Week 2 Primer: Analyzing All 16 Games (Fantasy Football)
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-14.0) Over/Under: 42.0
You might see this line and think it’s about right, but you also must keep in mind that this is a divisional game. They are typically closer than expected and that was the case in Week 17 last year when the Seahawks won 25-23. With the way the Seahawks offense looked against the below-average Packers defense, it’s hard to see them being favored by two touchdowns against anyone, but here we are. The 49ers did lose linebacker Rueben Foster in Week 1 to a high-ankle sprain and may be without starting safety Jimmie Ward again, so there’s reason to downgrade their already-lackluster defense. This game is also taking place in Seattle, which is among the toughest places in the NFL to play.
QBs: Brian Hoyer didn’t look sharp in his first outing as the quarterback for Kyle Shanahan, so perhaps it’ll take time for him to acclimate. He’s not an option in anything for Week 2. I talked about Russell Wilson‘s struggles in opening games last week and it happened again in Week 1 when he completed just 14 of 27 passes against the Packers talent-deficient secondary for 158 yards. The run game is not working, though, so this could be the springboard matchup that Wilson needs. Trot him back out there as a QB1 and expect something in the range of 250-300 yards passing with two touchdowns. I’d be more concerned about him if the run game was hitting on all cylinders, but they aren’t and they need him to be the leader.
RBs: It was a rough game for the entire 49ers offense against the Panthers, but there was a positive for Carlos Hyde owners. He saw six targets and caught all of them for 32 yards. Looking at his 2016 season, he caught more than three passes just twice, which should allow him to be less game-script dependent. In the meeting with Seattle last year, Hyde was able to total 103 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, though the touchdowns did come in garbage time. Hyde also played 45 snaps compared to Matt Breida‘s, which also looks good in a game they were getting beat throughout. It’s not a great matchup by any means, but it also doesn’t mean you have to send Hyde to the bench. He should be considered a low-end RB2 this week. Breida should remain on benches as a Hyde handcuff and not much more for the time being. Your guess on how the Seahawks will use their running backs is likely just as good as anyone else’s. Despite starting, Eddie Lacy totaled just five carries against the Packers, while C.J. Prosise didn’t see a single target in the passing game. It seems like Thomas Rawls will return this week, making him the one I’d feel most confident in, though that’s not saying much. If you have the option to sit back and see how this situation plays out, do that, though it’s likely that you’ll never feel confident putting any of them in your lineup. Lacy is a clear bench player this week and may be able to be cut in season-long leagues, Prosise is nothing more than an RB4/5 if he’s not being used in the passing game, and Rawls is a risky flex-play even in a great matchup. If Rawls does miss another week, Chris Carson would jump into the RB3 conversation, as he looked the best of the bunch last week. Heck, he may even start over Rawls, but I wouldn’t feel confident suggesting that.
WRs: It was a solid showing by Pierre Garcon in Week 1, as he was the target-hog we thought he’d be, seeing a team-high 10 targets. It’ll be a tough matchup for him this week against the Seahawks, but that doesn’t mean he should be off your radar. He’ll continually be in the WR3 conversation even in bad matchups because of the volume he’s slated to see. The Seahawks have allowed 12 wide receivers to snag six or more receptions against them in their last 14 games. If Trent Taylor had more experience under his belt, he’d be in the conversation as a streaming option, but he saw just one target in his debut last week. Marquise Goodwin played all the snaps last week, but will see the most Richard Sherman in coverage. He can always haul in one deep ball, but I wouldn’t bank on it in this matchup. Doug Baldwin had a miserable week due to Wilson’s struggles, but bank on him getting back on track against this secondary that’ll ask K’Waun Williams, a former undrafted free agent, to cover him in the slot. He’s allowed a 98.5 quarterback rating in coverage over his career. Baldwin needs to be back in lineups as a WR1 this week. Paul Richardson even has a plus-matchup against Dontae Johnson, who allowed Russell Shepard to beat him for a 40-yard touchdown last week. Richardson is a bit riskier if Wilson hasn’t hit his stride, but he should be looked at as an upside WR4 this week. Tyler Lockett was on the field for 26 of 49 possible snaps last week and looked good. Though I’d like to wait in season-long leagues, Lockett isn’t a bad guy to take a shot on in tournaments considering it only takes one play for him to hit value. You want to get out in front of the crowd in case he has that blowup game. Pete Carroll said after the game that he’ll ramp up Lockett’s snaps in the next few weeks, which is always encouraging. Consider him an upside-WR5 that’s going to move up as the weeks go on.
