I hope this column works out as well in Week 2 as it did in Week 1 because it’s the best feeling when we’re able to help you find winners. And last week was a successful venture.
We hit on the following sleepers in this column: Matt Ryan , Brock Osweiler , Charles Sims , T.J. Yeldon , Isaiah Crowell , Theo Riddick , DeSean Jackson , Willie Snead , Will Fuller , Jordan Matthews , Phillip Dorsett , Vance McDonald and Eric Ebron . If you started most of these guys, there’s a good chance your Fantasy team put up a lot of points.
But as we’re all well aware, it’s not what happened last week that matters. It’s what lies ahead, and I hope we have the same level of success in Week 2.
Editor’s Note: Projections are provided by CBSSports, not Jamey Eisenberg. For all your must-start guys (and sits), check out Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em.
In full disclosure, when the week started I didn’t want Rivers as a starter. He just lost Keenan Allen (torn ACL) for the season, and his stats last year were brutal when Allen was out with a kidney injury. In the eight games without Allen, Rivers had just two outings with more than 20 Fantasy points. Well, one of those games was at Jacksonville in Week 12 when he passed for 300 yards and four touchdowns and finished with 36 Fantasy points. Now, that’s not an indication of what will happen this week, but the Jacksonville Jaguars just allowed three total touchdowns at home to Aaron Rodgers . And Rivers should be able to lean on Antonio Gates , Danny Woodhead , Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams for enough production to be successful this week. The Jaguars allowed five quarterbacks to score multiple touchdowns on the road last season.
The last time we saw Cousins against the Cowboys was Week 17 of last year, and he needed only 15 pass attempts to get 176 yards and three touchdowns, which was good for 25 Fantasy points in a standard league. The problem is the last time we saw Cousins in general was Week 1 against the Steelers, and he looked awful in going 30-of-43 passing for 329 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. But he should play better this week against the Cowboys, who just allowed Eli Manning to pass for 207 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Cousins isn’t a must-start quarterback, but he is a good streaming option and worth starting in two-quarterback leagues.
Flacco’s outing in Week 1 against Buffalo was his first game since last year’s torn ACL in Week 11, and he performed adequately with 258 passing yards and one touchdown. He should have the chance for a better day in Week 2 against the Browns, who struggled on the road against Eagles rookie Carson Wentz , who had 278 passing yards and two touchdowns. Flacco doesn’t have the best track record at Cleveland with an average of 176 passing yards in his past five trips there with six total touchdowns and three interceptions. He has just one game with more than 20 Fantasy points at Cleveland over that span, which was 2013, but he should play well this week. He might not have a dominant performance, but Flacco is a solid option in two-quarterback leagues. We also hope his rapport with Mike Wallace continues to improve, and Wallace is a sleeper as well.
If Week 1 is an indication of things to come for Woodhead then Fantasy owners are going to be thrilled with him all year. He had a career-high 16 carries for 89 yards, and he added five catches for 31 yards and a touchdown at Kansas City. The receiving stats are understandable because that’s what he does best, but the San Diego Chargers leaned on him as a rusher despite a strong start from teammate Melvin Gordon , who had eight carries for 39 yards and two touchdowns in the first half but finished with just 14 carries for 57 yards and the two scores. We expect the Chargers to give Gordon more work in Week 2, especially at home against the Jaguars. But Woodhead will also be heavily involved, especially with Allen out. Woodhead had at least six catches in five of the eight games Allen missed last year, including Week 12 at Jacksonville with six catches for 39 yards. He’s a must-start option in PPR leagues and a low-end No. 2 running back in standard formats.
Both Detroit Lions running backs are worth starting this week with Ameer Abdullah and Riddick, and both did a great job in Week 1 at the Colts. Abdullah led the Lions with 40 offensive snaps compared to 24 for Riddick, but Riddick left the game for roughly a quarter while being evaluated for a concussion. He was able to return and immediately played a key role in the fourth quarter, and his final stats were seven carries for 45 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown, which was good for 22 Fantasy points in a standard league. There’s little chance he replicates that performance again this season since that’s his best Fantasy production over the past two years by a lot, but for this week he should have the chance to help plenty of owners, especially in PPR leagues. Riddick had six games at home last year with at least five catches, and he’s a high-end No. 2 option in PPR for Week 2.
