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Freedman’s Favorites: Week 2 (2022 Fantasy Football)

Sep 14, 2022
Fantasy Football Week 2 Advice

I’m going to pull the curtain back a little.

This is the introduction to the Week 2 edition of “Freedman’s Favorites” … but I’m writing it on Saturday of Week 1, before we’ve seen any of these teams play (except for Bills and Rams on Thursday Night Football).

With that known, I want to say two things.

  1. I can’t believe how great Week 1 was! Right? The drama. The come-from-behind victories. The upsets. Man. We might never see a season-opening week like that again. YOU’VE GOTTA LOVE THE NFL!
  2. I’m writing this intro on Sept. 10, which makes me somewhat introspective, given that tomorrow is … well, you know what day it is.

It has been 21 years since the tragedy of Sept. 11.

A lot has happened in that time — and I think much of what has transpired in the United States and the world since then is a result of that traumatic event — but I still remember that day with incredible clarity.

I imagine that many people do.

I had just recently started my freshman year of college, and my sister lived in New York City. Originally from Texas, she moved to NYC after college graduation to pursue … I don’t know, whatever it is that one pursues in NYC … and she had been there about a year whenever the planes crashed into the World Trade Center.

My parents and I had visited her in NYC just a couple months prior.

I don’t have a great awareness of NYC geography, but whenever I learned about what had happened, I knew that she was probably OK. She didn’t work or live in or near the Financial District. On top of that, I know my sister. The odds of her — even now, as a fully grown-up “adult” — being awake and out of bed at 9 a.m. are embarrassingly low.

So I knew that she was almost certainly fine — and yet I was still worried. I had a sense of existential dread. An emptiness in my stomach … especially as I stood with hundreds of other people in the student center and watched the North Tower collapse on live TV.

When that happened, I knew — or I imagined, just for a split second — that she was dead. Somehow, on this one random Tuesday morning, she had managed to wake up early, take the subway to the World Trade Center and get herself to the very top of one of those towers, for whatever reason I couldn’t think of.

I was certain, just for the smallest moment in time, that my sister — the person who took me to my first rock concert (Lenny Kravitz and Blind Melon at Reunion Arena in Dallas, 1993), the person who gave me advice on how to talk to and interact with girls when I was growing up, the person who made up stories about magical places and creatures to keep me entertained in the car on long road trips when I was young — I was certain that she was gone.

At that moment, I pulled out my ancient 2001 cell phone and called my sister. Of course I couldn’t reach her — because everyone in the country was calling someone in NYC at that moment.

So I just stood there in the student center for a few more minutes, mindlessly looking at the TV, and then went back to my dorm room to wake up my roommate — a friend from high school — to tell him that the world might be ending.

Check out all of our Week 2 fantasy football content >>

Sept. 11: 21 Years Later

As I look back at that moment, I’m struck by two thoughts.

  1. I should talk to my sister more often while she’s still, you know, alive. My whole family, for that matter. I’m horrible at keeping in touch with people, even if they’re people I care about deeply.
  2. I had an unbelievably self-centered — and maybe even selfish — response to watching the North Tower fall. In that moment, I knew that hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people died in a terrifying manner. And yet I didn’t think of them at all. My mind didn’t try to imagine them — or their loved ones, the people they would leave behind. Instead, I thought only of my sister, whom I intuitively knew was safe. I must say, in looking back at my 18-year-old self, I’m embarrassed. That kid had a lot of learning to do.

The people you love: Let them know you love them.

And everyone else: Remember that they’re people too.

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

Freedman’s Favorites

The guys in this piece are, by definition, my favorites for Week 2.

They’re the guys I think I’ll like more than the expert consensus rankings (ECR). The guys I’m probably starting in season-long leagues. The guys with underappreciated upside. The guys with advantageous matchups. The guys I’ll have in my DFS player pool for main slates and single-game lineups for primetime slates. The guys I’d like to acquire in dynasty. The guys whose teams have player-friendly Week 2 betting odds. The guys who stand out in our industry-leading BettingPros NFL Prop Bet Analyzer. The guys with Week 2 projections that catch my eye.

The guys I like for one reason or another and want to write about.

If a guy isn’t in this piece, that doesn’t mean I don’t like him. It just means that, when I wrote this piece on Monday and Tuesday for a Wednesday publication, he wasn’t one of my favorites.

If you’ve got questions about particular players, hit me up on Twitter (especially during one of my “Ask Me Anything” sessions) or reach out in the FantasyPros Discord (where I have a dedicated AMA channel). I won’t always get to your questions, but I will when I can.

Throughout the week, follow our NFL news desk. On Sunday, consult our NFL inactives list. If you see something there that 1) is published after my piece here and 2) goes against what I’ve written, then privilege the new information.

And always check out my rankings for my most recent thoughts on players. By Saturday night I’ll update this piece with a few notes based on the week’s injury reports and news items, but after that any changing opinions I have will be reflected in my rankings, not this article.

So, again, consult the Week 2 rankings before setting your lineups.

Here are my Week 2 favorites.

Note: All fantasy points are half-PPR scoring unless otherwise stated. Players are ordered within position roughly (but probably not precisely) according to my rankings.

Freedman’s Favorite Week 2 Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes (KC) vs. LAC: As great as Bills QB Josh Allen was in Week 1, Mahomes was better with 30-of-39 for 360-5-0 passing. He easily led the slate with 11.8 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) and all players with 34.9 fantasy points (per our Fantasy Football Leaders Report). Since his triumphant 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown MVP 2018 campaign, Mahomes is the No. 1 quarterback with a 0.179 composite expected points added (EPA) and completion percentage over expectation (CPOE), and in Week 1 the Chiefs offense was No. 1 with 0.175 EPA/play and a 49.8% success (SR, per RBs Don’t Matter). On last week’s BettingPros podcast, I highlighted Mahomes at +900 to win MVP (at DraftKings)

That number is long gone, and I expect his MVP odds to get even shorter this week at home against the Chargers, who could be without No. 1 CB J.C. Jackson (ankle). In his two games against the Chargers last year Mahomes put up 670 yards and six touchdowns passing and 77 yards rushing. For his career, Mahomes is 14-9-1 against the spread (ATS) in division (per Action Network).

