Fantasy Football Week 2 Cheat Sheet: Waiver, Rankings, Projections and More

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2017

Aaron Rodgers will try to spoil the Falcons' home opener.
Aaron Rodgers will try to spoil the Falcons' home opener.Mike Roemer/Associated Press

The first reaction for most fantasy football players is to tear apart their roster prior to Week 2 if they didn't have a winning effort in the opening week of the season.

That instinct needs to be ignored in most cases. Many players walked out of their fantasy draft thinking they could have done better, and those feelings get hammered home if they struggled in the first week of the season. However, it often takes two, three or four games to get a better feel for the roster.

We preach patience in most cases, but not all.

Injuries have to be addressed quickly, and those who used the first or second pick in the draft to select David Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals have to move on. His wrist injury requires a stint on injured reserve that will keep him out at least through Week 9, per CBSSports.com, and moves have to be made as a result.

Here's a look at the position rankings heading into the second week of NFL action.

Russell Wilson should have a huge day against the 49ers.
Russell Wilson should have a huge day against the 49ers.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

  

Quarterbacks

1. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) at Atlanta
2. Russell Wilson (Seattle) vs. San Francisco
3. Tom Brady (New England) at New Orleans
4. Matt Ryan (Atlanta) vs. Green Bay
5. Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay) vs. Chicago
6. Derek Carr (Oakland) vs. N.Y. Jets
7. Drew Brees (New Orleans) vs. New England
8. Alex Smith (Kansas City) vs. Philadelphia
9. Matthew Stafford (Detroit) at N.Y. Giants
10. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) vs. Minnesota

It's hard to overlook Aaron Rodgers at any point in the season, and while revenge is overrated as a regular-season factor, the Green Bay quarterback is coming off a 311-yard day against a powerful Seattle pass defense. Look for Rodgers to use that game as a jumping-off point, and he should be able to have a strong game against the defending NFC champions.

Overall, Russell Wilson is not an elite passer and will not end up with the same kind of season-long stats as Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan or Drew Brees. However, he should be primed for a huge game in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers. The Seahawks are back at their beloved CenturyLink Field for their home opener, and Wilson will be prepared for a huge day.

Brady has a lot of pride, and after his shockingly poor performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in the season opener, look for him to find the mark against the Saints. The New Orleans defense has been one of the worst in the NFL the past two years, and that unit made Sam Bradford of the Minnesota Vikings look like an All-Pro in Week 1. Brady has a big day and the Patriots will breathe easier after this game.

         

Le'Veon Bell should be back to top form in Minnesota.
Le'Veon Bell should be back to top form in Minnesota.Jason Miller/Getty Images

Running backs

1. Le'Veon Bell (Pittsburgh) vs. Minnesota
2. Dalvin Cook (Minnesota) at Pittsburgh
3. Kareem Hunt (Kansas City) vs. Philadelphia
4. Devonta Freeman (Atlanta) vs. Green Bay
5. Christian McCaffrey (Carolina) vs. Buffalo
6. LeSean McCoy (Buffalo) at Carolina
7. Melvin Gordon (Los Angeles Chargers) vs. Miami
8. Ty Montgomery (Green Bay) at Atlanta
9. Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville) vs. Tennessee
10. Jay Ajayi (Miami) at Los Angeles Chargers

Le'Veon Bell is simply too good to have two ordinary games in a row. He reported late to the Steelers after his holdout this summer, and he will be much better prepared than he was in Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns (10 carries for 32 yards). The Vikings have a strong defense, but the Steelers have the most explosive offensive team in the league and Bell will get back up to speed in this game.

Dalvin Cook may turn out to be one of the best running backs in the league this year. He had a brilliant college career at Florida State, and he set a Vikings record for most rushing yards in a debut (127 rushing yards, 5.8 yards per carry) against the Saints. While the Steelers are a better defensive team than New Orleans, Cook will find open spaces and have an impact for a second week in a row.

The battle between Cook and Kareem Hunt for rookie running back honors will be worth watching. While Cook is likely to gain an advantage at some point this season, Hunt has the speed, power and talent to give the Chiefs a major upgrade on offense. Look for Hunt to take advantage of the Philadelphia defense.