The Seattle Seahawks are giving Rawls the starting job back ahead of Christine Michael now that it appears his ankle injury from last year is behind him. Michael started Week 1 against Miami and had 15 carries for 66 yards and two catches for 5 yards, and Rawls had 12 carries for 32 yards and three catches for 26 yards. We hope he shook off the rust in that game, and he’s worth using as a flex option for this week against the Rams, who should rebound defensively from Week 1 when Carlos Hyde had 23 carries for 88 yards and two touchdowns on Monday night. If Rawls gets the majority of touches ahead of Michael as expected, especially receptions since the three catches in Week 1 matched a career high, then he should have the chance for a quality outing. We hope this is the start of a breakout campaign for Rawls, and maybe he can find the end zone against the Rams like Hyde did in Week 1.
By no means is Morris a must-start option in Week 2, especially with Ezekiel Elliott healthy and expected to get the majority of touches for the Cowboys. But Dallas owner Jerry Jones said Morris should play more than the 18 snaps he had in Week 1 against the Giants since he ran well with seven carries for 35 yards compared to Elliott, who grinded out 20 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. I have Morris listed here as one of those shot in the dark calls because he’s facing his former team, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets the chance for a revenge touchdown. He’s only worth using as a flex option in deeper leagues, but don’t be surprised if he scores.
West is in a similar situation to Morris because he’s facing his former team this week, but West is definitely going to get his share of playing time in tandem with Forsett. The tandem portion of that sentence is important because the Baltimore Ravens only went with West and Forsett in Week 1 against Buffalo and made Javorius Allen inactive. That allowed West to lead Baltimore in touches last week with 12 carries for 32 yards and two catches for 6 yards, and Forsett had 10 carries for 41 yards and three catches for 15 yards. I like Forsett better than West this week in all formats, and he’s the better sleeper to use. But West has the better chance to score a touchdown against the Browns, who drafted him in 2014. Forsett and West are both flex options this week on the road.
Sanders could get a huge boost this week if Demaryius Thomas (hip) is out or limited, and he would become the No. 1 receiver for Trevor Siemian . But it might not matter if Sanders is No. 1 or 2 for targets given the matchup with the Colts. Indianapolis is still dealing with injuries in the secondary, and even though they held the Lions receivers out of the end zone in Week 1, we still had quality performances from Marvin Jones in standard leagues (four catches for 85 yards on 10 targets) and Golden Tate in PPR (seven catches for 41 yards on seven targets). Sanders was great against the Colts last year at Indianapolis with six catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, and he has 12 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown in his past two meetings with the Colts. He’s a must-start option in three-receiver leagues and a potential starter in all formats.
Shepard and Cruz both have the chance to play well this week given the matchup with the Saints, who just struggled with the Raiders receivers in Week 1. Amari Cooper (six catches for 137 yards on 11 targets), Michael Crabtree (seven catches for 87 yards and a two-point conversion on nine targets) and Seth Roberts (two catches for 19 yards and a touchdown on four targets) all played well, and the Giants receivers should do the same at home. You’re starting Odell Beckham in all formats, but Shepard and Cruz have the chance to be No. 3 receivers in the majority of leagues. Shepard had three catches for 43 yards and a touchdown on four targets in Week 1 at Dallas, and we saw Cruz back in action with four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown on four targets. Both could score at least nine Fantasy points again this week since the Saints are without top cornerback Delvin Breaux (leg) and will use three cornerbacks ( P.J. Williams , De’Vante Harris and Ken Crawley ) who never played a regular-season snap prior to Week 1. That’s good news for the Giants passing game.
