- Should you start Marcus Mariota against the Jaguars in Week 2. What about Thomas Rawls in his season debut for the Seahawks? And is Ted Ginn worth a play in the expected shootout between the Saints and Patriots? We have all of the Week 2 fantasy football start/sit advice you need.
Mark Ingram is set to make his fantasy football owners forget all about what happened in Week 1. He was outsnapped and outcarried by rookie Alvin Kamara, but he was unquestionably the most effective back for the Saints in their loss to the Vikings. Most notably, he caught all five of his targets for 54 yards, and while two of those receptions came in garbage time, he brought more to the offense than either Kamara or Adrian Peterson.
Last season, Ingram ran for 1,043 yards on 205 carries, caught 46 passes for 319 yards and scored 10 total touchdowns, and the season before, he racked up 1,174 total yards and six scores in 12 games. He’s a legitimately good back who has delivered nearly every time he was given a chance to the last two years.
The Saints’ matchup this week is 180-degree flip from what it was last week. Gone from the other side of the field are the Vikings and their stout rushing defense. This week, the Saints will face the Patriots in what should be a fantasy bonanza. The game has an over/under of 55.5, and even though the Saints are touchdown-underdogs at home, they still have an implied total of 24.25 points. We all saw what Kareem Hunt did to the Patriots a week ago. Part of his gaudy total owed to a game script that Ingram isn’t likely to enjoy, and the Saints’ best back may not get the same 22 touches that Hunt did, but this Patriots defense doesn’t scare anyone right now.
Don’t worry about last week, Ingram owners. Your back is easily the Saints’ best option. Adrian Peterson is a 32-year-old with two significant knee injuries in his past, and he got just nine snaps last week. Kamara is best cast as a receiving threat and occasional change of pace on the ground. Ingram is a legitimate weapon. He’ll put that on display on Sunday.
Matthew Stafford, Lions (at Giants)
Stafford has a tough assignment against the Giants this week, but this isn’t a terrible spot for him. Detroit’s offense is predicated on getting the ball out of Stafford’s hands quickly, and that will help negate the Giants’ pass rush. The emergence of Kenny Golladay gives him a second receiver to stretch the field, and that will create more room for Golden Tate, Eric Ebron and Theo Riddick to operate underneath. The spread, which favors the Giants by three, and total of 43.5 are a bit troubling, but just one week ago Stafford threw his way beyond a Vegas line in a similar test against the Cardinals. He can do so again this week.
Marcus Mariota, Titans (at Jaguars)
Mariota salvaged his fantasy day in Week 1 with a rushing touchdown, but he wasn’t all that great through the air. He completed 25 of 41 passes for 256 yards, 6.24 yards per attempt, and zero touchdowns. This week, he draws a Jacksonville defense that sacked Houston quarterbacks 10 times a week ago. That makes it all the more surprising that the Titans are favored by 2.5 points on the road, and should have you believing in Mariota and the Tennessee offense. Jacksonville does have a budding young defense, but the Titans offense is much better than it showed against the Raiders last week. This is still a matchup where you want Mariota in your lineup.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins (at Rams)
Like Mariota, Cousins entered the season with high expectations only to struggle in Week 1. Like Mariota, he goes on the road to face a defense that looked great a week ago, and could legitimately be among the league’s best. Like Mariota, he’s a relatively easy start call this week. Washington’s offense is built on Cousins’s right arm, and Vegas gives the team an implied total of 21.5 points this week. Terrelle Pryor was able to get lost in the Eagles secondary a few times last week, but he and Cousins had issues connecting on deep passes. With time will come familiarity, and those balls that hit the turf last week will end up in Pryor’s hands. This is a much different test for the Rams than the Colts were last week. Do not be scared away from Cousins.
Jared Goff, Rams (vs. Redskins)
Goff looked great last week, throwing for 306 yards, 10.55 YPA and a touchdown in the Rams drubbing of the Colts. The Redskins, meanwhile, didn’t do much to slow down Carson Wentz, and while the Eagles didn’t ask him to do too much, he was able to score the fifth-most points among quarterbacks last week. With Cooper Kupp, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, Goff suddenly has a solid group of receivers at his disposal. He’s a strong streamer and a good bet to put up high-to-mid-tier QB2 numbers this week.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals (at Colts)
In the abstract, the Cardinals Week 2 meeting with the Colts sets up perfectly for Palmer. They’re favored by 7.5 points and have an implied total of 26, tied for the fifth highest on the board this week. The Colts just got burned by Jared Goff and the Rams last week, and don’t seem to have much of a pass rush, which is what typically rattles the 37-year-old Palmer. After what he showed last week, though, coming on the heels of his 2016 season, I do not trust him, regardless of matchup. When quarterbacks lose it, they can lose it in a hurry. We have the recent example of Peyton Manning as proof of that. If Palmer has lost it, you don’t want him anywhere near your fantasy lineup.
Carson Wentz, Eagles (at Chiefs)
4for4’s Chris Raybon shared on Wednesday some great information on the Chiefs defense under Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton.
