Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2018
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em Alex Smith (WAS, QB)
The Redskins looked impressive last week. Smith had a very stellar performance last week and has a great matchup this week as the Colts gave up 243 yards, 2 scores, and 8.7 YPA in Week 1. Indy allowed almost 18 fantasy points to QB's last year. Get Smith into your lineups this week.
Start 'em Ben Roethlisberger (PIT, QB)
Don't let last week's disappointment sour you on Big Ben. He's at home this week and completely owned Kansas City last season. Philip Rivers just put up 27 points against them last week and Big Ben should bounce back nicely in Week 2.
Start 'em Patrick Mahomes (KC, QB)
Mahomes put up a fantastic stat line last week throwing for 256 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks. He even tacked on 21 yards rushing. Vegas has the total score for this game at 52 points meaning that this should be a high scoring affair.
Start 'em James Conner (PIT, RB)
Le'Veon Bell is not expected to play again this week leaving James Conner atop the depth chart in Pittsburgh. After rushing 31 times for 135 yards and finding the end zone twice, he also tacked on five catches for 57 yards. He dominated the snaps with 92% and remains a must-start - especially after we watched Gordon and Ekeler average 25 fantasy points against the Chiefs last week.
Start 'em Adrian Peterson (WAS, RB)
Peterson got the volume that he was hoping for last week with 28 touches. He's ranked 16th this week on FFN making him a solid RB2 in all formats. He may not be an every week starter, but a matchup with the Colts is too good to pass up. Joe Mixon put up 26 PPR points against them last week.
Start 'em Jay Ajayi (PHI, RB)
Ajayi looked good in the season opener rushing for 62 yards and two touchdowns. He's ranked 17th this week on FFN against a Tampa Bay offense that was decimated by Alvin Kamara last week.
Start 'em Nelson Agholor (PHI, WR)
With Alshon Jeffery still out, it will once again be the Agholor show as we saw in Week 1 when Nick Foles targeted him 10 times. While he didn't put up big receiving yards, he did catch 8 balls. Tampa Bay get shredded last week through the air, and we expect Agholor to be busy this week. He's ranked 25th this week on FFN putting him in solid WR3/Flex territory.
Start 'em Emmanuel Sanders (DEN, WR)
Case Keenum has definitely been an upgrade at QB for Denver. Demaryius Thomas hauled in six catches for 63 yards and a score, but it was Sanders who really shined pulling in 10 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown. Both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp had solid days against Oakland on Monday night. Sanders is ranked 14th this week putting him in solid WR2 territory.
Start 'em George Kittle (SF, TE)
George Kittle was targeted nine times last week by Jimmy G. He played 79% of the snaps and caught five of those targets averaging an impressive 18 yards per catch. Given the drop off of starters at the TE position, Kittle is a diamond in the rough. He's ranked inside our Top 10 this week.
Start 'em Jared Cook (OAK, TE)
Jared Cook may be a bit inconsistent, but there was no doubt that he was an integral part of the passing game on Monday night. He saw a whopping 90% of the snaps last week and rewarded fantasy owners with an amazing 9 for 180. There's no reason to think that he won't stay hot as the Broncos typically are bad against TEs and gave up 21.6 FP to the position last week. Cook is also ranked inside our Top 10.
Start 'em Los Angeles Chargers (LAC, DEF)
Depending upon your league's defensive scoring, there's a good chance that the Chargers actually took you negative last week. Don't get discouraged as the Bolts will bounce back nicely against the Bills. The Ravens were a Top 5 defense last week taking five of Nathan Peterman's passes away from him before he was benched. The Chargers will face backup rookie Josh Allen this week which doesn't seem fair...unless you have the Chargers D of course.
Start 'em Harrison Butker (KC, K)
While Zane Gonzalez only put up three fantasy points against Pittsburgh last week, it was a sloppy game. Look for Harrison Butker to do a bit better in what many are anticipating as a high-scoring game.
Sit 'em Dak Prescott (DAL, QB)
There was very little to get excited about in last week's Cowboys game. The passing game was mediocre, the offensive line looks like a shell of its former self (Prescott was sacked six times), and even the run game took forever to get going. He also has a poor track record against the Giants.
Sit 'em Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB, QB)
Yes, Fitzpatrick was a beast last week. Yes, he's still the starter in Tampa Bay. Yes, he went to Harvard, but this week he'll face an Eagles defense that is much better than the Saints. They allowed Matt Ryan to score just 8.84 fantasy points in the NFL opener.
Sit 'em Derrick Henry (TEN, RB)
The better running back for Tennessee last week was clearly Dion Lewis who had more touches and saw more snaps than Henry. He's ranked 35th this week on FFN against a Houston defense that largely kept Rex Burkhead in check last week.
Sit 'em Jamaal Williams (GB, RB)
Last week we recommended Jamaal Williams projecting 16 touches and a score. While he did have 15 touches, the Bears had other intentions for letting him see the end zone. Green Bay's offense didn't show up until the second half, and then it was all Aaron Rodgers. When Williams did run, he averaged a mere 3.1 yards per carry. Things are not going to get any easier this week against a Vikings defense that allowed just 90 yards on the ground and kept both Morris and Breida to single digits.
Sit 'em Leonard Fournette (JAC, RB)
You didn't draft Fournette to sit him, but if he plays this week, he's no more than a flex play against New England. The Patriots allowed Lamar Miller just 11 fantasy points last week. He's dealing with a hamstring issue that may either keep him out our limit his effectiveness.
Sit 'em Amari Cooper (OAK, WR)
Fantasy owners expected a lot more from Cooper last week and he failed to deliver. HC Jon Gruden said this week that they need to get Cooper going, but we're not sold that this will begin this week. Cooper averaged a terrible 5.4 fantasy points (PPR) against Denver last year. He's ranked 31st this week barely on the WR3 bubble.
Sit 'em Randall Cobb (GB, WR)
Randall Cobb looked incredible against a tough Bears secondary pulling in nine receptions for 142 yards and the game winning touchdown on Sunday night. In theory, he should get the best matchup against young CB Alexander, but Aaron Rodgers' status is still up in the air and the Vikings have a stout defense. Plus, Cobb's history isn't particularly great against Minnesota averaging 4 standard fantasy points and 7 in PPR over his past five games against them. Cobb remains a WR3 with a tough matchup.
Sit 'em Charles Clay (BUF, TE)
We know that there aren't likely to be many options out there at the tight end spot, but Charles Clay should only be used in the deepest of leagues. He's ranked 16th and faces a Chargers defense that only allowed stud Travis Kelce 1.6 PPR points last week. The biggest mark against Clay is the QB situation. It's uglier than a mud fence.
Sit 'em Austin Seferian-Jenkins (JAC, TE)
There are not a lot of viable passing options in the Jacksonville arsenal, and what the Jags have will likely struggle. New England allowed just two catches to Houston's tight ends last week. Seferian-Jenkins played a ton of snaps last week (87%) and had 5 targets, but he's ranked 22nd this week and is tough to trust unless you are very desperate.
Sit 'em Arizona Cardinals (ARI, DEF)
The Cardinals did get three sacks last week, but a matchup with Todd Gurley and the Rams is not ideal. The Rams gave up just 1 fantasy point on Monday night.
Sit 'em Brett Maher (DAL, K)
You have to believe that the Cowboys were second guessing their decision to cut long-time kicker Dan Bailey when Brett Maher missed his kick in Week 1. Given the lack of offense that we saw from Dallas, it's tough to count on Maher to put up any serious points.