TEs: We got our answer as to who the 49ers pass-catching tight end is, as rookie George Kittle saw six targets in Week 1, hauling in five of them for 27 yards. The Seahawks are not a matchup to play him, but he’s a name to watch in the upcoming games as a potential streaming option if he continues to see a handful of targets. Jimmy Graham was targeted a team-high seven times against the Packers, but was only able to haul in three of them for eight yards. In two games against the 49ers last year, Graham destroyed them for 10 catches, 164 yards and a touchdown in their two meetings. In a game where the Seahawks are projected to score 28 points, Graham is a good bet to find the endzone. He’s a high-end TE1.
Projection: Seahawks 27, 49ers 17
Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams (-3.0) Over/Under: 46.0
What a difference a year can make, eh? The Rams looked good in their home opener, but we mustn’t forget that it was the Colts. While the Redskins didn’t look great in their opener, it was against the Eagles, who are a team that is supposed to make some waves this year. All about perspective with this game, and the total suggests there will be some scoring. Looking over the Redskins last 17 games, they have allowed 15 teams to score at least 20 points, but just four of them have scored more than 27 points. I don’t see a realistic possibility that the Rams hit 27 points in this game. The lone injury to watch for in this game is Rams starting cornerback Kayvon Webster who injured his shoulder in Week 1 and may have to miss a game.
QBs: A lot has changed in Los Angeles this offseason and while some have already crowned their moves a success, we have yet to see an actual NFL offense go up against them (no, Scott Tolzien doesn’t count). Kirk Cousins definitely has appeal as a high-end QB2 against a defense that allowed 18 passing touchdowns in their final seven games in 2016. The Rams will be getting defensive tackle Aaron Donald back this week, which definitely doesn’t help Cousins, but it hurts Robert Kelley even more. If Webster misses this game, Cousins teeters on QB1 value. Do you recall back after the second week of the preseason when Jared Goff was being praised for completing 16 of 20 attempts for 160 yards and a touchdown? Yeah, then came Week 3 of the preseason where he looked like the quarterback we saw in 2016. Again, don’t assume because he took care of the Colts means that he’s good-to-go. The Redskins secondary held 10 of 16 quarterbacks to one or zero passing touchdowns in 2016, but they did allow the seventh-most passing yards per game (274). Goff shouldn’t be trusted outside of 2QB leagues, and you may even have a better option than him in those formats.
RBs: Some will look at Todd Gurley‘s 15.6 fantasy points and think, “He’s back!” I mean, it was his highest scoring fantasy game since way back in Week 3 of 2016, but it was a very hollow 15.6 points, as he totaled just 40 rushing yards on 19 carries (2.1 yards per carry) against the Colts. That was his third-lowest YPC of his career and it came against a defense that allowed 4.82 yards per carry last year and the sixth-most points per game to them. Last week was a step in the wrong direction for Gurley. He’s still going to be a factor in fantasy leagues with 20-plus touches a week, but if you can sell, you should consider it. The Redskins weren’t much better in 2016, allowing 4.6 yards per carry and the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. Considering he’s a home favorite again, he’ll be highly-owned in DFS, but last week was worrisome. He’s an RB2 this week, as he will be the majority of the time, though the matchup says he should be an RB1. Robert Kelley was his usual-self in Week 1, totaling 30 yards on 10 carries. He has now totaled fewer than 4.0 yards per carry in five of his last seven games. With Aaron Donald back for the Rams, Kelley is nothing more than a touchdown-dependent RB3 this week. Samaje Perine didn’t even play an offensive snap in Week 1, but his time will come by mid-season. Chris Thompson is going to be a PPR flex option more often than not, but this matchup isn’t a great one. The Rams allowed just six running backs to total more than three catches last year and the Redskins shouldn’t need to go pass-heavy in this game. He’s just an RB4 in this matchup.
