Well, it took all of one week to remind us that we all know absolutely nothing.
Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson (wrist injury), fantasy’s top two players, were disappointments. Tarik Cohen and Kenny Golladay were Top 5 plays at their respective positions. Jermaine Kearse was a WR2. Jesse James and Austin Hooper led the way at tight end. And Alex “Game Manager” Smith was the overall QB1.
It’s a reminder of the volatility of this game, and while you may feel like throwing your computer out of the window, we’re here to help you get back on track–or keep up the momentum–in Week 2.
QB: Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at IND): It was a pretty dreadful start for Palmer, as he completed just 27-of-48 passes for 269 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Still, the volume was good to see for fantasy purposes, and there’s a good chance the Cardinals continue to lean on the pass as long as David Johnson is out his wrist injury. Moreover, Palmer gets a dream matchup against a Colts defense that was just torched by Jared Goff for 306 yards on 29 pass attempts. Palmer should be treated as a QB1 this week.
RB: Buck Allen, Baltimore Ravens (vs. CLE): With Danny Woodhead likely to miss “a significant amount of time,” Allen steps into the RB timeshare with Terrance West. He saw 21 carries for 71 yards and actually out-snapped West (33 to 27) in Week 1, and while the blowout likely had something to do with that, he clearly has a role. Most importantly, Allen, who caught 45 passes two seasons ago, should step in as the passing-down RB, which makes him very valuable in an offense that has thrown to its RB’s more than any other team the last two years. The Browns run defense looks legit after stifling Le’Veon Bell in Week 1, but Allen is viable flex option in PPR leagues.
RB: Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears (at TB): Hi, yes, I’d like to purchase a ticket for the Tarik Cohen Bandwagon, please. The electric fourth-round pick out of North Carolina A&T was a monster in his debut, racking up 66 rushing yards, eight receptions, 47 receiving yards and a touchdown on his way to 25.3 PPR fantasy points. He played just 28 snaps (42 percent), and he’s not going to get 12 targets every week, but it’s very clear the Bears are going to find ways to get him touches, and now with Kevin White sidelined, his role in the passing game is even more secure. Big-play ability plus 10-to-12 touches makes him a low-end RB2 with clear upside in PPR formats.
WR: John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (at IND): Brown saw nine targets in Week 1 (second on the team to Larry Fitzgerald), but it translated into just four catches, 32 yards and 8.2 PPR points. The numbers will come if he continues to see that kind of volume, and as we mentioned with Palmer, a matchup against the Colts is ideal for getting on track.
WR: Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (at JAC): After a hamstring injury kept Davis out of the preseason, it was easy to forget that he was a Top-5 pick this year. He reminded everyone why that was the case in his debut on Sunday, corralling six of his 10 targets for 69 yards and displaying immense talent in the process. Jacksonville’s defense is legit, so this will be a stiff test, but the amalgam of talent and volume puts Davis in the WR3 conversation in Week 2.
TE: Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (at CAR): With Sammy Watkins gone and Anquan Boldin signed then retired, there was a lot of talk this summer about Zay Jones and Jordan Matthews as fantasy options. But instead it was Clay, who easily led the team in targets (nine), while pulling in four catches for 53 yards and a score. With so much volatility at the position, the possibility of being Tyrod Taylor’s No. 1 target makes Clay at least a low-end TE1 in all formats.
QB: Deshone Kizer, Cleveland Browns (at BAL): I understand there may be a temptation to get Kizer into your lineup after his terrific debut, especially in 2-QB leagues. But there are still some red flags–his fantasy stat-line was helped out by a short rushing touchdown, and he was sacked seven times–and now he has to go on the road to face a Ravens defense that just humiliated Andy Dalton into one of the worst fantasy performances of all-time. Kizer is certainly on the fantasy radar, but I’m staying away in Week 2.
RB: Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals (at IND): With Johnson likely out, a lot of people are going to want to start Williams, who is currently one of the most popular waiver-wire adds in Yahoo leagues. But while Williams is listed as No. 2 on the depth chart and got a touchdown after Johnson’s departure in Week 1, this looks like a timeshare with Andre Ellington, who was also involved. Either way, it’s going to be difficult to predict a workload, so I would stay away from the situation before we get more clarity.
RB: Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (at SEA): Ty Montgomery grinded out an RB1 performance in Week 1 against the Seahawks, but I wouldn’t get used to that. Sheldon Richardson looked absolutely dominant in the middle of an already-stout Seattle defensive line, giving the Seahawks arguably the best front seven in football. Things will get even tougher for opponents when having to deal with the crowd noise in Seattle, and when you throw in a negative game script (49ers are 13-point underdogs), it’s difficult to justify using Hyde in any format.
WR: Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (at NYG): Golladay clearly needs to be owned in all leagues after scoring twice in his debut, but expectations need to be tempered in Week 2. The Giants, owners of one of the best secondaries in the league, allowed the third-fewest touchdowns to wide receivers in 2016, and they were at it again on Sunday night, limiting Dez Bryant to two catches for 43 yards despite nine targets and a handful of end-zone looks. Golladay Inn has a bright future, but keep him on your bench for now.
TE: Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons (vs. GB): Thou Shalt Not Chase Touchdowns in Fantasy Football. Especially when that touchdown was an 88-yarder. And especially when the player with that touchdown had just two targets all game. And especially when he’s going up against a Packers defense that just held Jimmy Graham to three catches for eight yards.