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The Game Plan: Week 2 Edition (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Kyle Yates | @KyleYNFL | Featured Writer
Sep 16, 2021
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Have you ever watched the show “New Girl”? It’s absolutely one of my favorite shows of all time, and when I know I need a laugh, it’s one of the first options I’ll queue up. For those who haven’t seen this show – please fix that and go watch it – this intro might not make much sense. However, for those that have seen the show, you’ll love this intro as much as you love Tran.

While I could spend this intro using my platform to talk about how they could remove Jessica Day from the entire show, and it might actually improve, I won’t do that. I’m going to reference a different part of the show that ties into something new that’s happening around here at FantasyPros. Winston Schmidt (sorry for the spoilers) is one of the best parts of this spectacular series, and he has a moment where he is coming off of a very personal injury, and he wants to throw a party to celebrate this new chapter in his life.

When asked about the purpose of the party, Schmidt responds by saying, “It’s not a party. It’s a rebranding event.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my rebranding event. Alright, I’m not going to make as big of a deal out of it as Schmidt does by trying to find a white tiger or by swirling fire staffs on either side of me in front of a sign that says, “Danger.” However, we have decided that it was time to rebrand my weekly Fantasy Projections article to something that is more in line with our other significant weekly articles here. By this point, everyone knows what The Primer is and how valuable of a resource it can be for fantasy football and what it contains. My hope is that by now, people are aware of what this article contains with its projections for every single fantasy-relevant player and in-depth advice. We all need a game plan as we head into setting our fantasy lineups each and every week, and that’s what this article is all about.

So kick back, relax, and start planning for your matchup this week with the freshly rebranded Game Plan.

As always, this article is for you, Tags. Keep fighting.

Get free start/sit and waiver wire advice for your fantasy team >>

NYG at WAS | LV at PIT | SF at PHI | HOU at CLE | DEN at JAC | NO at CAR | LAR at IND | BUF at MIA | NE at NYJ | CIN at CHI | ATL at TB | MIN at ARI | TEN at SEA | DAL at LAC | KC at BAL | DET at GB |

New York Giants vs. Washington Football Team

Date/Time: Thursday September 16, 8:20pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Washington -3
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 40.5 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Washington 21.75, Giants 18.75

New York Giants

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Daniel Jones 23/35 253 1.55 1.1 23 0.4 19
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Saquon Barkley 11 48 0.5 4 32 0.25 14.24
RB Devontae Booker 7 24 0.2 2 13 0.1 6.55
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Sterling Shepard 0 0 0 5 61 0.3 10.49
WR Kenny Golladay 0 0 0 3 50 0.45 9.42
WR Darius Slayton 0 0 0 2 37 0.25 6.4
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Kyle Rudolph 0 0 0 3 28 0.2 5.32

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Washington Football Team

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Taylor Heinicke 18/28 181 1.95 0.8 20 0.25 17
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Antonio Gibson 17 72 0.7 4 27 0.25 17.61
RB J.D. McKissic 2 8 0.1 1 10 0.1 3.75
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Terry McLaurin 0 0 0 4 56 0.5 10.74
WR Dyami Brown 0 0 0 2 29 0.25 5.51
WR Adam Humphries 0 0 0 2 17 0.2 3.84
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Logan Thomas 0 0 0 3 30 0.55 7.88

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Quarterback

New York: Daniel Jones’ numbers from last week look alright on a surface level, but his rushing TD came on the literal last play of the game when the defense wasn’t particularly trying. Against Washington’s top-tier defense – that should absolutely wreck the Giants’ OL – Jones isn’t even on the radar in 2QB formats. He can be viewed as a QB3 this week.

Washington: Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to miss some time after suffering a hip injury, which puts Taylor Heinicke in as the starter here for Washington. The Giants surrendered 264 passing yards to Teddy Bridgewater in week one, and – with Washington’s receiving weapons – Heinicke certainly could hit around the same mark this week. However, there are certainly better options you can look at in 1QB formats, while Heinicke shouldn’t be viewed as anything more than a low-end QB2 in Superflex leagues.

