In our fantasy football Week 2 projections, we let the data chime in on Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs, James Conner, Garrett Wilson, Courtland Sutton and more.
Jimmy Garoppolo and the Las Vegas Raiders are 1-0 and alone in first place in the AFC West. Meanwhile, for all the talk about the discrepancy of quarterback play between the two conferences, the supposedly weaker NFC finished the week with a 4-0 record against the AFC.
In short, we just finished Week 1. Which means that just like the rest of the football world, it’s time for us to overreact to what we just saw.
So before we get to the Yays and Nays, here are four fantasy football overreactions/predictions. We usually delineate between the two a bit more, so consider yourself warned. These are far from sure things, but we’re going to make the case why what happened in Week 1 might be a trend for the rest of the season.
Overreaction No. 1: Not just one, but two wide receivers will cross the 2,000-yard benchmark.
Tyreek Hill said this during the Miami Dolphins’ offseason about becoming the first wide receiver to ever record 2,000 receiving yards in a season: “The quarterback play that we have is amazing, as you can see Tua has been delivering, I feel like, all training camp, and the way that our head coach and our OC design plays for us is ridiculous.” Hill continued, “My job is really easy; I just got to stay healthy, I just got to keep my attention to detail and just know where to be at on the field at all times for my quarterback. Then I’ll be able to make those plays to get where I want to be at, which is 2K.”
In the 14 games Hill and Tua Tagovailoa have played together, Hill has averaged 115.9 yards per game. Extrapolated over a full season, and that’s good for 1,971 yards. Given health for he and his quarterback, and coming off a monster 215-yard game, Hill is off to a great start in making his declaration true.
If Hill isn’t the best wide receiver in the league, it’s because that honor belongs to Minnesota Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson. In his 18 regular season games since the start of last season, Jefferson’s 1,959 receiving yards is the best mark in all of football. And that number includes one game with 14 receiving yards and another game with 15 (Jefferson fantasy managers blame Kirk Cousins for this).
Jefferson recorded 1,400 receiving yards in his rookie season, 1,616 yards in his sophomore season, and 1,809 receiving yards in his offensive player of the year campaign in 2022. Continue that trend, and 2,000 yards is squarely in his sights.
Calvin Johnson still holds onto the record, but Hill and Jefferson are both coming for him this season.
Overreaction No. 2: Anthony Richardson will finish the season as a top-10 quarterback.
Of all the rookie quarterbacks to step on the field in Week 1, Richardson was the most impressive. He was involved in 47 plays (37 pass attempts, 10 rushes), and parlayed his opportunity into finishing the week as QB4. In fact, despite both Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud finishing with more pass attempts than Richardson, neither scored 10 points, which is the number of points Richardson tallied on the ground alone.
It’s that prolific combination of productivity through the air combined with the floor of his rushing game that should excite his fantasy managers. Only one quarterback had more rushing attempts and only four had more rushing yards. In this same offense under Shane Steichen, Jalen Hurts finished his first full season as the Philadelphia Eagles’ starter as QB9. That is well within Richardson’s capabilities and it seems as though the Indianapolis Colts are in good hands.
Overreaction No. 3: Only one tight end will surpass 200 PPR fantasy points.
Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce just missed his first game due to injury in a decade. But with reports promising that he’ll return this week, he’s still a safe bet to immediately return to the top of the position. But for the rest of the tight ends… yikes.
There were a grand total of two tight ends that scored more than 11.5 PPR points in Week 1: Hunter Henry and Hayden Hurst. Henry was the only tight end to record more than 50 receiving yards, and outside of Henry and Hurst, only four other tight ends caught a touchdown pass. Those four tight ends combined to record 42 receiving yards.
With Mark Andrews also missing Week 1 due to injury, this was a time for other tight ends to stake their claim as potential running mates to Kelce and Andrews. Instead, the remaining eight tight ends among the top eight (T.J. Hockenson, George Kittle, Darren Waller, Kyle Pitts, Dallas Goedert and Even Engram) with the highest average draft position (ADP) combined to score 39.3 points. Why is that number significant? Well…
Overreaction No. 4: For the third (!!!) straight year, the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots will finish as the top two fantasy defenses.