Check out my Week 2 early betting breakdown on Chiefs vs. Chargers as well as our BettingPros matchups page, where you can see the percentage distributions of spread, over/under and moneyline bets tracked in the BettingPros App.

Jalen Hurts (PHI) vs. MIN: Last year, Hurts was a fantasy QB1 in 67% of his games and averaged 23.2 fantasy points per game (PPG) for the season (per RotoViz).

And then in Week 1 he naturally led all quarterbacks with 17-90-1 rushing and added 243 yards passing against the Lions. Last year he was No. 1 at the position with 139-784-19 rushing, 22 carries inside the 10-yard line and 13 carries inside the five (per our Fantasy Football Stats Report and Red Zone Stats Report). With his Konami Code running ability, Hurts has a consistently high floor/ceiling combination.

Derek Carr (LV) vs. ARI: In Week 1 Carr had three interceptions and zero yards rushing, so his fantasy floor is the basement — but that was the against the Chargers, who have a top-eight secondary in our unit power rankings. Facing the Cardinals, he has a decent chance to hit his fantasy ceiling. Carr has our No. 1 collection of pass catchers (a unit led by WRs Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow and TE Darren Waller), and last week the Cardinals defense was dead last with 0.698 EPA per play and a 70.5% dropback SR.

Carr Update (Sat., 9/17): C Andre James (concussion) is out, and Cardinals EDGE J.J. Watt (calf) has a chance to play after a limited practice on Friday. I haven’t downgraded Carr, but he’s a little riskier than he looked early in the week.

Aaron Rodgers (GB) vs. CHI: The Packers scored only seven points in Week 1, and Rodgers looked horrible with 22-of-34 for 195-0-1 passing, but the Packers were without LT David Bakhtiari (knee), RT Elgton Jenkins (knee) and No. 1 WR Allen Lazard (ankle), all of whom have a chance to return in Week 2. Remember: The Packers suffered an embarrassing 38-3 road loss to the Saints in Week 1 last year — and then they went 13-3 the rest of the way and captured the No. 1 seed as Rodgers won his second straight MVP. The Packers are at Lambeau Field, where Rodgers is 65-34-4 ATS, plus …

… he’s facing the Bears, against whom he is 20-7 ATS for his career. In his three-plus seasons with HC Matt LaFleur, Rodgers has an 8.6 AY/A. The bounceback is likely.

Rodgers Update (Sat., 9/17): Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Lazard and LG Jon Runyan (concussion) are all questionable but have a reasonable chance to play. Jenkins practiced fully on Friday while the other three got in limited sessions. I have slightly upgraded Rodgers.

Check out my Week 2 early betting breakdown on Packers vs. Bears

Carson Wentz (WAS) at DET: Let’s assume that Wentz is not a good quarterback. That’s fine. Even so, last week he was 27-of-41 for 313-4-2 passing (with 6-12-0 rushing). Granted, he did that against the Jaguars … but he’s playing the Lions, and both those teams have bottom-eight secondaries in our unit power ratings. In Week 1 the Lions allowed 35 points, and they might have the league’s worst pair of perimeter cover men in CBs Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye.

Wentz Update (Sat., 9/17): Oruwariye (back) is questionable but missed practice on Friday after being limited on Thursday. I doubt he plays, which means a bad Lions secondary could be worse. I have slightly upgraded Wentz.

Marcus Mariota (ATL) at LAR: In Week 1, Mariota had a Jalen Hurts-esque performance with 20-of-33 for 215-0-0 passing and a dominant 12-72-1 rushing. It was especially encouraging to see him call his own number at the goal line.

Mariota has a tough road matchup against the Rams, who have three extra days of rest and a massive edge against him in our unit power rankings …

Rank Quarterback Offense Opp Defense Defense Rank Secondary Rank QB-Def Edge QB-Sec Edge
25 Marcus Mariota ATL LAR 3 9 -22 -16

… but at least the Falcons should give have plenty of opportunities to drop back to pass and scramble as +10.5 dogs (at FanDuel).

Mariota Update (Sat., 9/17): Rams EDGE Leonard Floyd (knee) is questionable, but I doubt he plays after missing practice on Thursday and Friday. Mariota should face a little less pressure when dropping back to pass.

Matt Ryan (IND) at JAX: The good news is that Ryan’s tenure with the Colts didn’t start off with a loss. No, he didn’t get the win, but at least he had an overtime-aided 32-of-50 for 352-1-1 passing with a slate-high 17 pass attempts of 10-plus yards (per our Advanced QB Stats Report). Last year the Jaguars defense was No. 31 in both dropback EPA per play (0.226) and pass DVOA (27.2%, per Football Outsiders).

DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average) is an efficiency metric that accounts for situation and opponent.

Ryan Update (Sat., 9/17): WRs Michael Pittman (quad) and Alec Pierce (concussion) are out. I have downgraded Ryan, who is no longer a favorite.

Geno Smith (SEA) at SF: You might laugh, but …

… Smith was sufficiently serviceable against the Broncos in Week 1, going 23-of-28 for 195-2-0 passing with 6-14-0 rushing. The 49ers are without starters CB Jason Verrett (knee, PUP) and S Jimmie Ward (hamstring, IR), and over the offseason they lost starters CB Josh Norman, CB K’Waun Williams and S Jaquiski Tartt. Because the Seahawks played after Week 2 DFS prices were released on Sunday night, Smith’s Week 1 performance wasn’t factored into his current salary, which means that we’re getting something of “Monday Night Football discount” with Smith at $5,100 on DraftKings and $6,300 on FanDuel. True, the Seahawks are +8.5 road underdogs (at BetMGM) — but the 49ers are 6-15-1 ATS as home favorites under HC Kyle Shanahan. I’m not saying that Smith will dominate in Week 2. He won’t. I am saying that he might be startable in superflex and 2QB leagues — and that’s a step up from what I thought last week.