Running Backs

New York: Barkley saw 13 total opportunities (11 touches) in week one as he worked his way back from injury, and he showed off his explosiveness and lateral quickness on a couple of occasions. However, he had very little room to run with the OL woes and the stout Broncos defensive line. He has another very tough matchup here again this week, so he’ll need to see an uptick in work to even put himself on the redraft radar. At the time of writing, Barkley is still getting in limited practices, which doesn’t bode well for his TNF outlook. If I can, I’m looking to sit him one more week, and he is likely to fall outside of the top-24 RBs in my rankings.

Washington: While Antonio Gibson didn’t put up dominant numbers from a fantasy perspective, it’s extremely encouraging to see that he logged 23 total touches against the Chargers. The Los Angeles run defense didn’t exactly figure to be an easy matchup either, so fantasy managers shouldn’t have been expecting a blow-up performance. He was still featured in this offense, though, and he should be heavily relied upon again this week with Heinicke in at QB. Additionally, the usage of JD McKissic and Jaret Patterson – 3 total touches – is extremely encouraging for Gibson’s managers. Gibson has a tougher matchup against the Giants on paper, but they just allowed Melvin Gordon to average 9.2 YPC on them. Gibson should see north of 20 touches again this week, and he deserves to be viewed as a top-12 RB again in week two. Otherwise, McKissic and Patterson can be dropped in every redraft league unless you’re holding onto them as Gibson’s insurance policy.

Wide Receivers

New York: Kenny Golladay came back last week and performed quite well in a tough matchup against the Denver Broncos secondary. He made a couple of tough grabs in tight coverage and was able to bail out Jones on a couple of occasions. Even though he wasn’t a fantastic option for fantasy purposes, it’s encouraging to see him get back on the field and look like the Golladay we saw in Detroit. With that being said, this is another tough matchup for opposing wideouts, and Golladay’s going to have to be incredibly efficient with his opportunity again. He can be viewed as a WR3 that has some upside if Jones and he can connect for a score. Last week, there weren’t any Giants WRs I was willing to go near for fantasy, and Sterling Shepard proved me wrong. He came out and put on a show against some very good corners for 113 yards and a score. With Kadarius Toney failing to step into a larger role just yet, Shepard’s a very safe and reliable option for fantasy purposes. We shouldn’t be viewing him as anything more than a FLEX option just yet, but he should see enough volume to easily return that value against the Washington secondary. Darius Slayton was able to hit 65 receiving yards in week one, which will certainly work for fantasy purposes, but he did it on only three receptions. His usage in this Giants offense isn’t secure enough to the point where we can rely on him as anything more than a boom-or-bust FLEX play. If we’re assuming Jones struggles again in this one as a passer, we shouldn’t be looking to start Slayton here.

Washington: Fantasy managers were panicking a bit throughout the first half of week one, but Terry McLaurin was able to salvage his fantasy output in the second half and put up a decent stat line. In a difficult matchup against the Chargers secondary, McLaurin didn’t figure to be a top-tier fantasy option, but his talent was on full display on a couple of instances in that game. Lining up against the Giants’ secondary, McLaurin should be a safe option again this week, but his upside might be capped. He can be viewed as a mid-range WR2 for this matchup. Otherwise, there’s not another Washington WR that should be considered for fantasy purposes.

Tight Ends

New York: It appears as though Evan Engram‘s unlikely to suit up again for this game due to the short week. We might see him back in week three, but he still won’t be on the redraft radar then. Kyle Rudolph will step in as the starting option again, but he’s not someone worth considering for fantasy purposes this week due to the matchup.

Washington: Logan Thomas didn’t end up with high reception totals in week one, but he was able to find the end zone and subsequently vault up the fantasy TE weekend rankings. The Giants weren’t able to eliminate Noah Fant from last week’s matchup, and he was able to reel in six catches for 62 yards. Thomas should be a safe option this week that has upside as well. He can be viewed as a mid-range/low-end TE1.

FantasyProjection Buster: If Saquon came out unscathed in week one and they believe they can give him his full workload, he’ll finish well above my projections.

