The fantasy matchup stats you need to know for Week 2
Play the matchups in fantasy football, and you’ll win more often than you lose. Now that we’re in the thick of the bye weeks, knowing the matchups to avoid and exploit becomes even more important. Below you’ll find the key matchup stats to know from each of the 15 remaining games this week.
Both Baltimore backs are in play this week.
With Danny Woodhead on injured reserve, the Ravens are likely to use Terrance West on early downs with Javorius Allen serving as the passing-down back. Of the two, West is the preferred fantasy option. He can be fired up as an RB2 in this plus matchup. Cleveland surrendered the second-most rushing yards per game to opposing running backs last season. Allen also has value this week, and could be considered a flex option in PPR leagues.
Stream Charles Clay again at tight end.
He was one of Tyrod Taylor’s favorite targets in Week 1, and that is likely to continue in this contest. The Panthers were the fifth-best fantasy matchup for tight ends last season. Where they especially struggled against the position was in the red zone. Only Cleveland surrendered more touchdowns per game to tight ends. Better yet, Clay saw two end-zone targets in Week 1. He’s a solid streamer this week.
Tough to trust any running back in this game.
Sorry David Johnson owners. This was a fantastic matchup for last year’s No. 1 fantasy running back. Despite the favorable conditions, it’s risky to trust Kerwynn Williams as anything more than a flex option this week. We just don’t know how the Cardinals will divide up their backfield touches. On the other side, it’s too early to trust Marlon Mack, and Frank Gore is a fade. The Cardinals gave up a league-low 3.3 yards per carry to opposing running backs last year.
Unfavorable matchup for Leonard Fournette.
The rookie first-rounder racked up a whopping 29 touches in Week 1, and posted a strong fantasy line. Fantasy owners will want to fire him up this week, but just be aware that the matchup is a tough one. Tennessee played the run well last season, giving up just 72.6 rushing yards per game to opposing backfields. Only the Cardinals surrendered fewer yards per game.
Another tough matchup for Travis Kelce.
Fantasy owners may be frustrated with Kelce after he managed just 40 yards on five catches in the opener. Bigger fantasy days are ahead, but they aren’t likely to come this week. Philadelphia is a brutal matchup for opposing tight ends. Only Arizona surrendered fewer fantasy points per game to the position last season, and no team saw few targets to opposing tight ends than Philly did in 2016.
Tom Brady gets back on track.
Forget all of those narratives that Brady looked “old” in Week 1. “Rusty” is the more appropriate description, and he’ll get some WD-40 this week in a plus matchup against the Saints. Last week, New Orleans made Sam Bradford look like Joe Montana. Brady should have no problem dismantling this secondary that gave up an average of 284.4 passing yards per game last year.
Dalvin Cook keeps it going.
The rookie kicked off his pro career with a bang, topping 100 yards on the ground on Monday night. Look for another healthy dose of Cook this week in a favorable matchup against the Steelers. Pittsburgh gave up the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs last season.
Jacquizz Rodgers is a solid play.
Doug Martin is suspended for the next three weeks, so the Bucs will lean on Rodgers as their featured back. He served in the same role last season and racked up 30-plus touches in Week 5. The matchup isn’t elite, but it’s still favorable for Rodgers. Chicago gave up 4.4 yards per carry and nearly one rushing touchdown per game to opposing running backs last year.
Philip Rivers is streamable this week.
The Chargers drew a tough matchup for the passing game in the opener, but Rivers has a much better matchup this week. The Dolphins gave up the six-most passing scores per game last season (1.9), and allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the position.
Fire up Marshawn Lynch.
While the Jets were more of a middle-of-the-road matchup for opposing running backs last season, the projected game script favors a lot of running from the Raiders offense. Lynch didn’t put up massive numbers in his Oakland debut, but he looked like the Lynch of old, and saw 19 touches. He should rack up the touches and fantasy points in Week 2.
Fade Dak Prescott.
This is a rough matchup for the young signal-caller, as the Broncos were the only defense to yielded fewer than 200 passing yards per game last season. Look for the Cowboys to minimalize the passing game and lean heavily on Ezekiel Elliott and their run game.
Keep rolling with Todd Gurley.
The rushing stats from Week 1 weren’t particularly impressive from Gurley, but the Rams used him heavily in the passing game with six targets going to Gurley. The work as a receiver propelled him to 21 PPR points, which tied for fourth among running backs in the opener. Look for the Rams to continue to use Gurley heavily in both phases of the offense this week.
Start Thomas Rawls, but only if you have to.
Here’s the thing: The Seattle backfield is a bit of a train wreck for fantasy purposes. A lot of folks are excited about rookie Chris Carson, but he’s at best the No. 3 back. Rawls should return to the field this week, but he’s a risky start. Still, the matchup is very appealing. San Francisco was the only defense to give up more than five yards per carry to opposing running backs last year.
Get Ty Montgomery in your starting lineup.
While he didn’t put up massive numbers on the ground last week, Montgomery managed a solid fantasy line with 19 PPR points thanks to a rushing score and four catches. More importantly, he was the Packers’ clear feature back. Montgomery makes for a strong play this week against a Falcons defense that surrendered the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs last season.
Downgrade Matthew Stafford.
He’s coming off a strong Week 1 performance where Stafford finished as the No. 2 fantasy quarterback, but fantasy owners will want to look elsewhere this week. The Giants pass defense was absolutely brutal on opposing signal-callers last year, surrendering the second-fewest fantasy points per game.