Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 2

September 12, 2019

Welp, Week 1 is in the books and as predicted, it was unpredictable! I had some big hits on guys like Mark Ingram, Antonio Brown, the Ravens defense, and a few others, while I missed big-time on Bengals offensive players, the Ravens offense and Will Dissly. With one week of data in the books, Week 2 is looking better already!

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Car
With 209 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, McCaffrey lead all running backs in Week 1. With a Week 2 matchup against the Bucs – I team against whom he averaged 159 yards from scrimmage in 2018 – combined with Cam Newton’s continued shoulder issues, McCaffrey is poised for another big week.

Mark Ingram II, RB, Bal:
Ingram was tops on my list last week and let’s revisit my reasoning:

“There isn’t much I like about the Ravens offense, but I do like their ability to run the ball and I love the offseason addition of Ingram…he gets to open up against a Dolphins team that seems content with throwing in the towel before the season has even begun, and he should have a good season and come out of the gate fast in Week 1.”

With 107 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries, I was right on Ingram and the Dolphins, but I couldn’t have been more wrong on Lamar Jackson and the rest of the Ravens offense. While Ingram doesn’t get to play the Dolphins again in Week 2, he and the Ravens should have no problem running the ball on the Cardinals in Week 2 either.

Ravens Defense:
Like Ingram, the Ravens Defense find themselves in the ‘Studs’ category for a second week in a row, and a big reason has to do with who they play. Kyler Murray had a good comeback in Week 1, but he didn’t look good out of the gate and only completed 53.7% of his passes. The Ravens defense is far better than that of the Lions and Murray will be making his first NFL start on the road. I will always take the Ravens defense against rookie quarterbacks.

John Ross III, WR, Cin:
I owe an apology first to all my readers for my terrible prediction last week that any Cincinnati player would be a dud. Apparently, I underestimated Zac Taylor’s offense, and in particular, John Ross. After two brutal seasons full of injuries and disappointments, Ross broke out in a huge way in Week 1. In two years under Marvin Lewis and his old school staff, Ross had 21 catches for 210 yards. In one week under Taylor – without A.J. Green, mind you – Ross had 12 targets and 7 catches for 158 yards, or just 52 yards shy of his career total under Lewis. Taylor has come out and said Ross is going to be a big part of this offense and they have confidence in Ross, so perhaps we should believe him. With Green still out, and Joe Mixon hobbled, expect Ross to be worthy start in Week 2.

Patriots’ Defense:
I had two defenses in the ‘Studs’ category in Week 1 and said such an occurrence would be rare, but here we are again! The Patriots defense was excellent against the Steelers on Sunday night, and after watching the Dolphins in Week 1, I am convinced the defense of whoever the Dolphins play could (and probably should) be considered a ‘Stud’ all year long. Give me Bill Belichick against this untalented offense any day of the week.


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David Johnson, RB, AZ:
The Ravens defense, on the road, held Miami to 21 yards on 12 carries. While Johnson is far better than what the Dolphins have to offer, I don’t expect much from Johnson this week. With a rookie quarterback, on the road, there is a good chance the Cardinals are playing from behind, meaning Johnson’s carries will be limited.

James Conner, RB, Pit:
The entire Pittsburgh offense looked terrible in Week 1, including Conner. While he did pull in four catches for 44 yards against the Patriots, he totaled just 21 yards on the ground on 10 carries and was a big Week 1 disappointment. With a Week 2 matchup against a Seahawks’ defense which held the Bengals to just 34 yards rushing on 14 carries, I wouldn’t bet on Connor’s this week.

All Jacksonville Wide Receivers:
Despite the early injury to Nick Foles, the Jaguars put up 350 yards in the air and the rookie, Gardner Minshew, accounted for 275 of those 350 yards while going an impressive 22/25 and throwing two touchdowns to just one interception. That being said, I don’t expect a repeat performance. I look for Minshew and the entire Jaguars offense to struggle this week against the Texans defense. I love the Jaguars young receivers, but I wouldn’t start any of them until we see how Minshew does when a team actually game plans for him.

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chi:
Trubisky got to open the season at home and against a familiar foe who doesn’t have a particularly strong defense…and he looked terrible! 228 yards, 0 TDs and 1 Int. Now he goes on the road and has to play in altitude against a solid Denver defense that can get after the quarterback. If you have Trubisky, keep him on your bench.

Mike Evans, WR, TB:
With just two catches for 28 yards, Evans had to be one of the biggest Week 1 disappointments and likely cost a number of teams a fantasy win. Unfortunately for Evans owners, I don’t see things getting better for Evans in Week 2. Why, because he is reliant upon a quarterback in Jameis Winston who is running a new offense, under a new coach and looked awful doing so. Throw in the fact that the Bucs will be playing on the road, inside the division, and on a short week (Thursday), and Evans is a WR3 at best this week. It may sound crazy, but if you have other good receivers, I would keep Evans on the bench this week.

Terry McLaurin, WR, Wash:
I will be honest, I didn’t know who this guy was a week ago, but word on the street is that he racked up 125 yards and one TD on five catches while running 40 routes, playing 93% of the offensive snaps and averaging 17.9 yards-per-target. The Redskins will likely be playing from behind and therefore need to throw a lot, so the rookie could have another impressive outing.

Marquise Brown, WR, Bal:
As I mentioned above, I clearly underestimated Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense. Brown hauled in four passes for 147 yards, two touchdowns and a whopping 36.8 yards per catch! With the Cardinals missing their top cornerback, Brown is a worthwhile start until Jackson shows us otherwise.

Danny Amendola, WR, Det:
While he is technically the third receiver, Amendola lead all Lions in targets (13), catches (7) and yards (104) in Week 1 and chances are, no one in your league even had him on their roster. If you were able to secure him on the waiver wire, he may be worth a WR3 start in his Week 2 matchup against the Chargers.

Malcolm Brown, RB, LAR:
Todd Gurley is still the top back in LA, but with concerns with Gurley’s knee, Brown is going to get touches and the carries were nearly split 50-50 in Week 1 with Brown getting all the touchdowns.

Andy Dalton, QB, Cin:
In Week 1, Dalton went on the road to Seattle – one of the most difficult places to play – while playing in a new system and without his Pro-Bowl receiver A.J. Green, and all he did was throw for the most yards in his career. I wouldn’t expect another 400+ yard game, but with the Bengals issues run blocking, Green still out and Joe Mixon questionable, the Bengals will be throwing a lot this week as well.

*Be sure to check out our COMPLETE RANKINGS, updated through Sunday, before locking in your lineups.

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