Did you start off with a loss in Week 1? Let's get you a win! Got a win already? Let's get you another. That's why I'm writing this, and it's why you clicked on it. So, let's get to it.
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In tomorrow's newsletter, I'll have previews of every game on the Week 2 schedule, including the latest injury updates for everyone you need to know about, plus all of the key takeaways from tonight's big Chargers-Chiefs game.
Get ready for Week 2 with all of our preview content here:
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- Week 2 Position Previews: | | |
- Week 2 Rankings: Jamey | Dave | Heath |
Here's what else today's newsletter will cover:
2️⃣Dave Richard's Week 2 Preview
There are the obvious calls, and then there are the ones you need help with. Dave Richard goes through each game to identify the most interesting matchups and biggest lineup dilemmas for Week 2. Here are some of his top picks for this week.:
- Gerald Everett -- "Everett's a solid player with good size, but make no mistake that it's his opportunity in one of the league's pass-heaviest offenses (62.5% pass rate in 2021) that makes him a starter."
- Carson Wentz -- "Expect the passing volume to stay up against a Lions pass defense that didn't look as good as their 56.3% completion rate allowed suggests (Jalen Hurts had an EPA per dropback of 0.29, fourth-highest in Week 1). It helps that the Commanders may not be ready to fully trust Gibson as a pure runner."
- Rashod Bateman -- "Bateman can thank busted coverage by the Jets secondary for 93% of his yardage and his touchdown last week. He can thank himself for earning four other targets, including one pass going right through his hands."
- James Robinson -- "Robinson looked amazing on his first carry and pretty good on his others, though his O-line struggled to consistently find space for him to run. The Colts should feel pretty comfortable matching up with Robinson and the Jaguars front five after they did a nice job containing the Texans run game (2.9 yards per carry to running backs) last week. Getting Shaquille Leonard back would make the matchup even harder on Robinson."
- Curtis Samuel -- "Samuel had a ridiculous 26.8% target share in Week 1 with 6.0 yards after catch per reception ... and a measly 1.0-yard average depth of target. Samuel basically helped Washington make up for its lack of a reliable run game by being a short-area target. Only two of his routes went beyond 10 yards downfield."
- Sterling Shepard -- "Shepard landed most of his Fantasy points on an exceptionally rare play for him -- a 65-yard deep bomb touchdown. Busted coverage by Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton played a major role. It was literally the third-longest play of Shepard's career."
- Tom Brady -- "Since joining the Bucs, Brady has one game with more than 23 Fantasy points against the Saints -- and two with under five! To be fair, Brady has typically posted better numbers against the Saints in his first meeting before completely wilting in the second. Both first meetings have been in New Orleans. But Brady's got it tough this week -- Chris Godwin's out, Mike Evans' calf is ailing, Russell Gage's hamstring isn't all the way back, Rob Gronkowski's retired, and Antonio Brown is rapping somewhere."
🆚TNF Preview: Chargers at Chiefs
All lines from Caesars Sportsbook
- Line: Chiefs -4; 54.5 over/under
- Implied totals: Chiefs 29.25-Chargers 25.25
I'm surprised the line isn't more favorable for the Chiefs after their dominant Week 1 win over the Cardinals, though the Chargers did play them to a draw last season in a pair of close games. Patrick Mahomes didn't seem to miss Tyreek Hill in Week 1, and the Chargers offense rolled despite Keenan Allen missing most of the game. Both teams figure to spread the ball around a ton this week, and we still don't quite know what the receiving hierarchies look like, especially in Kansas City. That could make it hard to take advantage of such an enticing offense pair of teams for Fantasy.
- Toughest lineup decision: Josh Palmer -- Sit. I'm worried I'm too low on Palmer, who played well in one game without Allen last season. I've got him as more of a WR4 for this one, but he did have17.6 PPR points in that game with Allen sidelined -- though that was in large part because he scored a touchdown, as his five-catches-for-66-yards line was kind of pedestrian otherwise, seeing as he ran a route on 87% of drop backs. He's a fine flex, but not someone I view as a must-start even without Allen. I'm expecting Mike Williams to be the lead receiver, with a big bounceback game coming.
