NFL Top 5: Players primed for a Week 2 bounceback
The opening Sunday of the NFL season saw plenty of inspired offensive performances - and more than a few clunkers, as well. Fortunately, with the next game less than a week away, players off to slow starts have an immediate chance at redemption.
Here are five players who are in good position for a Week 2 rebound (Week 1 totals in parentheses):
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers (16-for-23, 125 yards, TD)
Newton was effective when he actually passed the ball, but the Seattle defense made life difficult for him all afternoon long. The former first overall pick was also done in by frequent drops from tight end Greg Olsen which ultimately cost Carolina a chance at a big Week 1 victory. Newton will find things a lot easier this coming week, when he takes on a Buffalo Bills team that allowed Tom Brady to rack up nearly 300 passing yards in a narrow New England win.
Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (10 carries, 3 yards)
Miller was awful in the Dolphins' opener, failing to post a single run longer than five yards and losing a pivotal goal-line carry to backup Daniel Thomas. With Ryan Tannehill (24-for-38, 272 yards) moving the ball well, there was less of a need to rely on the running game. Miller should find plenty more success in Week 2, as Miami faces an Indianapolis Colts team that allowed the fourth-most rushing yards in the league last year and gave up 171 to Oakland on Sunday.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (15 carries, 45 yards)
The 2011 NFL rushing champion was stymied all afternoon, breaking off just one double-digit run before being rendered an afterthought once the Jaguars fell way behind. Unless quarterback Blaine Gabbert (16-for-35, 121 yards, 2 INT) figures it out in a hurry, Jones-Drew could be in for a lot of rest come the third and fourth quarters of blowouts. This week should bear more fruit as the Jags visit the woeful Oakland Raiders.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions (four catches, 37 yards)
The hand-wringing over Johnson's pedestrian Week 1 totals looks a lot like the reaction people had last season, when Johnson's slow start to the year had some wondering if he was hurt or struggling with his rapport with Matthew Stafford. We all know how that turned out. Johnson won't have an easy time of it in Detroit's Week 2 tilt with Arizona, but it's a safe bet he'll see plenty of targets against a Cardinals team carved up by Sam Bradford on Sunday.
Zach Sudfeld, TE, New England Patriots (zero catches, zero yards, one target)
Sudfeld was the darling of fantasy sleeper enthusiasts, but looked remarkably un-Gronk-like in his first career NFL game. Sudfeld's only target resulted in an interception, and his limited snap count likely made it difficult for him to get into a rhythm. With Rob Gronkowski expected back soon, Week 2 is a pivotal one for Sudfeld; luckily for him, the Patriots host the New York Jets on Sunday in what should be a rout.