Welcome to Week 2: Home of the knee-jerk reaction. One week does not a season make, but it does provide new information to work with as well as the opportunity to get in early on players who could potentially turn into game-changers for your fantasy team. Be sure to check out Matt Dean’s priority waiver wire adds article and/or podcast every Tuesday for more insight on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday.
Although a well-executed draft is the backbone of any successful fantasy season, you can’t reach the mountaintop unless you pick up players along the way that will help you win the week. When it comes to streamers, it’s all about finding advantages specific to the current week that will push you to victory and help you stack up wins. Here are a few stream-worthy players that I feel can help you do just that in Week 2.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced above and will have more limited streaming analysis so that additional options can be covered.
Giovani Bernard (RB, Cincinnati Bengals)
This is somewhat contingent on Joe Mixon’s health heading into Sunday, but if Mixon is out or limited, Bernard should eat against a 49ers defense that just allowed 171 all-purpose yards (108 rushing, 63 receiving) to the Bucs’ unheralded RBs. Bernard has proven himself capable of putting up fringe RB1/RB2 numbers in the handful of opportunities he’s received as the starter for the Bengals over his career.
Ronald Jones (RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Speaking of Bucs RBs, Jones saw his draft value plummet in 2019 due to an underwhelming rookie season where he played just nine games and finished with 77 total yards on a combined 30 touches. Woof. On the bright side, that provides a nice buying opportunity this week for the former second-round pick. Jones already eclipsed last season’s numbers in Week 1, averaging 5.8 yards per carry (13 rushes / 75yds) and one catch for 18yds. Make sure to insert him into your lineup before Thursday night’s game against the Panthers if you intend to use him this week. Side note: always put Thursday players into their position slot, don’t use your FLEX! Save it in case you need it for another position this weekend.
Chris Thompson* / Adrian Peterson* (RB, Washington Redskins)
Thompson is not the most durable RB out there, playing all 16 games in just one of five pro seasons, but he is an elusive receiving threat in the open field who should see enough short-area targets (seven catches on 10 targets in Week 1) against the Cowboys to provide a safe floor. Peterson is best used in non-PPR formats as the primary early-down option. I see Thompson having the more bankable floor each week even when Derrius Guice eventually returns.
Mecole Hardman (WR, Kansas City Chiefs)
I wouldn’t normally recommend using a rookie WR who didn’t record a single catch or target in his debut. However, when that rookie has blazing speed and assumes a vacated role in the Chiefs offense after Tyreek Hill’s injury, it would be wise to get him on your roster before it’s too late. While Hardman is still raw in his development, Andy Reid is an innovator and will find ways to generate touches for the gifted wideout out of Georgia.
John Ross III* (WR, Cincinnati Bengals)
After a frustrating first two years, I understand the hesitancy to fully buy in to Ross’s outstanding Week 1 performance (seven catches / 158yds / 12 targets). Even if Ross doesn’t receive double-digit targets every week when A.J. Green returns, his elite speed gives him a chance to reach paydirt from anywhere on the field. What I believe in the most is how the Bengals offense looked under new coach Zac Taylor who helped orchestrate the dynamic Rams offense that supported three viable receivers last season. Take a shot on Ross this week and beyond, especially while Green is out of the short-term picture.
Darren Waller (TE, Oakland Raiders)
Some people might only recognize Waller from his appearances on HBO’s Hard Knocks. His journey of overcoming struggles in his personal life to get to where he is now is an accomplishment in and of itself. After his impressive Week 1 debut (seven catches / 70yds / eight targets), Waller will now be recognized for what he does on the field and has the look of a breakout fantasy TE. Whether you believe in Derek Carr or not, he helped the perennially average Jared Cook achieve his best season ever last year. Waller is a former WR and combine stud with elite size who will receive regular targets in all areas of the field. If you pick him up against the Chiefs this week, there’s a good chance you will end up hanging on to him all season.
Jimmy Graham (TE, Green Bay Packers)
Gone are the days when Graham would enter each season with the potential to finish as the top-scoring tight end. The hype trains left town in 2019 draft season after he compiled just two touchdowns on 636 yards last year. He finished 2017 with even fewer yards (520, lowest since his rookie season) but the 10 touchdowns he hauled in served as effective deodorant for the lack of yardage. Touchdowns are one of the least predictable statistics but when it comes to streaming tight ends, the best you can do is roll with players who are regularly targeted in the red zone. Graham may not rack up the yards for you but appears to be a trusted option when the Packers get inside the 20yd line, receiving three red zone targets in Week 1 (three catches / 30 yards/ six total targets). I would still go with Waller over Graham but he should have as good a chance as any TE to find the end zone each week.
Accountability is everything so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Justin Jackson (RB, Los Angeles Chargers): Jackson saw seven total touches compared to Austin Ekeler’s 18 but acquitted himself well when called upon with six carries for 57 yards and one catch for four yards. Ekeler should continue to carry the load for the Chargers backfield but Jackson will still have a weekly role and is among the best RB handcuffs to own. Keep him on your roster and monitor the snaps going forward.
Dion Lewis (RB, Tennessee Titans): Primarily a receiving back, Lewis is most productive in negative game scripts when the Titans are playing from behind. They proceeded to demolish the Browns 43-13 in Week 1 and used their road grader Derrick Henry to bleed out the clock, rendering Lewis ineffective with just three carries for seven yards and three catches for six yards. I still expect Lewis to have some productive weeks but only in games where the Titans are heavy underdogs.
DeVante Parker (WR, Miami Dolphins): He didn’t set the world on fire like some other widely-available WRs did in Week 1 but he did lead the Dolphins in receiving with three catches for 75 yards on seven targets. You may not be able to trust Parker in your fantasy lineup yet, but if Week 1 was any indication of things to come, the Dolphins’ miserable defense will put them in a position to pass each week and Parker looks to be their top option in the receiving game.
John Brown, Cole Beasley, Zay Jones (WR, Buffalo Bills): The Bills aren’t likely to support three pass-catchers this season but Brown (seven catches / 123yds / 10 targets) looks to be the surefire WR1 of the group while Beasley (five catches / 40yds / nine targets) should continue to provide a boring but reliable floor in PPR leagues. Brown needs to be owned, Beasley is more of a depth piece, and Jones should be left on waivers for now but keep him on your watch list.
Jordan Reed (TE, Washington Redskins): I mentioned his injury history last week and, unfortunately, that kept him out of the Redskins’ Week 1 lineup as he continues to recover from a concussion. For what it’s worth, his replacement at TE, Vernon Davis, did find the end zone in Reed’s absence. If he’s available or gets dropped this week and you need upside at TE, scoop him up.
Jack Doyle (TE, Indianapolis Colts): Doyle caught one of two targets for 20 yards in Week 1 and may not see the necessary volume to produce winning stat lines on a consistent basis. Considering the number of mouths to feed in the Colts offense, it’s safe to say goodbye to Doyle for now.
Happy streaming and good luck in Week 2!
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)