Week 2 fantasy football matchups preview


Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Cam Newton: Start
Christian McCaffrey: Start
Devin Funchess: Flex
Torrey Smith: Sit
Ian Thomas: Sit
Panthers DST: Beware
Matt Ryan: Beware
Tevin Coleman: Start
Julio Jones: Start
Mohamed Sanu: Sit
Austin Hooper: Sit
Falcons DST: Beware
The Panthers offense has two “must” start options nearly every week in Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey since most of the action funnels through the two of them. Everyone else carries a hint of risk. Funchess has upside with Greg Olsen out of the lineup for an extended period but you’re likely to find better options than anything else on the Carolina roster.
It looks like “Meh” Ryan is back. The Steve Sarkisian offense hasn’t inspired a lot of confidence in the red zone but if Julio Jones is going to be targeted like he was in Week 1 fantasy managers will feel slightly better about a lack of touchdowns. Slightly. Devonta Freeman has been ruled out which means Tevin Coleman will have a much bigger workload and should be in your lineup. After losing two key defenders in Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, you might want another option besides the Falcons defense.
Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Andrew Luck: Start
Marlon Mack: Sit
Jordan Wilkins: Sit
Nyheim Hines: Sit
T.Y. Hilton: Start
Ryan Grant: Sleeper
Jack Doyle: Start
Eric Ebron: Flex
Alex Smith: Start
Adrian Peterson: Flex
Chris Thompson: Start
Jamison Crowder: Flex
Josh Doctson: Sleeper
Paul Richardson: Deep Sleper
Jordan Reed: Start
It’s the second date on the Andrew Luck Revival Tour with a potentially profitable matchup against Washington. He got off to a good start against a Bengals defense that harassed Joe Flacco on Thursday night. As Luck goes, so goes the rest of Indy’s offense. T.Y. Hilton should be in lineups as the number one target in the offense. Ryan Grant has sleeper potential as the WR2. Eric Ebron scored a touchdown last week but Jack Doyle dominated the tight end snaps and targets and should be started across the board.
Graham Barfield in his Next Gen Stats piece pointed out the potential advantages for Alex Smith this week against Indy. Jordan Reed looks like Smith’s choice top target with the receivers divvying up the rest of the passing opportunities. Hopefully Adrian Peterson is more efficient with his overall touches against the Indy defense since it’s hard to imagine him seeing another 26 carries this week. Chris Thompson still looks like the top overall fantasy back in this offense.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Deshaun Watson: Start
Lamar Miller: Start
DeAndre Hopkins: Start
Will Fuller: Sleeper
Ryan Griffin: Sit
Texans DST: Start
Marcus Mariota: Sit
Dion Lewis: Start
Derrick Henry: Beware
Corey Davis: Flex
Rishard Matthews: Sit
Jonnu Smith: Deep sleeper
The consensus is that Deshaun Watson will rebound from a lackluster Week 1. That’s not a guarantee but there’s a reason you probably reached higher in your draft to get him. Watson should be fine. When Watson plays better, Lamar Miller plays better and should be started. Nuk is Nuk, no fears there but Will Fuller has a high ceiling if he’s on the field in this one. With the Titans suffering injuries to both of their offensive tackles, Houston’s pass rushers should have a field day.
Did I mention that the Titans won’t have their starting tackles? That’s terrible news for Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert — who could both play this week. Dion Lewis still should be started as an outlet valve that an relieve some pressure on the quarterback. No Delanie Walker means those targets will be spread around which boosts Corey Davis’ potential production this week. It also could help Rishard Matthews and Taywan Taylor see more opportunity. Jonnu Smith is the next man up at tight end but should only be started in the direst of circumstances.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Nick Foles: Sit
Jay Ajayi: Start
Corey Clement: Sleeper
Nelson Agholor: Start
Mike Wallace: Sleeper
Zach Ertz: Start
Eagles DST: Start
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Sit
Peyton Barber: Beware
Mike Evans: Start
Chris Godwin: Sleeper
DeSean Jackson: Beware
O.J. Howard: Stream
Nick Foles didn’t inspire much confidence with his season-opening performance. Things could be better this week but you can find more productive options. Jay Ajayi will have another full workload this week. Hopefully he can be more efficient with them. After Alvin Kamara’s big Week 1, Corey Clement has PPR sleeper potential. Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz are the top targets as long as Alshon Jeffery is out while Mike Wallace has a high potential ceiling. Philly’s defense should put up a better showing than the Saints last week.
If you took advantage of the Ryan Fitzpatrick game, congrats. If you missed that train, sorry about your luck. It’s not coming back this week. Peyton Barber is the RB workhorse for this team but the matchup is less than exciting for him. Lots of people faded Mike Evans last week in a tough matchup. It’s hard to imagine those people doing the same this week. Chris Godwin already has sleeper value this week. That goes up if DeSean Jackson can’t play in a Week 2 revenge game.
Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Patrick Mahomes: Start
Kareem Hunt: Start
Tyreek Hill: Start
Sammy Watkins: Beware
Travis Kelce: Start
Chiefs DST: Sit
Ben Roethlisberger: Start
James Conner: Start
Antonio Brown: Start
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Start
Vance McDonald: Deep sleeper
Steelers DST: Beware
This has the potential to be the highest-scoring game of the week. After Patrick Mahomes sliced up the Chargers in Week 1, you should feel confident giving him a start in Week 2. Carlos Hyde had a nice day in the rain versus the Steelers last week and Hunt should be able to post similar or better totals. You’re not sitting Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce. End of story. I’m done with Sammy Watkins as a fantasy option but in a high-scoring contest, there’s deep sleeper potential.
After looking atrocious on the road last week, Big Ben gets back home where weirdly he’s superhuman. It also helps that he’s facing a secondary that still has a ton of issues, so … hooray for Antonio Brown and James Conner is fully capable of handling Le’Veon Bell’s workload and giving you Le’Veon Bell’s level of production. If you’re looking for a deep sleeper at tight end, Vance McDonald could have some value in his return. If he doesn’t play, those targets should go to Jesse James.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Ryan Tannehill: Beware
Kenyan Drake: Flex
Frank Gore: Sleeper
Kenny Stills: Stars
DeVante Parker: Beware
Danny Amendola: Sleeper
Sam Darnold: Sleeper
Isaiah Crowell: Flex
Bilal Powell: Sleeper
Quincy Enunwa: Start
Robby Anderson: Flex
Jermaine Kearse: Deep sleeper

