*Throughout the season I will focus on what I deem as trustworthy starts and pepper in a few sits for your PPR leagues. You’ll also very likely see some Fantasy Points Per Route Run (FPPRR) updates make it into the post as we continue to build a larger sample size to work from.
DeAngelo Williams @ BUF
Carolina did something last Sunday that they’ve been unwilling to do a lot of since Cam Newton’s arrival. That is feed Williams the football. DeAngelo totaled 17 carries for 86 yards to go with three catches for 14 yards. Over the past two seasons plus Sunday, Williams has totaled just six games with 15 or more touches in a game.
Williams produces more than quality stat lines that are based on volume alone. When he sees that many touches, in those six games, he’s averaged 19.7 points per game.
DeAngelo is definitely not a sexy option this week, but offensive coordinator Mike Shula loves him some Amish style offense. Couple that with the Panther backfield being depleted, the passing game ailing, and that workman-like game versus a stout Seattle defense and his week 2 outlook seems promising heading into Buffalo.
The Bills were gashed on the ground week one versus the Patriots, surrendering 162 yards on 30 carries (5.4 YPC) and allowing the only 100 yard rushing running back on Sunday. They also surrendered five runs of 15 yards or greater with three runs of 20 or more yards. The Panthers should lean on DeAngelo again this week, making him a viable option to return RB2 numbers.
Daryl Richardson @ ATL
Facing a formidable Arizona front seven, Richardson tallied a middling 63 yards rushing on 20 carries. He also showcased his solid receiving ability by catching five of six targets for another 33 yards.
With Isaiah Pead returning from his one week suspension, don’t look for Richardson to share too many carries. Even if that somehow happens, his role as the Rams primary back on passing downs remains locked up for the time being.
Last week Richardson ran 26 snaps in route while Zac Stacy ran only one.
Heading into Atlanta, who allowed Saints backs to tally 180 total yards on 36 touches, Richardson will have ample space to continue being an outlet for Sam Bradford. Even if the Rams can’t keep pace with the Falcons offense, he should provide plenty enough of a boost in the passing game coming from behind.
Cecil Shorts @ OAK
In a disappointing start to his season, Shorts was still targeted 11 times, catching three for 40 yards. The poor play of quarterback Blaine Gabbert hindered his performance as many of those targets were uncatchable while also drawing a tough matchup facing cornerback Brandon Flowers.
Gabbert is on the shelf for this week, giving Chad Henne the opportunity the boost the value Shorts in a favorable matchup. In the four games that Shorts played and Henne started last season, he saw 38 targets and 23 receptions for 337 yards and two touchdowns. In those four games, Shorts topped the century mark receiving twice and drew double digits targets in three.
This week the Jaguars head across country to Oakland to play a Raiders team that allowed Colts receivers to catch 14 of 17 targets as a team, including Reggie Wayne snagging a perfect eight for eight for 96 yards a score.
In a game that nobody will likely watch, Shorts could post big numbers.
Eric Decker @ NYG
Decker would like a mulligan for the first game of the season. In the Thursday night opener he reeled in only two of seven targets for 32 yards while also dropping three passes including a sure touchdown.
The Denver passing game shouldn’t slow down at all this week as they head to New York to face the Giants.
The Giants secondary will be largely exploitable all season long, as they allowed 36 passes to be completed in their opener against Dallas. While the Denver passing game has some ambiguity, there are still plenty of balls to go around for Decker as evidenced by his strong target total—he just needs to secure them.
Jordan Cameron @ BAL
No tight end saw more targets come his way last week than the 13 Cameron had.
He used them well as he caught nine for 108 yards and a touchdown on his way to a top five afternoon. With Josh Gordon still missing one more week due to suspension, Cameron should see another healthy dose of targets as the Browns head to Baltimore.
The Ravens were gashed by the Broncos through the air to open the season and were the welcoming mat for the Julius Thomas coming out party. Although the Browns don’t have nearly the surrounding weapons around Cameron as Denver does Thomas, Cameron should draw Michael Huff on a chunk of snaps this week.
After allowing six touchdowns in coverage a season ago playing primarily cornerback, Huff allowed all five of the targets in his coverage to be completed for an incredibly large 181 yards and three touchdowns, with three of those receptions and 91 yards to Thomas.
Cameron (6-foot-5-inches 254 lbs) is nearly a Thomas clone (6-feet-5-iches 246 lbs) and is just far too large for Huff (6-feet 200 lbs).
Jay Cutler vs MIN
Marc Trestman placed his stamp on the Bears offense early in 2013.