Not much of a case needs to be made for the Cowboys. If you didn’t see what they did on Sunday night, the Cowboys defense and special teams scored 40 fantasy points. The Chicago Bears defense scored 62 fantasy points in 2022. That’s 62 points the whole season. Despite their consistency as a takeover machine, the Cowboys were only being drafted as the fourth defense off the board. Micah Parsons spearheads it all, and if they were to average a mere 10 fantasy points per game the rest of the season, they’d become only the second defense in the last 10 years to score 200 fantasy points.
The Patriots case is a little tougher to make after a more pedestrian outing in Week 1 against the reigning NFC Champions. But they only allowed one offensive touchdown, held Hurts to his second fewest passing yards in any game since the start of last season, and Bill Belichick’s unit finished second in our defensive team EVE rankings.
This Pats defense is loaded with good, versatile players, and with some easier opponents on the horizon, they are in good position to skyrocket up the rankings.
Week 2 Yays
Note: We’re comparing our rankings to the expert consensus rankings (ECR) from Fantasy Pros. These rankings update throughout the week (we pulled these numbers from Thursday). Once again, we are using PPR unless noted otherwise.
Daniel Jones, QB (NYG) vs. ARI (ECR: 12, Our Rank: 6, Projected Points: 19.51)
There are no two ways about it, Week 1 was a brutal outing for the New York Giants. Daniel Jones & Co. were humiliated and shut out at home by the Cowboys during prime time. Jones finished as QB28 on the week, one spot ahead of, unbelievably, Dak Prescott. Blowouts work in mysterious ways when it comes to fantasy football. But luckily for Jones, the Giants don’t have to worry about Parsons for a while.
Instead, they get to regroup against an Arizona Cardinals defense that recorded three turnovers in their opener against Sam Howell. However, Howell finished as QB11 on the week, thanks to a touchdown through the air and on the ground. Our model suspects a similar effort may be in the works for Jones, with only Hurts and Richardson more likely to score a rushing touchdown among quarterbacks. It was a rough first week, but fantasy managers should confidently start Jones in Week 2.
James Conner, RB (ARI) vs. NYG (ECR: 21, Our Rank: 5, PP: 16.39)
You’ve already read a lot about James Conner on this site. He was a preseason favorite of our model. He was a Week 1 favorite of our model. And he remains a Week 2 favorite of our model. Conner is the single player our model views more favorably than the industry, and it’s almost entirely because of the opportunities he’s projected to receive each week.
Last week, our model’s projection was within 2.0 points of Conner’s final Week 1 total. Facing off against a Giants defense that just got gashed on the ground by Tony Pollard, our model is even higher on Conner this week. If you have him, keep playing him and riding the wave of a running back who is secure in receiving 15+ touches every game.
This week, we have Conner on a level with Josh Jacobs, Nick Chubb, Tony Pollard and Austin Ekeler.
Chris Godwin, WR (TB) vs. CHI (ECR: 18, Our Rank: 9, PP: 14.29)
A favorite of our model for multiple years now, Godwin falls into the Keenan Allen category of being a quarterback’s security blanket and having that result in increased volume and opportunity.
It matters not that Baker Mayfield is now quarterbacking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and not Tom Brady, Godwin is a model of consistency. He has recorded at least five receptions in each of his last 15 games, by far the longest streak in the NFL. And since the start of 2022, Godwin is eighth in receptions and sixth in targets per game, in elite company with players like Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams.
Against a Bears defense that just allowed 38 points at home to Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers, the model is optimistic of Godwin’s chances of producing a borderline top-10 week. And yes, the model projects that Godwin will record at least five receptions to continue his streak. He is a must-start player.
Courtland Sutton, WR (DEN) vs. WAS (ECR: 31, Our Rank: 11, PP: 14.01)
Sutton’s running mate on the Denver Broncos, Jerry Jeudy, has missed 10 games since the start of the 2021 season. In those games, Sutton has averaged 5.5 receptions and 77.2 receiving yards. Travis Kelce in 2022 averaged 78.7 receiving yards per game.
