Week one of the fantasy football season is in the books, and boy, oh boy, did we learn a lot. We’ll be going over all of it on the Fantasy Football Universe podcast, so you can check it out there. I want to use this article to focus a lot on Week 2. I am going to change things up a bit this week, as I want to break everything down game by game. There is no question that this should be a bit more fun, as there is more information that we can use to make more informed decisions.
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NEW YORK JETS @ BUFFALO BILLS
Week two of the fantasy football season will kick off with a divisional matchup between Rivals the Jets and the Bills. This should be an interesting situation, to say the least. It features two teams that we thought had good defenses, though the Jets did give up over 20 points to the Bengals. This should be a low scoring game, and provides an unexciting fantasy situation.
The Jets looked fair on offense here, and I think the big story to talk about is Matt Forte. I expected the Jets to use he and Powell similarly, but that wasn’t how things happened. Forte saw 22 carries and 7 targets while Powell saw 4 carries and 4 targets. I think that Forte is absolutely in play here, as I don’t imagine things will change much. Ryan Fitzpatrick should face another stiff test going up against the Bills defense, though I think he should still be passing a lot. The targets were pretty much evenly split between Forte, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Quincy Enunwa, aside from the 4 targets to Powell. Enunwa is going to make for a nice sleeper DFS play this year, as he will remain cheap early and does look like this offense will include him a lot.
The Bills struggled mightily against the Ravens this week, and there are a few reasons. First, Sammy Watkins foot seems to be a cause for concern, as he didn’t look like himself. I can’t feel comfortable rostering a guy who isn’t 100% and it shows. The receiving options behind him aren’t spectacular either. That leaves it to Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy, who I think you could use. McCoy saw 16 carries and four targets, and Tyrod only had 5 carries, but that was mostly because the offense couldn’t get going. The Jets defense didn’t look particularly great this past week, so this could be a decent bounce back opportunity for the Bills.
CINCINNATI BENGALS @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS
This should be another interesting game between division rivals. I love when we get these rivalry games this early in the season. Both teams looked pretty sharp, or better, in their opening game, so I think this is going to be a pretty strongly offensively fueled game. It’s pretty easy to want to look past the defenses here, but the Steelers defense always makes a bit of an undercover play as they are capable of some big plays.
I can happily say that I pushed A.J. Green all week, and he went OFF in week one against an aged Darrelle Revis. This is a situation where I do believe this was much more of Green’s talent than a decline in play by Revis. He is back as my top receiving play this week, and he should be in for another monster outing. I don’t hate Andy Dalton, but I think we can find either higher points at a higher price or better value at a lower price. One other name I have some interest in here is C.J. Uzomah, who saw a fair amount of targets and showed the upside we knew he had in college. Outside of that, you’r grasping at straws. I don’t like either of the running backs.
I am not exactly sure what the status of Markus Wheaton will be for Sunday, but if he isn’t playing, then there are basically five guys I can roster on this team. They are, in order: Antonio Brown, DeAngelo Williams, Eli Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Jesse James. This is going to be an offensive powerhouse again this year, and if you didn’t play some of them last week, don’t make the same mistake this week. I don’t need to say much more than that.
TENNESSEE TITANS @ DETROIT LIONS
The Titans picked up right where they left off in 2015, as they gave up a huge fantasy game to the Vikings. Fortunately, there does appear to be fantasy life here for a few guys. The Lions looked mostly sharp on offense, but the defense was moved on pretty easily in the second half. I think the Titans are a step down from the Colts, but it isn’t a situation where I exactly want to roster the defense.
So what do we know about the Titans? Well, Mariota has found himself a number one receiver and his name is Tajae Sharpe. He is definitely a guy I see merit in using this week before his price gets too out of control. DeMarcu Murray is also in play here as he was a focal part of the offense as well. Those are the two I would focus on, but I don’t hate using Delanie Walker, Rishard Matthews or, yes, Andre Johnson in tournaments, as they all saw a handful of targets or more. I expect the Titans to be trailing again in this one, meaning they should be airing it out.