WRs: It’s quite possible that Cooper Kupp is the most productive wide receiver on this team in 2017. Does it mean he’s better than Sammy Watkins? Absolutely not, but he matches Goff’s skill-set ideally. This week also happens to be a great matchup for him, as he’ll match-up with Kendall Fuller in the slot, who was just worked by Nelson Agholor last week. Just last year, Fuller allowed a 79 percent catch rate and over 10 yards per target in coverage. He should be considered a WR3 this week in both standard and PPR formats. Sammy Watkins has a bit tougher of a matchup against Josh Norman, though it’s noteworthy that the Redskins didn’t use Norman to shadow Alshon Jeffery in Week 1. It wouldn’t make sense for them to have Norman covering Robert Woods, but stranger things have happened. If they allow Watkins to run routes against Bashaud Breeland, he’ll beat him. Consider Watkins a high-risk, high-reward WR3 in Week 2. Woods is kind of an afterthought with Kupp and Watkins there, though he did see five targets in Week 1. I’d like to see a trend before using him in anything, which I doubt will happen. Tavon Austin also fits in the “leave on the waiver wire” advice. Terrelle Pryor has looked brutal this year, like a guy who just started playing wide receiver. He wasn’t tracking the ball properly, he’s now dropped four passes in the 18 targets he’s seen from Kirk Cousins this year, and he didn’t seem interested in chasing after the defender who intercepted Cousins’ pass last week. With that being said, he was targeted a ridiculously-high 11 times, meaning he’s in play every week. The Rams will ask Trumaine Johnson to cover him this week and if there’s anyone who can handle Pryor’s 6-5 frame, it’s Johnson, who is one of the bigger cornerbacks in the league. Pryor is just a WR3 in this matchup, but he’s hard to bench with the rest of the offense struggling to stay healthy. Jamison Crowder is apparently playing with a hip injury and it showed in Week 1 as he caught just three of seven targets. Crowder caught 71 percent of his passes over the last two years, making me think there is something going on there. If he practices in full, I’ll feel better about using him as a WR3/4. Josh Doctson apparently needs to prove he’s healthy to Jay Gruden before getting on the field more than the 20 snaps he was last week. He’s not worth playing in any format this week, but you’ll want to watch his snap counts moving forward. Ryan Grant isn’t anything more than a low-upside WR5 who will be the one to lose snaps to Doctson as the weeks go on.
TEs: It’s a mess at tight end for the Rams duo of Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, as they combined to see just three targets. Higbee is the one who is getting double the snaps (54 to 28), so he’d be the one to play if you were forced. It’s a waste of a great matchup, as the Redskins have been a stomping ground for tight ends. Consider Higbee if you play in a 2TE league. You were warned that it was a bad matchup for Jordan Reed against the Eagles, and it’s not a great matchup against the Rams, either. They allowed just 621 yards to the position last year and there were just have been just two tight ends who’ve totaled more than 52 yards against them in their last 17 games. Still, Reed can’t be benched as a tight end who sees tons of targets, so consider him a middle-of-the-pack TE1 for this contest.
Prediction: Redskins 26, Rams 20
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) Over/Under: 53.5
This is a matchup where you want as many players as possible from a fantasy perspective. It’s in a dome so you don’t have to worry about weather or anything. It is the Falcons first home game in their new stadium (which is beautiful), so expect it to be loud inside there. The Packers and Falcons played each other twice last year (once in the regular season, once in the playoffs) and the Falcons won both games. The totals in those games amounted to 65 points in both games, and keep in mind that the Packers were without Jordy Nelson in the playoff game. It’s possible that the 53.5-point total isn’t enough.
