To Play Or Not To Play: Week Two Edition

Week two is upon us, fantasy football players. And I have to own up to some misses I had last week (Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Joe Mixon, Chris Carson, etc). Let’s make this week a better week.

Week Two Quarterbacks I Like

  • Aaron Rodgers: Someone I was mistakenly not confident in last week, Rodgers crushed the inexperienced Vikings secondary for 366 yards and four touchdowns. This week, he’s rewarded with a match-up against the Detroit Lions; a defense who gave up 24 fantasy points to Mitchell Trubisky of all people. Maybe Rodgers comes back down to earth at some point, but I don’t believe that will be the case this week. Start Rodgers with confidence.
  • Dak Prescott: With the weapons surrounding him, Dak Prescott looked poised to have a huge season for fantasy owners. He didn’t get off to the hot start people expected him to last week; finishing with 17 fantasy points against the Rams. This week, he and the Cowboys play the Falcons; a team who gave up the most fantasy points to a bonafide baller in Russell Wilson (a man with two ball companies for names. The man is meant to ball). I expect Prescott and the Cowboys offense to bounce back this week.
  • Josh Allen: Allen had a huge week one against the Jets, putting up 312 yards, two passing touchdowns, and added 57 rushing yards with a rushing touchdown. This week, the Bills take on the Miami Dolphins; who gave up 25.5 fantasy points to Cam Newton in Week One. Though the bulk of the damage was done by Newton on the ground, I’d still start Allen this week.
  • Kirk Cousins: I didn’t like Kirk Cousins last week, and he didn’t like that. He put up 21 fantasy points against the Packers, and has a better match-up this week against the Colts. With Gardner Minshew putting up 20 fantasy points against them, I’d start Kirk Cousins and anticipate an even better week this time around.
  • Sleepers: Jimmy Garoppolo, Cam Newton, Mitch Trubisky

Week Two Quarterbacks I Don’t Like:

  • Matthew Stafford: Listed as a quarterback I didn’t like last week, Stafford put up 16 points at home against the Bears. This week, he and the Lions travel on the road to face the Packers. Stafford doesn’t typically perform as well outside of the dome, and with Kenny Golladay maybe missing another week of football, I’d keep Stafford on the bench this week.
  • Carson Wentz: Wentz didn’t have a great Week One performance; finishing in the bottom 10 QBs in fantasy last week. I expect he’ll continue to struggle against the Rams. With the injuries to the offensive line and wide receiver corps, I expect the Eagles offense and Wentz to have another long Sunday.
  • Deshaun Watson: No Nuk no problem? Maybe for fantasy. Watson put up 20 against the Kansas City Chiefs, though his touchdowns came late when the game was already out of reach – which doesn’t matter for fantasy purposes. He’s stuck playing against a stingier secondary this week in the Baltimore Ravens. A defense that, since acquiring Marcus Peters before the trade deadline in 2019, has allowed an average of 10 PPG to fantasy QBs from Week 7 (2019) to Week 1 (2020). That number drops to 9.66 if you include Week 17 of 2019, when the Ravens rested most of their starters, and they haven’t given up more than 15.8 fantasy points to any QB they played through that span; which includes Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Josh Allen, and Deshaun Watson (who scored a measly 3.96 fantasy points against them that week WITH Deandre Hopkins to throw to). He’ll have better fantasy weeks, but I’d avoid him this week if possible.
  • Drew Brees: It pains me to list him here, because I always liked Drew Brees’ game. But this isn’t 2011, it’s 2020. And even though the Raiders don’t have an all-world defense, or even a very good defense, Michael Thomas is out for several weeks with a high ankle injury. Losing arguably the best wide receiver in football for any amount of time is a painful loss. Especially for a 41-year-old quarterback who doesn’t have the same arm he used to. This could potentially blow up in my face listing him here, but I’m wary of Brees’ fantasy production without Michael Thomas in that offense.
  • Lowered expectations: Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes

Week Two Running Backs I Like

  • Austin Ekeler: Suffice it to say, Ekeler didn’t have a great Week One from a fantasy perspective. He and Joshua Kelly ran the ball effectively against the Bengals, but it was Kelly who found the end zone last week. However, they go up against the Kansas City Chiefs this week; who finished in the bottom five of fantasy points given up to running backs last season, and allowed 19 fantasy points to David Johnson. I’d roll the dice on both Kelly and Ekeler this week, but with Ekeler being the preferred play.
  • Nick Chubb: Both Chubb and Kareem Hunt ran the ball effectively against the Baltimore Ravens last week until the Browns fell too far behind in the scoreboard; leaving them with disappointing results in both the win/loss column, and their fantasy production individually. After seeing what Ekeler and Kelly did to the Bengals defense last week, I expect Chubb and Hunt to both have better fantasy weeks.
  • Derrick Henry: I thought he might struggle against Denver last week, and he did from a yards per carry perspective (3.7 ypc). However, he still went over 100 yards and looks to do even better this week against a defense he has a 99-yard touchdown run against – the Jacksonville Jaguars. After the Jaguars D/ST gave up the most fantasy points to the Colts’ running backs last week, expect Derrick Henry to put together one of the top 5-10 fantasy performances of Week Two for running backs.
  • Ronald Jones II: Receiving the bulk of the carries against the Saints last week, Rojo and Co are gifted with a much nicer match-up this week when they face the Carolina Panthers. They gave up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season, and Josh Jacobs finished as the number one running back last week; winding up with 35.9 fantasy points. Don’t expect that kind of production, but I expect a good day for Buccaneers running backs this week.
  • Sleepers: Malcolm Brown, J.K. Dobbins

