WEEK 2: Starts of the Week and Caution Plays
Well, week 1 is all wrapped up and what a ride that was! Surprises left and right; from the Texans showing up and telling the world they're no lay down to an insane game ending in the Raiders v Ravens that gave me Tebow-mania flashbacks. There were a lot of ups and downs and it was a great way to start the year off! Going in to week 2, let's break down 2 players at each position that I feel you should either throw in to your lineup with confidence or proceed with tempered expectations. Keep in mind I will not be featuring obvious weekly starters.
TEDDY BRIDGEWATER - DEN
Going in to week 1, we were all assuming that Houston was going to be the most atrocious defense and, although they were still bad, Jacksonville actually ended up looking like the wet paper bag. Their defense gave up 27.5 points to 32 year old Tyrod Taylor who has only started one game since 2019 and this week they host a Denver offense that has all the tools to move the ball. Bridgewater is a stream play on an average week, but this week isn't average and if he can post 24 points against a decent Giants defense, he could have a smash week against the Jags.
JARED GOFF - DET
Jared Goff surprised the fantasy community last week when he hosted a stout 49er's defense and, after a significant injury to Verrett, ended up carving them up to the tune of 338 yards that translated to 34 fantasy points and a QB3 finish. This week, he faces a Packers defense that gave up 5 TD's to Jameis Winston and let the game get so out of hand that GB benched their starters. The Lions also have a horrible defense and Rodgers is looking to have a bounce back game (which he historically accomplishes) which means the Lions should be playing from behind.
Bad Packers D + Playing from Behind = Goff Fantasy Day. Start with Confidence
TY'SON WILLIAMS - BAL
Williams ended up with a time share situation in the Baltimore backfield, netting 43% of the teams rushing attempts to Murray's 48%, however, he had 60% of the teams RB receiving work, which helped him finish with a 15.5 point game on Monday night. This week, the Ravens face the Chiefs, who gave up more yards to the RB position than any other team, which should give Williams a perfect opportunity to build his case for the workload role and your fantasy roster spot.
MILES SANDERS - PHI
Last week, I had Sanders in my caution column as the Falcons were pretty good against RB's last year, however, Sanders surprised me and balled out. Despite forfeiting 40% of the backfield to rookie Kenneth Gainwell, Sanders still had 113 scrimmage yards and most of the RB receiving work. This week, he faces a banged up 49ers defense that just gave up 41.5 combined points to Swift and Williams. He should be in line for a great week.
COOPER KUPP - LAR
A lot changes from year to year and that goes for defenses as well. A Colts defense that was formidable against the pass last year gave up the 5th most receiving yards on Sunday as Russ cooked all over them. This week, they host the high powered Rams offense who are looking for a 2-0 start and Cooper Kupp should be in line for a great opportunity. He had immediate chemistry with Stafford that turned in to 108 yards and a TD, earning him the WR11 spot on the week. If the Seahawks performance was any sign, the Rams should be feasting on Sunday and Kupp owners should be excited at that potential.
JA'MARR CHASE - CIN
Chase started cooling down really quickly going in to the season as he struggled in preseason with drops which lead analysts to question his transition to the professional level. Needless to say, he put a quash to all that after he put up 101 yards and a TD in his pro debut. His chemistry with Burrow is obviously still there and this week they travel to Chicago to face a Bears defense that just allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing Wideouts on Sunday. Look for Chase to continue his hot streak in the windy city.
JARED COOK - LAC
Cook was a surprising player on Sunday as he had 17% of the teams total receiving work and ended up with 8 targets, 5 receptions, and 56 yards. Not jaw dropping stats but for a TE, it was good enough to finish as the WR15 on the week. This week, they travel to Dallas to take on a Cowboys team that just let Gronk score two TD's and gave up more points to the position than any other team. The main counterpoint I've been getting is fellow TE Donald Parham taking work from him, however, last week Cook had 73% of the TE target share to Parham's 9% so needless to say, I wouldn't be too worried about that. If you're streaming the TE spot, Cook could be a great play for you this week.
