Last week we kicked off the NFL regular season at Sports Authority Field with a dominant performance from Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Manning had one of the greatest fantasy football games in history throwing for 7 touchdowns and surpassing 450 yards with no interceptions. If you had Manning in your lineup that night you would have been in good shape going into the weekend. But a team is not one man so let's find some other players to help contribute to your point total.

We'll recap our week 1 fantasy sleepers & advice and provide you with some week 2 options and favorable match-ups to consider.

If you're looking for Fantasy advice use the comment section at the bottom and we'll provide our insight with a new entry in the article.

08:55am EST | Sep 11
Unfavorable Match-ups

Marshawn Lynch VS San Francisco 49ers

Beast Mode had a rough outing in week 1 only totalling 43 yards on 17 rush attempts. This was against Carolina who had the second worst fantasy defense in 2012. San Francisco will be a different story as their defense was ranked #1 last year in fantasy. The 49ers had little trouble stopping the rookie Eddie Lacy in week 1, while Lynch will be much more difficult to stop, it’s still a tough match-up for Lynch in week 2. 

Alex Smith VS Dallas Cowboys

While the Giants made a late comeback attempt against the Cowboys in week 1, it wasn't enough with the Dallas D forcing 6 turnovers in total. Alex Smith will be pressured from Demarcus Ware regularly, forcing him to make difficult passes that Dallas will look to pick off. This will be a tough test for Smith as this new Cowboy’s defense under Monte Kiffin is going to create a lot more pressure than St. Louis did in week 1. 

08:54am EST | Sep 11
Favorable Match-ups

Philadelphia Eagles VS San Diego Chargers

Chip Kelly’s high-tempo offense was too much for the Washington Redskins to handle in week 1. San Diego’s defense is not near the level of Washington so the Eagles should walk all over them. Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy should all be in for a big week considering their performances in week 1. The Eagles are only going to become more dangerous throughout the regular season as they become more comfortable with their new offense. San Diego is in trouble. 

Larry Fitzgerald VS Detroit Lions

Fitzgerald has an actual QB throwing him the ball again in Carson Palmer and it proved in week 1 against St. Louis: 8 receptions, 80 yards and two touchdowns. He only had 4 touchdowns all of last season. Detroit let Christian Ponder throw for 236 yards on only 18 receptions. Expect a much stronger throwing partnership in Fitzy and Palmer to exploit the Lions secondary in week 2. 

08:52am EST | Sep 11
Week 2 Sleepers

Miles Austin, WR – @ Kansas City Chiefs

Austin was getting plenty of looks from Romo given the excellent coverage from the Giants on Dez Bryant, pulling in 10 catches for 72 yards. With Bryant now diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, look to Austin to get plenty more looks against Kansas City. Even though the Chiefs were the top fantasy defense in week 1, they were playing the lowly Jaguars. Look to the Cowboys to give them a much harder time. 

Julian Edelman, WR – VS New York Jets

Rookie Kenbrell Thompkins was targeted 14 times by Brady, but failed to capitalize only finishing with 4 catches for 42 yards. Edelman on the other hand finished with 7 catches on 9 targets hauling in two touchdowns in the process of totaling 79 yards. If there is anything we have learned from watching the Patriots is that when Brady finds a receiver he likes, look for him to continue getting looks in the red-zone. Amendola will still be the main target, but due to his nagging injuries keeping him out for week 2, expect Edelman to have a repeat performance against Rex Ryan’s Jets. 

Frank Gore, RB - @ Seattle Seahawks

Playing in what could be known as the fiercest rivalry in the NFL, San Francisco is going to be looking for revenge after the horrific 42 – 13 loss in week 15 last year. Gore only had 6 attempts for 28 yards in that game but he also lit up the same Seahawks defense in week 7: 16 rushes for 131 rushing yards along with 5 receptions for 51 yards. Gore looked great in week 1 so look for him to have a strong performance in week 2. 

Terelle Pryor, QB – VS Jacksonville Jaguars

Yes, he was a week 1 sleeper and while he still isn’t a solid fantasy starter, if you’re desperate for a QB, his week 2 matchup against the Jags is enticing. He rushed for over 100 yards against the Colts while throwing for over 200. He is a versatile QB with few offensive options besides his own feet.  Alex Smith and co. weren’t easily stopped by Jacksonville and we shouldn’t expect Pryor to be either. 