Sutton’s averages in the 23 games when Jeudy is on the field? 3.4 receptions and 37.6 receiving yards per game. And he’s only managed two touchdowns.
We bring those numbers to the forefront to show it’s especially important to watch Jeudy’s status for Week 2 when making your Sutton sit-start decision. Put simply, without Jeudy on the field, our model views Sutton as a borderline WR1. With him, and our model would rank him much closer to the industry consensus as a WR3/Flex player.
Luke Musgrave, TE (GB) vs. ATL (ECR: 16, Our Rank: 6, PP: 12.74)
Rookie tight ends historically struggle in their rookie seasons. But sometimes, circumstances are so favorable that it almost demands production. With Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs both banged up, Musgrave is almost by default a clear benefactor.
Musgrave was on the field for 89.7% of the Green Bay Packers’ pass plays in their opener and parlayed that opportunity into 50 receiving yards – the second most among all tight ends in Week 1.
The Falcons struggled containing Hurst last week, and our model expects some more troubles for the Dirty Birds with the tight end position this week. If you have Musgrave, he’s worth strong consideration to be in your lineup.
Week 2 Nays
Deshaun Watson, QB (CLE) vs. PIT (ECR: 13, Our Rank: 26, PP: 12.62)
Remarkably, Watson finished as QB5 in Week 1, thanks in large part to his 45 rushing yards and a touchdown. But that also truly saved his day as the entire Cleveland Browns passing game was borderline horrific in their tremendous victory over Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Watson’s well-thrown percentage of 69% was 29th after Week 1, and his 55.2% completion percentage was 26th. It’s now five of his last seven games in which he’s failed to record 200 passing yards, and with a motivated Pittsburgh Steelers squad coming off a rough loss to Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers now hosting the Browns looking to bounce back, our model expects Watson to struggle again.
Until he resembles the player he was during his peak with the Houston Texans, Watson is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of player. Unless you’re in a super-flex league, Watson is best left on your bench.
Bijan Robinson, RB (ATL) vs. GB (ECR: 4, Our Rank: 20, PP: 12.54) and Jahmyr Gibbs, RB (DET) vs. SEA (ECR: 15, Our Rank: 27, PP: 9.90)
Yes, both first round rookies are electric players, and yes, both were outstanding in Week 1, each finishing in the top five in forced missed and broken tackles per touch.
It feels impossible that both can be true and yet, both can end up on the Nay list. However, it’s quite simple. They might each be the best running back on their respective teams, but until Robinson and Gibbs can overtake Tyler Allgeier and David Montgomery respectively in terms of volume and critical touches, they’ll find themselves lower in our projections. Case in point, Allgeier had four carries inside the opponent’s 10-yard line last week. Robinson had none. For the Lions, it was Montgomery with 21 carries, and Gibbs with seven.
Essentially, until their situations improve, both will rely on touchdowns to catapult themselves closer to RB1 contention. This week, in their matchups against the Packers and Seattle Seahawks respectively, both are solid RB2s, along with players like Rachaad White, Najee Harris, Jamaal Williams and Raheem Mostert.
Garrett Wilson, WR (NYJ) vs. DAL (ECR: 17, Our Rank: 30, PP: 10.89)
Did you see that catch? I mean, seriously…
It came in a Jets win, and in a perfect world, we’d be talking about the Jets as bonafide contenders with Aaron Rodgers at the helm after a hard-fought victory over Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. But instead, it was Zach Wilson throwing that pass to Wilson, which is part of the reason why the catch was so spectacular.
Unfortunately, in the 10 games that Zach Wilson started last year, Garrett Wilson averaged 44.7 receiving yards and recorded a grand total of zero touchdowns. Well, heading on the road to take on the Cowboys is a rough first game for the Jets after Rodgers’ injury. Our model does not view Zach Wilson favorably, which hurts Garrett Wilson tremendously. He’s a borderline flex play this week, in the same tier as wide receivers like Zay Flowers and Puka Nacua.