TOP DOZEN STARTS
Philip Rivers (LAC) vs. Dolphins- On the road against the “No Fly Zone” defense of the Broncos this past Monday night, Rivers threw three TDs, one interception, and had a 67 percent completion rate. He only threw for 192 yards, but his efficiency was rock solid in the toughest matchup for any QB in Week 1. Now at home facing off with an aging Dolphins defense that isn’t nearly as stingy, you must ride the hot hand in a favorable matchup. Rivers also has a ton of weapons to play with; he might have a feast in Week 2.
Carson Palmer (ARI) at Colts- After an abysmal Week 1, most people will be inclined to stay away from Palmer moving forward. Understandable, but the matchup is just too good. If you’re an Andrew Luck owner or need to stream a QB this week for any reason, Palmer is the way to go. With David Johnson out for an extended period and the below average committee left in his wake at RB, Palmer may need to throw more than usual. Look for a bounce back from Palmer, who is a solid streaming option in season long and high reward play in DFS.
Bilal Powell (NYJ) at Raiders- Powell was disappointing against the Bills on Sunday. Matt Forte took roughly half the touches and the Jets’ offense is just as bad as we projected. I expect Powell’s touches to increase as the season progresses, especially in Week 2, when game script will dictate a pass heavy second-half for the Jets offense. Powell’s a solid flex play in your lineups and good cash game play in daily Fantasy.
Tarik Cohen (Chi) at Buccaneers- The big waiver wire pickup this week, Tarik Cohen is absolutely worth the squeeze. The Bears lost their top two wide receivers for the season already. With few remaining pass-catchers on the depth chart, Cohen should play a top role. He’s potential Fantasy gold in PPR formats but in standard he’s not nearly as appealing. He’s still a big-play threat and perfect boom or bust tournament option in DFS. This upcoming game against the Bucs will be tough for Jordan Howard on the ground, especially with the lack of receiving options. Howard wasn’t great as a pass catcher to begin with, so Cohen makes for a nice flex play in Week 2 and possibly for the rest of the season as well.
James White (NE) at Saints- White had a very White game to open the 2017 season. In PPR he’ll always have a decent floor to work with, but this weekend at the Saints could be one of his big upside opportunities. The combination of how bad the Pats defense looked against the Chiefs, Drew Brees on his home turf, and the equally as bad Saints defense bodes well for a high scoring shootout. White should see a ton of targets in the short passing game, especially with the fragile state of slot receiver Danny Amendola.
DeVante Parker (MIA) at Chargers- This is a risky play since we haven’t seen the Dolphins on the field yet to determine how they’ll distribute the ball. The Chargers will look to key on Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry is a slot receiver type for the short to intermediate passes, and Jay Cutler has been known to force feed his large receivers with targets. Parker has a ton of talent, the size Cutler looks for, and the potential to break out as a star player in 2017. Philip Rivers threw three TDs against a top-notch pass defense last week, so chances are this offense will be a strong unit all season long. That type of high scoring game script dictates a pass-happy second half for the ‘Phins; you can bet his main big-play target will be Parker on multiple occasions.
Martavis Bryant (PIT) vs. Vikings- Bryant gave Fantasy owners a very underwhelming performance to open-up the season, but don’t panic just yet. Roethlisberger targeted Bryant six times, a few times on bombs downfield, and chances are he’ll look his way even more as they build chemistry together. You need to expect a little rust from a player who was suspended for all of 2016, and every NFL team needs some time to gel on offense. The monster day for Bryant is coming soon and a tough matchup against the Vikings could be it. With CB Xavier Rhodes mostly on Antonio Brown and the stellar Vikings front seven focused on stuffing Le’Veon Bell, the door is open for Bryant to see plenty of action and big-play opportunities in week two.
