Brees may not put up big numbers out on the West Coast against the Rams
Week 1 of the fantasy football season is over, and Week 2 is just beginning. Players are injured, players are changing teams (ahem, Antonio Brown) and players are being used more or less than we originally thought. Week 1 also showed fantasy owners which teams seem to be ones to exploit the matchups. However, take the defensive rankings with a grain of salt. It’s only one week. Just because a team allowed a running back to score a lot of points in Week 1 does not automatically mean that it is a team that you should always start your running backs against.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
With four total touchdowns in Week 1, Watson looked like the solid QB1 that he was drafted as. The Texans face the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2, and even though it was a short week, the Texans don't have to travel. The Jags defense has been solid in the past, but they did just allow Patrick Mahomes to throw for 378 yards and three touchdowns. While Mahomes may be the best quarterback, Watson isn't far behind. Expect another good game from Watson. He's ranked No. 6 but may crack the top 5.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have found their running back and they intend to use him. Jacobs had 23 carries in Week 1, which he converted to 83 yards and two touchdowns. He only had one target, but he caught if for a 28-yard play. The Raiders may be inclined to use him more in the passing game, especially if the game flow dictates the need to pass rather than run. This certainly might be the scenario in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He's ranked No. 14, but he has the potential to crack the top 10.
Ty Montgomery, RB, New York Jets
In Week 1, Montgomery had two carries for four yards, despite reports that he might share the work with Le'Veon Bell. However, Bell did suffer a shoulder injury in Week 1. While an MRI came back clean and he 's expected to play on Monday night, the team may be more likely to let Montgomery out there to share the workload. With Sam Darnold out indefinitely because of mono, the Jets are going to rely on their running game. Montgomery is ranked No. 66 and while he isn't a must-start back, he could be an option for those in deeper leagues or a sneaky DFS play.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Oakland Raiders
With no Antonio Brown, Williams had 105 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. The passing attack is primarily going through Williams and Darren Waller, and while the Raiders have good match-ups, use Williams when you can. He’s ranked No. 31, but he may crack WR2 territory for Week 2. The Raiders face the Kansas City Chiefs, which has the potential to be a high-scoring match-up. In addition, if the Chiefs get ahead, the Raiders will be throwing.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
With Tyreek Hill out for Week 2, Sammy Watkins is the obvious replacement. However, Hardman gets a bump in value as well that is not seen in the rankings. He's ranked No. 51 currently, which may be based on the fact that he only saw one target in Week 1. He didn't catch it, giving any fantasy owner who started him a big, fat zero. Hardman is not a must-start, but in deeper leagues, he should put up more than zero points in Week 2.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
As the No. 15-ranked tight end, Hockenson has plenty of room to enter into TE1 territory, especially based on his performance in Week 1. He had six receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. His nine targets were tied with Kenny Golladay and fell just behind Danny Amendola. The Lions drafted Hockenson to use him and they certainly are going to continue to do so. He should be owned and started as a TE1.
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans
Brees looked great at home on Monday night, but that's where he usually shines. Week 2 finds the Saints in Los Angeles to face the Rams. In Week 1, the Rams completely shut down Cam Newton and the Panthers passing game. Whether this was a sign of Los Angeles' defense or the struggles that Carolina has had (see Thursday night vs. Tampa Bay) is unclear. Week 2 should provide more clarity, but for a quarterback that often struggles on the road, Brees should finish below his No. 11 ranking.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Based on talent alone, Gurley is certainly worthy of his No. 13 ranking. However, based on Week 1, Gurley is a low RB2, not a fringe RB1. He lost goal-line work to Malcolm Brown, and while that may change in Week 2, the Rams also may not want to risk Gurley at the goal line. This could be a situation where the Rams are going to have a timeshare situation at running back, which is a headache for fantasy owners.
Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets
In Week 1 with Sam Darnold, Anderson had seven targets, which is promising. However, he only caught three of them for 23 yards. He was in the 5 Down column last week (and was one that I got correct). And now in Week 2, he'll have Trevor Siemian throwing to him because Darnold is out. The Jets face Cleveland, who allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers in Week 1. While it's still too early to truly use that as a gauge, it is something to keep in mind. Anderson is the No. 32-ranked wide receiver, but he should finish below that.
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Jeffrey looked good in Week 1, and Carson Wentz kept looking for him. He had seven targets, tied with Zach Ertz and just behind DeSean Jackson. However, things should be a bit tougher in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons kept Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to under 100 yards — combined. Jeffrey is ranked No. 20, but he may finish the week as a WR3.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Green Bay Packers
In Week 1, Graham's solid fantasy outing was boosted by the touchdown he scored. Without the touchdown, he had three receptions for 30 yards. As the No. 12 tight end, he's just outside TE1 territory. However, odds are that he doesn't score a touchdown again in Week 2 based on his history with the Packers. He had two total last year. While Aaron Rodgers may look for Graham in the red zone, it seems more likely that he'll spread the ball around a bit.
Full Disclosure From Week 1
5 Up (1/5 correct)
Cam Newton, QB, (Ranked: 14, finished: 35)
Derrius Guice, RB (Ranked: 35, finished: 49)
Tyler Lockett, WR (Ranked: 17, finished: 26)
Will Fuller, WR (Ranked: 28, finished: 49)
Darren Waller, TE (Ranked: 15, finished: 13)
5 Down (3/5 correct)
Carson Wentz, QB (Ranked: 5, finished: 8)
Mark Ingram, RB (Ranked: 15, finished: 7)
Ezekiel Elliott, RB (Ranked: 5, finished: 15)
Robby Anderson, WR (Ranked: 32, finished: not in the top 50)
David Njoku, TE (Ranked: 8, finished: 7)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.