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Las Vegas Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Date/Time: Sunday September 19, 1:00pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Steelers -5.5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 47 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Steelers 26.25, Raiders 20.75

Las Vegas Raiders

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Derek Carr 26/38 288 2.05 0.8 7 0.15 20
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Kenyan Drake 7 20 0.2 4 28 0.25 9.3
RB Peyton Barber 13 40 0.45 1 6 0.1 8.4
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Bryan Edwards 0 0 0 4 47 0.35 8.53
WR Henry Ruggs III 0 0 0 3 44 0.25 7.43
WR Hunter Renfrow 0 0 0 4 43 0.2 7.34
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Darren Waller 0 0 0 8 83 0.9 17.69

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Pittsburgh Steelers

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Ben Roethlisberger 20/33 202 2.95 0.7 4 0.1 19
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Najee Harris 19 71 0.65 3 18 0.2 15.51
RB Benny Snell Jr. 3 12 0.1 0 0 0 1.78
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Diontae Johnson 0 0 0 5 44 0.85 12.17
WR Chase Claypool 0 0 0 4 55 0.65 11.17
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster 0 0 0 3 29 0.45 7.06
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Pat Freiermuth 0 0 0 2 26 0.35 5.82

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Quarterback

Las Vegas: It wasn’t looking pretty for Derek Carr throughout the majority of Monday night’s game, but he was able to finally settle in, shake off the rust, and lead the Raiders to an unexpected win in their new stadium. Carr was consistently pushing the ball downfield and had an ADOT of 10.1, which was tied for the 5th most at the QB position (with a minimum of 20 pass attempts) in week one. With other receiving options in this offense stepping up late in the game, Carr was more willing to distribute the ball evenly and let the offense come to him rather than trying to force the issue, and it worked. With that being said, Carr’s got another tough matchup this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense that just stonewalled the reigning fantasy football QB1, Josh Allen. Carr’s a fine option in SF leagues as a second QB, but he’s not on the streaming radar this week simply because of the matchup. There are better ones out there to target.

Pittsburgh: Let’s be honest, it wasn’t pretty for Big Ben in week one. He had a 56% completion rate and only averaged 5.875 yards per attempt with one touchdown. With that being said, this matchup against the Raiders is a get-right game for Ben and the Steelers’ offense. Ben’s on the streaming radar in this one, but based on what we saw last week, we can’t view him as anything more than a low-end option. He’s a mid-range QB2 in my rankings.

Running Backs

Las Vegas: Despite being questionable coming into the matchup against the Ravens with an illness, Jacobs was able to cash in and find the end zone twice. While we knew he was going to take a back seat to Drake in the passing game, which did happen, Jacobs was a solid play in Standard formats. He wasn’t efficient on the ground and certainly needed those touchdowns to salvage his fantasy output, but he is always going to be called upon when they get around the goal line. This is a historically very tough matchup for opposing RBs, so Jacobs needs to stay around the low-end RB2 territory in week two rankings, but he should see enough volume and scoring opportunities to at least be viewed as a safe option. Update: Jacobs has been ruled out of this matchup. Kenyan Drake was utilized just as we expected in week one, and he saw five targets out of the backfield to Jacobs’ two. While this certainly wasn’t enough work to vault him into the start-worthy consideration for Standard or even Half PPR formats, he does have some appeal as a FLEX option in Full PPR formats. In this game against Pittsburgh, the Raiders are probably going to struggle to move the ball on the ground, which means we could see Drake back involved heavily as a receiver. However, don’t view him as anything more than a FLEX play in Full PPR formats. There’s very little upside with him in this offense. Update: Jacobs has been ruled out, which moves Drake slightly up in the rankings. However, we’re going to see Drake mostly remain in his role with Peyton Barber stepping in to Jacobs’ role in the offense. Drake can now be viewed as a mid-range RB3. Meanwhile, Barber should not be played in fantasy matchups this week.

Pittsburgh: It wasn’t great for Najee Harris in week one. He was consistently met behind the line of scrimmage, and his offensive line struggled mightily against the Buffalo Bills defensive front. To illustrate this point, 35 of Harris’ 45 rushing yards came after first contact. Looking ahead to week two, The Raiders were consistently getting home in week one against the Ravens offensive line, but they did surrender some big rushing lanes throughout the game. Harris needs to be more decisive with his runs, and this offense will need to get in sync more for us to feel confident putting Harris in our starting lineup as a top-12 option, but the opportunity is there in this game. He can be viewed as a high-end RB2 this week.