Check out our DFS lineup optimizer, which is just one of our many FantasyPros DFS tools.

Freedman’s Favorite Week 2 Running Backs

Jonathan Taylor (IND) at JAX: Last year, Taylor led the league with 865 yards before contact and 946 yards after contact (per our Advanced Running Back Stats Report), and he topped the position with 75% top-12 and 88% top-24 production rates (per our Boom/Bust Report). In Week 1, Taylor had a league-high 31 carries, and in his three career starts against the division rival Jaguars he has 66-446-3 rushing and 10-29-0 receiving on 14 targets.

Taylor Update (Sat., 9/17): WRs Michael Pittman (quad) and Alec Pierce (concussion) are out. The Colts might run the ball even more than they would have otherwise.

Dalvin Cook (MIN) at PHI: Cook has back-to-back-to-back seasons with 1,300-plus yards from scrimmage, but last year he had just six touchdowns vs. 30 in the two years prior. Barring injury, Cook should score more in 2022 (per our Touchdown Regression Report).

Last week he had 108 yards on 20 carries and five targets, and this week he faces an Eagles defense that just allowed 26-172-3 rushing, 4-33-0 receiving and a week-worst 38.5 fantasy points to the Lions backfield in Week 1 (per our Fantasy Points Allowed Report). The onslaught is nigh.

Joe Mixon (CIN) at DAL: In a 23-20 overtime loss in which the Bengals never led, Mixon had 27 of the team’s 29 designed carries as well as eight targets, which he leveraged into 145 yards (per Pro Football Focus). The Bengals are -7 favorites (at Caesars), and the Cowboys are unlikely to sustain drives without QB Dak Prescott (thumb). In his nine regular season games as a favorite with QB Joe Burrow, Mixon has 26.4 fantasy PPG with an average of 120.2 yards and 1.8 touchdowns from scrimmage (per FTN).

Saquon Barkley (NYG) vs. CAR: After enduring two seasons sabotaged by injuries and OCs Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens, the talented Barkley — the guy who led the NFL with 2,028 scrimmage yards in 2018 as a rookie — exploded for a league-best 194 yards in Week 1. It was like something out of a myth …

Boromir: It has long been since we had any hope. … Have you ever been called home by the clear ringing of silver trumpets? … One day our paths will lead us there, and the tower guard shall take up the call: “The lords of Gondor have returned.”

Last week the Panthers were No. 3 in most fantasy points allowed to running backs (33.3). From Week 1 to Week 2, Barkley’s price jumped up $1,200 on DraftKings and $2,000 on FanDuel (per our DFS Salary Changes Report). Our guy is back.

D’Andre Swift (DET) vs. WAS: It’s frustrating that No. 2 back Jamaal Williams got both of the team’s Week 1 goal-line carries (two one-yard runs that he converted into touchdowns). But Swift still had 15-144-1 rushing and 3-31-0 receiving on three targets as well as robust 46-23 and 25-10 edges over Williams in snaps and routes. The Commanders last week allowed James Robinson (Achilles) and Travis Etienne (foot) — in their first game back from season-ending injuries — to combine for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and six targets.

Swift Update (Sat., 9/17): Swift (ankle) sat out Wednesday and Thursday but practiced limitedly on Friday. He is technically questionable but expected to play. But C Frank Ragnow (groin, foot) is out and LG Jonah Jackson (finger) is questionable after missing practice on Thursday and Friday. I doubt he plays. I haven’t downgraded Swift yet, but his and Jackson’s injury situations should be monitored.

Aaron Jones (GB) vs. CHI: In Week 1, Jones (76 yards, 10 opportunities) was outproduced by No. 2 back A.J. Dillon (91 yards, 16 opportunities) — but he played more snaps (37 to 31) and ran more routes (28 to 16). The Packers backs have a massive edge against the Bears in our unit power rankings …

Rank RBs Opp Defense DL Rank LBs Rank RB-DL Edge RB-LB Edge
3 GB CHI 29 23 26 20

… and they could get back LT David Bakhtiari (knee), RT Elgton Jenkins (knee) and LG Jon Runyan (concussion) this week. In his 20 matchups as a home favorite over the past four years, Jones has averaged 105.5 yards and 1.1 touchdowns on 14.1 carries and 3.9 targets per game — and the Packers are big -10 favorites (at PointsBet) at Lambeau Field.

Jones Update (Sat., 9/17): Bakhtiari, Jenkins, and Jon Runyan (concussion) are all questionable but have a reasonable chance to play. Jenkins practiced fully on Friday while the other two got in limited sessions. I have slightly upgraded Jones.

Nick Chubb (CLE) vs. NYJ: With QB Jacoby Brissett starting, the Browns had an aggressive 52.7% rush rate in Week 1 against the Panthers, and I expect them to rely on the running game this week as -6 favorites (at FOX Bet) at home against the Jets. Last year the Browns were No. 1 in rush DVOA (11.5%) and adjusted line yards (4.85, per Football Outsiders), and Chubb has averaged 104.4 yards on 17.2 and 2.3 targets per game since his first start in Week 7 of 2018. Last week he was 22-141-0 rushing with 1-2-0 receiving on one target.

Chubb Update (Sat., 9/17): RT Jack Conklin (knee) is questionable but practiced limitedly on Friday after missing Thursday. He’s a questionable game-time decision, but he’s closer to playing than he was last week, which he ultimately sat out. I have slightly upgraded Chubb.

Javonte Williams (DEN) vs. HOU: Williams is still in a committee with veteran grinder Melvin Gordon, but even in a split backfield he put up 1,219 scrimmage yards last year, and in Week 1 he had 108 yards on 19 opportunities (seven carries, 12 targets). The Broncos are big home favorites (-9.5 at UniBet), and they have a top-eight backfield going against the No. 32 defensive line and No. 31 linebacking corps in our unit power rankings.