QBs: You don’t need to me to tell you that you’re starting Aaron Rodgers in this game. In the two games against them last year, he finished with 246 yards and four touchdowns, and then 287 yards and three touchdowns. He’s come back with an upgraded arsenal. This offense simply has too many weapons to stop. The Falcons defense allowed 31 passing scores last year, the third-most in the league. Rodgers is an elite play in both season-long and DFS. Matt Ryan is also a strong QB1 against a Packers defense that also allowed 31 passing scores last year. The way the offense was called in Week 1 wasn’t reassuring for Ryan’s value, but we don’t want to overreact to one week. The Packers also just cut one of their 2016 starting cornerbacks (Lardarius Gunther) mid-week, leaving them even more desperate at the position. Ryan’s lines against the Packers was even better than Rodgers’ last year, as he totaled 288 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting and 392 yards and four touchdowns in their playoff game. Ryan is a must-play QB1, though I’d take Rodgers if forced to pick one.
RBs: I said in the preseason that if Montgomery locked down his pass protection, he’d have a legitimate shot at finishing as a top-10 running back. After playing 10 more snaps than any other running back in Week 1, it’s safe to say that he’s the workhorse for the Packers. If you recall my article on how team scoring affects fantasy players, you’d remember that 73.3 percent of top-six running backs come from top-12 scoring offenses. Montgomery is in that conversation going forward. Going against an Falcons run defense was a treat for any running back who saw at least 14 carries against them. There were eight running backs to achieve this feat in 2016 and all of them were able to score at least 14 PPR points, including seven of them that hit 17 or more points. Montgomery is an RB1 this week and a solid tournament play in DFS. Jamaal Williams played only when Montgomery needed to come out, so he’s not on radars. Devonta Freeman has some warning signs from Week 1, as he totaled 36 snaps to Tevin Coleman‘s 24, but he only out-touched him 14 to 12 in what was a close game throughout against the Bears. It was just one game, but it appears that this is even more of a timeshare than it was in 2016 under Kyle Shanahan. Still, Freeman was dominant at home last year, totaling 97 total yards per game and 11 total touchdowns in eight games. He should have plenty of shots to score in this game and is an RB1. Coleman is also playable as an RB3/flex option in what should be an ultra-high scoring frenzy.
WRs: This just in – Jordy Nelson is still really good at the game of football. Against the Seahawks, he shredded them for seven catches, 79 yards, and a touchdown. Looking at the secondary of the Falcons should be a dream to him, though they will likely use Desmond Trufant in a shadow situation. They did last year and he totaled 94 yards and a touchdown. He’s a WR1 in almost any matchup, including this one. Davante Adams can safely be placed back in fantasy lineups as a high-upside WR2, as he’ll see Robert Alford in coverage, who is just a mediocre talent. Randall Cobb is an interesting player to gauge in a matchup like this, because some will assume he’s back to his role from back in 2012-2014, but I’d err on the side of caution, as his matchup last week was the best among all the Packers wideouts. He will match-up with Brian Poole this week, and while he allows a high catch rate, he’s allowed just 6.5 yards per target in his coverage over the last two years. Cobb is still a WR3, but don’t just assume he’s back because of one game. Julio Jones was targeted just five times against the Bears, which should never happen. It actually did happen twice in 2016, but never in back-to-back games. Jones is an elite play against the Packers inept secondary. He’ll see Quinten Rollins a majority of the time, and he’s coming off a game in which he saw five targets in coverage and allowed five catches for 55 yards on them. If Jones doesn’t post WR1 numbers in this game, I give up trying to project fantasy. Mohamed Sanu was the team leader in targets last week with nine of them, but that netted them just 47 yards. He’ll line up across from Damarious Randall in the slot and it’s a great matchup on paper. I don’t want to say that Sanu should be used in season-long leagues, but I’m also not against it. Consider him a WR4 in a great spot. Taylor Gabriel was on the field for three-wide sets, making him a bit more volatile, though he’s able to make one play to stand out, whereas guys like Sanu need multiple plays. Gabriel is a high-upside WR5 who doesn’t have business in season-long leagues, but has tournament appeal in DFS.
