Week 2 of the fantasy football season kicks off tonight as the Cleveland Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the first Thursday Night game of the season. In this preview, we’ll break down this week’s players to start and sit, as well as a few sleeper players who could help you win your matchup.
If you missed the Week 1 fantasy recap, make sure to check that out here first.
So now, let’s get right into it:
Newton was all over the field against Miami, running 15 times for 75 yards and two scores. Going forward, he should be in fantasy lineups weekly, especially if he keeps getting his number called in the red zone. This week against Seattle, Newton looks primed for another big game. Seattle gave up the fourth-most rushing yards and three scores to quarterbacks last year. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see New England open up their offense more through the air, as Seattle allowed 450 passing yards to Atlanta last weekend.
Dak Prescott vs Falcons
Prescott landed on the Week 1 “dud” list after a disappointing start against the Rams. A Week 2 matchup with the Falcons however is a great place for a bounce back. Last week, Seattle targeted Atlanta corners just 18 times, according to PFF. The low volume did not result in low production, as Seahawk receivers recorded 15 catches for 229 yards; outside cornerbacks Isaiah Oliver and A.J. Terrell surrendering 180 of those yards on 12 catches. With three extremely talented receivers to his disposal, Prescott should be in for a big fantasy game.
Drew Lock at Steelers
The Steelers’ defense could be the best the league has to offer, which will make life difficult for Lock on Sunday. Last week, Daniel Jones was pressured by the Pittsburgh defense on more plays than any other quarterback in the league. Jones was able to make some plays, so we’ll see if Lock can do the same. He expects to get wide receivers Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hammier back, but we’re still avoiding Lock in this Week 2 matchup.
Ronald Jones II vs Panthers
Trust me, seeing a Tampa Bay running back on the start list makes the stomach queasy, but Jones established himself as the lead back in Week 1. With Leonard Fournette still getting acclimated to Tampa, Jones should continue to see plenty of opportunities to keep his job. This week, Jones should find plenty of success against Carolina’s defense, whose run defense ranked dead last in Week 1.
Austin Ekeler vs Chiefs
If there was any doubt about leaving Ekeler on the bench after a mediocre Week 1 that had him land on the dud list, rethink that. While he didn't see much volume in the passing game, Ekeler still had 20 touches against the Bengals. Expect him to be more involved through the air against the Chiefs, a team he had 17 catches for 151 yards against in two games last year (while also averaging 5.0 yards per carry).
James White at Seahawks
White had a disappointing Week 1 performance, as the Patriots game script did not set him up for success. The Patriots have had success throwing against Seattle in the past, which is where White brings value to the table. Expect a fair share of work in the passing game which will be enough to move White into your starting lineups.
Mark Ingram at Texans
The matchup looks juicy on paper, as the Texans have stunk against running backs lately (allowing 1.8 TDs per game to running backs since Week 11 last year) and got torn apart by rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the opener. But Ingram’s floor has seemed to vanish since Baltimore brought in rookie J.K. Dobbins. Dobbins out-snapped Ingram in Week 1 (23 to 21) and appeared to take his goal line duties as well. Avoid Ingram in this matchup if possible.
Cam Akers at Eagles
Malcolm Brown is the current running back to own in Los Angeles. Akers, 14 carries for 39 yards in Week 1, played 20 less snaps than his partner in the backfield. With a tough matchup against Philadelphia, who held Washington to 63 yards on 29 carries last weekend, leave Akers on your bench.
Sleeper: Carlos Hyde vs Patriots
Hyde saw more carries while running for more yards than Seahawks starter Chris Carson in Seattle’s victory over Atlanta. Hyde also had Seattle’s only touchdown on the ground, which could raise questions how the Seahawks plan to use their backs going forward. Pete Carroll said on Wednesday that both of their backs “need to get more” touches, so more workload is always a good thing. This game will be worth monitoring to see Seattle’s backfield plans.
Anthony Miller vs Giants
Miller got off to a strong start this season, hauling in four receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown in Chicago’s victory over Detroit. The Bears will now host the Giants, who allowed three touchdown passes to Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1. According to PFF, Miller has the third best wide receiver vs cornerback matchup in the league this week. Miller lined up in the slot 91 percent of the time Week 1, so he will most likely line up against Darnay Holmes, who played 100 percent of his Week 1 snaps in the slot and surrendered five receptions on six targets for 56 yards. Miller should be a strong candidate to continue his success in Week 2.
Marquise Brown at Texans
Another receiver who looks to build off a strong Week 1. Brown hauled in five of six targets for 101 yards in Baltimore’s opener. And this week, Baltimore will matchup against Houston who earned a measly 45.7 team coverage grade in Week 1. Brown expects to see a lot of Bradley Roby, which ranks as the second most favorable wide receiver vs cornerback matchup in Brown’s favor.
