Updated 9/15 at 2:30 PM ET.
Week 2 of the fantasy football season is finally here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need leave the weekend with a win. Patrick Daugherty answers your lineup questions with his Week 2 Rankings, Nick Mensio tells you who to start and who to fade in Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em, and Evan Silva breaks down every matchup in his award-winning Matchups Column.
As for me, I am here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I also tweet about football (and wrestling) at @notJDaigle.
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Panthers @ Falcons
*Greg Olsen (foot) is expected to miss multiple games for the second consecutive season. With that in mind, note beastly 6’4” 232-pound Devin Funchess averaged 7.7 targets and 4.5-56.3-0.6 in nine games without Olsen last year. Those marks plummeted to 5.8-3.1-46.7-0.2 in the eight games Olsen played. He’s a buy-low candidate right now. RG Trai Turner (concussion) is also out, which leaves Carolina starting LT Chris Clark (signed Wednesday), LG Greg Van Roten, C Ryan Kalil, RG Amini Silatolu, and RT Taylor Moton. That may limit Cam Newton’s time in the pocket and, in turn, ability to throw downfield, which makes Christian McCaffrey a fallback option to reap the rewards of quick check-downs. McCaffrey’s peripherals were similarly boosted sans Olsen (8.1 targets and 5.8-43.7-0.4) last season and the Falcons have allowed the most receptions to running backs for three consecutive seasons.
*Without Devonta Freeman (knee) Sunday, expect Tevin Coleman to step in and dominate opportunity in the Falcons’ backfield. In three career games Coleman’s played without Freeman, he’s recorded rushing lines of 20-43-1 > 19-97-2 > 18-110. The absences of MLB Deion Jones (foot, I.R.) and SS Keanu Neal (ACL, I.R.) will hurt Atlanta’s defense long term, but it might not matter in this particular matchup given Carolina’s offensive line woes.
Colts @ Redskins
*LT Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) suffered a setback Wednesday and will miss his second straight game. Joe Haeg will draw another start on Andrew Luck’s blindside. It’s still undetermined if he’ll be blocking for rookie Jordan Wilkins or Marlon Mack (questionable, hamstring) at kick-off, though it’s positive the latter was upgraded and a full participant in Friday’s practice. Even so, I don’t know how you confidently start Mack with Wilkins, Nyheim Hines, and Christine Michael still in the mix. He’s only worth stashing at this time.
*Receivers Maurice Harris (concussion) and Paul Richardson (shoulder) are both questionable for Sunday. Josh Doctson and Brian Quick would undoubtedly receive extended run without Richardson, but an outside-the-box line of thinking is that his absence would leave even more opportunity for Chris Thompson in Washington’s passing game. Thompson already out-targeted Richardson 7-6 in Week 1.
Texans @ Titans
*DeAndre Hopkins (foot) and Will Fuller (hamstring) remain questionable. Rookie Keke Coutee (hamstring) and Sammie Coates (hamstring) are both out, allowing Bruce Ellington to stay in the slot full-time. Hopkins’ reps were limited throughout the week but he’s expected to play. Coach Bill O’Brien said he’s “confident” Fuller will play, too, so expect Deshaun Watson to have his full arsenal on hand.
*Tennessee’s offensive line would be hard-pressed to block J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus anyhow, but now they’ll be tasked in doing so without starting LT Taylor Lewan (concussion) and RT Jack Conklin (knee). Not only that, but coach Mike Vrabel made headlines Friday whenever he told the media that both Marcus Mariota (questionable, elbow) and Blaine Gabbert would play Sunday. Yes, both. Even in 2-QB leagues, you can’t possibly start Mariota. This line has quietly moved from Pick to Texans -3 in the last few days.
Eagles @ Buccaneers
*Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) is still unsurprisingly a “few weeks” away. The real news is that Philadelphia will be missing Darren Sproles (hamstring), who quietly played 29-of-71 snaps and ran 21 routes (per Pro Football Focus) in the Eagles’ season opener. Jay Ajayi should be featured often, though he doesn’t profile as a prolific receiver among Philadelphia’s backfield options. Look for Corey Clement to receive a slight boost in usage following his miniscule role (13-of-72 snaps) in Week 1.
