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Value Plays: Week 2

A look at players who could have unexpected big fantasy weeks.

This article will take a weekly look at players who could provide value in a given week. The basis for this value will be the difference between the Top 200 forward, a look at the top 200 players with the whole season in mind, and the weekly rankings. Both of these are from the Insider content. An emphasis will be on the players with the largest differences between the season outlook and this week only. Also, a preference will be given to differences for the higher ranked players. Some of these differences will be due to injury, the matchup of the week, or short-term situation. Now, let's take a look at this week's value players.


Carson Palmer

  • Top 200 ranking: 11
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: +9

The Cardinals host the Buccaneers in a game Arizona needs desperately coming off the devastating loss to New England at home.  There is little hope for a deep playoff run for the Cardinals if they begin the season with consecutive home losses.  Yes, Tampa Bay played well in Atlanta last week.  But, back-to-back road games, facing an angry Cardinals offense might be asking too much for the Buccaneers defense.  We expect both Palmer and running back David Johnson to have big games for fantasy owners.

Eli Manning

  • Top 200 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +5

Manning and the Giants passing showed potential against the Cowboys in Week 1.  As New Orleans comes to town, the younger Manning could have a monstrous outing.  The Saints passing defense is a sieve.  Look at what the Raiders did last week … and that was in The Big Easy.  This game is out of the friendly dome home and in The Big Apple.

Running Back

DeAngelo Williams

  • Top 200 ranking: 41
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: +39

Even at his advanced age for an NFL tailback, Williams looked spry on Monday night.  He has two more games before LeVeon Bell gets back from his three-game suspension.  The Steelers face division-rival Bengals in Pittsburgh.  Yes, Cincinnati has a very good defense.  But, the Steelers offense is so good through the air that running lanes are wide open.  Williams is a must-start for fantasy owners.

Spencer Ware

  • Top 200 ranking: 34
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +29

Like Williams, Ware is making hay while the starter is away.  Jamaal Charles is still a week or three away from being back at full strength so Ware will make for a great spot starter against Houston this week.  We expect ample pass targets in this game as Alex Smith dumps the ball off short to avoid the pressure of the Texans defense.  Keep an eye on Ware’s toe injury before automatically inserting into the fantasy lineup.  Toe injuries can be tricky and difficult and be to return quickly to full health. 

T.J. Yeldon

  • Top 200 ranking: 33
  • Weekly ranking:  12
  • Difference: +21

There are reasons to like Yeldon this week.  He gets a great matchup at San Diego plus backfield mate Chris Ivory just got out of the hospital and is unlikely to play against the Chargers.  This is the same San Diego defense which yielded huge fantasy points to Spencer Ware in Week 1.

Wide Receiver

Demaryius Thomas

  • Top 200 ranking: 25
  • Weekly ranking: 12
  • Difference: +13

While the Broncos offense looked lost at times in the first half against the Panthers, Denver got it going in the second half.  The Super Bowl champions host the Indianapolis Colts in a battle of Peyton Manning’s old teams.  The Colts gave up a monster game a week ago to Matthew Stafford and the Lions and now travel to Denver.  We like Thomas to break off at least one big play in the game and find the end zone at least once. 

Jordan Matthews

  • Top 200 ranking: 28
  • Weekly ranking: 14
  • Difference: +14

Matthews quickly emerged as the top target for rookie Carson Wentz.  Matthews gets to face the Chicago Bears this week.  The once-vaunted defense is a shell of its former self, and closer to a mockery than a Super Bowl contender. 

Amari Cooper

  • Top 200 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +5

The Raiders played well offensively against the Saints last week.  The Oakland pass offense gets another creampuff this week as Atlanta travels westward.  This is the same Falcons pass offense that allowed Jameis Winston to have a big outing last Sunday. 

Tight End

Gary Barnidge

  • Top 200 ranking: 16
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +10

After the goose egg the Browns tight end put up last week, we are expecting him to be more involved against Baltimore this week.  In addition, the quarterback change to Josh McCown should help immensely.  Barnidge had his huge season in 2015 with McCown throwing the ball.  The Ravens allowed Charles Clay to get open some last week and has not historically been sounds against opposing tight ends. 

Virgil Green

  • Top 200 ranking: 24
  • Weekly ranking: 13
  • Difference: +11

Green has stepped into the starting role and does not look like he will give it up.  The Broncos face the Colts this week.  Indianapolis struggled to effectively keep Eric Ebron in check last Sunday and could allow Green to approach fantasy TE1 territory.

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