Fantasy football is hard enough as it is. You take players based on whatever ideas you might have, but then often reality of their situation sets in as some shine and others are dull.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo
Who would’ve thought that C.J. Spiller, second on the depth chart entering week one to Fred Jackson, would be leading the league in rushing yards two weeks in? Not me, that’s for sure. A week-one injury to Jackson spit Spiller back into the spotlight. The Bills’ RB was in the process of breaking out LAST season when Fred was injured and he appears to have really hit his stride in this, his 3rd NFL season. He’s averaging ten yards per attempt on 29 carries! He’s always had breakaway speed and now he’s learned the ways of the NFL and allowing his natural talent to carry him through. 29 carries, 292 yards. Ouch. He’s 51 yards ahead of Reggie Bush, the second-place rusher.
Carson Palmer, QB, Oakland
An unlikely riser, Palmer is 3rd in passing yards after week two. Part of that is the fact that RB Darren McFadden is not having a good start. He’s getting 2.1 yards per carry, forcing the Raiders to the air more than they want. Also, the Raiders are a very weak team overall and are playing from behind a lot, which points to more yards for Palmer. He’s a bit limited by his “help” at WR, but has so far ditched the “Interceptionitis” that he’s shown in recent years and has 2 TD tosses vs. a single pick in two games. Palmer is a guy who you might consider “selling high” in fantasy leagues – if you have any takers.
Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis
Amendola is in a somewhat similar situation as Kevin Ogletree of the Cowboys, but Amendola does more things…namely returning kicks and punts. Against the Redskins, he had a career day, with 15 grabs for 160 yards and a TD. Danny was set up to break out last season after a sophomore campaign where he had 85 catches and appeared to be the NFC’s version of Wes Welker – a small, shifty slot receiver – when he got injured in his first game of 2011 and missed the entire season. It looks like the breakout is on the way now, however. You don’t get 15 receptions in a game without being a favorite of your QB, so look for the chemistry between he and Sam Bradford to continue to get Amendola some looks. He could be a star player in PPR leagues this season.
Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco
Smith showed last year that he can be a “caretaker”-type of QB…a guy who isn’t asked to carry his team, but IS asked to not screw things up and complete short passes with an occasional long ball to TE Vernon Davis. Smith isn’t high up in many statistical cateogries with 437 yards passing in his first two games. He’s got 4 TDs vs. 0 interceptions and only threw 6 INTs in all of 2011. This season, with a year of learning (and buying into) Jim Harbaugh’s system, the Niners look like the class of the NFL with victories over playoff teams in their first two outings. I think his success continues and while he may never have the 500-yard game like Eli Manning did this week, he’ll have a lot of 250-300 yard games and won’t be putting up single-digit fantasy numbers in any given week, either. His floor (fantasy-wise) is pretty high, and his ceiling may be a bit higher than most people think.
Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia
After two weeks, Celek leads all TEs by a large margin in receiving yards with 222. Next is Jimmy Graham with 156. While Celek doesn’t have a TD yet, he has SIX receptions of over 20 yards already. With numbers like that, it’s only a matter of time before he has a multi-TD game.
Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans
The Saints’ up-and-down offense this season has given Sproles a chance to shine. He’s got 18 catches in his first 2 games, making him a very nice starter in PPR leagues. With the Saints’ offensive line allowing Brees to be pressured more, Sproles should see more and more looks as a hot receiver in addition to any yardage he gets on the ground. He’s a true dual-threat guy with a unique skill set and offensive role, which should allow him to be on the scoring board in fantasy points every week. With his speed, he’s always a threat to score whenever he gets the ball and with defenders’ hands so full with Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Lance Moore, Sproles should see some room underneath…and break one every so often.