Tannehill was spectacularly mediocre in Week 1 … which Ryan Tannehill is wont to do. That shouldn’t really change this week. Kenyan Drake is still the lead back in Miami but Frank Gore is going to be a big part of what they do in the run game. That will lower Drake’s overall ceiling. In case you thought this was the DeVante Parker breakout seasons, Kenny Stills wants to remind you who he is.
Sam Darnold’s first game was a relative success — not counting his very first throw, of course. If you’re in a two-QB league, the rookie is worth a look in your lineup. The combination of Crowell and Powell could put up nice flex numbers but good luck figuring out which one will have the bigger day. If Quincy Enunwa continues to see nearly half of the targets, he’ll be impossible to keep out of your lineup. Robby Anderson’s floor might be scary but his big play ability gives him a higher ceiling.
Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS

Philip Rivers: Start
Melvin Gordon: Start
Austin Ekeler: Flex
Keenan Allen: Start
Mike Williams: Start
Tyrell Williams: Sleeper
Chargers DST: Start
Josh Allen: Sit
LeSean McCoy: Beware
Kelvin Benjamin: Sit
Zay Jones: Sit
Charles Clay: Beware
One week after having a plus matchup against the Chiefs, Philip Rivers and the Chargers should be universally started in fantasy lineups. Austin Ekeler is no longer just a handcuff for Melvin Gordon. After last week’s performance, the second-year running back has standalone fantasy potential. The Chargers defense should rebound against a bad Bills offense after being shredded by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 1.
Josh Allen gets to make his first career start, though the matchup could certainly be better. The rookie’s penchant for throwing downfield could get him into trouble but it could also lead to some chunk plays. You’d still be wise to avoid starting him this week. LeSean McCoy was a non-factor last week and could suffer the same fate in Week 2 if the Chargers devote extra resources to slowing down the running back. The pass-catchers don’t inspire enough confidence to consider starting them.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Kirk Cousins: Start
Dalvin Cook: Start
Latavius Murray: Deep sleeper
Stefon Diggs: Start
Adam Thielen: Start
Kyle Rudolph: Stream
Vikings DST: Start
Aaron Rodgers: Beware
Jamaal Williams: Sit
Davante Adams: Beware
Randall Cobb: Sleeper
Geronimo Allison: Sit
Jimmy Graham: Start
Packers DST: Sit
The Vikings offense was everything we thought it would be in Week 1. Kirk Cousins spread the ball accurately to all of his main pass catchers. Dalvin Cook ran and caught the ball effectively. Even Latavius Murray had a decent stat line considering his limited opportunities. The Packers defense should offer slightly more resistance than the 49ers but Minnesota’s offense should once again be able to move the ball. All of their key fantasy pieces are in play this week.
Aaron Rodgers reminded us last week that you can never count him out. But this week, facing the Vikings stingy defense on a bad knee makes the Packers quarterback a risky start. Jamaal Williams could be asked to contribute more in pass protection to help Rodgers, which would limit his potential production. As the top target, Adams has some value while Cobb and Graham could benefit by Rodgers having to get the ball out quickly. Allison’s deep threat ability could be stymied by Minnesota’s secondary.
Cleveland Browns at New Orleans Saints, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX

