Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 2 Matchups to Consider
The first week of the NFL season is in the books, but there’s no rest for the weary fantasy manager! The Ballers have their Week 2 Rankings out to help set your lineup. Every Thursday throughout the NFL schedule we’ll take a look at players from each position that may need a little extra attention prior to locking in your roster for the week.
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Carson Wentz (WAS) at Detroit
Wentz kicked off his new stint as the Commanders starting QB with a QB3 finish in Week 1 vs Jacksonville and it’s worth taking notice. The passing numbers (333 yards and 4 TDs) are flashy, but the 66% completion rate on 41 passing attempts is what I find most interesting. If Ron Rivera is going to let Wentz sling the ball around to the many weapons they’ve assembled in Washington, Wentz may need to find his way into a permanent fantasy starting position.
The Ballers have Wentz outside of their top-12 QBs for Week 2, but the matchup against Detroit is one I’d be willing to be in on after the Lions gave up 38 points last week. Don’t be shocked to hear his name mentioned as a “Stream of the Week”.
Derek Carr (LV) vs Arizona
In another matchup-based pick, Andy has Carr ranked as his QB7 for Week 2, and for good reason. The Raiders host a Cardinals team that got run off the field in Kansas City last week, so the chances for points should be there in Vegas.
While I think Carr is often undervalued as a starting QB in the NFL, I’m not as optimistic that Carr is a great fantasy option this week. Carr threw 3 interceptions last week against the Chargers trying to lead his team back into the game. Devante Adams & Darren Waller should continue to be fine options, but until he’s throwing 3 TDs instead of interceptions, I’d be cautious to throw Carr into my starting lineup.
Austin Ekeler (LAC) @ Kansas City
Managers with Ekeler on their roster in Week 1 didn’t get the elite return on their draft investment they were hoping for. Ekeler finished with just 9 points in half-point PP…R formats, putting him as the RB28 to start the season. What’s more concerning is that Ekeler only saw 49% of the snaps against the Raiders, but still led the Chargers backfield in usage with 45% of the rushing attempts.
The Ballers are really split on where to place Mr. Excellent heading into their matchup with Kansas City. Andy has him up at RB3, while Mike doesn’t even have him inside his top-12. Another week without seeing at least a top-24 finish out of Ekeler and it might be time for fantasy managers to worry if he’ll return his 1st round value.
Cordarrelle Patterson (ATL) @ LA Rams
Patterson picked up where he left off from 2021 with an overall RB4 finish in Week 1 against the Saints. What’s most impressive about what Patterson did in Week 1 is that his production came mainly on the ground instead of in the passing game. In 2021, Patterson finished as a top-24 RB ten times, but in only one of those games did he catch the ball 3 times or less. Last week, Patterson had 22 carries for 120 yards and just 3 receptions.
The Rams may pose a bigger threat to capping Patterson’s upside after they held Bills RBs to just 65 yards in their debut last Thursday night. Only Mike has Patterson ranked inside the top-24 heading into Week 2, while Andy and Jason have him at 26 and 29.
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) vs Cincinnati
Disappointing is an easy way to put the Cowboys’ use of Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday night against the Bucs. Elliott only saw 10 carries and 2 targets on the night, despite averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Dallas will have to reconfigure their offense over the next month with QB Dak Prescott out due to a thumb injury.
Leaning on the running game will be a must, but the Bengals aren’t the team to try and get your running game right against. In Week 1, Cincinnati held Pittsburgh to just 75 total rushing yards. Each of the Ballers have Elliott inside their top-24 RBs for Week 2, but I’d be cautious of starting Zeke with so many questions around the Cowboys’ offense as a whole.
Michael Thomas (NO) vs Tampa Bay
Can’t Guard Mike is back! The WR8 in Week 1, Thomas caught 2 TDs in a game for the first time since Week 5 of the 2019 season. The Hitman has restored faith in his fellow Mike, putting him at WR17 heading into a tough matchup against the Bucs.
Fantasy managers will get to see if the Saints offense that looked dangerous at times down the stretch against Atlanta in Week 1 can continue the trend before fully believing the former overall WR1 is back to his previous form.
Courtland Sutton (DEN) vs Houston
Saying the Broncos’ offense did not impress in their Monday night debut at Seattle would be an understatement. However, there were bright spots for fantasy managers to cling to going forward and Sutton was one of them. Even though he finished at WR37, Sutton’s 7 targets tied him for the most of the Broncos wide receivers. Jerry Jeudy had the flashier stat line with 102 yards and a TD, but 67 of those yards came on one play. Sutton had more receptions on the same number of targets and seemed to my eyeballs to be the better of the two options.
The Ballers each have Sutton in that top-12 WR range on the week but there’s a pretty high ceiling for him this week. Sutton gets to matchup with the Texans defense that allowed Michael Pittman to finish as Week 1’s WR5, Sutton will get the chance to show he’s the true WR1 in this offense.
DeVonta Smith (PHI) vs Minnesota
A truly awful first week for DeVonta Smith has to have fantasy managers scratching their heads and looking to other options to shift to. Smith drew only 4 targets in a game that ended with a combined 73 points, so there’s plenty of concern to go around.
All that said, I think Smith will be made a priority to be involved in their Monday night game against Minnesota. Head Coach Nick Sirianni called Smith a “great playmaker” after Sunday’s game, so there’s hope to see him schemed into more relevance in Week 2. None of the Ballers share my confidence, with only Mike putting Smith as a top-36 option heading into their primetime action Monday.
Evan Engram (JAX) vs Indianapolis
Engram’s debut in Jacksonville shouldn’t have turned a ton of heads after finishing at TE26 on the week. Of the Ballers, Mike has the most confidence in Engram being a relevant option to keep your eye on for Week 2 though, ranking him as the TE14.
What’s intriguing about Engram for Week 2 is Jacksonville’s matchup with the Colts. Indianapolis gave up 20 points to the TE position in Week 1 and Engram saw 100% of targets for the Jaguars’ TEs to start the season. Another interesting fact: Engram lined up outside of the TE position for 61% of the snaps he played last week, which means there’s a chance he can get extremely involved in Jacksonville’s passing game.
Pat Freiermuth (PIT) vs New England
The Muth got decently luth against the Steelers overtime win against the Bengals in Week 1, finishing as the TE8 on the week. Freiermuth’s 10 targets were second on the team behind only Diontae Johnson who finished with 12. Each of the Ballers has Freiermuth as a back-end TE1 on the week, but the Muth can consistently move his way into the top-6 range with a repeat of last week.
What’s most interesting about Friermuth’s 2022 debut is that 55% of his yards on the week came in overtime when the plays mattered the most. The Muth had 3 receptions for 41 yards in OT, including the catch that set up the game-winning field goal for the Steelers. I can only think that type of trust from Mitch Trubisky will mean more in weeks to come.