Wide Receivers

Las Vegas: Throughout the first three quarters of week one, it looked like Derek Carr forgot he had players lined up as WRs. In fact, it appeared as though he thought Waller was the only option on offense as he peppered him with targets time and time again. However, once Carr settled in, and the rust wore off from not playing in the pre-season, he started to distribute the ball evenly, and Bryan Edwards came alive. If you watched the game, you know that Edwards was inches away from having the walk-off touchdown, but he was called down just inside the one-yard line. He could’ve finished with a fantastic stat line, and we would’ve been unanimously calling this a breakout performance from the second-year wideout, but we’re simply looking now at a solid 4-81-0 line. Edwards appears to be the real deal from a talent perspective, but the question is going to be which version of Carr we see here in week two against the Steelers? Is he going to lock onto Waller and forget that his WRs are playing? Or will he be encouraged by what Edwards did and start to feature him more and more in this offense? Only time will tell, but Edwards is slowly creeping up rankings, and he can be considered as a low-end FLEX play in week two. I’m starting to come to the realization that Henry Ruggs is never going to be utilized in this offense the way that he should. While Ruggs is an incredibly talented WR that has the athleticism to make reliable defenders look foolish in the open field, Jon Gruden seems intent on using Ruggs as a threat to open up the rest of the offense versus featuring him as a key part of the passing game underneath. Ruggs will have his moments this season of being fantasy-relevant, but it’s going to be difficult to predict when those moments are coming. For right now, Ruggs is still worth stashing on your bench, but we can’t be playing him just yet. Hunter Renfrow came back into the lineup after being on the bench for the majority of last season, and he certainly made an impact for fantasy football. He finished with a 6-70-0 stat line on nine targets, which is certainly valuable in Full PPR formats. This was on the back of Carr throwing 56 times, so he’s unlikely to reach those high target totals every single week, but he’s certainly worth picking up and stashing on your bench in Full PPR formats. He’ll have his moments this season where you can plug him into your lineup as a FLEX play that you know won’t hurt your lineup. This just isn’t one of those matchups, unfortunately.

Pittsburgh: This offense certainly looked out of sync last week, but Diontae Johnson was still able to come through for fantasy managers by finding the end zone. He made a beautiful concentration catch in the back corner of the end zone that saved his fantasy day. He only finished with 5-36-1 against a stout Buffalo secondary, but the encouraging part is that he saw a 31% target share in this offense last week. Moving forward, Johnson should be viewed as a very safe and reliable WR2 that should see plenty of volume and comes with the upside if Ben and he can connect on a touchdown. Chase Claypool was relatively quiet in week one, but the offense being dysfunctional and the matchup certainly didn’t help. However, he still was able to make his presence known with a jaw-dropping catch over Tre White on the sideline. Claypool’s talent is on full display every single game, and he’s in line for a massive performance sooner than later. It very well could come in this matchup against the Raiders secondary. They simply don’t have the players necessary to match up on these Steelers’ WRs. Start Claypool this week as a high-end WR3 with massive upside. Juju Smith-Schuster saw a significant target share in week one against the Bills, but his role in this offense is unlikely to lead to top-tier fantasy production. He’s not known for his speed and athleticism after the catch, but he’s still continuously given a low ADOT (6.6 in week one) and asked to operate underneath. Juju can be viewed as a low-end FLEX play in Half PPR formats that does get a bump up in Full PPR formats.

Tight Ends

Las Vegas: 19. That’s how many targets Darren Waller walked away with in week one against the Ravens. That’s objectively ridiculous. In fact, Waller’s 19 targets in week one of the 2021 season is tied for the 3rd-most by a TE in NFL history. That list includes Jason Witten (22 targets in 2012), Tony Gonzalez (21 targets in 2005), Aaron Hernandez (19 targets in 2012), and Jeremy Shockey (19 targets in 2005). While Waller was “only” able to reel in 10 of those targets, it doesn’t make much of a difference. You’re not finding that level of target volume at the TE position anywhere else in the league. Start Waller moving forward as a top-2 option every single week.

