Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 2 Big Board
We’ve already seen more than enough injuries, some surprising performances (both good and bad) and all of the overreaction that goes with it. However, it’s time to turn the page on Week 1.
Before we get deep into the Week 2 rankings, let me offer a word of advice: You shouldn’t be making sweeping changes to your roster and starting lineup unless you’re dealing with major injuries, such as losing Dez Bryant. In all likelihood, no one is as great as his performance in the opener or as terrible as you might think if he fell short of expectations.
Overreaction can go both ways, although most of the time, it comes after disappointments in Week 1. I know we’ve all been waiting a long time for meaningful games, and it’s the only sample size we have to analyze, but it’s not much. You should always be looking to improve your team no matter if you’re 1-0 or 0-1, but don’t blow it up if things didn’t go your way. That’s a good way to lose.
With that out of the way, it’s time to take a look at early rankings for Week 2.
As always, these rankings will be updated throughout the week and right after inactives come down for the early games Sunday.
Top 100: A Week to Fly High
Starting this week, the top 100 players will not include quarterbacks. As I mentioned last week, this particular set of rankings will likely be used to determine how to fill flex spots, especially if you have more than one. Quarterbacks are typically the highest-scoring position, as evidenced by 11 of the top 25 scores coming from QBs in Week 1, per NFL.com.
I’ll be breaking down each position with players looking better than usual, worse than usual, guys to avoid and sleepers. Before we get into those, here are the teams I like as a whole for fantasy this week because of their matchups:
Arizona Cardinals (at Chicago Bears)
New Orleans Saints (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Atlanta Falcons (at New York Giants)
Baltimore Ravens (at Oakland Raiders)
Matt Camp Week 2 PPR Top 100 Rankings (Updated 9/16, 2 a.m. ET)
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Quarterbacks: Here's Carson!
Better than usual:
- Carson Palmer: Coming off a great game against the Saints in Week 1, Palmer and the Cardinals get to face another beatable defense when they head to Chicago on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers got the Bears for three touchdowns and 189 yards but needed to throw just 23 passes in the 31-23 victory. Palmer could take to the air more with Andre Ellington out of the lineup.
- Drew Brees: If it’s possible to throw for 355 yards and a touchdown and not look good, that’s what we saw from Brees in Week 1. It was reminiscent of many of his performances last year, but so long as the numbers are there, how much can you really complain? I expect a much better looking performance versus Tampa Bay this weekend after the Buccaneers got torched by Marcus Mariota and the Titans last week.
- Eli Manning: Eli won’t be making any important decisions for me anytime soon, but I’m willing to use him in my fantasy lineup this week. The Falcons were fortunate enough to hold off the Eagles on Monday night, but their defense still allowed 336 yards and a touchdown to Sam Bradford. I’m not expecting much defense from the Falcons or the Giants for that matter, so Manning should bounce back from last week’s disaster in Dallas.
Worse than usual:
- Tom Brady: No one was surprised to see Brady torch the Steelers in Week 1, but he won’t have it as easy against a Bills defense that clobbered Andrew Luck and the Colts. Rex Ryan has given Tom Brady fits in the past, so while I’m aware Brady is also a tough matchup for the Bills, I’d lower expectations a bit with the Patriots heading to Buffalo.
- Andrew Luck: Luck had a miserable time against the Bills in Week 1, and it doesn’t get much easier in Week 2. The Colts host the Jets and will likely do so without T.Y. Hilton. However, the Jets will likely be without starting cornerback Antonio Cromartie, so Luck will only have to deal with Darrelle Revis. The schedule-makers weren’t kind to the Colts, at least not early in the season.
- Jay Cutler: Many of you probably saw Cutler’s name and nodded right along when you saw him under the avoid category. I probably don’t have to say much more, but the best you’re getting out of him is some garbage-time production against a solid Cardinals defense.
- Cam Newton: I’m avoiding Newton until further notice since his top wide receivers are Ted Ginn Jr. and Philly Brown. Tight end Greg Olsen should do better against the Texans, but that’s not enough for Newton to overcome a scary pass rush led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Look out.
