Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 2

September 16, 2020

Real football and fantasy football are off and running, and as I suspected, the games (and the ‘Studs, Duds & Sleepers`) were very unpredictable. Either way, having the opportunity to kick back and relax on the couch and watch real football was fantastic!

As I said last week, with limited training camps and no preseason games, combined with so many big offseason moves, Week 1 was going to be even more of a crap shoot than in years past…and all OBJ jokes aside, it was! My advice last week was to expect tackling to be bad (it was), but overall, expect defenses to be ahead of offenses (they weren’t). I also predicted the passing games to be more out of sync than the running games (they weren’t), and as a result, I expected teams to rely more on the running games (not really the case). My advice for Week 1 was two-fold: 1) lean on players (and teams) with continuity from 2019 (worked for the most part), and 2) lean on running backs…particularly those with continuity in their offensive lines and offensive systems (also seemed to work). Well, in a year of constant change, I am going to switch things up in Week 2. From here on out, I am going to provide my readers with a few Studs, Duds and Sleepers each at the Quarterback, Running Back and Wide Receiver/Tight End positions. Here are this week’s picks to keep your fantasy team’s playoff aspirations on track!

Studs:

Quarterbacks:

Tom Brady, TB:

Ok, like many, I expected Brady to hit the ground running with all his weapons in Tampa Bay and put up huge numbers right out of the gate. Well, that didn’t exactly happen, and if you are a Brady owner, you were probably a little disappointed in Week 1. But, the Saints are one of the best teams in the league and have been together for some time. I don’t expect Brady to lose two division games out of the chute, and therefore, I look for a big bounce back for Brady and company in Week 2 against the Panthers.

Kyler Murray, AZ:

Because I wasn’t confident Murray and DeAndre Hopkins would be able to quickly gel with no preseason, I actually didn’t expect Murray to have a big Week 1….welp, I was wrong on all fronts here. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Look for Murray to have another big day – maybe bigger – against a week football team from the Washington region.

 

Others receiving votes:

Aaron Rodgers, GB:

I have a feeling Rodgers may be playing angry…which is a good thing for Packer fans and those that drafted Rodgers. Discount Double Check is back!

Matt Ryan, Atl:

Few have a cupboard of weapons like Matt Ryan and he made great use of this weapons in Week 1 to the tune of 450 yards and two touchdowns. I could see a Week 2 matchup with the Cowboys turning into a shootout, meaning big numbers again for Ryan.

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Running backs:

Christian McCaffrey, Car:

Second week in a row McCaffrey is on the ‘Studs’ list and we may just need to make him a permanent resident here. Believe it or not, with a new coach, new quarterback and new direction in Carolina, the Panthers offense may rely on McCaffrey even more this year that it did in 2019 when he lead the world in yards and touchdowns in 2019.

Ezekiel Elliott, Dal:

Elliott got off to a nice start in 2020, and as I mentioned above, I could see this matchup with Atlanta becoming a shootout, which would mean good things for Elliott. I expect another 100+ yards from scrimmage and at least a touchdown in Week 2 for Zeke.

 

Others receiving votes:

Alvin Kamara, NO:

Kamara only had 16 yards on the ground in Week 1 and a paltry 1.3 yards per carry, but he did see eight targets in the passing game and scored twice. While he may not net multiple touchdowns two weeks in a row, I would expect his production in the run game to increase greatly.

Saquon Barkley, NYG:

Speaking of slow Week 1 performances, few owners were as disappointed as Barkley owners – 15 carries for 6 yards, or 0.4 yards per carry…ouch! However, he saw 21 touches in Week 1, including nine targets in the passing game. Look for 30 touches in Week 2 and much more success.

 

Pass Catchers:

DeAndre Hopkins, AZ:

I had Hopkins in the ‘Duds’ category for Week 1. Whiff!! Apparently he and Murray don’t need much time together to create chemistry. Against a weak Washington team, I expect another big day for the duo of Murray and Hopkins.

DeVante Adams, GB:

High tide rises all boats, and while all Packers skill position players will benefit from an angry Aaron Rodgers in 2020, no one is likely to benefit more than Adams. If Week 1 (17 targets, 14 receptions, 156 yards, 2 touchdowns) was any indication, 2020 could be a huge year for Adams. I don’t see the Lions slowing down Rodgers or Adams.

 

Others receiving votes:

Travis Kelce, KC:

The Chargers have a great pass rush and very good corners, meaning Patrick Mahomes will be looking to get the ball out quicker and looking for his tight end even more than normal. The Chiefs Week 2 game plan will likely rely heavily on Kelce and the backs.

Julio Jones, Atl:

With all the weapons in Atlanta, I thought Jones may not see as many targets as he has in the past. Well, at least in Week 1, I was way off. Jones saw 12 targets, and pulled in nine of them for 157 yards.

 

Duds:  

Phillip Rivers, Ind:

If you started Rivers in Week 1 – in real football or fantasy football – I feel sorry for you. If, for whatever reason, you are considering starting him in Week 2, don’t (unless you are playing me). Rivers is done. If he looked terrible against what should be the worst team in the league (Jaguars), it won’t be pretty against the Vikings.

Sam Darnold, NYJ:

The Bills have a very good defense, but Darnold just isn’t a very good quarterback. Period. To make matters worse, he is on a very bad team which lacks play-makers to help him. With Le’Veon Bell injured and the 49ers coming to town, things aren’t going to be getting any better for Sam.

