The season’s opening week often brings more questions than answers for fantasy football owners, which is why The Decider is here once again with expert advice for your toughest Week 2 start ’em/sit ’em calls. Time to break down the matchups and find some potential must-starts, sleepers, and busts for your season-long teams and NFL DFS picks.
Which results from Week 1 really matter and which trends are getting overlooked? We dive deep into the NFL landscape so you can score as many points as possible this week.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (at OAK), Deshaun Watson, Texans (at JAX), Aaron Rodgers, Packers (vs. MIN), Carson Wentz, Eagles (at ATL), Russell Wilson, Seahawks (at PIT), Drew Brees, Saints (at LAR), Tom Brady, Patriots (at MIA)
Lamar Jackson, Ravens (vs. ARI). He can get the job done passing again this week, but expect a lot more running at home as Baltimore tries to shorten the game with the Cardinals looking for high-play volume.
Matt Ryan, Falcons (vs. PHI). He’s back home in the dome against his hometown team coming off a decent garbage-time performance. Now, he’s facing a secondary that just got torched for big plays by Case Keenum.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (at WAS). Prescott looked awesome in the new offense last week and gets to work on the Redskins, against whom he’s had multiple-score success.
Jared Goff, Rams (vs. NO). Goff will go to work on the Saints’ still very leaky pass defense, finding two great matchups to exploit with his wide receivers often in what will be a high-scoring game.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs. SEA). He’s back home against a weakened pass defense that just allowed the Bengals to throw for four hundy with good target matchups across the board.
Philip Rivers, Chargers (at DET). Rivers is slinging it short and deep well without Melvin Gordon, and he’ll make it work with his solid floor, which is pushing toward 300 yards and two TDs every week.
Josh Allen, Bills (at NYG, $5,330 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel). Allen profiles similarly to Prescott and will have plenty of good spots to throw and run for good production against an awful all-around Giants defense.
Derek Carr, Raiders (vs. KC, $5,100 on DraftKings, $6,600 on FanDuel). Carr looked smooth and efficient spreading the ball around against the Broncos and now will light up the Chiefs to try to keep up with Mahomes. He’s more of a tournament play.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (at CIN), Case Keenum, Redskins (vs. DAL).
Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers (at CAR). You want to trust Winston given all his weapons, but you simply can’t because you could get absolute disaster on a short week on the road.
Cam Newton, Panthers (vs. TB). Newton will be more productive than the opener, but he’s not running, and Christian McCaffrey is getting most of the yardage and scoring work. Again, take a more wait-and-see approach with another high-risk, high-reward QB.
Baker Mayfield, Browns (at NYJ). Mayfield will need to lean more on his defense, running game and shorter passing game to get him out of a slump against what will be an amped-up Jets defense, led by former Browns coordinator Gregg Williams.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals (at BAL). Murray showed us a lot in waking up to produce well in his NFL debut, but you can do better than rolling with a rookie on the road against a sound defense.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at GB). This is a big game, and he tends to rack up mistakes in big games with a drop in big plays. Plus, the volume has changed with the team going as run-heavy as possible.
Mitchell Trubisky, Bears (at DEN). You want to think he can do some of what Carr did and then some with his legs, but you can’t be confident in him even in two-QB leagues at this point.
Andy Dalton, Bengals (vs. SF), Matthew Stafford, Lions (vs. LAC)
Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Running backs
Saquon Barkley, Giants (vs. BUF), Alvin Kamara, Saints (at LAR), Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (vs. TB), Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (at WAS), David Johnson, Cardinals (at BAL), Le’Veon Bell, Jets (vs. CLE), Todd Gurley, Rams (vs. NO), James Conner, Steelers (vs. SEA), Nick Chubb, Browns (vs. NYJ), Joe Mixon, Bengals (if he plays, or Giovani Bernard, vs. SF), Dalvin Cook, Vikings (at GB), Kerryon Johnson, Lions (vs. LAC), Leonard Fournette, Jaguars (vs. KC), Derrick Henry, Titans (vs. IND), Chris Carson, Seahawks (vs. CIN), Josh Jacobs, Raiders (vs. KC), Marlon Mack, Colts (at TEN), Mark Ingram, Ravens (vs. ARI)
Austin Ekeler, Chargers (at DET). Ekeler has emerged as stellar and efficient as Melvin Gordon’s top supersub. The Lions are good against the traditional run but will struggle with his speed and elusiveness as a receiver out of the backfield.
Sony Michel, Patriots (at MIA). This is a get-well game for Michel, as after the Patriots have their fun making a lot of big plays in the passing game, he’ll be a big part of grinding out the clock in the second half.
