Week 2 of the NFL season is upon us and fantasy owners are still trying to get a feel for what their optimal lineup should look like. With so many toss-up plays on the board, we look at some of this week’s starts and sits and hope everyone picks up a crucial early-season W:
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers: Wilson was somewhat muted in the Seahawks’ opener, attempting just 20 passes and throwing for 195 yards with two touchdowns. But this week, Seattle gets the Steelers, who were shredded in the passing game by the Patriots last Sunday night. This game has some shootout potential and Tyler Lockett appears on track to play. It all tracks as a bounce-back game for Russ.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at New York Giants: Allen is the gunslinger’s gunslinger, and with John Brown decapitating the tops off opposing defenses, the big play is an ever-present weapon in the Bills’ arsenal. Yes, he is going to throw some interceptions. It’s part of the deal. But the long touchdowns and running ability should more than compensate, especially against a defense that made Dak Prescott look like Johnny Unitas last week.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Stafford was a waiver wire hero this week, and for good reason after throwing for 385 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinals in Week 1. But let’s keep things in perspective. The Cardinals are a shell of their defensive selves and were playing without Patrick Peterson. While Derwin James is out for the Chargers, they still have Desmond King and edge rushers that should be in Stafford’s face all game. Save Stafford for positive matchups. This ain’t it.
Austin Ekeler, Chargers at Lions: The Chargers got a piece of good news Friday when Mike Williams returned to practice, but he is no lock to play on Sunday and Hunter Henry is already out. The offense is going to flow through two players here: Keenan Allen and Ekeler. And as we saw in Week 1, Ekeler can take over a game both as a runner and pass-catcher. In PPR leagues, Ekeler is an auto-play this week. He should be anywhere, in any format.
Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys: Adrian Peterson is taking over as the early-down back for the always-injured Derrius Guice, but the back who should have the greatest success against the Cowboys is Thompson. Dallas allowed Giants pass-catching backs to have a field day last week and figuring the Redskins will be playing from behind against a better opponent, Thompson’s pass-catching skills will likely overtake Peterson’s ground and pound.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings: The Packers offense looked dreadful against the Bears last Thursday and the running game in particular was a mess. And now they get to face the Vikings, who absolutely throttled the Falcons’ ground game, taking Davanta Freeman out of the game plan almost right from the start. Aaron Rodgers is going to need to win this game by passing, not handing off.
John Brown, Bills at Giants: We mentioned it above with Josh Allen. The Allen-Brown stack is among the early contenders for fantasy pairing of the year. Brown’s ability to get to just about any thing thrown his way is the perfect complement for the “throw first, ask questions later” approach of Allen. You can almost sign off on a big play from Brown every week, and in a matchup like this one, Brown could pop off multiple TDs. If he’s still available in your league, get him.
Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs: If you stayed up late enough on Monday night, you know why Williams is listed here. Antonio who? Williams played like an All-Pro for the grudge-carrying Raiders against Denver and we saw how Jacksonville’s wideouts went nuts on the Chiefs last Sunday. There’s some real juice in the Raiders passing game and Williams is the No. 1 target.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans: Hilton hasn’t had the best home-road splits even in the best of times, and these are not the best times for the Colts offense, having to face a Titans defense that suffocated the Browns last week. He is still the focal point here, but his chances of turning his target equity into volume are very low this week. Best to save Hilton for the home games.
Mark Andrews. Baltimore Ravens vs. Arizona Cardinals: Andrews, like everyone else in the Ravens offense, went off in Week 1, catching all eight of his targets for 108 yards and a touchdown. This week, he gets to face an Arizona defense that let rookie T.J. Hockenson light them up for 6-131-1. Let the good times keep rolling at home.
Darren Waller, Raiders vs. Chiefs: Now we know what all the preseason fuss was about. For all the Antonio Brown storylines over the weekend, the biggest football-related one was the blooming of the jilted Raiders passing offense. Waller was arguably the biggest benefactor, leading the team with eight targets, which he turned into a nifty 7-70 line. Waller is the breakout tight end of 2019. Believe the hype.
Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams: Anyone else get a bad vibe off Cook in the Monday night shootout? Cook is on his fourth team in five seasons and he didn’t look like he fit in to the Saints offense the way you might expect a player who had averaged six targets per game the past two seasons in Oakland. Cook had three targets on Monday. It’s way too early to call it a trend, but the Rams aren’t exactly a tight-end friendly defense, either. Might want to take a wait-and-see approach here.