While the rest of the season could see a lot of regression in some quarterbacks, there are a lot of guys standing out in fantasy football through two weeks. People that were considered washed-up, like Michael Vick, Philip Rivers, Sam Bradford, and Alex Smith are all top-12 quarterbacks thus far. Who could have seen that coming? At the same time, Matt Schaub is on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards on over 740 attempts. I don’t anticipate these guys keeping up at the stellar paces they have started out on, but Schaub, Rivers, and Smith are all available in at least 43% of ESPN standard leagues. Of these three, the one I would most like to own is Alex Smith. I actually think we could see more from him as the season goes on and he gets more acclimated to Andy Reid’s offense. You know he’s going to be relatively mistake-free, which will offset the low yardage totals.
As for my predictions from last week, I nailed the top two guys, which was pretty easy to see before the week even started. Michael Vick and the Eagles’ offense did a number on the Chargers’ weak secondary, and their play was not the reason for the loss. Washington’s secondary seems like one that fantasy owners will be able to exploit all year long, and Aaron Rodgers ripped them apart for 480 yards passing and 4 scores last week. On to this week’s top five:
5. Peyton Manning, Denver (vs. Oakland)
No way, Peyton Manning is going to have a good fantasy week? Incredible! You know the elder Manning brother will give you consistent fantasy scoring week in and week out. Peyton is third in the league with 769 yards passing so far, with 9 touchdowns and no interceptions. Against Oakland, I think we should expect more of the same from Peyton Manning. My only concern is with how quickly the Broncos will ease off the gas pedal and start running the ball and eating up the clock. 20 points seems to be the weekly expectation with Manning, and that sounds about right for this game.
4. Matt Schaub, Houston (at Baltimore)
(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Schaub is quietly second in the league in pass attempts and eighth in passing yardage, along with a 6/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. So much for Houston being one of the most run-dependent teams in the league. Before Arian Foster came around, actually, Schaub had a couple seasons where his passing carried the Texans, with 2009′s 4,770 yards on 585 attempts being the high point of his career. The talent is there with Schaub, but this team is best when the run game is working and Schaub can set up play-action strikes. I would have him higher against a Baltimore defense that struggled mightily against Peyton Manning and manhandled Brandon Weeden, but the possibility of Andre Johnson missing the game with a concussion makes him a slightly worse play.
3. Alex Smith, Kansas City (at Philadelphia)
(Matthew Hinton/Associated Press)
As flashy as the blur offense of Chip Kelly is, it leaves Philadelphia’s defense on the field very often during games. For that reason, Alex Smith has the potential to have a special week statistically to keep the Chiefs in this game. With a hobbled Robert Griffin III and Philip Rivers as their first two opponents, the Eagles rank a disappointing 27th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, which is poor given the level of their competition. Smith should be as sound a bet as any for 20 points from the quarterback position this week, so don’t feel worried putting him in your starting lineup for the Thursday night game.
2. Cam Newton, Carolina (vs. NY Giants)
As Cam has demonstrated through his first two seasons in the league, he’s good for a few games every year where he just goes off for ridiculous fantasy totals. Coming off a disappointing last-second loss to Buffalo on the road, Newton should return home with the resolve to prove the doubters wrong and get the Panthers their first win of the season. The Giants secondary has surrendered good fantasy points to Tony Romo and Peyton Manning so far this year, so the opportunity is there for Newton to do some damage. With only 9 carries for 53 yards and no scores on the ground thus far, expect Newton to get the job done running the ball as well.
1. Matthew Stafford, Detroit (at Washington)
(AP File Photo)
This pick is almost too easy. While he will probably see limited playing time, Reggie Bush won’t be as much of a factor for the Lions after suffering a knee injury last week. Joique Bell is still a very good player as evidenced in the first two weeks, but Stafford will have all day throwing to Calvin Johnson this week. After being very carefully monitored the first two weeks, Ryan Broyles could be a factor for the first time in the 2013 season. This defense of the Redskins has been picked apart by the Eagles and Packers in consecutive weeks to start the year, and this matchup with Stafford and the Lions should be no different.
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