Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 2

Source: USA Today

Fantasy Football Sleepers Week 2

Another week another sleeper article.  Week one was, well, week one.  That is to say, it was an exciting and highly unpredictable week of football.  Speculations and assumptions were put to the test.  Some predictions came true, while others missed the mark.  There were star players lost for the season due to injury (Aaron Rodgers and J.K. Dobbins) and others that came back from injury and reminded us why they were stars in the first place (Breece Hall.)  Players seemed to come out of nowhere to put themselves on the waiver wire map (Puka Nacua), and some backups made the case for why they should be the starter (Kyren Williams, Sean Tucker, and Roschon Johnson.)  In the end, we were left with just as many questions as answers.  Will Joshua Kelley continue to get the type of workload he saw in week 1?  Are all New York Jets pass catchers destined to disappoint now that they’ll be catching passes from *gulp* Zach Wilson?  Are the Chicago Bears really that bad or are the Green Bay Packers that good?  Time will tell, but until then, we will continue to make our most educated guesses.  Week two provides a number of intriguing sleeper options to thrust into your lineup in the hopes that they can repeat or surpass their week one performance.  Here are the players, in my opinion, that are most likely to accomplish that goal.

Week 2 Sleepers

Start Stat Percentage, Via Sleeper

Brock Purdy (QB)

San Francisco 49ers vs. LAR (13% Start)

I’m not sure why people keep doubting Purdy as a viable starting fantasy option at QB, but I imagine, after a couple more games, he’ll become a weekly starter on a much higher number of squads.  In Purdy’s six NFL starts, he has finished inside the top 15 at the position every single time and has been inside the top 10 four times, including this past week against the Steelers.  It’s probably time to start taking him seriously.  Although it’s true that in week one the Rams managed to slow down Geno Smith and a very talented group of playmakers, I’m not willing to bet that they will be able to do it two weeks in a row.  On top of that, the 49ers defense should have a lot more success illuminating the weaknesses of this Rams team than the Seahawks did.  The inexperience of the Rams secondary is still an issue and they are going to have their work cut out for them trying to slow down Deebo Samuel, breakout candidate Brandon Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey, and George Kittle.  Purdy is a fringe top-10 QB this week.

Jared Goff (QB)

Detroit Lions vs. SEA (27% Start)

Goff didn’t get off to the best start in week one.  Against the Chiefs, Goff finished with 253 yards and a touchdown.  That was good for 16 points and a QB18 finish.  Needless to say, unless it was a superflex league, he probably wasn’t anywhere near your lineup.  Goff, though, has been valuable to fantasy in the past.  In 2022, Goff finished with six top seven finishes and three more in the top 15.  Goff also does not turn the ball over.  Would you be surprised to learn that Goff has not thrown an interception in his last 10 starts, and it’s not because he hasn’t thrown the ball.  Over that same stretch, Goff has a total of 347 pass attempts, an average of nearly 35 a game.  He also gets to play this week at home, where he has found fantasy success.  Last year, in nine home games, Goff averaged over 26 points a game, and I don’t see the Seahawks (a team that allowed Matthew Stafford to throw for 334 yards without Cooper Kupp) preventing him from doing it again.  Goff is perennially underrated as a fantasy asset, but I like him as a top-12 QB this week.  

Joshua Kelley (RB)

Los Angeles Chargers vs. TEN (5% Start)

Fantasy juggernaut Austin Ekeler missed practice on Wednesday due to an injured ankle as well as attending to a personal matter and, if either or both of those issues keep him out of Sunday’s contest, I expect Kelley’s starting percentage to rise, but probably not as much as it should.  In week one, with a healthy Ekeler the backfield touches were split 50/50, with each running back getting 16 carries.  It would be easy to explain if the Chargers were trying to run the clock out due to a substantial lead, but the game was a 36-34 shootout with the Miami Dolphins that the Chargers lost.  Ekeler ended up with the better fantasy day due to his large role in the passing game, but Kelley finished top 10 at the position with over 15 fantasy points.  Even if Ekeler plays Kelley could warrant weekly flex consideration.  Ekeler and the team have voiced the desire to find someone to help shoulder a bit of the load to keep Ekeler fresh and healthy, and it seems they’ve found their man.  If Ekeler does miss time, Kelley just might have league-winning upside.  Even against the Titans’ solid defensive unit, I like him as a flex play with Ekeler and an RB2 with upside if Ekeler sits.  

Tyler Allgeier (RB)

Atlanta Falcons vs. GB (34% Start)

One of the more surprising, or perplexing to some, storylines from this past weekend was how involved Allgeier was in the Falcons offensive game plan.  Even with rookie sensation Bijan Robinson on the roster, Allgeier saw 18 touches (two more than Robinson) and finished the day with 75 rushing yards and two TDs.  He added another 19 yards on three receptions.  This led to him finishing as RB4 on the week with nearly 23 fantasy points.  I don’t think anyone had that on their fantasy football week one bingo card.  Robinson did play a higher percentage of the snaps but only slightly with 63% to Allgeier’s 56%.  Going into the season, everyone thought Robinson would be a clear bell cow right out of the gate, but it’s clear, at least for now, that the Falcons plan to lean on both running backs.  Why shouldn’t they?  They both averaged at least five yards a carry in week one.  The Packers have a good defense and the Bears were not able to get the run game going against them in week one, but the Bears weren’t able to get much of anything going in week one.  I expect the Falcons to have more success running the ball and, with it running through both players, Allgeier makes a good flex play, while Robinson remains a lock and loaded must start.