TEs: This is the type of matchup where you’ll want to have some exposure to Martellus Bennett. There were 13 tight ends who saw two or more targets against the Falcons last year and just three of them didn’t score at least 10 PPR points. Seven of them were able to accumulate 14.5 or more points, making this a dream scenario with a high implied total. It wouldn’t shock me if Bennett scored two touchdowns in this contest, making him a must-start TE1. There are a lot of mixed emotions for me on Austin Hooper who posted 128 yards and a touchdown against the Bears in Week 1. That’s great obviously, but he saw just two targets and his catches didn’t come until the fourth quarter. But then… he did play 47 snaps (just one less than Julio Jones), so that’s great news. He needs to see more targets if he’s going to be a consistent TE1. The Packers did allow the eighth-most yardage to tight ends last year, making it easy to like Hooper in this matchup. He also totaled five catches for 41 yards in a limited role against them last year. With the over/under hovering around 54 points, consider a high-upside TE2.
Prediction: Packers 31, Falcons 28
Detroit Lions at New York Giants (-3.5) Over/Under: 43.5
Coming off an emotional win at home against the Cardinals, the Lions will head out to New York to play against a Giants team who lost a divisional showdown on Sunday night. The Giants allowed just 17.1 points per game at home last year, which ranked eighth-best in the league, while the Lions allowed four more points per game on the road. The NFL is such a small sample size that those numbers can be dictated by matchups, but combining it with the fact that the Lions also averaged three points per game less on the road, it’s something to note. Giants right tackle Bobby Hart is reportedly highly questionable for this game with an ankle injury, which would only hurt an already talent-deprived offensive line. The biggest question about the Lions defense last week was how rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis would play at middle linebacker. He looked solid in the run game, but struggled when dropping back in coverage, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Giants exploit that.
QBs: It’s hard to recommend firing up Matthew Stafford in this matchup, even though he is coming off a week where he finished as the No. 2 quarterback. The Giants defense has been really good against fantasy quarterbacks, as they have now held 16 of the last 17 quarterbacks to 17.9 or less fantasy points. The only quarterback to eclipse that was Kirk Cousins, who finished with 19.3 points. They’re also a stout run defense, so Stafford should still see enough volume to post QB2 numbers, but he’s a name to avoid in DFS this week. It’s hard to recommend Eli Manning as anything until we see him right the ship. His Week 1 looked just as bad as his 2016 did, making him a risky proposition, even against a lackluster Lions defense. Just last year, the Lions allowed 32 passing touchdowns, which the second-most to only the Browns. If Odell Beckham returns for this game, Manning gets bumped up to high-end QB2 territory, but if Beckham sits you should look for other options in 2QB formats.
RBs: It was a rough time doing anything for Ameer Abdullah in Week 1 against a stout Cardinals run defense, even without Calais Campbell. It’s hard to say that the matchup with the Giants is going to be any easier, as they allowed just over 3.6 yards per carry last year and held 10 of 16 starting running backs to 12 or less PPR points. It was encouraging to see his usage, however, as he carried the ball 15 times and was targeted four times in the passing game. The fact that they stuck with him and won the game with the strategy says a lot. He’s going to have better days on the stat sheet, but consider him a solid RB3/flex-play in this tough matchup. Theo Riddick is a bit more questionable to use, as the Giants didn’t allow a single receiving touchdown to a running back last year and gave up the 13th fewest yards to them. He’s just an RB4 this week. Dwayne Washington got the short-yardage role over Zach Zenner in Week 1, but both are just guys who need to score a touchdown to provide any value. It was clear that whatever the Giants were doing in Week 1 with their run-game wasn’t working. They attempted to mix in Orleans Darkwa with Paul Perkins, but that didn’t work, obviously. Odell Beckham is the glue that holds this offense together and it’ll be hard to trust any of them unless he’s on the field. If he plays, Perkins should be able to post flex-type numbers at minimum. If Beckham sits, Perkins is nothing more than an RB4. Shane Vereen played 31 of 57 snaps last Sunday and saw 10 targets with Beckham out of the lineup. Opposite of Perkins, if Beckham sits, Vereen gets bumped up to the RB3/4 range in PPR leagues.