Raise your hand if you were burned by the Lions receiving options in week one. Great, you too? Stafford is absolutely in play here this week, as the Titans defense is still enough of a mess that he should be able to pick them apart. Both Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick were heavily involved in the offense, seeing 12 and 7 carries respectively, as well as five targets each. That is king of a big deal. I think they will be heavily used in this one, as I expect the Lions to see the lead early. After them, Marvin Jones saw a team high 10 targets, and you could tell Stafford favored going to him. He is my top receiving option, though Golden Tate and Eric Ebron also deserve mention as being viable options
BALTIMORE RAVENS @ CLEVELAND BROWNS
The first week of the season wasn’t exactly friendly to either of these offenses, though I guess in fairness at least the Ravens defense looked palatable. That might not be saying much, as the Bills offense was pretty stagnant. This should be an interesting contest from a fantasy perspective. I have some things on both sides of the ball that I will touch on, but I think there is fantasy value in this game.
Typically, you want to target the team that Cleveland is playing against, as this defense is not going to be very good to start the year. I think it could be OK by seasons end, as they do have some decent pieces, but it will be an easy target early on. The problem is that I don’t exactly know where to go with the Ravens, as the running and passing game both seem to have equal distribution. I can’t exactly blame you for going with Justin Forsett or Terrance West in tournaments, but unless there is more of a clear distribution, I’d rather stay away. Mike Wallace is another strong tournament option, as his speed could certainly make him a high upside play on this slate. The two plays I have a higher interest in here are Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta. Both are coming off of injuries, but they were targeted enough that I think there is upside. Smith saw the most targets on the team, and I can see him being a threat to score this week.
The RG III era in Cleveland lasted one game before he was injured and now we turn back to Josh McCown. I like McCown this week, though it is tough to discern how his ownership will be. He’s cheap and this isn’t a bad matchup, and he does have relatively big potential, especially on DraftKings where you get the 3 point bonus for going over 300 yards. The safe assumption here is that the Browns will be trailing and McCown will be passing a lot. It is worth noting that McCown had a good connection with Gary Barnidge, who saw an average of over ten targets per game when McCown was the quarterback in 2015. He also targeted Travis Benjamin and Brian Hartline a lot, and now with Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman replacing them, those heavy targets should only continue. The game flow should also lend itself to Duke Johnson here, who also saw good targets from McCown. Overall, I would probably play them Coleman, Barnidge, Johnson and then Pryor. I feel like I am forcing the Coleman play, but I cannot imagine they do not try to get him more involved with a more stable quarterback under center.
DALLAS COWBOYS @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS
This weekend is apparently just going to be games against division rivals, and this one should be a fun one. We saw a heartbreaking situation for Cowboys fans last week as Terrence Williams forgot how to play football at the worst possible moment and did not go out of bounds at the end of the game. Vegas expects this game to be a close, high scoring game, so there should definitely be fantasy options here.
On the Dallas side of the ball, I wonder how Ezekiel Elliott’s ownership will look. He did not look very good at all last week, but we just saw this Washington defense eaten alive by DeAngelo Williams. I think this is a nice bounce back spot, and I could definitely see Elliott end up with a nice fantasy outing this week. Dak also makes an interesting prospect, though we no longer have the luxury of a free square due to his high ownership last week. He targeted Jason Witten and Cole Beasley a lot last week, and that could be the same story again this week. One situation I want to look into is who will be lining up to the left at wide receiver. It looked like Terrence Williams spent time there, especially the closer they got to the goal line. I say this because Bashaud Breeland played exclusively on the left against Antonio Brown for much of the game and couldn’t keep up. I would have loved for this to be Dez, and he did spend some time on the left, but primarily worked from the right, which is exclusively where Josh Norman sets up shop.
The Redskins looked pathetic after this first few drives on Monday night. Jordan Reed is the clear cut focus of this offense here, and is always a strong option in all formats. I think Matt Jones should have more success against the Cowboys than he did the Steelers, so I don’t mind him in tournaments. DeSean Jackson is always a viable tournament option, and Cousins likes testing the defense with the deep ball a few times each week. If he is able to connect with one or more, Jackson could end up as the highest scoring option on the week. I don’t love the idea of playing Cousins today, as I think you can do better. Jamison Crowder got some nice targets too, so that is something to consider as well.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS
Vegas thinks this game will be absolutely lopsided, but I’m not so sure. I am not saying that I think that the Niners are a threat to win, but I think they are going to surprise some people. I was down on them for sure coming into the year, but they looked crisp against what should be a league average defense. What will they do against a much better defense? We will find out in a few days.