- Injuries: Keenan Allen (hamstring) -- Allen has been ruled out for Thursday's game, which isn't a surprise given the quick turnaround. Hopefully, the extra time off before Week 3 helps him get back to full strength ... Donald Parham (hamstring) -- Parham is expected to miss his second game in a row. That, combined with Allen's absence, makes Gerald Everett a top-12 TE for me. He might just be a top-12 TE the rest of the season, too ... Harrison Butker (ankle) -- Butker has been ruled out for the game, with practice squad kicker Matt Ammendola set to replace him. Ammendola went 13 for 18 on field goal tries for the Jets last season. He was perfect from inside 40 yards but just 2 for 8 from 40 or longer. The Chiefs will probably be a bit more aggressive on fourth down tries than they would if Butker was available, but Ammendola is a decent one-week fill-in if you need one, given the expected offensive production in this one.
🚑Week 2 Injury Watch
The Big News: By all accounts, Najee Harris is going to play in Week 2 despite leaving Sunday's game with a foot injury. Just ask him -- he's said he plans to practice this week and play Sunday. He did just that Wednesday, albeit on a limited basis, which certainly puts him on track to play. And I'll probably rank him as a starting-caliber RB for Fantasy given how much the Steelers tend to use Harris when he's healthy, but I already noted in Wednesday's newsletter that I view him as a sell-high candidate, and I'm going to be worried about this injury recurring moving forward. That makes him a risky start in any given week, let alone against a tough matchup like the Patriots. This Steelers offense might just continue to be mediocre-to-bad, and Harris at less than 100% in a mediocre-to-bad offense probably doesn't have as much upside as you think; certainly not to justify the increased risk.
I'll have a full breakdown of the injury report in Friday's newsletter along with my previews of each game, but here's a look at the first practice participation reports of the week.
- FP = Full participation in practice.
- LP = Limited participation.
- DNP = Did not practice.
Injuries to watch for Week 2
It's not clear what these injuries mean quite yet.
- J.K. Dobbins (knee) -- FP. Dobbins practiced in full for the first time, with one beat writer noting he "looked good." It's not clear if Dobbins has been fully cleared for contact yet, but this is obviously a good sign for his potential availability. I still wouldn't view him as a starter for this week, because I expect his reps to be limited, but if you're desperate, he could get 10 touches.
- D'Andre Swift (DNP) -- DNP. The extent of the injury is not known at this time, but the fact that Swift missed practice is obviously concerning. The only real knock against Swift has been his inability to stay healthy, so this definitely isn't what we wanted to see after a massive Week 1. We'll keep a close eye on this one.
- Alvin Kamara (ribs) -- LP. Kamara was limited in Week 1 as a result of the injury, apparently, which hopefully helps explain why he wasn't used much. We'd like to see him get cleared for a full practice by Friday, but I'm not lowering him in my rankings much -- yet. Mark Ingram was limited with an ankle injury as well, and with both backs dealing with injuries, the Saints added Latavius Murray to their practice squad.
- Jameis Winston (back) -- LP. Winston left Sunday's game briefly but ultimately didn't miss any snaps. I wouldn't expect this to be an issue for Week 2, and he's No. 2 QB against the Buccaneers.
- Leonard Fournette (hamstring) -- LP. Fournette appeared to come up limping on his final carry Sunday night, so this is something to keep an eye on. The fact that he was able to practice on a limited basis is a good sign for his chances of playing. Rachaad White is worth rostering as insurance either way, but Fournette should continue to dominate work if he's healthy.
- Tee Higgins (concussion) -- LP. Higgins is working his way through the concussion protocol, but this is his first concussion and he's already getting some work in practice, so you have to like his chances of playing. He's a strong WR2 when healthy, while his absence would make Tyler Boyd a viable WR3 if it came to pass.
- Michael Pittman (quad) -- LP. This is the first we're hearing of an injury to Pittman, so hopefully, it's no big deal. The concern would be if he suffered the injury during practice, but that's just me being a worry wart. For now, I'm expecting Pittman to play his usual role.
- Mike Evans (calf) -- LP. Evans had his leg wrapped at practice, but it doesn't sound like it's a serious issue. I'm expecting him to play in Week 2, but he's more of a WR against a Saints defense he has really struggled with over the years.