Although the Chicago passing numbers were relatively tame due to the stout Cincinnati pass defense, Trestman consistently placed Cutler in in situations to deliver the ball quickly and efficiently.
Cutler faced almost no pressure at all on Sunday, being hurried on only nine of 34 drop backs (third fewest in the league last week for starting quarterback). That is a far cry from the beating Cutler has taken over his Bears tenure. In his career while in Chicago prior to this season, Cutler had been sacked once every 12 drop backs.
The Bears are home this week facing the Vikings who were gashed by the intermediate pass last week versus Detroit, allowing Matt Stafford to complete 24 of 29 throws inside of ten yards for two scores. That was likely to them focusing on containing Calvin Johnson, something Detroit will exploit all season. Chicago has a big time wide receiver of their own in Brandon Marshall to draw the defense and viable deep threat in Alshon Jefferey who also soaked in eight targets last week.
While it’s too early to get a gauge on (fantasy points per route run) FPPRR trends for 2013 with such a small sample, the Vikings allowed the duo of Joique Bell and Reggie Bush to post 31.8 receiving points on only 34 routes (.94 FPPRR).
Expect Trestman to have Cutler release the ball quickly again this week and Matt Forte and the Bears receivers to feast over the middle this week.
Tom Brady vs NYJ
Turnovers largely effected Brady’s pedestrian week one line of 29/52 for 288 yards. A Stevan Ridley fumble, a Zach Sudfeld dropped pass that turned into an interception, along with a fumble from Brady himself near the goal line spurned opportunities for Brady to produce fantasy points.
He is also working with a whole new cast, and for the most part, this Patriots group without Rob Gronkowski will be an intermediate level passing team. Brady peppered Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen and Kenbrell Thompkins with nine plus targets a piece, but only three of his 52 pass attempts traveled 20 yards downfield.
Vereen has already been declared out for eight weeks minimum with a broken bone is his wrist, and Amendola is still nursing a troublesome groin, and likely to miss the Thursday night game.
Brady could be forced to lean on Edelman and Thompkins heavily this week and Thompkins struggled to create separation all afternoon in his first game versus Leodis McKelvin.
We already know from last season that teams and stars consistently underperformed on Thursday night games. In a short week versus a very capable Jets defense with a strong defensive line, the Patriots may be in another inner division battle that’s closer than initially anticipated.
Marshawn Lynch vs SF
Despite what this matchup may look like on paper, Lynch has had a strong history of success rushing the football against the 49ers while he’s been with Seattle. He has topped 100 yards in each of his past three meetings while adding two touchdowns.
Seattle’s offensive line struggled mightily versus a similarly aggressive front seven in Carolina last week, rushing 26 times for only 70 yards, with Lynch carrying 17 times for only 43 yards on the ground.
The 49ers are also back to full strength up front and teams have been looking to beat them by spreading them out and attacking the suspect secondary. In a matchup that should be physical, and Lynch not being able to help himself out as a pass catcher, look for his recent success against San Francisco to meet its end.
C.J. Spiller vs CAR
Spiller had inauspicious start to his season as well Sunday. After averaging 6.0 yards per carry in 2012, Spiller started 2013 with 17 carries for 41 yards. He added five receptions for a nice PPR boost, but even his over ten yards per catch last season were a subpar 2.8 (14 yards) versus New England. For good measure he made sure to lose a fumble on top of it all to ensure his owners couldn’t sleep that night.
With the loss of Andy Levitre to the Titans, the Bills offensive line, and most notably, Levitre’s replacement Colin Brown, was dominated all afternoon, something that figures to happen again this week against Carolina. If you read above, the Panthers are a ferocious unit up front and plan being a major headache for Spiller finding space this week. Spiller may be able to save his day with a strong day receiving, but Carolina also has capable linebackers in Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis to make plays on Buffalo’s mid range passing attack.
Dwayne Bowe vs DAL
It appears Andy Reid has tailored his offense around the abilities of Alex Smith and not vice versa for the new look Chiefs. Smith attempted 34 passes, the second most he’s attempted in a game over the past three seasons, but many were of the usual Smith like variety.
Of his 34 attempts, only eight were further than ten yards downfield and only one was over 20. This is terrible for the prospects of Bowe being a complete receiver with big play capability. He was targeted six times, catching four for a measly 30 yards.
Although the Cowboys allowed 450 passing yards on Sunday, a large chunk came from Victor Cruz having his way inside with Dallas defenders. Bowe ran only eight of his 36 routes from the slot in the tilt against Jacksonville, leaving him to work outside on Brandon Carr for the majority of his intermediate targets. Bowe may be relegated to being a decoy and red zone target.
Full Disclosure Week 1: