Welcome back to Week 2 of Fantasy Football Friday at Buffalo Rumblings. Week 1 saw a couple of Buffalo Bills put up nice fantasy performances against the Patriots, while a couple of others were total disappointments (cough, Lee Evans, cough). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Ralph this Sunday for a 4:05 tilt in the Bills' home opener. Once again, we'll be taking a look at the individual fantasy players of note and offering up some generic advice. Check out my suggestions for Bills and Buccaneers after the jump:
Byron Leftwich - As a real life quarterback, I think Leftwich is one of the worst starters in the league. That doesn't mean he can't be a decent fantasy option for a desperate owner. Against the Cowboys, Leftwich put up a solid line of 276 yards, completing 61% of his passes and adding one touchdown. As an offense, the Bucs put up 450 yards, much to the surprise of fans everywhere. Leftwich was a big part of that, but isn't a guy that fantasy owners should really be considering as an option. It's unlikely he'll be consistent enough to put up totals like that on a week-to-week basis. However, after seeing Tom Brady shred the Bills for 378 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the Bucs may be more than willing to establish the passing game this week. I expect the Bills defense to come after Leftwich in hopes of forcing him into mistakes due to his slow release and lack of mobility. With Antonio Bryant iffy, Leftwich could be without his best option. It's tough to envision him putting up big numbers this week, on the road, in a hostile Ralph. Unless you have Donovan McNabb as a starter and are in a deep league, you will have better options. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Trent Edwards - Edwards was one of the Bills who put up nice fantasy numbers in Week 1. It was a surprising effort considering his poor pre-season play, the move to Alex Van Pelt and a very questionable offensive line. He quieted the critics, at least for one week, but he needs to do more to prove he's worthy of being a weekly fantasy option. Edwards and the Bills' passing game does seem to have a great matchup this week, however. The Bucs defense allowed Tony Romo to throw for 353 yards on just 16 completions, with three 40+ yard touchdowns. Its safe to say the Tampa D just might be susceptible to the big play. With their best defensive back out again this week (Tanard Jackson), and young players still getting comfortable (Sabby Piscitelli, Elbert Mack), look for Alex Van Pelt to try to get the ball downfield more this week. Again, McNabb owners should consider Edwards as a fill-in, but owners of QBs with tough matchups (Matt Schaub @Tennessee, Jay Cutler vs Pittsburgh, Phillip Rivers vs Baltimore) may also look his way. It's a tough call, but it might be worth the risk. Verdict: Start 'Em as a fill-in
Cadillac Williams - I'm not going to lie, I root for Cadillac. It's tough to root against a good guy who's overcome so many injury issues just to be playing right now. He had an excellent performance in Week 1, shredding the Cowboys for 97 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries. He's looked quick and healthy, and will likely see an increase in touches in closer games. I expect this game to be closer, and I expect the Bucs to go to the Caddy early and often. I'm guessing he gets 15-20 touches this week, and will still be the first option for goal line carries. He's a very good flex option and maybe even RB2 this week, even against a stouter looking Bills run D. Unfortunately, with Paul Posluszny out, it should be easier for the Bucs' run game. Verdict: Start 'Em as a flex or RB2 in deeper leagues.
Derrick Ward - Ward also had a nice Week 1, putting together 83 total yards on 14 touches and a touchdown. Ward and Williams will likely split the touches pretty evenly once again this week, with Cadillac likely to see more run and goal line opportunities. In PPR leagues, Ward is the better play. I probably wouldn't consider playing Ward outside of PPR leagues or as a flex. Verdict: Start 'Em as a flex
Earnest Graham - I like Graham and think he deserves touches in their offense. He only had one carry last week, though, so move along.