Tyrod Taylor: Sleeper
Carlos Hyde: Sleeper
Duke Johnson: Deep sleeper
Jarvis Landry: Start
Josh Gordon: Start
David Njoku: Deep sleeper
Browns DST: Beware
Drew Brees: Start
Alvin Kamara: Start
Mike Gillislee: Sit
Michael Thomas: Start
Ted Ginn: Sleeper
Benjamin Watson: Stream
The Browns showed a little something last week. Even though Taylor didn’t throw it well, his running ability helped him have a pretty good day. The question is whether this offense can have close to the level of success the Buccaneers did last week against the Saints defense. Jarvis Landry is a must-start simply because of the target share he occupies. Josh Gordon should see more than three targets this week, adding to his already high ceiling.
Drew Brees had to throw more than expected last week but he should still post a decent stat line against the Browns as long as Myles Garrett doesn’t wreck his day. There’s no reasonable excuse for sitting Alvin Kamara, although Mike Gillislee’s fumble last week might hurt his chance to see a lot of touches this week. Michael Thomas looks to be in line for a monster season while Ted Ginn always has ceiling play potential. If you’ve lost Delanie Walker or Greg Olsen, Ben Watson could be a nice roster addition this week and beyond.
Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

Matthew Stafford: Start
Lions RBs: Sit
Golden Tate: Start
Marvin Jones: Flex
Kenny Golladay: Flex
Jimmy Garoppolo: Start
Matt Breida: Sleeper
Alfred Morris: Deep sleeper
Pierre Garcon: Sleeper
Dante Pettis: Deep sleeper
George Kittle: Stream
The Lions offense isn’t likely to look as bad as it did last week against the Jets. Stafford should find the 49ers defense much less vexing. That should mean more production for Detroit’s trio of wide receivers. As for the mess in the backfield, you’re best avoiding it altogether until the Lions show that they can actually muster some semblance of a running game.
Just like the Lions should find it easier sledding in Week 2, the Niners should also be relieved that they’re no longer facing the Vikings defense. The Jimmy Garopplo breakout we’ve been hoping for could start on Sunday. Pierre Garcon looks like the top target without Marquise Goodwin in action. Goodwin’s absence could also open up targets for rookie Dante Pettis, who is a solid deep threat. George Kittle should build off a solid Week 1 performance as a big part of San Francisco’s passing game.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

Sam Bradford: Sit
David Johnson: Start
Larry Fitzgerald: Start
Christian Kirk: Sit
Ricky Seals-Jones: Stream
Jared Goff: Start
Todd Gurley: Start
Brandin Cooks: Start
Cooper Kupp: Start
Robert Woods: Flex
Rams DST: Start
The Cardinals had an awful offensive showing in Week 1 and this week’s game against the Rams doesn’t offer much hope for improvement. Both David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are worth starting because of the volume of opportunity they will have in the offense — even more for Fitzgerald if Arizona continues to move him around the formation. Starting anyone beyond those two stars is inadvisable.
Arizona didn’t have a lot of answers for Washington’s offense last week. This week, they’ll try to slow down and even more dynamic offense led by weekly must-start Todd Gurley. Jared Goff and his trio of receivers looks like it could be a problem for every defense they face this season. Arizona’s soft offensive line should give L.A.’s defensive front little resistance in its efforts to get to the quarterback and should be started in all formats.
New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Tom Brady: Beware
Rex Burkhead: Beware
James White: Sleeper
Chris Hogan: Beware
Phillip Dorsett: Sit
Rob Gronkowski: Start
Patriots DST: Stream
Blake Bortles: Sit
Leonard Fournette: Beware
T.J. Yeldon: Sleeper
Dede Westbrook: Deep sleeper
Donte Moncrief: Deep sleeper
Keelan Cole: Deep sleeper
Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Stream

