Handicapping Sports

Week 2 NFL Fantasy Cheat Sheet

Photo courtesy of the Washington Redskins/Garrett Campbell

Running Backs

Top Picks – guys you HAVE to start if you have them

  1. Alvin Kamara vs. Cleveland – Kamara put up huge points last week and the only reason to think he might not do it again is if you were worried that the Saints will build a big lead.  Cleveland showed resolve playing Pittsburgh to a tie this past week, and the Saints defense looked horrible, so the Saints could lean on the run to help slow the pace of the game down.
  2. Melvin Gordon vs. Buffalo – The Chargers will be bent on a rebound game after last week, and the lackluster Bills will be easy targets.  There is concern that Gordon will be pulled if this game gets out of hand early, but if it is out of hand it’s likely because of Gordon.
  3. Todd Gurley vs. Arizona – Arizona looked slack in all aspects last week.  While Goff continues to play so-so ball, Gurley will be the feature piece that the offense runs through.

Players to watch – players worth picking up if you didn’t already

  1. T.J. Yeldon Vs. New England – With the Fornette injury here is a guy that will get a lot of touches in a game.  Even with Fornette healthy enough to suit up here is a guy who could take snaps because the team wants to be cautious.  If you’re thin and he’s free he might be worth a waiver pickup.
  2. Ezekiel Elliott vs. New York Giants – Elliott is going to get the bulk of the snaps and the team will run him into the ground, but defenses will focus on him.  If the Giants manage to shut him down and you own him he might be worth trying to trade as there will be weeks were he does put up monster numbers.  This could be the most telling week as to when he can possibly do that and how much value he has going forward.
  3. Adrian Peterson vs. Indianapolis – Peterson played a great game last week, the question is can he do it again?  The Colts don’t figure to put up a solid defensive front, so this should give us a legit idea of Peterson is legit or more of a spot start/hit or miss type player.

Players to avoid – I’d rather not start these guys if I can avoid it

  1. Le’Veon Bell vs. Kansas City – The situation with the team still isn’t settled, and based on how well James Conner played last week I’m not sure an early signing this week would have him on the field for Sunday.
  2. Leonard Fournette vs. New England – Even if he were healthy this is the type of guy that Belichick would remove from the game with defensive schemes.  The defense likely won’t fixate on Yeldon as much as they would Fournette.

Draft King Bargains – decent matchups you can pick up on the cheap

  1. Adrian Peterson vs. Indianapolis ($5,500) – The match-up is favorable, and as much as this is a boom or bust he’s too cheap to not look at as an RB2.
  2. T.J. Yeldon vs. New England ($5,600) – Again this is more about volume and cost compared to anything else.  He’s just too cheap with the expectation that he will get most of the carries.

Wide Receivers

Top Picks – guys you HAVE to start if you have them

  1. Michael Thomas vs. Cleveland – Drew Brees looks to be in form, and unless the Saints get way out in front of Cleveland expect Thomas to be getting a lot of targets and big yardage.
  2. Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Dallas – He played well last week, and now he gets to go up against a team he plays well against, and the safety help is still lacking.  His game is better suited to take advantage of the Dallas D than the Carolina receivers were.  Also, expect Dallas to play the run well
  3. Keenan Allen vs. Buffalo – Buffalo is horrible in every way you can imagine.  Allen should have a good game no matter what.

Players to watch – players worth picking up if you didn’t already

  1. Brandon Marshall vs. Chicago – With Doug Baldwin out (more on that later) Marshall figures to get the lion share of targets and receptions.
  2. John Brown vs. Cincinnati – He played well against the Bills, but granted it’s the Bills. Still, watch how he plays and see if this is a waiver wire guy worth picking up after this week.
  3. Ryan Grant vs. Washington – Luck seemed to have a bit of chemistry with a guy not many people had heard of ahead of last week. He’s worth picking up if they show continued connections again this week.

Players to avoid – I’d rather not start these guys if I can avoid it

  1. Doug Baldwin vs. Chicago – He’s hurt, and likely not coming back for a while.  I’m not saying drop him from your roster just yet, but depending on the length of the injury it might be worth getting guys in who are playing.
  2. DeSean Jackson vs. Philadelphia – Were Jackson healthy I wouldn’t be expecting another game like last week, but with the concussion issues I’m not sure the team will even let him on the field on Sunday.
  3. DeVante Parker vs. New York Jets – He’s got a broken finger.  Even if he comes back I want to see him catch balls before I start him anywhere.

Draft King Bargains – decent matchups you can pick up on the cheap

  1. Mike Williams vs. Buffalo ($3,700) – If the Chargers build up a lead I wouldn’t expect Williams to come out.  This is a guy who could put up decent numbers during the main part of the game and explode come garbage time.
  2. Randall Cobb vs. Minnesota ($4,600) – I’m not liking Green Bay at all in this game, but Cobb is so cheap, and Rogers is so good that this could be a sneaky pick to win you something.

Quarter Backs

Top Picks – guys you HAVE to start if you have them

  1. Drew Brees vs. Cleveland – Cleveland should be able to keep the game close in the beginning and that should mean more passing from Brees.  The team should mix things up, but the big plays will be in the passing game.
  2. Jared Goff vs. Arizona – Arizona squandered a lot of passing points this past week to a team not nearly as good as the Rams.  With a defense as good as the Rams are the Offense figures to get more shots.
  3. Philip Rivers vs. Buffalo – The Bills are horrible.  Rivers should roll for big numbers.