Rank RBs Opp Defense DL Rank LBs Rank RB-DL Edge RB-LB Edge
7 DEN HOU 32 31 25 24

The Texans just yielded 229 scrimmage yards on 34 carries and 13 targets to the Colts backfield in Week 1.

Williams Update (Sat., 9/17): RT Billy Turner (knee) is questionable but practiced fully on Friday and seems likely to return after missing Week 1. Turner’s return counterbalances the loss of RG Quinn Meinerz (hamstring, out).

Antonio Gibson (WAS) at DET: In his first two seasons, Gibson totaled 2,373 yards and 21 touchdowns from scrimmage, and in the absence of rookie RB Brian Robinson (leg, PUP) Gibson kicked off his third campaign with 130 yards on 14 carries and eight targets the Jaguars. More importantly, he looked pretty good doing it.

The Lions defense last year was No. 31 in both rush DVOA (2.4%) and pass DVOA (38.8%) against running backs.

Josh Jacobs (LV) vs. ARI: The Raiders opened as home favorites of -3.5, which was quickly bet to -5.5, and now some -6s have popped up (DraftKings, Caesars). If the market is any indication, the Raiders are likely to have a run-friendly positive game script, and in his seven career matchups as a home favorite Jacobs has averaged 108.6 yards and one touchdown on 21.4 carries and 4.1 targets per game. Last week he had just 10 carries and one target — but he accounted for all but three of the team’s rush attempts. The Cardinals were No. 2 in most fantasy points allowed to running backs in Week 1 (36.5).

Jacobs Update (Sat., 9/17): C Andre James (concussion) is out, and Cardinals EDGE J.J. Watt (calf) has a chance to play after a limited practice on Friday. I have downgraded Jacobs.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) vs. LAC: After a disappointing first two NFL seasons, Edwards-Helaire leisurely balled out in Week 1 with 7-42-0 rushing and 3-32-2 receiving on three targets, getting all but one of his touches in the first half before resting in the second half of a 44-21 blowout victory. The Chargers defense last year was No. 30 in both rush DVOA (2.4%) and rush EPA (-0.004).

Kareem Hunt (CLE) vs. NYJ: In Week 1, Hunt did what he does, frustrating all Nick Chubb investors with 11-46-1 rushing, 4-24-1 receiving on four targets and a 56% snap rate (per our Snap Count Analysis Report). Last year the Jets were No. 1 in most fantasy points allowed to running backs (25.7 PPG), and the Browns backs have a significant matchup edge in our unit power rankings.

Rank RBs Opp Defense DL Rank LBs Rank RB-DL Edge RB-LB Edge
1 CLE NYJ 16 27 15 26

Both Chubb and Hunt can go off in Week 2. This is literally a five-star matchup.

Hunt Update (Sat., 9/17): RT Jack Conklin (knee) is questionable but practiced limitedly on Friday after missing Thursday. He’s a questionable game-time decision, but he’s closer to playing than he was last week, which he ultimately sat out.

Cordarrelle Patterson (ATL) at LAR: Fresh off a career-best 1,166-yard, 11-touchdown 30-year-old Deebo Samuel-esque “wide back” campaign, Patterson (or “C-Patz,” as his old-school truthers call him) had himself a day in Week 1 with 22-120-1 rushing and 3-16-0 receiving on five targets against a Saints defense that last year was No. 1 in rush DVOA (-26.8%), rush EPA per play (-0.157) and rush SR (33.1%). With that kind of elite usage …

… Patterson could have another big performance in a tough matchup in Week 2. Given that No. 2 back Damien Williams (rib) is already dealing an injury, Patterson could see almost all the Falcons backfield touches.

Patterson Update (Sat., 9/17): Williams is out, and Rams EDGE Leonard Floyd (knee) is questionable, but I doubt he plays after missing practice on Thursday and Friday. I have slightly upgraded Patterson.

A.J. Dillon (GB) vs. CHI: I like No. 1 RB Aaron Jones in this game — but I also like Dillon, who outplayed Jones in Week 1 with 91 yards on 10 carries and six targets. Perhaps most importantly, he earned both the team’s carries inside the five-yard line, one of which he converted into a two-yard touchdown. In two games against the Bears last year, Dillon had 26-130-0 rushing and zero targets. With a larger role this year, Dillon could go off as a -10 home favorite. QB Aaron Rodgers is 18-5 ATS off a loss. This is an explosion spot for the Packers.

Dillon Update (Sat., 9/17): LT David Bakhtiari (knee), RT Elgton Jenkins (knee) and LG Jon Runyan (concussion) are all questionable but have a reasonable chance to play. Jenkins practiced fully on Friday while the other two got in limited sessions. I have slightly upgraded Dillon.

Jeff Wilson (SF) vs. SEA: No. 1 RB Elijah Mitchell (knee, IR) exited Week 1 early and is out for at least the next eight weeks. Other than Mitchell (and I guess sort of Deebo Samuel), Wilson was the only running back to touch the ball (nine carries, two receptions) — or even play on offense (59% snap rate), as third-round RB Tyrion Davis-Price was inactive and undrafted RB Jordan Mason was on special teams. Competing with two rookies, Wilson has a good chance to lead the backfield in Week 2 against a Seattle defense that was No. 3 in most fantasy points allowed to running backs last year (22.7 PPG) and forfeited 19-101-0 rushing and 16-133-0 receiving on 18 targets to the Broncos backfield in Week 1. In his 15 career games with 12-plus opportunities, Wilson has averaged 14.5 fantasy PPG.

Wilson Update (Sat., 9/17): C Daniel Brunskill (hamstring) is out, but TE George Kittle (groin) has a chance to play after a limited practice on Friday.

Miles Sanders (PHI) vs. MIN: I stand corrected.

In Week 1, Sanders had 105 yards and a glorious touchdown on 13 carries and two targets, and the Eagles as a team had four touchdowns rushing. As a -1.5 home favorite, Sanders could find the end zone again in Week 2.

