Week 2 of the NFL season will show us if the unexpected performances to start the season, both positive and negative, become a trend or if players fall more in line with what was expected of them. Offenses that were underwhelming to watch for a bounce back include the Steelers, Browns and Falcons. All were expected to produce for fantasy in Week 1, but overall were disappointing. There is the added bonus of the tanking Dolphins facing the Patriots, who looked like clear Super Bowl favorites in week 1.
Game of the Week: New Orleans @ LA Rams (Rams -2.5)
A rematch of last years’ NFC championship game that had the controversial no-call help the Rams go to the Super Bowl. Both teams are expected to be playoff teams and this early match up that could have an impact on NFC playoff seeding. For fantasy purposes this game is filled with relevant players. Goff did not have a great week 1, which hurt the fantasy value of all the Ram receiving options, but with an over/under of 52.5 the expectation is there will be plenty of scoring in this game. Watching how the Rams handle any goal line carries is something to keep an eye on.
Players to Watch: Alvin Kamara, Todd Gurley, Michael Thomas, Robert Woods
Fantasy Football X Factors: Jared Cook, Brandin Cooks, Jared Goff, Malcolm Brown
Prediction: Saints for the upset. The Saints have a lot of motivation and this is a revenge game for them. I expect a close game with the Saints pulling it out in the fourth quarter. That means there will be 2 weeks in a row of exciting games the Saints play in.
Game to Watch 1: Philadelphia @ Atlanta (PHI -1.5)
Atlanta needs week 2 to go better or their playoff hopes will take a big hit, while the Eagles started slow against a Washington team that is not expected to be good in 2019. From a fantasy perspective watching the carry distribution in the Atlanta backfield is the most interesting item, since Ito Smith actually out produced Freeman in week 1. Desean Jackson powered the Eagles’ comeback in week one, the question is whether he will continue to be the top target for Carson Wentz.
Players to Watch: Miles Sanders, Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones, Carson Wentz
Fantasy Football X Factors: Calvin Ridley, Dallas Goedert, Ito Smith, Desean Jackson
Prediction: Eagles to win and cover. Even though Atlanta’s offense should bounce back at home, but the Eagles looked like their offense got on track in the 2nd half last week and that should carry over to start this game.
Game to Watch 2: Kansas City @ Oakland (KC -7.5)
Sammy Watkins was 1 of the fantasy stars of week 1, but now it is time to see how he looks when Tyreek Hill is out and teams are prepared to stop him in the passing game. For the Raiders Josh Jacobs looked very good in his NFL debut on Monday night, but a good showing against the Chiefs’ in this divisional match up will really cement him as a must start player in fantasy. Expect the Chiefs to get Kelce more involved this week as well as trying to incorporate more of the rookie WR Mecole Hardman. This game has the highest over under of the week at 53, so there should be a lot of fantasy scoring in this one.
Players to Watch: Sammy Watkins, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Jacobs, Tyrell Williams
Fantasy Football X Factors: Darren Waller, Mecole Hardman, Hunter Renfrow
Prediction: Kansas City to win and cover. Oakland player better than expected week 1, but ultimately the Chiefs’ high flying offense will prove too much for them to handle. Even though 7.5 is big number to lay on the road I think the Chiefs will be up to the task, I am slightly afraid of a garbage time score of Oakland leading to Kansas City not covering.
Game to Watch 3: Arizona @ Baltimore (BAL -13.5)
Arizona coming back to tie in week 1 was a strange NFL debut for Murray and Kingsbury. Since Arizona is not a real threat to challenge for a playoff spot, most of the implications for this game are fantasy related. Baltimore’s offense looked amazing against the Dolphins, but how much was their performance boosted by playing Miami? This week will give a better indication of fantasy value for players like Andrews, Jackson and Brown. Arizona might not be an extreme step up from Miami, but their offense will at least attempt to keep them in this game. Putting Murray in a tough situation on the road will be a real test early in his NFL career.
Players to Watch: Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, David Johnson
Fantasy Football X Factors: Christian Kirk, Marquise Brown, Justice Hill
Prediction: Ravens win, but don’t cover. The Ravens are clearly the better team, but the line being this high feels like an overreaction to beating the Dolphins so badly, but at this point the Dolphins feel more like an XFL or AAF team.