I am probably insane, but I love Blaine Gabbert here. The Panthers forced opposing QBs to throw around 40 times a game last year, as they were typically trailing, and Gabbert didn’t even come close to that in the opening game. He will be tested by that Panthers offense to keep up, and I think with how much he will have to pass, coupled with the fact that he does run, makes him an appealing option at basically minimum price this week. I also love Jeremy Kerley, who saw a ton of targets at minimum price, or close, this week. Any guy seeing double digit targets needs to be on your radar. I don’t love them, but I think there is appeal to both Carlos Hyde and Vance McDonald. The Panthers run defense was inconsistent in the opening week, and I’m curious to see how they hold up here.
There are three guys I like on the Panthers: Cam Newton, Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. I think those guys should all have pretty good games here, and I love the fact that Benjamin’s price didn’t come up too much despite being heavily targeted in week one. He is one of my favorite options this week in what is another week of a loaded group of receivers. Cam has a ton of upside, as I think he’ll get more calls his way after so many no calls last week, which after awhile could cause the defense to not want to hit him. Olsen is still a big part of this passing attack, and I think he should see quite a few in this one, and he is always a threat in the red zone.
MIAMI DOLPHINS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
I grew up as a Miami Dolphins fan, despite living in Northeast Ohio, because I loved Dan Marino. Once I started playing fantasy, I did stop actively cheering for teams because it can influence too many of your decisions. It is always fun when these teams get together, and I expect a good game here. I think there are definitely some guys we can look at here for fantasy purposes.
This Dolphins offense didn’t look great against the Seattle defense, but that is a really good defense still. I think the Patriots are a step below that, so I expect Tannehill to have a better day here. I am not looking his way in any fashion this week, but he could still have a good game. On full point PPR sites, I am going to keep looking at Jarvis Landry, as Tannehill still continues to throw his way more than anyone else. If he is able to score in this game, it will make him well worth the play, but he is good in cash games regardless. Arian Foster is an interesting option as well. Damien Williams was the only other back who got any work, and I think that is fair to say moving forward. I think this is a nice spot to use him in tournaments. Finally, there is tournament appeal to Kenny Stills. Yes, he broke your heart because he dropped a wide open deep ball touchdown, but they are going to continuously try this with him.
The direction we want to go with the Patriots will be heavily dependent on that status of Rob Gronkowski. If he plays, he should be a lock in your lineups. I think Julian Edelman is fine either way, as he is a target monster. If Gronkowski misses, I feel fine looking toward guys like Chris Hogan and James White, the latter of which was very heavily targeted in the passing game in the absence of Gronk. I guess there is some merit in using LeGarrette Blount in tournaments, as they could be running the clock down, and he can break some nice chunk runs.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ HOUSTON TEXANS
Kansas City was quite lucky to make it out of the San Diego game with a win, and they will be facing a much better test this week. I think on the surface, many will look at this and see two good defenses and want to look the other way, but that isn’t the approach I would take necessarily. I think there could be some options here that could help you win this week.
Spencer Ware was the darling of the fantasy community in week one and he didn’t disappoint. You might not realize it, but he and West were on the field for around the same amount of snaps. Ware clearly outproduced West, and if the Chiefs want to be successful, they can’t mess around that much longer. Assuming Charles is out again, I think you have to at the least consider Ware, as his priced is still affordable and he has pretty crazy upside. Outside of him, The targets were pretty well spread out between Travis Kelce, Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley and Charcandrick West. I do like Maclin the most out of those guys, but there could be merit in using the others in tournaments as they should be under owned.
Brock Osweiler had a nice initial showing in Houston, but gets a tougher test in week two against these Chiefs. I don’t think I’ll have much, if any, Osweiler ownership. Lamar Miller is a full go for me, as he handled the ball often and well, and the Chiefs didn’t look good trying to stop either Woodhead or Gordon last week. Touches are everything in fantasy football, so I will be using him in tournaments a lot. DeAndre Hopkins is always in play, but I think I would prefer to look elsewhere due to his cost and the use of Will Fuller. Yes, it was only one week, but you truly do have to wonder how much of his big season were due to being the only dog in the doghouse. Fuller makes a nice tournament play, as he clearly showed his upside last week.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ LOS ANGELES RAMS
What are we going to see out of these offenses in week 2? Seattle didn’t look great and Los Angeles was easily the worst in the NFL. I think it is a safe question to wonder if there will be a quarterback change in Los Angeles. I doubt it, but we could see Sean Mannion in the mix if Case Keenum cannot put it together.