Darrell Henderson (LAR) vs. ATL: The Rams are coming off a 31-10 season-opening primetime loss. They have three extra days of rest relative to the Falcons, who have the No. 31 defensive line and No. 30 linebacking corps in our unit power rankings. They’re at home and massively favored (-10.5). Last week, Henderson had more yards (73 to zero), carries (13 to three), targets (five to zero) and snaps (55 to 12) than RB Cam Akers, who now looks like a distant No. 2 option in the backfield. This is Henderson’s moment.

Wilson Update (Sat., 9/17): C Brian Allen (knee) is out, but LT Joe Noteboom (knee) seems likely to play after his limited practice on Friday.

Devin Singletary (BUF) vs. TEN: Singletary underwhelmed in Week 1 with just 62 scoreless yards in a big 31-10 road win, but he still led the backfield with 35 snaps, eight carries and 18 routes. The Bills have three extra days of rest and are -10 home favorites so Singletary could have a run-friendly game script against the Titans, who just allowed 23-188-1 rushing and 7-31-1 receiving on eight targets to the Giants backfield. The Bills have a slate-high implied total of 30 points in our FantasyPros DFS Cheat Sheet.

Jamaal Williams (DET) vs. WAS: He’s just the No. 2 back, but Williams last week got 11 carries, two of which were on the one-yard line — and he converted both to touchdowns. As the team’s designated goal-line back, Williams has a valuable role, and the Lions — favored by -2.5 at home — could use him as a between-the-tackles clock grinder against the Commanders.

Williams Update (Sat., 9/17): No. 1 RB D’Andre Swift (ankle) sat out Wednesday and Thursday but practiced limitedly on Friday. He is technically questionable but expected to play. But C Frank Ragnow (groin, foot) is out and LG Jonah Jackson (finger) is questionable after missing practice on Thursday and Friday. I doubt he plays. I haven’t downgraded Williams yet, but Jackson’s injury situation should be monitored.

Michael Carter (NYJ) at CLE: Anytime I search for “Michael Carter” and don’t select the Jets cornerback with the same name, it’s a win. Anyway … Carter somehow had 100 yards on 10 carries, nine targets and 50 snaps in a 24-9 Week 1 loss against the Ravens defense, which last year was No. 1 in adjusted line yards (3.45). And he looked good doing it.

Carter is still ahead of second-round rookie RB Breece Hall, and the Browns defense was No. 28 last year in rush EPA per play (-0.014).

Freedman’s Favorite Week 2 Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp (LAR) vs. ATL: Kupp last year led the league with an obscene 191 targets and 37 red-zone targets, which he leveraged into a Triple Crown 145-1,947-16 receiving stat line (per our Advanced Wide Receiver Stats Report). In 17 games, only thrice did Kupp have fewer than 10 targets (per our Weekly Target Report). And then in Week 1 he ran a route on 100% of QB Matthew Stafford’s dropbacks, played on 100% of the offensive snaps and went 13-128-1 receiving on 15 targets against a Bills defense that last year was No. 1 in pass DVOA (-23.0%).

The Falcons are strong on the perimeter with CBs A.J. Terrell and Casey Hayward, but they are vulnerable in the slot, where CBs Dee Alford (undrafted rookie) and Mike Ford (journeyman, 9.9 yards per target for career) played in Week 1. For at least another week, I feel compelled to rank Kupp as my No. 1 receiver.

Kupp Update (Sat., 9/17): C Brian Allen (knee) is out, but LT Joe Noteboom (knee) seems likely to play after his limited practice on Friday.

Ja’Marr Chase (CIN) at DAL: The 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Chase is coming off one of the greatest first-year pass-catching campaigns ever with 81-1,455-13 receiving. In the preseason I liked him to be Offensive Player of the Year at +3000, and he at least put himself in the running with 10-129-1 receiving on 16 targets in Week 1 — and it could’ve been a much bigger day.

No. 2 WR Tee Higgins (concussion) is in the concussion protocol and uncertain for Week 2. If misses the game, Chase could have another game with double-digit targets.

Chase Update (Sat., 9/17): Higgins is questionable but practiced fully on Friday. He seems likely to play, so I have downgraded Chase.

Davante Adams (LV) vs. ARI: I was skeptical about Adams this offseason because of the decreased quarterback quality and increased target competition he now has with the Raiders. For at least Week 1, those factors didn’t matter, as he bullied his way to 10-141-1 receiving on a week-high 17 targets and 49% target share (per Andrew Erickson’s Week 2 Usage Report). The Cardinals are thin at corner: Antonio Hamilton (foot, PUP) is out and Trayvon Mullen (toe) missed last week, and in his absence the Cardinals shifted CB Byron Murphy from the slot to the perimeter and then used LB Isaiah Simmons in the slot. Predictably, that didn’t go well: The Cardinals defense finished No. 32 in pass DVOA (66.6%). Even if Mullen returns, however, the secondary won’t be much better.

Rank WRs & TEs Opp Secondary Secondary Rank Edge
3 LV ARI 29 26

The Raiders pass catchers have a massive edge in our unit power rankings.

Adams Update (Sat., 9/17): C Andre James (concussion) is out, and Cardinals EDGE J.J. Watt (calf) has a chance to play after a limited practice on Friday.

Stefon Diggs (BUF) vs. TEN: Diggs is the only NFL player with 160-plus targets in each of the past two years, over which time he had 230-2,760-18 receiving, and last year he had a league-high 23 end zone targets. In Week 1 he was his regular self with 8-122-1 receiving on nine targets. On the perimeter, the Titans have CBs Roger McCreary (rookie) and Kristian Fulton (8.9 yards per target for career, 4-84-1 receiving on four targets in Week 1).

Diggs Update (Sat., 9/17): No. 2 WR Gabe Davis (ankle) is questionable after popping up on the Saturday injury report. The late-week addition to the injury list is a bad sign for his Monday Night Football availability. Titans CB Kristian Fulton (hamstring) seems unlikely to play after sitting out Thursday and Friday. I have slightly upgraded Diggs.