Pittsburgh: The concern coming into the year for Pittsburgh – from a fantasy perspective – was that Pat Freiermuth and Eric Ebron were going to cancel one another out. That’s exactly what happened in week one, and Ebron and Freiermuth finished with one catch each. There’s the opportunity for one of these options to ascend into a fantasy-relevant role as the season progresses, but for right now, it’s not worth rostering either one in traditional redraft leagues.

FantasyProjection Buster: Ben has the potential to be a fantastic streaming option in this one or take a back seat to the run game. A wide range of outcomes means that he’s the most likely to break my projections.

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San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Date/Time: Sunday September 19, 1:00pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: 49ers -3.5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 50 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: 49ers 26.75, Eagles 23.25

San Francisco 49ers

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Jimmy Garoppolo 19/29 235 2.35 0.7 8 0 18
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Elijah Mitchell 12 55 0.6 2 15 0.1 11.94
RB Trey Sermon 9 38 0.45 2 16 0.15 9.9
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Deebo Samuel 1 6 0 4 57 0.75 12.81
WR Brandon Aiyuk 0 0 0 3 32 0.35 6.68
WR Trent Sherfield 0 0 0 2 19 0.35 5.02
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE George Kittle 0 0 0 5 71 0.65 13.54

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Philadelphia Eagles

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Jalen Hurts 22/33 214 2.3 0.85 45 0.45 23
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Miles Sanders 14 58 0.4 3 22 0.25 13.14
RB Kenneth Gainwell 5 22 0.15 3 19 0.3 8.18
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR DeVonta Smith 0 0 0 4 50 0.5 10.02
WR Jalen Reagor 0 0 0 3 31 0.3 6.47
WR Quez Watkins 0 0 0 3 25 0.25 5.38
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Dallas Goedert 0 0 0 4 39 0.5 8.74

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Quarterback

San Francisco: Jimmy Garoppolo was able to capitalize on a plus matchup last week and ended up with a solid day from a passing perspective. However, it still wasn’t enough to put him in the start-worthy consideration, and he saw Trey Lance come in and take away a passing touchdown opportunity. In a matchup that just shut down Matt Ryan and the Falcons passing attack, Garoppolo’s not on the streaming radar, and he barely makes the cut as someone you could consider playing in Superflex leagues.

Philadelphia: Well, Jalen Hurts came through in a big way for fantasy managers in week one against the Atlanta Falcons defense. Hurts was able to throw for 264 yards and three touchdowns while adding 62 yards on the ground. The Falcons’ secondary looked abysmal, though, and Hurts will have a tougher matchup here against the 49ers’ defense, despite what the numbers suggest from the Lions game in week one. With that being said, we saw enough from the second-year QB in week one to continue plugging him into our starting lineups as a low-end QB1. Even if he struggles as a passer in this game, he’ll provide a high enough floor with his rushing output to return value on where he’s being ranked.

Running Backs

San Francisco: We now have clarity that Raheem Mostert will miss the entire rest of the season after landing on IR. It’s unfortunate for Mostert – who simply can’t stay healthy – and we wish him a speedy recovery. As for the fantasy fallout, Elijah Mitchell seems to be the next option up after Kyle Shanahan mysteriously benched Sermon in week one against Detroit. Mitchell looked great against the porous Lions run defense, and it appears that he’s going to be given the opportunity to win this starting job here in San Francisco. That’s at least the perception…we have no idea what the reality is and what Shanahan will choose to do. Mitchell can be viewed as a mid-range RB3 this week that has the potential to hit big or has the potential to somehow take a backseat to Sermon, who probably figures to be active in this one. Trey Sermon’s benching last week has to go down as one of the most unforeseen and mysterious actions we’ve seen by an NFL head coach in a long time. We still don’t have complete clarity on why Sermon allegedly struggled in camp and the pre-season because he certainly looked like the second-best option in this backfield during the NFL pre-season. Regardless, Sermon’s now back in the fantasy football conversation after Mostert landed on the IR this week. We certainly cannot play Sermon this week due to the unknowns, but I would not be shocked at all to see Sermon lead this 49ers team in carries when it’s all said and done.

