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  • Based on their upcoming matchups, here are a few players who would be risky starts heading into Week 2.
By Frankie Taddeo
September 12, 2019

If you drafted wisely and have a strong bench, you will likely face lineup decisions every week. Those decisions can often make or break fantasy seasons. For example, owners who played Dak Prescott or Lamar Jackson over Baker Mayfield likely won their fantasy game in Week 1. However, if you decided to play Jared Cook over Mark Andrews or T.J. Hockenson, the decision perhaps cost you a win. It's small lineup decisions like those that can leave fantasy owners saying the dreaded words, "my bench outscored my starters." Well, for that not to happen, it's vital to be aware of players drawing tough matchups that pose a significant risk to your fantasy success. 

Let's take a look at several players who check that box in Week 2.

Quarterbacks

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (at BAL)

Murray had fantasy owners in a true state of panic on social media for the first three quarters of the rookie's debut in Week 1 against the Lions. He finally got it going in the fourth quarter, finishing with 308 yards passing and two scores en route to 25.7 fantasy points. However, making his first road start in Baltimore against a dominant Ravens defense could be a recipe for disaster. Murray is a risky play as a QB1 in Week 2, and owners need to be careful in this spot.

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CAR)

Winston had arguably the worst outing of any top-10 quarterback in Week 1 against San Francisco. While passing for a paltry 194 yards, he threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for scores. The likelihood of Winston repeating a similar woeful performance on a short week going into Carolina makes him easily one of the riskiest starts among top-12 QBs in Week 2. 

Jared Goff, LA Rams (vs. NO)

Goff played his second straight disappointing game if you go back and include his performance in Super Bowl LIII against New England. Goff only had 186 yards passing with one touchdown and an interception, amassing a meager 12.3 fantasy points in Week 1 against Carolina. Goff does get the luxury of returning home to play in front of the LA faithful, but it will be against a potent Saints defense. Goff is a risky play in Week 2, but he could reward owners if the game is a repeat of the high-scoring NFC Championship game. It all depends on who you drafted as your QB2 with this call. 

Running Backs

Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos (vs. CHI)

The Broncos' offense looked terrible on Monday night in Oakland, as Flacco & Co could not get anything going all night. Lindsay only managed 43 yards on the ground and lost significant touches to backfield ‘mate Royce Freeman. In Week 2, Lindsay draws a Bears defense that just held the Packers' running game to only 2.2 yards per rush. In a less than full-time role, against arguably the best defense in the NFL, Lindsay earns the top spot among the riskiest plays for running backs in Week 2. 

Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins (vs. NE)

Drake led all Miami running backs in touches and yards in Week 1 against Baltimore. The problem is those yards only added up to 27 resulting in 4.7 fantasy points in PPR leagues. Although Drake appears to be the favorite for lead-back duties, playing in one of the worst offenses will hurt his projections weekly in 2019. Drake now draws a Patriots team that just destroyed a highly touted Steelers offense in Week 1. The boys out here in the desert have New England installed as 20-point favorites, and this could get ugly real quick. Find better options than Drake in Week 2. 

Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)

Jones failed to live up to his lofty expectations in Week 1 against a stout Bears defense, only putting up 4.9 fantasy points in PPR formats. Unfortunately, for Jones owners, he draws another brutal matchup in Week 2 against a Vikings defense that shut down Falcons RB Devonta Freeman. It could be hard for owners to bench a player who they likely invested high draft capital in obtaining, but be warned—another lousy performance could be looming. 

Wide Receivers

Robby Anderson, New York Jets (vs. CLE)

Anderson entered his Week 1 matchup with Buffalo nursing a calf injury, and it was clear he was playing at less than full strength. Anderson only made three receptions for 23 yards as the Jets' offense went through Jamison Crowder and Le'Veon Bell in the passing game. Anderson relies on his speed, but if last week was any indication, then his calf injury is still an issue. Anderson now faces a brutal matchup on Monday night, drawing Cleveland‘s top CB Denzel Ward, who just shut out Titans WR Corey Davis. Also, the Jets acquired veteran WR Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday, and that could lead to even less than the seven targets he saw in Week 1. Anderson is a player who poses a significant risk in points expectancy with all factors considered.   

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (vs. IND)

Many fantasy owners invested mid-round value on the premise that Davis would take the next step forward in 2019. In Week 1, Davis put up a goose-egg against Cleveland. Although Davis led all Titans wideouts in snaps (48), he only managed three targets from Marcus Mariota. Playing Davis again in Week 2 is a risky move for his owners. If you have similar options on your bench, I would advise taking a wait and see approach before inserting him back into lineups. 

Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings (vs. GB)

The Vikings want to run the ball more in 2019, as evidenced by the fact that QB Kirk Cousins only attempted 10 passes the whole game against the Falcons. Diggs caught both of his targets for 31 yards, but fantasy owners invested in Diggs expecting way more production. Diggs came into the contest nursing a hamstring injury but fought his way into the lineup late Sunday morning. The Vikings could be forced to throw more in Green Bay in Week 2, but if they get ahead, they could rely once again on the legs of RB Dalvin Cook. Playing at less than full strength, Diggs becomes a risky play, especially if the Vikings incorporate a similar game plan predicated upon the run. 

Tight Ends

Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints (at LAR)

Cook was a player I was very high on in fantasy this season. If Week 1 was any indication of Cook's role in New Orleans, then my projections will be off immensely. Making only two receptions for 37 yards against Houston, it was clear that Cook's target share is way behind the likes of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara in the pecking order. Cook now draws a Rams defense that could pose issues for opposing tight ends. Cook is a risky play heading into Week 2 until we see evidence he is a pivotal part of the Saints' passing attack, meriting a starting nod from fantasy owners. 

Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers (vs. MIN)

Graham rewarded owners who started him with his first touchdown in nine games dating back to last season. I wouldn't get too excited about a 3/30 stat line with a great Vikings secondary looming next in Week 2. Starting Graham is a risky move, who is likely to be touchdown-dependent once again to put up fantasy-relevant numbers versus Minnesota. 

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