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Make or break in Week 2
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - You don't want to overreact after one week, but the storm clouds are already gathering ominously over some NFL players.

One week is not enough to cast judgments, but starting off the season with two straight poor performance can be enough to cause a coaching staff to lose faith in a player. The season is only 16 games long and coaches cannot afford to be patient when they have other players doing a good job.

That's why some of fantasy's top picks are already facing make-or-break games in Week 2.

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans - After producing 5,702 yards from scrimmage and 47 touchdowns over the last three seasons, Foster has somewhat of a long leash, but it is shortening rapidly. NFL teams have never been hesitant to discard running backs when they are past their prime, and Foster looked like he was running on empty Monday night against San Diego after missing the entire preseason with calf and back injuries. Foster rushed for just 57 yards on 18 carries, couldn't convert in several short-yardage situations and dropped two passes on third down. Meanwhile, Ben Tate had 55 rushing yards on nine carries and coach Gary Kubiak said after the game that he regretted not giving Tate more snaps. If Tate outshines Foster again Sunday against Tennessee, we could be looking at a full-blown timeshare.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills - The Bills' plan to run Spiller "until he throws up" hit a snag in Week 1 when Spiller coughed up the football and ended up with 41 yards on 17 carries with a long gain of nine yards. Fred Jackson looked particularly spry for a 32-year-old, turning 17 touches into 108 yards from scrimmage. If Spiller can't find any running room against the Carolina Panthers' stout front seven but Jackson can, new Bills coach Doug Marrone may continue to go to the veteran more often in the coming weeks.

David Wilson, RB, New York Giants - Anyone who watched Sunday night's game would likely say Wilson is already broken after losing two fumbles, finishing with seven carries for 19 yards and generally looking lost in pass protection. But the Giants have no choice but to trust Wilson for at least one more game considering their other options at running back. If he fails again, though ... well, Giants coach Tom Coughlin has never been a patient man.

Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, New England Patriots - Thompkins, an undrafted rookie, was miserable in his debut despite being targeted 14 times by Tom Brady. As the Boston Globe pointed out Wednesday, Thompkins double-clutched his catches, slipped and fell several times, failed to get his second foot in twice and ran the wrong route at the goal line to cause a sack. With Danny Amendola injured (already), Rob Gronkowski still out and Shane Vereen on short-term injured reserve, New England needs Thompkins to make plays. If he isn't a factor Thursday against the New York Jets, he's not going to be a factor the rest of the season.

Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots - Ridley, like David Wilson, nearly fumbled away his starting job in Week 1 but will keep it in Week 2 based on his team's other options at the position. With Vereen on the sidelines, New England either has to go with Ridley or give LeGarrette Blount, Leon Washington and Brandon Bolden significant carries. If Ridley doesn't run with confidence Thursday, coach Bill Belichick won't hesitate to go in another direction.

Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams - Richardson had the starting job all to himself in the first game with Isaiah Pead suspended, but he failed to make a lasting impression. The sophomore back rushed 20 times for 63 yards with a long gain of 10. Pead will return this week and jump right to second on the depth chart. The Rams don't figure to do much running on the road at Atlanta, but Richardson needs to look like a starting-caliber tailback when he does get the chance to hold off Pead, who was selected five rounds earlier in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins - Miller was so bad in Week 1 at Cleveland that he made Daniel Thomas look competent, and Thomas only had 14 rushing yards on eight carries. Miller, who had three measly rushing yards on 10 carries, will get an easier match at Indianapolis in Week 2. It will be important for Miller to make a big play or two to remind coach Joe Philbin what he can do that Thomas cannot.

Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins - Even with another dud in Week 2, Wallace isn't in danger of losing his job -- the team didn't sign him to a $60 million contract to sit behind Brandon Gibson -- but he will lose fantasy owners' trust if he is invisible again against Indianapolis. At least in Week 1 he had the excuse of matching up with Cleveland lock-down cornerback Joe Haden, but the Colts gave up some big plays to Oakland and Terrelle Pryor and won't be able to take away Wallace's side of the field. He must show up on the stat sheet to avoid fantasy benches.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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