Week 2 Fantasy Football Projections: Stat Predictions for Top 100 Players

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 15, 2015

Sep 14, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde (28) carries the ball against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If opening weekend is for irrational fantasy expectations, then by Week 2 most fantasy football owners have been brought back down to earth and understand things are a bit more difficult than they seem.

Whether it's a first-round pick producing a dud in Week 1 or an overlooked sleeper going off, picking the right lineup isn't an exact science and can require taking a gamble. While some of the marquee names top the Week 2 rankings for each position, keep an eye on the not-so-household names in the mix as well.

Here's a quick breakdown by position of Week 2 in fantasy football.

Quarterbacks

Top 10 QB Projections
RankPlayerOpponentProj. Points
1Drew Brees (Saints)Tampa Bay Buccaneers26
2Aaron Rodgers (Packers)Seattle Seahawks23
3Andrew Luck (Colts)New York Jets22
4Tony Romo (Cowboys)Philadelphia Eagles20
5Tom Brady (Patriots)Buffalo Bills18
6Marcus Mariota (Titans)Cleveland Browns18
7Peyton Manning (Broncos)Kansas City Chiefs18
8Carson Palmer (Cardinals)Chicago Bears17
9Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)San Francisco 49ers16
10Cam Newton (Panthers)Houston Texans16

Even with the smallest of sample sizes to work with, fantasy owners have already gotten a glimpse into how things may be different in 2015 than expected. From breakout performers to surprising duds, the Week 1 results demand some impact moving forward.

Case in point—Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. The rookie absolutely exploded in his NFL debut by throwing four touchdowns, ranking as the third-highest quarterback scorer for Week 1 and having owners tripping over each other in the race to waivers.

Rookie struggles are certainly on the horizon for Mariota—but not this Sunday. Another strong matchup, this time against the against the Cleveland Browns—who gave up two touchdowns through the air to Ryan Fitzpatrick—should keep Mariota rolling as a top QB option.

Week 1 results need to be dismissed in some other instances, such as the performance of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. After a two-interception outing in his season opener, Luck should feast against a New York Jets secondary that is likely to miss Antonio Cromartie, per ESPN.com's Rich Cimini.

Luck and the rest of the quarterbacks will be looking up at Drew Brees, however, in Week 2. The New Orleans Saints quarterback is fresh off gashing the Arizona Cardinals' strong secondary for 355 yards and now faces a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense still reeling off a Week 1 drubbing.

Running Backs

Week 2: Top 30 RB Projections
RankPlayer (Team)OpponentProj. Points
1Jeremy Hill (Bengals)Chargers26
2Carlos Hyde (49ers)Steelers24
3DeMarco Murray (Eagles)Cowboys21
4Chris Ivory (Jets)Colts21
5Rashad Jennings (Giants)Falcons19
6Bishop Sankey (Titans)Browns17
7Matt Forte (Bears)Cardinals16
8LeSean McCoy (Bills)Patriots15
9Ameer Abdullah (Lions)Vikings15
10Mark Ingram (Saints)Buccaneers14
11Eddie Lacy (Packers)Seahawks14
12Jamaal Charles (Chiefs)Broncos13
13Joique Bell (Lions)Vikings12
14Adrian Peterson (Vikings)Lions12
15C.J. Anderson (Broncos)Chiefs12
16DeAngelo Williams (Steelers)49ers11
17Justin Forsett (Ravens)Raiders11
18Joseph Randle (Cowboys)Eagles10
19Doug Martin (Buccaneers)Saints9
20Tre Mason (Rams)Redskins9
21Jonathan Stewart (Panthers)Texans9
22Darren Sproles (Eagles)Cowboys8
23Danny Woodhead (Chargers)Bengals8
24Tevin Coleman (Falcons)Cowboys8
25Giovani Bernard (Bengals)Chargers8
26T.J. Yeldon (Jaguars)Dolphins8
27Khiry Robinson (Saints)Buccaneers8
28Dion Lewis (Patriots)Bills7
29Isaiah Crowell (Browns)Titans7
30Ryan Mathews (Eagles)Cowboys7

Post-Week 1 is a time for fantasy owners to panic at the fact that the first-round running back they selected likely didn't put up the expected numbers. But for others, it brings a pleasant surprise.

That's the case for owners who happened to bet high on 49ers running back Carlos Hyde. As San Francisco's new workhorse in the wake of Frank Gore's departure, Hyde absolutely exploded in Week 1 with 168 yards and two scores, scorching the rest of his RB competition.

Another back who put up fireworks opening weekend, Jeremy Hill is in line to top him for Week 2. Fresh off two touchdowns of his own against the Oakland Raiders, Hill's Cincinnati Bengals face a San Diego Chargers unit that conceded the fifth-most ESPN points to running backs last week.

While it's all smiles for owners with those players, those who have big-money backs Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy and C.J. Anderson could be in for more disappointment. All three backs have tough Week 2 matchups that have them ranking outside the top 10.

It's impossible to argue that any of those three shouldn't be given a starter's spot, but don't expect first-round contribution from them.

