The Week 2 matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Arizona Cardinals features two teams with balanced lineups on both sides of the football. We've got the fantasy projections courtesy of numberFire.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Based on his stat totals from last year, many experts expect quarterback Jameis Winston to someday reach the heights of quarterbacks like Carolina’s Cam Newton. In the first week of his sophomore season, Winston showed that he may indeed reach an elite level within the next two years.
To start the season against the Atlanta Falcons last week, Winston was able to not only steal a victory at the Georgia Dome, but he did so in style. Winston threw for 281 passing yards and found the end zone four times. Although he did throw an interception, the Buccaneers seemed to have control of the game most of the way through. The Cardinals boast a better defense than the Falcons, but given they just fell to a depleted Patriots team, it’s not necessarily a sure thing that the Cardinals are going to win the game, much less stop Winston from being very productive for his fantasy owners.
If Winston is able to prove that he can defeat one of the best secondary units in football, it will probably bode well for wide receiver Mike Evans. Evans caught five passes for 99 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons and he’s proven that he is one of the elite receivers in the game. As Winston’s stock continues to rise, Evans’ fantasy value will increase as well. While it’s too early to say that the Winston/Evans combo ranks among the league’s elite, a top-notch performance against the Cardinals this week would instill further confidence in fantasy owners of both players.
The Cardinals came into the season as Super Bowl favorites in the eyes of many, but after taking a loss at the hands of the Patriots at home, the seeds of doubt have been planted. Fortunately for fantasy owners, some of the team’s players were still able to put up numbers despite the loss. Running back David Johnson is the key in many fantasy lineups and he proved worthy of that label in Week 1. Johnson finished with 89 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and also recorded four receptions for an additional 43 yards. He will be one of the best fantasy players all year long, and proved to be especially valuable in PPR formats. Johnson should do just fine against the Buccaneers.
Another player who should be productive this week is wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. He’s been nothing but a fantastic receiver for his entire career and despite rumblings before the season that 2016 will be his last, Fitzgerald doesn’t look like he’s retiring anytime soon. Moving into the slot receiver position over the last couple years has been a blessing to Fitzgerald’s numbers and his fantasy owners. Last week he found the end zone twice, totaling eight catches for 81 yards. The Buccaneers managed to keep Atlanta’s Julio Jones in check but part of the reason for that was that Jones was struggling with an ankle injury. Fitzgerald is 100 percent healthy though so there is no reason not to start him in Week 2.