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Fantasy Football: Week 2 Quarterback Matchup Report

Week 1 was pretty unpredictable, as it is every year. The New England Patriots lost their home opener, Goff threw for over 300 yards, and one game had to be moved to later in the season due to Hurricane Irma. How often do all those things happen? Let alone all in the same week. But, hey, that’s Week 1 for you. Predicting quarterbacks this week should be a little easier after seeing how team defenses looked last week.

Favorable Matchups

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets

To put it simply, the New York Jets are an atrocious football team, especially against the pass. In 2016, opposing QBs threw for 30 touchdowns against only eight interceptions when facing the Jets. That ratio was the best in the league. If Tyrod Taylor could throw for 224 yards and two scores last week, imagine what a much better QB can do with a substantially better group of weapons around him.

Carr was able to get back into the flow quickly last week against a solid Tennessee defense and was absolutely masterful in his last meeting with gang green. In a Week 7 matchup during the 2015 season, Carr threw for 333 yards and four touch downs. I’m expecting more of the same this week.

Week 2 Projection: 320 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts

[the_ad id=”384″]I guess I’ll ride out this Palmer early-season success notion for one more week. I was trying to not mention the same guys two weeks in a row, but this matchup was too tempting to pass up for two reasons. First off, Indianapolis is terrible against the pass. They allowed the 6th most passing yards, registered only eight picks, and opposing QBs against the Colts had the 6th highest QB rating during the 2016 season.

New seasons bring new hope, but it was obvious right away that nothing had changed. The Colts allowed Jared freaking Goff to complete 72% of his passes for 306 yards and a touchdown. First overall pick or not, Goff is nowhere close to being a good quarterback yet. A seasoned veteran like Palmer should tear this Colts secondary apart. And with David Johnson out for two to three months, Arizona figures to throw the ball more in his absence. All signs are pointing to a strong week for Palmer, who is a borderline QB1 and a very strong DFS play.

Week 2 Projection: 330 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

Eli Manning, New York Giants vs Detroit Lions

Is it just me or do the New York Giants always follow up a bad week with a good week? Plus, we shouldn’t really look too much into a game where Eli Manning was without one of the league’s best receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham is expected to play Monday night and should have no problems torching a lackluster Lions secondary.

The Lions did pick off three of Palmer’s passes last week, but there are a lot better options on the field for Eli Manning in Week 2. Beckham Jr. will feast, and Brandon Marshall was quietly a very good signing for this Giants team. They’re still figuring out what to do at running back, but that’s all the more reason to air the ball out this week against Detroit, which makes Manning a strong QB2 and DFS play this week.

Week 2 Projection: 290 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Unfavorable Matchups

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. New England Patriots

Listen, I’m not telling you to sit Brees. I’d be a fool to do that, and you’d be a fool for sitting him. And we’re not fools, are we? At least I’d like to think I’m not. Brees is going to be universally started this week, as he should every week, but expectations should be kept in check. The entire New Orleans offense looked flat against Minnesota in Week 1 and are going up against one of the best secondary’s in the entire NFL this week. In addition to Pro Bowl corner, and Super Bowl hero, Malcolm Butler, the Patriots signed Stephen Gilmore this offseason to form a dynamic cornerback duo.

Yes, I know Alex Smith carved up the New England defense last week, but that was then and this is now. Coach Belichick has had a week and a half to prep for the Saints and only loses coming off a bye week once every three decades or so.  If the Saints are going to hang with the Patriots this Sunday, they’re going to have to attack the weaker front seven as opposed to the strong secondary. Brees will score some points, but he’s not one of my top-5 QBs this week.

Week 2 Projection: 280 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT

Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers

Talk about having an easy season opener. Ok, that’s my last “The Jets are terrible” reference for this article. Taylor was able to make some plays last week, but this Carolina defense is a whole different animal. The Panthers did two things exceptionally well last season. They got after the quarterback (2nd in sacks) and picked off the fourth most passes (17) in the NFL.

Taylor is really going to have to play a smart game of football or this could turn ugly pretty quick. I like Taylor as a strong QB2 this season overall, but this week will likely go down as one of his worst games of the season. Expect plenty of LeSean McCoy running plays and not a whole heck of a lot out of Taylor this week.

Week 2 Projection: 180 yards (plus 25 rushing), 1 TD, 2 INT.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars

I hate to include Mariota here since I have him on a few teams, but he’s got a tough matchup ahead of him this weekend. Granted, Houston isn’t an offensive juggernaut, but Jacksonville was getting to the quarterback with absolute ease last week. When it was all said and done, the Jaguars had racked up an even 10 sacks. Not too shabby for one game.

One game against Houston is a small sample size, so let’s go back to the 2016 season. The Jaguars allowed the 5th fewest passing yards in the NFL and were a bottom-10 run defense. With a number of solid run options on this Titans team, that sure makes me think a run-first approach is coming Sunday. Now that very well could include a little bit of Mariota, but DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry should be shouldering most of the load.

Week 2 Projection: 240 yards (plus 30 rushing), 1 TD, 1 INT

Sleeper of the Week

I wanted to go with Carson Wentz again this week, but in the interest of changing things up, I’ll go with someone different. Option No. 2 was DeShaun Watson, but he played last night. Which leads me to option three…

Jay Cutler, Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers

In case you forgot, Jay Cutler likes to throw the ball … a lot. This prediction is high risk, high reward for sure, but we all have to live a little sometimes. Cutler himself is always a high-risk play, but this week that risk is much higher than usual. The reason, you ask? The Chargers were tied for the league lead with 18 interceptions last season. And we all know: Cutler and interceptions go together like Rex Ryan and feet.

Jeez, I’m almost talking myself out of this one. But, hey, I’m on my third (fourth if you include Wentz), option this week. Jay Ajayi is a little banged up and might not be 100% come Sunday, so expect Cutler to air it out 40+ times and rack up the stats.

Week 2 Projection: 280 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT

Thank you for reading this week’s quarterback matchup report on Fantrax. I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members.  Got a question about a player not covered here? Ask in the comments below or follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there. Make sure you check back in next Friday as we break down quarterbacks for Week 3.

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