Tom Brady had a pretty good day against the Jaguars in last year’s AFC Championship game but he still took a few hits. The Jaguars will try to get after him again. This time, Brady won’t have Brandin Cooks who torched teh Jags for 100 receiving yards. This receiver corps doesn’t create the same level of concern. But then there’s Gronk. Regardless of what Jalen Ramsey says, you’re starting Gronk. The Patriots defense has some sleeper appeal against an uneven Jacksonville offense.
Speaking of that uneven offense, Blake Bortles was unimpressive last week against the Giants and his receivers suffered as a result. Keep an eye on Leonard Fournette’s injury status heading into Sunday. He could be a game-time decision, which would open things up for T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant. In a fantasy world that is short on tight ends, Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be helpful if you’re in a pinch.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Derek Carr: Sit
Marshawn Lynch: Flex
Amari Cooper: Beware
Jordy Nelson: Sit
Jalen Richard: Deep sleeper
Jared Cook: Stream
Case Keenum: Start
Royce Freeman: Flex
Phillip Lindsay: Flex
Demaryius Thomas: Start
Emmanuel Sanders: Start
Courtland Sutton: Sleeper
Broncos DST: Start
The Raiders offense looked as bad as we feared entering the season. Derek Carr still looks rattled under pressure, which doesn’t bode well when facing Von Miller and the Broncos pass rush. Marshawn Lynch has some flex appeal but could get phased out of the game if the score gets lopsided. Neither Amari Cooper nor Jordy Nelson have given fantasy managers any reason to trust them. Jared Cook looks like best Raider to start against a defense that has struggled to corral tight ends in recent seasons.
The Broncos offense looked solid against the Seahawks in Week 1 and should face even less resistance from the Raiders. Case Keenum could be a spicy start after a three-touchdown performance to begin the year. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are no-brainer starts against the Oakland secondary. Even with Freeman and Lindsay splitting snaps, they both have solid production potential in Week 2 and should be in your lineup.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

Eli Manning: Sleeper
Saquon Barkley: Start
Odell Beckham, Jr.: Start
Sterling Shepard: Sleeper
Evan Engram: Start
Dak Prescott: Sit
Ezekiel Elliott: Start
Cole Beasley: Flex
Allen Hurns: Sit
Michael Gallup: Sit
The Giants offense is still a work in progress … but they also still have Odell Beckham. OBJ is a no-brainer start most weeks but even more so after a big Week 1 against the Jaguars secondary. Big Blue’s other pass-catching options have some sleeper appeal against the Dallas defense. Saquon Barkley owes his Week 1 debut to one big run but his talent is such that he has the ability to do it nearly every time he touches the ball. That’s why you spent a first-round pick on him. Keep him in your lineup.
The Cowboys might have one of the most unwatchable offenses in the NFL. After Ezekiel Elliott, the only other player you’d consider starting from this team is Cole Beasley … and that’s as a flex in deeper leagues. There isn’t much here to get excited about.
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears, 8:15 p.m. ET (Mon.), ESPN

Russell Wilson: Start
Chris Carson: Sit
Rashaad Penny: Sit
Tyler Lockett: Flex
Brandon Marshall: Sleeper
Will Dissly: Beware
Mitchell Trubisky: Sit
Jordan Howard: Start
Tarik Cohen: Flex
Allen Robinson: Start
Taylor Gabriel: Sleeper
Trey Burton: Beware Bears DST: Start
Russell Wilson continues to produce no matter how many weapons he loses. He’ll be tested again versus Khalil Mack and the Bears. Until the Seattle offensive line improves, it’s best to avoid either of the running backs. Tyler Lockett and Brandon Marshall will both see more targets without Doug Baldwin, though the latter is more of a sleeper play. Don’t get caught chasing the points with Will Dissly.
Until Mitchell Trubisky starts throwing the ball downfield more often, it’s hard to recommend starting him. Jordan Howard looks like the focal point of the offense while Tarik Cohen has some flex appeal as a secondary back. Allen Robinson is the top target which makes him a WR2/3 in most fantasy formats. The rest of the pass-catchers should be approached with caution. Look for Mack and the Bears front to get after Wilson and pick up a few sacks this week.
Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man whose Friday is his Friday, but his Saturday is actually his Sunday. Also Tuesday is sort of a Friday. Kind of. Tell him about your scheduling irregularities via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (marcasg9).



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