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XN Sports League of Champions Week 2 Preview

The XN staff previews their week 2 matchups for the League of Champions.

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz

Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) catches a touchdown pass against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick (32) in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 2 of the NFL season and the XN Sports League of Champions, our own fantasy football league to give you insight into how experts actually manage their own teams. In Week 1, we saw some smack talk, some good wins, some bad wins, and some early desperation among some owners. Now, we’re ready for Week 2. Our owners are looking at their matchups for the week and are offering their perspectives, and getting in a few jabs early. Make sure to click on each matchup heading to see the full teams in all their glory.

BLURRED GOAL LINES 1-0 (Tony Consiglio) vs. MAKE IT WAYNE 1-0 (Igor Derysh)

Igor Derysh: After a big Thursday effort from Demaryius Thomas in Week 1, I cruised to a win. This week, my Thursday effort was provided in the form of what’s been called the most frustrating game of Tom Brady‘s career. My QB1 Brady put up a pedestrian 11 FPS (18 PROJ) as Aaron Dobson dropped fantasy points all over the field. Now I need Eli to give me a big effort against his formidable Colin Kaepernick and Matthew Stafford duo, with all three facing tough matchups. His Randall Cobb, Antonio Brown, Steve Johnson, Marlon Brown combination seems to have a slight edge over my Demaryius, Mike Wallace, Mike Williams, and Michael Floyd combo but I think I’ll get big games from Thomas, Williams, and Floyd. Adrian Peterson has a tough matchup in Chicago but I’ll take him, and DeAngelo Williams, against Tony’s great looking LeSean McCoy but not-so-great-looking Rashard Mendenhall. I’m also looking for solid points from new pickup Brent Celek against the Bolts. I’m a nine point underdog after a wide receiver I didn’t even own completely screwed me out of cheap points, but I like my lineup even more this week than last week when I won by 29 FP.

Tony Consiglio: After the Patriots’ ugly showing against the Jets on Thursday night, and the fact that Igor started Tom Brady who was very un-Brady-like, I feel like I’m already way ahead of the game. I’m facing far less of a deficit than I thought I probably would be at this point, so I’m in great shape. My Colin Kaepernick and Matthew Stafford are coming off pretty good weeks, as are my wide receivers of Randall Cobb, Antonio Brown, and Steve Johnson. LeSean McCoy should be great for me this year in Chip Kelly’s offense, and Tony Romo‘s safety blanket, Jason Witten, is already showing he’s in line for another big year. All of these guys will give me a great points foundation.

My concern comes from my RB2 and flex positions. I’m starting Rashard Mendenhall over Giovani Bernard this week. While I still think Bernard will eventually be the guy in Cincy, that time is not yet. I feel there’s more upside with Mendy for now. At least he’s the starter. I’m also taking a calculated risk with Marlon Brown. He had a nice Week 1 for the Ravens and, with Jacoby Jones out, Brown should see plenty of targets. I think this lineup should be plenty good enough this weekend. In the only matchup of undefeated teams, I’m going to Make it Wayne losses all over the House of Derysh.

@BRYKNO RHINOS 0-1 (Bryan Knowles) vs. FANTASY FOUNDATION 1-0 (Rich Hribar)

Rich Hribar: Week 1 is in the books and, as expected, my 8-year-old son is far more dominant than anyone in this league. His player evaluation appears to be on Vince Lombardi-like levels. This week the Fantasy Foundation takes on Bryan Knowles, and he might as well just bench all of his players now. Looking at the rosters, the only chance he may have of pulling this one out is if his superior wide receivers play up to and beyond expectations. We appear to have favorable hammers at the running back (Charles/T. Richardson) and quarterback positions (Romo/Vick), especially since every EJ Manuel interception for Bryan will count as double for us with the Carolina defense in play. Grab a pen and mark the Hremarkable Hribar’s down for 2-0.

Bryan Knowles: I certainly took one on the chin in Week 1, and am currently in last place. All the better for my eventual triumph! You’re not going to win many games getting only 15 points out of you QB situation in a 2QB league, so I’m making the move from low-ceiling Jake Locker to EJ Manuel, as I probably should have done last week.  That’s at least a couple points right there. In all seriousness, I have to defend most of my choices from last week — if those two near-touchdowns for Megatron go through, I still lose, but by a much more respectable margin.  I’m not entirely sure what they’re expecting him to do to prove something’s a catch–his bad luck has to even out at some point. I’m already a bit behind the eight-ball entering Sunday’s games against the best team in the league last week, but I have to stick with my pre-draft strategy and hope my flotilla of receivers makes up for the gap in quarterback power.  That’s the one spot I’m definitely better than Rich in — hopefully, it’ll help offset the REST of his talented team.  I’ve got a fighting chance!

STUDFELDSVILLE 0-1 (Salvatore Stefanile) vs. FIFTY SHADES OF CATS 1-0 (Felipe Melecio)

Felipe Melecio: I’m facing off against Mr. 2-Quarterback Football Leagues himself, Sal and his Studfeldsville squad. What an honor to play against him and an absolute treat it will be to beat him at his own game this week.

QB: Both of our QBs will meet against each other, Sam Bradford vs Matt Ryan. The real edge will come from our second QBs: Joe Flacco vs Russell Wilson. Flacco has the easier game vs the Cleveland Browns: Advantage Me!

WR: My only worry is Jordy Nelson and there’s always a chance he can seriously hurt himself. Advantage Me!

RB: Real concern at this position as Sal did a marvelous job in acquiring backs that can flourish in a PPR league like this.

TE: If Greg Olsen doesn’t get big points against the Buffalo Bills, I may have to reconsider him as a starter. He has a lot to prove. Advantage Me!

