The Cardinals' week two match-up against the Lions has all the makings of a good, old-fashioned shoot-out. With both offenses combining for over 850 yards of total offense in week one and defenses that surrendered nearly that amount, look for both teams to go to the air, and go often.
Matthew Stafford: Of the two quarterbacks in this match-up, Stafford is the safer choice. The Cardinals struggled to bring pressure in their first appearance and they struggled to keep up with the Rams' receiving corps. After throwing for more than 350 yards in his debut, Stafford will continue rolling against an Arizona defense that hasn't put it all together yet.
Carson Palmer: What everyone is thinking, but no one wants to say...
Carson Palmer has 4 days left to live— Ndamukong Suh (@DirtySuh) September 12, 2013
Yes, the Cardinals are going to struggle to keep Carson Palmer clean against the Lions' superior defensive line. Yes, the Cardinals are going to keep throwing it anyway. They're going to have to if they want to keep up with Stafford's high-flying crew. Other than the protection, the Cardinals match up very well against the Lions' defense, and Palmer will have plenty of opportunities to move the ball through the air, bone-crunching sacks and all.
Note: That's (probably) not Suh's actual Twitter.
Larry Fitzgerald: Expect big things from Fitzgerald this week... if he suits up for the team. He says his hamstring is "fine," but what else is a player going to say? Officially listed as questionable, we're all just going to have to wait until the game to know for sure if he'll be going or not. If he is, play him. Unfortunately, it's a 4 o'clock game, which means half of your roster might have already played by the time you have to find a sub. Plan accordingly.
Calvin Johnson: Chances are that if you got Johnson on your team, you can't afford to bench him, so don't. He was held to four catches against the Vikings, but that was because the Lions were able to move the ball at-will with their ancillary targets (Reggie Bush, Nate Burleson). Expect a similar offensive gameplan this week, but with Patrick Peterson in the mix. Johnson shouldn't put up the 120 yards he amassed when these teams met in 2012, but all it takes is one big play for a receiver to have a good day in fantasy and the Cardinals' defense is eager to give up chunk yardage.
Reggie Bush: Bush went over 100 yards receiving against the Vikings and there's no reason to think he won't be able to repeat that performance against the Cardinals. Though the run defense will keep him in check, his big-play ability as a receiver out of the backfield combined with Arizona's lackluster coverage, particularly from their safeties and linebackers, make Bush a must-start this week.
Joique Bell: Nearly as much of a receiving threat as Bush, Bell caught five passes for over 50 yards against the Vikings in addition to his goal line carries, which netted two touchdowns on the ground. Bell does an excellent job with his opportunities and is worth a flex play this week, especially in PPR leagues.
The "Other" Receivers: Andre Roberts, Michael Floyd and Nate Burleson are all currently on pace to break 1,000 yards receiving this season. Though there won't be many touchdowns to go around in this group, expect all three of these players to receive plenty of targets for the second week in a row.
Rashard Mendenhall: Though the Cardinals will look to take some of the bite out of Detroit's pass-rush with screens and draws, they're going to need to go to the air to keep up, which means fewer touches for Mendenhall -- and after losing ten runs to Alfonso Smith in week one, Mendenhall should really only be looked at as a flex player at best. He will get some chances every week, so play him if you have to, just know he's not an elite option.
Brandon Pettigrew: We all know what Jared Cook was able to do against the Cardinals in week one, but Pettigrew is not Cook and the Lions have enough well-established receiving weapons that they will look elsewhere for the bulk of their yardage.
Detroit: Though the Cardinals should be able to put up silly numbers against the Lions' gauze paper secondary, Carson Palmer is going to be under duress for most of the game. He gets a little sloppy when he's under pressure, and it's not just him: the Cardinals fumbled five times against St. Louis but got a little lucky, losing only one. Yardage and points surrendered aside, the Lions defense should net nice fantasy numbers with their potential for sacks and turnovers.
Patrick Peterson: Detroit's confidence in Calvin Johnson is exactly the reason you want to start Peterson this week: he will be tested. Though Detroit will be able to neutralize Peterson somewhat by avoiding his side of the field, every throw against Peterson is a risk and 21 has been looking forward to this match-up all year, meaning he will be motivated.
Karlos Dansby: Dansby is going to be busy chasing the Detroit running backs around all day, which means he should be able to repeat his 8-tackle performance from week one. As an added bonus, the Cardinals are incapable of pressuring opposing passers when they only bring 4 rushers, so Dansby will be called on to blitz a fair amount. He's not the playmaker he once was, but he should be a good play in fantasy.
Nick Fairley/Ndamukong Suh: There may not be any teams in the NFL that match up well with this defensive tackle duo. If there are any, the Cardinals are not one of them. If you're looking for DT help, look for one of these two.
Ezekiel Ansah/Willie Young: IDP made easy: start whatever defensive end is going to be matched up against Levi Brown each week. Win. Hard.
Calais Campbell: The stats don't show it, but Campbell is playing at a high level for the Cardinals. Unfortunately, fantasy football is based entirely on stats. Until the Cardinals find another player who can bring pressure, Campbell is going to be the focus of opposing blocking schemes, which means limited production.