Corey Davis (TEN) at Jaguars- After question marks about his health and usage for Week 1, the rookie Davis saw plenty of targets including six catches for 69 yards. With a start like that most of the skepticism has been laid to rest, now can he perform on a consistent basis? I say yes, he’s by far the most talented receiver on this team. After witnessing the Jaguars defense maul the Texans, albeit against a poor offense, the Titans may struggle to be consistent on the ground, forcing them to beat them through the air. Look for Corey Davis to build on a promising debut, possibly adding his first career TD to the mix.
Davante Adams (GB) at Falcons- Prior to Week 1, I called Adams’ number to be the non-Jordy receiver to benefit from second and third string coverage. Randall Cobb ended up being the beneficiary of that coverage situation, but don’t jump off the Adams bandwagon just yet. In a Week 2 matchup at the Atlanta Falcons dome turf, points will be scored. The Packers will look to keep up the scoring because both these offenses are prolific and Adams should see a major uptick in usage.
Taylor Gabriel (ATL) vs. Packers- Gabriel didn’t do much in his season debut, instead Austin Hooper had a big day and the Falcons just weren’t as sharp as we’re accustomed to. But, just like every other team that faces the Falcons, the Packers will look to take the elite Julio Jones out of the game. There’s a ton of weapons to cover on this team and Gabriel has faded to the background, a perfect opportunity for him to explode back onto the scene, especially with the projected game script in his favor. Expect a few big plays from Gabriel, plus a TD. He’s a great boom or bust DFS play to take advantage of in Week 2, and a good flex stream in season-long.
Coby Fleener (NO) vs. Patriots- Fleener opened his season with a bang, as he was targeted plenty and grabbed a TD to boot. With Willie Snead out for a couple more weeks, look for Fleener to see a healthy number of targets and red zone opportunities. The matchup is favorable as well. The Patriots defense was a disaster versus an unexpectedly explosive Chiefs offense. We know the Saints offense can be explosive as well, specifically at home in the dome where Drew Brees flourishes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Bears- We’ve seen the excitement surrounding the Bucs on Hard Knocks, and especially about this defense, which seems much improved. What better way for a defense to open-up their season than at home against a Bears offense that continues to deplete as the season rolls along. I expect the Bucs to be top play of the week among all defenses in Week 2, throw them in your lineup if you can.
TOP DOZEN SITS
Carson Wentz (PHI) at Chiefs- Wentz did well in his debut, but he faces a true test on the road at the “Red Sea” in Week 2. One of the hardest places to win in the NFL is in Kansas City, especially after the Chiefs shredded the defending Super Bowl Champs. I expect the Eagles will attempt to control the clock, run the ball, and keep the “Red Sea” crowd from swallowing them whole. Even if Wentz is forced into throwing down the stretch, the Chiefs apply pressure and have playmakers on defense that’ll put Wentz into an unfavorable situation, aka the odds are against the young QB.
Dak Prescott (DAL) at Broncos- Once again, I’m riding against the grain with Prescott and this one should be very clear. The “No Fly-Zone” defense of the Broncos didn’t look great versus a talented Chargers offense, but the Cowboys are a very different team. The Broncos were susceptible to the run last season and the ‘Boys play right into their weakness. It’ll be Zeke Elliott, the battering ram, carrying the rock right down the throat of this defense, much as they did against the Giants. They’ll look to tire the Broncos down, manage the clock and win the game in that fashion. Prescott may throw a TD off the heels of a great drive led by Zeke, but that’s about all you’ll get from him. Don’t expect much yardage through the air, so if you have an option with a better matchup I’d roll with that.
Terrance West (BAL) vs. Browns- West didn’t do poorly against the Bengals in Week 1; then again, the Ravens dominated on defense and ran the ball a ton. West didn’t even lead the team in carries; it was afterthought Buck Allen who saw 21 carries for 71 yards on Sunday. West is still a solid season long matchup play, but after the Browns held Le’Veon Bell down to 30 yards on 10 carries, coupled with the emergence of Buck Allen, I’d take a wait and see approach before starting either one and watch how this timeshare pans out.
