Week 1 was a weak one for the likes of Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan and any fantasy Football owner who had a Bills player in their lineup. The good news is that last week is but a fleeting memory, while Week 2 offers a fresh batch of players who must be in the lineup along with others best off sitting on the sideline.
Don’t be surprised to see a name from last week listed in light along with a seemingly ageless workhorse who has fantasy owners feeling like it’s 2008 all over again.
START: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs: Mahomes played the role of gunslinger in the win at the Chargers, averaging 17 yards per completion while throwing four touchdowns. He did so without using Pro Bowl TE Travis Kelce (one catch, 6 yards). Even on the road at the Steelers, Mahomes has earned must-start status as he faces a Pittsburgh defense that won’t be as fortunate as they were in last week’s tie at the Browns. If Mahomes can fully use his toolbox of talent, look for a big afternoon.
SIT: Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots: If Hogan can manage only one reception on five targets against a suspect Texans pass defense, then why expect much more when he’ll be draped most of the afternoon by All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsay? The Jaguars allowed a mere 159 yards to Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the Giants receivers and will be able to duplicate that effort against a weaker New England corps of pass catchers.
START: James Conner, RB, Steelers: Pittsburgh gave him 36 total touches and Conner responded with 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns from scrimmage, proving his detractors wrong. He gets a bigger opportunity against a Chiefs defense that gave up a whopping 293 yards from scrimmage to Chargers running backs last week. Don’t expect Conner to again sport that massive a workload, but he’ll continue to make life without Le’Veon Bell a smooth transition for the Steelers offense.
SIT: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buccaneers: No one saw Fitzpatrick’s monster Week 1 coming. However, there’s plenty of warning to not play him against the Eagles, who had the third-best fantasy effort against opposing quarterbacks while limiting Matt Ryan to a paltry 51.8 percent completion rate when throwing to his wide receivers. Fitzpatrick’s career has been defined by moments of brilliance followed by moments of sheer disgust for his fantasy owners. Bet on the latter this time.
START: Jared Cook, TE, Raiders: His nine-catch, 180-yard outing in the loss to the Rams shouldn’t be too shocking. He’s averaged 13 yards per catch in his career and has at least one reception for better than 40 yards in seven of his last eight seasons. Oakland’s wide receivers can’t be trusted, and the Broncos did allow 116 yards and a touchdown to Seattle’s tight ends on just seven targets, meaning Cook will have something good on the menu.
SIT: Derrick Henry, RB, Titans: Dion Lewis out-touched him 21-11 in the marathon loss at the Dolphins and will be better suited to expose a Texans defense that gave up 10 completions for 71 yards and a touchdown to Patriots running backs in Week 1. Henry’s best chance of success would be in a non-PPR league, and while Lewis shouldn’t have as big a gap in touches, starting Henry is a foolish proposition.
START: Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles: He and TE Zach Ertz combined for 20 of Nick Foles‘ 34 targets in Week 1, and while he managed just 33 yards on his eight catches, Agholor has a great opportunity to rebound against a Buccaneers pass defense. Tampa Bay gave up a staggering 88.4 percent completion rate (23 of 26) to Saints wide receivers while allowing more than 20 yards per catch. Foles isn’t going to average 3.44 yards per attempt this week, as the Eagles will be more aggressive when it comes to taking shots downfield. That means Agholor, who had 10 targets last week, will be a frequent flyer.
SIT: Sam Darnold, QB, Jets: Like the classic Public Enemy song title suggests, don’t believe the hype when it comes to Darnold becoming an instant fantasy start. Yes, he looked great for one quarter on Monday night, but expectations must be tempered especially against a Dolphins defense that was second in fewest fantasy points allowed to an opposing quarterback. Miami’s pass rush will be more intense that what Darnold saw in his debut, so fantasy owners should not buy in too hard over 15 minutes of exceptional play.
START: Allen Robinson, WR, Bears: Coming off a disappointing four-catch, 61-yard effort on seven targets, it’s easy to be discouraged by Robinson. However, the Seahawks ranked 28th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers as the secondary looks nothing like the once-feared elite unit it once was. Mitchell Trubisky won’t make the mistake of not getting him involved early a second straight week, so look for Robinson to crack double-digit targets on the way to a solid Monday night performance.
SIT: LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills: First-round pick Josh Allen makes his starting debut at quarterback, and with the Chargers having little reason to focus on Buffalo’s mediocre receiving corps, the bulk of their attention will go toward McCoy, who had eight touches for 20 yards in Week 1. The bar for improvement isn’t too high, but McCoy is no longer a must-start nor even a solid RB1.
SIT: Will Dissly, TE, Seahawks: It’s hard to buy into a rookie who averaged 35 yards per catch on three receptions, especially against a Bears defense that made Jimmy Graham almost non-existent last Sunday night.