12 Sleeper Starts & Duds: Week 2 (2019 Fantasy Football)

Sep 11, 2019

James Washington and the Steelers should rebound in Week 2 against Seattle

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Few expected the dominant Week 1 performances we saw from Dak Prescott, John Ross, and Austin Ekeler, or the lackluster outings we got from David Montgomery, Brandin Cooks, and Jared Goff. Fantasy owners should always remember not to put too much stock into Week 1, though. Most of the time, the early-round picks rebound in short order, and the lesser-known players fall by the wayside, so hopefully you didn’t spend too much FAAB on Marquise Brown and Terry McLaurin.

Regardless, there is still valuable information about player usage and each offense’s and defense’s potential potency that we came away with from Week 1. Combining those takeaways with your overall expectations throughout the season is the key to making good weekly start/sit decisions. As such, our featured experts have used what they learned last week to identify which players can be either viable sleepers or big-time busts this week.

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Q1. Who is a player outside of our top 100 flex rankings that is a deep sleeper start and why do you think he has upside this week?

James Washington (WR – PIT) 
“I like Washington as a sneaky start this week against Seattle. The entire Steelers offense was out of sync in Week 1, but Washington managed 51 yards on six targets and looked significantly better than fellow wideout Donte Moncrief, who did next to nothing with his 10 targets. Ben Roethlisberger and company are in a nice bounce-back spot this weekend at home against a Seattle defense that was torched through the air in Week 1 by the Bengals. Washington brings the same speed component that allowed John Ross to explode for a 7-158-2 stat line last week against the Seahawks’ porous secondary, and while I’m certainly not projecting that kind of breakout for Washington, I think he will have a productive Week 2.”
– Jason Willan (Gridiron Experts)

James Washington and the rest of the Steelers’ offense were lackluster in a Week 1 blowout loss at New England. He finished with just two catches for 51 yards on six targets. This week, Pittsburgh welcomes a Seattle secondary that just got shredded for 418 yards through the air by Andy Dalton and the Bengals at home. Expect a huge bounce-back this Sunday for Big Ben and his boys. Washington had a great offseason and preseason and is in line for a steady amount of targets coming his way. He’s a deep sleeper in Week 2, offering surprising upside.”
– Dan Clasgens (Get Sports Info)

Trey Quinn (WR – WAS) 
“I mentioned last week that Quinn should’ve been locked into at least five targets versus the Eagles, so it wasn’t shocking to see him finish with six of them. He found the end zone and has now caught 13 receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 targets in his career. It’s possible the Redskins found a diamond in the rough. The Cowboys were very good against wide receivers last year, though we did see Adam Humphries rack up 10/79/0, Keke Coutee tally 6/51/1, and Golden Tate tag them for 8/132/2. If there’s one weak point, it was over the middle of the field, which the Giants exploited with Evan Engram last week. If Jordan Reed doesn’t come back, Quinn would be even more attractive.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

A.J. Brown (WR – TEN) 
“I’ll go with Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown. He was able to produce 100 yards in a limited role against the Cleveland Browns last week, catching three-of-four targets along the way. He only played 25 snaps (42%), which was the third-most among Titans wideouts, but you’d have to figure that role will increase, especially if Corey Davis isn’t producing, right? I’m not ready to stick the fork in Davis, but it only makes sense for Tennessee to search for production elsewhere on their roster if it’s not coming from him. The Titans’ Week 2 opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, gave up six pass plays of 20-plus yards in Week 1, which leaves the door open for potential big plays from Brown and Tennessee’s pass catchers.”
– Jake Arthur (Colts.com)

Anthony Miller (WR – CHI) 
“A perfect study for psychology professors on herd mentality occurs every September in fantasy football. The shiny object on the waiver wire we’ve seen so many times over the years, like Kevin Ogletree, Eddie Royal, the late-bloomer-buster Nate Washington, and more recently, Keelan Cole, come to mind. Okay, the seven touchdowns Miller scored in 2018 might look like an anomalous blip after a zero reception Week 1. Yet, he is a perfect, non-point chasing sleeper who should open his fantasy account in Week 2 against a suspect Denver defense and return to a status of ‘bench hold’ instead of ‘bench bubble.'”
– Richard Savill (Fantasy Six Pack)