- Tyrod Taylor: Taylor came through as a sleeper in a nice matchup with the Colts last week and should have a chance to build on that with the Patriots coming to town Sunday. They allowed 351 yards and a touchdown to Ben Roethlisberger in the opener. The Bills may not win, but I’m not afraid of Taylor’s matchup against the New England defense.
Matt Camp Week 2 QB Rankings (Updated 9/16, 2 a.m. ET)
Running Backs: Justin's Time to Get Right
Better than usual:
- Carlos Hyde: My biggest concern with Hyde coming into the season was opportunity. Would the 49ers defense keep games close enough to get him a big workload? In Week 1, the defense held up its end of the bargain. So did Hype, and then some. The 49ers will have a tougher test against the Steelers offense, but their defense shouldn’t be a concern for Hyde.
- Justin Forsett: Forsett and the Ravens will have a chance to wipe away that terrible performance against the Broncos in Week 1 with a welcomed matchup against a vulnerable Raiders defense Sunday. Oakland gave up 126 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries to Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard last week and will likely see a lot of Forsett this week. He’ll bounce back in a big way.
- Ameer Abdullah: Abdullah started his career off with a bang last week, taking his first carry 24 yards to the end zone and ended up leading the Lions in rushing and tying for the most receptions. The Vikings defense got embarrassed by Hyde and ended up ceding 230 rushing yards and two touchdowns to the 49ers rushing attack. Abdullah has a great chance to build on his strong start.
- Others: Chris Ivory, Tevin Coleman
Worse than usual:
- LeGarrette Blount: Blount returns from his one-game suspension to face a Bills defense that held the Colts to 64 rushing yards in their Week 1 victory. I never like trusting Patriots running backs, and after Dion Lewis posted 69 yards on 15 carries and added four receptions on 51 yards in Blount’s absence, I don’t know how you can be high on Blount in Week 2, especially in a tough matchup.
- Alfred Morris: Morris had a productive 121 yards on 25 carries in the opener against the Dolphins, but he didn’t score or haul in a reception, so he bumped his head on the low ceiling that comes with playing for Washington. The Rams should give him a tougher time, especially after holding Marshawn Lynch to 73 yards on 18 carries.
- Frank Gore: The talk of Gore’s limited pitch count doesn’t bother me, but opening the season against the Bills and Jets certainly does. The Jets held Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell to 42 yards on 19 carries in a dominating victory. I expect better out of Gore but not a big performance against a very good Jets defense.
- Others: Latavius Murray
- Alfred Blue: If Blue owners were mad about last week’s performance (nine carries, 42 yards), their expectations were way too high. I know the Chiefs went up big early, but that doesn’t change the fact the Texans were clearly running more of a running back by committee with Blue, Jonathan Grimes (six carries, 28 yards) and Chris Polk (five carries, 22 yards). Blue faces a Panthers defense that held the Jaguars to 96 yards on 21 carries in Week 1. I’m not touching Blue and can’t wait until Arian Foster comes back.
- Lance Dunbar/Joseph Randle: I’m not trying to get too excited, but it sure looked like the Cowboys had defined roles in their backfield during Week 1. Randle led the way with 16 carries for 65 yards, and Dunbar was the pass-catcher/hurry-up back, as evidenced by his eight receptions on eight targets for 70 yards. The Eagles had a lot of trouble corralling Tevin Coleman (20 carries, 80 yards), and this could be a tight, high-scoring affair. Let’s just hope the Cowboys don’t mess with what looks like a good one-two combo out of their backfield.
- David Johnson: This is a deep reach, especially after Bruce Arians insinuated Chris Johnson was the lead back with Andre Ellington out, but I’ll bet on talent over a washed-up veteran. The Bears gave up 133 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries to the Packers last week. David, not Chris, will be the Johnson to roll with if you’re looking for upside this week.
- Duke Johnson: The Browns had no chance to get anything going on the ground last week in their loss to the Jets, so Johnson might be overlooked heading into this week’s matchup with the Titans. Before Tennessee had pulled away with a huge lead, Doug Martin was running well and ended up with 11 carries for 52 yards. I expect the Browns to put up more of a fight than the Buccaneers because they have a better defense, which should afford Johnson more opportunities to run against a beatable Titans run defense.