Tyreek Hill (MIA) at BAL: For the first six years of his career with the Chiefs, Hill averaged 1,105 yards receiving, 119.8 yards rushing and 11.2 all-purpose touchdowns per season. New team, no problem. In his first game with QB Tua Tagovailoa, Hill had 100 scrimmage yards on 12 targets and one carry. The Ravens are thin at corner, given that Kyler Fuller (knee, IR) is out and Marcus Peters (knee) missed Week 1 and is yet to return from his season-ending injury last year.

Hill Update (Sat., 9/17): RT Austin Jackson (ankle, IR) is out, but LT Terron Armstead (toe) seems likely to play through his questionable tag after a limited practice on Friday. The Ravens could get back CB Marcus Peters (knee), who missed Week 1, but they will be without CB Kyle Fuller (knee, IR) and maybe CBs Marlon Humphrey (groin) and Brandon Stephens (quad), both of whom are questionable and missed Friday practice. I have upgraded Hill.

Michael Pittman (IND) at JAX: After a 1,082-yard, six-touchdown campaign last year with QB Carson Wentz, Pittman wasted no time in establishing a rapport with new QB Matt Ryan, leveraging a team-high 13 targets into 121 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Last week, the Jaguars defense allowed 13-153-4 receiving on 22 targets to Commanders wide receivers, and last year it was No. 32 in pass DVOA (32.8%) against No. 1 pass catchers.

Pittman Update (Sat., 9/17): Michael Pittman (quad) is out.

A.J. Brown (PHI) vs. MIN: In his first three seasons, Brown had 3,065 yards and 25 touchdowns from scrimmage despite minimal usage (295 targets, five carries) — and then in his first game with the Eagles he popped off for 10-155-0 receiving and a week-high 73% share of air yards on 13 targets. This week he gets to face 32-year-old No. 1 CB Patrick Peterson, who last week allowed a raw small-school rookie receiver to do this to him on his very first NFL play …

Brown won’t have a problem catching that ball.

Terry McLaurin (WAS) at DET: McLaurin had 1,030 yards receiving per season for the first three years of his career, and he did that with QBs Taylor Heinicke, Dwayne Haskins, Case Keenum, Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, Colt McCoy and Garrett Gilbert. Say whatever you want about Carson Wentz, but he’s an upgrade on that collective cohort. In Week 1, McLaurin had just 58 yards on four targets, but he saved his day with a touchdown, and I expect a bounceback this week: The Lions defense last year was No. 30 in dropback EPA per play (0.199), and perimeter CBs Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye have some of the worst career marks I’ve ever seen.

Regardless of whom he’s lined up against on the outside, McLaurin has a massive edge this week.

McLaurin Update (Sat., 9/17): Oruwariye (back) is questionable but missed practice on Friday after being limited on Thursday. I doubt he plays, which means a bad Lions secondary could be worse. I have slightly upgraded McLaurin.

Marquise Brown (ARI) at LV: Brown minorly underwhelmed in Week 1 with 4-43-1 receiving on six targets, but DeAndre Hopkins (suspension) is out and Rondale Moore (hamstring) could be out after missing Week 1, so Brown’s target competition at wide receiver could be A.J. Green (34 years old), Andy Isabella (organizationally ignored) and Greg Dortch (12 career targets, although more on him later). The Raiders defense is without starting CB Anthony Averett (thumb, IR) and last week was No. 30 in dropback EPA per play (0.483).

Brown Update (Sat., 9/17): WRs Rondale Moore (hamstring) and Andy Isabella (back) are out, as is Raiders S Tre’von Moehrig (hip). I have upgraded Brown.

Mike Williams (LAC) at KC: No. 1 WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) will probably miss Week 2 after exiting Week 1 early … but Williams might be the No. 1 wide receiver on the Chargers anyway.

Williams didn’t look like a No. 1 option last week with just 2-10-0 receiving on four targets, but last year in two games against the divisional Chiefs he had 10-171-2 receiving on 18 targets.

Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET) vs. WAS: St. Brown closed his 2021 rookie campaign with 51-560-5 receiving on 67 targets in six games, and he picked up where he left off with 8-64-1 receiving on 12 targets in Week 1. For the second week in a row, St. Brown is the No. 1 wide receiver on home underdog playing a dome. They could have a pass-heavy game script, and the Commanders defense allowed 17-226-0 receiving on 28 targets last week to the Jaguars wide receivers.

Gabe Davis (BUF) vs. TEN: After serving as a rotational backup for the first two years of his career — and racking up a promising 9.9 yards per target and a 12.1% touchdown rate in the process (including the playoffs, when he went off for 8-201-4 receiving on 10 targets in the Divisional Round) — Davis had 4-88-1 receiving on five targets, a 100% route rate and 98% snap rate in Week 1.

His literal stock is rising.

Davis Update (Sat., 9/17): Davis (ankle) is questionable after popping up on the Saturday injury report. The late-week addition to the injury list is a bad sign for his Monday Night Football availability. Davis is no longer a favorite.

Michael Thomas (NO) vs. TB: After missing half of the 2020 and all of the 2021 campaigns, Thomas (knee, hamstring) returned to action in Week 1 and had 5-57-2 receiving on eight targets despite playing on just 61% of the snaps. We don’t know if he’s still the same player he was in 2019 — when he was the Offensive Player of the Year with an NFL-high 149 receptions and 1,725 yards — but that season he ethered Buccaneers HC (then-DC) Todd Bowles’ defense with 19-296-3 receiving on 23 targets in two games.

Christian Kirk (JAX) vs. IND: I reserve my right to be skeptical about Kirk, who has never been a No. 1 receiver. In his seven games last year without WR DeAndre Hopkins, Kirk managed just 64.9 yards and 0.14 touchdowns on 7.3 targets per game. But at least last week he was 6-117-0 receiving on 12 targets. This offseason, the Colts lost starting perimeter CBs Xavier Rhodes and Rock-Ya Sin, starting SS Khari Willis, starting FS Andrew Sendejo and DC Matt Eberflus (now Bears head coach). They could struggle in the secondary early in the year.

