Week 2 takes a heavy toll on top fantasy stars

Fantasy football can often be a cruel mistress. But Week 2 of NFL play was downright evil. Like Walter White evil.

There stood Eddie Lacy, on the verge of a breakout performance to carry all of his owners to fantasy glory. His first carry is a 10-yard burst…but wait. Lacy is down? He’s out for the remainder game with a concussion? No! To add insult to literal injury, Lacy’s replacement goes off for 168 total yards and a touchdown, becoming the first Packers player to run for 100 yards in a game since Brandon Jackson did it back in 2010, also against the dreadful Redskins defense. Those points should been should been yours, Eddie Lacy.

The pre-game talk is about how Larry Fitzgerald has a slight hamstring problem, but he insists that he is a full go. And you believe him, because he’s Larry Fitz. He doesn’t miss games. Fitzgerald starts the game and it looks as if it may be a shoot out between him and Calvin Johnson. Two early catches for 33 yards and you’re hopeful. All of a sudden, that “slight hamstring problem” becomes serious. Larry Fitz is done for the game. No shoot out. No glory. No justice.

It’s Sunday Night Football between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. You have everybody’s golden boy quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a 20-point lead. Your opponent has Marshawn Lynch. Lynch is a Top 10 running back, but there’s no way he outscores Kaep by 21 points, right? At halftime of the game, you’re still sitting pretty. Neither player has done much of anything. You’re breathing easy. The second half rolls around and Lynch goes off for three touchdowns while Kaepernick fails to get his team into the end zone. You’re a loser.

These three scenarios — and many, many more — unfolded this week in leagues around the world. You have to understand that you are not alone. There is always next week. Improvements can be made and, depending your needs and your leagues, here are some suggestions:

* Philip Rivers – If you’ve followed me for almost any length of time on Twitter — @FantasyBuddha — you know of my disdain for Rivers. His 2012 debacle convinced me that not only was him arm shot, so was his confidence and, subsequently, his fantasy value. Well, consider this an official crow-eating session. Through two games in 2013, Rivers has passed for 614 yards and seven touchdowns against just one interception. He’s a legitimate add this week if you’re struggling at QB and he faces an absurdly easy schedule.

* James Starks – Finally, I’m revealing the name of the Packers player who stole Eddie Lacy’s opportunity to become a fantasy football star. Starks looked beastly as an injury fill-in and it is unkown whether Lacy will be fit to return next week at Cincinnati. If not, Starks could make a nice flex play. Regardless, it is now clear that Johnathan Franklin has zero fantasy value. If you have Franklin, drop him for Starks and if you have Lacy, you will want to consider handcuffing Starks to him for insurance.

* Eddie Royal – Royal now has five touchdowns on the season. To put that in perspective, last season Calvin Johnson caught 122 passes for 1,964 yards and only scored five TDs. More perspective: Royal has more touchdowns in the first two weeks of 2013 than a group — Dez Bryant, Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson, Steve Smith and James Jones — who scored 49 combined TDs in 2012 has scored so far. This production is admittedly unsustainable, but Royal has become someone who has to be rostered in a majority of leagues. He’s even worth starting while he’s hot.

* Coby Fleener – Thanks to a confluence of familiarity and injury, Fleener is worth considering as a tight end add. The Colts hired Fleener’s old offensive coordinator from Stanford, Pep Hamilton, to serve in the same capacity in Indy and — as an added bonus — his old college QB Andrew Luck is directing the offense. Meanwhile preferred starter Dwayne Allen is out with a hip injury. Allen’s status for Week 3 is up in the air and Fleener is coming off a solid 69 yard, one touchdown outing. If you’re playing TE Roulette with names like Kellen Winslow, Dallas Clark and Brandon Pettigrew, Fleener is worth a spin.

If you don’t own an elite defensive unit and you are pondering the best available matchups in Week 3, you may want to take a look at the Jets or the Browns.

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