Observer Fantasy Football Corner — Week 2
The first week of the NFL has concluded and with that, the first week of Fantasy Football. We saw great performances in players such as Ezekiel Elliott and Cam Newton, and not-so-great performances in players like Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas. Granted, this is the first week of football and there are still fifteen games to go, so Owners, do not start trying to trade off your team because someone like Malcom Brown had a career game. We are in for a great set of matchups for Week 2 and we here at The Observer could not be more excited to tell you who to play and who not to play this week, as well as include a few sleepers that may still be available in your fantasy league!
Must Play: Ezekiel Elliott
The Cowboys Star running back was the only player on the team to find the endzone with both a rushing and receiving touchdown. Elliott looked sharp and poised right out of the gate and as both a fan and owner, I could not be more excited. Elliott posted 27.7 fantasy points against a decent Rams’ defense which brings me to his next matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Atlanta Falcons going into Week 2 have the 29th ranked run defense despite Chris Carson, Seattle’s running back, being held to 21 yards rushing. Carson looked like a star on the receiving side of the ball with 2 receiving touchdowns and 45 yards. The last time Elliott faced up against the Falcons in 2018, Elliott rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown and had 79 receiving yards. Elliott is a better receiver and rusher then Carson so that can only lead to great things this Sunday against the Falcons.
Must Sit: Zach Ertz
Ertz was shut down by The Washington Football Team on Sunday posting three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown. This equated to 10.8 points in Fantasy and many owners were left disappointed after he was projected to reach at least 15 plus points. The Eagles TE2, Dallas Goedert, was Wentz’s top choice with 8 receptions 101 yards, a touchdown, and 24.1 points. The Washington Football Team was all over Wentz on Sunday which is part of the reason for Ertz’s poor performance. However, it does not get any easier this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams defense led by Aaron Donald found ease with getting pressure on Dak Prescott and blowing up plays due to the offensive line having three new pieces. The Eagles are also in the same position after losing Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard. The lack of these three starters led to Carson Wentz being sacked eight times, and I have a gut feeling we may see the same results against the Rams. Ertz is a player I would avoid until further notice, and someone I would target is Dallas Goedert. Goedert is owned in 27.1% of Fantasy leagues currently and if Ertz is on other duties such as blocking, Goedert becomes the clear number one target for Wentz.
Players to pick up: Benny Snell Jr., RB, Steelers(Owned in 14.6% of leagues); Adrian Peterson, RB, Lions(Owned in 21.3% of leagues); Dallas Goedert, TE, Eagles(Owned in 27.1% of leagues)
Must Play: RB Ronald Jones II, RB, Buccaneers
In a Bucs offense headlined by Brady, Gronk and Mike Evans, it’s easy to lose Jones II in the shuffle. There was some concern that new acquisition Leonard Fournette could take up a significant chunk of Jones’ work, but he factored into Tampa’s offense nicely last Sunday. Jones put up a solid 66 yards on the ground while also factoring into the passing game with two receptions for 16 yards. Yahoo gives his matchup against Carolina a perfect 5-star rating after they allowed three touchdowns to Oakland’s Josh Jacobs last week. Hopefully Jones puts up a 5-star performance if he’s starting for you on Sunday.
Must Sit: Mark Ingram, RB, Ravens
It’s not just because he had a disappointing Week 1 performance in Baltimore’s 38-point outburst against Cleveland — Ingram’s usage should be plenty cause for concern. Yes, he led the Ravens’ backs with 10 carries, but rookie back JK Dobbins took over around the goal-line, which is the money zone for running backs. Baltimore’s offensive coordinator Greg Roman previously said that he would be rotating backs on a weekly basis, and he seems to be following through on his plan. It’s probably best to bench Ingram until there’s more clarity and optimism on his role in the offense.
Players to pick up: Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs (Owned in 50% of leagues)
Must Play: Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons
Ridley had a monster game in Week 1, catching nine passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He matched fellow wideout Julio Jones with nine catches, but was the recipient of both of Matt Ryan’s two touchdown passes. Jones has historically lacked in touchdown production, and while he draws the double teams throughout the majority of the season, Ridley will enjoy continued fantasy success. This week the Falcons face another high powered offense in the Dallas Cowboys and there is shootout potential this coming Sunday. The presence of Jones will continue to give Ridley favorable matchups, so make sure that Ridley is in your starting lineup this week and in the weeks to come because he has cemented himself as a top-tier fantasy receiver.