- Russell Gage (hamstring)/Julio Jones (knee) -- DNP. Here are the seemingly more serious issues for the Buccaneers. It's not clear if Gage is just being rested or if he suffered a setback with the hamstring injury he's been dealing with since training camp. Jones' injury is new, though I don't expect him to practice much on Wednesdays this season anyway, so it's again hard to know how serious this issue is. With Chris Godwin likely out for a few weeks with his own hamstring injury, Gage and especially Jones should be pretty useful for Fantasy, but they have to be on the field themselves, obviously.
- Allen Lazard (ankle) -- LP. This was Lazard's return to practice, his first time out there since suffering the injury in the last week before the season. That's a good sign for his chances of playing, and the Packers receiving corps alternatives didn't exactly cover themselves in glory in his absence. I'm skeptical that Lazard is going to be a must-start guy, but if you believe in him, the performance by his peers in Week 1 should make you feel better about his chances.
- Michael Gallup (knee) -- LP. Gallup is expected to increase his reps and begin team drills this week, but it still seems like a long shot that he'll be able to play against the Bengals. The outlook for this offense is significantly diminished with Dak Prescott's thumb injury, but Gallup remains worth stashing in all formats, with the hope he'll be useful in October and beyond when Prescott is good to go.
Trending up for Week 2
This doesn't mean they will play, but we got good news about them Wednesday.
- Mac Jones (back) -- FP. Jones left Sunday's opener but has consistently downplayed the injury, and it looks like that wasn't just talk. You don't want to rely on him for a tough matchup against the Steelers, even in two-QB leagues, though.
- Kenneth Walker III (hernia) -- FP. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters he expects Walker to play this week, and this is a promising sign for his chances. It's not clear what kind of role he's going to have after missing much of training camp and the preseason, but he'll be the primary backup to the injury-prone Rashaad Penny, at least, which makes him worth rostering.
- Velus Jones (hamstring) -- LP. Jones missed his first NFL game, but it looks like there's a chance he'll be active this week. He's worth stashing in deeper formats, given the lack of talent on Chicago's depth chart.
Trending down for Week 2
This doesn't mean they won't play, but they aren't moving in the right direction yet.
- George Kittle (groin) -- DNP. Kyle Shanahan continued to sound an optimistic tone on Kittle Wednesday, but I'm going to remain skeptical until I see him on the practice field. I'm operating as if he won't be available against the Seahawks this week.
- Damien Williams (ribs) -- DNP. Williams suffered the injury after just a few plays Sunday, and it looks like it's serious enough to potentially impact his availability for Week 2. Beyond that, we don't know, but Cordarrelle Patterson figures to remain the lead back, perhaps with Avery Williams likely to see a bigger role. Or maybe Tyler Allgeier will get a chance after being a healthy scratch for his first NFL game.
- Chris Godwin (hamstring) -- DNP. Initial reports indicate Godwin is likely to miss two-to-three weeks as a result of his injury, so it's no surprise he wasn't out there at practice. He remains worth stashing, obviously, but I do worry injuries are going to be a recurring theme for his season. I hope I'm wrong.
- Wan'Dale Robinson (knee) -- DNP. Robinson injured his knee in the opener, and though he downplayed it at the time, it was serious enough to linger. Robinson's absence could open up more opportunities for Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney to see their snaps increase, though I wouldn't necessarily want to trust either for this week. Not yet, at least.
- Rondale Moore (hamstring) -- DNP. Moore suffered the injury mid-week in prep for Week 1, and it looks like his chances of playing this week aren't so hot. Greg Dortch played a big role as the primary slot receiver for the Cardinals and is an interesting flier option in deeper PPR formats.
- Van Jefferson (knee) -- DNP. Jefferson continues to recover from preseason knee surgery, but I'm not expecting him to play in Week 2 against the Falcons at this point.
- Alec Pierce (concussion) -- DNP. Pierce was diagnosed with the concussion after the opener, putting his availability for Week 2 in doubt. Pierce is a decent stash, but he didn't exactly thrive in his first taste of NFL action, dropping a would-be touchdown.
- Ty Montgomery (knee) -- Montgomery was placed on IR Wednesday. He suffered the injury in the preseason but then played through it in Week 1 -- apparently, to ill effect. He'll be eligible to return after four games, with Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Pierre Strong likely to split his snaps. I don't view anyone there as a likely top-24 RB until we get more clarity on roles -- Harris and Stevenson split carries and even saw some passing downs work, in addition to Montgomery's role as the primary third-down back.