Matt Camp Week 2 PPR RB Rankings (Updated 9/16, 2 a.m. ET)
Wide Receivers: Matthews Turns Up the Volume
Better than usual:
- John Brown: Brown had a fine start to the season with four receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown on seven targets against the Saints, but almost all of that came early in the game, and then he disappeared. Expectations should be higher with another great matchup against the Bears on Sunday.
- Steve Smith Sr.: The Ravens are short on talent in their receiving corps and were very short on production in Week 1 against the Broncos. The Raiders don’t offer nearly the same challenge, so look for Smith to put up much better numbers than the two receptions and 13 yards he had against a tough Denver defense. Oakland allowed 25 receptions, 269 yards and two touchdowns to the Bengals in the opener.
Worse than usual:
- Jeremy Maclin: Kansas City took care of business against the Texans in Week 1, but Maclin will face a much stiffer test when the Broncos come to town Thursday night. The cornerback duo of Chris Harris and Aqib Talib provides a much stiffer matchup and held the Ravens to just 18 receptions for 117 yards and no touchdowns. Maclin could be in for a rough night.
- Kendall Wright: Wright finds his way into this section because I’m afraid expectations will be too high after he posted four receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in a beatable matchup against the Buccaneers in Week 1. The Browns won’t make it as easy, and Wright may see some of top cornerback Joe Haden.
- Alshon Jeffery: Despite dealing with a calf injury all week, Jeffery was able to play in Week 1 and put up a respectable stat line of five receptions for 78 yards on a team-high 11 targets. He’ll likely see a lot of cornerback Patrick Peterson when the Cardinals come to Chicago on Sunday. That’s a tough matchup in and of itself, but I don’t have much confidence in Jay Cutler handling a good Cardinals defense. Jeffery may not be 100 percent, either, so be sure to monitor that calf issue throughout the week.
- Eddie Royal: Last week, most of the concern in the Bears receiving corps centered on Jeffery’s calf, but Royal had a hip problem that limited him to just one reception for eight yards on five targets. It’s hard to get excited about Royal’s chances in this offense in a tough matchup with the Cardinals.
- Terrance Williams: There’s probably a little too much hype for Williams after the Cowboys lost Dez Bryant to a broken foot, but he’ll have a chance to live up to that with a nice matchup in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon. Williams posted five receptions for 60 yards on eight targets in the win over the Giants and faces an Eagles defense that got ripped for 23 receptions, 298 yards and two touchdowns in Atlanta. A lot of that came via Julio Jones (nine receptions, 141 yards, two touchdowns), but the weaknesses in Philly’s secondary were apparent. If Williams is worthy of a significant boost in Bryant’s absence, he should be able to take advantage of this favorable matchup.
- Anquan Boldin: It was all about Carlos Hyde on Monday night, so Boldin ended up with just four receptions for 36 yards on five targets in a dominating win over the Vikings. The Steelers offense should pose a bigger threat, but their defense isn’t very good. That may give Boldin more opportunities, and Colin Kaepernick seems to be better off when he’s working the intermediate area, which is where Boldin does some of his best work. Pittsburgh gave up 25 receptions, 288 yards and four touchdowns to the Patriots in Week 1, so the Steelers are certainly vulnerable through the air.
Matt Camp Week 2 PPR WR Rankings (Updated 9/16, 2 a.m. ET)
Tight Ends: Can the Magic Continue in Week 2?
Better than usual:
- Greg Olsen: In a week that saw some of the best fantasy production out of tight ends in fantasy history, Olsen failed to come through in what looked like a prime spot to do just that. He saw just three targets and ended up with a single reception for 11 yards. He’s still the most important receiver for the Panthers and gets to face a Texans defense that allowed six receptions, 106 yards and two touchdowns to Travis Kelce. Expect Olsen to bounce back at home in Week 2.
