Week 2 went off like gangbusters… at least from a FPAD perspective. Overall, there were plenty of disappointments for Fantasy Football players, but as always, we aim to avoid more land mines by using Week 2 matchup rankings to make the tough decisions. On to Week 2!
Reminder: Fantasy Points Adjusted for Defense (FPAD) is a calculation that can be the difference between celebrating a win or cursing a high-scoring option on your bench. I developed it years ago, and it accounts for defensive quality of play by position, adjusts for game situations and strength of offenses and spits out an adjusted Fantasy Points allowed. Using Fantasy Football Points allowed is valuable in itself to help make lineup decisions, but it’s imperfect, as a team facing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers should give up more points and passing yards than one facing Jared Goff and the Rams. This isn’t a tool to argue benching Odell Beckham for Robert Woods, but it helps you decide which RB3 is a better play or which WR4 could put up a WR2 type week.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Matchup Rankings
QB Matchup Rankings[table “2182” not found /]
Jameis Winston vs. Kirk Cousins
Whereas some might be concerned that Winston comes out flat after an extra week off, that’s a worry and hasn’t already happened like with Cousins. Week 1 saw Cousins already come out flat and disappoint. As for Winston, the matchup will help him avoid a similar start, as the Bears still have a weak defense. They were middle of the pack against quarterbacks last year and gave up 321 yards and a touchdown to Matt Ryan in an off week for the Falcons. Watching that game, you saw that everything wasn’t completely clicking for the Falcons with Julio Jones having a quiet day by his standards and Devonta Freeman doing nothing in the passing game. Look for Winston to come out hot with his new weapons and last year’s No. 2 receiver in Mike Evans.
With Cousins, the preseason struggles look to be carrying into the season, and the matchup isn’t going to help this week. The Rams defense was already worrisome, and that’s before they had Aaron Donald back. The secondary boasts several top players in PFF player grades, and they can go toe-to-toe with Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder. There will be better days for Cousins, but with a FPAD of just 10.6 against quarterbacks, Cousins doesn’t carry his typical QB1 status in Week 2.
Other Matchup Boosted QBs: Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Jay Cutler, Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson
RB Matchup Rankings[table “2183” not found /]
Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Tevin Coleman
I talked about Rodgers in the Waiver Wire piece, as people have seemingly forgot about him. Rodgers did a great job leading this backfield late last year, and Doug Martin is still out for three games. I’m picking on the Bears again here, as they were even worse against the run than the pass last season (Fantasy wise). The Bears have an 18.5 FPAD, and while Charles Sims should see some passing game work, Rodgers will see at least 15 touches of his own. In the five games where Rodgers had 15-plus touches last year, he totaled 64.7 Fantasy points in Non-PPR (12.9 FPPG) and 74.7 in PPR (14.9 FPPG).
People often make assumptions in Fantasy based off one area of football. Last week, I used the Texans as a good example of a team people fear because of their defense, but they are much stronger against the pass and actually just middle of the road against the run. The Packers are another such example. They are miserable at stopping the pass, but they do a great job at limiting the run. As of today, the Packers actually have the lowest FPAD for running backs at 11.9. It’s possible that part of the reason is because it’s too easy to pass against them, so why force the run, but their allowed yards per carry was in between the Broncos and Vikings last year (4.1). They also allowed just 11 total touchdowns (rushing and receiving combined) to running backs last year. With the backfield split of Devonta Freeman and Coleman, it’s tough to predict which player will have the bigger week, but with Coleman as the No. 2, he’s a risk in this matchup.
Other Matchup Boosted RBs: Mark Ingram, Ty Montgomery, Marshawn Lynch, Melvin Gordon, Jordan Howard, LeGarrette Blount, Todd Gurley
WR Matchup Rankings[table “2184” not found /]
Jeremy Maclin vs. Jamison Crowder
Joe Flacco is going to throw the ball more; that’s a fact. Don’t forget that Flacco tied Drew Brees for the league lead in attempts last year. Even with just 17 attempts and 121 yards last week, Flacco still found Maclin for 56 yards and his lone touchdown pass. The Browns secondary struggles to stop most receivers, and you saw how easily Antonio Brown dominated them last week. No, Maclin is no Brown, but the Browns do have the fourth-highest FPAD at 22.7. Maclin is a near lock for 60-plus yards and a solid bet to find the end zone again.
This comes back to the matchup and struggles of Cousins. Nickell Robey-Coleman is a very good slot corner, which is a troublesome matchup for Crowder, who might still not be 100 percent healthy. If he moves outside and Trumaine Johnson doesn’t follow Pryor all game, the matchup is no better. The only hope is that Crowder gets some of Kayvon Webster, but that’s searching for a glimmer of hope in a matchup that already is dampened by Cousins, as seen above. As said, there will be better weeks, and the Redskins make for a great buy low opportunity after this week.
Other Matchup Boosted WRs: Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns, Danny Amendola (concussion?), Chris Hogan, Sammy Watkins, Cooper Kupp, Pierre Garcon, Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry
TE Matchup Rankings[table “2185” not found /]
Eric Ebron vs. Austin Hooper
If you read my sleeper section this week, this should come as no surprise. The Giants are awful at stopping tight ends and have the third highest FPAD at 10.2. Ebron had the worst matchup in Week 2, as you can see on the chart, and now he has the third best situation. The Giants gave up the four most receiving yards to tight ends last year with only Ladarius Green topping 100 in any game. With that kind of consistent damage from the tight end spot and the yards not being inflated by 2-3 huge games, you can see why Ebron is a terrific bet to bounce back and bounce back in a big way.
If not for blown coverage, Hooper wouldn’t even have Fantasy owners talking. Going back to the Packers again with the assumption talk, they did have a high level of tight end yards allowed. However, unlike the Giants, they did have a few big games inflate the total and still only allowed five tight end touchdowns. Additionally, Hooper only saw two targets last week. Two. Julio Jones embarrassed the Packers in the home playoff game again and should draw Matt Ryan’s attention for most of the game after a semi-quite opener. Hooper will need another busted play to be a Top 10 tight end this week.
Other Matchup Boosted TEs: Cameron Brate, Jared Cook, Jesse James, Martellus Bennett, Coby Fleener
Main Image Credit: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire