Fantasy Football Week 2: Biggest Sleepers at Every Position

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonContributor ISeptember 16, 2022

Fantasy Football Week 2: Biggest Sleepers at Every Position

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    Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert (Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

    Don’t waste your fantasy football free-agent-acquisition budget or give up your top spot in the waiver-wire order for just any player or unit, especially after Week 1 of the NFL season. With plenty of decent options available, strategically pick and choose your spots.

    Among Week 2 sleepers, you’ll see a familiar face from the previous week, a sleeper stack that flashed briefly in the fourth quarter of a close game, a potential starting tight end for the remainder of the season and a running back who could see his role increase in the coming weeks.

    Sometimes, you have to see the breakout before it happens. When it does, all you’ll have to do is move that player from the bench to your active lineup.

    All sleeper selections are suggested for point-per-reception leagues and are available in at least 40 percent of Yahoo leagues as of Wednesday at 10 p.m.

QB Carson Wentz at Detroit Lions (44 Percent Rostered)

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    DraftKings DFS Price: $5,800

    Against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, Carson Wentz threw four touchdowns, which is the first time he’s done that in a game since 2017. He also threw two interceptions, but fantasy managers can take the good with the bad because of his passing volume. He completed 27 out of 41 attempts for 313 yards.

    We should pump the brakes on the idea that Wentz has rediscovered his 2017 Pro Bowl form, a year in which he threw for 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. But the Washington Commanders signal-caller should be able to take advantage of another favorable matchup in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions.

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts racked up fantasy points as a ball-carrier against the Lions (17 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown), but he also pushed the ball downfield for some big plays to wideout A.J. Brown (54 yards) and tight end Dallas Goedert (27 yards).

    Known for his aggressive playing style that sometimes leads to turnovers, Wentz may look to attack the Lions defense over the top. With viable pass-catchers in Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and rookie first-rounder Jahan Dotson on the perimeter, Wentz has the personnel to register another 300-plus-yard passing performance with multiple touchdowns.

QB Baker Mayfield at New York Giants (18 Percent Rostered)

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    DraftKings DFS Price: $5,300

    In Week 1, Baker Mayfield struggled through three quarters against his former team, the Cleveland Browns. But he made some flashy plays late in the game to nearly pull off a comeback.

    Though fantasy managers can't count on Mayfield to rack up points as a ball-carrier every week, they should feel encouraged by his 75-yard touchdown pass to wideout Robbie Anderson midway through the fourth quarter. The Carolina Panthers can build on that play going forward.

    As a deep-ball receiver, Anderson can instantly elevate Mayfield’s passing numbers in any given game. With reliable wideout DJ Moore on the perimeter and all-purpose running back Christian McCaffrey in the backfield, the Panthers quarterback has the playmakers around him to test the New York Giants pass defense.

    In Week 1, the Giants allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and that statistic isn’t inflated by rushing numbers. Tennessee Titans signal-caller Ryan Tannehill ran for only seven yards against Big Blue last week. He did throw a pair of touchdown passes to running back Dontrell Hilliard, though.

    Mayfield doesn’t need to stretch the field with Anderson to rack up points if he’s able to rely on McCaffrey to gash the Giants defense on short-to-intermediate passes.

RB Khalil Herbert at Green Bay Packers (47 Percent Rostered)

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    DraftKings DFS Price: $4,900

    Fantasy managers might have to do some detective work to understand this sleeper suggestion.

    In August, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported that the Chicago Bears’ new staff had some "skepticism" about David Montgomery’s fit within the offense. Khalil Herbert might be a more ideal ball-carrier for the system.

    Last week, it sure seemed that way.

    Against the San Francisco 49ers, Herbert averaged five yards per carry and reached paydirt on nine rush attempts. Meanwhile, Montgomery averaged a measly 1.5 yards per carry on 17 scoreless rushing attempts.

    Though Montgomery hauled in three out of four targets for 24 receiving yards, Herbert clearly had a more efficient outing. The latter could close the gap with the former in touches sooner than later.

    In Week 2, the Bears will face the Green Bay Packers, who allowed 126 rushing yards to the Minnesota Vikings in their season opener. Regardless of whether Herbert handles most of the carries, he could post a decent stat line against the Packers' vulnerable run defense.

RB Kenyan Drake vs. Miami Dolphins (15 Percent Rostered)

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    DraftKings DFS Price: $4,800

    Mark your calendars for a Kenyan Drake revenge game on Sunday.

    According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Baltimore Ravens signed Drake with the intent to make him the “de facto starting running back” if J.K. Dobbins needed more time to recover from his torn ACL. Dobbins didn't suit up last Sunday against the New York Jets.

    Dobbins opened the week with a full practice on Wednesday. But even if he plays Sunday, he's unlikely to handle a full workload in his first game back from a serious knee injury.

    The Ravens struggled to move the ball on the ground against the Jets (21 rushing attempts for 63 yards), but Drake led the team in carries (11). That suggests Rapoport had a good scoop on Baltimore’s plan at running back until Dobbins returns.

    Baltimore signed running back Mike Davis in May, while Drake inked his deal roughly two weeks before their season opener. Yet Drake appears to be the Ravens' lead tailback for now.

    Assuming Drake sticks in that role in Week 2, he’s in line for 12-15 touches against his former team, the Miami Dolphins (2016-19). With double-digit carries and a few receptions out of the backfield, the 28-year-old could provide a significant boost in the flex position.

    He'll need to top last week’s average of 2.8 yards per carry to do so, though.

WR Robbie Anderson at New York Giants (32 Percent Rostered)

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    Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

    DraftKings DFS Price: $5,300

    This would complete the Baker Mayfield-Robbie Anderson sleeper stack.

    That tandem had a late spark in the fourth quarter last week with a 75-yard touchdown. They connected on what could be the first of several big plays in the passing game this year.

    Last week, Anderson eclipsed 100 receiving yards for the first time since Week 1 of the 2020 season. With a decent quarterback under center, he can now show off more of his explosiveness in the passing game.

    Say what you want about Mayfield, but he completed 61.9 percent of his passes and threw for 26-plus touchdowns in two of his first three NFL campaigns. That's about average in today’s league.

    Anderson doesn’t need a high volume of targets to make an impact on your fantasy team, though. With a few big plays, he’s a viable WR3 or flex option.

    In Week 2, Anderson will face a New York Giants defense without starting cornerback Aaron Robinson (appendicitis). If cornerback Adoree’ Jackson matches up with DJ Moore, Anderson could have a strong outing.

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. New York Jets (14 Percent Rostered)

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    Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    DraftKings DFS Price: $4,400

    In the Cleveland Browns’ season-opener against the Carolina Panthers, Amari Cooper had a quiet outing, hauling in only three of his six targets for 17 yards. Donovan Peoples-Jones led the Browns in targets (11), receptions (six) and yards (60).

    As the clear-cut No. 1 receiver on the depth chart, Cooper will draw a lot of attention in coverage, which may include safety help over the top. With eyes on him, Peoples-Jones should have opportunities to win one-on-one matchups.

    Even though quarterback Jacoby Brissett limits Peoples-Jones’ fantasy ceiling, the 6’2”, 204-pound wideout can become a consistent threat in the red zone as a drive-finisher if Browns running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt fail to reach paydirt with goal-line carries.

    In Week 1, the New York Jets allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers. We could see a good battle between rookie first-round cornerback Sauce Gardner and Cooper while Peoples-Jones racks up fantasy points.

TE Robert Tonyan vs. Chicago Bears (31 Percent Rostered)

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    David Berding/Getty Images

    DraftKings DFS Price: $3,800

    In his first game back from a torn ACL, Robert Tonyan played 36 percent of the Green Bay Packers' offensive snaps and hauled in three of his five targets for 36 yards. While that might not seem like a big deal, he hadn't played since October 2021.

    Meanwhile, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs a trustworthy veteran pass-catcher on the field.

    In Week 1, new Packers wide receiver Sammy Watkins caught three passes for 18 yards. Allen Lazard didn’t suit up because of an ankle injury. None of Green Bay’s pass-catchers registered more than 46 receiving yards.

    Tonyan can fill a void in Green Bay’s aerial attack in the post-Davante Adams era. He has a rapport with Rodgers and showcased reliable hands through the 2020 campaign, catching 52 passes for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns.

    Even with Lazard back on the practice field this week, look for Tonyan to remain involved in the passing game as Rodgers scans the field for familiar faces.

    Going against a four-time league MVP, the Chicago Bears defense faces a much tougher challenge this week than it did in Week 1 against Trey Lance. If Rodgers feels comfortable throwing to Tonyan, the tight end should post solid receiving numbers.

TE Hayden Hurst at Dallas Cowboys (14 Percent Rostered)

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    AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel

    DraftKings DFS Price: $3,600

    With tight end C.J. Uzomah departing to the New York Jets, Hayden Hurst has assumed the Cincinnati Bengals' starting role at the position. As a capable pass-catcher, he could have some fantasy flashes, especially in a week of uncertainty for wide receiver Tee Higgins.

    Bengals head coach Zac Taylor confirmed that Higgins is in the concussion protocol. Even if the wide receiver suits up, Hurst may be able to build on his connection with quarterback Joe Burrow. Last week, he hauled in five of his eight targets for 46 yards.

    Hurst would have a bigger role with Higgins on the sideline, but he’s posted solid receiving numbers before. The 6'4", 260-pounder recorded 56 receptions for 571 yards and six touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons in 2020 while playing 70 percent of the offensive snaps. He played 75 percent of the Bengals' offensive snaps last week.

    The Dallas Cowboys won’t have quarterback Dak Prescott on Sunday, so their offense may go three-and-out frequently. That will put a lot of stress on the defense.

    This is an ideal matchup to roll the dice on Hurst, who may have already earned Burrow’s trust in the passing game.

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    Fantasy points scored against statistics are provided by FantasyPros.

    Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.


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