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Erickson: Week 2 fantasy football rankings overview

We waited tirelessly for the start of the NFL season, and it delivered big time. I expect Week 2 to be just as exciting with some great matchups on deck for Sunday.

The Atlanta Falcons face the Dallas Cowboys in what should be an offensive fireworks display; star quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson go head-to-head; and Cam Newton plays under the lights in primetime on Sunday night when the New England Patriots visit Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.

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In this week’s preview of the NFL slate, I'll take a deep dive into every remaining Week 2 matchup looking for DFS picks/fades, sleepers, busts, deep-league plays and waiver wire moves, with consideration for injuries and other fantasy-relevant news and notes. Consider it a peek behind the curtain of my weekly fantasy rankings

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans

The NFL schedule-makers must have made a mistake — Jaguars-Titans is seemingly always played under the Thursday night lights, where running back Derrick Henry inevitably goes off in front of a national audience. He's a top-three running back this week — I expect his history of dominance to continue in Week 2.

Henry finished as the RB3 overall on the back of 30.5 fantasy points the last time he faced the Jaguars. Henry saw 91.2% of his team’s carries in Week 1 (31) With a heavy workload locked in against a bad Jaguars run defense that allowed 4.3 yards per attempt last week to the Indianapolis Colts, he is going to smash.

Henry needs to be a staple in DFS cash lineups — even if we see the Jaguars surprise and play with a lead in this game, Henry’s work in the passing game in Week 1 was extremely encouraging and would mitigate a negative game script. He ran 20 routes, which was more than he totaled in any game in 2019; he also had three receptions on three targets, which matched season highs from last season.

A.J. Brown disappointed on Monday Night Football, so you might be hesitant to slide him back into your starting lineup, but I wouldn't be too concerned.  Despite the rise of Corey Davis and his team-leading eight targets, Brown was right behind him with seven targets and just had a bad game in terms of creating yards after the catch.

Brown’s career average YAC per reception is 8.3, but in Week 1 he only averaged 2.8. Bigger plays are going to happen if Brown continues to see a 19% target share, and it could easily be this week against the Jaguars. The last time Brown faced Jacksonville he had four catches for 135 yards and a touchdown while averaging 33.8 YAC per reception. In Week 1, the Jaguars allowed the most receiving yards after the catch (219) and 6.1 YAC per reception.

Brown also has the better WR/CB matchup against Jaguars’ cornerback Tre Herndon, who earned a 58.6 coverage grade and missed two tackles. Davis will be facing off against rookie C.J. Henderson, who was excellent in his debut — he generated a 28.3 passer rating when targeted, which earned the second-highest PFF defensive grade (84.2) among cornerbacks.

I think Gardner Minshew is a fine streamer in this spot as a player easily attainable off the waiver wire, but he's much more of a floor player. The projected total in this game is only at 42.5. With Jacksonville 9-point dogs on the road, I don’t think they'll be putting up an insane point total, especially if the Titans are able to control the clock with the ground game.

Both teams enter Week 2 after ranking above average in run play percentage (40%) in Week 1. The Jaguars averaged just 20 points per game in their two matchups against the Titans in 2019.

The one Jaguars wide receiver I like is D.J. Chark Jr., who only had three receptions in Week 1. But when Chark played with Minshew in this same matchup last season, he went for 76 yards and a touchdown. I expect more of that in Week 2, as Chark draws 36-year old journeyman Johnathan Joseph in coverage.

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers


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