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Fantasy Football: Week 2 position previews, buy-low, and sell-high trade targets

Fantasy Football: Week 2 position previews, buy-low, and sell-high trade targets

Chris Towers walks you through the Week 2 Fantasy stock market

DENVER BRONCOS VS SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, NFL
Getty Images

Just a heads up for those of you who are new to this: Tuesday tends to be the slowest and least consequential news day of the week in the NFL. That’s not to say there was no news Tuesday – Ty Montgomery was put on IR! Rodrigo Blankenship was cut! – as much as it is to say that, there isn’t much reason to spend much time on news in the Wednesday morning newsletter. 

Tomorrow, we’ll have updates on all of the injury news you need to know before you set your lineup with the first day of practice for most teams, but for the most part Wednesdays are going to be pretty light on news. Today, we’re focusing on Heath Cummings’ Week 2 position previews, the consensus ranks from Heath, Jamey Eisenberg, and Dave Richard, plus trade talk. 

If you’re looking to make a deal, make sure you check out the bottom of today’s newsletter, where I identify four players to try to acquire and four to trade away, and definitely make sure you’ve got Dave Richard’s Trade Values Chart handy to help you find deals to make.

  • 🔍Week 2 Position Previews

  • Week 2 Trade Talk: Buy low, sell high

🔍Week 2 Position Previews

Every Tuesday, Heath Cummings previews each position, providing injury insights, key stats to know, the best waiver-wire adds, DFS targets, and more for quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Here’s a brief rundown of each position, along with some key details you need to know about and our expert consensus top-12 rankings before you go read Heath’s full breakdowns:

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Training Camp

Aug 20, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, running back Ronald Jones II (27), running back LeSean McCoy (25) talk during training camp at AdventHealth Training Center. Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

QB Preview

“The Broncos decision-making at the end of their Week 1 loss was an abomination. They deserve every bit of the heat they’re receiving, and then some. But that’s overshadowing a decision that Fantasy managers should find much more palatable.

“They let Russ cook.”

  • Number to know: 65.6% — The Broncos threw on nearly two-thirds of their offensive plays in Week 1. Russell Wilson may lead the league in passing if that continues. 

  • Matchup that matters: Russell Wilson vs. HOU (15th vs. QB in 2021)
  • Waiver add/streamer: “Carson Wentz was outstanding as the top streaming option last week and now faces a Lions team that just gave up 38 points to the Eagles. I’d rather start Wentz than Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields, or Matt Ryan.”
  • Stash: “I don’t want to start Marcus Mariota against an angry Rams defense this week, but I wouldn’t mind rostering him to see if his run production holds up. He could be the top streamer next week against Seattle.”  

Consensus Expert Top 12

  1. Josh Allen
  2. Patrick Mahomes
  3. Jalen Hurts
  4. Justin Herbert
  5. Russell Wilson
  6. Lamar Jackson
  7. Kyler Murray
  8. Matthew Stafford
  9. Derek Carr
  10. Kirk Cousins
  11. Aaron Rodgers
  12. Joe Burrow

RB Preview

“As of Tuesday morning, there is optimism that Najee Harris is going to be OK for Week 2. You won’t find him in the “Who’s Out” section below. You also won’t find him inside my top 25 running backs for Week 2.

“At least part of Harris’ low ranking is my concern that he could leave the game due to injury again. There’s been mystery around Harris’ original injury since he first suffered it in the preseason. But best as we can tell, he suffered a Lisfranc sprain 4-6 weeks ago and then aggravated it in Week 1, leaving the game. This significantly hampers his floor projection. And I’m not sure what to think about his ceiling either”

  • Number to know: 194 Saquon Barkley‘s 194 scrimmage yards vs. the Titans was the fourth-most of his career and the first time he’s eclipsed 130 scrimmage yards since 2019.
  • Matchup that matters: Antonio Gibson @DET (28th vs. RB)
  • Waiver add: “We expect Jeff Wilson to start and receive a majority of the running back touches for San Francisco in Week 2 against Seattle. The 49ers are an 8.5-point favorite, so this figures to be an extremely run-heavy approach. Wilson had four games with at least 12 touches last year and averaged 11.75 PPR Fantasy points in those games. That’s a fair expectation. Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price are both adds as well, we never know for sure what Kyle Shanahan is going to do.”
  • Stash: Khalil Herbert is still just a stash, but he’s moving closer towards flex territory. He was more productive on the ground than David Montgomery and it wasn’t really close. Those who speculated Herbert could take Montgomery’s job don’t sound quite as crazy as they did in the preseason.”