Adrian Peterson (NO) vs. Patriots- Peterson didn’t do much against his ex-team Monday night, although the revenge game narrative was in play. The biggest issue is the crowded backfield, especially now with the rookie Alvin Kamara emerging as the main receiving weapon. Both Mark Ingram and Kamara are valued more in PPR, even in standard formats it’s difficult to trust Peterson because he’s not guaranteed to get the goal line carries. He’s a bench stash with some upside if the Saints start calling his number more often, but in a match-up that has shootout written all over it Peterson’s usage could be the lowest of this three-headed RB crew.
Frank Gore (IND) vs. Cardinals- Gore was irrelevant Week 1 after facing a stiff Rams front seven. It doesn’t get any easier this week versus the Cardinals, especially without Andrew Luck behind center. The Colts are a mess without Luck. They have a bottom of the barrel offensive line and defense, meaning opposing teams will key on the run with no fear of either QB. Until Luck is healthy and ready to go, the Colts will not only be stagnant offensively but well behind early in most games. I suggest Gore as a sit’em until Luck’s back in the lineup.
TY Hilton (IND) vs. Cardinals- Just like Gore, it’s hard to trust Hilton or anyone on the Colts until Luck comes back in the fold. This upcoming game with the Cardinals is a very tall task for Hilton. He’ll go face to face with CB Patrick Peterson, and with little fear of anything else, the Cardinals will attempt to blanket him with extra coverage most of the day. It’s tough to sit an elite level WR like Hilton, but if you have someone on the bench who will receive quality volume and has a favorable match-up, then go for it.
Alshon Jeffery (PHI) at Chiefs- I suggested to sit Jeffery Week 1 and I’ll do the same for Week 2 after a below average performance. Once again, Jeffery lines up with a top-notch cornerback in Marcus Peters. The Eagles will be in a hostile environment as mentioned earlier. Wentz will need to play smart to escape with the victory, force feeding Jeffery while under heavy coverage will not help to accomplish that feat.
Pierre Garcon (SF) at Seahawks- There’s little upside for the 49ers versus an outstanding Seahawks defense. Garcon may normally have a high floor, but this week it’s at an absolute low with little ceiling to offer.
OJ Howard (TB) vs. Bears- There’s high upside on the season for the talented rookie TE, but the risk is also very high. Without a game under their belts, the Bucs usage distribution is yet to be known, and with the number of weapons on this team, it’s best to let this play out while Howard’s stashed on your bench. However, Howard does have a high ceiling and can provide substantial value in DFS tournaments.
Jason Witten (DAL) at Broncos- Witten received a lot of targets against the Giants and has a high floor in PPR leagues. There isn’t much upside in his upcoming game, even his floor must be lowered against one of the best pass defenses. The Cowboys will pound the ball with Zeke Elliott with little production from elsewhere within this offense.
Carolina Panthers vs. Bills- The Panthers shut down the 49ers to start their year, only giving up three points the entire game. The biggest difference between the 49ers and the Bills is their offensive lines. The Bills’ have a solid one, while the 49ers’ is weak. The Panthers have a strong front seven, but Tyrod Taylor can extend plays and use his legs to beat teams even when his line doesn’t hold up. LeSean McCoy poses a much bigger threat than Carlos Hyde; he will find a lot more success on the ground.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Titans- Everyone wants to jump on board the Jags bandwagon after a 29-7 romping at the Houston Texans last week. But, before we dub them the elite defense we’ve been waiting for, let’s see if they’ll perform as well when confronting a vastly superior offense. Although Mariota and the Titans struggled in the second half last week, they’re still an improving unit and could easily expose weaknesses within the Jaguars defense. Don’t overreact to the Jags’ latest performance. The Texans have significant issues at every level of their offense, especially at two of the most important spots, QB and offensive line.