Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 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 Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB, QB)
Whether it was his freakish 41 fantasy points per game or his press conference wearing DeSean Jackson's clothes, there's a lot to like about Fitzpatrick right now. Based upon his statistical history, Fitz has never had back to back games like he has in 2018. He's had good games, but not like this. That ride is going to end at some point, but we'd roll the dice that it won't be this week. He's ranked 4th this week on FFN facing a Steelers defense giving up an average of 34 fantasy points to QB's. Fun Fact: Fitzpatrick has scored more fantasy points for a QB through two games since the NFL/AFL merger. #FitzMagic
Start 'em Matt Ryan (ATL, QB)
Ask fantasy owners who have Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick if the Saints secondary is scary. New Orleans is giving up an average of 32 fantasy points to signal callers. Ryan averaged 17 fantasy points against them last year and a healthy 8.1 YPA. He's ranked 9th this week and should finish in the Top 10.
Start 'em Tevin Coleman (ATL, RB)
The usual suspects are all there in the Top 10 this week...with the addition of Tevin Coleman who lands at the 10 spot in our standard rankings. Devonta Freeman won't play this week and Coleman came through with a healthy 20 touches in his absence last week. There hasn't been much running against the Saints, but they did give up double digit points to Carlos Hyde last week.
Start 'em Giovani Bernard (CIN, RB)
Filling in for Joe Mixon this week is Gio Bernard. While it's tough to throw on Carolina, they can definitely be run on. Tevin Coleman and Zeke Elliott averaged 17 PPR fantasy points against them the past two weeks. Bengals also waived their no. 3 RB this week, so he's in line to handle the bulk of the touches.
Start 'em Matt Breida (SF, RB)
Ranked 22nd this week on FFN is Matt Breida who leads the NFL in rushing after two games (184 yards). On paper it looks like a tough matchup, but we just watched James Conner, Melvin Gordon, and Austin Ekeler average 22 PPR fantasy points against the Chiefs over the first two weeks.
Start 'em JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT, WR)
Ranked inside our Top 12 this week is JuJu Smith-Schuster who has become a legitimate fantasy starter. He caught 13 of 19 targets last week, and we expect that usage to continue. Keep him in your lineups as the Bucs give up the second most yards through the air (376.5).
Start 'em DeSean Jackson (TB, WR)
The thing about DeSean Jackson is that he makes the whole passing game better because he's able to open up the field. If you plan on riding the hot hand, DJax and Fitz are red hot. He's averaging an insane 30.6 YPR and the struggling Steelers have given up an average of 18.9 PPR points to Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Jarvis Landry the first two weeks. He's ranked 30th this week putting him in WR3/Flex territory.
Start 'em Nelson Agholor (PHI, WR)
With Alshon Jeffery and Mike Wallace out, Agholor has seen 22 targets, 16 catches, 121 yards, and a score. He will have to line up and win outside with Jordan Matthews likely starting this week, but the matchup against the Colts is certainly beatable. He's ranked 20th this week making him a nice WR2 option.
Start 'em George Kittle (SF, TE)
Don't let last week's disappointing game sour you on George Kittle. He'll bounce back this week against the Chiefs. Nobody has given up more yards through the air this year than Kansas Cit who is giving up 19.05 points per game to TEs the last 2 weeks including 24.8 to Jesse James last week (PPR).
Start 'em Will Dissly (SEA, TE)
Last week we got a garbage time touchdown from Dissly, but that makes two in two games. Dallas is giving up 14.95 points per game to TEs the last 2 weeks including 19.7 PPR points to Evan Engram last week.
Start 'em Cleveland Browns (CLE, DEF)
The offense may not be spectacular, but the Browns defense is actually averaging 11.5 FPG through 2 games and the matchup against rookie QB Sam Darnold is good, as they give up 9.5 FPG to DSTs.
Start 'em Dan Bailey (MIN, K)
Put the veteran into your lineups. The rookie Daniel Carlson had four field goal opportunities in two games and we know that Bailey can put up points. Buffalo has allowed an average of 9 fantasy points to kickers so far this year.
