Fantasy Football Week 2 Cheat Sheet: Identifying Sleepers for Deep Leagues

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2020

El quarterback Gardner Minshew (15) de los Jaguars de Jacksonville lanza un pase ante los Colts de Indianápolis, el domingo 13 de septiembre de 2020. (AP Foto/Stephen B. Morton)
Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

Never forget that fantasy football changes on a weekly basis.

Don't throw out months of research and analysis based on a single-game sample. Don't discard an early draft pick because he didn't meet your Week 1 expectations. Also, don't assume the Week 1 sleeper who hit big (looking at you, Russell Gage, and your nine receptions for 114 yards) is suddenly the NFL's next breakout star.

Matchups matter. Opportunities matter. Injuries change things in an instant. And let's not forget the randomness that makes fantasy football so exhilarating or frustrating—depending on which side of the scoreboard you land.

Let's all shift our collective focus forward, then, and spotlight one deep-league sleeper (available in 50-plus percent of Yahoo leagues, per FantasyPros) at the top skill positions who can increase your odds of a Week 2 win.


Deep-League Sleepers for Week 2

Quarterback: Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars (26 Percent Rostered)

In today's pass-happy NFL, it seems almost impossible for a quarterback to turn heads while delivering fewer than 200 passing yards. But Minshew managed to pull that off while posting a higher Week 1 point total than Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady.

Minshew put on a master class in opportunity maximization. He completed 19 of his 20 pass attempts for 173 yards, and three of those completions went for scores. He also rushed five times for 19 yards, which was a reminder that he quietly compiled 344 rushing yards last season.

He doesn't have the greatest matchup this week, as the Jaguars lock horns with a Tennessee Titans team that just limited the Denver Broncos to 14 points. Tennessee's pass rush (turbo-charged by the addition of Jadeveon Clowney) is a concern with Jacksonville's unimpressive offensive line, and a Titans' game script likely calling for one Derrick Henry run after another could limit Minshew's chances.

But the quarterback just showed he doesn't need a ton of dropbacks to post impressive numbers. As far as available passers go, he looks like the best plug-and-play option for Week 2.


Running Back: Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams (29 Percent Rostered)

If you need to pull a running back off the waiver wire, you're in luck. The position features a number of intriguing options, including Nyheim Hines, Benny Snell Jr., James Robinson and Joshua Kelley.

But if Brown is the primary recipient of the touches vacated by Todd Gurley, then this recommendation is a no-brainer. The Rams have other options, including second-round rookie Cam Akers, but they looked Brown's direction first and foremost Sunday night, as ESPN's Field Yates noted:

"Brown is a player the Rams have long valued—they matched an offer sheet he had signed with Detroit to retain him two years ago—and he earned a prominent role on Sunday as a result. He finished with one more carry than Akers and 2019 third-rounder Darrell Henderson Jr. combined and—importantly—was their best goal-line option."

Brown turned his 18 carries into 79 yards and two scores. Akers and Henderson managed just 45 rushing yards on their 17 attempts. Brown caught three of his four targets for 31 yards. Akers caught his only target for four yards. Henderson wasn't targeted.

The hierarchy is subject to change going forward, but Brown sits atop it for now, and if he keeps playing like he did on Sunday, he could be a fantasy gold mine.


Wide Receiver: Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts (24 Percent Rostered)

Philip Rivers' debut didn't produce a Colts' win, but it did show the potential this passing attack possesses.

Campbell was in the middle of that activity. He paced the offense with 71 receiving yards and tied for the team lead with nine targets and six receptions.

"He looked fast, he looked explosive—everything we've seen at practice that he necessarily hasn't been able to show in games due to some things; obviously some injuries that happened last year," Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni told reporters.

A second-round pick in 2019, Campbell battled various injuries and managed just 18 catches across seven games as a rookie. If he can stay healthy, the speedy wideout could post huge numbers while working downfield magic with Rivers.