The Seattle running back situation was predictably muddled last week. Christine Michael definitely looked much better than Thomas Rawls, but I’ll stay way this week until we get more clarity. I normally like to use Russell Wilson at least a little bit, but I don’t know if his ankle injury is lingering, and because we value the points he gives us on the ground, that is kind of a big deal. It doesn’t sound serious, so I’ll have some usage of him. Doug Baldwin had a nice game in week one, and I expect that to continue this week. He’ll be moved around and used a lot and he’s in play in all formats. In terms of tournaments, there us some upside to Tyler Lockett every week, and Jermaine Kearse saw 7 targets in week one. I don’t know that Wilson will throw as much this week, but if he does, Kearse could end up with a nice day.
The only Rams I am considering here is the Seattle defense.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS
This game has the second highest total on the slate, so you have to believe we’ve got some fantasy options in this game. Vegas also believes that the Cardinals are pretty big home favorites, and I think that is likely the case here.
I went with a lot of Jameis Winston in my week one DFS lineups, as well as my fantasy leagues and he didn’t disappoint. He looks good and I think he is poised for a huge sophomore year. Mike Evans could face the Patrick Peterson treatment, as Evans runs a lot of his routes from the right which is where we find Peterson playing. This leaves Vincent Jackson as a great tournament play, as we saw New England pick on Brandon Williams who exclusive played on the left side Sunday night. He’s affordable, has a nice size advantage and should go low owned because people thing he is old. I don’t mind Evans in tournaments, but not cash this week. I’m not on Doug Martin, as I think they’ll be passing a lot and I can see Charles Sims being used more.
Carson Palmer is always a consideration, but I think I’m staying away this week. I expect them to be ahead and I don’t think he’ll need to do what he did last week to get there. The receiving unit is deep, and all of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown are good tournament options, but it is tough to decide which way to go here. I can definitely see the reasoning for going with any of them, though I like Floyd this week personally. For me, it is going to start and end with David Johnson this week on this team. He is getting touches and targets and I think he’ll put up a massive game.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
This is yet another projected high scoring game. The Jaguars looked pretty good in week one against the Packers, and I think they should have another good outing here against the Chargers. I think the Chargers might have some difficulty after losing Keenan Allen, but I think there are still some good plays here.
There are two guys I am looking at specifically here: Allen Robinson and T.J. Yeldon. Robinson saw an absolutely ridiculous amount of targets in week one, and I expect him to see that same attention in week 2, though I expect more catches. He is expensive, but I think there is a lot of reason to want to use him. Yeldon is likely to be the sole back again, as Ivory is going through some medical situation right now. They are the top guys here. I don’t mind Julius Thomas, as I think he will be a fixture in the red zone. Blake Bortles and Allen Hurns could be good tournament options this week.
On the San Diego side of the ball, things are a little cloudy with Keenan Allen going on. Phillip Rivers performed much better with Keenan Allen last year than without him, so there is much less appeal to him here. Melvin Gordon takes a hit with Allen out in my opinion, as the team needs a better pass catching option and that makes Danny Woodhead very valuable. The receiving position is murky, and I am staying away this week. Antonio Gates is also another player that should see an uptick in targets with Allen out.
ATLANTA FALCONS @ OAKLAND RAIDERS
With all of the division games being played this week, I was a little surprised to see this on the schedule. This game should definitely be a target for fantasy players, as there is a high total and it should be relatively close. That creates the perfect storm for fantasy success.
The Falcons should have relatively the same game plan as last week – a tight game which requires Matt Ryan to have to throw the football a lot. He is really one dimensional, so for him to be useful he needs to throw for a ton of yards and at least three TD’s, which he is capable of, but that puts him more in the tournament conversation than anything else. The running game is in flux, so I’m not going to look into those guys this week. I’d rather focus on Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Jacob Tamme, all who finished the game with 8 targets. Julio is by far the top receiver here, and should be in play for cash games again, as I think Tamme is. Tight end play is tough to come by, and I like the target total. Sanu is more of a tournament option for me, as if Julio gets going and they can’t stop him, that is where Ryan will look.
