Over the past few seasons, I recall coming out of Week 1 thinking, “what in the world just happened?” This season, while there were some surprises, I came out of Week 1 thinking that many of the things that transpired were not entirely out of the blue. Sure there were flashes like Ryan Fitzpatrick, but overall the week felt semi-normal. So what should you be looking for in Week 2?
1. Waiver Wire Watch
One of the worst things about Week 1 is the waiver wire. You’ll be tempted to pick up the top performers (Will Dissly!), but it may require dropping a player with a much higher season-long outlook. Some owners will make rash decisions like that. While this article will post after the waivers for every league, it’s important to look at who was dropped. On the Wednesday Pump the Breaks, Stash or Trash episode of the Fantasy Footballers Podcast, the Ballers mentioned a league where an owner dropped Zach Ertz in favor of Will Dissly. If your waiver wire is sorted by points scored, a dropped player may fall under the radar. Scour that wire before this weekend to see if anyone made any rash decisions. If you made a rash decision, make sure you check the FFBallers Rankings to reconsider your position.
2. Rookie QBs
Heading into Week 1, only Sam Darnold was going to see playing time. Partway through the Bills game, Josh Allen took over and was subsequently named the starting QB for Week 2. Darnold looked very good in his Week 1 win over the Lions, so we’re looking to see if he can continue his performance. During draft season, most Jets players were typically drafted as backups. If Darnold can keep performing well, Jets players are likely to become weekly starters.
In Buffalo, things are not looking as rosy. While a full week of starter practice reps should help Josh Allen, the Bills looked terrible in Week 1 and welcome a Chargers team with high expectations coming off a tough loss. The poor performance of the Bills in Week 1 has dropped the expectations of all their players.
Out west, Sam Bradford looked terrible in Week 1 and a Week 2 game against the division rival and Super Bowl hopeful L.A. Rams does not bode well for him. There is a real chance Josh Rosen gets playing time which impacts the Cardinals offense.
Back east, Tyrod Taylor’s real performance did not mirror his fantasy performance. While I don’t expect a QB change until later in the year if at all, I doubt the Baker Mayfield would cause the team to skip a beat if he took snaps. The Browns division rival Ravens are also not likely to make a QB change with Joe Flacco showing well in Week 1.
3. Banged Up QBs
Last year, the loss of top QBs impacted many teams performances in the passing game which had significant ramifications on fantasy football. Week 1 picked up right where we left off with quite a few QBs sustaining injuries. While they all appear to be starting Week 2, the injuries may impact the game plan and the offenses as a whole due to missed practice time. You can read more thoughts about these QBs in the weekly Decoding the Top 12 QBs article.
Ben Roethlisberger – Ballers Rank: QB3
It’s a regular season game, which means Ben has an injury designation throughout the week of practice. All signs point to him playing in a juicy home matchup against the Chiefs who gave up a big game to Philip Rivers last week.
Aaron Rodgers – Ballers Rank: QB8
Rodgers is still rehabbing his knee and there has been little indication on his status for Sunday. Missing the game would have a significant impact on the team in a crucial division matchup with the Vikings.
Matthew Stafford – Ballers Rank: QB15
Stafford suffered a shin injury in his Week 1 meltdown against the Jets in Prime Time. This week he faces a slightly weaker 49er Defense, which may get him back in the good graces of his owners. While he’s not a must-start, he is also not a QB that should be dropped to the waiver wire…yet.
Marcus Mariota – Ballers Rank: QB 24
Mariota is expected to play, but reports suggest that his elbow injury could be a factor, perhaps leading to a more run-heavy approach against a tough Texans defense. He’s a drop candidate if you need a waiver pickup or want to stream another QB.
4. TE Injury Replacements
When it comes to injuries in the NFL, the TE position is one of the most brutal. If a TE is not running a passing route, they are blocking a 300+lb defensive linemen. When they do run a route, it’s often in the space occupied by linebackers and hard-hitting safeties. This constant barrage of collisions inevitably leads to injuries. In Week 1, we lost two of the top-10 TEs in Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker. Both TEs are vital cogs in their team’s offense. While their replacements, Ian Thomas and Jonnu Smith respectively, were likely picked up off waivers, it will be interesting to see how these young TEs fill in for the savvy veterans.
5. Continued Trends
Week 2 is always the time to figure out if we see a trend or a flash in the pan. Many of the performances that surprised in Week 1, such as the Buccaneers and Jets finishing as two of the highest scoring teams in the league, will come crashing back to earth…or will they? Week 2 is a vital week to determine players opportunities. Even if the player doesn’t score well in Weeks 1 & 2, tracking their opportunities highlighted by my fellow writers in their Snap Count Observations and Target Report will help owners find those waiver wire selections that have real potential for future value and prevent you from dropping players who will score fantasy points.
These are some of the big things to look forward to in Week 2. Tune in next week to see what we’re looking forward to in Week 3!