Jerry Jeudy (DEN) vs. HOU: After a potential-laden rookie year (856 yards) turned into a gruesome sophomore season (467 yards), Jeudy — like House Mormont — answered the call in Week 1 with 4-102-1 receiving on seven targets in primetime.

Running the supermajority of his routes from the slot (30 to 13 out wide), Jeudy has a great matchup against CB Desmond King, who last year allowed a 69.2% catch rate and 1.38 yards per coverage snap and in Week 1 gave up 5-91-0 receiving on seven targets.

Jeudy Update (Sat., 9/17): No. 3 WR K.J. Hamler (knee) is out. I have slightly upgraded Jeudy.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (KC) vs. LAC: After exploding in his first two seasons (9.6 yards per target) and stagnating for the three years after that (6.7), Smith-Schuster looked revitalized last week in his first game with the Chiefs. Serving as the No. 1 wide receiver for QB Patrick Mahomes, he lined up all across the formation (14 snaps wide left, 18 in the slot, 14 wide right), and he had a position-best 6-79-0 receiving on eight targets, all of which came in the first half of a 44-21 blowout. The Chargers could be without No. 1 CB J.C. Jackson (ankle), who missed Week 1.

Tyler Boyd (CIN) at DAL: No. 2 WR Tee Higgins (concussion) exited Week 1 early and is uncertain for Week 2. Without Higgins, Boyd was a serviceable-ish 4-33-1 receiving on seven targets last week, and over the past four years he has averaged 935.7 yards and 5.25 touchdowns on 78 receptions and 115 targets. He’s insurance on Ja’Marr Chase and Higgins, and now’s the time to cash in on your policy.

Boyd Update (Sat., 9/17): Higgins is questionable but practiced fully on Friday. He seems likely to play, so I have downgraded Boyd, who is no longer a favorite.

Julio Jones (TB) at NO: No. 1 WR Mike Evans will be embattled with CB Marshon Lattimore all game. No. 2 WR Chris Godwin (knee, hamstring) is out. Slot WR Russell Gage is just a guy. Jones could go off. Last week he had 3-69-0 receiving on five targets with QB Tom Brady (as well as 2-17-0 rushing) — and he looked GOOD.

The elite athleticism? Jones still has it, as evidenced by his play speed in Week 1.

Jones is an injury risk for the season, but as long as he’s healthy entering any given game he’s a must-start player. Since turning 31 years old, Jones has averaged an outrageous 10.5 yards per target. Fragile, yes. But still one of the league’s best pure receivers.

Jones Update (Sat., 9/17): LT Donovan Smith (elbow) is doubtful, but RT Tristan Wirfs (abdomen) will likely play through his questionable designation after a limited practice on Friday. Evans, Gage and WR Breshad Perriman (knee) are questionable but should play. Saints No. 2 CB Paulson Adebo (ankle) is out, so Jones is likely to face a backup corner for much of the game. I have upgraded Jones.

Robbie Anderson (CAR) at NYG: Last week Anderson led the Panthers with a 100% snap rate, 100% route rate and 5-102-1 receiving on eight targets. D.J. Moore investors, I feel your pain. There’s a chance that Moore could be shadowed by No. 1 CB Adoree’ Jackson (0.62 yards per coverage snap since last year), which means that Anderson would run the supermajority of his routes against CBs Darnay Holmes (74.2% reception rate allowed) and Aaron Robinson (just 208 coverage snaps).

Anderson Update (Sat., 9/17): Robinson (appendicitis) and CB Nick McCloud (hamstring) are both out. I have upgraded Anderson.

D.J. Chark (DET) vs. WAS: In his first game with the Lions and first game back from a season-ending ankle injury last year, Chark was the No. 2 pass catcher for the team with 4-52-1 receiving on eight targets, and he was among the league leaders with 124 air yards.

Chark is a volatile fantasy option, but he has the matchup to go off: The Commanders defense last year was No. 32 in pass DVOA (36.5%) against No. 2 wide receivers.

Jahan Dotson (WAS) at DET: In his NFL debut, Dotson lined up all over the formation (24 snaps wide right, 22 in the slot, 22 wide left). He ran routes on 89% of QB Carson Wentz’s dropbacks. He played on 88% of the offensive snaps. He wasn’t flashy with just 40 yards on five targets. And his one carry went for -10 yards. But at least the team cared enough about him to give him a rush attempt in the first place — and he scored two touchdowns.

With his NFL draft capital (No. 16 overall) and college production (2,084 yards, 21 touchdowns in 21 games in two final seasons), Dotson could be a real NFL contributor right away — and he’s now a +800 favorite to be Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Dotson Update (Sat., 9/17): Lions CB Amani Oruwariye (back) is questionable but missed practice on Friday after being limited on Thursday. I doubt he plays, which means a bad Lions secondary could be worse. I have upgraded Dotson.

Joshua Palmer (LAC) at KC: What Tyler Boyd is to Tee Higgins (concussion) for the Bengals, Palmer is to Keenan Allen (hamstring) for the Chargers. In theory.

Curtis Samuel (WAS) at DET: In Week 1, Samuel had a shades-of-2020 throwback performance with 8-55-1 receiving and 4-17-0 rushing. He’s not on the level of perimeter CBs Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye, but slot CB Mike Hughes (1.32 yards per coverage snap) offers Samuel an advantageous matchup.

Samuel Update (Sat., 9/17): Oruwariye (back) is questionable but missed practice on Friday after being limited on Thursday. I doubt he plays, which means a bad Lions secondary could be worse. I have upgraded Samuel.

Sammy Watkins (GB) vs. CHI: Wait, why are you skipping to the next player? I don’t think it gets any better the farther down the list you go.

Watkins Update (Sat., 9/17): LT David Bakhtiari (knee), RT Elgton Jenkins (knee) LG Jon Runyan (concussion) and WR Allen Lazard (ankle) are all questionable but have a reasonable chance to play. Jenkins practiced fully on Friday while the other three got in limited sessions. I have slightly upgraded Watkins.

