Finding legit sleepers who are causing start ’em, sit ’em headaches for fantasy football owners is a weekly chore. Inevitably, injuries, bad matchups, and previus-week ineffectiveness will have you searching for backups to start, whether they be from the waiver wire, players on your own bench, or possible trade targets. Having a ‘sleeper detector’ handy will give you an edge on the rest of your leagues. Every week, several players will come of out nowhere and finish inside the top 24 of their respective positions, and Week 2 figures to be no different.
We won’t bore you with obvious starters, so don’t be too shocked when you see Trey Sermon on the list, who indeed carries more risk this week than he did footballs in Week 1. Rondale Moore showed signs of fantasy relevancy early, even with a talented group of WRs around him. Also, please don’t cringe when you see the Raiders’ defense — we have good reasons. As always, we’re not asking you to bench your early-round studs for these guys, but consider them if you have several guys up for consideration. And for 15-man leagues with 25 roster spots, we’re sorry, but we can’t help you identify the fourth-string tight end who will score a touchdown this week.
Last week, we correctly called Kirk Cousins, Jamaal Williams, Ty’Son Williams, and the Broncos’ defense as viable starters. However, we weren’t quite so spot on with our Russell Gage, Jimmy Garoppolo, and pretty much all of our TE picks. As the season rolls along, we’ll have more information at our disposal to pinpoint the best options to play on the start ’em, sit ’em bubble. After all, it is fantasy football, and sleepers will always carry risk.
Week 2 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs
Ronald Jones, Buccaneers vs. Falcons (Jackson Sparks). It might make you sick to your stomach to insert Jones into your lineup after he produced negative fantasy points in Week 1, but we’ve got to look in the future. Jones has apparently ‘exited Bruce Arians’ doghouse and will start in Week 2 against an awful Falcons defense that gave up 173 rushing yards to the Eagles in Week 1. Of course, some of those yards came from Jalen Hurts, but both Miles Sanders and Kenny Gainwell were top-20 RBs in standard and top-22 RBs in PPR. The game script for Tampa Bay shouldn’t be so pass-heavy like last week, so expect RoJo to have a bounce-back performance.
Devin Singletary, Bills at Dolphins (Vinnie Iyer). He earned more work against a weak Dolphins run defense and should be involved in the passing game after seeing what the Patriots were able to do.
Trey Sermon, 49ers @ Eagles (Matt Lutovsky). This is a major risk, make no mistake, but with Raheem Mostert (knee) out for the year, it seems that Sermon has to play. Elijah Mitchell still figures to be the RB1, but Sermon could easily be ahead of JaMycal Hasty, who San Francisco kept activated in Week 1 because of his special teams’ ability. If Sermon is the No. 2 RB, he’ll get carries — that’s just how it works in the San Francisco offense. Maybe you don’t trust that in season-long leagues, but there’s plenty of DFS appeal to being contrarian with Sermon.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Kirk Cousins, Vikings @ Cardinals (Sparks). For a second straight week, Cousins is one of our quarterback sleepers. All he does is produce, yet people are still not bullish on starting him. He was just below a QB1 (22.04 fantasy points) last week, and he’ll once again have to attempt north of 50 passes to keep the Vikings in this game. With Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins on the other side of the ball, this could be a full-on shootout. Maybe this will be the week fantasy owners wake up.
Matt Ryan, Falcons at Buccaneers (Iyer). Matty Ice will throw a ton against a shaky Bucs secondary and get the numbers out of Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts that didn’t happen against the Eagles.
Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos vs. Jaguars (Lutovsky). Bridgewater had an easy 264 yards and two TDs against the Giants last week (plus 19 rushing yards); the Jaguars gave up an even easier 291 yards and two TDs (plus 40 rushing yards) to Tyrod Taylor. Put it together and you have another good fantasy day for Bridgewater.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots @ Jets (Sparks). Meyers led all Patriots in targets (9) in Week 1 against the Dolphins, and he’s set to play a far inferior defense this week in New York. Mac Jones looked good early, and although Nelson Agholor scored more fantasy points last week, Meyers still looked like his No. 1 WR. He’s a solid flex play heading into Week 2.
Mike Williams, Chargers at Cowboys (Iyer). Williams is healthy and looking good with Justin Herbert, and the Cowboys will have trouble containing his size.
Rondale Moore, Cardinals vs. Vikings (Lutovsky). Moore caught four-of-five targets for 68 yards last week — ho-hum, right? Maybe, but the exciting rookie is clearly capable of more, and as he gets more comfortable in the Cardinals’ high-powered offense, expect him to be used in a variety of ways. The Vikings struggled against rookie Ja’Marr Chase last week, so why can’t another one on a pass-happy team cause them more problems?
Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
Gerald Everett, Seahawks vs. Titans (Sparks). Early signs point toward the Titans’ pass defense being among the worst in the league once again this year, and Everett could be a beneficiary. Everett was only targeted twice and caught both for 20 yards last week, but he did score a touchdown in the red zone. He has early chemistry with Russell Wilson in that area, and the Titans’ don’t have anyone like Darius Leonard in their linebacker room. All top Seahawks pass-catchers are a must-start this week.
Cole Kmet, Bears vs. Bengals (Iyer). Andy Dalton proved to like throwing to him in the opener, and he will be busy working against Cincy’s back seven to complement A-Rob.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys @ Chargers (Lutovsky). Schultz saw six targets in Week 1 and looked like the alpha receiving TE. With Michael Gallup (calf) out, Schultz could see even more looks this week against a Chargers defense that had trouble containing Washington’s Logan Thomas last week. Consider Schultz more of a PPR play than a standard play, but he has touchdown potential, which will make him usable in any format.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Defense
Raiders @ Steelers (Sparks). Las Vegas plays defense? In 2021, it looks like they might. On Monday Night Football, the Raiders dominated the Ravens’ offensive line in passing situations. They didn’t blitz Lamar Jackson much at all, yet sacked him three times. Three sacks doesn’t paint the whole picture, though. Maxx Crosby had two sacks, two TFLs, and five QB hits on his own. They also looked like an opportunistic defense, forcing four fumbles. This week, they’ll take on a Steelers’ offensive line that looks about as bad as we expected, and Big Ben looked even slower than he did last year. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders’ defense shows up to play.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Vikings (Iyer). That pass rush was for real in Nashville, and they will gnash Kirk Cousins behind a makeshift offensive line at home.
Green Bay Packers vs. Lions (Lutovsky). This seems crazy after Jameis Winston sliced up the Packers with precision last week, but some of the defensive issues were related to the offense putting it in bad spots. Either way, Green Bay should be better at home in prime time against its own personal whipping boy, Detroit. The Lions did little last week before garbage time, and Jared Goff threw a brutal pick-six early in the game.