Saturday September 19th, 2015

Week 1 belonged to tight ends, with four surpassing 20 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues. Which position will be on center stage this week? My bet is on receivers. Last week, only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones delivered among the league’s elite. Everyone else—Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Randall Cobb and Dez Bryant—fell short of double-digit points, and Bryant suffered a significant foot injury. Thomas already got things off on the right foot for receivers, catching eight passes for 116 yards. Expect his brethren at the top of the receiver position to follow suit.

Everything else you need to know for Week 2 is presented here in the Cheat Sheet.

• Fantasy Football Week 2: Complete player rankings for every position

Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Texans 28th 20th 4th 29th
Panthers 7th  10th 20nd 1st

Vegas lines

Panthers -3
Over/under 39.5
Texans o/u 18.5
Panthers o/u 21.5

This is the lowest over/under on the board this week with good reason. There’s a good chance that just three players—DeAndre Hopkins, Jonathan Stewart and Greg Olsen—will be starting in your fantasy league. While neither quarterback is worth starting in a standard one-quarterback league, and perhaps not even in two-QB formats, they’re the most important players to watch from a fantasy perspective. Ryan Mallett takes over as the starter this week, an easy decision for Bill O’Brien after the way he played once he took over for Brian Hoyer against the Chiefs. Mallett has a big arm that can make Hopkins even more dangerous. If his deep ball is consistent, this could be a sneakily good offense when Arian Foster returns. As for Cam Newton, his fantasy value will remain in the doldrums unless he can find a go-to receiver. The only person potentially with the right skill set is Devin Funchess. Look for him to get a bit more involved this week.

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Matchup to watch

DeAndre Hopkins vs. Carolina secondary

The Panthers did a good job holding Allen Robinson in check, but Hopkins is a completely different challenge. Can Josh Norman or Charles Tillman stick with a receiver who is making the leap before our eyes?

Injury report

Arian Foster (groin): Out
Nate Washington (abdomen): Probable
Luke Keuchly (concussion): Out
Jonathan Stewart (knee): Probable
Star Lotulelei (foot): Questionable

• Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: How to set your fantasy lineups for Week 2

San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
49ers 5th 9th 9th 14th
Steelers 32nd 13th 11th 32nd

Vegas lines

Steelers -6
Over/under 45.5
49ers o/u 20
Steelers o/u 25.5

The Steelers will be without their star back for one more week, but it looks like the 49ers have a new backfield star on their hands. Carlos Hyde ran all over the Vikings last week, and had to be licking his chops while watching film of the Steelers trying to defend Dion Lewis. The Steelers may have had 10 days off, but that likely won’t help them against Hyde. On the other side, the 49ers face a much tougher test than they did last week. The last time Antonio Brown didn’t have at least five catches and 50 yards in a game was on December 30, 2012. Don’t expect the Niners to end that streak. DeAngelo Williams likely won’t be relevant in fantasy leagues after this week, but he’s still worth a play in Week 2. Williams looked great against the Patriots, getting burst around the edge we haven’t seen from him in years. Consider him a low-end RB2 in his final game before giving way to Le’Veon Bell next week.

Matchup to watch

Ben Roethlisberger vs. San Francisco linebackers

The 49ers’ defense looked much better than anyone expected it to be last week, but this will be a much harder test. A lot of the responsibility falls on the linebackers to fill in underneath Pittsburgh’s receivers. If Roethlisberger can manipulate them, the Steelers will come away with a win.

Injury report

Reggie Bush (calf): Out

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Buccaneers 30th 23rd 25th 23rd
Saints 31st 27th 23rd 26th

Vegas lines

Saints -10
Over/under 47.5
Buccaneers o/u 19
Saints o/u 29

Fantasy Football Week 2 Risers and Sliders: Eifert, Gordon and more

For all the talk of the Saints’ offense taking a step back, it played decently against a tough Arizona defense last week. Expect to see the old Saints in a great matchup with the Buccaneers, a defense that made Marcus Mariota look like a Hall of Famer in his first career game. C.J. Spiller’s potential return could curb Mark Ingram’s value a bit, but you’re still starting Ingram with a ton of confidence. Pay close attention to who Drew Brees targets in the red zone, and how frequently he tries to push the ball down the field to Brandin Cooks. That can give you a window into Cooks’ and Brandon Coleman’s value for the rest of the season. Jameis Winston will have better days than he did last week, and one of those should come against the depleted Saints’ defense. If Mike Evans is able to play after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury, he grades as a low-end WR2. He’d also curb Vincent Jackson’s and Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ weekly value.

