SIT – QB Peyton Manning, DEN:
Peyton Manning is set to struggle heavily this season and it’s very apparent that his arm is not what it used to be. Manning is coming off an awful Week 1 performance (24-40 with 175 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 interception) in Denver’s 19-13 win against the Baltimore Ravens, but that shouldn’t be seen as a rare occasion at this point. The 39-year-old had trouble hitting WR Emmanuel Sanders on open fly patterns in several potential touchdown plays, and seemed to be troubled in the pocket more so than football fans are accustomed to seeing. This week, the Broncos take on the Chiefs in Kansas City, and Manning will face one of the tougher defenses in the league. The Chiefs bullied the Houston Texans a week ago, sacking QB Brian Hoyer 4 times (and QB Ryan Mallett once), as well as forcing Hoyer to fumble and throw an interception. Do not be surprised if Manning throws 1 TD or less, and turn it over 1-2 times in what’s shaping up to be a potential loss for the Broncos.
SIT – RB CJ Anderson, DEN:
Like Manning, Anderson also had an underwhelming performance at Baltimore in Week 1, which will be reflected in his diminishing touches against the Chiefs. Anderson had trouble finding the hole, and rushed 12 times for just 29 yards, adding 4 receptions for 19 yards. The more effective RB has been Ronnie Hillman, and he will likely start to dip into CJ Anderson’s production in what could be an even timeshare. Hillman also received 12 carries against the Ravens, and rushed for 41 yards. Though his 3.4 yards per carry were not incredibly high, he rushed for 7.5 ypc on 16 carries this preseason, and his hot start has proven his worth.
In addition to the RB controversy, CJ Anderson is not at full strength. Anderson is listed as questionable with a toe injury for Thursday night’s game, and the short week could limit him even more so, and possibly hold him out of the contest. Even in he’s able to suit up, consider CJ Anderson nothing more than a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 play this week.
START – RB Joseph Randle, DAL:
Joseph Randle had a solid first game as Dallas’ starting tailback in the Cowboys’ thrilling last-second win over the New York Giants, and will look to keep the ball rolling against the Eagles Week 2. Randle finished Sunday night’s win with 16 carries for 65 yards, adding 3 catches for 42 yards. Dallas’ backfield situation was anything but clear heading into the season with Randle, Lance Dunbar and Darren McFadden competing for the job, but it looks as though Randle is now the firm starter. He looked quick in his runs last Sunday night, and with the Cowboys’ top-notch offensive line, he could be in for an even stronger performance this weekend.
START – RB Tevin Coleman, ATL:
Falcons Rookie RB Tevin Coleman took 20 carries for 80 yards against the Eagles Week 1, and there’s no reason why Joseph Randle can’t surpass that mark on Sunday. The Cowboys plan on rushing 25-30 times per game according to their Executive VP Stephen Jones, and Joseph Randle will be the one to lead the team in those touches on a weekly basis. Consider Randle a high-end RB2 play in what should be a strong performance against the Eagles this weekend.
START – RB Justin Forsett, BAL:
Justin Forsett is coming off the best season of his career as he was fifth in rushing for 1,266 yards, and added 8 rushing TDs, and continues to be Baltimore’s clear-cut feature back. Forsett rushed for just 43 yards on 14 carries in the Ravens’ 19-13 Week 1 loss to the Broncos, but this week’s matchup with the Raiders bodes well for his potential breakout performance. The Raiders were atrocious against the run in Week 1, as they allowed a combined 126 yards and 2 TDs on the ground between Bengals tailbacks Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill.
The Ravens should be much more run-heavy than they were in 2014 with the departure of Torrey Smith, leaving them with 1 noteworthy wideout in Steve Smith to turn to in passing situations. Expect Forsett to receive at least 15-20 touches, and come up with a performance worthy of a RB1 slot in standard leagues.