Fred Jackson - Jackson had an excellent game against the Patriots, putting together 140 total yards, 5 receptions and a touchdown. In PPR leagues, he's gold, but he's also proving to be a more than capable option as a RB2. The Cowboys gouged the Bucs for 4.9 yards per carry, so it's a good bet we'll see Jackson getting more carries this week. I like the matchup and expect Jackson to have another very good all around game. Again, in PPR leagues Jackson gets a major bump. Verdict: Start 'Em in all leagues
Antonio Bryant - Bryant missed practice on Thursday still trying to recover from his early August knee surgery. He played last week against Dallas, but was limping by the end of the game. Cryptic Raheem Morris says he is hurt, but not injured, whatever that means. I don't know if we should expect Bryant to play, and if he does, he obviously won't be 100%. I'd steer clear unless you're totally desperate. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Michael Clayton - Remember him? He of the 1,000-yard monster rookie season and zero 500-yard seasons since. He's only scored two touchdowns since scoring seven as a rookie. What happened to this guy? Every time I watch him, he's dropping passes like he's Braylon Edwards. Amazingly, he put together a 5-catch, 93-yard performance in the opener, and with Bryant potentially out, he could approach that again. I'd be nervous using him, but if Bryant sits, he could make a very good spot starter. Verdict: Sit 'Em in most leagues, Start'Em in deeper leagues with Bryant out.
Sammie Stroughter, Maurice Stovall - These guys were very good college players recently, but I hope you don't have to consider using them as fantasy starters this week. Once again, move along.
Terrell Owens - So much for opening game fireworks. T.O. looked visibly frustrated against New England, but they doubled him most of the game. Expect that to continue, but also expect Alex Van Pelt to find more ways to get him the ball this week. You don't bring a guy like this in and don't get him the ball. The fans will be fired up to see him make some big plays, and T.O. will be chomping at the bit. I have to believe we'll see more crossing patterns and slants with him this week, his bread and butter. I expect a nice bounce-back week from him, and would have no hesitation starting him if I were crazy enough to own him. Verdict: Start 'Em
Lee Evans - Like Owens, Evans was very quiet on Monday night, finishing with just 3 catches for 25 yards. And like Owens, Evans also saw a lot of double coverage over the top. However, when that happens, Evans seems to be effectively shut down. He still has yet to prove he can be a consistent underneath option, and for some reason, the Bills never utilize him over the middle. Expect Edwards to try to get it downfield to him more this week, but his inconsistency is too great to count on. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Josh Reed, Roscoe Parrish - Please don't have to start either, please.
Kellen Winslow - With a gimpy Antonio Bryant, Winslow is the Bucs' No. 1 receiving option. After seeing Ben Watson torch the Bills in the fourth quarter Monday night, I expect Winslow to be targeted early and often by Leftwich. The Bills will obviously key on him, but he could still be in line for a nice afternoon. He'll surely get a lot of targets, and maybe receptions. Verdict: Start 'Em
Derek Schouman, Shawn Nelson, Derek Fine - The Bills utilized Schouman and Nelson to the tune of 5 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown on Monday. Pretty solid production for a unit that in years past hasn't been much more than an afterthought. The production is directly associated to the double teams Owens and Evans saw. With that likely to continue, these guys will get some looks. Unfortunately, all three will rotate in and out of the lineup, so it's impossible to predict what any of them will do, and in turn it's impossible to rely on any of them. Maybe down the line, Nelson will grow into the big-time receiving option we hope he can be, but that time is not now. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Mike Nugent - If you're in a 32-team league, I'd say start Nugent. Otherwise, leave him on the waiver wire.
Rian Lindell - Lindell only averaged six points per game in home games last year, while averaging almost 10 on the road. I don't know if that's significant, but it is worth noting. I only consider starting kickers who put up consistent numbers and/or play for consistently good offenses. I'd avoid Lindell until the Bills prove that they're legit. Verdict: Sit 'Em
Both teams' defenses gave up a ton of yards last week, and only had one sack of the opposing quarterback. Neither pass rush is expected to consistently pressure quarterbacks, and right now, neither defense looks all that opportunistic. There are much better options available, and I'd consider one week fill-ins like Washington (vs STL) or Atlanta (vs CAR) before either the Bucs or Bills defense.
Michael Clayton - I mentioned Clayton could be a nice option with Bryant out. He earns my sleeper label for that.
Bills D/ST - After talking about how I wouldn't start them, this might seem odd, but they look like a solid sleeper option this week. With a fired up home crowd behind them and a slow-footed, windmill wind-up Leftwich susceptible to turnovers/sacks, they could put up some nice fantasy stats this weekend. Leodis McKelvin will also be hunting for a big return to make up for Monday's mistake.
Hope this can be of some help to at least a few of you out there. Please use this as your end of the week fantasy open thread. Good luck to everyone once again this week.