Week 2 Sleepers

A look at the best under the radar plays at every position this week.

QB

Joe Flacco (at Cleveland) - Cleveland’s defense is deficient in pass rush and coverage, but at least mediocre against the run. Flacco’s offense is going to lean pass heavy, which should give him more than enough opportunity to exploit the weaknesses in the Browns pass defense. Flacco completed passes to ten different receivers last week, but we don’t need to decipher which ones are most likely to succeed to take advantage of this matchup. The whole passing game intersects at Flacco.

Philip Rivers (vs Jacksonville) - It might seem odd to call Rivers a sleeper in Week 2 when he was drafted to be a starter for most teams that selected him in fantasy drafts, but the loss of Keenan Allen knocked him out of the top 20 quarterbacks last year, so we have to tread lightly going forward. The good news is that Rivers put up four scores and 300 yards against the Jaguars last year without Allen, so there is hope if you have to start him and the waiver wire is thin. The Jaguars defense should improve over the course of the year, but it is still young and the pass rush hasn't quite come up to speed yet.

Brock Osweiler (vs Kansas City) - Osweiler started slow, but he came on to post a very solid fantasy Week 1. It could have even better if Will Fuller V had converted a long score that clanked off of his hands. Against a Kansas City defense that is missing Justin Houston and allowed Philip Rivers to get very comfortable in Week 1, Osweiler should have more opportunities to throw deep and take advantage of a Chiefs defense that had no answers for the Chargers until they coasted up three scores in the second half. Osweiler’s aggressive nature as a passer and the talent at wide receiver should equal another solid day for anyone who streams him in deeper leagues.

Trevor Siemian (vs Indianapolis) - Siemian is more of a desperation option, but against the Colts defense, prayers can be answered. If Demaryius Thomas was healthy, Siemian might be a prime DFS/streaming matchup. The Colts are depleted in the secondary and up front, and they were possibly the worst tackling defense on the field in Week 1. The Broncos may open up a big enough lead to take the air out of the ball in the second half, but if Andrew Luck can just have a modicum of success, Siemian’s ability to move the ball consistently against Carolina indicates the possibility for a big day against the Colts.

RB

Terrance West (at Cleveland) - The Browns run defense was better than their pass defense vs. the Eagles, but they still allowed a good fantasy day to Ryan Mathews because of value and the chance to finish a clinching drive. West would be the Ravens back most likely to play that role if Baltimore can build a lead on the road by using their myriad of receiving options to run the Browns inexperienced pass defense ragged. If you think the Ravens can win this one comfortably, West should come through.

Shaun Draughn (at Carolina) - Draughn is just a backup running back, but he is the better receiving back, who should be on the field in numerous third and longs the Carolina defense is likely to force against Blaine Gabbert. Last year, after a similarly stunning Week 1, the 49ers got thrashed by the Steelers in Week 2, although the offense notched a ton of garbage time production. If that’s the script in Week 2 this year, Draughn could be a major beneficiary.

Duke Johnson Jr (vs Baltimore) - After enduring less work Johnny Manziel last year, Johnson opened the year with Robert Griffin III, who isn’t nearly as skilled at passing short as Josh McCown, who will replace Griffin (shoulder). Johnson had two games with six catches, one with seven catches, and even a nine reception game with McCown last year, so his PPR punch is back this week, not to mention a matchup against a Ravens defense that is much better against the run and should force the Browns to pass more in Week 2.

Shane Vereen (vs New Orleans) - In last year’s 52-49 shootout against the Saints, Vereen had eight catches for 60 yards and a score. The Saints defense gave up two scores to running backs last week, and they should be generous across the board this year. A more wide open game along the lines of last year’s Giants-Saints game should give Vereen plenty of opportunities to put up a good PPR line and score again in this matchup.

Alfred Morris (at Washington) - Washington let Morris walk this offseason and their running game is in even worse shape than it was last year. Morris, on the other hand, landed with the best offensive line in the league and should be set up be one of the most efficient per carry runners this season. While Ezekiel Elliott should get the majority of the work, the Cowboys should aim to run 40 times against the weak Washington run defense, and maybe even try to harness any “revenge” urge Morris has for his old team.