Diggs was great in Week 1 at Tennessee, and that should be a precursor to what we can expect from him all season. He had seven catches for 103 yards on nine targets, and hopefully the switch from Shaun Hill to Sam Bradford as the starting quarterback keeps Diggs playing at a high level. Packers cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) could be out for this game, which would be a huge boost for Diggs, and he had six catches for 66 yards against the Packers in one meeting last year. Diggs is almost a must-start option in PPR leagues, and he’s at least a No. 3 receiver in standard formats. He appears on his way to a breakout campaign as the No. 1 receiver for the Minnesota Vikings this year.
Speaking of No. 1 receivers, we should see Benjamin in that role now that Allen is out, and he ended up leading the Chargers in targets in Week 1 at Kansas City when Allen got hurt. He had eight targets with seven catches, but he only managed 32 receiving yards for the game. Now, last year we saw Benjamin as the No. 1 receiver for the Browns, and he posted 68 catches for 966 yards and five touchdowns on 124 targets. But he had terrible quarterback play in Cleveland, and Rivers should bring out the best in Benjamin. He’s not a must-start receiver this week, but he could play well against the Jaguars, who allowed two touchdowns to receivers in Week 1 against Green Bay. Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman will also see a boost in value with Allen out, and both should be considered sleepers in deeper leagues. But Allen has the chance to be a No. 3 receiver in Week 2, especially with Jacksonville cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) out, and his value is on the rise now that his role has increased for the Chargers.
You have to like the way Sharpe played in Week 1 against Minnesota in his NFL debut with seven catches for 76 yards on 11 targets, and he was easily the No. 1 receiver for Marcus Mariota . That should be the case all season, although expect tight end Delanie Walker to get more involved after he was limited to three catches for 42 yards on five targets. The Colts just beat up this Detroit secondary with Donte Moncrief (six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown on seven targets), Phillip Dorsett (four catches for 94 yards on six targets) and T.Y. Hilton (six catches for 79 yards on 12 targets) all playing well. The problem for Sharpe is game flow and game plan since the Tennessee Titans want to run the ball a lot, but if the Lions can score early and often in this game, Mariota should be forced to throw. And if that happens, Sharpe is in line for solid production in Week 2. He’s a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside.
It was clear that Dak Prescott wanted to rely on his safety blankets in his first NFL start in Week 1 against the Giants. Witten had 14 targets for nine catches and 66 yards, and Cole Beasley had 12 targets compared to just five for Dez Bryant . That hopefully will change for Bryant this week against the Redskins, but Prescott will likely continue to lean on Witten, especially in this matchup. Washington allowed Jesse James to catch five passes for 31 yards in Week 1, and he nearly scored a touchdown. And last year, Witten had 11 catches for 103 yards and one touchdown in two meetings with the Redskins. He also has at least five catches in three of his past four meetings with Washington, including two touchdowns over that span. Witten is better suited for PPR leagues than standard formats, but he showed enough of a rapport with Prescott in Week 1 that he should continue to play well this week on the road.
The Cincinnati Bengals only allowed one touchdown to a tight end in 2015, which was Arizona’s Darren Fells in Week 11, but they definitely allowed a lot of catches and yards. And no team had more success with their tight ends against Cincinnati than the Steelers. Heath Miller had 10 catches for 105 yards on 13 targets against the Bengals in Week 8 and 10 catches for 66 yards on 10 targets at Cincinnati in Week 14. James is a sneaky option in PPR leagues this week, and he was heavily involved for the Steelers in Week 1 against Washington with five catches for 31 yards on seven targets. The targets were tied for second with Eli Rodgers and behind Antonio Brown (11), and Ben Roethlisberger will continue to lean on his new tight end. He might not score against the Bengals in this matchup, but he should catch plenty of passes. I’m starting him in a couple of PPR leagues this week.
We’ll see if Bradford leans on Rudolph the way he did with Zach Ertz in Philadelphia since that was one of his favorite targets, and Bradford has proven to be tight end friendly throughout his career. Rudolph got off to a good start in Week 1 at the Titans with four catches for 64 yards on eight targets, which were second on the team behind Diggs. The Packers struggled with Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas in Week 1 when he had five catches for 65 yards and a touchdown on five targets, and Rudolph had six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown at home against the Packers last year. It’s a new venue for the Vikings in their home opener, but hopefully Rudolph will have similar success. He’s a good streaming option this week.
