Fantasy Football: Week Two Sunday Rundown

Jacob Kleinberg gives his predictions on what sleepers to pick up for the upcoming week of NFL games.


Dolphins running back Lamar Miller runs the ball versus the Buffalo Bills during last season’s matchup between the two teams. Photo by Max Jackson|Staff Photographer

Jacob Kleinberg, Contributing Writer

Fantasy football is back! We got a glimpse at what teams are going to look like in week one of the 2015 season. There have been some injuries, some upsets and some break-out performances. Let’s take a look at this upcoming week’s matchups:

Patriots at Bills

Last Thursday night we watched the Patriots offense light up in their 28-21 win over the Steelers in their season opener. Tom Brady, Gronk and Julian Edelman all posted excellent fantasy numbers.

I think this game is going to be a tough game for the Patriots to win. Their offensive production last week came at home against an inexperienced Steelers’ defense; a unit that is still settling into a new scheme under new defensive coordinator Keith Butler. The Bills’ defense, on the other hand, looked elite against the Andrew Luck’s Colts last Sunday.

Despite Rex Ryan’s 4-9 record against the Patriots, his Jets teams have always played them close. I think he’s got a much better shot to beat them with this Bills team.

I’m avoiding any Patriot not named Rob Gronkowski this week. Buffalo will be looking to run the clock to keep Tom Brady off the field, which sets up a nice day for LeSean McCoy. I’m looking for Sammy Watkins to rebound with a decent day at home against Patriots CB Malcolm Butler, who let Antonio Brown run circles around him last week.

My sleeper pick for this game is Patriots running back Dion Lewis, who has taken on the receiving role that Shane Vereen played in his time in New England. Belichick likes to use his receiving backs against good defensive lines. He’s only owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues, and is worth a look in deeper point-per-reception (PPR) formats.

Texans at Panthers

        DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins put up 32 points last Sunday with Brian Hoyer tossing the rock. This week Ryan Mallett gets the start at quarterback, which should only add to his value. Either way, Hopkins is a week in, week out WR1 in all formats. Not much else is appealing to me on the Texans’ offense.   

On the Panthers’ side, the loss of wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the year has rendered their offense anemic. If they want to win this game, they’ll need to get tight end Greg Olsen going early.  I like Olsen for seven to 11 receptions in this game.

This game sets up to be a defensive battle. Outside of Olsen and Hopkins, there’s not much to like.

My sleeper pick in this matchup is Nate Washington. Washington lined up in three wide receiver sets for the Texans last week, and hauled in six receptions for 105 yards. The more telling stat here is that he was targeted 11 times. He’s only owned in 6 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues.

Titans at Browns

Marcus Mariota lit up the Buccaneers for four touchdowns and completed 13 out of 16 passes last weekend in his first career NFL start. It’s too early to tell if the Buccaneers are that stiflingly bad, or if Mariota is that immediately impressive. Bishop Sankey had a big week as well.

Nevertheless, I don’t like anyone in this game for either team. My sleeper pick in this one is the Titans’ defense/special teams. If Johnny Manziel starts, he’s going to throw picks, get sacked and probably fumble. They’re owned in only 16 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Cardinals at Bears

        This week, the Bears’ No. 1 wideout Alshon Jeffery is going to be shadowed by Cardinals’ pro-bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson. If you have to start Alshon this week, limit your expectations. Look for the Bears to get Matt Forte involved in the passing game early. The Saints were able to get Ingram the ball 8 times for nearly 100 yards last week, and Forte is the better back. I also think Martellus Bennett scores another touchdown this week.

I like Carson Palmer’s chances to have a big game this weekend. Both Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown will have between five and seven receptions, and I think John Brown scores another touchdown.

My sleeper for this game is Arizona running back David Johnson. I know Chris Johnson is the lead back on the depth chart while Andre Ellington is injured, but I like David Johnson’s upside better. He turned one touch into a 55 yard touchdown last Sunday. His big play ability and his long term upside make him the waiver wire add of the week this week. He’s owned in only 31 percent of Yahoo leagues this week.

Chargers at Bengals

I took Bengals’ tight end Tyler Eifert in round 13 as my TE1, and boy did that pay off. Eifert was targeted a team high 12 times last week. Andy Dalton will look to his new security blanket again this week. AJ Green is an obvious start, as well as Jeremy Hill.

Danny Woodhead is the only startable running back on the Chargers until further notice. Keenan Allen caught an astonishing 15 passes last week against Detroit, and while I don’t think that is a sustainable level of production, I do think he will lead the team again in Cincinnati. Stevie Johnson should do some good work on screen passes as well.

My sleeper in this game isn’t much of a sleeper as he went off last week for 74 yards and a touchdown on five receptions, but Ladarius Green is only owned in 43 percent of Yahoo leagues. Scoop him up now.

Lions at Vikings

Calvin Johnson will redeem himself this weekend with Golden Tate limited with a quad injury. I don’t think Eric Ebron is anything more than a TE2 with some touchdown upside, so don’t let his 15 points against the Chargers fool you.  Ameer Abdullah was impressive in his debut and he should continue his strong play against a Vikings defense, which let Carlos Hyde rush for more than 120 yards last week.

On the Vikings’ side, Adrian Peterson should be more involved this week after coaching gaffes left him on the sideline during critical offensive drives last week. I thought Charles Johnson would have a good night on Monday and I was wrong, so I’m doubling down for this week. Johnson will have seven receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. Mike Wallace should get his targets and he projects as a serviceable WR3. I don’t have a sleeper in this matchup.

