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2020 Fantasy Football: Players to start or sit in Week 2

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Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).

Good luck with your Week 2 lineups.

Minnesota Vikings @ Indianapolis Colts

Start: Kirk Cousins, Nyheim Hines

The Vikings lost Stefon Diggs during the offseason, but the team’s huge decline on defense means Cousins’ fantasy arrow is pointing up. It’s just one game, but Minnesota leads the NFL in yards-per-play by a wide margin and Cousins ranks No. 4 in both Average Intended Air Yards and Aggressiveness percentage after being bottom-five last season. Cousins is a borderline top-10 fantasy QB in Week 2 against a Colts secondary that just allowed a record-setting game to Gardner Minshew.

Philip Rivers targeted his backs on nearly 38% of his throws in Week 1, and it’s a theme that’s going to continue throughout the season (an extension of their run game, as Frank Reich says). Hines saw six red-zone opportunities in Week 1 and should be considered easily a top-20 RB in PPR leagues, while Jonathan Taylor should be treated as a top-10 back with Marlon Mack out for the season. Week 2 sets up well against a depleted Minnesota defense.

Los Angeles Rams @ Philadelphia Eagles

Start: Jared Goff, Jalen Reagor

Goff typically plays better at home, but this game sets up to be high-scoring and should require much more passing than last week. He’s due for more touchdowns after once again seeing his receivers fall just short of the end zone in Week 1, a theme throughout Goff’s 2019 season as well.

Reagor had some mistakes but also impressed during his NFL debut, and he should play more snaps after originally looking unlikely to start the season while dealing with a shoulder injury. He ranked #8 in air yards last week, and the rookie could benefit from Jalen Ramsey concentrating on DeSean Jackson. Reagor is a sleeper this week.

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Start: Robby Anderson

Start in DFS: Ronald Jones ($19)

While Anderson could be considered a fade after his big game last week was aided by one huge 75-yard play, he also ranked a healthy #33 in WOPR during his Carolina debut, and encouragingly, Teddy Bridgewater showed a new willingness to go downfield, checking in 15th in Average Intended Air Yards after ranking last in 2019. Anderson sets up well in Week 2 against a Buccaneers funnel defense that ceded the most fantasy points to wide receivers last season and has emerging shutdown corner Carlton Davis likely shadowing DJ Moore.

Scotty Miller gets a boost with Chris Godwin (concussion) banged up (but he was cleared to practice on Friday) and Mike Evans dealing with a hamstring injury, and Jones should be treated as a top-15 fantasy back in Week 2 against a Carolina defense that was gashed for the most fantasy points by RBs last season. There’s risk here assuming the coaches make the right call, but Jones looked demonstrably better than Leonard Fournette last week and is set up for a big game Sunday if Tampa Bay features him again.

Denver Broncos @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sit: Jerry Jeudy

Start: Diontae Johnson

It will be tempting to start the rookie if Courtland Sutton sits again, but this game features this week’s lowest total, and Jeudy faces an elite Pittsburgh defense on the road during a short week.

[Week 2 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

Johnson had a drop and another possible miscue that was highlighted during Monday night’s game, and he also watched JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington catch all three of Ben Roethlisberger’s TD passes. But Johnson dominated in air yards target share, tying for #11 in WOPR in Week 1. The Steelers should struggle to run the ball against Denver, leading to another busy game for Johnson.

Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys

Start: Russell Gage, CeeDee Lamb

The Falcons won’t have three WRs with 12 targets every game like Week 1, as Hayden Hurst will be more involved, but Atlanta sets up well for Gage to be plenty valuable in PPR formats this week and all season, as the team can’t run or play defense and has a narrow target tree. Gage’s heavy usage dates back to the second half of last season, and he has upside for more if Julio Jones or Calvin Ridley were to go down. The Falcons should once again throw a ton this week while playing catch up and unable to run the ball (sit Todd Gurley).

Dak Prescott got 9.2 YPA with 22 touchdowns over eight home games last season, and the Cowboys should overcome their offensive line issues and lead the NFL in scoring this week against an overwhelmed Falcons defense. Lamb is going to have some big games out of the slot this season (along with even more targets freed up with Blake Jarwin’s unfortunate season-ending injury), and it might as well start Sunday.

CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys
Big games are in store for CeeDee Lamb, and he could have one in Week 2. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Jets

Start: Raheem Mostert, Breshad Perriman

Mostert saw a career-high five targets in Week 1 and is now up to 13 touchdowns over his last nine games (and was close to scoring a couple of more times Sunday). Tevin Coleman may be more involved this week, but Mostert just became the fastest ballcarrier (22.73 mph) in a game since 2016 and is a top-15 fantasy RB right now. Go here for more hot 49ers fantasy takes.

With Jamison Crowder (hamstring) ruled out for Sunday, Perriman is in line for a ton of targets against a banged-up secondary missing Richard Sherman and possibly Ahkello Witherspoon, making him a strong Week 2 fantasy sleeper. Perriman was the only receiver to play 100% of his team’s snaps last week, and he’s going to be among the league-leaders in target share in Week 2.

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins

Start: Zack Moss

Sit: Miami running backs

Moss got just 1.2 YPC in Week 1 but as expected, saw the more valuable fantasy opportunities, as the rookie was given a whopping 10 touches in the red zone (six inside the 10). Josh Allen remains a problem stealing GL scores, but both Devin Singletary (who saw a surprising seven targets last week) and Moss make for fine flex plays against a Dolphins run defense that ranks last in DVOA after Week 1.

While everyone wondered who’d get more touches in Miami’s backfield between Jordan Howard and Matt Breida, Myles Gaskin emerged as the team’s Week 1 workhorse. All three are likely to be used moving forward, and even if Gaskins keeps his lead role again Sunday, he gets a stingy Buffalo defense.

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

Start: Marvin Jones, Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Quintez Cephus finished #11 in air yards in Week 1 thanks to Kenny Golladay being sidelined, but expect Marvin Jones to be the beneficiary of the star wideout’s absence Sunday. The Lions will likely be forced to throw plenty Sunday with Green Bay’s offense looking so potent (and with a defense dealing with injuries) and Detroit unable to run the ball. Jones will also be facing a defense that just ceded the most yards-per-play in the NFL in Week 1.

MVS had a very MVS game in Week 1, committing an egregious drop yet still turning six targets into 96 yards and a score, as all of his preseason hype appears real. Valdes-Scantling finished top-15 in air yards last week, has quickly surpassed Allen Lazard as Green Bay’s #2 WR, and should help fantasy managers all season with Aaron Rodgers looking so sharp. The Lions were gashed for the third-most fantasy points by wide receivers last season.

New York Giants @ Chicago Bears

Start: Darius Slayton, Anthony Miller

Slayton isn’t going to continue to have the most touchdowns per target in NFL history like he currently does, but he’s also no fluke (even if due for some TD regression). He ranked top-20 in WOPR in Week 1 against arguably the league’s best defense, and Golden Tate looks unlikely to return (at least at full strength) this week when the Giants should once again struggle to run in Chicago.

Miller played just 27 snaps in Week 1, but hopefully, that was an aberration, and he recorded a 6-4-76-1 line anyway. Mitch Trubisky looked better, and Miller gets a Giants secondary that was just torched by the slot.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans

Sit: Laviska Shenault

Start: Jonnu Smith

Shenault is an exciting rookie who’s going to make some big plays this season, but the touches will make him inconsistent in fantasy terms. Gardner Minshew will likely throw more Sunday, but Shenault saw just four targets last week when Keelan Cole surprisingly dominated Jacksonville’s looks, and DJ Chark should be a much bigger part of Week 2’s game plan.

With A.J. Brown unlikely to play, Corey Davis and Smith get big upgrades, and the former has been limited by a hamstring injury throughout the week. Ryan Tannehill got 9.2 YPA with 17 touchdowns over just six home games last season, and the matchup with Jacksonville is favorable. Derrick Henry is in store for a big game Sunday as well.

