After much fear and loathing by fantasy owners tormented by low rushing outputs in the first week of the season, we saw the running game come back into focus in Week 2. Eleven running backs hit 90+ yards and six reached the 100-yard mark.
Before you get too excited about your running backs for this weekend, I'll warn you that success will be limited and you had better have a quality wide receiving corps because you are probably going to need them this week.
Moving the Sticks
In an ironic twist, “Moving the Sticks” is going to focus on defenses who won’t let you do much of that.
The New York Jets have become a laughingstock of sorts thanks to their quarterback issues over the last few years, but there is nothing funny about this defensive line. Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson are dynamic big men who are ruining the hopes and dreams of offensive linemen around the league.
Watching a Cleveland Browns game is a painful venture these days thanks to putrid offense, but that defensive front can be dominant due in large part to NT Phil Taylor, who reminds me of a young Shaun Rogers. Desmond Bryant is another talented player whose quickness, length and strength is causing problems.
In case you were wondering, Kansas City Chiefs NT Dontari Poe is blossoming into a superstar right before our eyes. Poe had terrific measurables coming out of the Combine, but I didn’t see enough from him in college to think that he would take this career trajectory. I was wrong. Poe, Tyson Jackson and Mike DeVito are jamming things up in the middle and the Chiefs LB crew is cleaning up the rest.
The Big 3 Matchups
1. Marshawn Lynch vs. Jaguars - Beast Mode messed around and almost put yet another 100 yards on the 49ers. I’m guessing that 115 yards and 2 TDs sounds about right against a defense that Darren McFadden shredded last week.
2. Andy Reid vs. Eagles - Yeah, I’m sure Andy Reid doesn’t want to hang 42 on the Eagles after being fired in the offseason. Jamaal Charles should have a big day and Dwayne Bowe has a very favorable matchup here.
3. A.J. Green vs. Green Bay Secondary - The Bengals have done a nice job of keeping Andy Dalton clean and if the Packers don’t get to Dalton, A.J. Green will have his way with the Packers' shoddy secondary play.
Three Four Offensive Lines in Trouble
* This week I give you an extra because there are so many offensive lines with bad matchups and Jaguars vs. Seahawks is such a layup.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars weren’t very good from guard to guard going into the season so there was no surprise there. What has been a surprise, however, has been the way that tackles Eugene Monroe and Luke Joeckel have struggled. The talent on talent in this spot won’t even be close, but then again, you weren’t starting anyone on Jacksonville anyway.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers - I’m not sure I could give the go-ahead to start ANY of their players on my fantasy team based on how badly this offensive line could get whooped. The Bears have quickness along their front and the Steelers are absolutely no threat to run the ball so the Bears will tee off on an o-line that has allowed 10 sacks.
3. Indianapolis Colts - Starting LG Donald Thomas is gone for the year, which is a shame because he had upgraded that position. The 49ers will be feisty after getting punked by the Seahawks and the strength of the San Francisco interior line is way too much for the Colts to handle. Andrew Luck, don’t be a hero on Sunday. Be ready to duck.
4. Atlanta Falcons - The Miami Dolphins defensive line is no joke. They are deep and they are all athletic big guys who have strength and initial quickness …. something the Falcons don’t have. The Falcons will get bull-rushed all over the place in this spot so don’t be shocked to see Matt Ryan off of his game.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $250,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 3. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.
FanDuel.com Value Picks
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins - $6,100
Tony Romo, Cowboys - $7,700
Ryan Mathews, Chargers - $6,400
Giovani Bernard, Bengals - $5,700
Marlon Brown, Ravens - $5,000
Tavon Austin, Rams - $5,900