Consensus Expert Top 24

  1. Jonathan Taylor
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Christian McCaffrey
  4. Joe Mixon
  5. Austin Ekeler
  6. Dalvin Cook
  7. Leonard Fournette
  8. D’Andre Swift
  9. Derrick Henry
  10. James Conner
  11. Aaron Jones
  12. Nick Chubb
  13. Javonte Williams
  14. Alvin Kamara
  15. Antonio Gibson
  16. A.J. Dillon
  17. Darrell Henderson Jr.
  18. Najee Harris
  19. Cordarrelle Patterson
  20. Clyde Edwards-Helaire
  21. Kareem Hunt
  22. Josh Jacobs
  23. Michael Carter
  24. Miles Sanders

WR Preview

“One of my favorite things about going through the weekly projections process is that it can really help me see where my initial gut reaction is a little too over-reactive. This week, CeeDee Lamb was a prime example of that.

For the first 24 hours after Dak Prescott‘s injury I viewed Lamb as a boom-or-bust WR3 until Prescott returned. After all, he didn’t look that good even when Prescott was playing and Cooper Rush is a significant downgrade. Then I ran through the projections process and Lamb came out as a high-end No. 2 wide receiver. The truth of where I’ll rank him is somewhere in the middle.”

  • Number to know: 124 Jarvis Landry tied D.J. Chark with 124 air yards. Only three wide receivers had more in Week 1.

  • Matchup that matters: D.J. Moore @NYG (20th vs. WR) 
  • Waiver add: “The fact that Jarvis Landry led the team in targets, catches, and yards is impressive enough; the fact that he dominated air yards is flat-out shocking. His Week 1 profile is that of a must-start wide receiver. I’m not ranking him that high this week, but it is enough to make him my top priority at wide receiver.”  
  • Stash: Jahan Dotson scored two touchdowns in Week 1, but his target volume was actually a little bit disappointing, especially compared to Curtis Samuel. I’d like to make sure Dotson is rostered, but I don’t really want to start him until he earns more targets. Garrett Wilson. Treylon Burks, and Chris Olave all fit in this group as well.”  

Consensus Expert Top 24

  1. Cooper Kupp
  2. Justin Jefferson
  3. Ja’Marr Chase
  4. Davante Adams
  5. A.J. Brown
  6. Stefon Diggs
  7. Tyreek Hill
  8. Deebo Samuel
  9. Michael Pittman
  10. Mike Evans
  11. Amon-Ra St. Brown
  12. Michael Thomas
  13. Brandin Cooks
  14. D.J. Moore
  15. Diontae Johnson
  16. Courtland Sutton
  17. Mike Williams
  18. Christian Kirk
  19. Marquise Brown
  20. Gabe Davis
  21. Terry McLaurin
  22. Jaylen Waddle
  23. Jerry Jeudy
  24. CeeDee Lamb

TE Preview

Taysom Hill is eligible at tight end in CBS leagues. And if you look at the current TE leaderboard, he currently ranks as TE3 in PPR Fantasy points through Week 1. That’s because of a 57-yard touchdown scamper against the Falcons. But much like TE2, O.J. Howard, I’m not yet ready to plug Hill into my starting lineup.

“Hill played just 26% of the offensive snaps in Week 1, rushing four times and catching his only target for a two-yard gain. At Hill’s career efficiency, four carries and one target project to approximately 6.6 PPR Fantasy points. And he only averaged three carries per game last year, when he wasn’t the starting quarterback.”

  • Number to know: 23.4% — Mark Andrews led the Ravens with a 23% target share. Don’t worry about the Week 1 hiccup.
  • Matchup that matters: Tyler Higbee vs. ATL (8th vs. TE)
  • Streamer: “Tyler Higbee’s 26.8% target share was second behind only Pat Freiermuth in Week 1. This week Higbee gets a much better matchup against the Falcons, and his Rams have one of the highest implied point totals of the week. Start him with confidence.”  

Consensus Expert Top 12

  1. Travis Kelce
  2. Mark Andrews
  3. Darren Waller
  4. Dallas Goedert
  5. Kyle Pitts
  6. Dalton Schultz
  7. Pat Freiermuth
  8. T.J. Hockenson
  9. Tyler Higbee
  10. Gerald Everett
  11. Zach Ertz
  12. Albert Okwuegbunam

Week 2 Trade Talk

julio-jones-1400.jpg

Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) flips the ball to running back Aaron Jones (33) against the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Jeffrey Becker / USA TODAY Sports

This is a dangerous time to be trying to make trades, because we have a lot less information than we think we do. It’s easy to say, “It’s just one week, don’t overreact,” but it’s only natural. 

But the thing is … at least some Week 1 “overreactions” won’t be. Cooper Kupp went from playing between 60 and 80% of the snaps nearly every week in 2020 to a 94% snap share and full route participation in Week 1 of 2021; if you bought that role change, you were rewarded with arguably the greatest season by a wide receiver in Fantasy Football history. Identifying early trends that are real can fundamentally alter how your Fantasy season goes.