Washington Football Team @ Arizona Cardinals

Start: Logan Thomas

Start in DFS: DeAndre Hopkins ($31)

Logan Thomas received a bunch of hype by the team’s beat writers entering the year, and he answered by scoring in Week 1, when he also led Washington in target share and finished top-three among all tight ends in air yards and WOPR. Washington played at a much faster pace under its new coaching staff, and Thomas should remain busy as the team’s #2 target and gets an Arizona defense that was shredded for the most fantasy points against tight ends last season by a significant margin (and were helped by George Kittle getting injured last week). “LT3” was once Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback and is quite the athlete, so given his situation, talent, and opponent, Thomas is a top-five fantasy tight end in Week 2.

The move to Arizona actually looks like an upgrade over Houston for Hopkins, as he set a career-high in catches during his first game with Kyler Murray throwing to him. Washington’s defense looks like the real deal, but that just means Arizona won’t be able to run it and another double-digit target total for D-Hop. If ranking today for rest of season, I’d move Hopkins up to #2 among wide receivers.

Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans

Start: J.K. Dobbins & Mark Ingram, Will Fuller

While it’s going to be tough to predict which Baltimore RB is the best weekly start (at least for now), and Dobbins looks like a sucker play after scoring twice on just seven touches last week, I expect a big rushing game from the Ravens, who face a much easier run defense Sunday. Both Dobbins and Ingram can be used in fantasy lineups this week.

Fuller gets a tough matchup against Baltimore, which is the only reason I even mention him here. But while healthy (and without DeAndre Hopkins), Fuller is simply a must-start regardless of opponent. He ranked #7 in WOPR in Week 1 and should remain among the league-leaders in air yards target share, making him a borderline top-12 fantasy WR — again, as long as he’s healthy.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers

Start: Sammy Watkins, Mike Williams

Watkins had a big Week 1 last season before quickly disappearing, but he appears truly healthy now and is underrated for a #2 WR on a team with Patrick Mahomes. Watkins ranked top-15 in WOPR in Week 1, and if he continues to see even close to that kind of action in Kansas City’s system, he’ll go down as one of this year’s biggest WR draft day steals. Chris Harris should mostly be locked on Tyreek Hill on Sunday, and Casey Hayward is coming off a very poor Week 1 performance.

Williams went from possibly being sidelined for the first few weeks of the season to finishing top-five in air yards in Week 1, as his new quarterback appears more than willing to target him deep (Tyrod Taylor was second in Average Intended Air Yards in Week 1). He’s an injury risk, but Williams flat-out looks like a star in the making, and the Chargers should have to throw more (and speed up their pace) while trying to keep up with KC’s dominant offense. Williams is a serious DFS ($15) candidate this week.

New England Patriots @ Seattle Seahawks

Sit: James White

Start: Seahawks D/ST

It’s just one game, but with Cam Newton’s system in New England in full effect, it appears White’s value will take a major hit. Things could change with a negative game script, but it’s tough to rely on White after he saw just three targets in Week 1, and Damien Harris’ eventual return will further hurt.

Seattle doesn’t have a dominant defensive line and will be missing its usual 12th man advantage (especially during night games), but this is an entirely different matchup for Newton compared to last week’s home game with the Dolphins. Expect a bunch of sacks and multiple turnovers from the Seahawks defense Sunday night.

New Orleans Saints @ Las Vegas Raiders

Start: Jared Cook

Sit: Henry Ruggs

I’m worried about Drew Brees, who showed signs of decline late last season and looked ready for retirement in Week 1, but I have Cook as a top-three fantasy tight end in Week 2 with Michael Thomas sidelined. Cook racked up 537 yards and seven touchdowns over the final eight games last season, and he finished #1 in WOPR among tight ends in Week 1. The Raiders ranked bottom-five in fantasy points allowed to tight ends last season, so Cook is a strong fantasy play Monday night.

I’d be recommending to start a healthy Ruggs, who looked great during his debut (and ranked top-20 in WOPR) but he suffered a knee injury that has his availability for Week 2 in doubt. Since he’ll likely be compromised if he plays, and we won’t know for sure until Monday, the rookie wideout can’t be trusted in fantasy lineups right now (but dynasty leaguers should be encouraged).

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