You know when you go on a date with someone for the first time, and you have certain expectations, and then the date happens, and you can’t believe it exceeded those same expectations? That was Week 1 of the NFL season. We could not have had a better first date.
Now comes the true test, though — will the second date be just as good? Or are we heading back to Tinder for a drunken hook-up?
Considering the week starts with the Giants against the Washington Football Team, I’m hoping we’re not trying to get the appetizers taken off the bill because it came out undercooked and cold. (Update: The appetizer was delicious and cooked to perfection.)
Before we dive into my Week 2 picks, here’s a quick recap of last week: Follow my Fades. 12-4 last week. Obviously, the biggest miss was T.J. Hockenson, but hey, sometimes we swing big. I’m not trying to cheat and aim for streamers to avoid all the time.
My Plays — yikes. Only 5-11 on the week, but at least I was over .500 between the two, so I’m calling that a win.
A quick reminder of what Play and Fade mean: Play simply means players that I love based on match-ups and my expectation that they’ll finish with more points than projected. Fade indicates players that I think will underperform their projections/consensus weekly rankings. It doesn’t mean I’m outright benching them, but I’m likely not rushing to put them in any DFS lineups either. Onto Week 2.
QB Jared Goff (DET) @ GB – I would’ve brought up Goff on our Wednesday show, No Punt Intended, but we have a new rule where Goff is only bad. Like, really bad. But this column comes out on Friday, so ha! Anyway, Goff showed last week (and really, throughout his career) that he’s not afraid to throw the football. We know the pitfalls surrounding the Detroit offense — a lack of weapons at wide receiver being tops on the list — but the defense might be even worse. They just lost second-year CB Jeff Okudah for the season, making a bad defense even worse. Goff threw the football 57 times in an effort to bring the Lions back against the 49ers (and almost did). Now, they go against a high-powered Packers offense that just got embarrassed on Sunday. I don’t see a scenario where Goff isn’t throwing the ball another 50 times, and I’ll take that type of volume if I need a streamer this early in the season or a cheap DFS play in tournaments.
Other QBs with good match-ups: Jameis Winston (NO) @ CAR and Andy Dalton (CHI) vs. CIN
RB Kareem Hunt (CLE) vs. HOU – I think we all know that the Texans’ defense wasn’t really tested last week. The Jaguars offense is — we’ll just call it a work in progress. But Houston was the second-worst run defense to RBs in fantasy football a year ago, and the Browns rushing attack had their way with the Chiefs last week. So even if running-mate Nick Chubb has 20+ carries and two touchdowns, Kareem Hunt will get his. He scored last week and ran 15 routes to Chubb’s 9, finishing with more receptions and receiving yards. Hunt should be an easy RB2 this week, and a TD could push him into RB1 territory.
RB James White (NE) @ NYJ – Last year, the Jets allowed the second-most receptions to RBs (99). In Week 1, they allowed 11, tied for 3rd most. After watching Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, two younger RBs put the ball on the turf; one has to think that James White will see increased snaps. Last week, he had seven targets and ended up tied for 4th among RBs in receptions (6). With the not-so-mobile Mac Jones in at QB, White should get back to his FLEX-worthy PPR ways.
Other RBs with good match-ups: Javonte Williams (DEN) @ JAX, Ronald Jones (TB) vs. ATL, and Damien Harris (NE) @ NYJ
WR Jaylen Waddle (MIA) vs. BUF – The Miami Dolphins will be at full strength on offense in their divisional matchup against the Bills. Will Fuller returns from suspension, and we now get to see the type of offense HC Brian Flores envisions for this team. Waddle surprised me in Week 1. You love when teams get their first-round picks involved early and often. QB Tua Tagovailoa was 5th among QBs that started in Week 1 with a 10.1 aDOT (average depth of target). Waddle caught the lone receiving TD for the Dolphins and now gets to face off against Taron Johnson, the Bills slot corner, who has allowed over 600 receiving yards out of the slot since the start of 2020. Waddle should be an easy FLEX option this week.
WR Ja’Marr Chase (CIN) @ CHI – Ja’Marr Chase gets down the field. Chicago gave up not one but two touchdown passes over 50 yards in Week 1. Fantasy football doesn’t need to be difficult, folks. Get Chase into your lineups.