Week Two Running Backs I Don’t Like:

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire: The rookie was sensational in his debut against the Texans. He finished the game with 25 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown. This week however, he faces a Los Angeles Chargers defense; who held Joe Mixon in check last week. Mixon finished with 19 carries for 69 yards and no touchdowns; averaging 3.6 yards per carry(not great). I won’t advocate for benching a first round fantasy pick, but I would certainly temper your expectations for his fantasy production this week.
  • Melvin Gordon: I wasn’t sure what to make of the Denver Broncos’ backfield this season. But after Phillip Lindsay went down, Gordon went on to have an nice game against a tough Tennessee Titans run defense; finishing with 15 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown. This week he faces another stiff test playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers; who gave up a whopping six rushing yards to Saquon Barkley, and 29 rushing yards total to the Giants. I’d consider Gordon nothing more than a low end flex option this week. If you have better options available, I’d explore those before starting Melvin Gordon.
  • Benny Snell: Taking over for James Conner after he went down with a sprained ankle, Snell made the most of the opportunity. He had 19 carries for 113 yards rushing. However, this week he and maybe James Conner (if he’s able to play through the injury) have a tough match-up against the Denver Broncos. They may have given up over 100 yards on the ground to Derrick Henry, but he averaged 3.7 yards per carry and was held without a touchdown. I’d be hesitant to start Snell this week unless I didn’t have better options.
  • David Johnson: Is this 2016 again? A presidential election is a couple months away and David Johnson finished in the top 10 fantasy running backs for the week. Okay maybe it isn’t four years ago, but David Johnson had a nice game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens should provide more resistance than the Chiefs defense did against him. I’d temper expectations for David Johnson. Especially if the Texans fall behind early.
  • Lowered Expectations: Saquon Barkley, Chris Carson

Week Two Wide Receivers I Like

  • Odell Beckham Jr: Beckham had kind of a down season last year. He finished with 74 catches for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns; the fewest catches, yards and touchdowns he’s had in a single season where he’s played 12 games or more (he played in all 16 games last season). Generating major buzz that he’d returned to form in training camp, he had an immensely disappointing start to the season against the Ravens; finishing with three catches for 22 yards on 10 targets. If he’s going to play like the OBJ on the Giants, he can start this week against the Bengals. They held Tyrod Taylor and the Chargers passing game in check last week, but I suspect the Browns will challenge that secondary more on Thursday Night Football.
  • Allen Robinson: Robinson was kept out of the end zone, but led the Bears receivers in targets. This week, he and the Bears play against the Giants; a team that gave up the fourth most fantasy points to receivers last week. Robinson reached his season high in receiving yards in a game last season against the Giants. They may have added defensive back help this past off-season, but they provided little resistance to stopping the Steelers passing attack last week. Robinson could have a big day.
  • A.J. Green: After a quiet start to the season last week against the Chargers, Green and the Bengals receivers look to take advantage of a banged up Browns secondary. Hollywood Brown earned five catches for 101 yards going long against this defense. A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd should both find openings against this banged up defensive unit.
  • Emmanuel Sanders: With Michael Thomas sidelined, Sanders moves up as the Saints number one receiver. He most likely won’t see the same targets Thomas did for the past few seasons, but he should see more than five targets this week against the Raiders; who gave up 23.5 fantasy points to Robbie Anderson last week. I’d start Manny Sanders and expect a better game than he had against the Bucs.

Sleepers: Darius Slayton, Marquise Brown, Parris Campbell

Week Two Wide Receivers I don’t Like

  • Devante Parker: The receiver who bested Stephon Gilmore for a game, and helped knock the Patriots down to the three seed in last year’s playoffs, Parker didn’t play in the second half last week against those same Patriots. If he’s able to play this week against the Bills, he’ll most likely be matched up with Tre’Davious White. He played pretty well in both games against the Bills last season, but if he’s playing at less than 100%, and draws that match-up, I wouldn’t expect him to have a great day. This week, I’d advise keeping him on your bench.
  • Will Fuller: In his first game as the Texans number one receiver, Fuller impressed against the Chiefs, leading the team in targets with 10, and finishing the game with eight catches for 112 yards. This week should provide a tougher test; as he goes against the Baltimore Ravens. An elite secondary who gave up the fourth fewest fantasy points to receivers last week, I’d be cautious with starting Fuller. He’s no more than a low-end flex play this week.
  • D.J. Chark: After a quiet start to the 2020 season, Chark wound up salvaging his rough afternoon with a touchdown catch. This week, I suspect his struggles will continue. His team’s opponent, the Tennessee Titans, gave up the fifth fewest fantasy points to Denver’s receivers last week; and allowed no touchdowns. I expect a rough offensive showing for the Jaguars in Nashville this week.
  • D.J. Moore: He didn’t have a great day against the Raiders last week. I’d say it’s probably an aberration. However, I don’t like him this week against the Bucs either. They held Sanders and Thomas in check last week, and I question the Panthers ability to protect Bridgewater against that front. I wouldn’t bench him, but this week he’s a flex option to me. Just like that old Mad TV skit years ago, D.J. Moore would be featured in this week’s installment of Lowered Expectations. Along with these next two receivers:
  • Lowered expectations: Tyler Lockett, Tyreek Hill