08:51am EST | Sep 11
Julius Thomas

Before the first snap of the 2013 – 2014 NFL regular season took place at Sports Authority Field, there were plenty of questions coming our way about TE Julius Thomas. He was given the starting spot due to injuries to Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreesen and by having a strong preseason. He’s a basketball-turned-football player being compared to Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham, two fantasy studs. Sounds like an easy pick for week 1. 

Except that his last catch before the Thursday night game was in 2011 and it was his only one of the season. He totaled 5 yards that year playing in 5 games total. He averaged one yard a game. He was limited due to injuries for the last two seasons only now being full healthy. 
So when we’re asked whether or not Julius Thomas should start, if we look at the numbers, then it’s the usual response: it depends. Who are your other options? What type of league are you in? 

There are many scenarios in which he is an easy start, a definite no or a flip of the coin. we advised a reader that Witten was a better option than Thomas due to the uncertainties. On Thursday, we looked like idiots. By Sunday night, we weren’t exactly wrong. Thomas: 23 points. Witten: 19 points. Not a big difference in output and a safer play as we know how often Romo looks to Witten. We had no idea how much Manning was going to look to Thomas (well now we do).  

In week 2, the Broncos face the Giants in the Manning Bowl. We saw Witten get into the end-zone twice against them with a banged up Romo throwing to him. A healthy Manning coming of a 7 TD performance makes Thomas an ideal starter in week 2. 

08:50am EST | Sep 11
Week 1 Fantasy Review

There were plenty of surprise performances, both good and bad, in week 1 of the fantasy football season. Peyton Manning throwing a few touchdowns was no surprise; throwing for 7 touchdowns and over 450 yards against the defending Superbowl Champions certainly was. 

We saw more than a few running backs have some serious issues, specifically New England RB Steven Ridley fumbling on his first carry of the season while David Wilson fumbled twice, one that resulted in a defensive score for the Cowboys. Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch wasn’t able to produce for the Seahawks, only putting up 43 yards on 17 attempts. CJ Spiller had a hard time rushing, but was targeted 6 times as a receiver. If it wasn’t for his fumble, he would have had on OK fantasy day. But Ok isn’t good enough for a top 5 running back. Owners will have to wait and see if he can bounce back against Carolina but his receiving targets are a positive sign. 

Anquan Boldin spent the previous three seasons in Baltimore, averaging around 880 yards per season. On Sunday, he hauled in 13 catches on 17 targets for 208 yards and 1 touchdown.  Really makes you question the passing abilities of Joe Flacco beyond his deep ball. Look for Boldin to be a steady fantasy option at the FLEX or WR2 spot the remainder of the season. The other surprise performance was the 3 touchdown, 118 yard performance from Victor Cruz. Considering how horrible the first half to this game was, the fact that Cruz was the week 1 scoring leader at WR is baffling. If the Giants can play a full game, Cruz will continue to put up solid fantasy numbers. 

Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron, Vernon Davis, Jared Cook, Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham. I could keep going and list all 16 Tight-ends that found the end-zone in week 1 (5 of those found it twice). Veteran or rookie, it didn’t matter as quarterbacks were finding the big men many times for big plays. Specifically, Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron, two young Basketball Tight End University graduates who are looking to become NFL superstars and regular starters in your fantasy lineup. 

As far as defense performances go, the 6 takeaways for the Dallas Cowboys showed a tremendous improvement where they only totaled 16 all of last season. Monte Kiffin has created a very aggressive defensive package and with the talent at his disposal, they could only become more dangerous for opposing offenses. The Giants did put some pressure on in the second half, but the two defensive scores (best in week 1) were too much to overcome. The Chiefs were the top fantasy defense in week 1, but let’s face it, they were playing Jacksonville. They’ll get a much better test this week when Dallas comes to Arrowhead. It’ll be loud, but expect a different performance from the Chiefs in week 2.  The surprise sub-par performance of week 1 was the Houston Texans allowing Phillip Rivers to complete 4 touchdown passes. Look for a quick bounce back against Tennessee in week 2 for the Texans. 

Week 1 Sleeper Results
  • Ty Hilton, WR – 3 receptions, 20 yards
  • Lamar Miller, RB – 10 rushes, 3 yards, 1 reception, 7 yards
  • Daryl Richardson, RB – 20 rushes, 63 yards, 5 receptions, 33 yards
  • Jordan Cameron, TE – 9 receptions, 108 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Terrelle Pryor, QB -  19/29, 217 passing yards, 13 rushes, 112 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions