Tom Brady (vs CAR): Tom Brady had a rough start in his first game in Tampa, throwing only 239 passing yards and an ugly two interceptions, one of which was a pick six. I’ll give Brady a pass with this one. He was facing one of the top defenses in the league, with no preseason to get things right with his new offense, plus Evans was banged up heading into the week and wound up playing at the last minute. Carolina is one of the bottom three worst defense in the NFL this season, and I expect Brady to right the ship here in Week 2. The only caution to be had here is that Godwin entered the concussion protocol in practice this week, so there’s a chance he could miss this game. If Godwin plays, I’d definitely start Brady vs Carolina.
Ben Roethlisberger (vs DEN): The last time Ben Roethlisberger played a full season was in 2018. This was the year he had Antonio Brown and JuJu tearing up the league. Roethlisberger passed for 5,129 yards, 34 Touchdowns and 16 INTs. In his first game back for 2020, Roethlisberger threw for three TDs, 229 yards, and did not miss a beat without Antonio Brown in town. With the Broncos possibly being without A.J. Bouye (Shoulder, placed on IR) this week, Roethlisberger should continue his dominance here in week two.
Matthew Stafford (@ GB): I’m expecting another shootout in Green Bay this week. Stafford and the Lions head to Wisconsin to take on the Packers. Stafford may be without Golladay yet again this week (more on that later) but this game has a 49.0 Total and the Lions are likely going to be playing from behind, which could lead to more Stafford pass attempts. If I own Stafford, I’m starting him this week and hope that Golladay returns.
Raheem Mostert (@ NYJ): Let’s keep this one simple. The 49ers should steam-roll the Jets in this match-up. The 49ers have a couple of injured offensive skill position players who are questionable/injured, so it would make sense for the team to lean on the ground more in a game which they should control from the start. I’m expecting quality RB2 (Top 24 or better) or better numbers from Mostert this week.
Austin Ekeler (vs KC): Ekeler only had one target last week, and while normally that would be a concern, let’s keep in mind that it was week one with no preseason with a new quarterback. On top of that, the game stayed relatively close vs the Bengals, so that could be a reason for the lack of targets. Typically pass catching running backs receive more targets when their team is trailing in games, playing in catch-up mode. In week 2, the Chargers are going up against the Chiefs, and they likely be trailing for a lot of this game. That could lead to more touches for Ekeler who is a high end RB2 play with RB1 upside this week. Keep an eye out on the injury to right guard Trai Turner, though. Center Mike Pouncey was declared out for the season and will undergo surgery, which is a big loss for the Chargers offensive line.
Jonathan Taylor (vs MIN) & Nyheim Hines (vs MIN): The Colts lost started running back Marlon Mack to a torn Achilles for the season. The next men up in this backfield are Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. Taylor is expected to play a majority of the early down role, and Hines would be the 3rd down back/passing down back. There have been reports that state Hines could be even more involved after an impressive two touchdown performance in week one. That remains to be seen, though. The Colts invested an early 2nd round pick on Taylor, and he is running behind one of the best offensive lines in football. Both of these running backs are good plays for the foreseeable future, but my preference is to Taylor because of the draft capital that was spent on him.
Marquise Brown (@ HOU): The fact that Marquise Brown put up over 100 yards and a touchdown on five targets in a blowout game vs the Browns is encouraging. Keep in mind, this is the Browns we are talking about, who haven’t exactly been as advertised to start the year. Marquise Brown will have a match-up that should be a lot more competitive this week against the Texans and their defensive backs. The Ravens will likely be passing more in this game which will mean more looks to the Ravens top wide out.
Emmanuel Sanders (@ LVR, MNF): The Saints are not sure if they will have Michael Thomas for Monday Night Football vs the Raiders this week. If Thomas is out, Sanders gets a great boost for fantasy. The Raiders defense just allowed 30 points to the Panthers this past weekend. The Saints are a much better offense than the Panthers weather Thomas plays or not this week. Expect tons of targets for Sanders, Kamara, and Cook in this match-up vs the Raiders.
Corey Davis (vs JAC): I originally started writing up A.J. Brown as a start in this section for Week 2, but A.J. Brown missed practice on Thursday with a bone bruise in his knee, and his status for Sunday’s game is not looking good. If Brown is forced to miss the game (which seems likely at this point, he could miss beyond Week 2) Corey Davis showed that he can be relevant in the fantasy game, posting over 100 yards receiving and seven catches on eight targets in a tough Week 1 match-up vs the Broncos. If A.J. Brown is forced to miss this week, expect that performance to continue as the Jaguars defense is expected to be one of the bottom five in the league this year.
Hayden Hurst (vs DAL): The Falcons new tight end had a quiet debut against Seattle last week, hauling in only three receptions for 38 yards on five targets. The thing with Hurst is, Gage got more volume than expected vs Seattle. I expect targets to be more evenly distributed this weekend. The Cowboys could barely stop anything the Rams were doing on offense last week. I’d expect more of the same from the Cowboys defense against a much tougher opponent on offense in the Falcons.
