The first week of action from the 2020 season is in the stat books as we now have somewhat of an idea of what players have to offer in terms of fantasy value. As we look to maximize our points from our starts for Week 2, it’s important to think about your matchups and try to get a sense of what type of game scripts you might see. This can help you figure out some of your tough start/sit decisions for the week. To help string together the best possible lineup, here are some suggestions for this week.
Note: You won’t find all the regular stars who are considered auto-starts week in and week out. Instead, we’ll be looking at fringe players or possibly streaming options in shallow leagues.
Tom Brady vs. Carolina Panthers (Week 2 position rank: 10th)
The veteran quarterback did not get off to a great start last week as he only had 239 yards passing and two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six. It should be noted that this was his first game with his new team and that the New Orleans Saints defense is pretty darn good. You know who doesn’t have a good defense though? The Carolina Panthers. Expect a lot of points to be had in this one as Brady looks to silence all his Week 1 haters by taking it out on the Panthers.
As someone who follows the NFC East closely, there were two eye-opening pieces of information I learned last week. First, the Los Angeles Rams defense is better than some give them credit for. And two, Carson Wentz can be really bad at football sometimes. The Philadelphia Eagles looked like they were going to roll the Washington Team after jumping out to a 17-0 lead, but then Wentz kept giving the ball away. Between errant picks and careless fumbles, Washington scored 27 unanswered points to win the game. The Eagles offensive line is battling all kinds of injuries and that’s bad news for a team that has to face Aaron Donald and the Rams defensive line. Not only that, but the Rams offense plays a ball control ground game, which could limit Wentz’ opportunities.
Raheem Mostert vs. New York Jets (Week 2 position rank: 17th )
All eyes were on the San Francisco 49ers rushing attack to see how they deployed their three-headed monster of Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Jerick McKinnon. While Mostert only rushed for 56 yards on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, he still had a huge game thanks to a long run after the catch on a touchdown reception. More importantly, he got the bulk of the work in the backfield with 15 carries. Considering the 49ers shouldn’t have much trouble with the lowly New York Jets, the positive game script could feature a heavy dose of the run game in the second half. That could open the door for a big game for Mostert.
This just in - the Steelers defense is really good! When they’re coming off a game where they allowed just six yards on 15 carries to Saquon Barkley, that should send quite the message that this defense is hard to run against. Next on the docket for the Steelers D is the Denver Broncos’ Melvin Gordon. Getting 15 carries and finding the end zone was a welcomed site for Gordon owners, and this is a positive sign going forward. It might be tempting to roll with Gordon considering his biggest touch vulture Phillp Lindsay may be out with a toe injury, but this is a very unfavorable matchup. The Steelers defense just doesn’t give up fantasy points to running backs.
CeeDee Lamb (Week 2 position rank: 34th )
There are going to be a lot of fantasy points to be had in the game between the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys. All the big name receivers are auto-starts as this one should feature a lot of passing yards. And while players like Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and Calvin Ridley have great opportunities to post big games, you shouldn’t overlook rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb. It’s just his first year in the league, but considering how he was used last week, it was clear that he was going to play an immediate role in the offense. And after the Cowboys lost their pass-catching tight end Blake Jarwin for the year, there should be more targets to go around.
D.K. Metcalf vs. New England Patriots (Week 2 position rank: 20th)
With each new game, it becomes more and more evident that the Seattle Seahawks got themselves a great deal when they drafted D.K. Metcalf 64th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. After a good rookie season last year, he got off to a good start by catching four passes for 95 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons last week. Metcalf is a promising young star, but he draws a tough matchup this week as he’ll face off against the leagues premiere shutdown corner in the New England Patriots Stephon Gilmore.
Jared Cook vs. Las Vegas Raiders (Week 2 position rank: 8th)
Last season Cook was a solid tight end play, but that was largely due to a fortuitous touchdown total that saw him reach the end zone nine times. While Cook didn’t score in the season opener, he was targeted seven times, piling up 80 yards receiving. With Michael Thomas out with a high ankle sprain, it’s going to mean more opportunities for other Saints players to get some action, and Cook should be able to get in on some of that.
Noah Fant vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 2 position rank: 14th )
If you drafted second-year tight end Noah Fant for his upside, you were happy last week as he started the new season off on the right foot. Against the Tennessee Titans, Fant caught five of his six targets for 71 yards, including hauling in the only receiving touchdown for the Denver Broncos. While he’ll be a fun play throughout the season, he’s facing a stingy Steelers defense this week.
The Cardinals are known for their up-and-coming offense after the hire of Kliff Kingsbury, but this team has some playmakers on defense too. Last week they came up big against last year’s top scoring team in the NFC as the San Francisco 49ers offense weren’t able to make enough plays to get the win. The Cardinals defense only gave up 18 first downs (third fewest in the league), and now they’ll face a Washington team that struggles to move the ball. This could be a nice opportunity for the Cards defense.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Los Angeles Rams (Week 2 position rank: 11th)
The Eagles are a good defensive team, but careless turnovers from their offense last week gave Washington a short field. Not only that, but they couldn’t force a single takeaway from Dwayne Haskins and his prosaic offense, resulting in a poor fantasy performance. This week they’ll face a Rams offense that is considerably better. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods are going to be harder to handle than Washington’s arsenal of weapons.