WRs: It was some week to be a Lions wide receiver last week, as they all contributed in some way. This week will be a tough task against the combination of Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Eli Apple/Ross Cockrell, as they combined to allow just 1.48 PPR points per target in 2016, the fifth-best mark in the league. It’s unlikely that Janoris Jenkins shadows anyone, so he’ll see a mixture of both Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. Jones in the every-snap player, so he gets the edge as a WR4 in this game, while Golladay is in the WR5 territory. While some will disagree, keep in mind that he easily had the best matchup of Lions wide receivers last week, as Patrick Peterson shadowed Jones and Tyrann Mathieu had Golden Tate. Golladay beat Justin Bethel. Tate can be safely plugged in as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 in this game, though you should know that his ceiling is severely limited. If Odell Beckham plays, you’re putting him in your lineup as a WR1, period. Similar to the 2016 season, Brandon Marshall looked like he was done in Week 1, not snagging a catch until the last drive of the game. Beckham may be able to help detract attention from Marshall, but it might just be that Sterling Shepard is the better fantasy option for them. If Beckham sits, I’d much rather play Shepard at this point. Even if Beckham plays, it’s difficult to start Marshall until he gives us a reason to. Consider Shepard an upside WR4 in fantasy leagues right now.
TEs: If Eric Ebron was dropped in your fantasy league, go out there and grab him for this week. The Giants are a stomping ground for opposing tight ends, as they allowed 87-year-old Jason Witten to rack up seven catches for 59 yards and a touchdown last week. The 1,052 yards they allowed to tight ends in 2016 was the fourth-most in the league. They only allowed four touchdowns to them, but Ebron doesn’t score touchdowns, right? Consider him a cash game option this week and a low-end TE1 in season-long leagues. Most don’t realize that Ebron was the only tight end in the NFL who totaled just one game with fewer than 7.0 PPR points. What’s important is that he’s healthy and played all the snaps (he did). Evan Engram looked solid enough in his first game and was on the field for 46 of 57 snaps, making him a solid streamer against a Lions defense that allowed the third-most touchdowns to tight ends in 2016. As mentioned in the opening paragraph for this game, rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis struggled in coverage in Week 1, allowing seven catches for 73 yards on eight targets in coverage. Engram is a high-end TE2 if Beckham is out, but should still offer TE2 value even if he plays.
Prediction: Giants 24, Lions 23
Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5) Over/Under: 38.0
It’s odd to see a team who failed to score any points be a favorite in anything, but when you see that it’s the Texans on the other side of the field, you probably understand. Just last week the Texans were considered a favorite as a team who was in the playoffs last year. With the quarterback dilemma they are staring at, it’s hard to envision that being the case again in 2017. Still, we cannot ignore that the Ravens just blanked the Bengals while they were at home.
QBs: The Texans pulled the cord pretty quickly on the whole Tom Savage experiment in Week 1, deciding that Deshaun Watson gave them the best chance to win after halftime. As of the time writing this, Watson should be expected to start in Week 2. With that being said, the Bengals defense will get their best cornerback Adam Jones back from suspension this week. These two teams played last year with Savage as the starter in Week 16 and he was unable to throw a touchdown, completing 18 of 29 passes for 176 yards. Watson is always going to give you a solid floor with his rushing abilities, but he doesn’t have the ceiling you want in one-quarterback leagues this week. Consider him a safe QB2. Andy Dalton looked awful in Week 1 and it may be the best idea to make sure he gets on track before starting him at all. His four interceptions tied a career-high, though it was his first game with more than two interceptions since Week 13 of 2014. The Texans bring a stiff pass-rush, making it a scary proposition to start Dalton in Week 2, as their offensive line looked pretty bad against the Ravens front-seven as he was sacked five times. Dalton is just a low-end QB2 in this matchup with one of the lowest totals of the week.