Philadelphia: Heading into the season, there was concern about what Sanders’ involvement as a receiver would look like out of the backfield. We knew that he would be the “lead” back in this system, but without the guarantee of receiving work, his upside seemed capped. After week one, we know that he’s going to be just fine, and he appears to be a value based on where you drafted him. Sanders saw 19 touches in week one against the Falcons, and he was highly efficient with his opportunity. This matchup against the 49ers’ defense will be a little bit more difficult, and it’s unlikely that Philadelphia will be playing with a massive lead again in the second half, but he’s proven that he belongs in our starting lineups every week moving forward. He can be viewed as a mid-range/low-end RB2. Kenneth Gainwell was someone that I loved coming into the NFL Draft and was shocked when he fell as far as he did. Coming into the 2021 season, though, it was unclear what exactly his role in this offense was going to be. Would Boston Scott play a massive role behind Sanders, or could it be more of a 50/50 split? We have our answer after week one, and it’s not even a competition. Scott only came onto the field in Special Teams packages, and Gainwell amassed 11 touches right out of the gates. While he scored – and that vaulted him up the fantasy finish rankings – it’s unlikely that he finds the end zone every single week. He’ll be a useful FLEX play in Full PPR formats – and he’s worth rostering on your bench in nearly every format – but we shouldn’t jump too far with our conclusions from one game.

Wide Receivers

San Francisco: There were plenty of disappointing performances from players in week one, but the biggest one just might be Brandon Aiyuk. With no warning or rumors whatsoever, Aiyuk was barely involved in the game plan this past week for San Francisco, and he only logged 26 total snaps on offense against Detroit. Kyle Shanahan mentioned after the game that Trent Sherfield’s emergence in the pre-season and Aiyuk’s recovery from a hamstring played a role in his limited availability, but that’s still not something fantasy managers want to endure. Moving forward, we can’t trust Aiyuk in our starting lineups as anything more than a FLEX play until we see him get back to receiving the majority of the snaps. Deebo Samuel took advantage of his increased opportunity last week with Aiyuk on the sideline for the majority of the game, and he made his presence felt. Against a lackluster Detroit secondary, Samuel torched them for 12 catches, 189 yards, and a score. While the Eagles secondary just kept the Atlanta passing game in check in week one, Samuel’s going to be used creatively enough that he should see plenty of opportunity again in week two. We know that he has the talent to make his opportunity count, so Samuel can be viewed as a high-end WR3 with upside. Trent Sherfield ran a beautiful route last week on Trey Lance’s first NFL touchdown, but he was barely involved in the game plan outside of that. He’s not worth rostering outside of deeper leagues just yet.

Philadelphia: Welcome to the NFL, Devonta Smith! Smith looked absolutely fantastic in week one, and he torched the Falcons’ secondary continuously throughout the game. He made his presence known by going for 6-71-1 on eight targets, and there’s the possibility he could have had a lot more if the game had been closer in the second half. Looking at week two, the 49ers are reeling after the loss of Jason Verrett with a torn ACL, and their CB depth is suddenly very shaky. Hurts might not be as productive of a passer in week two, but Smith should easily see a minimum of six targets in this game, and that automatically puts him in the WR3 conversation. He can be started with confidence this week. Jalen Reagor was able to find the end zone last week on a screen play where he was able to use his athleticism to pick up yardage after the catch. He should remain involved enough in this matchup to warrant low-end FLEX consideration, but I don’t have full confidence in him just yet. We need to see what he looks like in a tougher matchup before we can confidently start him in our lineups.

Tight Ends

San Francisco: George Kittle got back to doing Kittle things in week one. He didn’t necessarily see a significant amount of targets – only 5 -, but he made them count with four catches for 78 yards. He’s a dynamic talent at the TE position that should be viewed as a top-5 option every single week, regardless of the matchup.