Players to watch – players worth picking up if you didn’t already

  1. Dak Prescott vs. New York Giants – He didn’t look great last week, but the Panthers have an amazing defense.  The Giants aren’t as solid across the board, and another week with his players might help get a game going.  If Dak struggles again it might be time to trade him if you’ve got him
  2. Patrick Mahomes vs. Pittsburgh – Mahomes looked AMAZING in Los Angeles last week. He has another tough road test this week in Pittsburgh. He’s taken in most leagues, but a slide week might allow you to pick him up on the cheap.  He’s still unproven in the league.
  3. Alex Smith vs. Indianapolis – Washington gets a slack opponent again, but Smith has grasped this offense faster than I expected.  He could be a great sleeper if he’s still hanging around the waiver wire.

Players to avoid – I’d rather not start these guys if I can avoid it

  1. Marcus Mariota vs. Houston – He’s likely out with an injury, but even if he’s playing I don’t like his chances against this pass rush.
  2. Aaron Rodgers vs. Minnesota – The injury that saw him miss game time last week looked really bad, but he did come back.  The Vikings have a much better defense so maybe walk away for this week.

Draft King Bargains – decent matchups you can pick up on the cheap

  1. Matt Ryan vs. Carolina ($5,700) – Yes the Falcons are struggling in the red zone, but I like the Falcons on a long week of rest at home, especially at this price point.
  2. Tyrod Taylor vs. New Orleans ($5,900) – If Taylor can replicate a bit of what Ryan Fitzpatrick did last week he could have a monster game for pennies on the dollar.

Tight Ends

Top Picks – guys you HAVE to start if you have them

  1. Zach Ertz vs. Tampa Bay – The Bucs still allowed a lot of yards, especially to Tight Ends.  Ertz is the guy for Philly and figures to have a good week.
  2. Jordan Reed vs. Indianapolis – Smith and Reed have chemistry already and the Colts are ill-equipped to cover Reed in any part of the field, let alone the red-zone.
  3. Travis Kelce vs. Pittsburgh – Kelce figures to be an exclusive red-zone threat.  While huge plays have been a staple the team will have to work harder against the Steelers on the road.  Third down is another key place of value for Kelce.

Players to watch – players worth picking up if you didn’t already

  1. George Kittle vs. Detroit – He’s shown signs of being the guy, especially around the end-zone and on third down.  We’ll see if Jimmy G can round into form.
  2. Ian Thomas vs. Atlanta – With Olsen out he’s the man in Carolina.  It will be interesting to see if he can at least take some of the work that was expected for Olsen.
  3. Eric Ebron vs. Washington – This is more about watching what Luck can continue to get back into the swing of things.  Checking the ball down to a TE is an easier thing to do in the face of a tough pass rush.

Players to avoid – I’d rather not start these guys if I can avoid it

  1. Greg Olsen vs. Atlanta – He’s out with an injury for the next few weeks.  He should be a great player when he’s back, but it’s a long time to carry a TE with no value.
  2. Delanie Walker vs. Houston – He’s banged up and so is his QB.  I wouldn’t want any part of this, and if you have him I’d be looking to dump him if you can.
  3. Hayden Hurst vs. Cincinnati – He didn’t look all that great in his first game and is buried on the depth chart.  I would trade him if you have him, or if you can’t just drop him outright.

Draft King Bargains – decent matchups you can pick up on the cheap

  1. George Kittle vs. Detroit ($3,800) – He’s too cheap as the main TE target for him to not be on your radar as a cheap pickup.
  2. Jack Doyle vs. Washington ($4,000) – He’s the other TE in Indy, and he figures to factor in.  He’s just so cheap he’s hard to pass, especially with Indy liking to run a two TE set.

Defenses

Top Picks – teams you HAVE to start if you have them

  1. Los Angeles Chargers vs. Buffalo – Any defense playing the Bills over the next few weeks is a must start.
  2. Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona – I haven’t seen anything from the Cardinals that makes me think they have any dimension outside of David Johnson.
  3. Houston vs. Tennessee – The Titans figure to start a backup QB and have little help on any level.  The Texans should do well here.

Teams to watch – teams worth picking up if you didn’t already

  1. Chicago vs. Seattle – The addition of Mack has changed the complexion of the defense is Chicago.  Seattle had issues with Denver and this isn’t getting a ton easier.
  2. Cincinnati vs. Baltimore – The Bengals still have a tough defense, even if the Ravens are coming off a demolition of the Bills.  The Bengals will have to show how good they are, and if they can against the Ravens they might be worth a pick.
  3. New Orleans vs. Cleveland – The Saints were supposed to be good and were HORRIBLE this past week.  Cleveland isn’t an offensive juggernaut, but they have to show better or they are worth being dropped.

Teams to avoid – I’d rather not start these teams if I can avoid it

  1. Buffalo vs. Los Angeles Chargers – The offense is so bad that even if the defense was ok (which they aren’t), the other team gets the ball back so much that they are too tired to play well.
  2. Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City – KC put up killer numbers against a good defense in the Chargers the other week.  I’m not saying drop them, just don’t play them this week.

Draft King Bargains – decent matchups you can pick up on the cheap

  1. Houston vs. Tennessee ($2,600) – This might be a glitch, so jump on it now.  This team is too cheap to not take this week.
  2. Minnesota vs. Green Bay ($2,600) – This is more about banking on Rodgers either not playing or playing poorly.  The Vikings are really cheap, so it’s worth a look
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