Matt Breida, 49ers (at CIN). He is now truly the starter with Telvin Coleman shelved with an ankle injury. That’s good against a Bengals defense that gave up a lot of fantasy points to Chris Carson. Deeper leaguers can also consider Raheem Mostert.
David Montgomery, Bears (at DEN). There will be a tendency to fade the talented rookie hard, but the long layoff for the Bears’ offense should make them see he needs regular work, and that bodes well against a Broncos’ D that can be worn down.
LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams, Chiefs (at OAK). They both now have solid value in the league’s most electric offense. McCoy is more the yardage and reception guy, while Williams is the TD guy.
Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson Jr., Texans (at JAX). Hyde looks good as the lead power back in Houston, while Johnson is needed more in the passing game to act like the third wideout with Keke Coutee ailing.
Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard, Eagles (at ATL). The Falcons were terrible against the run in Minnesota, and this duo will do a lot more damage. Sanders can get a few chunk runs to yield good yardage, while Howard is a good bet to score a TD.
Devin Singletary, Bills (at NYG, $4,200 on DraftKings, $5,700 on FanDuel). Singletary showed his pop against the Jets, and on the same field he can have his true coming-out against the Giants, who aren’t as good against the run as the numbers might have indicated last week.
Chris Thompson, Redskins (vs. DAL, $3,900 on DraftKings, $5,300 on FanDuel). You’re digging deep for value as he gets some checkdowns and carries in trail mode against the Cowboys with no Derrius Guice.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Running backs
Devonta Freeman, Falcons (vs. PHI). Freeman is at home but faces a good run defense and will continue to lose key work to Ito Smith.
Aaron Jones, Packers (vs. MIN). Bench your backs against the Vikings. Just ask Freeman.
James White, Patriots (at MIA). The matchup isn’t the concern, but rather the usage. Who says New England needs White to catch short passes after ripping the Dolphins with its star wideouts and then turning the game over to Michel?
Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, Broncos (vs. CHI). You simply do not start backs against the Bears, especially those in a timeshare who disappointed in Week 1.
Justin Jackson, Chargers (at DET). Snacks Harrison will eat him up and make the Chargers use Ekeler on the edge more as an extension of the running game.
Adrian Peterson, Redskins (vs. DAL). Peterson could grind his way to a 100-yard day like we saw filling in for Guice last season, but it’s just as likely he evaporates in a negative game script that favors Thompson.
Kenyan Drake, Dolphins (vs. NE). He’s better than Kalen Ballage, but that doesn’t make you want to play him.
Ronald Jones, Buccaneers (at CAR). The Bucs still were a three-man committee against the 49ers, and the Panthers will be jacked to stuff the run on Thursday night after the Rams’ success.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (at JAX), Davante Adams, Packers (vs. MIN), Julio Jones, Falcons (vs. PHI), Michael Thomas, Saints (at LAR), Odell Beckham Jr., Browns (at NYJ), Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Buccaneers (at CAR), JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (vs. SEA), Amari Cooper, Cowboys (at WAS), Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, Vikings (at GB), Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman, Patriots (at MIA), Keenan Allen, Chargers (at DET), Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (at PIT), Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, Rams (at CAR), Tyler Boyd, Bengals (vs. SF), Sammy Watkins, Chiefs (at OAK), T.Y. Hilton, Colts (at TEN)., Kenny Golladay, Lions (vs. LAC), Allen Robinson, Bears (at DEN), Alshon Jeffery, Eagles (at ATL)
D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel, Panthers (at TB). Newton may not have a massive game, but these two can facilitate that with busy work given Greg Olsen is banged up again.
Calvin Ridley, Falcons (vs. PHI). He does more than score touchdowns, but he’s also very good at doing that. The Eagles are likely to give up one to him.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys (at WAS). Gallup can attack the same defense that was torched by the Eagles on deep balls. He’s looking great as Prescott’s deep threat.
Jarvis Landry, Browns (vs. NYJ). Expect more checkdowns from Mayfield this week to get in rhythm against a swarming Jets’ defense, and Landry will treat the Jets like he was still with the Dolphins with fine slot work.
DeSean Jackson, Eagles (at ATL). Jackson last week is why we like Gallup this week. Jackson won’t explode in the same way this, but there’s good chance for at least one more long scoring play.
John Brown, Bills (at NYG). See what Amari Cooper and Gallup did to this secondary deep and fire up Allen’s new home-run hitter.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (at BAL). The Ravens don’t have Jimmy Smith or Tavon Young, which is good news for Fitzgerald to get open in the middle of the field often for Murray as a tight end-like security blanket.
Marquise Brown, Ravens (vs. ARI). He didn’t need many snaps to have a monstrous game last week. He has a fair shot of another successful deep scoring shot against a Patrick Peterson-less secondary.
