Sleeper Starts & Duds: Week 2 (Fantasy Football)

Sep 13, 2018

The brutally bad offense LeSean McCoy plays in will likely be his biggest hindrance again this week

Week 1 is history, but with Week 2 kicking off today when the Ravens and Bengals square off, you need to be ready to make some tough decisions regarding your lineup. Fantasy owners who took a chance on James Conner, DeSean Jackson, or Patrick Mahomes last week were thrilled and likely finished Monday with the “W.” If you trotted out LeSean McCoy, Doug Baldwin, or Matthew Stafford, then we send our condolences for what was probably a rough fantasy weekend. If you’re no longer undefeated, then the road to .500 starts this week with the lineup choices you make today, and our featured experts are here to give you the lowdown on which highly ranked players carry significant risk, along with which lower ranked players can produce some sneaky good stats.

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Q1. Who is a player outside of our top 100 flex rankings that is a deep sleeper start and why?

Josh Doctson (WR – WAS)
“To say Doctson’s NFL career to date has been disappointing is an incredible understatement, and three yards on a single catch in the 2018 opener didn’t do much to improve his standing. But the former first-round draft pick from 2016 played 70 of 79 offensive snaps on Sunday, leading all Washington receivers in time on the field, and his poor Week 1 outing can partially be attributed to matching up often against cornerback Patrick Peterson. It also didn’t help Doctson that the Redskins easily handled Arizona, and Alex Smith only attempted 30 passes in the game. Smith projects as an elite fantasy option in Week 2 against a porous Colts secondary and Doctson’s involvement in the passing game gives him serious sleeper potential in this matchup.”
– Jason Willan (Gridiron Experts)

Dante Pettis (WR – SF)
“Pettis had a nice opening game against one of the NFL’s best defenses against opposing wide receivers, the Minnesota Vikings. He only posted two receptions, but they went for 51 yards and a touchdown. He will be at home this week against a Detroit defense that gave up 10 receptions for 153 yards and two touchdowns to the New York Jets last week. Starting WR Marquise Goodwin has a banged up thigh, and that gives Pettis a chance to be a big part of the game plan and be a sneaky fantasy play against a shaky Lions secondary this week.”
– Derek Lofland (Fantasy Football Maniax)

Ben Watson (TE – NO)
“It’s Watson for me. The Browns have been ultra-generous to tight ends over the last few years, including 11 top-12 performances to tight ends last year. Even better? Watson accounted for two of those performances, totaling 8/91/0 in their first meeting and then 4/74/1 in the next meeting. He was with the Ravens, but he knows the defense well, and his chemistry with Brees didn’t seem to go away, as he caught all four of his Week 1 targets.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Mike Wallace (WR – PHI)
“Wallace gets a beneficial matchup this week against rookie Carlton Davis. Last week, Davis was torched by the Saints, and unless Brent Grimes heals quickly, Wallace should see a much easier matchup than he had in Week 1 against the Falcons, and Alshon Jeffrey should remain out another week.”
– Chet Gresham (WalterFootball)

Q2. On the flip side, what player inside the top 40 flex rankings is likely to disappoint fantasy owners?

LeSean McCoy (RB – BUF)
“I am still trying to figure out if the Bills’ 47-3 loss was just a freaky Week 1 loss or a sign of things to come. I think it is the latter; this offense looks terrible at this point. Pro Football Focus ranked the Bills offensive line as the 29th ranked unit in the NFL entering the preseason, but they looked worse than that in Week 1. The Bills were not able to gain a first down in the first half. They are starting rookie QB Josh Allen for the first time this week, and their receiving core consists of WR Kelvin Benjamin, WR Jeremy Kerley, and WR Andre Holmes. I think McCoy is going to see eight in the box while a horrible offensive line blocks for him. I think he won’t come close to his RB18 ranking and will produce more similarly to the 21 yards from scrimmage he had in Baltimore last week.”
– Derek Lofland (Fantasy Football Maniax)

“I’m probably cheating here, but I have to say LeSean McCoy is most likely to disappoint. The Bills offense is flaming garbage and Allen, though better than Nathan Peterman, is just as likely to pour gasoline on the situation. McCoy is still talented and could make something happen, but sustaining long drives and getting into scoring position will be rare occurrences for this Bills team. He’ll likely need a turnover near the opponent’s goal line to score, and I don’t like betting on that to happen.”
– Chet Gresham (WalterFootball)

David Johnson (RB – ARI)
“Johnson is a great NFL running back, but he is currently part of a terrible offense in Arizona. The Cardinals managed just 213 total yards from scrimmage in Week 1 and have a date with Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, and the Rams defense on Sunday. Running behind a terrible offensive line and complemented by a lackluster passing attack, Johnson managed just 37 yards rushing last week (adding another 30 yards receiving) and his prospects aren’t much better in Week 2. Generally a top-five selection in fantasy drafts this summer, owners likely aren’t benching Johnson, but expectations need to be adjusted down, particularly in a bad matchup.”
– Jason Willan (Gridiron Experts)

Devonta Freeman (RB – ATL) and Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
“Freeman has now totaled more than 12 carries just twice since Week 4 of last year, and one of those games was with Tevin Coleman out of the lineup. He’s now dealing with a knee injury that’s keeping him out of practice and will be going against a Panthers defense that allowed just two running backs to top 17 PPR points against them in Weeks 1-16 last year.

If you’d like another one, I’d say that Mixon is likely to disappoint against the Ravens, who have one of the best run defenses in football. While Mixon is uber-talented, the Bengals offensive line doesn’t have the pieces necessary to prevent the Ravens from blowing him up in the backfield. If he’s going to live up to his RB1 ranking, it’ll have to be through the air.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for giving their sleeper starts and duds for Week 2. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter if you’re not already doing so and check out our latest podcast below for more great advice.

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