Week 2 Fantasy Sleepers: Joe Mixon, Tyreek Hill injuries open door for Giovani Bernard, Mecole Hardman
Fantasy football sleepers are everyone’s favorite commodity. Once you’ve hit on one week’s sleepers, though, you need to find new ones. So, no matter whether you played the right ones last week, Week 2 is a new opportunity to take a few more high-upside chances with some start ’em, sit ’em calls. Injuries to studs like Joe Mixon and Tyreek Hill provide those types of sleeper opportunities for backups like Giovani Bernard and Mecole Hardman.
We were hit or miss in Week 1. We gave you Austin Ekeler as a sleeper, and he was one of the highest scoring players the whole week in his role as Melvin Gordon’s replacement. We also suggested Lamar Jackson, who sliced and diced the Dolphins defense to the tune of 59 Ravens’ points. And we might never dominate one section as much as we did tight end for Week 1, when our sleeper picks of T.J. Hockenson, Mark Andrews and Darren Waller proved to be three of the best TEs in fantasy, at least for the opening week.
Of course there were misses, too. Frank Gore didn’t dominate snaps in the Buffalo backfield. Marvin Jones had a quiet day for the Lions. Matt Breida underwhelmed despite getting solid touches. That’s par for the course, though. They wouldn’t be sleepers if we were right every time.
So, heading into this week, we have multiple Jets and Bengals on our list, which seems like it could be a recipe for disaster if you’re a fan of either of those NFL teams. Breida returns to the list for a second time — call it a “Redemption Game”, if you will.
In general, continue to keep in mind that someone’s presence on the sleepers list doesn’t make them an automatic start — just someone to seriously consider when you’re setting your lineup. Breida wouldn’t get a start for a fantasy team over Kerryon Johnson, but that doesn’t make him unworthy of a potential FLEX start. And if our Week 1 is any indication, we’ll probably regress to the mean and whiff on one or two of our TEs this week. Click here for our Week 2 bust picks.
Week 2 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs
Devin Singletary, Bills @ Giants (Billy Heyen). Singletary might look shaky on paper after receiving only four Week 1 carries, but he played on 48 of Buffalo’s 69 snaps. The Bills just had it in their minds to pass early and often, as Josh Allen dropped back on the first nine plays Buffalo ran. Expect a more even split in Week 2, especially with Buffalo potentially getting up on the Giants early. Singletary is the lead back, as his 48-19 snap advantage over Frank Gore showed in Week 1.
Matt Breida, 49ers @ Bengals (Vinnie Iyer). Tevin Coleman is hurt, and Breida will get the bigger chunk of the work ahead of Raheem Mostert against a very weak run defense.
Giovani Bernard, Bengals vs. 49ers (Matt Lutovsky). If Joe Mixon (ankle) is out, Bernard is almost a must-start against a 49ers defense that just allowed 5.8 yards per carry to Ronald “1.9 yards-per-carry-as-a-rookie Jones” (not his actual nickname) and 4.1 yards per carry to Peyton Barber. If Mixon is active, Bernard still has upside as a PPR FLEX because he’ll likely still see a few more touches than usual.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Sam Darnold, Jets vs. Browns (Heyen). The Browns allowed Marcus Mariota to have success passing in Week 1, including down the field to A.J. Brown. Marcus freakin’ Mariota. Purely as a passer, Darnold is an upgrade there. He’s already shown off a strong relationship with Jamison Crowder, and the Browns present an opportunity to get Robby Anderson open deep. Especially in two-QB or superflex leagues, Darnold is a good play in Week 2.
Josh Allen, Bills @ Giants (Iyer). Allen is still running and scoring and now has a deep threat to help him in John Brown. He should be cleaner in a road matchup in the same stadium against a much worse defense.
Derek Carr, Raiders vs. Chiefs (Lutovsky). With only four incompletions in Week 1, Carr looked comfortable with his new receivers. Kansas City still has issues on defense, as shown by Gardner Minshew’s impressive performance against them (22-of-25, 275 yards, two TDs). Carr’s ceiling always seems limited, but he definitely has a high floor in this one.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers
Will Fuller V, Texans vs. Jaguars (Heyen). The Jalen Ramsey-effect seems to matter, and I’d expect him to do his best to lock up DeAndre Hopkins. That leaves Fuller to fit in the Sammy Watkins role, which led to three Week 1 touchdowns for the Chiefs’ WR2. Fuller showed off his big-play ability with a ridiculous catch in Houston’s season opener, so as long as he’s healthy, you’ll want him in your lineup.
D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks @ Steelers (Iyer). His usage and production provided a solid complement to Tyler Lockett last week, and a Pittsburgh secondary with an injured Joe Haden is a big boost for the rookie.
Mecole Hardman, Chiefs @ Raiders (Lutovsky). Hardman failed to record a catch on his lone target last week, but he played 53 of 59 snaps after Tyreek Hill got hurt. He’ll be on the field, and he’ll get targets in a softer matchup. One deep ball from Patrick Mahomes is all he needs to pay off.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
Ryan Griffin, Jets vs. Browns (Heyen). The Browns allowed 100 catches to TEs in 2018, and they allowed five catches for 55 yards and two TDs to Delanie Walker in Week 1. I’m expecting Darnold to have a good game, so even though Griffin may not matter in fantasy again after Monday night, he should matter on Monday night after receiving four targets in the Jets’ opener. It doesn’t hurt that he’s the most likely candidate to get Quincy Enunwa’s vacated targets.
Vernon Davis, Redskins vs. Cowboys (Iyer). He looked young and athletic again and should be the most open target for Case Keenum with Jordan Reed likely remaining on the shelf.
C.J. Uzomah, Bengals vs. 49ers (Lutovsky). Uzoman was clearly the Bengals preferred option over Tyler Eifert last week, and the 49ers allowed two TE touchdowns that were ultimately nullified by flags last week. We’re not ready to call this is a favorable or unfavorable matchup just yet, but Uzomah still looks good as an under-the-radar option.
Week 2 Fantasy Sleepers: Defenses
New York Giants vs. Bills (Heyen). This is a vote of non-confidence in Josh Allen. He’s simply going to turn the ball over a couple of times in almost every game he plays this year — it comes with his play style. Buffalo isn’t explosive to the point that their final score will make the Giants unplayable, and the potential for multiple takeaways makes New York a solid sleeper.
San Francisco 49ers @ Bengals (Iyer). Nick Bosa and Dee Ford made their pass-rush presence felt right away, resulting in more takeaways and big plays. Andy Dalton was sacked five times by Seattle last week, too.
Indianapolis Colts @ Titans (Lutovsky). This is a bit of an unexciting pick, but it’s based largely on the belief the Colts are a legitimately talented defense. They managed four sacks and an INT against the Chargers, and the much less-dynamic Titans gave up four sacks in their opener. Indy could pressure Marcus Mariota into a few mistakes while keeping the score relatively low.