Posted: Sunday September 16, 2012 9:05PM ; Updated: Tuesday September 18, 2012 12:14PM
Eric Mack
Eric Mack>INSIDE FANTASY FOOTBALL

Spiller shines, Bush's rise, more Week 2 notes, Week 3 observations

Story Highlights

C.J. Spiller broke out with 173 total yards and two scores in the Bills' rout

With Matt Forte (ankle) out, Michael Bush is even more valuable to the Bears

Jamaal Charles was absent for most of the game, he's become tough to trust

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C.J. Spiller
Playing in place of Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller (left) had a huge game for the Bills.
Kevin Hoffman/US PRESSWIRE

Anyone can have one good week (Kevin Ogletree). Doing it back-to-back is something else.

Hello, C.J. Spiller, fantasy superstar. Step forward Michael Bush.

We gradually build trust as the fantasy football season wears on and SI.com's Fantasy Football Fast Forward is your trusted source of all the gobbly gook every week of the season.

Here is what we learned in Week 2:

Game-changers

1. Spiller thriller -- It is probably time we start considering Spiller the Bills' No. 1 running back for the rest of the season. Fred Jackson was one of the most productive backs in fantasy before he went down a year ago and his high-ankle sprain this season might be a death blow to his feature-back status.

Spiller has taken the reins and looks like the best RB in fantasy right now after his 126 yards rushing, two TDs and three catches for 47 yards. We called him a top-five back with Jackson out, but that job might be Spiller's no matter what.

Spiller is an obvious must-start in Week 3 against the Browns. You have to be sweating bullets if you are a Jackson owner now. He might have been Wally Pipp'd.

2. Bush to hold down the Forte -- The loss of Matt Forte to a high-ankle sprain is a blessing, and not even in disguise, for Bush owners. It was going to be maddening guessing when Bush would be getting goal-line scores week to week, but now he is going to be a feature back for a team that needs its running game.

Bush is going to be more promising with Forte out than a healthy Forte was with Bush vulturing his TDs. That means Bush is a top-10 fantasy back and a must-start in most weeks. Week 3 at home against the Rams should make Bush a candidate for 100 yards and a touchdown, or two. This run for Bush should last until the bye Week 6 (vs. St. Louis, at Dallas, at Jacksonville). Heck, Week 10 (vs. Houston) and Week 11 (at San Francisco) might be the first time you will have to sit Bush in larger leagues, regardless of how long Forte is out.

3. Browns aren't worthless after all! -- Trent Richardson's fantasy owners needed a sigh of relief. Instead, they get to exult after this performance. Richardson rushed for 109 yards and a TD and proved busy in the passing game with four catches for 36 yards and another score. This was the Richardson we expected when he looked like a potential first-rounder this August.

And, Brandon Weeden looks a whole lot better in Game 2, throwing for 322, two TDs and no interceptions.

This is a lot better Browns offense than we probably expected. Even Mohamed Massaquoi and Greg Little look like potential options for fantasy owners in Week 2 against the suspect Bills secondary, which has been giving up big numbers to QBs and WRs through two weeks.

Little was the most-dropped player in fantasy and we said he shouldn't have been. He went for 56 yards and a score here. He might prove even better next week.

4. Aaron Hernandez (ankle) out awhile -- Add the Pats' second TE to the list of high-ankle sprains that will cause high anxiety for fantasy owners. It looks like Hernandez will miss up to six weeks.

The silver lining with this news is it will bring Wes Welker back to the forefront of the Pats' offense. Welker had been demoted to the No. 3 WR and Julian Edelman was stealing Welker's snaps -- and not because of injury.

Clearly, the Pats wanted to try to phase Welker out of the offense in lieu of Hernandez, Brandon Lloyd and even Edelman. By the end of Week 2, Welker was back to getting a lot of targets and catches. They learned Tom Brady needs his security blanket in the slot.

Edelman is worth considering as a potential bye-week replacement option because of the snaps he is getting -- although he is a bad play next week against the Ravens.

Long-term speaking, Hernandez is going to be stuck with an injury stigma. He just hasn't made it through a season healthy.

5. Jeff Fisher remaking Rams tough? -- Robert Griffin III was great again for fantasy owners, but how in the world did Sam Bradford return to prominence?

Bradford outperformed Drew Brees against the Redskins defense, making a fantasy monster out of Danny Amendola (15 catches for 160 yards and a TD). Bradford won't be a viable fantasy starter against the Bears coming off a loss, but he warrants a roster spot as a potential sleeper down the road now.

Also, speaking of sleepers for the Rams, rookie Daryl Richardson rushed for 83 yards on 15 carries after Steven Jackson injured his hamstring. Isaiah Pead isn't the Jackson handcuff, Richardson is.

All of the Rams backs might be bad plays against the Bears run defense, but Richardson is clearly worth stashing. Fisher is going to run the Rams his way, clearly.

The good: Giants' run-and-shoot

Kevin Gilbride was once punched by Buddy Ryan for turnovers in his run-and-shoot offense. Eli Manning owners wanted to punch Eli for his three first-half picks.

They are thankful Gilbride and Manning stuck with it, because they got a legendary performance of 510 passing yards and three TDs. With Ahmad Bradshaw leaving with a neck injury and the Giants falling behind big, they were forced to throw the ball all over the place.

Hakeem Nicks didn't look 100 percent physically, but he was 100 percent incredible with 10 catches for 199 yards and a TD. Nicks is a must-start, assuming he plays Thursday against the Panthers.

Victor Cruz also rebounded from his three-drop opener with 11 catches for 179 yards, including a trademark 80-yard TD. Cruz is not as reliant on long TDs as he was a year ago, getting a lot of short receptions, but it is a great sign he is still a threat to break those big ones.