Must Sit: Nick Chubb, RB, Browns
Chubb posted an abysmal 5.6 fantasy points in PPR leagues for Week 1 in the Browns blowout loss to the Ravens. And while one might argue that Cleveland was playing from behind almost the entire game, there is not much optimism to be seen here. Chubb only got 10 carries and was even less involved in the receiving game, catching only one pass for six yards. His fumble in the late third quarter added insult to injury, and did little to distance him from Kareem Hunt as the undisputed starter in the Browns backfield. Speaking of Hunt, he had three more carries than Chubb and rushed for 72 yards on the day. Hunt also outpaced Chubb in the receiving game, catching four passes for nine yards. Heading into Week 1 Chubb was the undisputed starter, but it did not take long for Hunt to make this a close competition, so wait to start Chubb until he is the clear workhorse for Cleveland’s lackluster offense.
Must Play: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ravens.
Listed as the 4th running back on the Ravens’ depth chart ahead of Week 1 and only projected to earn 3.82 points, rookie J.K. Dobbins out of Ohio St. had an unexpectedly large impact in the Ravens hefty win over the Browns. Rushing for 22 yards including two TDs for a total of 14.2 fantasy points, Dobbins was the only Ravens RB to find the end zone and was more successful in the red zone than veteran RB1 Mark Ingram, who only earned a measly 2.9 fantasy points. Dobbins has immense potential to put up high fantasy scores in the coming weeks if he continues to shine in the red zone for the dominant Ravens offense, so look to the Ravens and Dobbins to put on a show against the Texans defense this week.
Must Sit: DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins.
In the Week 1 matchup against New England, Dolphins WR DeVante Parker aggravated a hamstring early in the second half and has since sat out of Monday and Tuesday practices. Prior to his exit, Parker had a team-high 4 catches for 47 yards and only 8.7 fantasy points — relatively small numbers which won’t be helped by this recent injury.
Currently listed as questionable for Week 2, it’s a safe bet to leave him out of fantasy rosters this week. Even if Parker can return this week for Miami, I wouldn’t expect him to gain too many fantasy points against the top-ranked Bills defense. With QB Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for 3 interceptions against the Patriots, a team the Dolphins have had relative success against in recent years, the Dolphins offense just hasn’t clicked. Now, with Parker injured, the Dolphins will likely look to other WR targets such as Preston Williams or Isaiah Ford for at least this week, but don’t expect any big points from them this week.
Player to pick up: Scott Miller, WR, Buccaneers (owned in 5% of leagues)
Must Play: Marquis Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Brown had a decent Week 1, picking up 101 yards on five receptions with no touchdowns. However, I think you can expect him to do even better come Week 2. The Texans are a fantasy owner’s dream to see on a player’s schedule, as they have the perfect combination of ridiculously terrible defense and offense respectable enough to keep them in any game. You could see it last week, where rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire torched the Texans to the tune of the tenth most RB fantasy points that week, and this week I think Brown will be the primary beneficiary. I predicted before the year started that Brown would breakout into the fantasy elite this year, and if there’s ever going to be a team to prove it against, it’s this one.
Must Sit: Melvin Gordon III, RB, Denver Broncos
Gordon III had a solid start against the Titans, rushing for 78 yards and picking up a touchdown along the way. That’s about the sort of performance you’d expect from a high end RB2, finishing 14th in points for week 1 RBs. However, that was against a mediocre Titans defense, and the Steelers are by no means mediocre on that side of the football.
The Steelers held Saquon Barkley to six yards rushing in Week 1, and if you’re doing that to the consensus number 1 running back in fantasy football, I’m not going to expect much from Gordon III. Pittsburgh will more than likely be happy to stack the box and let Drew Lock beat them through the air, and Gordon III has never been an elite pass catcher from the backfield. Start him if you’re really desperate, but I wouldn’t expect much from the former Charger this weekend.
Player to Pick Up: Steven Sims, WR, Washington Football Team (owned in 2.5% of leagues)
Must Play: Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
Gallup had a decent Week 1 performance, even without a big catch at the end of the game negated by an offensive pass-interference call. He will benefit this week from a much better matchup against a weak Falcons secondary, rather than many of his routes being guarded by All-Pro Jalen Ramsey. While Cooper and Lamb are a threat to take targets away, there should be plenty of points to go around versus the Falcons. The Falcons gave up over 90 yards to two different wide receivers last week so the production is there if Gallup can get the targets.
Must Sit: Leonard Fournette, RB, Buccaneers
The Buccaneers roster simply has too many options for a 2nd string running back to get a meaningful amount of snaps or touches. Fournette at this point in the season has not carved out a meaningful role in his new team’s offense, and cannot be trusted in your week 2 starting lineups. He only got 5 carries last week and could only turn that into 5 yards while Ronald Jones had 17 carries for 66 yards. Eventually Fournette may contribute, but that likely is not in Week 2.
Players to pick up: James Robinson, RB, Jaguars (owned in 28.1% of leagues), Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts (owned in 2.5% of leagues), Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers (owned in 0.7% of leagues), Robby Anderson, WR, Panthers (owned in 12.4% of leagues), and Joshua Kelley, RB, Chargers (owned in 1.3% of leagues)
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.