Week Two Preview

The Bruins are 1-1 right now. There’s no way to tell, just by looking at their record, that the loss was to a team they should have been able to compete with – and did, for a minute, in the fourth quarter, before choking the opportunity away – and the win was over an inferior team that they inexplicably let hang around for half the game before finally stepping on the gas.

All you see from the record is one win and one loss. 1-1. Moving on to next week and the next opportunity for victory.

That’s my motto now. I’m 0-1, but it’s one loss, nothing more. Sure, by the score it was a dramatic loss, so like the Bruins in practice working on their first-half play, I took a look at my lineup and I made the improvements I deemed necessary. But the score doesn’t matter anymore.

It’s one loss. Moving on.

So let’s move on, then, to Week Two, which kicks off tonight with Jets @ Bills. I could have had a player in this matchup, but I benched Tyrod Taylor, so I don’t. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start by looking at the lines for my league’s matchups this week.

w2-lines-shot

There are some dramatic lines on there this week, no? Mine is projected to be one of the closest games, which I find reassuring for reasons that I, again, will get to in a moment. The sad part here is that I’m still projected to finish in the bottom half of my league in points… but I have a soft matchup this week. And like the Bruins last week (or this week for that matter – knock wood) I’ll take it if it helps me get my feet under me.

Besides, my lines should improve dramatically when Tom Brady comes back to be my quarterback. (Three weeks to go – whose idea was it to get into this situation anyway? Mine, you say? Well, who asked you?)

Here’s the projection of my matchup with my opponent for the week, Simi Valley 12’s:

w2-preview-shot

Let’s start with the name, shall we? I don’t know this team owner personally – he’s a former coworker of the league commissioner’s – but if he’s a Seahawk fan like his name suggests (the 12 being a reference, I presume, to Seattle’s famous “12th Man” fans) then I’ll take an extra delight in beating him.

And I think I stand an excellent chance of doing just that. What gives me that confidence? All those beautiful red Qs.

I know, I know, I counted on Andrew Luck’s injury last week and it didn’t go so well for me. Hear me out this time, though, I have stronger evidence.

First, the WR position. I start here because it’s the clear edge for me. I’m projected at 20 points to his 15, and when you factor in our flexes who are both WRs it becomes 28 to 26. The ones to watch on his team will be Larry Fitzgerald, who 1) had a standout week last week – can he do it again?; and 2) is nursing an MCL sprain. I think he’s being listed as questionable but will still play, and probably play with no ill effects. I think the team is just being gentle on him with his age and mild injury. But I don’t think he’ll go for 20 points like he did last week. Still, he should do well, so I can’t expect a softening there.

Where I do expect a softening is from Sammy Watkins, who has been nursing a foot injury this week and was only upgraded from a Questionable designation this afternoon in advance of his game tonight. I always expected him to play. But I also expect that his injury will hamper him much more than Fitzgerald’s will. Plus, he plays for Buffalo, which means he has to catch passes from Tyrod Taylor, and if I thought there was a chance of that I would be playing Tyrod Taylor.

Incidentally, if I did play Tyrod Taylor? This line would shift in my favor. Taylor’s projected at 15 points, so I would close that 2-point gap in the line. But I don’t expect Taylor to meet that projection. I wish Alex Smith would outperform his, as he did last week by a long shot, but I don’t need him to necessarily. Low-to-mid teens from him keeps me in the game, and would certainly be an improvement from the 5 I got from Taylor last week.

Carson Palmer is strong, though. (I hate saying that about a former SC guy, but let’s not kid ourselves.) And his offense is strong. So I’ll get outmatched in the QB category. That’s okay, I expect to.

Where I make up my ground is on RB and TE. Ezekiel Elliott is going to have a breakout game and may even overperform his 10-point expectation. Will it be enough to completely compensate for the good games that both of his RBs should have? Maybe, maybe not, but it should keep me close. Gordon I’m counting on for solid but not spectacular production. Again, if Elliott has the game that I and all the experts expect him to have (and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t, against Washington’s defense), then I don’t need spectacular production.

Then there’s the tight end.

First of all – Gary Barnidge has to do better. He’s got Josh McCown throwing to him now. He’ll give me something, I know it. He has to.

But more importantly? My opponent has Gronk.

Rob Gronkowski missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury, and there’s no guarantee he’ll play this week. Since it’s a home game, the Patriots won last week, they’re already missing Brady, and they’ll want to be gentle with Gronk’s recovery to prevent reinjury, my instinct is that he won’t play. They’ll go with the lineup that won for them last week on the road to face a softer team at home, and they should win easily. (Hopefully Edelman is a big part of it.) But Gronk will sit out, and when he does, my teammate will play his backup TE, who is Jordan Cameron. Cameron is still learning to fit into Miami’s offense and will have to do it against the Patriots’ defense this week, which is no easy task. He’s projected for 4 points and I don’t think he’ll hit it.

Even if Gronk does play, I expect his snap count to be limited, or his production to otherwise shrink. But I truly don’t think he’ll play. The Pats don’t need him to win, and they’ll want to protect him.

And when they sit him, they make my path to victory that much clearer.

As for tonight, listen for the sounds of regretful wailing. If you hear that, it means that Tyrod Taylor figured out how to play tonight, and I’m berating myself for benching him.

I’ll update you when I find out how Taylor did. And when I know if Gronk is going to play or not.

Time to get to 1-1!

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