Each week there are some obvious starts and sits in fantasy football. Other decisions are not quite so simple. With that in mind, I offer up some not-so-obvious picks with my weekly Studs, Duds & Sleepers. Here are this week’s picks.
QB: Derek Carr (LV) vs. ARI: The Cardinals will be a much easier matchup for Carr and the Raiders in their home opener than they faced a week ago at the Chargers. Patrick Mahomes (360 PaYd, 5 PaTD) made the Arizona defense look like swiss cheese and there’s no reason to think Carr can’t put up even better numbers than his top 10 output a week ago.
RB: Saquan Barkley (NYG) vs. CAR: There are plenty of good vibes coming out Week 1 around the Giants’ workhorse, who after two injury-riddled campaigns finally appears to be at 100 percent. Carolina got gashed last week by the Browns’ dynamic duo (213 total yards, 2 TD’s) and fantasy managers should expect another monster effort from Barkley here.
WR: AJ Brown (PHI) vs. MIN: It was quite the debut for Brown and the Eagles’ offense looked impressive overall. The Vikings present a stiffer challenge for Jalen Hurts and company, but given his immense target share and involvement in offense, Brown’s volume alone is enough to make him a high-end WR1 option in Week 2.
TE: Zach Ertz (ARI) at LV: Injury concerns led to me being cautious with Ertz in the season opener, but he proved more than capable in garbage time vs. Kansas City. Gerald Everett made his way into the end zone last week vs. this defense and with Hopkins and Moore out of the picture the targets will continue to flow his way.
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QB: Justin Fields (CHI) at GB: The rushing floor might tempt you, but the weapons and matchup is scaring me away this week. The Packers are coming home in a suddenly critical division game as we all know Aaron Rodgers owns the Bears and the Green Bay defense will own Fields here.
RB: Cam Akers (LAR) vs. ATL: Akers was one of the biggest disappointments of Week 1, but fantasy managers knew he had been limited so maybe the expectations were too high. I’m not writing off Akers just yet, but he’ll need to play his way back into any of my lineups. Henderson is the lead back until further notice in LA.
WR: Drake London (ATL) at LAR: The future is bright for the rookie, but in his just second start it will be a tall order for him with Jalen Ramsey and company focused on stopping him. Atlanta surprised some last week, but on the road vs. a Rams’ team that just had three extra days to think about getting their butts kicked seems like a tough assignment for all the Dirty Birds.
TE: Evan Engram (JAC) vs. IND: Engram was one of the darts I was throwing late in drafts where I punted tight end, but despite the fact that OJ Howard scored two times vs. them last week I am still buying into the Colts as being a tough matchup here.
QB: Carson Wentz (WAS) at DET: It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective for Wentz in Week 1 for fantasy purposes. The Commanders have weapons when healthy and that puts Wentz in a position to be a matchup play. This week’s matchup vs. the Lions is decent enough to get him in the discussion as a top 15 option for me in Week 2.
RB: Jamaal Williams (DET) vs. WAS: Williams is more than a handcuff. He’s going to hand enough stand alone value to warrant a roster spot and Week 2 in a matchup I like to push close to the 49.5 point total oddsmakers have placed on the contest. He had 12 touches last week and scored twice so he’s a low-end flex in 12-team formats for me.
WR: Jarvis Landry (NO) vs. TB: Even with Michael Thomas back and contributing, Landry saw a team high in targets (nine), catches (seven) and yards (114) against the Falcons. With Jameis Winston looking healthy too, Landry is going to be someone that will prove to be one of the better late-round values. That trend continues as the Bucs pay a visit on Sunday.
TE: Gerald Everett (LAC) at KC: A Week 1 score was enough to get fantasy managers’ attention, but with Keenan Allen out there are extra targets to go around in the explosive Chargers’ passing attack. If you need help at tight end, look no further.
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