Sit 'em Derek Carr (OAK, QB)
Carr was highly efficient in Sunday's narrow loss to Denver, completing 29 of 32 passes for 288 yards and 1 score. If this offense continues to lean on Amari Cooper, Carr could supply some QB1 weeks moving forward. There's just not much depth to this pass catching corps. And Carr now hits the road for a long trip to face an improved Miami pass defense that is allowing an average of 7.5 fantasy points to QB's.
Sit 'em Carson Wentz (PHI, QB)
Wentz is back. It's his first game back and he's ranked 14th this week on FFN. It is certainly a good matchup at home against a young and beatable Colts defense but his weaponry is limited and he could be rusty, so we're not expecting a huge game.
Sit 'em LeSean McCoy (BUF, RB)
It's sad to see McCoy all the way down the FFN ranks this week at #47 in standard scoring putting him outside even Flex territory. Vegas has Minnesota as a 17 point favorite in this game - an almost unheard of difference particularly this early in the season. The Vikings have kept both the Green Bay and San Francisco run games in check allowing just Jamaal Williams to see 10 fantasy points and that was in PPR. With an awful offensive line and bruised ribs, McCoy is not startable.
Sit 'em Adrian Peterson (WAS, RB)
Peterson saw a decent 34% of the snaps last week and caught all 3 targets with 14 opportunities, but Chris Thompson has been the better option in the Washington backfield. If they get behind against Green Bay, the 4.8 YPC that the Packers give up to running backs won't be much help when they are forced to throw. If/when that happens, they will likely look to Thompson in the passing game. Both guys are ranked as low-end RB2's, but we wouldn't be surprised to see them finish further down.
Sit 'em Derrick Henry (TEN, RB)
Ranked 35th this week on FFN is Derrick Henry in what has been largely a disappointing start to the season. Jacksonville's defense is one of the best in the league, and Henry has a poor history against them averaging only 2.9 YPC on the season and 3.4 YPC against them last year with a healthy amount of carries.
Sit 'em Corey Davis (TEN, WR)
Fantasy owners are waiting to see what happens with Marcus Mariota. If he can't play, it remains difficult to expect much from Davis - particularly when facing a tough defense like Jacksonville. Targets are not a problem as he had another 7 last week and a respectable 5/55 but the QB situation is not helping. Davis is ranked 41st this week on FFN.
Sit 'em Robby Anderson (NYJ, WR)
Rewind time a month ago and who would have guessed that Quincy Enunwa would be the guy to own on the Jets? Robby Anderson just hasn't been involved seeing just six targets...total...with San Darnold under center. He is struggling to fit into the Jets' short passing attack having tallied just four catches on those six targets for 68 yards and a score through 2 games -- and 41 yards and the TD came on 1 play.
Sit 'em Charles Clay (BUF, TE)
A backup TE for many fantasy owners, Charles Clay's fantasy value suffers for the same reasons that LeSean McCoy's does. The offensive line is awful. The QB is awful. Even though Jimmy Graham and George Kittle had decent days against the Vikings, the matchup is extra tough with those two factors. Gotta sit Clay.
Sit 'em David Njoku (CLE, TE)
Njoku has totaled just 7 catches for 33 yards through 2 games. But the usage has been encouraging: an 82% snap rate and 14 targets. Production will start to come if that continues. Njoku is ranked 15th this week.
Sit 'em Seattle Seahawks (SEA, DEF)
This is simply not the same Seattle defense that we've come to expect. Even though they did put up 16 FP against the Cowboys last year, they are depleted defensively, and Dallas is giving up just 4 FPG to DEF's. No surprise to see them ranked 24th this week.
Sit 'em Adam Vinatieri (IND, K)
Vinatieri is still getting it done as he's kicked 3 field goals already, but it's a bad week to try him out as the matchup is pretty challenging. The Eagles have allowed just 4.5 fantasy points to kickers this year.