Matchup to watch

Buccaneers offensive line vs. Saints front seven

This has less to do with the Saints and more to do with the Buccaneers. Their o-line struggled mightily against the Titans last week, hurting both Winston and Doug Martin. If it has trouble with the Saints, a potentially bad defense, we’ll have to recalibrate our expectations for the offense as a whole.

Injury report

Mike Evans (hamstring): Questionable
C.J. Spiller (knee): Questionable

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Lions 25th 26th 30th 25th
Vikings 6th 31st 2nd 19th

Vegas lines

Vikings -2.5
Over/under 43.5
Lions o/u 20
Vikings o/u 23

The game total and line both feel fair here, though it’s hard not to like the Lions with the Vikings pegged at 2.5-point favorites at home. That screams of the desert begging the public to believe in Minnesota winning by a field goal. What that tells us for fantasy purposes is that this should be a significant bounce-back game for Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. The same goes for Adrian Peterson, who bizarrely didn’t get a touch on the Vikings’ first series last week, which set in motion a disappointing return to the field. The theme of this game could be the rebound, in fact, with Teddy Bridgewater and Charles Johnson both in line for good games, as well. Add in Ameer Abdullah, and this should be an interesting game from a fantasy perspective.

Matchup to watch

Minnesota secondary vs. Calvin Johnson

Last week, the Chargers placed No. 1 corner Jason Verrett on Golden Tate in largely man coverage, and used No. 2 corner Brandon Flowers on Calvin Johnson with a bracket on every single play. The Vikings do not have the personnel to deploy such a scheme.

Injury report

Matthew Stafford (elbow): Probable
Golden Tate (quadriceps): Probable
DeAndre Levy (hip): Doubtful
Haltoi Ngata (shoulder): Questionable
Jerick McKinnon (ankle): Probable

Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Cardinals 19th 19th 24th 5th
Bears 26th 17th 29th 10th

Vegas lines

Cardinals -1.5
Over/under 46.5
Cardinals o/u 24
Bears o/u 21.5

Fantasy Fact or Fiction: Matt Forte is still an elite running back

The Cardinals are laying 1.5 points in this game, yet the team totals feature a 2.5-point spread that doesn’t quite add up to the game total. That leads me to believe they’re building in some cushion for Chicago to play better than expected, but still come out with an Arizona cover. The Bears’ offense is clearly built around Matt Forte this season, who had 24 carries for 141 yards against Green Bay last week. This is a much tougher assignment, but he’s still going to get the ball at least 25 times, including his receptions. Carson Palmer is one of the best plays of the week, for both season-long and daily formats. He’ll have all three of his receivers at his disposal, with Michael Floyd practicing fully all week. John Brown should give the Bears secondary fits with his speed, making him a top-20 play at the wide receiver position. Keep an eye on the carry breakdown between David Johnson and Chris Johnson. The rookie has enough upside to carve out a significant role in the offense.

Matchup to watch

Bears offensive line vs. Cardinals defensive line

No matter who you own in this game, you want the Bears to play well enough to keep it close and force both sides to keep on scoring. Matt Forte will have to play as well as he did last week, and that means the Bears’ line will need to keep the Arizona front seven out of the backfield.

Injury report

Andre Ellington (knee): Out
Michael Floyd (hand): Probable
Mike Iupati (knee): Out
Alshon Jeffery (hamstring): Questionable
Pernell McPhee (wrist): Questionable
Ego Ferguson (knee): Questionable

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Patriots 19th 19th 24th 5th
Bills 26th 17th 29th 10th

Vegas lines

Patriots -1.5
Over/under 44.5
Patriots o/u 24
Bills o/u 22

This is definitely one of the more intriguing real-life games of the week, but it might not provide all that much in the way of fantasy excitement. Rob Gronkowski is obviously an auto-play, and Tom Brady and Julian Edelman are both worth playing despite this tough matchup, but those might be the only three players who put up starter-type numbers in standard 10- or 12-team leagues. LeSean McCoy is dealing with a hamstring issue that forced him out of practice late in the week, and either way he’s going to cede touches to both Karlos Williams and Boobie Dixon. You’re definitely starting him—after all, he was likely your second-round pick—but he’s no more than a low-end RB2. Tyrod Taylor faces a much tougher defense this week, and remember, he packed it in after making just 19 pass attempts a week ago. LeGarrette Blount returns to the field after a one-game suspension, but this is a terrible matchup, and the game-flow might not favor his skill set.

