Each week there are some obvious starts and sits in fantasy football. Other decisions are not quite so simple. Here are some of my picks for Week 2 in the first edition of Studs, Duds & Sleepers of the 2023 season.
QB: Kirk Cousins (MIN vs. LAC): Through the first two weeks no quarterback has put up more fantasy points (30.1 ppg) than Cousins and a home matchup against a Chargers D that has yielded the second-most fantasy signal callers so far this season will only help his chances at staying at the top at position.
RB: Kenneth Walker (SEA vs. CAR): After six games without a trip to the end zone dating back to last season Walker hit paydirt twice a week ago vs. Detroit. He’ll have a good chance to keep the TD streak alive as the Panthers pay a visit. Carolina has allowed five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) to running backs in just two games this season.
WR: Michael Pittman Jr (IND at BAL): Assuming Anthony Richardson (concussion) is a go this week, Pittman has entered the must-start territory after two weeks for the Colts based on the target volume alone. Only Puka Nucua, Justin Jefferson, and Tyreek Hill have the ball thrown their way more than the 23 times Pittman has experienced.
TE: Mark Andrews (BAL at IND): It was good to see Andrews back in action after missing the season opener last week and he didn’t waste any time getting double-digit fantasy points versus the Bengals. Now the Colts are coming to town. The last time they were in Baltimore Andrews went off for 11 catches for 147 yards and two scores.
Get ready for this week’s NFL action with Dan Clasgens & James Adams…
QB: DeShaun Watson (CLE vs. TEN): The metrics on Watson have been dismal, but he’s doing even worse passing my eyeball test through two weeks. Now, without Nick Chubb demanding the attention, Watson will have even more pressure on him. Tennessee has been friendly through the air, but in 1 QB leagues Watson is on my bench until he plays his way back into my lineup regardless.
RB: Dameon Pierce (HOU at JCK): I was all in on Pierce in the preseason at his ADP and still believe in the talent, but I am questioning the utilization through the first two weeks. He has played less than half the snaps (48 percent) for the Texans so far this year. The stat line is less impressive (26 carries for 69 yards total) and with the offensive line banged up that might not improve any time soon.
WR: Jahan Dotson (WAS vs. BUF): Sam Howell has completed a pass to 10 different receivers through two weeks, leaving just a 19 percent target share for Dotson. With just 14.2 PPR points in two contests he’s taking a seat on the pine until further notice.
TE: Kyle Pitts (ATL at DET): The warning signs for Pitts and his role in this offense were there and for fantasy managers that refused to listen now the facts are coming to light. The Falcons don’t pass much and when they Pitts isn’t a priority. That has resulted in just eight targets for four catches and 59 yards through two games.
QB: Brock Purdy (SF vs. NYG): Purdy saw his streak of 20-plus fantasy point fantasy days snapped at six games as he went without a TD pass in a regular-season start for the first time in his career in last week’s win over the Rams. He will do better vs. a Giants’ defense that ceded 25-plus fantasy points to Joshua Dobbs a week ago.
RB: Kyren Williams (LAR at CIN): Perhaps we’re a bit late to the Kyren Williams’ party, but with the trade of Cam Akers to Minnesota he’s now solidified as nearly a bellcow running back. That puts him in the conversation as a top 10 RB option in a Week 3 matchup versus Cincinnati, who has struggled vs. the run the first two weeks.
WR: Nico Collins (HOU at JCK): One my favorite wide receiver sleepers during draft season, is paying early-season dividends for the Texans and quickly becoming a favorite option for rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. Expect that trend to continue moving forward, putting Collins in the weekly conversation for WR3/flex plays.
TE: Zach Ertz (ARI at DAL): Game flow expectations on almost a weekly basis having Arizona playing from behind and has led to plenty of targets for Ertz early on. Dallas gave up 5 catches and 50 yards to Tyler Conklin last week and Ertz should easily top those numbers if he gets to the nine targets he’s averaged through the first two weeks.
Follow me on X @DanClasgens for more NFL and fantasy football takes and analysis.