Week Two fantasy tips: QBs

Posted Sept. 13, 2012 @ 2:09 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

The PFW staff offers its late-week QB fantasy tips, calling Peyton Manning and Mark Sanchez safe plays but cautioning owners on Joe Flacco, who faces a tough Eagles "D" this week.

Fantasy owners who may have been a little nervous before starting Peyton Manning can now feel comfortable with the future Hall of Famer going forward, and he has a favorable matchup in Week Two against the Falcons. Atlanta is without CB Brent Grimes for the season and is far from a stalwart against the pass. Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense should put up points, and if this is a shootout, that means big numbers for Manning.

Mark Sanchez’s three touchdown passes in Week One reminded fantasy owners why, despite all the criticism, he actually put up solid TD numbers last season. He has a much tougher test in Week Two against the Steelers, but if Sanchez can maintain the poise and confidence we saw in the season opener, and if rookie WR Stephen Hill becomes a reliable weapon, Sanchez is a good starter in two-QB leagues and a bye-week fill-in for standard formats.

Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman had an efficient Week One, but it did not translate to quality fantasy production. In standard-scoring formats, Freeman generated 9.90 points (26th among quarterbacks) in Tampa Bay’s win over the Panthers. The Bucs will travel to face the Giants, who allowed 300-plus yards passing and three passing TDs in Week One vs. Tony Romo. We suspect Freeman’s yardage production (138 yards in Week One) to increase against the Giants, but he is only worth starting in deeper two-QB leagues.

You have to wonder about the Steelers’ pass protection after QB Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times in the season opener at Denver. The O-line will get a lift with ORT Marcus Gilbert and ORG Ramon Foster returning to the lineup after leaving with injuries in Week One, but it still appears as if the Steelers’ ability to turn away tough pass rushers is a concern. Certainly Roethlisberger is a consideration for owners in two-QB formats this week against a Jets defense that surrendered three TD passes in Week One — and his stock gets a boost if Jets CB Darrelle Revis (concussion, check status) can’t play — but the wear-and-tear the Steelers’ QB takes is something to watch.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco comes off a wonderful performance in Week One (299 yards, two TDs, 128.4 passer rating). So is he an automatic start this week at Philadelphia? Not in our book. The Eagles’ pass rush could pose problems for Baltimore, which has a reworked offensive line. The Ravens’ offense doesn’t figure to roll in its road opener as it did six days earlier in front of the home crowd and with the benefit of extra preparation time.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton has a good matchup in Week Two vs. Cleveland. The Browns will be without their top cornerback, Joe Haden (four-game suspension), and their overall defensive depth is an issue. The Bengals played the Ravens tough for most of Monday night before falling apart. Cincinnati has a good chance to bounce back.

Even though Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt is playing it very coy as far as making a firm commitment to Kevin Kolb as his starting QB this Sunday in New England, team sources tell us it would be a pretty big shock if Kolb were not under center on Sunday. It does appear, however, that John Skelton is making a pretty quick recovery from the ankle injury he suffered in Week One. But we hear it’s a real reach to expect Skelton to be able to suit up this Sunday.

There was a lot to like about Titans QB Jake Locker’s first NFL start. He showed a knack for driving the ball downfield and flashed the tremendous athleticism that is such a big part of his game and what makes him such an intriguing fantasy option. Of course, Locker exited the game early with a separated non-throwing shoulder. He was limited in practice on Wednesday, but head coach Mike Munchak does not expect the injury to sideline him in San Diego Sunday. However, it remains to be seen how the injury will affect Locker’s ability to escape the pocket and make plays with his legs. If Locker is on your roster, you’re probably waiting to see more until you insert him into your lineup and this latest injury development only strengthens the logic behind that stance.