WR

Mike Wallace (at Cleveland) - Watch Breshad Perriman’s status, as he returned to practice after a calf issue kept him on the sidelines Wednesday. Even if Perriman can play, he’ll likely be limited, making Wallace the primary downfield receiver for the Ravens offense facing a Browns defense that made Carson Wentz look like Carson Palmer in his first NFL start. Wallace already has one long catch and run score under his belt, displaying the speed that got him paid in Miami a few years. Don’t be surprised if he notches his second long score this week.

Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz (vs New Orleans) - Here’s one more reference to the 52-49 shootout this week for good measure. On top of that, the Saints have almost no regular season experience among their top three corners this week, so not only will Odell Beckham get his, but both Shepard and Cruz have very favorable matchups. Add in a Saints pass offense that should put pressure on the Giants to put up point much like last year’s track meet and you have a recipe for two, if not three Giants receivers being very good plays this week.

Tyrell Williams (vs Jacksonville) - Williams is the most likely receiver to get more snaps and targets in place of Keenan Allen, and he’s certainly the one with the most physical talent. The size/speed/agility freak had two gains over 30 yards on his two receptions last week, and the team has called him out as someone they need to do more. The Jacksonville defense is weakest in the secondary and Philip Rivers threw four scores against them last year - without Keenan Allen. If he has a great day again this week, Williams is the most likely wide receiver to be responsible for that.

Quincy Enunwa (at Buffalo) - Enunwa was a surprise Week 1 leading receiver for the Jets, and we shouldn’t be shocked if it happens again in Week 2. The Bills strength on defense is their pair of corners - Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore. Ryan Fitzpatrick showed the willingness to target Enunwa when the Bengals gave more attention to Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall last week, and he should continue to be patient this week because the Jets don’t need to score a lot of points to beat the Bills. Enunwa should get open as much as any Jets receiver this week, and probably produce as much as any, too.

Nelson Agholor (at Chicago) - Agholor’s finest moment as a pro came last week when he reeled in a long score for Carson Wentz in the rookie quarterback’s debut. This week, he gets a Bears secondary that let Will Fuller V run free. As the Eagles receiver most likely to get deep targets, he’s a great upside play as a deep WR3/flex if you are in a jam because you lost Keenan Allen.

Robert Woods (vs New York Jets) - Woods could be a good play this week if Sammy Watkins is merely a decoy deployed to cancel out Darrelle Revis. Brandon LaFell was able to get free for a long gain that fueled him to almost 23 yards a catch on four receptions, and that was with AJ Green catching 12 balls. If the Bills are going to move the ball through the air against the Jets, Woods is going to have to come up big.

TE

Kyle Rudolph (vs Green Bay) - Rudolph looked stronger and more athletic than he has in recent years, and he was basically the team’s #2 receiver behind Stefon Diggs in Week 1. This week, the Vikings get a likely upgrade at quarterback with Sam Bradford all but assured to start. This should only help Rudolph, just as the Packers matchup should. Julius Thomas had one of the best tight end stat lines of Week 1 against Green Bay, with five catches for 64 yards and a score, and Marcedes Lewis added two catches, including a big play that went for 37 yards. Rudolph is fine waiver wire to your lineup tight end if you need to replace Zach Ertz or Rob Gronkowski can’t go again this week.

Virgil Green (vs Indianapolis) - Green should have had a score to cap a nice Week 1, and Week 2 will bring even more opportunity because Broncos top red zone receiver Demaryius Thomas is battling a hip injury. The Colts allowed a score to Eric Ebron last week, and between the problems they have shown tackling and the issues they have on the depth chart, Green is one of the best bets at tight end to have a good Week 2. He also faces a much easier matchup than the Carolina linebacker corps from Week 1, which is clearly one of the best in the league.

Clive Walford (vs Atlanta) - Atlanta gave up two touchdowns and six catches to Tampa tight ends last week. Oakland’s tight end targets aren’t split like the Bucs, so Walford has an excellent chance to exploit their young linebackers in coverage and take advantage of a defense that has a lot more questions than answers to the opposition’s strength this season. Walford runs downfield routes and also has the ability to make your streaming tight end fantasy week with one play while the defense is more focused on the team’s dynamic wideout combination.

Jesse James (vs Cincinnati) - As expected, James was a prominent target in the “Heath Miller” role, settling down in spaces in the middle of the field and close to the line of scrimmage. Miller himself had 10 catches in each of the two matchups against the Bengals last year while occupying that role. James should be a high floor PPR play with a reasonable chance to score as a safety