Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 2

September 15, 2021

Week 1 in the NFL is always so unpredictable and this year was no different, in fact, I may need a mulligan after Week 1 – thanks Aaron Rodgers! After getting a chance to see these teams in action, I feel a little better about my Week 2 advice. Here’s to hoping Week 2’s ‘Studs, Duds & Sleepers’ hit a little better.



Aaron Rodgers, GB:

I couldn’t have been more wrong on my prediction of Rodgers as a ‘Stud’ in Week 1 – he was abysmal. That being said, I am not concerned and after last week’s embarrassing performance, he and the Packers will get right this week on Monday night, at home, against a Lions team which surrendered more than 300 yards to Jimmy Garoppolo.

Kyler Murray, AZ:

One of the few I got right last week, Murray accounted for five total touchdowns and 300+ yards, and I don’t see him being slowed down this week at home against the Vikings. 

Others receiving votes:

Tom Brady, TB:

Sure, he had two picks in Week 1, but he also had four touchdowns and 379 yards and gets a Falcons defense this week which just got abused by Jalen Hurts and an Eagles receiving corps which doesn’t have one receiving threat as proven as any of Brady’s top four receiving threats.  


Running backs:

Nick Chubb, Cle:

In Week 1, Chubb averaged 5.5 yards per carry, put up more than 100 all-purpose yards and punched in two touchdowns to boot. I like his matchup this week against a Texans defense that surrendered 4.9 yards per carry last week to a 30-year old Carlos Hyde running behind a shaky offensive line. I look for the Browns to run, run and run again this week until the Texans show they can stop the run.

Christian McCaffrey, Car:

As long as he is healthy, McCaffrey is always a good bet in the ‘Studs’ section. Though he didn’t find the endzone last week, he did put up 187 all-purpose yards while pulling in a game high nine receptions. I doubt he is kept out of the endzone two weeks in a row, and I expect a big day this week against the Saints.   

Others receiving votes:

Antonio Gibson, Was:

Gibson had 23 touches and 100+ all-purpose yards in Week 1, and with the veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick out for the foreseeable future, I would expect Gibson’s role to grow, especially in a short week like this one.   


Pass Catchers:

Davante Adams, GB:

Adams goes as Rodgers goes…and Rodgers did not ‘go’ in Week 1. I don’t see that happening two weeks in a row, and with the Lions losing the number three overall pick from last year, cornerback Jeff Okudah, Rodgers, Adams and company should have a good night this Monday night. 

Travis Kelce, KC:

Tyreek Hill put up the HUGE numbers in Week 1 (11 catches, 197 yards and a touchdown), but Kelce didn’t have a bad week himself – 6 catches, 76 yards and two touchdowns. I see the Ravens focusing on Hill this week, to the benefit of Kelce and Kelce owners. 

Others receiving votes:

Stefon Diggs, Buf:

Josh Allen and Diggs were held in check Week 1 by the Steelers, but they have a much more favorable matchup this week against a Dolphins defense which allowed a rookie quarterback (Mac Jones), making his first NFL start, to complete 70% of his passes while throwing no picks and compiling nearly 300 yards. 




Matt Ryan, Atl:

In his first game in the post Julio Jones era, Ryan wilted, putting up just 164 yards and no touchdowns while averaging a paltry 4.7 yards per attempt. I wouldn’t expect much improvement this week against arguably the league’s best defense looking to bounce back off a poor showing in Week 1.

Carson Wentz, Ind:

Wentz had a solid Colts debut, putting up 251 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers, but this week he goes up against Aaron Donald and a tough Rams defense and I don’t see him performing nearly as well. Last season, Wentz led the world in turnovers – 21 in 12 games – before being benched. Until he shows me he is past those turnovers, I wouldn’t be starting him. 

Others receiving votes:
Trevor Lawrence, Jax:

Lawrence put up big numbers in his NFL debut – 332 yards and three touchdowns – but he was also playing what should be a terrible Texans defense and threw three of those passes to players wearing the wrong jersey. This week he will face what should be a very good NFL defense in the Broncos, and I expect the yards and touchdowns to decrease, and the turnovers to stay similar. 


Running backs:

Mike Davis, Atl:

Matt Ryan wasn’t the only one in a Falcons jersey failing to produce last week. Davis, the Falcons “starting running back” managed just 49 yards on 15 carries (3.3 YPC) and was out rushed by…Cordarrelle Patterson. Until further notice, Davis is an emergency start at best. 

Josh Jacobs, Oak:

Jacobs did find pay dirt twice on Monday night, but he managed just 34 yards on 10 carries and is fighting a toe injury. Not a recipe for success, especially when going up against one of the best defenses in the league – the Steelers.

Others receiving votes:

Saquon Barkley, NYG:

As a Barkley owner, this pains me to say, but he is a risky start at this point in the season: returning from an ACL tear, his touches are being limited and he is running behind a suspect offensive line. Worse yet, he has a short week this week and will be going up against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL (Washington).


Pass Catchers:

Kyle Pitts, Atl

There was a lot of excitement surrounding Pitts this year – and rightfully so – but tight ends usually have a tough transition to the NFL and Pitts Week 1 was anything but encouraging (4 receptions for 31 yards). Unless you have a solid backup, you have to start Pitts, but be prepared to be disappointed again this week against the Bucs. 

Mike Evans, TB:

With so many weapons at Tom Brady’s disposal, starting any of the Buc receivers (or tight ends) is going to be tough from week-to-week, but in Week 1, Evans was the odd man out, ranking fifth in targets (6), receptions (3) and yards (24).   

Others receiving votes:

Sterling Shepard, NYG:

With nine targets, seven receptions, one touchdown and 113 yards, Shepard is sure to be a hot commodity on the waiver wire this week, but starting him is risky. He is the Giants third receiver and fourth offensive option. You should only be starting Shepard if you are in a bind.  




Jared Goff, Det:

I have egg on my face on this one, as Goff went off in Week 1 and goes from my ‘Duds’ list last week, to my ‘Sleepers’ list this week, but, here we are. I would expect another 330+ yard and three touchdown performance, but if he can put up those numbers against a good 49ers defense, he should be able to put up starting fantasy quarterback numbers against lesser defenses.

Teddy Bridgewater, Den:

Not sure if it counts as a ‘Sleeper’ when he was here last week, but Bridgewater seems to always be under the radar, so he is back here again. After puting up 260+ yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers last week against the Giants, Bridgewater gets a Jaguars defense which surrendered nearly 300 yards to Tyrod Taylor and what should be the worst offense in the NFL last week. 

Kirk Cousins, Min:

Cousins never gets much love in fantasy, but he performs well. Last week, he put up 351 yards, two touchdowns and had no turnovers, despite being harassed all day by the Bengals new look defense. If the Vikings are to hang in the game this week against the Cardinals, they will need to throw and throw often, and that gives the potential for a big day for Cousins. 

Running backs:

Elijah Mitchell, SF:

Raheem Mostert was here last week, but got injured early and it was Mitchell – not Trey Sermon – who filled in…and likely earned himself the top waiver wire pickup for Week 1. Mitchell averaged 5.4 YPC while putting up 104 yards and a touchdown.  

Leonard Fournette, TB:

Like the Bucs receiving corps, starting any Bucs running back from week-to-week is going to be a risky bet, but Fournette’s activity in last week’s passing game – seven targets, five catches, 59 all-purpose yards – could carve out a role for Fournette as a weekly flex option.  

Mark Ingram, Hou:

Speaking of tricky backfields to navigate, the Texans have three potential starters, but in Week 1, it was Ingram who took the lead. He got 26 of the 37 carries and put up 85 yards and a touchdown. If you need a flex option, Ingram may be worth a start. 



Pass Catchers:

Nelson Agholor, NE:

With a rookie quarterback and no clear cut number one receiver, it is tough to start Agholor, but he and Jones seemed to have chemistry in Week 1 (five catches, 72 yards and a touchdown) and therefore, if you are thin at receiver, Agholor may be able to help you out and he is most likely available on your league’s waiver wire. 

Hunter Renfrow, Oak:

Tight end Darren Waller is the Raiders number one receiving option, but after Waller, it is up in the air and Renfrow and Carr are on the same page. Renfrow’s nine targets and six receptions were second only to Waller’s 19 and 10. If you play in a PPR league, Renfrow is worth a bench spot and a possible start. 

Jaylen Waddle, Mia:

Waddle’s value should continue to grow as the season progresses, and that is encouraging, seeing that he caught four of his six targets for 61 yards and a touchdown. When you figure in the fact that Waddle should get some opportunities in the running game as well, he has some value as a spot starter. 

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