Week Two Tight Ends I Like This Week

  • Hunter Henry: I didn’t trust Tyrod Taylor’s ability to get the ball to Henry going into the season. After last week’s performance, I trust him a little more. I like him a lot this week against the Chiefs. They were the worst team at defending tight ends last season, and Jordan Akins finished with double digit fantasy points against them. I think Hunter Henry has a very nice week against the Chiefs, even if the Chargers get blown out.
  • Dallas Goedert: As long as Zach Ertz is hurt, Dallas Goedert needs to be started in fantasy lineups. The Rams were stingy against tight ends last season, and even though they didn’t give up anything to the Cowboys tight ends last week, they weren’t challenged by any of those players, especially after Blake Jarwin went down. Start Dallas Goedert. He’s the one receiving option Wentz can rely on.
  • Tyler Higbee: Higbee had a quiet game against the Cowboys last week, finishing with three catches for 40 yards. This week, he and the Rams face off against an injured Philadelphia Eagles team. They gave up a touchdown to Logan Thomas – a former college quarterback turned tight end that I didn’t even know was in the league. Higbee should have an opportunity to perform better this week.
  • Hayden Hurst: Another disappointment from last week, Hurst and the Falcons face off against the Cowboys this week. With Leighton Vander-Esch out for a majority of the season with a broken collarbone, and Sean Lee being old and fragile, Hurst should play better this week against Big D.
  • Sleepers: C.J. Uzomah, Jordan Akins

Week Two Tight Ends I Don’t Like:

  • Noah Fant: Fant had a nice game against the Titans; accruing five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. This week, the Broncos face off against the Steelers; a team that gave up 2.9 fantasy points to Evan Engram last week. The Steelers’ front seven is among the best in the league, and Fant could be coming open against those linebackers and safeties after Lock is already on the ground. I’d temper my expectations for Fant this week.
  • Jordan Reed: Welcome back Jordan Reed! George Kittle might miss this week against the Jets; which would in theory propel you to be the starting tight end for the 49ers. If Kittle does play, Jordan Reed goes back into irrelevancy for fantasy football obviously. The Jets gave up nothing to Dawson Knox last week; and gave up the fourth fewest fantasy points to tight ends a season ago. Kittle would be a low-end starter if he plays.
  • Chris Herndon: Herndon garnered six catches for 37 yards in a blowout against the Buffalo Bills last week. This week, the Jets square off against a 49ers defense who gave up two catches for 21 yards to Dan Arnold of the Cardinals last week; and were in the Top 10 of fewest fantasy points allowed to tight ends. Bench Herndon this week.
  • Lowered expectations: Travis Kelce, T.J. Hockenson

Week Two Defenses I Like:

  • 49ers Defense: The Jets might have the worst offense in the league this season. The talent around Sam Darnold is that of a barren wasteland. Mims is on IR. Perriman has another phantom knee injury. Le’Veon Bell is still not good at football. Frank Gore looks older than Grandpa Phil from Hey Arnold. And I would question whether or not his offensive line could protect him from defensive lines if they were armed. Whichever D/ST plays the Jets during the week is a good bet to have an excellent fantasy day.
  • Bills Defense: Ryan Fitzpatrick reverted back to Fitztragic this past Sunday against the Patriots. And while their secondary might be better than the Bills, the Bills have a better front seven with a comparable secondary. I’d confidently start the Bills D
  • Steelers Defense: An injured Broncos offense with a young, inconsistent quarterback travel to Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. And while Lock wasn’t sacked last week against the Titans, I have my doubts he’ll have the same fortunes against the Steelers. Lock also nearly threw three interceptions against the Titans. I’d expect the Steelers to capitalize, and perhaps finish with the highest scoring defense in fantasy this week.
  • Tennessee Titans: The Jaguars may have beaten the Colts last week, but they face a stiffer test in another division rival; the Tennessee Titans. The Colts were able to sack the Llewelyn Moss lookalike Gardner Minshew four times last week, and with a front seven including Harold Landry, Jadeveon Clowney, and Jeffrey Simmons, I’d expect Tennessee to do something similar at home to this Jaguars team. I’d confidently start the Titans D this week.
  • Sleepers: Rams D, Chiefs D, Vikings D

Week Two Defenses I Don’t Like

I’ll keep this short and sweet, any defenses playing against a high scoring offense like the Ravens, Chiefs, etc, don’t start them. Under any circumstances.

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