RBs: Lamar Miller went right back to his workhorse role in Week 1, playing on 64/79 snaps with Alfred Blue on the shelf. You would have thought D’Onta Foreman would have played more than two snaps, but that’s all. Miller should be a solid RB2 against the Bengals who will once again be without their best linebacker Vontaze Burfict who is suspended for the first three games. The Bengals showed vulnerability against the run last week when they allowed Terrance West and Javorius Allen to combine for 151 yards and a touchdown on 40 carries. It’s highly unlikely that the Texans run the ball 40 times, but Miller is a safe bet for 20 touches in a game that’ll have a run-heavy approach. The only potential downside to Miller is that his starting right guard Jeff Allen may not play this game. If Allen sits, Miller is just a middling RB2 instead of the solid one he’s slated to be. No other Texans running backs should be considered. Jeremy Hill got the start for the Bengals, but he played just 10 snaps in Week 1. In fact, Giovani Bernard is the running back who led the team in snaps, though it was likely due to game-script. Joe Mixon was unimpressive in his first game, though the Bengals offensive line did him no favors. Just last week the Texans allowed Leonard Fournette to finish with 100 yards and a touchdown on the ground, so they aren’t impenetrable. Still, with the snaps being distributed so evenly, it’ll be tough to play any of the running backs confidently. Bernard should be the safest play this week, as the Texans did allow 7.4 yards per target to running backs last year, fourth-highest in the league. Bernard is nothing more than a flex-play, though, as is teammate Mixon. If you can sell Hill for anything at this point, do it. Maybe someone will buy the fact that he ‘started’ for them. He’s a touchdown-or-bust option every week.
WRs: We knew that Deandre Hopkins was going to see a lot of targets last week, but did anyone see a league-high 16 targets coming his way? It was more of the same as last year, totaling just 3.4 yards per target. Fortunately, he scored making him a WR2 in fantasy. This matchup isn’t as tough as last week, but it’s still no walk in the park. He’ll see a mix of all three cornerbacks as none of them shadow, and considering he’s the only show in town, he’s a volume WR2. When you’re seeing double-digit targets, you should be in fantasy lineups. Braxton Miller has a great matchup on paper, but it’s impossible to trust a player who just saw one target with little-to-no talent around him on the field. In what was Andy Dalton‘s worst game in a long time, A.J. Green still had value hauling in five passes for 74 yards. He’ll see a mixture of Johnathan Joseph and Kevin Johnson in coverage this week, something that shouldn’t deter you from playing him, not that any cornerback would. He didn’t play in the matchup between these two teams last year, but Brandon LaFell did and totaled 130 yards and a touchdown. The low total is concerning for Green’s ceiling, but he’s still a WR1 this week. LaFell shouldn’t be played unless Green is out of the lineup. Sure, he’ll catch a touchdown from time-to-time, but there are just too many other mouths to feed on this team. Tyler Boyd went back to his non-productive nature in Week 1 and shouldn’t be owned in fantasy leagues. Until we see John Ross on the field and playing a majority of snaps, he’s a sit in fantasy leagues.
TEs: There are a lot of things wrong here, as the Texans are kind of left without a tight end in Week 2 after they ruled out C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin, and Stephen Anderson on Wednesday. With the way Bill O’Brien’s offense favors the tight end, the starter was going to be an interesting streaming option. The Bengals are one of the teams you could stream tight ends against last year, as they allowed over 72 yards per game to them. Still, it’s hard to suggest Evan Baylis (the last tight end on the roster) as someone you should play in anything. One of the biggest mysteries in Week 1 was the lack of targets for Tyler Eifert, who saw just one target despite playing 54 of 61 possible snaps. The Ravens were a tough matchup for Eifert, but there is no excuse for him to see one target in any matchup. It’s possible that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but it’s also important to note the Texans allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends last year. Eifert is a still a TE1 in this matchup, as he makes his living in the endzone seemingly regardless of matchup.
Prediction: Bengals 23, Texans 20