Matchup to watch

Rob Gronkowski vs. Rex Ryan

It’s awfully hard to beat the Patriots without slowing down Gronk. Ryan is going to throw a number of looks at him and Tom Brady to try to keep one of the most dangerous connections in the league off schedule all day. Whether or not he’s successful could be another story.

Injury report

LeSean McCoy (hamstring): Questionable
Percy Harvin (hip): Probable

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Chargers 13th 29th 5th 25th
Bengals 15th 25th 7th 4th

Vegas lines

Bengals -3.5
Over/under 47.5
Chargers o/u 21.5
Bengals o/u 25

This is one of my favorite games of the weekend, with a ton of fantasy juice and real-life intrigue, as well. Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati offense looked great against Oakland last week, and while this may not be quite as favorable a matchup, you should still have a ton of confidence in this unit. The 47.5 o/u is one of the highest of the week, and both offenses should be able to produce. Philip Rivers is just outside my QB1 class, but there’s definitely an argument to get him active based on what he did with Keenan Allen last week. There’s a sneaky effectiveness to this passing game, with Allen, Steve Johnson, Ladarius Green and Danny Woodhead around Rivers. Speaking of Woodhead, if he continues to steal red-zone carries, Melvin Gordon owners are going to be apoplectic.

Matchup to watch

Tyler Eifert vs. Chargers linebackers and safeties

As we pointed out in the Lions-Vikings matchup capsule, the Chargers bracketed Calvin Johnson and put Jason Verrett on an island against Golden Tate. Expect A.J. Green to deal with the same coverage. The best way to beat that is with a tight end who can strike down the seam, which Eifert did against Oakland last week.

Injury report

D.J. Fluker (ankle): Doubtful
George Iloka (ankle): Questionable

• SI's 2015 Fantasy Football Top 300 players

Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Titans 17th 5th 3rd 30th
Browns 10th 30th 27th 1st

Vegas lines

Titans -1.5
Over/under 41.5
Titans o/u 21.5
Browns o/u 20

One of these days, Heisman winner Marcus Mariota will go up against a non-Heisman winner, but that day will not come this week. Mariota and the Titans visit Johnny Manziel and the Browns in what should be an entertaining Week 2 matchup. While the quarterbacks will get all the headlines, the best fantasy player in this game will be Bishop Sankey. The Titans’ second-year back is a must start fantasy player in my eyes after what he did against the Buccaneers last week. Remember, Chris Ivory had 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Browns in Week 1. You don’t need me to tell you Mariota will regress, but I wouldn’t expect more than low-end QB2 production against an at-least-decent Cleveland defense. Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell should both be on fantasy benches, but the fantasy community should keep a close eye on the workload split between the two, as well as the Manziel effect on the running game.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Matchup to watch

Browns offensive line vs. Titans pass rush

The Titans sacked Jameis Winston four times last week. Was that because they have an underrated pass rush, or is the Tampa Bay offensive line just that bad? This game should help us discover that answer.

Injury report

Delanie Walker (hand): Questionable
Jason McCourty (groin): Doubtful
Josh McCown (concussion: Out
Dwayne Bowe (hamstring): Questionable
Justin Gilbert (hip): Questionable

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Falcons 12th 32nd 17th 12th 
Giants 29th 21st 15th 31st

Vegas lines

Giants -2
Over/under 51
Falcons o/u 24.5
Giants o/u 26.5

Fantasy football Week 2 waiver wire: Invest in these big season debuts

This game has the second-highest total of Week 2, making it ripe with fantasy options. Eli Manning had a dreadful Week 1 against the Cowboys, but he should be able to rebound against a substandard Atlanta defense. That group also doesn’t have what it takes to slow Odell Beckham the way Dallas did a week ago. Manning and Beckham should both be among the best performers in Week 2. Rashad Jennings could have had a better day if he wasn’t told to stay out of the end zone, but he should make up for that this week. Tevin Coleman got 20 carries against the Eagles in Week 1, and while some of that was driven by the game flow, his owners had to be thrilled to see him out-touch Devonta Freeman so thoroughly. You know what to do with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Roddy White is a WR3 thanks to the shootout potential.