Philadelphia: This TE room was essentially a near-even split from a Receiving Routes Run perspective in week one, but Dallas Goedert was the one that was able to make his mark for fantasy lineups. With that being said, Goedert ran a total of 26 Receiving Routes against Atlanta, and Zach Ertz ran 23, which makes trusting Goedert as a locked-in TE1 a difficult thing. There’s a strong possibility that next week, the ball heads Ertz’s way more than Goedert’s, and that’s a dangerous world to live in for fantasy managers. Goedert is absolutely still worth considering as a low-end TE1 just because of his touchdown upside and the nature of the position, but we shouldn’t get too carried away just yet and call him a locked-in mid-range TE1.

FantasyProjection Buster: The running game for San Francisco has to be the answer here. We have no idea what this rotation is going to look like in week two.

__________

Houston Texans vs. Cleveland Browns

Date/Time: Sunday September 19, 1:00pm ET
BettingPros Consensus Spread: Browns -12.5
BettingPros Consensus Over/Under: 48 points
Implied Vegas point totals
: Browns 30.25, Texans 17.75

Houston Texans

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Tyrod Taylor 20/30 210 1.75 0.8 26 0.25 18
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Mark Ingram II 14 56 0.35 1 6 0.05 8.87
RB David Johnson 3 10 0.1 3 27 0.1 6.34
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Brandin Cooks 0 0 0 5 60 0.55 11.59
WR Chris Conley 0 0 0 2 32 0.2 5.66
WR Nico Collins 0 0 0 3 23 0.2 4.85
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE Pharaoh Brown 0 0 0 3 36 0.3 6.91

__________

Cleveland Browns

POS NAME COMP/ATT PASS YDS TDs INTs RUSH YDS TDs FPTS
QB Baker Mayfield 16/24 192 2.3 0.4 11 0.15 18
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
RB Nick Chubb 20 119 1.3 1 11 0.1 21.9
RB Kareem Hunt 10 43 0.55 2 14 0.2 11.08
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
WR Jarvis Landry 0 0 0 4 50 0.75 11.58
WR Anthony Schwartz 0 0 0 3 41 0.45 8.14
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones 0 0 0 1 15 0.15 2.91
POS NAME CARRIES RUSH YDS TDs RECS REC YDS TDs FPTS
TE David Njoku 0 0 0 2 23 0.35 5.5

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Quarterback

Houston: Are the Texans…good? Tyrod Taylor led this team to an absolute routing of the Jacksonville Jaguars, but we shouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. Urban Meyer seems to be so far ahead of his skis that he doesn’t even know he’s wearing skis, and the Jags defense didn’t seem ready to stop anyone. Reality should set back in here for the Texans’ offense as they go up against the stacked Cleveland Browns’ defense, though, and we shouldn’t be looking Taylor’s way in any format.

Cleveland: This Browns team seems to be for real. They just battled the Kansas City Chiefs all the way up until the final moments of the game, and Baker looked sharp outside of his interception that ended the game. While Baker’s fantasy stock is going to be hit-or-miss due to the potential that all the touchdowns go to the run game – as they did against Kansas City – this matchup absolutely indicates that he should be in the streaming conversation. If you’re looking to pivot to another option in 1QB formats, Baker is most likely available on your waiver wire still and could be scooped up for cheap. He can be viewed as a mid-range QB2 this week with upside if the touchdowns go his way versus the running game.

Running Backs

Houston: Alright, who had all three Texans RBs scoring a week one touchdown on their 2021 NFL Bingo card? Mark Ingram stepped in and absolutely dominated the carry share as he was on route to 26 carries against the Jaguars. While the game script certainly played a massive role in that – and it’s unlikely to ever happen again this season – Ingram at least warrants consideration for desperate fantasy managers. However, against the Browns’ run defense, it’s probably best to leave Ingram on your bench if you did pick him up off of waivers. David Johnson was able to find the end zone last week, but he received a mere seven touches throughout the entire course of the game. In a bad offense, that’s not enough to put him on the redraft radar. He can be left on your waiver wire. Phillip Lindsay also found the end zone last week, but he managed to only see eight touches in a game that the Texans were leading essentially from kickoff. He’s not worth rostering in shallow leagues at this point.

