Fantasy Football

Michael F. Florio's Week 2 fantasy sleepers

Week 1 was amazing. It's always great to be able to watch football all day long after waiting months to have it back -- but it was even sweeter this year given the circumstances. Week 1 was also very educational for fantasy purposes. We headed into the fantasy season with no preseason, so we were really going off hunches and information from beat reporters. But in Week 1 we got the first glimpse of how teams will divvy up touches and targets. Not everything that happened in Week 1 is a sign of things to come, but it is a start. The most important thing I was looking for was usage.

Diontae Johnson saw great usage in Week 1 but it is going under the radar. There were a lot of storylines around that Steelers game -- Ben Roethlisberger's return, JuJu Smith-Schuster catching two touchdowns and having one of the best celebrations to date and James Conner getting injured. But what a lot of people aren't talking about is the fact that Johnson led the Steelers with 10 targets. He had a 32 percent target share, the next closest to him was Smith-Schuster at 19 percent. He also saw 29 percent of the team's air yards, while the only other player above 19 percent was James Washington (22 percent). That's the kind of volume that can make Johnson a starting option every week. Denver may look like a tough matchup on paper, but I would still trust Johnson and the Steelers' passing attack. He is a upside WR3 or flex option this week.

Here are more Week 2 sleepers!

Mitch Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears

Heading into the season I thought Mitch Trubisky would be the first QB to lose the starting job this season. Now here I am in Week 2 talking him up as a sleeper. But Trubisky handled business against the Lions in Week 1 (he always handles business against Detroit) scoring nearly 25 fantasy points and finishing as the QB7. He is gifted another strong matchup in Week 2 against the Giants, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs since the 2019 (20.77). That includes three touchdown passes to Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1 who was playing in his first game in nearly a year. For those having to dive a little deeper or in a two-QB format, Trubisky is in play this week.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill does not get enough credit for being a very consistent fantasy QB. In 11 starts with the Titans he has topped 19 fantasy points in eight of those. In the three games he failed to do so he scored 18.84, 17.92 and 13.78. That is really one bad game since taking over as the starter. Oh, and his best game during this stretch came against the Jaguars, whom he dropped 32.36 fantasy points on. Tannehill takes on that same Jags team, which has allowed 262 passing yards per game to QBs since 2019. He has been super consistent and showcased his ceiling last year against this team. He is a nice sleeper for those in need of a QB this week. 

Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

Joshua Kelley outscored Austin Ekeler in Week 1. I am not expecting that to be the norm, but it was interesting to see Kelley getting both Chargers touches inside the 5-yard line. Kelley will not see the volume to be a top RB if Ekeler is there but being the goal line back is a role he can carve out that would make keep him in the flex range all season. He is especially flexy when you consider his matchup this week. He takes on a Chiefs defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to RBs since 2019 (28.16). It's allowed 16 touchdowns in that span, including one to David Johnson last week.

Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills

Zack Moss scored more fantasy points than Devin Singletary in Week 1. Both Bills backs finished with nine carries and it was surprising to see Singletary have more targets after Moss was talked up as the pass-catching back. But Moss did have four targets himself. The best part for Moss in Week 1 was he had four carries inside the 10-yard line and two targets. Singletary did not touch the ball inside the 10. If the Bills backs are going to split time in both the ground and passing game, but Moss sees the touches near the goal line, he will be the Bills back to trust most weeks. That includes this week who have allowed 26.01 fantasy PPG (ninth-most) and 18 scrimmage touchdowns (seventh-most) to RBs since 2019. Moss is a flex option in a strong Week 2 matchup.

D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

Adrian Peterson was the Lions RB that everyone came away talking about because he had 14 carries while Swift only had three. But Swift led this backfield in snaps (42 percent to Peterson's 32) and targets (5). He also was the only Lions back used inside the 5-yard line. Swift scored a touchdown which must make you feel good about that work moving forward. This week he faces a Packers team that has allowed 18 touchdowns to RBs over the last year. This is also a game where the Lions could be chasing points, which would lead to more targets for Swift. He is a sneaky flex option especially for those in deeper leagues.

Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Williams is not getting talked up enough after Week 1. I get it, the Chargers offense did not put up huge numbers in Week 1. But Williams was a bright spot for them leading the team with nine targets and 145 air yards. He had a 31 percent target share and 43 percent air-yard share. That is a lot of opportunity for the big WR. And opportunity is what matters most in fantasy football because it is hard to score points if the ball isn't being thrown his way. The Chiefs matchup is a tough one on paper, as they've allowed the second-fewest fantasy PPG to WRs since 2019. But this is a game where the Chargers are likely chasing points and having to throw more than they did in Week 1. And we know if they are throwing down field it is going Williams' way. He is a high-upside flex option this week. 

Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Russell Gage saw big-time volume in Week 1. You may be starting to notice a trend with the WRs. Early in the season volume is what I am most interested in. While Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley were big talk after Week 1, Gage matched them both with 12 targets and nine catches of his own. All three racked up over 100-yards against the Seahawks last week. Gage is no lock to see that sort of volume every week, but this is another game against a high-powered offense where the Falcons could be trialing late and throwing often again. Gage caught us by surprise in Week 1, but he is a high upside flex this week.

Tre'Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints

The Saints face the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football this week. Vegas has allowed 171 receiving yards per game (ninth-most) and 18 touchdowns to WRs since 2019. This is a secondary that can be exploited as we saw Teddy Bridgewater and Robby Anderson do last week. Smith is the Saints' top field-stretcher and I expect them to take some shots deep with him to open things up near the line of scrimmage for Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook and Emmanuel Sanders. Smith should get an uptick in targets if Michael Thomas is forced to miss the game due to his high ankle sprain. That is the one risk in trusting Smith this week. I think he is a very sneaky high-upside flex, but that volume will take a hit if Thomas is active. If you have Thomas and want to risk starting him if he plays, Smith is a great add that you can pivot too if Thomas sits.

Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Football Team

Logan Thomas saw more volume than I think many have realized. He led the Washington Football Team with eight targets and was third on the team with 27 routes ran. He also played 74 percent of the snaps, while no other Washington tight end played over 40 percent. He is clearly the TE1 here and a part of the passing game. That makes him a sneaky option this week in the best possible matchup for a tight end against the Cardinals. Arizona has allowed 18.66 fantasy PPG and 16 touchdowns to TEs since 2019, both the most in the NFL. In a game where Washington could be trialing, I expect Thomas to see similar volume this week. He is a sneaky TE option and a strong waiver wire fall back for those who have George Kittle up in the air. 

Rams Defense

The Rams defense only scored four fantasy points against the Cowboys in Week 1. But this week it plays the Eagles who just allowed a league-high eight sacks to the Washington Football Team. Its defense scored 15 fantasy points in Week 1, which tied for the most in the NFL. The Eagles have allowed 2.6 sacks per game since the start of 2019. Aaron Donald and the Rams front line could have a field day against this Philly team. They are my favorite defense to pick up and stream this week.

You can follow Michael F. Florio on Twitter at @MichaelFFlorio.

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