Tyrell Williams, Raiders (vs. KC, $4,400 on DraftKings, $5,900 on FanDuel). He balled out right away as the new No. 1 in Oakland and now gets to go after another familiar division secondary at home, one that couldn’t stop any Jaguars wideouts last week.
D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks (at PIT, $4,300 on DraftKings, $6,100 on FanDuel). He’s bit of a tournament curveball to think he can do some of what Gordon and Phillip Dorsett did to the Steelers’ secondary, especially with Lockett drawing the key attention and Joe Haden banged up.
James Washington, Steelers (vs. SEA, $3,900 on DraffKings, $5,500 on FanDuel). The Seahawks are more susceptible to deep balls, and Washington should have been used more for those chances against the Patriots. That’s what makes him a sneaky tournament play.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers
Mike Williams, Chargers (at DET). He’s hurting and he’ll probably get most of Darius Slay since Keenan Allen can be moved around more easily to avoid that matchup for Rivers.
Will Fuller, Texans (at JAX). Fuller hasn’t done much against this Jaguars secondary, so it could be more of DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills getting the goods.
Marvin Jones, Lions (vs. LAC). The Chargers also bring good corners into the game to turn Jones and Danny Amendola into limited factors behind Golladay.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers (vs. MIN). Davante Adams can fight to produce in this tough matchup. MVP, with his inexperience, can’t.
Christian Kirk, Cardinals (at BAL). Kirk will likely draw plenty of Marlon Humphrey and still looks a little rusty in the offense.
Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder, Jets (vs. CLE). Denzel Ward looms, and the Browns also made the slot (Adam Humphries) a non-factor last week.
Sterling Shepard, Giants (vs. BUF). He may not play with his concussion, but if he does, he will see plenty of Tre’Davious White.
Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders (vs. CHI). Joe Flacco will have a rougher day against the Bears, making you want to fade Denver’s duo.
John Ross, Bengals (vs. SF). OK, so he’s not a total bust anymore after Week 1 and is finally showing his first-round upside. But don’t chase points because Richard Sherman and the 49ers’ pass defense look legitimately much improved.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Tight ends
Travis Kelce, Chiefs (at OAK), George Kittle, 49ers (at CIN), Zach Ertz, Eagles (at ATL), O.J. Howard, Buccaneers (at CAR), Evan Engram, Giants (vs. BUF), Delanie Walker, Titans (vs. IND)
Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. ARI). Fire him up after a big game against the team that gave up one to a young tight end last week.
Vance McDonald, Steelers (vs. SEA). He tends to be more effective at home and should find the end zone this week.
Jack Doyle, Colts (at TEN). He fares pretty well against the Titans, who gave up a short TD to a tight end last week.
Darren Waller, Raiders (vs. KC). Waller is looking strong as Carr’s No. 2 option behind Williams.
T.J. Hockenson, Lions (vs. LAC). The Chargers are nothing special in tight end coverage, and the rookie will get another chance to ball out.
Vernon Davis, Redskins (vs. DAL, $3,200 on DraftKings, $5,100 on FanDuel). An emotional Davis leaped defenders to score on a big play for Washington to open the season, and he’ll be needed more with Jordan Reed battling his latest concussion. The Cowboys’ big coverage weakness is against tight ends, as evidenced by the Evan Engram shred last week.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends
David Njoku, Browns (at NYJ). The Jets’ linebackers and safeties will make it tricky for him to do anything, especially if Landry is more involved.
Jared Cook, Saints (at LAR). The former Ram is fading a little as New Orleans’ wide receivers have rounded out behind Thomas, and they’ll be deployed more in a back-and-forth high-scoring affair.
Eric Ebron, Colts (at TEN). He almost caught a touchdown last week. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much his only value and avenue to production.
Austin Hooper, Falcons (at PHI). Hooper will cool down against the Eagles because Ryan will go to work better with his wideouts.
Jimmy Graham, Packers (vs. MIN). You’re counting on another score for value, and that’s always iffy, especially in a brutal matchup.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Defenses
Bears (at DEN)
Patriots (at MIA), Texans (vs. JAX), Ravens (vs. ARI), Panthers (vs. TB), Titans (vs. IND), Bills (at NYG), Browns (at NYJ), Broncos (vs. CHI)
49ers (at CIN. $2,800 on DraftKings, $3,700 on FanDuel), Packers (vs. MIN, $3,100 on DraftKings, $3,900 on FanDuel)
Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Defenses
Rams (vs. NO), Chiefs (at OAK), Jaguars (at HOU), Chargers (at DET), Vikings (at GB), Eagles (at ATL), Jets (vs. CLE)