Only 4 times in the Reid/Sutton era has an opposing QB thrown for 300+ yards in KC. None occurred when Eric Berry missed 10 games in '14.— Chris Raybon (@ChrisRaybon) September 13, 2017
Eric Berry is unquestionably a big loss for the Chiefs, but they will be just fine. For as good as Wentz’s stat line looked last week, the Eagles really didn’t open up the playbook too much, and he got his one big strike on a broken play. Those are the types of events you can’t count on from week to week. This is a game in which Wentz should be on your bench.
Sam Bradford, Vikings (at Steelers)
Like pretty much everyone in the football-consuming universe, I loved what Bradford did against the Saints last week. I think Minnesota’s offense has real staying power, and I’d be starting Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen with confidence this week. I just can’t say the same about Bradford. For what it’s worth, I have him as QB15, but he’ll face a much different beast on Sunday. Last week, he was up against what could be a bottom-three defense in the league while playing at home. This week, he’ll oppose what could be a top-10 or -15 defense as a 5.5-point underdog on the road. He also faces the very real prospect of having to chase from behind all game, which would free up the Pittsburgh pass rush. There will be plenty of opportunities to trust Bradford the rest of this season. Week 2, however, is not one of them.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks (vs. 49ers)
Rawls is expected to make his season debut after missing the Seahawks loss to the Packers in Week 1 with an ankle injury. The Seahawks run game was hapless last week, getting 43 yards on 15 carries from Eddie Lacy, Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise. This situation is ripe for someone to take the job and run with it, and Rawls is the only one capable of doing so. He’ll have every opportunity to make that happen, and he’ll get his first crack at winning the job in ideal circumstances. The Seahawks are favored by two touchdowns at home this week, and the 49ers were among the league’s worst rushing defenses a season ago. While they held Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey mostly in check last week, they’re still a plus matchup for any running back.
Buck Allen, Ravens (vs. Browns)
The rumblings about Michael Campanaro taking over Danny Woodhead’s pass-catching role in Baltimore’s offense are a bit concerning, but until we see that on the field, it’s safe to assume Allen will serve in his injured teammate’s stead. The reason I loved Allen so much as a waiver target is that the Ravens are forced schematically, as well as by the limitations of their receiving corps, to give their backs a large presence in the passing game. Terrance West simply is not going to be that guy, meaning the duties should devolve onto Allen. I’m willing to ride him in a game where the Ravens are favored by eight points.
Bilal Powell, Jets (at Raiders)
The issue with Powell’s bizarrely high draft stock was laid bare for everyone last week. With the Jets struggling to put together a semblance of what could be called an offense, Powell had seven carries for 22 yards and five receptions for yards. This team is going to be so far out of so many games, that the run game won’t even be an option. That means Powell will often be entirely dependent on receiving production for his fantasy numbers, and that’s just not going to be there too often playing for an offense that is this bad. Powell is in serious trouble not only this week, but all season. Stay far away from him with the Jets catching 14 points in Oakland.
Terrance West, Ravens (vs. Browns)
West was supposed to be the Ravens primary rusher this season, and, thus far, the coaching staff hasn’t said anything to the contrary. If I were invested in him, though, I’d be awfully concerned about the fact that he got outsnapped and outcarried by Buck Allen in what should have been a perfect salt-it-away situation last week. That could very well happen again this week with the Ravens favored by eight points, but it’s hard to trust West after seeing what Allen’s role was a week ago. Either back is liable to lead the team in carries, but Allen is guaranteed the work in the passing game, and that’s why he finds himself on the positive side of this column. West is too great a risk for my money.
Kerwynn Williams, Cardinals (at Colts)
I know, you’re reeling. You just lost David Johnson, and you’re not sure what to do. At this point, you’re almost just starting the Cardinals running back by default. Unfortunately, just because Williams is the de facto starter does not mean he will give you starting fantasy production. This is likely to be a muddy situation all season, where no back in Arizona proves himself good enough to earn a majority of the touches. With Williams, Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington splitting everything coming out of the Arizona backfield, fantasy owners should stay away for the long haul.
Devante Parker, Dolphins (at Chargers)
Parker’s stock rose significantly this summer, notably after the Dolphins signed Jay Cutler to replace the injured Ryan Tannehill. Parker’s and Cutler’s skill sets seem a perfect match, with Cutler possessing a great arm, and Parker the ability to stretch the defense. Miami’s offense lacked a true vertical element with Parker struggling to develop consistency last season, but he has the pedigree to break through in his third season in the league. The matchup would have to be terrible for you to consider benching Parker, and this week’s contest with the Chargers does not qualify.
Rishard Matthews, Titans (at Jaguars)
I am shocked to see Matthews’s expert consensus rankings on FantasyPros this week in the 40s. You would think he put up a goose egg last week if you only saw that ranking, but he caught five of his nine targets for 71 yards. What’s wrong with a performance like that, especially for a guy projected to be a WR2/3? Matthews was tied for second on the Titans in targets, one look behind rookie Corey Davis. If I own Matthews, I’m looking at least week as an encouraging performance. He remains one of Marcus Mariota’s favorite receivers, and this year he has some help on the outside. Don’t concern yourself too much with the way Jacksonville’s defense played against Houston last week. The Titans present a much tougher challenge.
