Eliminator advice for Week 2 -- Go with the good team or the bad opponent?
Well, last week’s eliminator column correctly predicted the outcome of all four games, but it wasn’t all pretty. My ultimate choice of the Seattle Seahawks only just barely won. But a win’s a win, so we’re on to Week 2.
We’ll once again use the projected box scores in our fantasy toolkit to help guide us through Week 2 eliminator picks.
Carolina Panthers over San Francisco 49ers
Honestly, this is the only easy pick of the week. We have Carolina projected to topple the 49ers by more than 10 points. It’s strange that the Panthers are the 0-1 team and the 49ers are the 1-0 team, but the 49ers did just play the lowly Rams, while the Panthers traveled to face the Super Bowl champion Broncos.
Not only are the Panthers the host team in this game, but they are extra rested as well, having last played on Thursday — the first game of the week. The 49ers played on Monday night — the last game of the week. If you want to assure yourself a spot in the Week 3 eliminator contest, you should probably go with Carolina.
Baltimore Ravens over Cleveland Browns
The Baltimore Ravens are not a great football team this year, but the Cleveland Browns are really not a great football team. We have Baltimore projected to win by nearly a touchdown. Carson Wentz picked them apart last week in his first-ever start; Joe Flacco should be able to do more of the same.
Josh McCown is in at quarterback for the Browns, which is more of a side-grade from Robert Griffin III. It’s unfortunate Griffin’s season is already likely over, but he earned the third-worst quarterback grade in Week 1. For his part, McCown was the second-lowest-graded starting quarterback last season. So the Browns are going from bad to bad under center.
Also, not that games from 2008 matter anymore, but the Ravens are 14-2 against the Browns over the past eight seasons.
Arizona Cardinals over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers looked fantastic in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, but their Week 2 opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, are a much better football team than the Falcons. Atlanta is now 3-9 in their last 12 games. The Cardinals are 9-3 in that same span.
The Cardinals almost inexplicably lost to the Tom Brady- and Rob Gronkowski-less Patriots while playing at home in Week 1, but it’s still the Bill Belichick-coached Patriots we’re talking about, and the Cardinals were a missed field goal away from escaping with the win.
The Buccaneers have a good team in 2016, but it’s hard to see them outscoring the Cardinals in this game. Arizona’s offense should put up plenty of points. We currently have Arizona projected to beat Tampa Bay by nearly 10 points.
Seattle Seahawks over Los Angeles Rams
If you didn’t choose the Seahawks last week, you A) probably didn’t have a panic attack for about three hours on Sunday and B) can safely choose them this week against the Rams, who were shut out against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers.
Beware of … choosing the Denver Broncos to beat the Indianapolis Colts this week. At first glance, you’d expect the Broncos to win this one. They won the Super Bowl last year, while the Colts were terrible. The Broncos just beat the Carolina Panthers, and the Colts just lost to the Detroit Lions. And the game is in Denver. But we actually have the Colts projected to win this game (by less than a point — so it’s obviously a close one). Andrew Luck looked like his old self in Week 1, and the Broncos are coming off the emotional high of a Super Bowl rematch. This has the makings of a trap game.
My pick: Baltimore Ravens. I want to save Carolina for later in the season, and the Ravens are the team I trust most (besides Carolina and Seattle) to take home the W this week. Actually, It’s less about trusting the Ravens to be good and more about trusting the Browns to be bad.