Donovan Peoples-Jones (CLE) vs. NYJ: In Week 1, Peoples-Jones had a 92% route rate, 82% snap rate and team-best 6-60-0 receiving on 11 targets. I’m skeptical he can maintain this usage, but reasonable doubt isn’t a virtue when it comes to fantasy fliers: He’s an upside play. The Jets defense last year was No. 32 in both dropback EPA per play (0.259) and pass DVOA (29.0%).

Greg Dortch (ARI) at LV: I told you we’d get to Dortch, who amazingly had a team-high 42 routes and nine targets, which he leveraged into 7-63-0 receiving as the team’s top slot receiver in Week 1. And it’s not as if all that production came in garbage time of a 44-21 blowout: All but two of his targets came before halftime. If WR Rondale Moore (hamstring) misses another game, Dortch could be a viable desperation play.

Dortch Update (Sat., 9/17): WRs Rondale Moore (hamstring) and Andy Isabella (back) are out, as is Raiders S Tre’von Moehrig (hip). I have upgraded Dortch.

Noah Brown (DAL) vs. CIN: QB Dak Prescott (thumb) is out, but the team will still need to throw the ball — especially as +8.5 underdogs — but at least they’re at home in a dome, and Brown was the No. 2 wide receiver on the Cowboys with 61 snaps, 39 routes and nine targets, which he turned into 5-68-0 receiving. He could be the No. 2 option again this week if WRs Michael Gallup (knee) and Jalen Tolbert (inactive) are out.

Browns Update (Sat., 9/17): QB Dak Prescott (thumb) is out but so is Michael Gallup (knee).

WRs Rondale Moore (hamstring) and Andy Isabella (back) are out, as is Raiders S Tre’von Moehrig (hip). I have slightly upgraded Brown.

Mike Thomas (CIN) at DAL: If No. 2 WR Tee Higgins (concussion) misses Week 2, then Thomas will be the guy who replaces him in three-wide sets. Last week, he almost played as many snaps (69), ran as many routes (46) and saw as many targets (5) as starter Tyler Boyd (80, 52, 7). With his usage, Thomas had just one reception, but he also added a two-point conversion. He will be the last skill-position player the Cowboys pay attention to in Week 2.

Thomas Update (Sat., 9/17): Higgins is questionable but practiced fully on Friday. He seems likely to play, so Thomas is no longer a favorite.

Richie James (NYG) vs. CAR: No. 1 WR Kadarius Toney is in the doghouse, No. 2 WR Kenny Golladay plays older than his age (29 years) and slot WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) left Week 1 early, so James played heavily and ended up No. 2 on the team — behind only RB Saquon Barkley — with six targets and five receptions, with which he had 59 yards and 63 air yards, which was actually a significant number within the Giants offense.

This is probably nothing, but for his career James has 11.5 yards per target. Maybe he turns into an NFL starter.

James Update (Sat., 9/17): WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) is out, and WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring) is questionable. I have upgraded Richie James.

Freedman’s Favorite Week 2 Tight Ends

Travis Kelce (KC) vs. LAC: What a surprise — Kelce was the No. 1 pass catcher for the Chiefs in Week 1 with 8-121-1 receiving on nine targets! How unforeseeable! A few years ago, Kelce was mediocre at best in his head-to-head matchup with S Derwin James (2018 Week 1: 1-6-0 receiving on six targets; 2018 Week 15: 7-61-0, nine targets; 2019 Week 17: 3-24-0, five targets) — but last year he dominated in two games against the divisional Chargers (25 fantasy PPG, 17-295-2, 24 targets), who year No. 1 in most yards (1,170) and No. 2 in most touchdowns (13) allowed to tight ends last year.

Mark Andrews (BAL) vs. MIA: Andrews underwhelmed in Week 1 (5-52-0 receiving, seven targets), but last year he was the No. 1 tight end with 153 targets and a 25.8% target share (per our Advanced Tight End Stats Report). He has a tough matchup against S Jevon Holland, but Andrews is one of our most undervalued Week 2 DFS plays.

Darren Waller (LV) vs. ARI: Waller had just six targets in Week 1, but he still put up 79 yards on four receptions — and we just saw what Travis Kelce did to the Cardinals, who were No. 31 in pass DVOA against tight ends last week (114.2%).

Pat Freiermuth (PIT) vs. NE: Last week Freiermuth was No. 1 on the Steelers with 75 yards and receiving and No. 2 with 10 targets and five receptions. Positionally, he was No. 1 on the week with a 32% target rate per route. After the obvious top guys, Freiermuth stood out.

Against the Patriots, he could be QB Mitchell Trubisky’s best friend.

Check out my Week 2 early betting breakdown on Steelers vs. Patriots

Robert Tonyan (GB) vs. CHI: Who else is gonna catch touchdowns from QB Aaron Rodgers? — because we know it won’t be Christian Watson.

Tonyan Update (Sat., 9/17): LT David Bakhtiari (knee), RT Elgton Jenkins (knee) LG Jon Runyan (concussion) and WR Allen Lazard (ankle) are all questionable but have a reasonable chance to play. Jenkins practiced fully on Friday while the other three got in limited sessions. I have slightly upgraded Tonyan.

Hayden Hurst (CIN) at DAL: Hurst was No. 3 on the team last week with 51 routes, seven targets, five receptions and 46 yards receiving. If I cared enough about this blurb, this is where I’d write a second sentence … which I guess I just did. See, I care. That’s three — now four — sentences out of me. What more do you want. Six sentences?

Hurst Update (Sat., 9/17): No. 2 WR Tee Higgins (concussion) is questionable but practiced fully on Friday. He seems likely to play, so I have downgraded Hurst.

Juwan Johnson (NO) vs. TB: I can’t say that Johnson is good. And I can’t say that he has a good matchup. What I can say is that last week he ran routes (32) with starting WRs Michael Thomas (33), Chris Olave (33) and Jarvis Landry (32), and he had more targets (five) than Olave (three) and RB Alvin Kamara (four). And he had 43 yards on that usage. That’s almost livable.

Freedman’s Former Favorites

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