Other WRs with good match-ups: Nelson Agholor (NE) @ NYJ, Courtland Sutton (DEN) @ JAX, and Antonio Brown (TB) vs. ATL
TE Robert Tonyan (GB) vs. DET – Not to beat a dead horse, but the Detroit Lions defense is abysmal. Davante Adams is going to go nuclear, but we know Aaron Rodgers — he likes to get his buddies involved. Tonyan is one of those buddies. And after getting dragged through the mud by the Saints, revenge awaits. Tonyan caught a touchdown in both meetings last season. So we’re going for the trifecta on Monday night.
Other TEs with good match-ups: Rob Gronkowski (TB) vs. ATL and Dallas Goedert (PHI) vs. SF
QB Matt Ryan (ATL) @ TB – Did anyone watch that Eagles-Falcons game? Wow, that Falcons offense looked bad. Matt Ryan, in particular, looked atrocious. The Eagles brought some pressure, and the Falcons’ offensive line was overmatched. Philadelphia registered 23 pressures and three sacks. Atlanta plays the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. If the Super Bowl was a prelude, the Bucs pass rush is legit. They registered 24 pressures against Dallas last Thursday night, and the Cowboys have a good offensive line. Imagine what will happen against a bad offensive line? Your only hope is garbage time, and Ryan couldn’t even muster that last week. Look for yards against a bad secondary, but not enough time for touchdowns.
Other QBs with bad match-ups: Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. LV and Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) vs. BUF
RB Mike Davis (ATL) @ TB – It’s starting to feel like I’m picking on Atlanta, right? Let’s be honest — it’s not my fault they suck. I preached all offseason that I was avoiding Mike Davis in drafts, and he did not look good in Week 1 against Philadelphia. The number of targets he received was solid, but he caught only 50% of them. The Bucs swallowed up Ezekiel Elliott last Thursday night, and, last I checked, Davis wasn’t in the same stratosphere as Elliott. Couple that with one of the worst offensive lines in the league, and I’m not even considering starting Davis this week.
RB James Robinson (JAX) vs. DEN – Robinson was an absolute flop last week. While he played nearly double the snaps of Carlos Hyde (47 to 25), Hyde was the predominant early-down rusher. By the numbers, it looks like Urban Meyer slotted Robinson into what we believe would’ve been Travis Etienne’s role as the passing-down back. That will limit Robinson’s ceiling going forward but still should make him a viable PPR asset (pending the Jags giving their RBs more than a 15% target share). Against DEN this week, it’s likely to be more tough-sledding. They shut down the Giants offense last week (not hard to do, but, you know, Saquon is apparently good at football) and held their running backs to 2.36 yards per carry and a 40% catch rate. Until I see Meyer display more faith in Robinson (the better back), I’m searching for better options.
Other RBs with bad match-ups: Myles Gaskin (MIA) vs. BUF, Josh Jacobs (LV) @ PIT, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) @ BAL
WR Mike Williams (LAC) vs. DAL – I know this pick will get panned. It’s Dallas, and their defense is — I’m honestly having a difficult time coming up with more ways to say bad. But with all the stats the Bucs compiled last Thursday, Mike Evans was left in the dust. The Chargers, for all their offensive weapons, don’t have near the firepower the Bucs have. Trevon Diggs played outstanding against Mike Evans and allowed only one catch for 10 yards all game. Mike Williams is a similar body type to Evans. This week, Keenan Allen will be the focal point against Jourdan Lewis (a terrible corner) while Williams might struggle for production. He’s a FLEX that I’m downgrading until we see more consistency. (Week 1 was a great start in this new offense.)
WR Corey Davis (NYJ) vs. NE – Off to a great start in Week 1, Corey Davis is going to come crashing back down to earth in Week 2. Stephon Gilmore may be out, but if there’s one thing Bill Belichick does better than anyone — aside from compiling Super Bowl championships — is taking away a team’s best weapon. Last I checked, Davis is the Jets’ only weapon. You can find better FLEXs this week.
Other WRs with bad match-ups: DeVante Parker (MIA) vs. BUF, D.J. Chark (JAX) vs. DEN, and Michael Pittman Jr. (IND) vs. LAR
TE Mark Andrews (BAL) vs. KC – It’s the Sammy Watkins Revenge Game, right? Every team should know that Baltimore and Lamar Jackson want to funnel targets to Mark Andrews. Las Vegas took him out of the game and made the WRs beat them, and aside from a few big plays, it worked. KC should be looking to deploy a similar defensive philosophy, especially knowing they’ve smothered Andrews before. In their last two meetings, Andrews has 15 targets… and only six catches for 37 yards. A rough start for Mark Andrews in 2021 continues.
Other TEs with bad match-ups: Blake Jarwin (DAL) @ LAC and Mike Gesicki (MIA) vs. BUF