Tyrell Williams, Chargers (vs. Dolphins)
Williams had a decent showing in the Chargers Week 1 game, especially considering the opponent. There’s no shame in hauling in five of seven targets for 54 yards in a game against the Broncos elite secondary. Williams was second to Keenan Allen on the team in targets, which is exactly where his owners should expect him to be. The Chargers are 4.5-point favorites against the Dolphins this week, and have an implied team total of 25 points, the eighth-highest mark this week. This should be a good week to get Williams, Allen, Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon in your fantasy lineups.
Ted Ginn, Saints (vs. Patriots)
You recall Tyreek Hill’s 75-yard touchdown against the Patriots last week, right? That came on an uncharacteristic coverage blunder by Devin McCourty, but it also shows how Ginn can attack a New England defense that might not be all it was cracked up to be during the preseason. With an over/under of 55.5, there’s no bad way to get invested in Patriots-Saints. Ginn got five targets and a carry in the Saints loss to the Vikings last week. He should surpass that number of opportunities if this game turns into the shootout it’s expected to be.
Jamison Crowder, Redskins (at Rams)
As pass-happy as the Redskins offense is, it’s hard to believe in all three of Terrelle Pryor, Jordan Reed and Crowder in a game where the team has an implied total of 21.5 points. There are only so many passes to go around, even with Jay Gruden calling the plays. As such, Crowder is the fade in the Washington passing game. He has the look of a WR4 this week.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts (vs. Cardinals)
Does it really matter if it’s Scott Tolzien or Jacoby Brissett under center. So long as it isn’t Andrew Luck, Hilton’s owners are going to have buyer’s remorse. Couple that with the fact that he’s likely to get a heavy dose of Patrick Peterson this week, and the volume that he can at least usually fall back on isn’t likely to be there. Tolzien and Brissett aren’t the types of quarterback that are up to challenging Peterson with regularity.
Pierre Garcon, 49ers (vs. Seahawks)
Like Hilton, Garcon can typically count on volume, but that might not be the case this week depending on who he draws in coverage. On top of that, the 49ers have an implied team total of 14.25 points in Seattle on Sunday. Receivers can overwhelm inefficiency with volume, but this is a bad spot to be relying on that if you’re invested in Garcon. The San Francisco passing game got nothing going at home against Carolina last week. It’s hard to see them flipping that on its head in Seattle. Garcon is a low-value play in Week 2.
Eric Ebron, Lions (at Giants)
Ebron was nearly shut out against the Cardinals last week, catching two passes for nine yards. The Cardinals have been one of the best defenses against tight ends for years now, so Ebron can be forgiven for struggling out of the gates. He gets a much better matchup this week against a Giants team that let 35-year-old Jason Witten go for 7-59-1 last week. With the strength of the Giants pass defense in its rush and outside the numbers in coverage, Matthew Stafford will have to lean on players like Ebron and Golden Tate, who typically run short and intermediate routes in the middle of the field.
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers (vs. Bears)
We’ll get our first look this season at Brate, who put up 57 catches for 660 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Everyone was ready to hand the starting tight end job to rookie O.J. Howard after the Buccaneers selected him in the first round, but Brate has great chemistry with Jameis Wisnton, especially in the red zone. The Bears got burned by Austin Hooper for two big plays last week, including an 88-yard touchdown, and with Jerrell Freeman on IR, they just lost their best coverage linebacker.
Austin Hooper, Falcons (vs. Packers)
Vegas predicts a shootout between the Falcons and Packers, with an over/under of 54.5 and a spread of just 2.5 points. Should the game play to that script, both teams are going to have to push the ball down the field until the final gun. That makes Hooper an attractive tight end at the bottom of the TE1 class. With the non-elite at the position dependent on touchdowns for fantasy production, you want to bet on someone playing in a game with the conditions expected in Atlanta on Sunday night, all else being equal.
Jason Witten, Cowboys (at Broncos)
The Broncos are not the Giants. This week’s matchup is as bad for Witten as last week’s was good. Players like Brate and Hooper are clear starts over Witten, given the environments all three will be playing in this week. Plus, the strength of Dallas’s offense is on the ground, while the Broncos competitive advantage on defense is through the air. Expect to see a whole lot of Ezekiel Elliott for the Cowboys this week.
Hunter Henry, Chargers (vs. Dolphins)
Henry played 23 of the Chargers 59 snaps last week, and didn’t get a target. Antonio Gates got just three looks from Philip Rivers, but at least he was somewhat a part of the offense, playing 16 more snaps than Henry. Henry has the ability to be a top-10 tight end, but he can’t do it so long as he’s blocked by Gates. Until that reality changes, he should be planted on fantasy benches.