Matchup to watch

Odell Beckham vs. Desmond Trufant

One of the league’s best, most highlight-ready receivers against one of its best cover corners. Kick back and enjoy.

Injury report

Julio Jones (hamstring): Probable
Devin Hester (toe): Out
Victor Cruz (calf): Out
Jon Beason (knee): Doubtful

St. Louis Rams at Washington Redskins

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Rams 16th 14th 14th 20th
Redskins 9th 3rd 21st 16th

Vegas lines

Rams -3.5
Over/under 41.5
Rams o/u 22.5
Redskins o/u 19

Defenses will dominate this game, as is reflected in the over/under. Everyone knows about St Louis’ defense, but Washington’s looked rather strong itself against the Dolphins last week. Tre Mason is expected to return from a hamstring injury and share the backfield duties with Benny Cunningham, but neither is a great starting choice this week. Nick Foles had a great game against the Seahawks, but he remains no more than a low-end QB2. Washington will be without DeSean Jackson because of a hamstring injiury of his own, and Jordan Reed could also sit due to a calf issue. On the one hand, that could be great news for Pierre Garcon. On the other, who’s going to take the pressure off him? He’ll be looking at double-coverage all game. If I were deep enough at running back, I’d be awfully tempted to sit Alfred Morris. This Rams front four is just that good.

Matchup to watch

Rams front four vs. Washington offensive line

Will D.C.’s o-line have any chance of slowing down Chris Long, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn? If it doesn’t, it’ll be a long day for the home team.

Injury report

Todd Gurley (knee): Questionable
Tre Mason (thigh): Questionable
DeSean Jackson (hamstring): Out
Jordan Reed (quadriceps): Questionable

Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Dolphins 4th 15th 10th 24th
Jaguars 8th 6th 19th 6th

Vegas lines

Dolphins -6
Over/under 41.5
Dolphins o/u 24
Jaguars o/u 18

Don’t hold the Dolphins’ lackluster effort at Washington against them this week. Jacksonville’s defense isn’t terrible, but it’s also one that Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Miller, and the rest of the team should be able to exploit. Miller turned 14 touches into 75 yards last week. Joe Philbin should see the light and give him the ball at least 20 times against the Jaguars. T.J. Yeldon didn’t exactly put on a show against the Panthers last week, but it’s clear he’s the man in the Jacksonville backfield. Alfred Morris ran well against this team, but Miami’s defense remains a force. Don’t be too discouraged if Yeldon has a bad game.

Matchup to watch

Allen Robinson vs. Brent Grimes

Robinson was a near no-show against the Panthers last week, catching just one pass for 27 yards. He is dealing with a minor knee injury, but he’ll be out there on Sunday. He does, however, draw a tough assignment with Grimes expected to be across the line from him for most of the game. Robinson is a low-end WR2.

Injury report

Julius Thomas (hand): Out
Rashad Greene (back): Probable
Marqise Lee (hamstring): Probable

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Ravens 2nd 4th 13th 3rd
Raiders 23rd 28th 8th 28th

Vegas lines

Ravens -6.5
Over/under 43
Ravens o/u 25
Raiders o/u 18.5

Even without Terrell Suggs, this should be a game the Ravens can dominate on defense. You may have to start Latavius Murray if you own him, simply for lack of better options, but I wouldn’t do so with a ton of confidence. As for Amari Cooper, he’s my No. 37 wide receiver. This offense is already in dire straits, and he may have to deal with Jimmy Smith all day. The Ravens don’t have a ton of speed on the outside, so look for more Justin Forsett and Crockett Gillmore in this game. Forsett ran 12 routes last week and was targeted on seven of them. The Marc Trestman influence is already being felt. Joe Flacco is still just a low-end QB2, even with a solid matchup. There just aren’t that many weapons for him in this offense.

Matchup to watch

Amari Cooper vs. Jimmy Smith

Even though Cooper may be held back by his quarterback play, his individual matchup with Smith is the stuff that football dreams are made of.

