasn’t amassed a ridiculous touch count, but he’s definitely making them count.
Philip Rivers started slowly, but he found his mark late against the Patriots. Rivers completed 29-of-40 attempts for 378 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions, two sacks and a lost fumble. It was hardly a classic effort, but the final numbers push Rivers toward the top of the heap. Fifteen of his 29 completions went to his running backs. He’s passed for 713 yards with four touchdowns and five turnovers through two weeks. Week 3 brings a matchup against the heretofore sieve-like Kansas City pass defense.
Malcom Floyd made a pair of big catches early for the Chargers, but left with a groin injury. Antonio Gates was a non-starter, leaving Vincent Jackson to serve as Rivers’ lone downfield threat. Jackson shook off an uneventful Week 1 performance to dominate the New England secondary to the tune of 172 yards and two touchdowns on 10 receptions.
The Chargers did well to get Ryan Mathews active early. Mathews rushed for 64 yards on 12 carries and scored a rushing touchdown (Tolbert owners were incensed!). He added seven receptions for 62 yards.
Rookie quarterback Andy Dalton of the Bengals was injured in Week 1, but returned to the field for Sunday’s road tilt in Denver. Dalton passed for 332 yards with two touchdowns and two sacks and reminded fans that there were other quarterbacks drafted in April.
Dalton took advantage of an injury-depleted Denver secondary and connected early and often with fellow rookie A.J. Green. Green scored for the second-straight week and finished Sunday’s game with 10 receptions for 124 yards.
Keep an eye on Jerome Simpson in Cincinnati. Green has established himself as Dalton’s favorite option. Simpson may see opportunities against second corners in short order. Simpson caught four passes for 136 yards against Denver.
Eric Decker took advantage of his opportunities in Brandon Lloyd’s absence. The second-year receiver out of Minnesota caught five passes for 113 yards with two touchdowns. Remember, Decker exploded for a return touchdown in Week 1 and lays himself out in support of Orton. The Broncos are looking like they’re going to be in weekly shootouts again, so keep an eye on Decker going forward.
Willis McGahee excelled as the primary option with Knowshon Moreno out because of an injury. McGahee carried the ball 28 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. He was one of only six players to rush for 100 yards on Sunday.
Tony Romo demonstrated great heart in returning to the field after sustaining an early rib injury against the 49ers. Romo gutted through the pain to lead the Cowboys to a big road win. He passed for 345 yards with two touchdowns and a sack. Romo has passed for 687 yards in the Cowboys’ first two games.
Miles Austin might be sidelined for several weeks because of a hamstring injury, but he dominated the 49ers’ secondary in Dez Bryant’s absence. Austin caught nine passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns (two from Romo and one from backup Jon Kitna). Austin has already amassed 14 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns. Alas, the hamstring injury brings his hot start to a screeching halt.
Jason Witten hasn’t found the end zone yet, but he logged his second straight 100-yard game with seven catches for 102 yards against the 49ers. He’s amassed 13 receptions for 212 yards through two weeks.
Dustin Keller was on the radar as a “Ninja” hero for Week 2, and he delivered another big effort against the Jaguars in a rout. Keller caught six passes for 101 yards and scored for the second straight game. He’s logged 11 receptions for 162 yards through two weeks.
Kevin Kolb couldn’t defeat Rex Grossman (more on him in a minute), but he did post a solid final stat line. Kolb finished Sunday’s narrow defeat with 251 passing yards with two touchdowns, one interception and three sacks. He connected with Jeff King for the second straight and elevated Larry Fitzgerald to “Hero” status with a 73-yard touchdown connection. Kolb has passed for 560 yards with four touchdowns and two turnovers.
Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 133 yards, a tremendous step up following his three-reception, 62-yard season debut against the Panthers.
Beanie Wells continued his strong start to 2011 against the Redskins. Wells rushed for 93 yards, his second straight game with at least 90 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. He certainly had his doubters coming into the season, but he’s averaging a robust 5.7 yards per carry through two weeks (32 carries).
Rex Grossman did fantasy owners proud for the second straight week. Grossman passed for 291 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a sack against the Cardinals. In two weeks, Grossman has passed for 596 yards.
Washington tight end Fred Davis shone brightly again with a six-reception, 85-yard day and caught one of Grossman’s touchdown passes. He’s already logged 11 receptions for 191 yards in support of Grossman.
Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt continued his early heroics with another touchdown reception from Matt Hasselbeck, the third of this young season. Britt caught nine passes for 135 yards, a fantastic follow-up from on his 136-yard, two-touchdown season debut.
The Pittsburgh offense didn’t generate a ton of huge individual performances in the shutout win over Seattle, but wide receiver Mike Wallace logged his second straight 100-yard game. Wallace caught eight passes for 126 yards, his second straight 100-yard performance.
Cam Newton followed up his huge Week 1 effort against the Cardinals by putting a scare into the Packers. Newton did throw three interceptions, but I can’t ignore his 432 passing yards, 53 rushing yards and two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing).
