Some of us may have been skeptical how things would go but football returns for another week. It really was nice last week to be able to sit back and watch a normal week of football. So many normal things happened, like Cam Newton leading the Patriots to another win, Malcolm Brown looking like a workhorse back for the Rams, Dallas Goedert leading all tight ends in receiving yardage, and Andy Reid starting the next great fashion trend.
Totally normal, expected things, right?
The injury bug hit hard in Week 1 and likely had an impact on your fantasy team. Marlon Mack, Blake Jarwin, and David Njoku are all out for the season. Michael Thomas is out for the next several weeks. Le’Veon Bell will miss the next three weeks for a hamstring injury. Phillip Lindsay is dealing with turf toe, and James Conner is hurt again.
Luckily you’re reading this article so you know exactly where to go to figure out how to navigate the 2020 Fantasy Football season.
QB: Josh Allen (@ MIA) – We learned something about both sides of this matchup in Week 1. The fleet of foot Josh Allen’s passing may have finally taken a step forward; and the Dolphins defense can be beaten by a running quarterback. If a revitalized Cam Newton on a new team can have success against the Dolphins, Allen has a chance for a huge week. Allen’s rushing ability, and the amount the Bills utilize it, will always give him a solid floor. The Dolphins cornerbacks, Byron Jones and Xavien Howard, will prove a stiffer test for Allen and his receivers this week. But with Allen’s improved deep ball and willingness to run, the Dolphins, just as they did last week against the Patriots, will struggle to stop a talented Bills offense. That may sound weird but it’s true. The Bills have a talented offense. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss should provide a dynamic running game, and the addition of Stefon Diggs will only make life easier for the speedy John Brown and the reliable Cole Beasley. Allen’s own rushing ability keeps defenses honest but he has a lot to work with in Buffalo. It doesn’t hurt that Allen has had some monster fantasy weeks against the Dolphins the past two seasons. Start Allen and feel great about it.
Also consider: Tom Brady (vs CAR) – That Panthers defense is awful, and Tom has plenty of weapons. Aaron Rodgers (vs DET) – In Lambeau against a bad Lions defense, Rodgers will continue to roll.
RB: Raheem Mostert (@ NYJ) – In Week 1 Mostert picked up right where he left off last season. 56 yards on the ground, 95 yards through the air, a touchdown, not a bad week at all. If George Kittle plays this week he might be limited so the usually run heavy Niners could rely even more on Mostert and his fellow backs, both as rushers and pass catchers. Last week New York allowed the Bills’ Devin Singletary and Zack Moss to rush for only 41 yards combined, but gave up another 57 yards and a touchdown to Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen. The Jets also got lit up in the passing game by Allen. San Francisco’s receivers, especially without Kittle, are not as dynamic as Buffalo’s, but they usually can make up for it with great play calling and utilizing their running backs heavily in the passing game. Against the Cardinals Tevin Coleman was a non-factor and Jerick McKinnon contributed but still saw the field less and had significantly fewer touches than Mostert. McKinnon could prove to be a viable flex option this week, but it’s Mostert who is the gem of this backfield and should be heavily relied on in Week 2.
Also consider: Ronald Jones (vs CAR) – The Carolina Panthers defense is bad, and the split of the backfield last week makes it likely Jones is the guy again, at least for one more week. Todd Gurley (@DAL) – Injuries haven’t taken away Gurley’s nose for the end-zone, and he has a good chance to score in what should be a high scoring affair.
WR: Parris Campbell (vs MIN) – Last week Campbell tied with veteran T.Y. Hilton for the team lead in targets but out-snapped and out-produced Hilton. He got a carry that he took for nine yards. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Philip Rivers early favorite target on his new team is his talented slot receiver, just look at what Rivers did with Keenan Allen as a Charger. So while Hilton is also a good play against Minnesota, Campbell has a good chance to emerge as the better fantasy play. The Vikings defense has an all new, and significantly worse, secondary. Last week it was no surprise that Minnesota allowed Davante Adams to have a big week, but they also gave up big games to the likes of Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdez-Scantling. Campbell, a second round pick last year, is better than both of those guys.. Last week the Colts had Rivers throw the ball 46 times. That number will surely come down, but with Marlon Mack out it remains to be seen just how much Frank Reich will rely on rookie Jonathan Taylor in the early weeks of the season. This Colts-Vikings matchup has a projected point total of 48.5. Even with the under this should be a high scoring game, one in which Campbell will have a large role.
Also consider: Keenan Allen (vs KC) – It’s always smart to try and keep the ball out of Mahomes hands by running it, but the Chargers will inevitably need to throw, a lot. Julian Edelman (@ SEA) – The Seahawks just allowed Russell Gage to run wild out of the slot, imagine what Edelman will do.
TE: Jared Cook (@ LV) – On a New Orleans Saints offense without Michael Thomas, Drew Brees must throw the ball to someone else. Jared Cook seems like a prime candidate. Cook established a great rapport with Brees last season, and Brees continued to show his trust in Cook, peppering him with seven targets in Week 1. The Saints likely will run the ball more without arguably the best wide receiver in the league on the field, especially after inking star running back Alvin Kamara to an extension just before the season started. Kamara will also likely see a sizeable role in the passing game, he had eight last week, but Cook should be a target hog going forward. Unlike Emmanuel Sanders, who is in his first season in New Orleans, and Tre’Quan Smith, whose playing time fluctuated a lot in his first two seasons, we know Brees trusts Cook. Having the trust of a future Hall of Famer will definitely help your stat sheet. Now is there anyone on the Las Vegas Raiders (that’ll take some getting used to) that looks like a tough matchup for anyone on the Saints? If you answered no, you are correct. The Raiders have some young but unproven talent on defense and were one of the worst teams defending the tight end last season. This is the first of what could be many big weeks for Cook.