Wide Receivers

Week 2: Top 30 WR Projections
RankPlayerOpponentProj. Points
1Julio Jones (Falcons)Giants22
2Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants)Falcons19
3Randall Cobb (Packers)Seahawks17
4Antonio Brown (Steelers)49ers17
5A.J. Green (Bengals)Chargers16
6DeAndre Hopkins (Texans)Panthers15
7Kendall Wright (Titans)Browns15
8Demaryius Thomas (Broncos)Chiefs13
9T.Y. Hilton (Colts)Jets13
10Calvin Johnson (Lions)Vikings12
11Brandon Marshall (Jets)Colts12
12Tavon Austin (Rams)Redskins12
13Alshon Jeffery (Bears)Cardinals11
14Jarvis Landry (Dolphins)Jaguars10
15Jordan Matthews (Eagles)Cowboys10
16John Brown (Cardinals)Bears8
17Mike Evans (Buccaneers)Saints8
18Julian Edelman (Patriots)Bills8
19Jeremy Maclin (Chiefs)Broncos8
20Roddy White (Falcons)Giants8
21Brandin Cooks (Saints)Buccaneers7
22Steve Smith (Ravens)Raiders7
23Markus Wheaton (Steelers)49ers7
24Mike Wallace (Vikings)Lions7
25Keenan Allen (Chargers)Bengals7
26Stevie Johnson (Chargers)Bengals6
27Amari Cooper (Raiders)Ravens6
28Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals)Bears6
29Davante Adams (Packers)Seahawks6
30Justin Hunter (Titans)Browns6

A dream-like matchup for owners with the top receivers in fantasy football has come up in Week 2.

If you are able to employ either the Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones or the New York Giants' Odell Beckham Jr. for the weekend, expect nothing short of fireworks from both. Jones should feast once again versus a Giants secondary that is no match for his elite combination of size and speed.

Meanwhile, Beckham can expect to right the ship following a pedestrian opener, facing a Falcons defense that allowed more than 300 passing yards from Sam Bradford on Monday night.

Elsewhere, look for Tavon Austin and Kendall Wright to continue what's been a breakout 2015 so far. Austin's speed will continue to be utilized in a St. Louis Rams offense that will face the hapless Washington Redskins, while Wright should continue to be Mariota's No. 1 option against the Cleveland Browns.

Tight Ends

Week 2: Top 10 TE Projections
RankPlayerOpponentProj. Points
1Rob Gronkowski (Patriots)Bills18
2Tyler Eifert (Bengals)Chargers15
3Dwayne Allen (Colts)Jets13
4Travis Kelce (Chiefs)Broncos11
5Greg Olsen (Panthers)Texans10
6Jared Cook (Rams)Redskins9
7Jimmy Graham (Seahawks)Rams9
8Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Bucs)Saints9
9Jason Witten (Cowboys)Eagles8
10Jordan Reed (Redskins)Rams7

Week 1 produced a coming-out party for a number of tight ends, but there's no change at the top—that spot is still comfortably held by one Rob Gronkowski.

Following his three-touchdown outburst on the opening day of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Gronk will be in line for more red-zone opportunities against the Bills. Hoping to start 1-0 in the division, Tom Brady will look his favorite option's way plenty.

That being said, owners who have Tyler Eifert or Dwayne Allen can also expect some big stats. Eifert put up the third-most fantasy points for TEs Sunday and should be in line for more against San Diego, while Allen's Colts face a Jets defense that gave up the second-most points to tight ends in ESPN leagues last season.

Defense/Special Teams

Week 2: Top 10 D/ST Projections
RankTeamOpponentProj. Points
1Miami DolphinsJaguars16
2Carolina PanthersTexans14
3Denver BroncosChiefs12
4Baltimore RavensRaiders10
5Tennessee TitansBrowns10
6Seattle SeahawksPackers9
7Detroit LionsVikings8
8St. Louis RamsRedskins8
9Cincinnati BengalsChargers8
10New York GiantsFalcons7

As if the other positions aren't the same way, picking a strong defense and special teams unit is all about the matchups.

The premier matchup for Week 2 puts the Miami Dolphins in the driver's seat for the most fantasy points of the weekend. They face the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have no offensive identity to speak of at the moment.

Beyond that, expect another strong outing for the Titans, as they are likely to make Johnny Manziel's life difficult.

Kickers

Week 2: Top 10 K Projections
RankPlayer (Team)OpponentProj. Points
1Matt Bryant (Falcons)Giants13
2Brandon McManus (Broncos)Chiefs11
3Greg Zuerlein (Rams)Redskins10
4Dan Bailey (Cowboys)Eagles9
5Robbie Gould (Bears)Cardinals8
6Graham Gano (Panthers)Texans8
7Zach Hocker (Saints)Buccaneers8
8Justin Tucker (Ravens)Raiders7
9Ryan Succop (Titans)Browns6
10Josh Scobee (Steelers)49ers6

Go with the potential for highest-scoring offense in Week 2 when it comes to employing the right starting kicker, which includes the Denver Broncos against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Falcons against the Giants. Both have kickers who can hit from deep and will be in line for many field-goal tries.

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