Saints at Buccaneers

More or less, I’m starting everyone on the Saints this weekend where I can. More specifically, Drew Brees, Brandon Cooks, Brandon Coleman, Mark Ingram and, if he plays, C.J. Spiller are all extremely startable against a Tampa Bay defense that made Marcus Mariota look like Aaron Rodgers last week.

On the Tampa Bay side, look for Mike Evans to be the go to receiver for Jameis Winston this week. Austin Seferian-Jenkins will settle into more of a low end TE1. Avoid Doug Martin if you can. The Bucs will be playing from behind and that means a lot of passing.

My sleeper here is Brandon Coleman. He’s got ridiculous size and will be the red zone threat in New Orleans this year. He’s owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues, but he will be a hot waiver add as the season progresses. Get him before your league-mates do.

Falcons at Giants

There’s a ton to love fantasy wise in what projects to be a high scoring game in the Meadowlands. For Atlanta, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will light up the Giants’ young and inexperienced secondary. I think Tevin Coleman will have another decent outing as well. Look to him as a high upside RB3 or flex option.

The Giants’ offense should start to gel at home this Sunday. I like Odell Beckham, Jr. for a bounce back day. The Giants would be smart to get Shane Vereen going early to control the clock and keep Matt Ryan off the field.  I don’t have a sleeper for this game.

49ers at Steelers

Carlos Hyde is the man to own on the 49ers’ offense. I do think Colin Kaepernick looked sharp against the Vikings, and if you need a QB this week his ceiling is elevated against the soft Steelers’ defense. None of the 49ers’ receivers are dependable starts. Vernon Davis isn’t either.

The Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown connection will continue this week. That’s a given. I have a hard time believing Deangelo Williams puts up anywhere near 100 yards against a defense that shut down Adrian Peterson on Monday night. Heath Miller will be productive. I don’t like Markus Wheaton’s prospects at all.

No sleeper here in a straightforward matchup.

Rams at Redskins

There’s not much to love fantasy wise on the Rams’ offense. It’s unclear who will get the start at running back, but Benny Cunningham was effective last week. He’s a low end RB2 if he gets the start.

For the Redskins, Alfred Morris is going to have a rough time against an elite defensive line. My sleeper in this game, and the only Redskin I like to have a big week, is Jordan Reed. He posts excellent numbers when Kirk Cousin starts at quarterback, and he’s only owned in 67 percent of leagues. He’s a TE1 going forward.

Ravens at Raiders

This is an ugly game fantasy wise. Steve Smith Sr. will light up Oakland’s battered secondary. There’s no one else worth a start in Baltimore.

Latavius Murray had a great start in PPR with 15 points, but was limited by the poor play of his teammates. I like him to have a good season, but the Ravens play great running defense. I’m benching him on my own roster this week.

Amari Cooper may be a WR3 in this matchup because he’ll see a lot of targets, but I’d avoid it; he’ll be shadowed by top-shelf cornerback Jimmy Smith. No sleeper in this ugly matchup.

Dolphins at Jaguars

I think the Dolphins are poised for a big day in Jacksonville. Jarvis Landry, Lamar Miller, Ryan Tannehill and Jordan Cameron should all post top-15 numbers at their positions.

I’m avoiding anyone in a Jaguars jersey this week. Again, no sleeper in what I think will be a pretty one-sided game for Miami.

Cowboys at Eagles

I think Tony Romo will struggle in this one without Dez Bryant. Cole Beasley will make for a WR3 with upside in Bryant’s absence. Witten gets a real boost this week too.

On the Eagles, I like Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz against an injured Cowboy’s secondary.

My sleeper in this one is Cowboy’s WR Devin Street, who is rumored to be the fill-in No. 1 wide out in place of Dez Bryant. Don’t start him unless you’re desperate in a deep league, but he could be a good add in the long term.

Seahawks at Packers

Marshawn Lynch should have a field day.  Russell Wilson should also be able to run all over the Packers on Sunday night. None of the Seahawks’ receivers are reliable week to week, but maybe we’ll see some return magic from rookie Tyler Lockett again. And of course, Jimmy Graham should be good for some end zone looks.

In Green Bay, I don’t think we’re going to see another two touchdowns from James Jones, who should become a bit less relevant as Randall Cobb gets healthier. He had a rough day last week in Chicago, but I like Davante Adams a lot this season. Eddie Lacy is going to be limited against the stout Seattle defensive line.

Monday Night Football: Jets at Colts

Andre Johnson was disappointing against the Bills, hauling in only four receptions for 24 yards. It won’t get any easier this week for Johnson owners. If TY Hilton can’t go, then Johnson is going to have to face Darrelle Revis. Frank Gore will also struggle against a good run defense. I think Donte Moncrief will have a great day, especially if Hilton is out. I like Dwayne Allen for a touchdown as well.

The Jets’ new pro-bowl WR Brandon Marshall will have a tough time being covered by Vontae Davis, who hasn’t let up a touchdown on a receiver he’s covered since 2013. I like Eric Decker to be heavily targeted this week. Chris Ivory will have a field day. The Colts’ defense is leaky against the run.

No sleeper here, but Moncrief is only owned in 59 percent of leagues and should have a great week if you need help at wide receiver.

Jacob Kleinberg is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him on this or other articles, email him at [email protected].