DFS advice for Week 2
- QB: Matthew Stafford (vs. TEN) – $7,800
- RB: Jeremy Langford (vs. PHI) – $6,500
- RB: T.J. Yeldon (at SD) – $6,500
- WR: Odell Beckham (vs. NO) – $9,400
- WR: A.J. Green (at PIT) – $8,900
- WR: Sterling Shepard (vs. NO) – $6,200
- TE: Eric Ebron (vs. TEN) – $5,500
- K: Will Lutz (at NYG) – $4,500
- D: New England Patriots (vs. MIA) – $4,500
- QB: Philip Rivers (vs. JAC) – $6,400
- RB: C.J. Anderson (vs. IND) – $6,800
- RB: Danny Woodhead (vs. JAC) – $5,200
- WR: A.J. Green (at PIT) – $8,900
- WR: DeSean Jackson (vs. DAL) – $6,300
- WR: Stefon Diggs (vs. GB) – $5,100
- TE: Antonio Gates (vs. JAC) – $4,500
- FLEX: Tyrell Williams (vs. JAC) – $3,700
- DST: Patriots (vs. MIA) – $3,000
For my FanDuel lineup, I went with two mini-stacks of Lions (Stafford and Ebron) and Giants (Beckham and Shepard). A lot of people are going to use the Giants this week with their matchup against the Saints, but I’m OK with that as long as Beckham and Shepard come through.
I love Stafford this week at home, and he should continue to look for Ebron, who scored in Week 1 at the Colts. Langford and Yeldon should get plenty of work in Week 2, and Yeldon has a great matchup at San Diego with Chris Ivory (illness) out.
I want Green in every lineup possible given his history against the Steelers, and I’m using him in both leagues here. On DraftKings, I also went with a Chargers stack of Rivers, Woodhead, Gates and Williams, and I love the matchup against the Jaguars.
Anderson is my No. 1 running back this week against the Colts, and Jackson and Diggs should do well. This should be a successful week in daily leagues.
You can’t trade Sammy Watkins now because no one will give you fair value. And it’s hard to start him with his foot injury still an issue, and he’s not performing at a high level. You just have to keep Watkins on your bench, especially in Week 3 against Arizona, and hopefully he’ll come around like he did last year. If he can get healthy, he can still have a dominant campaign, but right now he’s looking more like a bust.
I liked Bruce Ellington as a sleeper before he hurt his hamstring and was placed on injured reserve, and Kerley stepped into his role and was solid. He had 11 targets in Week 1 and finished with seven catches for 61 yards against the Rams. Blaine Gabbert won’t throw the ball down the field, so Kerley should rack up plenty of receptions on a weekly basis. Touchdowns will be hard to come by, but Kerley is worth adding in deep PPR leagues. He could become a quality No. 3 receiver very soon.
Dixon has the most talent of Baltimore’s running backs, but he also has proven to be somewhat injury prone after three separate injuries since he was drafted, including the knee injury that currently has him out of action. He will likely need Forsett to get hurt to become a starting Fantasy option, but if you have an open roster spot then it’s not a bad idea to stash him to see what develops when he’s healthy and active.
I would be cautious starting Thomas this week with his hip injury, which is tough because of the great matchup against the Colts. He should be considered just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues. Moving forward, you can’t trade him now because you’re not getting fair value in return. Your best bet is to wait for Thomas to get healthy and hopefully show he has a solid rapport with Siemian. I’m still confident Thomas can be a solid No. 2 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues if his hip is 100 percent.
It’s tough in deep leagues to find receivers like Fuller and Sharpe, but you should be able to grab someone like Tyrell Williams or Kerley, Both had low ownership, and I like the upside for both, especially in PPR leagues. You can also look for Quincy Enunwa , who has played well through two games for the New York Jets , and we’ll see if the Chargers also use Inman to help replace Allen. Now, if all of these receivers are gone, you can always look to explore a trade. Someone should have receiver depth if your league is as stacked at the position as you indicated.
Source: CBS Sports / Fantasy Football: Week 2 sleepers, DFS advice and mailbag