Week 1 was fun, wasn’t it? It was even more fun watching Carson Wentz, Austin Ekeler, and Chris Carson smash as featured players from last week’s article. Even Kenny Golladay and Tyler Lockett found the end zone. Julian Edelman continued to do Julian Edelman things while eating up the Steelers secondary for 14.3 PPR points. We did see three busts in Jameis Winston, O.J. Howard, and Vance McDonald. That gave me a 67-percent hit rate for the week. Not too shabby. This week’s piece presents 10 more lock-button starts. These are players that are primed for success and should be in your Week 2 lineups based on player usage and opportunity, match ups, and advanced metrics and analytics data. Let’s assume PPR scoring with four points per passing touchdown.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
Yes, it was just one game. And yes, I am well aware that it was against a putrid Miami Dolphins team. But did you see what Lamar Jackson did on Sunday?! Oh boy, we have ourselves a league-winner. Jackson torched the Dolphins for 324 yards and five touchdowns through the air. He had a perfect passer rating while completing 85-percent of his attempts. And get this, he only ran twice (his third attempt was a kneel down). Of course it’s good for fantasy when he runs, and that will come, but this is exactly what we wanted to see—Jackson prove he is able to drop back and sling it with accuracy. Not bad for a running back, right?
The Week 2 matchup opens the door for another big game from the second-year quarterback. The Cardinals gave up 27.6 fantasy points to Matthew Stafford in their Week 1 tie. I am getting sick of these ties, by the way. You play to win the game, right? But I digress. It’s a brutal secondary in Arizona, even worse than Miami’s. The Cardinals are missing their top two cornerbacks with Patrick Peterson serving a suspension and Robert Alford on injured reserve. Jackson will be able to pick apart this defense with ease, providing another top-five fantasy performance.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
Marlon Mack has risen from his coffin after Andrew Luck left him for dead. So many wrote him off prematurely, forgetting that he still runs behind one of the league’s best run-blocking units, faces no competition for carries, and has a solid defense behind him. The third-year back ran all over the Chargers in the Week 1 overtime loss, racking up 174 yards on 25 attempts. He did not record a target, which is a concern for games the Colts are expected to be playing from behind. Week 2, though, should provide plenty of neutral game-script in what is expected to be a close game against the Titans. In their Week 17 matchup, Mack ran for 119 yards and a score on 25 carries. Tennessee just gave up 92 yards on the ground to the Browns in Week 1. Lock Mack in as a high-end RB2.
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
Derrick Henry picked up right where he left off after a dominant close to the 2018 season. He rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the Week 1 upset win over the Browns. He added a 75-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. Henry led the Titans backfield in touches (20) and offensive snaps (36). He was fourth in evaded tackles in 2018, and continued that with 10 against Cleveland and a Juke Rate of 50-percent (No.8). Henry has at least 89 total yards in three of his last four games against the Colts, who allowed the most fantasy points to running backs in Week 1. He is locked-in as a borderline RB1.
Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots
The Dolphins are making this whole fantasy football thing easy. All we need to do is start all players against Miami. In this case, it’s the Patriots and WR Josh Gordon who caught three-of-four targets for 73 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. In 11 games with New England in 2018, Gordon finished among the top-25 wide receivers five times despite not joining the team until Week 3. That includes a five catch, 96 yard-performance against the Dolphins in Week 14.
Check out Josh Gordon on PlayerProfiler’s Weekly Rankings & Projections:
Last week, Gordon drew shadow coverage from Minkah Fitzpatrick in that matchup, but will likely see a combination of Eric Rowe, Xavien Howard, and Fitzpatrick in this one. Miami allowed 379 yards and six touchdowns through the air in their Week 1 loss to the Ravens. Tom Brady will pick apart that secondary all afternoon, and Gordon will be a great beneficiary. It’s hard to imagine Antonio Brown will have a significant role in this game after being on the team for less than a week, so he shouldn’t be too much of a threat to Gordon’s targets just yet. Lock ‘Flash’ in as a WR2.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Raiders
No Antonio Brown, no problem. Tyrell Williams balled out in his Raiders debut. He had six receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown, proving he can be the team’s WR1. He was on the field for 92.6-percent of the snaps and held a 26.9-percent target rate, further solidifying himself as the true No.1. Williams averaged five yards per route run and accumulated 48 yards after the catch. Derek Carr had a perfect quarterback rating when targeting him. The combo now has the opportunity to go against one of the league’s worst pass defenses. Chris Conley, D.J. Chark, and Dede Westbrook all scored touchdowns against the Chiefs, while Gardner Minshew threw for 275 yards in relief of Nick Foles. The Raiders will be playing catch-up for most of this game so, with little else for target competition outside of tight end Darren Waller, there will be plenty of opportunity for Williams to make plays in this one.
Darren Waller, TE, Raiders
Speaking of Darren Waller, the 6-6, 255-pound tight end looks primed for a breakout season. He caught seven-of-eight targets in Week 1, compiling 70 yards while playing on 100-percent of the Raiders offensive snaps. He ran a route on 50-percent of those snaps and had a 30.8-percent target rate.
Even while flying under the fantasy radar, it’s no surprise to see this performance. He is a freak athlete with 4.46 speed, a 99th-percentile Speed Score, 89th-percentile Burst Score, 81st-percentile Agility Score, and a 10.39 (96th-percentile) Catch Radius. He averaged 17.0 (92nd-percentile) yards per reception in college with a 32.1-percent (91st-percentile) College Dominator. The Chiefs gave up the most fantasy points to tight ends in 2018 and even Geoff Swaim caught four passes against them last week. Lock Waller into your lineups as a top-10 TE.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots At Dolphins: Brady and the Patriots historically struggle in Miami, but this Dolphins team is really, really bad.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots At Dolphins: Bounce-back spot against a bad Miami team.
D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers vs Buccaneers: Saw a 27-percent target rate as the clear WR1 in Carolina. Sees one of the worst secondaries in the league on Thursday night.
Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore vs Cardinals: Eight receptions, 108 yards, and one touchdown in Week 1 with a 30.8-percent Hog Rate.