*DeSean Jackson (questionable, concussion) got in a full practice Friday and will reportedly clear protocol in time to play. That’s a shame for all two of us looking forward to starting Chris Godwin in his stead. More importantly, the Bucs will be without starting corners Brent Grimes (groin) and Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder, I.R.) Sunday, leaving Ryan Smith, Carlton Davis, and M.J. Stewart tasked in coverage — a trio that allowed an average 124.8 passer rating in Week 1. It’s plausible coach Doug Pederson shores up Sproles’ targets via receivers against this crop of subpar corners, making Nelson Agholor and even Mike Wallace (team-high 109 air yards in Week 1) intriguing season-long and DFS starts.
Chiefs @ Steelers
*Without Eric Berry (heel), the Chiefs will once again run out Steven Nelson, Orlando Scandrick, Ron Parker, and Jordan Lucas in their secondary. Even though Travis Benjamin dropped two 30-plus yard bombs, Philip Rivers still picked apart this same unit for 424-3-1 and 8.3 yards per attempt in Week 1.
*Ben Roethlisberger (elbow, questionable) is fully expected to play and has averaged an otherworldly 333.8-2.8-0.8 in 27 games at home since 2014. He’s Roto Pat’s No. 2 quarterback, and you could make a legitimate case that’s one spot too low, even without starting RG David DeCastro (doubtful, hand). Overshadowed by Roethlisberger’s pending bounce-back is the fact CB Joe Haden (hamstring, doubtful) also won’t play. The Steelers’ defense allowed a whopping 8.5 YPA without Haden last season, which should allow Big Ben and the offense to keep their foot on the pedal.
Dolphins @ Jets
*The Dolphins will likely have DeVante Parker (questionable, finger) back after he fully practiced to end the week. He’s still a (very) risky start coming off a long absence. The Dolphins’ receiver snaps in Week 1 were dispersed among Kenny Stills (95%), Danny Amendola (73%), Albert Wilson (55%), and Jakeem Grant (40%). Grant ran the fewest routes (12) and will be the odd man out.
*Jermaine Kearse (abdomen) wasn’t on New York’s final injury report and will make his return Sunday. It’s still a question mark whether he or Terrelle Pryor receive run as the Jets’ No. 3 wideout. No matter who it is, this game shapes up to be another terrific spot for Quincy Enunwa, who led all skill players with a 48% target share in Week 1. Enunwa will continue playing a hybrid slot/tight end role against a Fins defense that permitted a 4-52 receiving line to Delanie Walker (prior to injury) Sunday and the most receptions (94) to opposing tight ends just last year.
Chargers @ Bills
*Coach Anthony Lynn said he’s “very optimistic” about Travis Benjamin’s (questionable, foot) chances of playing despite his absence from practice on Friday. Joey Bosa (foot) remains out after he was spotted in a cast, but that might not matter in this particular matchup.
*Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Bills DE Shaq Lawson (hamstring) is out. Fortunately for Buffalo, WR Ray-Ray McCloud (questionable, knee) is the only injured skill player heading into No. 7 overall pick Josh Allen’s first career start.
Vikings @ Packers
*Starting C Pat Elflein (ankle, shoulder) continues getting in limited work at practice but will miss the second straight week.
*The news of the week continues to be Aaron Rodgers’ (questionable, knee) pending status. This line was removed from all sports books but it’s looking more and more like Rodgers will suit up. He participated in practice Saturday, though the team is still saying nothing is certain. Having said that, it’s arguably the worst spot possible against Minnesota’s swarming defense. But if you drafted Rodgers, you probably don’t have better options behind him on your bench. To make matters worse Davante Adams (questionable, shoulder) is expected to match up with Xavier Rhodes at less than 100%.