Others receiving votes:

DeShaun Watson, Hou:

Watson played decent in Week 1, but without a real play-making receiver, his numbers are not going to be there in 2020. The Ravens are not a team you want to start a quarterback against if you don’t have to…especially a quarterback with a weak receiving corps.

Cam Newton, NE:

Newton is another one I got wrong in Week 1. He did nothing through the air – which I expected. What I didn’t expect, given his recent string of injuries, was 15 runs and two rushing touchdowns. If you started him in Week 1, congrats. I wouldn’t temp your luck though in Week 2 on the road in Seattle.

 

Running backs:

Adrian Peterson, Det:

I will be honest, I had no idea the Lions picked up Peterson. Maybe the Bears were unaware of this as well, hence the 93 yards on just 14 carries. Regardless, the Lions have some young talent in their backfield, so I wouldn’t expect many more games where he sees 10+ touches.

Jordan Howard, Mia:

Another of my Week 1 busts goes from the ‘Sleepers’ to the ‘Duds’ list in Week 2. If not for a touchdown, Howard would have left his owners with less than a point! Howard offers nothing in the passing game (0 targets) and only saw eight carries. He can’t do much worse than 0.9 yards per carry, but going up against the Bills defense, I don’t see him doing much better.

 

Others receiving votes:

Melvin Gordon, Den:

Gordon had a solid Week 1 debut with the Broncos (3 receptions, 86 yards from scrimmage, 1 touchdown), but he will be the Steelers main focus this week. The Steelers will game plan to shut down Gordon and force Drew Lock to beat them.

David Johnson, Hou:

Like Gordon, Johnson had a good debut with his new team (14 touches, 109 yards, 1 touchdown), I just don’t like the matchup against the Ravens.

 

Pass Catchers:

Jamison Crowder, NYJ:

Crowder had a huge Week 1 (13 targets, 7 receptions, 115 yards 1 touchdown), but with Bell out of the lineup, the 49ers will shut down Crowder and the Jets offense. If you started him in Week 1, walk away from the table while you are up.

Odell Beckham Jr., Cle:

Few have come to realize this, but OBJ is not a WR1 in real or fantasy football. He hasn’t surpassed 100 yards receiving in 11 games and has just two 100+ yard games since joining the Browns. At this point, he is a questionable fantasy starter and if you have other options, you might want to play them until we see some sort of life from Beckham.

 

Others receiving votes:

Courtland Sutton, Den:

He was here last week – but didn’t end up playing. His status is in doubt again, but even if he does play, don’t fall in to the temptation to start him.

DeVante Parker, Mia:

Like Sutton, Parker’s Week 2 status is in doubt, and like Sutton, even if he is deemed good to go this weekend, keep him on your bench. Parker, on a bummed hamstring, trying to catch balls from Ryan Fitzpatrick against a good Bills defense, is not a good play.

Sleepers:

Josh Allen, Buf:

Allen had a huge Week 1, so this may not seem like much of a ‘Sleeper’, but I am not sure how many are starting Allen. In a matchup against a bad Dolphins team, this would be a good week to make sure Allen is in your starting lineup.

Jimmy Garoppolo, SF:

Garopplolo doesn’t put up big numbers, but he doesn’t hurt you either. In Week 1, he put up a respectable 259 yards and two touchdowns. Week 2, against the Jets, presents a good matchup where he can be worthy of a starting fantasy quarterback position.

Joe Burrow, Cin:

Burrow didn’t put up big numbers in Week 1, but he was solid (193 yards, 46 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown) and looked comfortable, despite going up against one of the best secondaries in the league and facing a ton of pressure from one of the best defensive lines in the league. Cleveland doesn’t have the same talent on defense that the Chargers do, so Burrow should have more opportunities in Week 2.

 

Running backs:

Devin Singletary, Buf:

After a disappointing Week 1 performance in terms of production (53 total yards, 0 touchdowns), and offensive involvement (14 touches), I expect Singletary to have a bigger role in Week 2 and look for a bounce back game against a bad Dolphins team.

David Montgomery, Chi:

Another Week 1 disappointment, Montgomery saw just 14 touches and 74 total yards. He should find more opportunities this week against a Giants defense which surrendered 100+ yards on the ground to Benny Snell Jr.

James White, NE:

We know how impossible it is to rely on any back in a Belichick backfield, so this is more a guess than anything. However, one thing we do know, is no one switches game plans from week-to-week like Belichick, and Week 1 saw a lot of running with Cam and not much else from the Patriots backfield…which means this is a good week to start someone from the Patriots backfield, and my chips are on White.

 

Pass Catchers:

Tyler Boyd, Cin:

Second week in a row I have Boyd in the ‘Sleepers’ column. Boyd and Burrow had great chemistry in camp, but for some reason, Boyd was absent from the Bengals first half game plan. I expect Boyd to have a much bigger role this week against a much weaker Browns defense. 10 targets for Boyd is not out of the picture for Week 2.

Corey Davis, Ten:

This is a guy who was a top five pick just three years ago, and he finally looked like it in Week 1. Can he keep it up in Week 2? I have no idea, but if you don’t have two or three surefire starters at the wide receiver position, you could do much worse than Davis.

O.J. Howard, TB:

Like Boyd, Howard finds himself on the ‘Sleepers’ list for a second week in a row. He is only a ‘Sleeper’ because the Bucs have so many other options, including a big name tight end (Gronk), but Howard has the ability to put up big numbers with Brady. The 6’6″, 250+ pound tight end was a top 20 pick three years ago and could be poised for a breakout year.

 

  • Categories: NFL

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