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10 Sleeper Starts and Busts: Week 2 (Fantasy Football)

Sep 17, 2020

Tre’Quan Smith is set to have a much bigger role in Week 2 due to Michael Thomas’ absence

People who rostered early-round players like Michael Thomas, Miles Sanders, Kenny Golladay, James Conner, Courtland Sutton, and Le’Veon Bell have already been bitten by the injury bug. As unfortunate as every ailment is, there is a positive that comes from it in the form of sleeper players getting their chance to make a name for themselves in both real and fake football. We’ve already seen Benny Snell and Dallas Goedert rise to prominence due to injuries that have now given them a larger piece of the pie. We also saw notable players like Joe Mixon, Odell Beckham, and Dak Prescott put up dud performances. Who else can surprise in Week 2 and which highly-touted athletes may fall flat? Our featured experts are here to give you the skinny on what other hidden gems are primed to shine this week along with their thoughts on who you should temper expectations for.

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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?

Tre’Quan Smith (WR – NO) @ LV
“I’m going very deep here and saying Smith. He’s played in just 11 games where he’s seen three-plus targets. In those games, he’s scored 10-plus PPR points in six of them. With Michael Thomas out of the lineup, Smith will be asked to play a much larger role in the offense and should see four-plus targets against the Raiders, who are starting rookie Damon Arnette at cornerback. He allowed 110 yards and a touchdown in his coverage in Week 1.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Tre’Quan Smith had just one catch in the opener, but he looks to have a much bigger role offensively this week with Michael Thomas on the shelf. Smith has all sorts of talent, but lacked consistency throughout his career. He gets a chance to start and get consistent work for the next several weeks. He also has a great matchup against the Raiders this week, a team that allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to WRs in Week 1.”
– Jeff Paur (RTSports)

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR – GB) vs. DET
“Valdes-Scantling was tied for the second-most targets on the team in Week 1 and has a massive opportunity to produce this week against a terrible Detroit defense. In 2019, Detroit gave up the second-most yards to the WR position, which translates to the most yards when adjusting for the strength of the WRs that they faced. In Week 1, Detroit gave up the eighth-most yards to the WR position. With a 49.5 point over/under (third highest of the week), I expect there to be a ton of opportunities for MVS to tap into his sneaky upside.”
– Nick Humphreys (Fantasy Victors)

Latavius Murray (RB – NO) @ LV
“When looking for a potential boom play that might normally be on your bench, Murray is the most intriguing in Week 2. He took more carries than Alvin Kamara in the opener (15-12) and was more effective on the ground. He could see his touches go up further now that Michael Thomas is out. The Saints will try to control the game on the ground and shouldn’t have difficulty doing it since the Raiders aren’t the most stout defense, having allowed 129 rushing yards last week and now will be without top linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. Murray doesn’t have the receiving upside, but isn’t simply going to be touchdown-dependent in this matchup to generate points.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Russell Gage (WR – ATL) @ DAL
“I don’t think Gage’s production was a fluke. Sure, the Falcons won’t pass the ball 54 times every week … but they’ll likely lead the league in pass attempts yet again. Gage was on the field for just one fewer pass snap than Julio Jones and two fewer than Calvin Ridley. I want to start players getting snaps in this offense and it looks like Gage will be out there.”
– Nick Zylak (Fantasy Football Advice)

Jalen Reagor (WR – PHI) vs. LAR
“Surprising some, the rookie made his debut in the opener despite a shoulder injury. While he only had one catch on his four targets, it was a 55-yard bomb that he hauled in. The Eagles were down multiple offensive linemen that should be back giving Wentz more time in the pocket to throw downfield.”
– Michael Tomlin (Fantasy Six Pack)


Q2. On the flip side, what player inside the top-50 flex rankings is likely to disappoint fantasy managers this week and why?

Odell Beckham (WR – CLE) vs. CIN
“Odell Beckham barely makes it into the top-45 flex rankings, but he can’t be placed that high until we see proof that he and Baker Mayfield are on the same page. He only caught three of 10 targets in Week 1, but that’s simply a continuation of 2019 when he caught just 55.6% of his passes. Cincinnati’s secondary isn’t as bad as many believe — they allowed the 19th-most fantasy points to WRs last year and held the Chargers to 173 passing yards in the opener. Unless they make a concerted effort to funnel passes to OBJ (and he actually comes down with them) or he breaks a long touchdown, he is bound to disappoint.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

“I’m starting to get concerned with Odell Beckham. I think he’s still an elite talent who should have a good year, but Baker Mayfield looks dreadful. Beckham technically had 10 targets, but so many of them were just impossible to catch because of Mayfield’s inaccuracy. I’m not against benching him until we see this duo produce as it should.”
– Nick Zylak (Fantasy Football Advice)

Raheem Mostert (RB – SF) @ NYJ
“It’s possible that Mostert lets fantasy managers down this week. The Jets are going to present a tough matchup. Since Gregg Williams became the defensive coordinator at the start of the 2019 season, they’ve allowed a minuscule 1,101 yards on 353 carries, which amounts to 3.12 yards per carry, the second-lowest mark in the league over that time. There were only six running backs who totaled at least 15 carries against them last year and all of those running backs finished as the RB20 or better, so that’s the magic number for Mostert to get into RB2 territory, but as we’ve learned with Kyle Shanahan over the years, there’s no guarantee.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

David Johnson (RB – HOU) vs. BAL
“Don’t get me wrong, Johnson looked great in Week 1. He passed the eye test, passed the box score test, and he’ll be in your lineup if you don’t have better options. But his 7.0 yards per carry in last week came against a Chiefs defense that allowed the eighth-most rushing yards in 2019. Johnson’s Week 2 matchup won’t be as easy on the ground, as the Ravens allowed the 25th-most rushing yards to RBs in 2019. The ground game is not the main concern here, however, since you have to assume that the Texans will be trailing and will need to utilize him in the passing game. The problem is that Baltimore allowed the 30th-most receiving yards to RBs last year as well. This could be a tough game for him to get rolling and his upside could be severely limited by the matchup.”
– Nick Humphreys (Fantasy Victors)

T.Y. Hilton (WR – IND) vs. MIN
“I’m not sure that Philip Rivers and T.Y. Hilton are a good fit. Besides the uninspiring Week 1 performance from Hilton, it was the way Rivers attacked the defense. He seemed much more inclined to go horizontal, rather than vertical, which is not good for Hilton’s prospectus. Unless Rivers increases his 6.3 intended air yards per attempt (near the likes of Derek Carr and Daniel Jones), Hilton is likely to disappoint.”
– Michael Tomlin (Fantasy Six Pack)

Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA) vs. NE
“Lockett looked great in Week 1, catching all eight of his targets. That came against a bad Falcons secondary, though. He gets a much tougher challenge this week, likely getting matched with Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore. New England might have the best secondary in football. Lockett is going to struggle to match last week’s production.”
– Jeff Paur (RTSports)


Thank you to the experts for giving their sleeper starts and busts 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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