Cleveland: Well, we knew Nick Chubb was going to be good this year, but we didn’t expect him to rumble for two touchdowns against a pretty solid run defense in Kansas City right out of the gates. Chubb finished with 83 yards on the ground and averaged 5.5 YPC. Fantasy managers that have Chubb have to be feeling pretty good about their investment right now, and it’s only going to get better this week against the Houston Texans run defense. While they didn’t surrender a ton of yardage last week to James Robinson and Carlos Hyde, the Texans do not have the type of defense that is going to be able to contain this Browns run game. The offensive line looks dominant in front of him, and Chubb legitimately could run for over 200 yards in this one. I’m not projecting that, but it’s certainly in the realm of possibilities. He can be viewed as a top-5 option this week. Kareem Hunt was able to cash in on the ground last week, which could make fantasy managers look his way as a potential mid-range RB2 in this juicy matchup. However, Hunt only saw nine total touches last week, which doesn’t exactly give me complete confidence to view him that highly in my week two rankings. Based on the matchup – and the projected game-script – Hunt can absolutely be viewed as a decent FLEX play that has the opportunity to find the end zone again in this one. However, we shouldn’t be viewing him as anything more than that until we see his total touches climb up into the 12-15 range.

Wide Receivers

Houston: As of right now, Brandin Cooks is the only WR that you’ll want to roster and start from Houston. He came through for fantasy managers that started him with an incredible performance in week one by going 5-132-0 on seven targets. With that being said, the Browns defense has a stout secondary, and they’re going to be able to key in on stopping Cooks. With no other WRs ready to steal attention away just yet, Cooks could be double-teamed regularly in this matchup, and he could fail to live up to the numbers he reached against the Jaguars. Every single week moving forward, Cooks should be viewed as a WR3. He’s going to be a safe option that will see his six or more targets every game, but the upside probably isn’t going to regularly be there.

Cleveland: With Odell Beckham Jr. already declared out for this game, it looks like Jarvis Landry’s going to be given the keys to the kingdom again. He was insanely productive in week one and saw a significant boost in production with OBJ out of the lineup. In a matchup against Houston, Landry has an excellent chance of finding the end zone again here. He can be viewed as a high-end WR3. Anthony Schwartz saw a hefty target share in week one, and he should remain heavily involved in week two with OBJ out, but we can’t trust him for fantasy lineups just yet. He’s worth picking up and stashing through this week to see what happens if you have the room on your bench, but we shouldn’t be looking to start him just yet outside of really deep leagues.

Tight Ends

Houston: All off-season, the hypothesis was that Jordan Akins was going to be the lead TE in Houston. He’d been involved in previous seasons, and there didn’t seem to be anyone else on this depth chart that could step in and take his place. Well, Pharoah Brown had something to say about that, and he put together a solid stat line in week one against Jacksonville. (4-67-0). Moving forward, Brown’s an intriguing option in deeper leagues or in TE Premium formats, but we shouldn’t be locking onto him in our typical redraft leagues just yet.

Cleveland: All signs pointed to Austin Hooper having a good game last week, but there was the potential that he didn’t see the majority of the targets and that they would fall to one of the other TE options in this Cleveland offense. That happened this past week with David Njoku stepping in and seeing five targets to Hooper’s three. Moving forward, there’s simply not going to be the consistency that we need from Hooper to trust him in our starting lineups. If he were the sole option in this offense, he’d be in consideration for the top-12 TEs every single week. However, we simply don’t know what we’re going to get every week, and that leads Hooper to fall outside of the top-15 in my TE rankings for week two. Njoku had a good game last week and could be the main receiving TE in this offense, but his usage isn’t enough to trust him quite yet. Njoku only ran 16 receiving routes in week one, which isn’t anywhere near enough for what we need to confidently start him, especially with Hooper in this TE room as well. Njoku also falls outside my top-15 TEs on the week.

FantasyProjection Buster: The Browns’ offense could easily end up with four or five rushing touchdowns in this game or four or five passing touchdowns. Depending on which way it goes, my projections for the corresponding players will fall short.

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