I think Derek Carr disappointed a lot of owners the first week of the season, but who would have guessed that the Raiders would score three times on the ground? I think this is a nice bounce back spot for the passing offense here, and I like Carr to throw a lot. As a result Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are in a good spot to be used in either format. I don’t hate the idea of throwing them and Carr into a tournament lineup or two together. I don’t really love the idea of playing Latavius Murray, as he didn’t stay on the field enough for me to want to use him. I think Clive Walford makes a decent punt option at the tight end position.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ DENVER BRONCOS
The Broncos should be nice and rested as they host the Colts in this contest. There is a ton of fantasy goodness in this game, and I expect to be using quite a few people from this game. The Vegas line doesn’t have this contest as high scoring as some of the others, but I think it will be.
I was wrong about Andrew Luck. I felt pretty good about my assessment during the first half of the game, but the second half saw a totally different player. This Broncos defense is quite a bit better than the Lions, and I expect them to put Luck under pressure. This should result in more targets for Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen, and, yes, Jack Doyle. I don’t think I’ll be chasing Doyle this week. I think Hilton can still have a good game, as he will see a ton of targets, but I think the focus might be forced onto shorter routes today.
Trevor Semien looked like a competent game manager in the game Thursday night, and gets to square off against a much worse defense this week. I don’t know that I want to go that route this week, but that in itself could make him a good tournament play because I think many will look at it that way. I like all of Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and Virgil Green here, as the Colts will have no answers at all. The top play in this game in my opinion is C.J. Anderson, who should continue to be fed when the Broncos are up in this game. I’m expecting another big outing out of him.
GREEN BAY PACKERS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS
This is definitely going to be a fun one on Sunday night. The Packers offense looks very good, and I have been a big believer in the Vikings defense. The Packers are road favorites, as there are a lot of unknowns about the Vikings offense. It is still unknown if Sam Bradford will start this week, and that could make some difference.
As far as the Packers go, I don’t view any of them as cash game options, but I believe Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, and the trip of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams all make for interesting tournament options. We’ve seen Rodgers put up some nice games against the Vikings over the years, and I think we could definitely see another one this week. However, I can also a situation where the Vikings defense is able to cause enough of a headache for Rodgers that his performance, and that of his weapons, aren’t enough to validate their prices.
Adrian Peterson owners had to be pretty upset after his miserable performance last week, but it could only get better this week. He is the top option on this team, and he’s always in play as a tournament option. The only two other options I would consider would be Stefon Diggs who had a nice game against the Titans and is clearly the top receiver in Minnesota, and Kyle Rudolph, who is going to have a career year in this offense this year. They are both priced fairly and make decent cash game and tournament plays.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ CHICAGO BEARS
Finishing out the second week of football will be the Eagles taking on the Bears. This is expected to be one of the lower scoring games on the day, but has some options that we can use in fantasy.
The Eagles had a nice game against the Browns, though to be fair, the Browns did what they could to make sure the Eagles got the win. Carson Wentz did look good, and I think the Bears offense will put more pressure on him to have to put points on the board. Ryan Mathews was the clear cut option at running back, but I’m just not so sure I really want to use him in DFS. This strikes me as a better at football than fantasy football plays. Zach Ertz will be out for the next few weeks, which opens up more targets for Nelson Agholor and Brent Celek. Jordan Matthews is a very nice option as he and Wentz seem to have a good connection. This is a good match up for him, so we could have another good game from him this week.
The Bears offense was another that didn’t look great in the first week of the season, but the Eagles are a good matchup for them. Even though he didn’t run well for average, I still think Jeremy Langford makes for a good option this week. He’s going to get a lot of touches and looks in the passing game, which makes him appealing. The targets in week one were split pretty evenly between Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Kevin White, with a little Zach Miller thrown in. I expect Jeffery and White to end up with more targets, and that is where I want to go in my games this week. I don’t have Zach Miller in this situation either, but he isn’t my favorite.
Well, that was exhausting! Hopefully this helps you when you are setting your lineups in week 2!