Manning makes Nicks and Cruz top 10, if not top 5, fantasy WRs. Even Martellus Bennett looks like a solid fantasy starter after another TD reception.

As for Bradshaw, if he is out on the short week, the Giants trust Andre Brown (13-71 and one TD) as the backup RB over speedy rookie David Wilson (3-6). You are going to want to add Brown in every league possible right now, if you need a potential starting RB. Wilson remains in the doghouse from his Week 1 fumble.

The bad: RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

We just don't understand why the Chiefs limit Charles' touches so much. Sure, he is coming off knee surgery but if he's healthy enough to play, he has to be considered a bigger part of the offense than Peyton Hillis, who lost a costly fumble on the goal-line. Instead, Charles received just nine touches.

Maybe he was limited because the Chiefs were blown out early and they wanted to save Charles' legs coming off knee surgery?

That should be a decent matchup at New Orleans next week, but Charles' usage is just so discouraging and inexplicable. It makes him tough to trust in fantasy lineups.

The ugly: QB Jay Cutler, Bears

Another terrible performance at Lambeau signals Cutler isn't ready to be a reliable every-week fantasy starter. Worth owning, absolutely. Worth starting, sometimes.

Trusting? Well, cross your fingers his line can protect him and he won't lose it and start whipping it into the hands of the other team. The first two weeks have been vintage Cutler, unfortunately.

Adding to his poor play is his inexplicable bumping of his left tackle, J'Marcus Webb. Cutler brings a lot of the drama upon himself and the heat on him might lead you to pause when considering him a start against the exploitable Rams in Week 3.

Week 3 observations

Quarterbacks

Peyton Manning, Broncos -- The first-quarter picks had many suggesting the float on Manning's seam routes is worrisome. Manning's fantasy owners know better. Manning is going to be fine as a weekly fantasy starter, especially because Demaryius Thomas is becoming a beast and Eric Decker is still a strong possession guy/route runner. Don't jump off the bandwagon.

Tony Romo, Cowboys -- So much for the thought Romo was going to be an elite QB immune to unfavorable matchups. The over-rested Cowboys laid an egg in Seattle. Romo will have to remain active next week against the Bucs, who were ripped through the air by the Giants.

Michael Vick, Eagles -- That was a much better performance out of Vick, who even added a rushing TD, the game-winner. The Cardinals did a great job on the Pats and have a good secondary, but Vick proved enough here against a great defense vs. QBs to be a viable starter in all leagues again.

Philip Rivers, Chargers -- Maybe we need to rethink our position on Rivers being marginal because of bad talent around him. Rivers threw three TDs to a nobody TE and will likely be in a shootout against the Falcons next week. Rivers is a steady starter week to week, regardless who is on the receiving end of his passes.

Joe Flacco, Ravens -- We said this was a week Flacco could have proven to jump into the fantasy elite among QBs. Instead, the Eagles defense made him look more like he did coming into drafts -- merely a solid backup in fantasy. Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin were shut down by the Eagles' elite corners and Flacco was forced to use Dennis Pitta as his primary receiver. The Ravens draw the Pats in Week 3 and that should now be considered a tough matchup for a QB, particularly with the Pats coming off a loss. Don't bank on Flacco being your every-week starter just yet.

Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars -- He left with a leg injury, but his status might affect whether you use a Laurent Robinson or Marcedes Lewis in Week 3 in what should be a far easier matchup at Indy.

Kevin Kolb, Cardinals -- He wasn't fantasy-worthy, but few QBs pull off victories in New England. It should be noted he has hit Andre Roberts with two TD passes in two weeks and wasn't able to muster anything with Larry Fitzgerald, who was held to one catch for four yards. Fitzgerald was a disappointment early last season, too, when Kolb was starting and John Skelton was riding the pine. This is definitely something to watch closely moving forward.

Running backs

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos -- Welcome back to the John Fox doghouse. A first-half fumble led to Lance Ball getting time as the Broncos' third-down back while Willis McGahee scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. It is bad enough news for Moreno to consider cutting him if you need a fill-in starter this week, or next. Fox's doghouse can be a death blow to fantasy value, and Moreno was already in it for a year-plus.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons -- So much for the Falcons limiting Michael Turner's carries by turning more to Rodgers. After two weeks, Rodgers has been a non-factor and hasn't looked good in his few touches. There is justification for cutting Rodgers for a waiver claim now, particularly if you are not a Turner owner. Offer him to your league's Turner owner before you cut him, perhaps, but odds are you won't like anything in return as much as you will like what you can pull off waivers.

Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- Maybe we heaped too much on him after his debut. He should have been better than 80 combined yards against the Colts. With the 49ers run defense coming to town, you might even be justified looking for a potential one-week replacement for Peterson again.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- Despite the tough matchup, MJD came through because of a short TD reception. His wide-ranging usage makes him a decent start, regardless of the matchup. He is not a bust as a holdout like Chris Johnson was a year ago.

Chris Johnson, Titans -- Someone needs to be fired for making C.J. the most underused and underperforming talent in football. You just cannot start this guy against the Lions next week.

Reggie Bush, Dolphins -- There won't be many weeks like this for the Dolphins offense, but Bush is clearly the key cog in it all. It makes him closer to a must-start, even in Week 3 against a good Jets run defense.

Shonn Greene, Jets -- He left the game with a head injury and you will want to make sure you have another start option next week. The Dolphins have a good run defense, the head could be a factor and the Jets offense just isn't consistent enough to trust right now. If Greene doesn't go in Week 3, Bilal Powell will be the starter. Consider stashing Powell off waivers this week.

 
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