Logan Thomas (@ ARI): Unless you are desperate, you probably should not start be starting Logan Thomas. However, if you are in a pinch, you might be able to turn to Logan Thomas this week. The Cardinals were one of the worst teams in the league against the tight end last year. Isaiah Simmons was drafted to fill that need, but he’s only one guy. Thomas last week had the second most volumes on the Team’s offense last week. Being that the Football team has only one known receiver in McLaurin, I’d expect there to be volume to be had in this offense. Thomas is only an option if you are desperate because of a brutal match-up or injury, though.
Buffalo Bills (@ MIA): Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing in a revenge game this week, but that should not shy you away from starting the Bills defense in Week 2. The Dolphins are not a good offense and that showed in Week 1 when they put up only 11 points vs the Patriots, after being one of the worst teams in the NFL last season.
Tennessee Titans (vs JAC): The Jaguars are going to be a brutal offense this year, despite putting up quality numbers in Week 1 vs the Colts. The Jaguars have very little in the run game, and just lacks firepower on both sides of the ball.
Los Angeles Rams (@ PHI): We can’t ignore the fact that The Team sacked Carson Wentz eight times in Week 1. That could be a trend, with the offensive line banged up due to injury.
Mitchell Trubisky (vs NYG): The Bears trailed vs the Lions for three quarters before Trubisky finally started to put anything together and lead the comeback. Trubisky has had previous success vs the Lions, so it makes sense that he was able to handle the task last week. He gets a relatively simple matchup here in Week 2 vs the Giants, but I’d advise staying away. There’s likely better options available on your roster, or your waiver wire than Trubisky.
Kirk Cousins (@ IND): Indianapolis has one of the better defenses in the NFL on paper heading into this season, but did not look that way on the field in Week 1. The Colts defense got shredded by Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars, a team that was expected to be one of the worst in the league. I’m going to blame that on the lack of preseason reps for the Colts defense to get in sync with each other, as the players on this Colts defense are simply great. You’ve got DeForest Bunker, Justin Houston, Darius Leonard, Malik Hooker, and Xavier Rhodes all on this defense which is coached by defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Cousins might have a game where he throws for two touchdowns, but I’d rather just stay away with the limited receiving options in his arsenal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see MIN lean on the run game in this one, either.
Tyrod Taylor (vs KC): This should be a game where the Chargers are playing from behind against the division rival Chiefs, but I’d rather look elsewhere. Taylor simply is a mediocre or worse QB at this stage in the game and does not offer as much rushing upside as he used to back in his Buffalo days. There are safer plays on the board this week.
Frank Gore (vs SF): Revenge game for Frank Gore here, as he faces his long time team the 49ers as the starting RB, but I’m not going to go that route unless he’s needed as a super cheap in daily fantasy option or I’m absolutely desperate with multiple injuries. The truth is, the Jets will be playing from catch-up mode for most of this game, and Gore is the type of RB who needs volume to produce this late in his career. I doubt he gets the opportunity he needs for that to happen, given the expected game flow here.
Miami RBs (vs BUF): This off-season, the Dolphins brought in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida to compete for touches in this backfield, which was easily the worst in the NFL last season after QB Ryan Fitzpatrick led the team in rushing in 2019. Well, that’s what we thought was going to happen. What actually occurred was the Dolphins gave RB Miles Gaskin a team leading nine carries for 40 yards. Breida was second on the team with five carries for 22 yards, and Howard had eight carries for seven yards. This feels like a nasty committee situation and one that I’ll avoid as often as possible.
Malcolm Brown (@ PHI): Does anyone remember Malcom Brown’s big breakout game from last year? It was Week 1 of 2019, Brown posted 53 yards and two touchdowns, but proceeded to do basically nothing for the rest of the season. I’m not going to go as far as saying Brown will do nothing for the rest of this season, but relying on this guy as anything more than an injury fill in just feels like a bad idea, as he could lose touches to either rookie Cam Akers or second year running back Darrell Henderson. I expect Akers to be the lead back here eventually, but it’s tough to trust any of these backs at the moment in LA.
Jerry Jeudy (@ PIT): Look, Jeudy performed like a rookie last week in his debut against the Titans, gaining four receptions for 56 yards. However, the rookie dropped multiple passes that would have been big gains. The Broncos star number one wide receiver, Courtland Sutton, was out for the Week 1 match-up, so that is the reason for the eight targets Jeudy had. Sutton may or may not return in week 2, but it will be a much tougher match-up against the Steelers who are a top-three defense in the NFL. If you drafted Jeudy, you probably took him late enough where you have better options.
Brandin Cooks (vs BAL): The Ravens have one of the best corner back trios in the NFL, Malcolm Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Marcus Peters. All of the Texans Wide Receivers have tough match-ups on paper this week, so try and find alternatives if you can.