Puka Nacua (WR)

Los Angeles Rams vs. SF (31% Start)

During the preseason, Rams head coach Sean McVay said Nacua was going to be an “immediate contributor” to this offense and, although some of the volume he saw was without a doubt due to Cooper Kupp’s absence, McVay was a man of his word.  Nacua was very involved in week one, seeing 78% of the snaps and a whopping 39.47% of the targets with 15.  Those 15 targets led to 10 catches for 119 yards, making him a half and full PPR darling.  I’ll be the first to admit the prediction of Nacua as a sleeper this week has the potential to not age well.  The 49ers are not the Seahawks and, if they can get after Stafford, it could be a long afternoon for the entire Rams offense, but when someone is this heavily involved it’s safe to assume they will continue to be, and that opportunity should, in most cases, lead to production.  Not only that but, as crazy as it sounds, the Rams may have to throw even more this week.  The 49ers could easily jump out ahead early and their solid front seven could make it difficult for either Cam Akers or Kyren Williams to find much room to maneuver leading to more pass attempts for Stafford.  I’m not saying that Nacua is going to catapult into WR1 status or even consistent WR2, but when he wasn’t even on the fantasy radar and he finishes as a top 10 WR, not because of anything flukey like one deep touchdown, but because he’s heavily involved, you have to take notice.  I like him as a flex this week.

Nico Collins (WR)

Houston Texans vs. IND (34% Start)

In his first game with rookie signal-caller C.J. Stroud, Collins proved what we had assumed all offseason.  He is the number one wide receiver on this team, demanding 11 targets and finishing with six catches for 80 yards.  Collins was one of only nine receivers to see more than 10 targets in week one.  This trend should continue throughout the season.  This week Collins gets to go up against a secondary that had trouble stopping the pass last week.  Against the Jaguars the Colts allowed Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones to catch a total of 13 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.  C.J. Stroud is not Trevor Lawrence and Collins is not Ridley (or even Jones yet) but the Texans showed they are committed to throwing the ball with only three teams throwing it more in week one.  Stroud didn’t exactly light up the box score, but the Colts should be a softer opponent than the Ravens.  There may be some hesitancy in starting any offensive weapon on the Texans, and rightfully so, but Collins is in a favorable spot to reward fantasy managers who choose to take a chance on him.  I like him as a flex play this week.

Luke Musgrave (TE)

Green Bay Packers vs. ATL (8% Start)

It’s hard to trust any rookie TE for fantasy purposes.  It takes time for them to develop into consistent weapons for their team.  Even an athletic freak and generational talent like Kyle Pitts has found it difficult to produce, but that has been more a product of who is throwing him the ball than Pitts himself.  Musgrave could have the same issue in 2023 since we can’t know exactly who new starting QB Jordan Love is after one game against a struggling Bears defense, but what we saw on Sunday was encouraging.  While it’s true that Musgrave only saw four targets in week one, his three catches for 50 yards were still enough to see him finish in the top 10 at the position in half PPR formats.  His 75% of the snap count was also great to see.  He is the clear TE1 for this team, and his NFL debut could have been a lot more productive.  Late in the second quarter Musgrave was open for a big gain and was badly overthrown by Love.  Then he was open again, for what would’ve been a 41-yard touchdown, but Love overcorrected forcing Musgrave to wait on a pop fly of a throw and lose his balance, falling at the five-yard line.  If Christian Watson is forced to miss more time we could see Musgrave’s role continue to grow.  Even if Watson does return, Musgrave could still find success against a Falcons defense that just allowed Hayden Hurst to catch five passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.  Musgrave is a great sleeper this week.

Dalton Kincaid (TE)

Buffalo Bills vs. LV (29% Start)

In week one, Kincaid had a modest output, catching four passes for 26 yards and finishing as the TE23 in half PPR formats, so I understand if it’s hard to throw him into your lineup in week two, but he did catch all of his targets and played 80% of the snaps.  The Bills need to get him more involved.  Outside of Stefon Diggs, who saw 13 targets, no other player saw more than six, and that was 2nd year running back James Cook.  They need playmakers after nearly losing to a New York Jets team that had to rely on QB Zach Wilson most of the game after Aaron Rodgers left with an Achilles injury.  Getting production from Kincaid (as well as other pass catchers) could help QB Josh Allen get over his recent struggles.  The Bills face a Raiders team that just allowed Adam Trautman and Greg Dulcich to catch all of their seven targets for 56 yards.  If Kincaid gets seven targets (especially if one or two of them are near the goal line) he could be great, and we could be having a much different conversation about him in week three.  

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