Top target Steve Smith produced another fine day in support of Newton, hauling in six passes for 156 yards while losing a fumble. That’s a strong effort despite blanket coverage from Charles Woodson. Smith has produced fantastic returns from his WR3 position, hauling in 14 passes for 334 yards through two weeks.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t obliterate the Panthers, but he still logged a strong Week 2 effort, bolstered mightily by the 84-yard touchdown strike to Jordy Nelson. Rodgers passed for 308 yards (19-for-30) with two touchdowns and a sack.
Jonathan Stewart did nothing on the ground, as coordinator Rob Chudzinki has yet to get him and DeAngelo Williams on track. Stewart carried the ball six times for five yards, but did record eight receptions for 100 yards in the loss.
Adrian Peterson narrowly missed the 100-yard mark in Week 1, but he was not to be denied in Week 2 against the Buccaneers. Of course, not even his 120-yard, two-touchdown performance (three receptions for 24 yards) could prevent the Minnesota home collapse.
When Tampa Bay fell behind early, the Twitter-verse was chock-full of “Here we go again!” messages concerning running back Legarrette Blount. He overcame a slow start to produce a fantastic game for trusting owners. Blount rushed for 71 yards on 13 carries and plowed into the end zone twice.
As always, the Colts failed to surmount much of an effort against an opposing running back. Peyton Hillis bulled his way to a fantastic 94-yard, two-touchdown performance in leading the Browns to a road win. He added four receptions for 23 yards.
While the rest of the offense sputtered (Dallas Clark did finish with 32 receiving yards and a touchdown), Joseph Addai posted a solid, albeit unspectacular, effort on the ground. Addai amassed 101 total yards on 18 touches (four receptions). He logged 64 rushing yards on 14 carries.
The celebrations of Matthew Stafford’s arrival as an elite quarterback are ongoing across the nation. Stafford obliterated the Kansas City secondary on Sunday and lit up fantasy scoreboards with 294 passing yards (23-of-39) with four touchdowns and an interception.
Calvin Johnson didn’t log a huge reception count (he was affected by an ankle injury), but he dominated the red zone. Johnson caught three passes for 29 yards, including two touchdowns.
Jahvid Best did it all for the Lions on Sunday and broke the game open with receiving and rushing touchdowns in the second half. Best produced 131 total yards on 22 touches (six receptions).
There was one bright spot in an otherwise dark day for the Chiefs. Dwayne Bowe caught five passes for 101 yards (eight targets), adding one carry for 12 yards. You didn’t get the gift garbage time touchdown, but you’ll take the yardage.
The lone offensive hero for Chicago in its loss to New Orleans was Matt Forte, though I know the Dane Sanzenbacher bandwagon is being built. Forte amassed 166 total yards on 20 touches, including 10 receptions for 117 yards on 14 targets. He has generated 334 total yards through the Bears’ first two weeks and will continue to be the lead receiving option while Jay Cutler scrambles from unyielding pressure.
The Oakland-Buffalo game rated as perhaps the most entertaining battle on Sunday. Running back Darren McFadden led the way with another huge all-purpose effort. McFadden generated 143 total yards on 27 touches with a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown. He lost a fumble, but that hardly takes away from an otherwise brilliant day.
Despite losing a host of receivers to injury, Jason Campbell persevered and generated a fantastic effort for the Raiders. He passed for 323 yards (23-for-33) with two touchdowns and added a third on the ground.
Rookie Denarius Moore hit the highlight reels with his five-reception, 146-yard performance. Moore scored on a 50-yard pass from Campbell ith under four minutes remaining to put the Raiders in front. He also added a 25-yard rushing attempt. Moore will be among the waiver wire darlings for Week 3.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick rallied his team late and capped off another fantastic fantasy effort with a last-second touchdown pass to David Nelson (10 receptions for 83 yards and a place among the waiver wire heroes for Week 3). Fitzpatrick passed for 264 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He offset the points lost because of the interception with 23 rushing yards.
Stevie Johnson was beset by a groin injury, but that didn’t stop him from finding space in the Oakland secondary. Johnson logged eight receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. Through two weeks, the fourth-year receiver out of Kentucky has registered 12 receptions for 162 yards with touchdown grabs in back-to-back weeks.
Buffalo tailback Fred Jackson logged another tremendous performance against the Raiders. Jackson rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries while generating a small contribution in the passing game (two receptions for 23 yards).
Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the exploits of the New Orleans passing game. Drew Brees received a gift touchdown on a failed review when Darren Sproles stepped out of bounds at the one yard line. He passed for 270 yards with three touchdowns and one sack against Chicago.
Brees’ most impressive pass was completed to Devery Henderson, who ran unchecked off of the line and caught a pass in stride for a 79-yard touchdown. Henderson finished the game with three receptions for 103 yards. He won the yardage battle over Robert Meachem, but both receivers scored in Marques Colston’s absence.
Finally, Darren Sproles remained active in the passing game for Brees. He caught eight passes for 43 yards, including the aforementioned questionable touchdown reception. He added 17 rushing yards on four attempts.
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