Also consider: Hunter Henry (vs KC) – Just like with his teammate Allen, the Chargers may be throwing a lot in this one, and Hunter should put up another good week. Austin Hooper (vs CIN) – David Njoku is out and the Bengals defense isn’t very good. This is as good a time as any for Hooper to have a big game. But beware, the bust potential is there.
QB: DeShaun Watson (vs BAL) – Chances are you’ll be starting Watson, he’s too good and you likely don’t have a better option, but don’t be surprised if he has a tough week. The Ravens defense might be the best in the league and you should hesitate before starting anyone against them. Last week Watson struggled against a good not great Kansas City Chiefs defense. Garbage time points allowed Watson to salvage the day and provide a good not great fantasy outing. The Ravens defense is better than the Chiefs. This isn’t just about Watson, though. His DeAndre Hopkins-less receiver corps will struggle to get open and David Johnson will struggle on the ground (more on both of those later). It also doesn’t help that the Texans have yet to give Watson even an average offensive line to play behind. For the Texans to get a win on Sunday, Watson will have to carry his team. That’s something he has done many times in the past, but was unable to do last season against Baltimore. He passed for 169 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and ran for only twelve yards, in a 41-7 loss. As talented as Watson is, he might not have the magic to win this game, or help you win your fantasy matchup this week.
Be wary about: Russell Wilson (vs NE) – You’re probably starting him too, but always be cautious with a player going against the Patriots defense. Drew Brees (@ LV) – Without Michael Thomas, a run heavy day seems on tap for New Orleans. Low volume passing leads to a low ceiling for Brees.
RB: Melvin Gordon (@PIT) – If Phillip Lindsay is out, it may be tempting to roll Gordon out thinking he’ll at least get enough volume to give you a good fantasy outing. Maybe if Gordon was as good as say, Saquan Barkley that might be true. What’s that? Gordon isn’t as good as Barkley? And the Steelers defense held Barkley to six yards on 15 carries? Yup that’s all true. The Steelers defense is great once again, and while the Broncos offensive line will likely have a better day than the Giants did, Gordon is in trouble. Denver might also not treat him as a true bell cow, even with Lindsay sidelined. Royce Freeman is still hanging around and the Broncos have utilized him plenty in the past, he could cut into Gordon’s volume. Gordon could get you some points through the air as Barkley put up 60 yards on six catches last week, but don’t bank on it. Gordon faced Pittsburgh with the Chargers last season, and caught three passes for 30 yards to go with 18 yards rushing. It’s best to avoid running backs facing the Steelers
Be wary about: Kenyan Drake (vs WAS) – What if that Washington defensive front really is that good? And keep an eye on Chase Edmonds role. David Johnson (vs BAL) – Johnson looked like he still had some gas in the tank last week, but this Ravens defensive front is a whole different animal.
WR: Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks (vs BAL) – Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters of the Baltimore Ravens make up one of the best cornerback duos in the league. To back them up, Tavon Young is pretty good covering the slot, and Jimmy Smith, if he’s healthy this week, is no joke either. Those are the guys that Fuller and Cooks have to go up against this week. All while their quarterback is being chased by Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell. Fuller had a great game last week in the Texans loss to the Chiefs last week, but the Ravens secondary is significantly better than Kansas City’s. Cooks was limited in that game by a quadriceps injury, which he is still working through and might not be at 100% for this matchup against Baltimore. Against the Browns in Week 1, the Ravens held Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry to a combined eight catches for 83 yards. Fuller and Cooks are not as good as Beckham and Landry. DeShaun Watson is much better than Baker Mayfield, and it will take every trick in Watson’s book to make Fuller and Cooks fantasy relevant this week.
Be wary about: D.K.Metcalf (vsNE) – Stephon Gilmore could be shadowing Metcalf all day long. That’s a tough matchup for any wide receiver. Stefon Diggs and John Brown(@MIA) – Byron Jones and Xavien Howard are also good cornerbacks.
TE: Noah Fant (@ PIT) – Despite an electric first half, the Titans ultimately shut Fant down in the second half last week. Or the Broncos just forgot how good Fant was as they came out of the locker room to start the second half. Either way, a repeat of Fant’s second half seems more likely than a repeat of the first half against a very good Steelers defense. Last week Pittsburgh held Evan Engram to two catches for nine yards. Fant might also have more competition for targets this week as the Broncos hope to get Courtland Sutton back from a shoulder injury. Five Broncos had at least three targets last week, but Fant, Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick were the only ones to receive five or more targets. If Sutton returns he will definitely take away most of Patrick’s targets, but he could soak up some from Fant or Jeudy as well. Pittsburgh’s defense just gave Daniel Jones plenty of problems and Drew Lock could similarly struggle. A potential fight for targets in a difficult matchup put Fant in a tough spot for Week 2.
Be wary about: Chris Herndon (vs SF) – It’s the 49ers defense, you get it. Mike Gesicki (vs BUF) – The Bills defense is one of the best against tight ends, but their starting linebackers both got hurt on Sunday. Keep an eye on this one.