Week 2 Sleepers and Busts: Put Up Your Duke
Last week’s edition of my sleepers and busts column was, largely, a bust. But much like Peyton Barber, I will try to rise above and exceed expectations with my Week 2 sleepers. Is it too late to pretend that I had Barber listed as a sleeper and Christian McCaffrey as a bust before Thursday night?
Here are my Week 2 sleepers and busts. This is not necessarily a start/sit piece. It is more a glimpse into several players I am either higher or lower on than the consensus. My rankings along with the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) are listed beside each player. If you do have questions on who to start or sit this week, feel free to comment below or on Twitter. Of course, you should also check out my full Week 2 Rankings!
Week 2 Sleepers: QBs
Kyler Murray (My rank: QB14; Expert Consensus Rank: QB21)
Mitch Trubisky (My rank: QB17; ECR: QB25)
Week 2 Busts: QBs
Baker Mayfield (My rank: QB15; ECR: QB12)
Russell Wilson (My rank: QB18; ECR: QB15)
Week 2 Sleepers: RBs
Duke Johnson (My rank: RB19 in PPR; ECR: RB25)
Darren Sproles (My rank: RB37 in PPR; ECR: RB51)
Week 2 Busts: RBs
Derrick Henry (My rank: RB21 in PPR; ECR: RB16)
Devonta Freeman (My rank: RB30 in PPR; ECR: RB24)
Kenyan Drake (My rank: RB49 in Standard; ECR: RB35)
I own Kenyan Drake in a couple of spots, and I am already mortified. The Dolphins may be even worse than we all had expected. That is going to severely limit Drake’s ability to put up points in a given week. I do not want to start him in any format under any circumstances. Miami hosts New England this week. The last time they did so, Drake scored the winning touchdown after a series of laterals. That is probably the only way he will be fantasy relevant in this game. New England just held James Conner (a good running back with a good offensive line) to 21 rushing yards. Do we really think Drake will do any better given Miami’s turnstile offensive line? I could not be more out.
Week 2 Sleepers: WR
Alshon Jeffery (My rank: WR20 in Standard; ECR: WR25)
The only wide receivers that I am considerably higher than the consensus on are ones with questionable availability for Week 2 (Antonio Brown, Mike Williams, and Sterling Shepard). I may be lowering those rankings as gameday approaches. So instead I will highlight Alshon Jeffery in the aforementioned Sunday night game against Atlanta. Atlanta’s secondary was not tested much in a game where Kirk Cousins attempted just 10 passes. But they allowed eight receivers to eclipse the 100-yard mark last season, so they can be beat. I also expect them to pay a bit more attention to DeSean Jackson after he exploded in last week’s game. This should free up Jeffery to do plenty of damage in the underneath and intermediate passing game. A second consecutive top-20 fantasy performance is certainly within Jeffery’s long reach.
Week 2 Busts: WRs
Robert Woods (My rank: WR19 in PPR; ECR: WR12)
I have Robert Woods inside my top 20 wideouts, so this is not me clamoring for him to be benched by any means. I just happen to like the other primary receivers on the Rams better this week. Brandin Cooks had at least 100 yards in both games against the New Orleans Saints last year. He presents a matchup nightmare for his former club. Cooper Kupp is the most likely to draw burnable P.J. Williams in coverage. Eli Apple is not exactly 1995 Deion Sanders, and Woods does line up in the slot a fair amount. Again, this is not me suggesting Woods should not be started in redraft leagues. I just think he will finish third amongst the trio of Rams wide receivers in fantasy points this week. Considering he is the most expensive in DFS and ranked highest amongst the consensus, I am mentioning him here.
Courtland Sutton (My rank: WR51 in PPR; ECR: WR43)
Courtland Sutton had a productive 2019 debut Monday night against Oakland. He put up 120 yards on seven receptions. This week he takes on a much stingier secondary when Denver hosts the Chicago Bears. Chicago held the talented trio of Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Geronimo Allison to a combined 88 yards last week. Sutton should square off against Prince Amukamara on most snaps. A matchup with Amukamara is preferred over one with Kyle Fuller. But Amukamara is no picnic in his own right. I have Sutton as a low-end WR4 this week.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (My rank: WR51 in Standard; ECR: WR44)
MVS looked the part of a number two NFL wide receiver last week. He saw six targets and one carry, which happened to be exactly six targets and one carry more than Geronimo Allison. He produced a modest 4-52 line against a tough Bears defense. Things won’t get much easier for Valdes-Scantling when the Packers play the Minnesota Vikings. The good news is that he lined up in the slot quite a bit (45 percent) last week. Stud slot corner Mackensie Alexander suffered a dislocated elbow in Week 1 and is likely out this week. That would leave Valdes-Scantling to contend with Jayron Kearse. Kearse, though not on Alexander’s level, has been solid when called upon. He also has the size to deal with Valdes-Scantling. I am not expecting a ton from Green Bay’s offense in this matchup and do not plan to start MVS where I have him.
Terry McLaurin (My rank: WR54 in PPR; ECR: WR48)
Terry McLaurin had a fantastic NFL debut last week against Philadelphia. The rookie from Ohio State burned the Eagles for 125 yards and a touchdown. His day could have been even better were it not for a Case Keenum overthrow on a would-be touchdown. McLaurin showed enough to make him one of this week’s most popular waiver wire pickups. While I am a fan of his season-long outlook, I would not rush to insert him into Week 2 lineups. Dallas allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points and big plays (20 yards or more) to opposing wideouts last season. Anthony Brown is not the best cover corner, but he does have the speed (4.33) to combat McLaurin. This is a matchup I would prefer to fade if possible. I have McLaurin outside my top 50 receivers in all formats.
Week 2 Sleepers: TE
Jared Cook (My rank: TE5 in PPR; ECR: TE10)
Jared Cook did not do much in Week 1 against Houston, finishing with just two catches for 37 yards. I am expecting a much better output this week when the Saints travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams. The Rams allowed the third-most receiving yards to opposing tight ends last year. Included in that was a monster game by Cook, who torched the Rams for 180 yards in their Week 1 matchup. Cook will now have Eric Weddle to deal with, but I still believe he will get plenty of looks. Perhaps a top-five weekly finish is a bit lofty. On the other hand, I am one of the few who have Cook ranked higher than O.J. Howard this week. I have a feeling that call will pan out pretty well.
T.J. Hockenson (My rank: TE13 in PPR; ECR: TE9)
T.J. Hockenson had a debut like few players have ever had. He had the most yards by a tight end in his debut in NFL history and was all over the field. If you want to ride that wave of momentum, I really cannot fault you. I would just caution against expecting anything resembling a repeat. Hockenson has a high ceiling, but I think his floor is a bit lower than most would suggest. The Los Angeles Chargers were a middling defense against tight ends in 2018, but they acquitted themselves quite nicely last week. They held the duo of Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle to just 31 combined scoreless yards. I have Hockenson as my TE13 this week. I am not going out of my way to avoid him, but I would not go out of my way to start him either.
Got a few Week 2 sleepers of your own? Let us know about it in the comments below. You can’t brag about it later if you don’t let us know now!
Mick Ciallela has been writing for FantraxHQ since July 2017. He has also written for Bleacher Report. He is a lifelong sports fan and has been an avid fantasy sports player for many years. Mick was the Overall Champion of both the 2016 Football Challenge – Roto and 2017 Play 3 Football contests hosted by CDM Sports. Mick was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York and currently resides in New London, Connecticut.
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