FANTASY PLAYS: Week 2 lineups tough given big injuries
By JOE GALLINA
Sep. 13, 2017
Fantasy football defenses dominated in Week 1, while several usually dependable producers like Julio Jones and Le'Veon Bell underperformed. Setting a lineup will be challenging this week due to major injuries to early picks like David Johnson and Allen Robinson, but here are some suggestions that'll help you in Week 2.
— Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay vs. Chicago
Winston faces a Bears pass defense that was ranked third worst in the NFL by Pro Football Focus heading into the 2017 season. They predictably gave up 321 yards in Week 1. The addition of big play receiver DeSean Jackson provides Winston with an additional weapon who can stretch the field. Jackson's presence should provide better opportunities for WR Mike Evans, who was fantasy football's top wide receiver in 2016 based on standard scoring. Winston has averaged just over 303 passing yards in two career games against the Bears.
— Marshawn Lynch, Oakland vs. New York Jets
Lynch looked like his old "Beast Mode" self in his first game back from a one year self-imposed layoff. He looked explosive, forced five missed tackles (tied for fourth most in Week 1), and added yards after contact. He faces a generous Jets defense that gave up the most rushing yards (190) in Week 1.
— Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville vs. Tennessee
The Jaguars will limit pass attempts this season for mistake-prone quarterback Blake Bortles. With 65 percent of their Week 1 offense executed via their run game, Fournette rushed for 100 yards and scored a TD. The Titans were tough against the run in 2016, but gave up 109 yards on the ground in Week 1. Fournette will again be the focal point of the Jaguars offense in Week 2, and with another 20-plus carries likely, he should have another big week.
— Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona at Indianapolis
The Cardinals executed the second highest percentage of passing plays in Week 1, and Fitzgerald's 13 targets were the second most among wide receivers. With the loss of elite running back David Johnson, and an opponent featuring one of the worst defenses in football, look for the Cardinals to rely on their passing game this week. Fitzgerald is a premier receiver who'll likely lead the team in targets again in Week 2.
— Brandin Cooks, New England at New Orleans
The Saints surrendered the most passing yards in the NFL last season, and with Vikings receivers torching them for 250 yards and two touchdowns on Monday night, things don't look much better in 2017. Cooks is a big play receiver who'll be one of QB Tom Brady's top targets in Week 2.
— Charles Clay, Buffalo at Carolina
Clay's nine Week 1 targets tied him for the most among tight ends, and as QB Tyrod Taylor's most familiar receiving option, he'll continue to be highly utilized in the Bills passing game. The Panthers yielded the fourth most fantasy points to tight ends in 2016, and allowed 49ers rookie TE George Kittle to record five receptions in Week 1.
— Kirk Cousins, Washington at Los Angeles Rams
Wade Phillips led defenses have been very tough on opposing quarterbacks, and as the Rams' new defensive coordinator, Cousins could be in for a long day. Cousins' preseason struggles continued in Week 1. He threw an interception and lost two fumbles, and he and top WR Terrelle Pryor seemed out of sync.
— Paul Perkins, New York Giants vs. Detroit
Perkins rushed for just 16 yards on seven carries in Week 1, and he's playing behind an offensive line that doesn't look capable of creating opportunities for him. Game flow may have contributed to fellow RB Shane Vereen playing more snaps than him (31 to 18) in Week 1, but it's not a good sign.
— Carlos Hyde, San Francisco at Seattle
The Seahawks defense was the NFL's best against the run in 2016, and they allowed just 3 yards per carry on the ground in Week 1. The 49ers will likely be playing from behind in this game, which could force them to abandon the run and limit Hyde's carries. Hyde has rushed for 55 yards or less in three of his four career games against Seattle.
— Any Colts, Indianapolis vs. Arizona
The Colts pass offense will have a hard time against a tough Cardinals pass defense. You may not be able to sit top 10 Fantasy receiver T.Y. Hilton, but if you have a viable option, consider it. Donte Moncrief caught just one pass in Week 1, and with QB Andrew Luck likely out until October, the Colts' only other uninspiring options under center include Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett.
— Rishard Matthews, Tennessee at Jacksonville
The Jaguars pass rush got a lot of attention after their 10 sack performance in Week 1, but their improved pass defense led by top cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey is formidable as well. The Jaguars defense held the Texans to just 110 passing yards in Week 1. Mathews has 69 receiving yards in his last two games against the Jaguars.
— Jason Witten, Dallas at Denver
Witten was productive in Week 1 against the Giants, but the Broncos, who gave up just four touchdowns to tight ends in 2016, held Chargers tight end Hunter Henry catch-less, and limited Antonio Gates to only two receptions.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com