NOAH FANT - DEN
Fant came out of the gates and impressed Sunday, finishing as the TE10 on the week against a Giants team that allowed the 4th fewest points to TE's last season. He had 23% of the teams total target share and this week, he gets the privilege of facing a Jaguars team that just allowed Texans TE Pharaoh Brown to have a top 15 performance. With 23% of the teams workload last week and Jeudy's 20% workload being redistributed, Fant has all the stars lining up to have a big game.
CAUTION -- QUARTERBACKS
TUA TAGOVAILOA - MIA
I love watching Tua and am rooting for him to have a come back year. He did well last week considering the tough matchup against the Pats, leading the Dolphins to a victory while netting fantasy owners almost 20 points. This week, I'm being very cautious in starting him as he faces a Bills defense that kept the Steelers offense in check and held Big Ben to the QB28 finish on the week. Tua's schedule opens up a little easier after this week but I'd avoid him Sunday if you have other options.
CARSON WENTZ - IND
Despite dealing with a lingering injury, Wentz had a clean and impressive debut as a Colt, throwing for 252 yards, 2 TD's, and no interceptions. He finished with a satisfying 22 point game, however, this week he faces a much tougher challenge as they take on the Los Angeles Rams. Last week, the Rams gave up the 4th fewest points to the position, holding Dalton to only 5.5 fantasy points. Now granted, it's Andy Dalton we're talking about, but this is still the best defense in the league and I'd be cautious rolling with Wentz in my lineup if I didn't have to.
CAUTION -- RUNNINGBACKS
JAMES ROBINSON - JAX
RB1SZN isn't looking too great after seeing how Urban Meyer decided to grossly underutilize Robinson against the Texans last week. He has come out and admitted he needs to get Robinson more involved, but this week they're facing a Broncos defense who allowed the fewest points to the position last week and held Barkley to 2.6 yards per carry. Even if Robinsons workload sees an increase, it's obvious this team is having growing pains and I'd be hesitant starting him.
MIKE DAVIS - ATL
Davis wasn't quite the workhorse we though he was going to be as the Falcons gave a good share of the work to Cordarelle Patterson. Davis still had 63% of the carries and over half of the RB receiving work so he's a solid starting option, but this week he has a very difficult matchup against a Bucs defense that shut down Ezekiel Elliott last Thursday. Davis finished as the RB33 last week against Philadelphia and I don't expect him to even hit that mark against Tampa.
CAUTION -- WIDE RECEIVERS
DEEBO SAMUEL - SF
Samuel put up a week winning performance on Sunday after he finished the WR3 with 189 yards and a TD. As exciting as this performance was, I'd still advise you to take caution playing him this week against a Philly Defense that shut the Falcons completely down and held Calvin Ridley to 7.6 point game. I love Deebo, but remember, he played the Lions so just temper your expectations.
DJ MOORE - CAR
Moore had a satisfactory week as most people's flex play, putting up 12.4 points on 80 yards and 6 receptions. It was optimistic to see him getting 47% of the receiving work on the team, but this week he faces a pretty challenging matchup in a Saints defense that just handed Rodgers the worst loss of his career and held Davante Adams to 8.1 points. If you've been flexing Moore and have other options, I'd consider looking that way.
CAUTION -- TIGHT ENDS
JUWAN JOHNSON - NO
Johnson was a surprise player that nobody really saw coming as he snagged 2 TD's and finished the TE5 on the week. His performance has him as a top waiver option this week, however, his performance was more luck based than people may realize. He only actually had 3 targets all game and 2 of those happened to be red zone tosses that turned in to scores. Without the TD's, we wouldn't even be talking about him as he only 21 receiving yards. Trautman, on the other hand, had 67% of the TE targets and is still the guy to own in this offense.
DAVID NJOKU - CLE
Njoku showed off his athleticism and led the team in TE production with 3 receptions for 76 yards and finished as the TE11. His performance has people glancing his way on the waiver wire and they have a nice matchup against the Texans, however, I feel that this may have been an outlier more than a signal as he only had 25% of the teams TE work last season. Austin Hooper is still the 6th highest paid TE in the league for a reason and I expect him to bounce back to leading the team in TE work this week. If you want to roll the dice on Njoku, there's a chance it could pay off, but understand there's going to be some risk to go with it.