DST: Once again, it comes down to two games for us: San Francisco at Seattle and St. Louis vs Atlanta. If the 49ers and Falcons have tremendous games, my squad should come out victorious.

Salvatore Stefanile: Going up against Fifty Shades of Cats this week is going to be a tough one, as his team is not just made up of awesome cats, but he has a lot of great fantasy players stocked at every position. His QB, WR, and RB depth is solid all across the board, and I think we’ll be in for a close week. There is potential for his team to put up a high number of points, with guys like Brandon Marshall, Hakeem Nicks and DeSean Jackson in line for some juicy match-ups.

KEEPIN HEADS RINGIN 0-1 (Michael Clifford) vs. MY BUDDY AND ME 1-0 (Dave Major)

Michael Clifford: Following a Week 1 blow out where I ended up losing by over 60 points to Rich Hribar, I’m hoping for a much better performance this week.

With drafting Le’Veon Bell came the problem of finding a flex every week until he returns. Last week I didn’t get much out of Chris Givens but left Joique Bell on the bench. I’m hoping Bell can find some of the form he had in the first week when he had six carries and six targets (five catches) and left a lot of points on my bench. I’m hoping that the Lions back off on Reggie Bush’s carries a bit – the 21 carries he had in Week 1 was the tied for the 5th-most he’s ever had in a single game in his career. If the Lions realize they might need to save Bush a bit, then Bell is the likely immediate recipient.

Ten days ago, I was stoked to have David Wilson and Eric Decker on my team. While I still think they will be productive players, I do worry about the touches Wilson might get. I’m expecting the Denver offense to carve up the Giants defense, which means we could see Eli Manning throw 45-50 passes on Sunday. If that happens, Wilson could put up another low total. Hopefully Week 2 is the counter-balance to Week 1 and Decker gets his targets from Manning (and doesn’t drop touchdowns). He already had Edelman go this week, but thankfully it’s only a 0.5 PPR and not full point, or else I would have started in a much bigger hole.

It makes me nervous to go up against Peyton Manning, so let’s hope the Giants defense can keep him to less than 350 yards and 4 touchdowns. I see myself and Mr. Major in the same boat this week with some of our players: With Wilson and Decker in my lineup and Miller and Jennings in his, we are both looking for much improved weeks from players we invested in to be starters this year. I just hope for my sake that my players do and his doesn’t!

Dave Major: Okay, I was able to knock off Señor 2 QBs’ Studfeldsville squad week one, thanks in no small part to Peyton Manning’s record outing with 7 touchdowns.  Now our sights are set on Michael Clifford’s Keepin Heads Ringin.  I’m never intimidated by a team whose name I don’t understand, and this week is no different.  Michael has also opted for a standard-issue Yahoo! helmet logo, which is another obvious tick in my column.

On the field, things are still looking up.  His Cam Newton and my Chad Henne will likely cancel each other out, putting my Peyton Manning high above his Carson Palmer.  This could actually be a close positional battle.  I ordinarily also wouldn’t be afraid of an owner starting a backup running back (Fred Jackson), but my top runners are Lamar Miller and Daryl Richardson, who have yet to prove anything to anyone.

At receiver, tight end, defense, and kicker, I once again own my opponent.  This is going to be my weekly bread and butter, and I’d better get some great production out of it.  Unbelievable that my team is benching Roddy White and T.Y. Hilton, but each may be their team’s third option — at best — this weekend.  I’m confidently rolling out A.J. Green, Vincent Brown, Julian Edelman, Greg Jennings, and Jimmy Graham.  What have you got on that, Clifford?  The Big Red Dog is going to see another Big Red “L” in his loss column, come Tuesday. Coincidentally, Yahoo! and I agree; My Buddy and Me is projected to advance to 2-0!

COCONUT PETE 0-1 (Tom Fitzgerald) vs. 4TH AND GOAL 1-0 (Neil Parker)

Tom Fitzgerald: I feel good about my matchup against 4th and Goal this week. Yahoo! has Coconut Pete projected to win 130.66 to 112.43 on the backs of RGIII, Ray Rice and Arian Foster. Ben Roethlisberger is my second quarterback in this 2QB league and his matchup against the Bengals does scare me. Big Ben’s nine fantasy points really hurt me last week in a close matchup against Blurred Goal Lines, so I hope he at least gets into the double digits this week. I’ll keep a close eye on how the Texans use Arian Foster after reading Anson Whaley’s piece “Arian Foster admits frustration with role in Texans’ opener.” Trust me, I was frustrated myself when I desperately needed those points as the clock was winding down and Foster was standing on the sidelines. But the biggest killer of all was James Jones’ big fat fantasy zero. Without many other great options I’ll roll with him once again. Always drink the worm.

DERWOOD #DEGENERATES 0-1 (C.D. Carter) vs. THE WINTER CLASSICS 0-1 (Chris Blanchard)

Chris Blanchard: After watching core players like MJD, Dwayne Bowe and Stevan Ridley flop last week, I am far from optimistic about my Week 2 matchup. Ridley offered up little in the Thursday night game, leading me to believe that I have no running game at all. Of course Danny Amendola sat out the Patriots’ awkward 13-10 win over the Jets, leaving me soft at the receiver position too. Steve Smith and Tavon Austin will need to carry the team this week, and I don’t see that happening. I guess Aaron Rodgers could put up 50 points… Oh wait he has no offensive line.  I’m getting worried that the lowly duo of Terrelle Pryor and Cecil Shorts might be able to torch my squad this week even if Doug Martin, Alfred Morris and Chris Johnson struggle. Did I mention that my whole team is on the trade block?

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