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Fantasy Football: Top smash plays, upgrades and fades for Week 2

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson (32) runs the ball while Indianapolis Colts safety Julian Blackmon (32) defends in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season is here, and so is the weekly look at the top smash, upgrade and fade plays for fantasy football. I'll integrate NFL totals, spreads, implied points and proprietary PFF matchup data each week looking looking for players who score highly or poorly across all of the metrics. 

Click here for more PFF tools:

Rankings & ProjectionsWR/CB Matchup ChartNFL & NCAA Betting DashboardsNFL Player Props toolNFL & NCAA Power Rankings

While the logic below can apply to multiple fantasy games, the primary focus is on season-long leagues. The content doesn't account for rostership in DFS — where you need some contrarian views to take down large tournaments. Many of the plays below will be chalky, which is another data point I leverage for start/sit decisions in season-long formats.


  • SOS: PFF's Fantasy Strength of Schedule (SoS) metric provides a league-wide, season-long view of opponent matchups for each fantasy position.
  • OL Pass Block Advantage (OL PBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (pass blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • OL Run Block Advantage (OL RBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (run blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa)
  • WR/CB Matchup Advantage (WR MU): wide receiver versus cornerback matchup; derived from the WR/CB Matchup tool (matchup advantage grade — the higher the grade, the better the matchup for the receiver, and vice versa).
  • TE Matchup Advantage (TE MU): tight end versus linebackers and safeties; derived from the TE Matchup tool (matchup advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the tight end, and vice versa).


For quarterbacks, we are looking for big point totals and implied points. The spread doesn't matter as much for pass-heavy teams, but we are looking for trailing scripts that could cause run-heavy offenses to throw more than usual.

Player Opponent Total Spread Implied Points QB SOS OL PBA
Russell Wilson TEN 54.0 -5.5 29.75 6.3 13
Tom Brady ATL 52.0 -12.5 32.25 5.1 18
Justin Herbert DAL 55.0 -3.0 29.00 5.3 19

The Seahawks' Week 1 tempo wasn't the hair-on-fire pace we were promised, but the offense was as efficient as ever and didn't need to press down on the gas. As a result, Wilson gets a solid matchup and the fourth-most implied points, making this a smash spot.

Brady lands in the smash tier in consecutive weeks thanks to the highest implied total on the Week 2 slate.

Herbert will face the Cowboys in the second-highest projected game total. He also has the fifth-highest implied total and gets a defense minus its best pass rusher, Demarcus Lawrence. Hulk. Smash. Game.

Near Smashes/Upgrades
Player Opponent Total Spread Implied Points QB SOS OL PBA
Aaron Rodgers DET 48.0 -11.5 29.75 10.0 -8
Dak Prescott @LAC 55.0 3.0 26.00 5.6 3
Baker Mayfield HST 48.0 -12.5 30.25 6.7 43

Rogers pulls the top matchup for the week and the third-best implied-point total. The only reason he doesn't land in the smash category is the -11.5 point spread paired with the Packers' willingness to run when ahead.

Dak lands another shootout script. Fire it up.

Mayfield isn't a near-smash, but he gets an upgrade based on a good matchup and gobs of implied points. Every score could easily go to the running backs, but we could see one of those hyper-efficient weeks with three passing touchdowns and 300 yards on low volume.


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