It's Week 2 and there are already some teams that need to dig deep into their roster depth due to injuries. Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, 49ers running back Tevin Coleman, Redskins running back Derrius Guice and Chargers tight end Hunter Henry suffered injuries and are out for at least a few weeks. There are some players who could miss this week, such as Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams, Bengals running back Joe Mixon and Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Others might have players with difficult matchups and are seeking alternatives. Here are some sneaky starts that could surpass expectations in Week 2.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
There will be times when watching Allen you will question why you started him. When the game is over, the stats are usually good. There's a difference between reality and fantasy, and while Allen is inaccurate, his game is conducive for fantasy success as he showed last season by being the top quarterback in the final six weeks. Allen has a high floor due to his rushing ability, and Week 1 against the Jets was an example. It wasn't a great game and he was inaccurate, but he salvaged the day in the final quarter. Despite throwing two interceptions and fumbling twice, Allen had 254 passing yards with a touchdown and rushed 10 times for 38 yards with a score. Allen faces a Giants defense that allowed Dak Prescott to pass for 405 yards and throw four touchdowns last week.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Carr looked excellent in Week 1 against the Broncos at home and was barely touched. He had a lot of time to throw and excelled, going 22-for-26 (84.6% completion rate) for 259 yards with a touchdown. This week Carr gets the Chiefs, and he will have to pass often to attempt to match their offense. The Chiefs are explosive and it allows the opponents to run more plays. The Chiefs allowed Nick Foles and rookie quarterback to combine for 350 yards and three touchdown passes.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Dalton was one of the surprises in Week 1, going on the road in Seattle and attempting 51 passes. He went 35-of-51 for 418 yards with two touchdowns as the offense looked better and more aggressive under first-year head coach Zac Taylor. The Bengals are home this week against the 49ers, who played better than anticipated defensively against the Buccaneers, although mistakes by Tampa Bay played a role.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Starting running back Joe Mixon is day-to-day with an ankle injury and could be a game-time decision. When Bernard starts in place of Mixon, he tends to do well. In two games last season without Mixon, Bernard averaged 19 points per game in PPR formats. In those games, Bernard had 27 carries for 130 yards and three touchdowns, and nine catches for 52 yards. If Mixon is out, Bernard is a good start.
Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams
At least we know that Brown would benefit if Todd Gurley had to miss time. It's still not clear what the Rams will do with this backfield going forward. Was Week 1 a sign of things to come? Did the Rams treat it like a preseason game since it was Gurley's first action since the playoffs? Gurley played the majority of the snaps and looked good, but he had one target and no red zone carries with 15 touches for 101 yards. Brown had 11 carries for 53 yards with two touchdowns and five red zone carries. We do know the Rams have said Gurley won't have the heavy workloads he did in recent seasons. The running backs are valuable in this offense and Brown has a shot to score if he's going to get double-digit touches.
LeSean McCoy, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs were expected to ease McCoy into the offense after joining the team right before the start of the season. Damien Williams played 66% of the snaps, while McCoy played 29%. Williams had 19 touches, including six receptions, and McCoy had 10 carries for 81 yards with a 12-yard catch. McCoy could be in line for more work in a great matchup against the Raiders, who allowed 4.7 yards per carry to the Broncos' backfield last week.
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles deployed Sanders along with Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles last week. The Eagles were down 20-7 at the half and Sproles played more with the team in passing mode. Sanders played 48% of the snaps, Sproles 31% and Howard 23%. Sproles and Sanders each had 12 touches and Howard eight. Sanders had 11 carries for 25 yards and had a 21-yard touchdown run called back due to a penalty. The Eagles face the Falcons, who allowed 172 rushing yards on 38 carries and three touchdowns last week against the Vikings.
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
Some are going to see 11 carries for Frank Gore and just four for Singletary against the Jets last week and think the rookie isn't a good play. Singletary played 70% of the snaps compared to 28% for Gore. Singletary was more explosive with four carries for 70 yards and five receptions for 28 yards. Gore had 11 carries for 20 yards but was tackled for a two-yard loss leading to a safety, and he received three carries late as he didn't get a first down to run out the clock. It's a matter of time before Singletary gets double-digit carries, and it could come this week against a bad Giants defense.
Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills
The Giants had big issues covering the middle of the field in Week 1 against the Cowboys. Tight ends Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin each scored a touchdown and slot receiver Randall Cobb was open consistently, catching four of five passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. Beasley was involved early in the first half last week against the Jets and was targeted nine times, catching five for 40 yards.
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
While he only played 14 snaps last week, Brown made a huge impact with four catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns on five targets. Brown should play more snaps since the game was a blowout and he is coming off a Lisfranc injury. The Cardinals are weak in the secondary and will have a difficult time covering Brown.
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
Tyreek Hill will miss four-to-six weeks and Hardman has an opportunity to produce. While Hardman didn't have a reception in Week 1, he played 78% of the snaps and was likely not a big part of the game plan with Hill on the field. Expect that to change this week in a matchup against a Raiders secondary that was hit with injuries. Hardman runs a 4.33 40-yard dash and could come through with a good fantasy game with one big play.
D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
Metcalf produced more than anyone expected last week in his first NFL game. It was difficult to start him since he was coming off a knee procedure, but you couldn't tell. Metcalf caught four passes for 81 yards on six targets against the Bengals as Russell Wilson attempted only 20 passes. Expect Wilson to throw it more this week against the Steelers, who were awful against the Patriots Sunday night.
Trey Quinn, Washington Redskins
Quinn had six targets last week against the Eagles and caught four passes for 33 yards with a touchdown. The Redskins play the Cowboys, who were exploited in the middle of the field as Evan Engram had 11 receptions for 116 yards. If the Cowboys' offense moves the ball like Week 1, the Redskins could be passing a lot, leading to targets for Quinn.
Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts
There has to be a concern with the Colts tight ends as Ebron and Jack Doyle hurt each other. Doyle played 68% of the snaps and Ebron 40%, with Ebron running 16 routes and Doyle 13. Ebron should see targets in the red zone, especially with Devin Funchess out. Ebron dropped a touchdown last week, and while the Titans defense was good against the Browns, they did allow tight end David Njoku to score.
Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders
Waller got a boost with the release of Antonio Brown, opening up more targets for the tight end. Waller played every single snap and lined up in the slot and out wide. Waller caught seven of his eight targets for 70 yards against the Broncos, and the Raiders will be passing a lot against the Chiefs. Waller isn't a household name for some, yet, but he's a top-12 tight end this week.
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