Injury report

Breshad Perriman (knee): Out
Justin Forsett (shoulder): Probable
Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee): Probable
Eugene Monroe (concussion): Out
Derek Carr (hand): Probable
Charles Woodson (shoulder): Questionable

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Cowboys 3rd 17th 6th 13th
Eagles 22nd 12th 31st 7th

Vegas lines

Eagles -5.5
Over/under 56.5
Cowboys o/u 25
Eagles o/u 30.5

A team total of 30.5 is pretty significant. Despite having the highest team total, there are just three players on Philadelphia you absolutely have to start. DeMarco Murray and Jordan Matthews are no-brainers, but when a team is supposed to score 30 points, you have to start its quarterback. Even if you drafted Sam Bradford as a backup, he needs to be in your lineup. As for Zach Ertz, he was on the field for more than 70% of the Eagles’ plays last week. We’ve been hearing about him as a breakout player ever since he entered the league. He may finally be getting enough opportunity to take that step this season. The Cowboys’ offense doesn’t have nearly the ceiling it did with Dez Bryant, but Tony Romo was still able to throw for nearly 350 yards and three touchdowns against the Giants last week. Terrance Williams steps in as the new No. 1 receiver, and is immediately worth a play as a WR2. Joseph Randle got 16 carries and three targets last week, cementing himself as the lead dog in Dallas’ backfield timeshare.

Matchup to watch

The trench battle on both sides

These teams had the best offensive lines last season, according to Pro Football Focus. That could very well be the case again this year.

Injury report

Dez Bryant (foot): Out
Randy Gregoory (ankle): Out
Tony Romo (back): Probable

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Seahawks 26th 11th 16th 27th
Packers 11th 22nd 12th 22nd

Vegas lines

Packers -3.5
Over/under 49
Seahawks o/u 23
Packers o/u 26.5

The Seahawks are staring an 0-2 record in the face, with the very real likelihood that both the Rams and Cardinals move to 2-0. They likely want to go to their bread and butter and ride Marshawn Lynch, but Aaron Rodgers might not let them do that. The luster is off this secondary a bit, especially with Kam Chancellor still holding out. You saw what Nick Foles did to the Seahawks last week. Foles isn’t exactly Rodgers. Even without Jordy Nelson, he can carve up this defense. That might mean a lot of Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse, and less of Lynch and Russell Wilson on the ground. As for the Packers, just plug and play. The one thing to watch will be who gets the targets in the red zone. Last week, it was James Jones, with one going to Randall Cobb. If Davante Adams gets shut out again, his owners should be a little concerned.

Matchup to watch

Aaron Rodgers vs. Seattle secondary

Wesley Hitt/Getty

Those exact numbers for Foles, referenced above? 18-for-27, 297 yards, 11 yards per attempt, one touchdown, zero interceptions, one rushing touchdown, 22.98 fantasy points. And here comes the best quarterback in the league.

Injury report

Bruce Irvin (rib): Questionable
Bryan Bulaga (knee): Out
Randall Cobb (shoulder): Probable
Morgan Burnett (calf): Questionable

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

Team vs. QB vs. RB vs. WR vs. TE
Jets 21st 1st 22nd 15th
Colts 14th 24th 18th 11th

Vegas lines

Colts -7
Over/under 47
Jets o/u 20
Colts o/u 27

This is about as straightforward as a set of lines will get. What we know is that Vegas expects the Colts to get back on track against the Jets, but where will the scoring come from? One of Donte Moncrief or Andre Johnson—likely Moncrief—will have to deal with Darelle Revis. That could mean a big day for Dwayne Allen. T.Y. Hilton had 14 targets last week, and this offense really isn’t going to change its stripes. You’re not suddenly going to see 25 carries for Frank Gore. Allen is a strong play, while Moncrief looks like a low-end WR2. Chris Ivory is worrying wonders with his groin injury, but it appears he’ll be good to go on Monday night. He can turn in a top-10 week against this defense. Eric Decker is a better play than Brandon Marshall, with the latter likely to draw Vontae Davis this week. Davis held Sammy Watkins without a catch on three targets. Percy Harvin, meanwhile, had five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. The Jets obviously deploy Decker in a much different way, but Harvin’s touchdown was a 51-yard go-route.

Matchup to watch

Colts offensive line vs. Jets pass rush

The Bills made Andrew Luck’s life very uncomfortable, especially in the first half, last week. They sacked him twice, but made him force a number of throws early, and hauled in two interceptions. Quite simply, the Colts’ o-line needs to do a better job giving him enough time and room to operate.

Injury report

NOTE: The official injury report for Monday night is not released until Sunday

Chris Ivory (groin): Limited in practice Antonio Cromartie (knee): Limited in practice
T.Y. Hilton (knee): Did not participate in practice, expected to be out

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