Robby Anderson (@ TB): This is a call I’m not 100% comfortable with, but I’m going to make a statement. Perhaps all Anderson needed was to get away from coach Adam Gase to be consistent fantasy option, which is certainly reasonable. However, I’m not really buying that just yet. I’m going to go with the narrative that he performed well in Week 1 because of a play that was busted coverage vs the Raiders. Anderson is still the third or worse receiving option on his own team behind McCaffrey, Moore, and possibly Samuel. It is tough to trust Anderson in this spot.
Greg Olsen (vs NE): Olsen has a tough match-up vs the Patriots defense in Week 2 on Sunday Night Football. The only upside I’m seeing with Olsen is if he lucks into a touchdown, and I’d rather not rely on that. I like tight ends who see enough volume to relevant without a touchdown, and I just don’t think Olsen is that guy.
Eric Ebron (vs DEN): The Steelers new tight end was quiet in his debut, hauling in only one reception for eight yards on Monday night on two targets. Relying on the Steelers tight end seems like a risky option this week as Vance McDonald, the team’s other tight end, is also on the roster. Ebron may luck into a touchdown but the volume will not be there for him to be consistent every week.
O.J. Howard (vs CAR): Howard has been a wildly inconsistent tight end since joining the NFL back in 2016. He had so much potential but has failed to live up to the talent early in his career. The Buccaneers brought in Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady’s old friend from New England to be involved in this offense. Between Godwin, Evans, Gronkowski, the running backs, the volume for Howard is going to be tough to come by. There is a chance wide receiver Chris Godwin misses this game for the Buccaneers, which would help Howard a little bit over the middle, though.
Los Angeles Chargers (vs KC): Playing any defense against the Chiefs just is not a wise move, being they are among the top offenses in the league. Look elsewhere if you can.
Houston Texans (vs BAL): I stay away from playing defenses who are going up against offenses that put up tons of points, and Baltimore is one of those teams. While I’m not a believer in Lamar Jackson for season long fantasy leagues, he should have no problem picking a part this Texans defense.
Dallas Cowboys (vs ATL): This Cowboys defense struggled to stop anyone vs the Rams in Week 1. The Cowboys are daunted with the task to face a much better Falcons offense in Week 2. The Falcons are underdogs in this game, but I’m expecting a shootout in this one, and we like to avoid those defenses in fantasy.
FRIDAY’S INJURY UPDATES:
RB Miles Sanders (Hamstring) – Practiced fully on Friday and is scheduled to return against the Rams this week, after missing the opener vs The Team.
RB Marlon Mack (Achilles) – was placed on Injured Reserve and is out for the season. The Colts will be using Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines as their running backs this season.
RB Le’Veon Bell (Hamstring) – was placed on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury. Bell will be out for at least three weeks, perhaps longer.
RB James Conner (Ankle) – Practiced fully and is not on the injury report.
RB Phillip Lindsay (toe) – Did not practice on Friday and is seeking a second opinion on his toe. Not expected to play. Keep an eye out as this situation develops further.
RB Duke Johnson (Ankle) – got in a limited practice on Friday, and is questionable for the game vs Baltimore. Trending towards playing.
RB Justin Jackson (Quad) – Limited in practice on Friday and will likely miss this week vs the Chiefs.
WR Michael Thomas (Ankle) – Thomas did not practice on Friday, and is very questionable on Monday Night. There was a report that said he will be out at least two weeks, but could try and tough it out and play through it. Remains to be seen.
WR Chris Godwin (Concussion) – Got a limited Practice in on Friday, but still needs to clear the concussion protocol. With how serious the NFL is about preventing injuries these days, I’d try to find an alternative for Godwin at this point.
WR A.J. Brown (Knee) – Was ruled out on Friday after sustaining an injury late in the week. Brown could be out multiple weeks.
WR Jamison Crowder (Hamstring) – Did not practice and has been ruled out of the week 2 matchup vs the 49ers.
WR Courtland Sutton (Limited, Shoulder) – Nearly played in week 1, but was held out. Sutton is on track to return after logging a limited practice on Wednesday. Sutton got in a limited practice on Friday.
WR Kenny Golladay (Hamstring) – Did not practice on Friday and has been ruled out vs GB.
WR DeVante Parker (Hamstring) – Limited. Questionable to play.
WR Golden Tate (Hamstring) – Limited practice on Friday, expected to return on Sunday.
WR Henry Ruggs (Knee) – Missed practice on Friday and is not expected to play on Monday night.
TE George Kittle (Knee) – Has been ruled out, did not practice.
TE Jack Doyle (Knee) – Did not practice again on Thursday, could miss the game vs the Vikings.
TE Gerald Everett (Back) – Practiced fully and is set to return.
(Photos: Tampa Bay Times, Associated Press, USA Today)