      

Wide receivers

1. Jordy Nelson (Green Bay) at Atlanta
2. Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh) vs. Minnesota
3. Michael Thomas (New Orleans) vs. New England
4. Amari Cooper (Oakland) vs. N.Y. Jets
5. Julio Jones (Atlanta) vs. Green Bay
6. Doug Baldwin (Seattle) vs. San Francisco
7. Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) vs. Chicago
8. Stefon Diggs (Minnesota) at Pittsburgh
9. Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona) at Indianapolis
10. Tyreek Hill (Kansas City) vs. Philadelphia

Jordy Nelson is a special receiver who has the speed and athleticism to do quite a bit of damage, and when combined with his skill level, he is nearly unstoppable. Nelson often gets double-covered at the start of a game, but he finds a way to beat it and make big plays.

Antonio Brown is probably the best receiver in the game, and he was on top of his in the opener against the Browns. His speed and athleticism are key factors, but it's his talent that sets him apart. Nobody works the sidelines like Brown, and his ability to make the tough catch and then come down at nearly full speed allows him to dominate most games.

The Saints struggled to get their offense into high gear against the Vikings, but the Patriots may be much more vulnerable this week. That should allow Michael Thomas to have a big game in the Saints' home opener. Thomas has the speed to make big plays, and he can take inspiration from the performances of Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt in Week 1 against New England.

       

Tight ends

1. Rob Gronkowski (New England) at New Orleans
2. Greg Olsen (Carolina) vs. Buffalo
3. Travis Kelce (Kansas City) vs. Philadelphia
4. Delanie Walker (Tennessee) at Jacksonville
5. Jordan Reed (Washington) at L.A. Rams
6. Coby Fleener (New Orleans) vs. New England
7. Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota) at Pittsburgh
8. Zach Ertz (Philadelphia) at Kansas City
9. Jimmy Graham (Seattle) vs. San Francisco
10. Austin Hooper (Atlanta) vs. Green Bay

Pity the poor Saints because they are going to face an inspired and angry New England team following its Week 1 loss to the Chiefs. The New Orleans defense made the Vikings look like worldbeaters on offense, and that means the Patriots should be able to dominate even more. The Saints appear to have no answers for Rob Gronkowski.

Greg Olsen is one of the most consistent players at his position in the league, and he should be able to take advantage of the Bills. Olsen will find a way to get open on third-down plays and  make game-changing receptions.

Travis Kelce has an excellent chance to get in on the touchdown action against the Eagles. Kelce has excellent moves and will fight for the ball, and quarterback Alex Smith will look for him against Philadelphia.

        

Kenny Golladay appears to be a game-changing player for the Lions.
Kenny Golladay appears to be a game-changing player for the Lions.Leon Halip/Getty Images

Waiver-Wire Pickups

Fantasy football players were given the signal in training camp that rookie wideout Kenny Golladay of the Detroit Lions had the skills to become a major force. Many took notice, but even more let that information pass. Golladay may turn out to be a true star as he caught four passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is sure to look for him in clutch situations this week against the New York Giants.

Running back Chris Carson of the Seattle Seahawks is not a sure thing to produce on an every-week basis, but he emerged as Seattle's best running back in the Week 1 loss at Green Bay. While the numbers were not huge as he rushed for 39 yards on six carries, he displayed quickness and escapability against the Packers and should get an opportunity to run the ball against the San Francisco 49ers.

Tarik Cohen of the Chicago Bears is an exciting scatback who has explosive qualities as a runner and a receiver. Cohen had five carries for 66 yards and he caught eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown in the opener against the Atlanta Falcons. Look for Cohen to be a factor in Week 2 against Tampa Bay.

       

Projections

Here's our look at the top performers at each fantasy position in Week 2:

QB: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, 375 passing yards, three TDs.

RB: Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh, 145 yards rushing, one TD; 55 yards receiving

WR: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay, 125 receiving yards, two TDs

TE: Rob Gronkowski, New England, 95 receiving yards, two TDs

PK: Matt Prater, Detroit, three FGs, three extra points.

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