Which trends are real and which aren’t? I’ve got three targets to buy low and three to sell high, plus one buy high and one sell low after Week 1 so you can take these as my official flag plants. And, if you’re trying to figure out what kind of deals you can make for these players, Dave Richard’s Trade Values Chart is an excellent resource for you. 

Three to buy low

  • Christian McCaffrey – The Panthers ran the second-fewest plays among all teams in Week 1, and Baker Mayfield was sacked on four of his dropbacks and had at least three fumbles on snaps, which is all to say, I don’t think we’ll see McCaffrey have as few opportunities moving forward as he did Sunday. He’s still my No. 1 RB, and I would be happy to buy if anyone is worried. I’d also be happy to buy D.J. Moore for similar reasons if anyone is worried about him. 
  • Aaron Jones – It seems like people are waiting for evidence that AJ Dillon has surpassed Jones in the Packers hierarchy, and Week 1 might’ve been enough for some to believe it. Not me. Jones still played more snaps and ran more routes than Dillon despite Dillon having more carries and targets, and I think those will lead to more opportunities for Jones moving forward. That’s not to say Dillon isn’t good. I just think Jones is still the better back here. Remember, he had just seven touches in a weirdly disjointed Week 1 loss last season, too. 
  • Diontae Johnson – The Steelers made a point of getting Chase Claypool involved in his new role as the team’s primary slot receiver, but it’s notable that it didn’t come at Johnson’s expense as the team’s clear No. 1. Johnson earned a target share north of 30% in Week 1, and I’m betting he’ll have better luck connecting on some of those throws moving forward. I don’t think Mitchell Trubisky is particularly good, but he should be good enough to get the ball to Johnson. Johnson was ninth among all players in air yards in Week 1, and after seeing Ben Roethlisberger check down over and over, that was nice to see. Johnson still has top-12 WR upside.

Buy high

  • Antonio Gibson – Gibson ran a route on 51% of Washington‘s pass plays in Week 1, and that’s where I think he has a path to sustained value even when Brian Robinson is healthy enough to play. There was talk in the preseason about the Commanders wanting to give Gibson more opportunities to make plays in the passing game, and he got two downfield targets in this one, including one where he went up to get a ball and looked like the converted receiver he is. The perception for Gibson might be that he has an expiration date for his Fantasy value, but I think he could still be an RB2 splitting carries with Robinson. I’m buying. 

Three to sell high

  • Javonte Williams – This is one I’m worried might come back to bite me, especially since there’s certainly some potential for confirmation bias as a Williams skeptic. But I don’t see Williams’ passing game usage in Week 1 (12 targets, 11 catches) being sustainable at all. He did run a bunch of routes (60%) which is a good sign, but it seemed like Seattle was happy to give up those short dump offs as Denver was trying to come back in the second half. Melvin Gordon actually played most of the third-down snaps, too, so it’s not clear Williams is the obvious choice for passing situations here. It’s a real timeshare in the backfield, and Williams’ headline numbers make this look more appealing than I think it was. 
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire – It’s a little concerning that Isiah Pacheco looked so good in garbage time, but my concerns about Edwards-Helaire stem from his usage earlier in the game. The two touchdowns came on beautifully schemed plays, but Edwards-Helaire played just 18 of 40 snaps in the first half, well before the game was out of hand. Jerick McKinnon handled most of the pass plays and Pacheco wasn’t a total non-factor even before garbage time, so I think this is a real three-way split. I’m still viewing Edwards-Helaire as more of an RB3 moving forward. 
  • Terry McLaurin – The concern here is that McLaurin actually has legitimate target competition from Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel. He’s been a fringe WR2 for most of his career with little to compete with, and now he has two effectively new teammates who ran a route on 80% or more of the team’s pass plays in Week 1. And Dotson and Samuel might just be really good – Samuel has done it before at the NFL level, while Dotson was overlooked in Fantasy as a first-round pick. McLaurin’s long touchdown in Week 1 might be the cover you need to move him – see if you can swap him for Lamb. 

Sell low

  • Najee Harris – I think there’s a perception that I don’t care about injury risk, but really, it comes down to this: I think past injury history is largely overblown when it comes to future risk. But present injury history still might be underrated. The news that Harris was dealing with a Lisfranc injury during the preseason barely seemed to impact his price, and then he went out in Week 1 and seemingly aggravated that injury. Even the reports that it isn’t serious don’t make me feel much better – even if he returns in Week 2, I think he’s going to be carrying significant re-injury risk. And, of course, the worst-case scenario might be that he is healthy enough to play but just isn’t effective with the foot injury. I didn’t draft Harris in any of my leagues, but if someone was offering me a second-round caliber player right now, I’d take it. 

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