Scotty Miller vs Panthers
All aboard the Scotty Miller train. I’ve been a big fan of Miller all offseason and he made an appearance on the Week 1 Waiver Wire list. Miller saw the second most amount of targets in Tampa Bay’s Week 1 loss and will now welcome a Carolina defense that allowed Derek Carr to lead six scoring drives and complete 73.3 percent of his passes. With Mike Evans still battling a hamstring injury and Chris Godwin (concussion) missing Wednesday’s practice, Miller could be in line for a huge game on Sunday.
Sitting Tyreek Hill is never easy, but this might be the time to do so. In years past, the Chargers have been Hill’s one kryptonite, averaging just 36 yards and no TDs over his past three games. Now pairing Chris Harris Jr., who allowed just one catch last weekend, with Casey Hayward Jr. and Hill could be held in check by LA.
DK Metcalf vs Patriots
Metcalf had a great Week 1, putting up 95-yards and a score, but now go against what is considered the best secondary in the NFL. With reigning DPOY Stephon Gilmore leading the Patriots loaded secondary, Metcalf could quickly be erased from Sunday’s night matchup. Pair that with Pete Carrol’s hope to establish the run more and Metcalf is a risky play for Week 2.
Sleeper: Tre’Quan Smith
With Michael Thomas sidelined for several weeks with a high ankle sprain, New Orleans will have to look elsewhere for production at the wide receiver position. While most eyes will turn to Emmanuel Sanders, the 24-year old Smith should not be overlooked. Smith has more big play ability than Sanders and was on the field and running routes more than Sanders in Week 1. Both will be relied on going forward but Smith’s ceiling is something to be excited about.
Dallas Goedert vs Rams
Dallas Goedert, and Zach Ertz, are drooling over their Week 2 matchup with the Rams. According to PFF, Los Angeles’ middle linebacker Micah Kiser was the Rams worst graded player in coverage last week. Goedert was the top fantasy tight end in Week 1 and have a juicy matchup he should be able to exploit in Week 2.
Hayden Hurst at Cowboys
Hurst’s Falcons career got off to a bit of a slow start as he was Atlanta’s fourth option in the passing game last Sunday. He should be in line for more work this week, as Dallas surrendered the fourth most fantasy points to tight ends last year and are without linebackers Sean Lee and Leighton Vander Esch. Look for Atlanta to attack the middle of the Cowboys defense, which is where Hurst should be all game long.
Logan Thomas at Cardinals
Another player who appeared on our Week 1 Waiver Wire list, Thomas led the Washington Football Team in targets (8) in Week 1. The Cardinals have been dreadful against tight ends, allowing 1,159 yards and 14 touchdowns to them last year, both ranking the most in the league. Fire up the former QB as a TE1 here in Week 2.
Rob Gronkowski vs Panthers
Gronkowski was another player featured on our dud list last week and now its time to keep him on the bench. Gronk saw just three targets in Week 1, catching two for 11 yards. Even though he led all Tampa’s tight ends in snap (54), O.J. Howard, six targets, one touchdown, was the one to have Tom Brady’s attention. The date with Carolina, who allowed just 45 yards to Darren Waller Week 1, also doesn't work in his favor, as tight ends averaged the fourth-fewest points against them last season.
Jack Doyle vs Vikings
Philip Rivers passed to his running backs 44 percent of the time Week 1, which meant little production for Doyle. Although he played 54 snaps, Doyle recorded just three catches on four targets for 49 yards. Expect another low volume game for Doyle against a Vikings defense that made life difficult for opposing tight ends last season.
Sleeper: Jordan Akins vs Ravens
Akins saw the third-most snaps (48) of his career in Houston’s opener, catching both targets for 39 yards and a score. Akins could be in a position to put up solid number against the Ravens’ inside linebackers, Patrick Queen and L.J. Fort, who both allowed three catches against Cleveland. Baltimore’s defense as a whole allowed 19 fantasy points to tight ends last week, the fifth-most. The Texans were excited about their tight end coming into the season and he should now be on fantasy radars.
Patriots Play of the Week
It was a weird Week 1 for Edelman. Jules led the Patriots in receptions (5), targets (7), and yards (57) despite only playing 58 percent of the team’s snaps. Edelman was also on the field for 20 of the Patriots’ 22 passing plays and received a 37 percent target share. Short story short: when Edelman is on the field the Patriots are most likely going to pass the ball and it’s most likely going to be him. So as the Patriots travel to Seattle for their Week 2 matchup, we expect them to pass the ball more than just 19 times. That means more Julian Edelman. Fire him up as a WR2 for this weekend.
That is all for the Week 2 preview. Best of luck to all of you in your matchups this weekend. If you have any fantasy questions or need advice, feel free to reach out on Twitter @iambrianhines!