Browns @ Saints
*Josh Gordon (hamstring) wasn't listed on the injury report and was a full participant in practice throughout the week, so of course he's been ruled out. Sky's the limit for Jarvis Landry, who already had a 38% target share from Tyrod Taylor and will now be pushed back into the slot full-time. He's a strong candidate to lead all skill players in targets Sunday. Rookie Antonio Callaway will start opposite Rashard Higgins on the outside in 3-WR sets. Outside of James Conner, Callaway has suddenly become one of the most egregiously priced DFS options of Week 2 at the stone-minimum across sites. DE Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) and LB Christian Kirksey (shoulder, ankle) are also out. Cleveland will replace Kirksey with James Burgess, who struggled across the board last year.
*The Saints are relatively healthy and removed Michael Thomas (illness) from the injury report Friday. All systems go.
Lions @ 49ers
*Marquise Goodwin (quad) sat out practice all week and was eventually ruled out Friday afternoon. His absence obviously boosts George Kittle’s outlook. Second-round rookie Dante Pettis is also suddenly in a tremendous position as he’ll start in place of Goodwin. Recall coach Kyle Shanahan traded the No. 59 and No. 74 picks in order to move up and draft Pettis No. 44 overall. Pettis quietly accrued 115 air yards and a 19.2 average depth of target once Goodwin exited in Week 1, and should again be used as a downfield over-the-middle option against Detroit. He’s a high-floor FLEX option in season-long leagues this week.
*If LeGarrette Blount (questionable, shoulder) plays, he'll only muck up an already murky situation. The Lions’ backfield snaps in Week 1 were split among Theo Riddick (59%), rookie Kerryon Johnson (23%), Blount (19% prior to injury), and FB Nick Bellore (9%).
Cardinals @ Rams
*Jermaine Gresham (Achilles’) received the ‘questionable’ tag but isn’t expected to play. That’s a positive for Ricky Seals-Jones, who played 49-of-53 (92%) offensive snaps Sunday. He only recorded three catches for 19 yards, but better days are ahead. Seals-Jones quietly received top-shelf usage, ranking ninth among tight ends with 35 routes run despite the fact the Cardinals ran the second-fewest offensive plays (51). Arizona is a double-digit road dog this week and should be forced to pass early and often against a Rams defense that was just hemorrhaged down the middle of the field for 9-180 by Raiders TE Jared Cook.
*Mark Barron (ankle) is out, leaving Los Angeles undersized at inside linebacker yet again.
Patriots @ Jaguars
*Running backs Rex Burkhead (questionable, concussion) and Sony Michel (questionable, knee) both got in limited work throughout the week and have reportedly been prepping as if they’ll play. Even so, Michel shouldn’t see many reps following a long absence from game action. Burkhead is more of a high-floor FLEX/RB4 play here, whereas James White projects to legitimately lead the Patriots in targets.
*As expected, Leonard Fournette (questionable, hamstring) heads into the weekend as a game-time decision. It’s doubtful we receive any news on him Sunday morning given that this marquee matchup has been given an afternoon time slot. As Pro Football Doc noted, only 56% of Jaguars players who were labeled as ‘questionable’ on Friday actually suited up last season. Furthermore, no Jags played if they had missed practice all week — as is the case with Fournette. Note that T.J. Yeldon averaged 9-63.3 and 12.7 fantasy points in three games without Fournette last year.
Raiders @ Broncos
*DeAndre Washington (questionable, knee) could return and take reps away from Jalen Richard (79 yards on 14 touches Monday) as early as Sunday. Coach Jon Gruden actually used Richard on passing downs while the game was still competitive, but this offense (or any for that matter, but especially this one) can’t possibly support four backs.
*Broncos have no players listed on their injury report.
Giants @ Cowboys
*Olivier Vernon (out, ankle) is still dealing with a high-ankle and has yet to play this season. Kareem Martin, Lorenzo Carter, and Connor Barwin will continue starting and rushing off the edge for New York.
Seahawks @ Bears
* It’s still too early for official injury listings, but all of Earl Thomas (non-injury related), Bobby Wagner (groin), and K.J. Wright (knee) missed practice Thursday. Their participation Saturday will be a telling sign of their availability for Monday night.
*The Bears are relatively healthy heading into their second consecutive primetime game.