Week 2 Optimal Flex Plays: D'Andre Swift can go if Kenneth Gainwell can't

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season has come and gone with many fantasy teams already in shambles. The extremely unfortunate season-ending injuries to J.K. Dobbins and Aaron Rodgers have changed the fantasy football landscape. It’s sad (and sucks a great deal for those players), but the reality is, the game will go on. Players in this column from last week like David Montgomery, Raheem Mostert and Courtland Sutton all got into the end zone, but Odell Beckham, Jerick McKinnon and Donovan Peoples-Jones didn’t live up to the games I thought they’d have. In Week 2, we have some new faces who can help boost your lineups, especially if you’re dealing with injuries. Let’s get it.

RB - Kenneth Gainwell or D’Andre Swift Eagles vs. Vikings

Gainwell surprisingly dominated the Eagles’ running back opportunities in Week 1 totaling 74 total yards on 18 touches. D’Andre Swift and Boston Scott combined to get four touches for 13 total yards. While I do believe that down the line it’ll be more of a committee in the Eagles backfield, for now Gainwell is heading it up. It should be noted that he’s been dealing with a rib issue this week that may (or may not) affect his status for the TNF game against the Vikings. Should he miss the game, Swift would be my next bet to fill this role (especially if Rashaad Penny is once again inactive). Gainwell’s 62% snap share shouldn’t be ignored though as clearly he’s the favorite back in Philly right now with an opportunity to go up against a Vikings defense that’s trying to improve. Fire him up for Thursday.

RB - David Montgomery, Lions vs. Seahawks

This may (again, or may not) be the last week I could consider Montgomery an actual FLEX. He carried the ball 21 times in Week 1 although it was for an inefficient 74 yards (and a touchdown). If that type of usage continues you have to be all in. The Seahawks gave up three rushing touchdowns to Kyren Williams and Cam Akers in Week 1 so you can bet your bottom dollar that Montgomery will have an opportunity to touch paydirt again. Another positive for Montgomery is that since the season is still young, he’s likely to continue to out-touch stud rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Make no mistake, the Seahawks run defense was stout only allowing 81 rushing yards on 37 carries to Rams’ running backs, but with volume, Montgomery has high touchdown upside.

Your fantasy season doesn’t end after the draft. Dominate your league with our new FREE Season Tools, including Weekly Expert Rankings, Targets Reports, Lineup Adviser, Trade Analyzer and more. Click here to get started.

RB - Joshua Kelley, Chargers @ Titans

Kelley turned in a RB12 week after taking 16 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins. He applied real pressure in the running game and I’d argue that he was the more effective back (as far as running the ball goes). He constantly had the Dolphins’ defense on their heels with good run after good run. Austin Ekeler per usual was effective as well gaining 164 yards from scrimmage, but is dealing with an ankle injury this week. Ekeler himself has said that his ankle is swollen and sore. Regardless, Kelley was getting meaningful touches even before Ekeler left with injury. You should feel good about Kelley in your FLEX spot if Ekeler plays, and great if he doesn’t.

WR - Kadarius Toney, Chiefs @ Jaguars

Yep, you are not reading a typo, I’m in on Toney this week as a FLEX play. Don’t be risky with this, but if you absolutely need a high upside play, go with Toney. The Chiefs-Jags game is the only game in Week 2 with a total of more than 50 points. After being out most of training camp, Toney didn’t play much (16 snaps) but was targeted on 50% of his routes. He was bad in Week 1, but it’s clear that the Chiefs want to get him the ball. With no other Chiefs receiver stepping up to claim the WR1 role, Toney still has a chance to shine. Both Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid instilled confidence in Toney this week (maybe because they had to) so all is not done for the talented receiver. Again, don’t start him if you have options that are clearly better, but he should be viable this week.

WR - Zay Jones, Jaguars vs. Chiefs

Many people may have forgotten (myself included), but Jones was more than serviceable after going 82-823-5 last season. In Week 1 against the Colts he seemed to make his presence known as the Jags’ WR2 (behind a God-like Calvin Ridley). Jones checked in at WR18 after going 5-55-1 on seven targets (behind Ridley’s 11). Furthermore, he saw a 23% target share compared to Christian Kirk’s 6%. Now that’s one week and it could easily flip flop this week, but Jones was the clear WR2 while Kirk ran the slot in 11 personnel. I’d take the bet on Jones again in a game against the Chiefs with a game total of 51 (again, the highest of Week 2). The game certainly has shootout potential. In Week 1, the Jags-Colts game soared over the 45.5 game total with 52 total points. Look for Jones to contribute to another track meet.

WR - Puka Nacua, Rams vs. 49ers

Despite not scoring a touchdown in Week 1, the fifth-round rookie turned in a WR9 week after going 10-119-0 on a whopping 15 targets. We knew the Rams liked Nacua, but damn, like this? He seized the moment. At this point he’s literally slid into the Cooper Kupp role and made it himself known. Matthew Stafford showed trust in the rookie and he delivered with timely catches. He’ll get a much tougher test against the 49ers’ defense as they’ll provide much more pressure on the quarterback, but after a 15-target outing, you know Stafford won’t shy away from Nacua. Volume is key is fantasy and Nacua is getting plenty of it, take advantage, he’s the waiver priority of the week.