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Seferian-Jenkins provided the only positive for the Buccaneers coming out of a Week 1 trouncing at the hands of the Titans. He racked up 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns on five receptions. He’ll have a great chance to build on that against a Saints defense that allowed Darren Fells to post four receptions, 82 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. ASJ would get an even bigger bump if Mike Evans has to sit out again with his hamstring injury.
Worse than usual:
- Ladarius Green: Green took advantage of his big opportunity with Antonio Gates serving a four-game suspension by racking up 74 yards and a touchdown on five receptions in the opening-week win over the Lions. My expectations won’t stay that high against a tougher Bengals defense in Week 2. Cincinnati limited the Oakland tight ends Mychal Rivera and Clive Walford to two receptions for five yards in the opener.
- Delanie Walker: Walker is dealing with a hand injury that could keep him out of the Week 2 matchup with the Browns. He posted three receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 but would face a more difficult matchup against the Browns if were able to play Sunday. Just make other plans for your tight end spot this week.
- Charles Clay: The Bills didn’t need much out of their passing attack in a dominant win over the Colts in Week 1, so Clay ended up catching all four of his targets for 43 yards. He’ll face off against the Patriots on Sunday, and while they’re coming off an impressive win against the Steelers, Heath Miller got them for 84 yards and eight receptions. Clay could be a chain-mover and red-zone option for Tyrod Taylor in this game.
Matt Camp Week 2 PPR TE Rankings (Updated 9/16, 2 a.m. ET)
Defense/Special Teams: Plenty of Juicy Matchups
Best options based on matchups:
- Arizona Cardinals: When in doubt, take the defense facing Jay Cutler. The Packers got just one interception and two sacks against the Bears last week, but I’m expecting more from a better Cardinals defense, especially if it can come after Cutler with a lead late in the game.
- Houston Texans: I liked the Jaguars defense last week against the Panthers, and Jacksonville actually held Carolina to 13 offensive points. Houston should be able to get more than the two sacks the Jaguars got on Cam Newton, and it’s not like the Panthers have much in their receiving corps besides Greg Olsen.
- St. Louis Rams: While the Rams gave up 31 points to the Seahawks in Week 1, they also sacked Russell Wilson six times. I’m expecting more of the same and fewer points against the Redskins in Week 2. Miami sacked Kirk Cousins three times last week and picked him off twice. The Rams can do better.
- Baltimore Ravens: Quarterback Derek Carr may not play for the Raiders because of a bruised thumb, so Baltimore might face Matt McGloin in Oakland on Sunday. The Raiders had two turnovers and gave up two sacks to the Bengals last week. The Ravens didn’t give up an offensive touchdown to the Broncos in Week 1 and sacked Peyton Manning four times while holding him to just 175 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. It’s a great matchup for them in Oakland, even without Terrell Suggs.
- Miami Dolphins: Miami’s defense underwhelmed in Washington last week but still racked up two interceptions and three sacks while limiting the Redskins to just 10 points. The Dolphins will face a Jaguars offense that mustered just 183 passing yards and 96 rushing yards while turning the ball over three times, including one interception return for a score. Jacksonville also gave up five sacks. If the Dolphins defense is on its game, it can be a top fantasy defense in Week 2.
Matt Camp Week 2 D/ST Rankings (Updated 9/16, 2 a.m. ET)
Kickers: Why Is Brandon McManus Still Widely Available?
Best options widely available on the waiver wire:
- Brandon McManus: McManus hit all four of his field goals last week, including kicks from 57 and 56 yards. He doesn’t have the luxury of playing in Denver this week, but he’s still one of the best options.
- Josh Lambo: After beating out Nick Novak for the job in August, Lambo hit his only two field-goal attempts (25, 32 yards). The Chargers could be in more of a defensive battle against the Bengals, so they may be settling for more field goals.
- Chandler Catanzaro: Catanzaro had just one field goal last week, but he nailed all four of his extra points. I expect the Cardinals to have plenty of scoring opportunities against the Bears, so it could be a busy day for him.
Matt Camp Week 2 K Rankings (Updated 9/16, 2 a.m. ET)