By Grant Ramirez
Cam Newton, quarterback, Carolina Panthers (vs New Orleans Saints)
Through two weeks, the Saints’ defense has allowed a whopping 389 passing yards per game. Although he has had a relatively pedestrian start to the season, Cam Newton is talented enough to capitalize on a horrendous New Orleans secondary. In addition, his injured shoulder should continue to get healthier as the weeks go on and lead to an improvement in play. Newton’s running ability is always a plus, as well.
Michael Crabtree, wide receiver, Oakland Raiders (vs Washington Redskins)
Michael Crabtree continued his impressive start to the season with a three-touchdown performance against the Jets in Week 2. The Raiders’ leading receiver, Amari Cooper, has a tough matchup against Washington, as Josh Norman will likely shadow him. As one of the best No. 2 receivers in the league, expect Crabtree to capitalize on opportunities against Washington’s lesser corners and produce big numbers while Norman is occupied with Cooper.
Philadelphia Eagles, Defense/Special Teams (vs New York Yankees)
Although it is still early, the Giants’ offense looks like a disaster. Although the Eagles aren’t necessarily a shutdown defense, they do have enough talent to handle the Giants’ weak attack. Philadelphia’s pass rushers, including Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, should have a field day against New York’s wobbly offensive line. Despite the Eagles being thin at corner, Eli Manning has looked poor, and Odell Beckham Jr. still isn’t completely healthy. The Eagles should easily be able to handle an offense that has put up only 13 points in two games.
LeSean McCoy, running back, Buffalo Bills (vs Denver Broncos)
After running over the Jets’ defense in Week 1, LeSean McCoy was shut down against Carolina, finishing with only 9 rushing yards. Things won’t get any easier for him when the Bills host a Denver defense that forced Ezekiel Elliott into the worst game of his career. The Broncos’ secondary will easily be able to handle the Bills’ weak passing game, allowing Denver to clamp down on the run. Don’t expect McCoy to rebound Sunday.
Jeremy Maclin, wide receiver, Baltimore Ravens (vs Jacksonville Jaguars)
Although Jeremy Maclin hasn’t put up a ton of yardage thus far, he has caught a touchdown in each of his games, making him a viable fantasy option. However, on Sunday, he faces a talented Jacksonville defense that is No. 5 against the pass through two weeks. In addition, the Ravens lost their star guard, Marshal Yanda, for the year. In most cases, losing a guard isn’t a huge deal, but Yanda is one of the league’s best and an impact player for Baltimore. His absence against the Jaguars’ stacked front could lead to less time for Joe Flacco to throw downfield, impacting Maclin’s production.
Marcus Mariota, quarterback, Tennessee Titans (vs Seattle Seahawks)
Coming into the year with big expectations, Marcus Mariota hasn’t looked quite as good as many people anticipated. After playing a tough Jacksonville defense in Week 2, he faces another steep test Sunday against the Seahawks. Through two weeks, Seattle has allowed only an average of 13 points per game, smothering opposing offenses with a deep defensive line and the vaunted Legion of Boom. Mariota is poised enough and talented enough to not get overwhelmed; however, I wouldn’t expect big numbers out of him.