Chris Thompson (RB – WAS) 
“A player to keep your eye on in Week 2 is Redskins running back Chris Thompson. With Derrius Guice finding himself on the shelf yet again, Thompson’s value is set to step up a notch or two in a rivalry game with the Cowboys. Coming off of a seven-catch, 68-yard performance a week ago, Thompson could once again be in store for a heavy workload as the team plays from behind in this game. Being ranked well outside of the top 100 going into the week, he should be a player that I would be starting in the flex, especially in PPR formats.”
– Brandon Murchison (RotoBaller)

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

Mike Evans (WR – TB) 
“It was a week to forget for Evans, who was dealing with an illness throughout the week that caused him to miss some practice. He did play 60 snaps, so it wasn’t a lack of seeing the field, but rather a lack of competence from the offense. It won’t get much easier this week, as he’s going to see James Bradberry in coverage. In two matchups against him last year, Evans finished with 1/10/0 on 10 targets and then 4/48/0 on six targets. It wasn’t always that way with the Evans/Bradberry showdown, but it seems to have favored Bradberry more as time has gone on. Bradberry was targeted just four times against the Rams, allowing one catch for 11 yards, while intercepting another. If Winston wants to avoid tight coverage – and interceptions – he may want to avoid jump-ball situations that he’d usually take with Evans. Until we see Winston look competent, Evans should be considered a WR2, and this just happens to be a tougher matchup.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Josh Jacobs (RB – OAK) 
“Jacobs had a great NFL debut on Monday night, but I view him as a potential fantasy disappointment in Week 2. The Raiders jumped out to a quick lead against Denver, which allowed them to feed Jacobs 23 carries, the second-most of any player last week. However, his 3.7 yards per carry was the lowest of any player totaling more than 60 yards rushing in Week 1, and Jacobs isn’t likely to see the same workload this weekend as Oakland tries to keep pace with the high-scoring Chiefs. While he has the potential to be a three-down back, he saw just one target last week and is likely to be sharing the pass-catching role out of the backfield with Jalen Richard when the Raiders are playing from behind. The rookie seems poised to have a nice fantasy season in 2019, but I think he will be a bust this week.”
– Jason Willan (Gridiron Experts)

Marlon Mack (RB – IND) 
“The Colts’ offense looked formidable as they battled the Chargers on the road in Week 1. Mack rushed for a career-high 174 yards and a touchdown in the overtime loss. It appears as if Indianapolis is prepared to focus a bit more on the running game in the post-Andrew Luck Era. However, the Titans contained Nick Chubb in Week 1, and in 2018, only three teams allowed fewer fantasy points per game to the position than Tennessee. Owners should temper their expectations for Mack in the week ahead.”
– Dan Clasgens (Get Sports Info)

Derrick Henry (RB – TEN) 
“Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry did some really nice things in Week 1, but I think the Colts will get some of their run defense issues from last week corrected and play him well. They face him twice a year, so they know what to expect. The Titans could also be trying to exploit the Colts through the air if they think they can do what the Los Angeles Chargers did to Indianapolis last week. Don’t forget, while Henry had a decent day on the ground last week, 14 of his points came on one long play.”
– Jake Arthur (Colts.com)

Chris Carson (RB – SEA) 
“A player to temper expectations for during Week 2 could be Carson. Traveling across the country to play a Steelers team that was just embarrassed by the Patriots in Week 1 could prove to be an uphill climb. The Steelers’ rushing defense, trailing for the entirety of the game, held the Patriots’ running backs in check. That will be the focus in Week 2, as they look to key in on Carson, who himself is coming off a somewhat poor performance. He must remain a part of the passing game to maintain value in this matchup and I have a hard time seeing him hauling in another six catches this week. You will obviously be starting him, but don’t count on him to carry you to a win in this matchup.”
– Brandon Murchison (RotoBaller)

James Conner (RB – PIT) 
“After the blowout in New England, we can see what Pittsburgh looks like without a ubiquitous downfield threat of disaster for opposing defenses. It’s a factor affecting all the gears of offensive production on the team. I won’t say Pittsburgh will become a hot-hand backfield — far from it — but if Conner doesn’t demonstrate the form we’re used to seeing soon, rumblings of fantasy impatience are sure to grow. Seattle forced Giovani Bernard to gain all his tepid yardage through pass receptions. This adds to a game script with an atmosphere of a Steelers’ shakeup and Jaylen Samuels‘ involvement after all the embarrassments in the loss to the Patriots.”
– Richard Savill (Fantasy Six Pack)


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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