A look at three big names heading into Week 2 action and their fantasy value:
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
Easily the largest spread for this weekend’s games is Carolina hosting San Francisco, as the Panthers are favored by 14 points. That’s incredibly high for a Panthers team that has to feel defeated after spending an entire offseason focusing on a Super Bowl rematch and coming up short. Also, the “hangover year” in the NFL is a true thing. Seattle, Green Bay and Indianapolis were all conference finalists in 2014. All had significant issues last season.
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The Panthers, specifically Cam Newton, were roughed up in Denver last week and there’s a feeling that they put all of their eggs in the Denver game basket. Guessing Ron Rivera and Co. didn’t spend too much time brushing up on Chip Kelly tapes during their Fourth of July cookouts.
Kelly is obviously noted for his offense, but his defense looks legit this season. It was only the Rams last Monday, but a shutout is a shutout in the NFL. In fact, the Niners posted the only shutout in the league in Week 1. Newton will “get his” against San Francisco but don’t expect a monster game.
Verdict: Start, but don’t expect vintage Cam
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
We talked about the “hangover year” above, but just as important is the “bounceback year.” The Colts were prime candidates for that title in 2016 but it’s starting to look like Indy really just isn’t that good. They lost to the decidedly average Lions at home, 39-35, last week. That’s a good number fantasy-wise and Andrew Luck owners were happy as he went 31-of-47 for 385 yards, four touchdowns and zero picks. Unfortunately for T.Y. Hilton owners, not much of those 385 yards went to him. Hilton caught six balls for 79 yards and did not find the end zone. He was targeted more than any other Colts receiver with 12, but owners have to be distraught by his Week 1 performance. In Week 2, Hilton will face his toughest challenge of the season as he goes up against the mighty Broncos defense, in Denver no less.
Verdict: Start, but only as a low-end WR2
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
The Buccaneers defense did a nice job containing Julio Jones in Week 1 as Jones had just four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. Atlanta’s leading receiver in that one was Tevin Coleman out of the backfield, so the early returns on the Buccaneers’ secondary in 2016 are strong.
Larry Fitz lit up the Patriots for 81 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, so the Buccaneers defense will surely have a renewed focus on No. 11.
The good news for Fitzgerald owners is that it’s starting to become a trend in terms of him having strong starts to seasons. He had five touchdowns through just three games last season, and had at least 87 yards in all three.
Verdict: Start as a WR2