News & Analysis

Sunday Study Session: Fantasy rankings and advice for Week 2

(Every Sunday morning, we’ll wrap up the week in fantasy football content with our Study Session, a last-minute guide to our top advice of the week, featuring the highlights of that week’s analysis.)

My best friend always hated fantasy football. He likes the Bears, he watched the Bears, he watched other games passively, that was all he needed.

After years of asking, though, he finally relented and joined my home league when there was an opening this year. He forgot the draft time, missed the first four rounds, and got autopicked … Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. “I hate you,” he texted me Sunday night.

“Why?”

“I can feel myself liking fantasy football.”

But one of the things about being new to a game, any game, is you miss some of the intricacies. Travis started Nelson Agholor as his flex in Week 1, which is a fine play … except Agholor played Thursday night. It’s smart, if almost always not meaningful, to start a Thursday player in his position and not a flex spot. That way, if you get the worst news Sunday morning, you have more options for a replacement. I explained it to Travis, but not until it was too late. It didn’t end up mattering, but Travis now knows that message.

Unfortunately, apparently I don’t.

This is a superflex league, and I have four quarterbacks rostered — Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, and Jameis Winston. Winston is obviously not an option for me. With Taylor playing the Saints in Week 2, I expect a shootout, and as a result have him ranked higher than Dalton this week. So I started Taylor and Rodgers and benched Dalton. That Dalton had four touchdowns Thursday night is frustrating, but I think I ultimately made the right decision, even if the outcome might be wrong, so I’m not complaining.

Only … the problem. Rodgers is a question mark this week. He looks likely to play, but not a guarantee. And because I benched Dalton and he’s played already, there’s at least a reasonable chance I’d be down to only Taylor in Week 2.

I needed a second quarterback. And the only option on the wire is none other than DeShone Kizer. If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play Week 2, I will be starting Kizer. I had to drop Anthony Miller — one of my favorite sleepers — and now I have five quarterbacks on a roster. All because I burned myself with a Thursday lineup decision.

(Please play, Aaron.)

No one is immune from mistakes. And everyone can use a little help. Here’s some from us. Read on, click through, and get help making your Sunday decisions.

This week on PFF Fantasy

Rankings and start/sit

These are the big-ticket items. Our overall look at what we’re doing and how we make those decisions. On Tuesday, Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down the best waiver claims of the week. Wednesday, he publishes his top 150 for that week. Thursday, Scott Barrett attempts to solve some of the top start-or-sit questions. Tuesdays also feature Mike Castiglione and Walton Spurlin offering advice for the key streamers (QB and DST, respectively).

A snapshot of the flex rankings

22. Keenan Allen, LAC @ BUF (WR7) — Gamescript could somewhat limit the Chargers passing game, but Allen is still an every-week WR1.
23. Rob Gronkowski, NE @ JAC (TE1) — Gronk smashed in Week 1 but draws a rough matchup in this contest.
24. Adrian Peterson, WAS vs IND (RB16) — The veteran saw a huge workload in Week 1 and should have his way in this plus matchup.
25. Tyreek Hill, KC @ PIT (WR8) — What do we get for an encore after last week’s breakout performance from Hill and Patrick Mahomes?

Two starts, two sits

START George Kittle in shallow leagues: Marquise Goodwin is still seriously banged up, Darius Slay is then likely to shadow Pierre Garcon, and Detroit’s defense just let the youngest starting quarterback in NFL history drop 48 points in his first career game.
START Ricky Seals-Jones in deep leagues: The Rams will be a dream matchup for tight ends all year. Seals-Jones, who ranked fourth among tight ends in expected fantasy points and ranked sixth in target market share (17.6 percent) is no exception.
SIT Amari Cooper in shallow leagues: This week he goes up against a Denver defense (at home) that surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers last year.
SIT Sammy Watkins in medium-sized leagues: Unlike with Chris Hogan, if you drafted Watkins, it might be time to panic. Watkins has shown zero rapport with new QB Patrick Mahomes.

Waiver claims to make

ADD Kenny Golladay in shallow leagues — Volume wasn’t an issue for Golladay, as he blew up for 114 yards on seven catches in Week 1. A breakout year is brewing.
ADD Austin Ekeler in medium-sized leagues — Be careful to not overvalue Ekeler. Yes, he had a good fantasy week, but he’s still well behind Melvin Gordon in the touch pecking order.
ADD Ian Thomas in deep leagues — Greg Olsen is banged up, which could put the rookie Thomas in play this week.

QB streamers

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles: Foles is a strong Week 2 rebound candidate assuming Carson Wentz remains sidelined. For one, Philadelphia faces a Buccaneers pass defense that just got obliterated by Drew Brees and company.

DST streamers

Houston Texans: There is a very good chance Blaine Gabbert will be under center in Week 2. … In the last 12 games he’s played, Gabbert has 12 touchdowns while turning the ball over 14 times. Those are numbers worth streaming a defense against.

Deeper dives

You come to use for more than the surface material. Our writers go deeper with thoughts on situations down the road and looking deeper into each week’s games.

Snaps, Pace, and Stats

Chiefs at Steelers: It’s worth noting they operated at an elevated seconds-per-snap pace (27.9; 14th-quickest) relative to their historically slothy ways. Of course, with new quarterback Patrick Mahomes and an arsenal of explosive weaponry, the Chiefs don’t need play volume to make noise. … The Steelers are a more voluminous offense at home than on the road. Last year, their 69.9 plays per game in Pittsburgh would have led the league for the full season.

Trade value chart

Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans: This week’s biggest riser — in both PPR and standard — was Corey Davis. Davis saw an elite 13 targets last week (sixth among all receivers) and his season-long outlook improved because of Delanie Walker’s unfortunate injury.

Weather and venue adjustments

New England Patriots: The Patriots/Jaguars afternoon affair has the best chance of rain on the docket. That should have the biggest negative impact on the Patriots’ passing game, which was already in for a tough road.

RB committee report

Kerryon Johnson trending UP: The most effective player in the Lions’ backfield on Monday night was Johnson, who has been turning heads all summer.
Tarik Cohen trending DOWN: The Bears’ coaches warned us about Jordan Howard’s expected three-down role, and that came to fruition in Week 1 as he actually ran more routes than Cohen (24-20) and hauled in all five of his targets for 25 yards.

DFS advice

We hit weekly DFS from all angles — bargains, stacks, fades, locks. We also look at the best ways to build a DFS lineup on DraftKings (tournament or cash game) and FanDuel (tournament or cash game). And Tyler Loechner tracks the biggest salary-changers from one week to the next.

Bargains

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins: Tannehill is one of the cheapest QBs on the slate. Don’t let the Jets’ Week 1 performance sway you — this is a team with serious issues when it comes to rushing the passer.
Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders: If Derek Carr, who owns one of the lowest yards-per-attempt averages over the past two seasons, continues to check down, Cook is the guy to own.

Locks

Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers: Gordon shredded the Chiefs last week with 166 total yards, and he gets another plus matchup in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills in a game that should provide a very positive game script for the Chargers.
Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers: Funchess is simply too cheap for his expected workload this week against a Falcons defense that just lost safety Keanu Neal.

Stacks

Patrick Mahomes, QB; Tyreek Hill, WR; Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: You’ll want to get in on both stacks in the Steelers-Chiefs game projected to hit the highest points total of any game on the slate by a considerable amount.

Fades/Contrarian Plays

Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers: Only once since the start of last season did a team’s running backs combine to hit 100 rushing yards against Minnesota. Running backs average just 3.56 yards per carry against them over this span, while Williams has averaged just 3.59 yards per carry himself.

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