Week 1 is in the books and now we have the opportunity to review some tangible results and decipher exactly what we can do with those outcomes. Everyone reading this knows well enough to start their top producers like Tom Brady, Julio Jones, Rob Gronkowski, and Carlos Hyde, all of whom crushed it this past week. Our goal with this piece each week is to dig a little bit deeper down the rankings for some options to replace your underperforming players or the unfortunate walking wounded (sorry, Dez Bryant owners). Without further ado, here are your sneaky plays for Week 2:
Nick Foles vs. Washington – The Nick Foles bandwagon emptied pretty quickly on its way from Philly to St. Louis during this past offseason. However, in his first game under center for the Rams, Foles completed 67 percent of his passes for 297 yards against the defending NFC Champion Seahawks–unexpectedly running in for a score helped to boost his Fantasy total as well. The Rams travel to Washington to face a continuously reeling squad that allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing QBs in 2014. We should see a higher volume passing attack than we did in Week 1, leaving Foles in a position to do some real damage in Week 2.
Gio Bernard vs. Chargers: Gio has been one of the more overlooked Fantasy players throughout this preseason because he has given up valuable carries to running mate Jeremy Hill. However, he still remains an integral part of the offense, touching the ball 14 times for 88 yards against the Raiders. San Diego struggled to defend backs in the passing game all through 2014, and allowed eight receptions for 108 yards and a score in Week 1 to the Lions. Gio has become a strange afterthought in weekly rankings but should boost Fantasy totals as an RB2 or a flex option in Week 2.
Chris Johnson vs. Bears – Roughly a month ago, there weren’t a lot of pundits that were confident Chris Johnson would even make the roster in Arizona. Fast forward through his solid preseason and an injury to starter Andre Ellington, and “CJ2K” finds himself right where Fantasy owners need him to be…the Land of Opportunities. Johnson saw 10 of the 24 RB touches in Week 1, and he will see that number climb with Ellington on the shelf. The Cardinals face a Bears defense that was weak against the run last season, and had its hands full against the Packers to start off the 2015 campaign.
Mike Wallace vs. Lions – Not a lot of Fantasy players will be excited to jump on board the Vikings after their dismal offensive performance in Week 1 against the Niners. However, we can be encouraged that Mike Wallace saw seven targets, several more than any other wideout on the Vikes, and that Detroit gave up 22 receptions to the Chargers’ wide receivers last week. The Lions had several key players leave this offseason (remember Ndamukong Suh, anyone?) and it’s possible their defense is still in an adjustment period at this stage. We like Teddy Bridgewater and company to bounce back, and Wallace to sneak in and steal some points out of your flex spot this week.
Marques Colston vs. Buccaneers – Yet another veteran wide receiver who is being overlooked in the rankings for Week 2. Colston does not consistently put up the sexy stat lines anymore, but after the Bucs rolled out the red carpet for rookie QB Marcus Mariota in Week 1, they will now face Fantasy superstar Drew Brees in New Orleans in a must-win divisional contest. Colston saw seven targets last week (3 rec, 29 yds) and should be a strong matchup against Tampa, which allowed the third-most points to Fantasy wide receivers in 2014.
Zach Ertz vs. Cowboys: Ertz has been one of Fantasy owner’s favorite sleepers, including yours truly, for some time now. An injury throughout the preseason had many owners worried that he might continue to cede playing time to Brent Celek and targets to other pass catchers. But, he saw 52 offensive snaps to Celek’s 27, and he was targeted eight times in the passing game, catching three for 46 yards. Ertz is facing a Cowboys defense that allowed the most receptions to opposing tight ends in 2014, and allowed a combo of Giants’ TEs to snag six balls for 54 yards in Week 1. We won’t see Ertz’ weekly ranking climb much until there is more consistency, but we can take advantage of finding him on the waiver wire until that time comes.