Weekly Positional Rankings: Week Two

Michael Zingone

This year, we’re adding something completely new to DLF: Weekly Rankings.

In this series, I’ll give you my top 30 quarterbacks, 60 running backs, 60 wide receivers, and 30 tight ends each week to help you with your start/sit decisions in your leagues. To generate this list each and every week, I examine team trends, Vegas over/unders, implied points, pace of play, among various other factors to build a projection for each player and subsequently adjust rankings for upside and more detailed matchup specifics.

Among the rankings, there will surely be some that surprise you or that you may disagree with. At the end of each position section, I’ll give you my thoughts on some players that perhaps are ranked higher/lower than you might expect and insights as to why they are a good/bad play this week. Ultimately, these rankings should help your start/sit dilemmas and ensure you have the requisite resources to make an informed decision.

Without further ado, let’s dive into Week Two’s positional rankings!


Pos Player Matchup Week 2 Rank
QB Patrick Mahomes @OAK 1
QB Deshaun Watson JAC 2
QB Aaron Rodgers MIN 3
QB Lamar Jackson ARI 4
QB Dak Prescott @WAS 5
QB Tom Brady @MIA 6
QB Matt Ryan PHI 7
QB Carson Wentz @ATL 8
QB Jared Goff NO 9
QB Ben Roethlisberger SEA 10
QB Cam Newton TB 11
QB Josh Allen @NYG 12
QB Philip Rivers @DET 13
QB Jimmy Garoppolo @CIN 14
QB Drew Brees @LAR 15
QB Baker Mayfield @NYJ 16
QB Jameis Winston @CAR 17
QB Russell Wilson @PIT 18
QB Derek Carr KC 19
QB Kyler Murray @BAL 20
QB Marcus Mariota IND 21
QB Matthew Stafford LAC 22
QB Kirk Cousins @GB 23
QB Andy Dalton SF 24
QB Sam Darnold CLE 25
QB Mitchell Trubisky @DEN 26
QB Jacoby Brissett @TEN 27
QB Case Keenum DAL 28
QB Gardner Minshew @HOU 29
QB Eli Manning BUF 30

Start ‘em: Ben Roethlisberger, QB PIT

Coming off an atrocious week one at New England, a predictably tough matchup, Big Ben and crew look poised to bounce back in a big way in week two. The Seattle Seahawks are coming to Pittsburgh, and the Steelers are a four-point home favorite. Last week, the Seahawks allowed a whopping 418 yards to Andy Dalton, which was his career high. Despite the Seahawks wanting to play a run and play defense style football game, this contest has sneaky shootout potential. My projections have Big Ben eclipsing 300 yards passing and throwing two touchdowns on the day, but there’s potential for an even higher ceiling. He’s a high-floor, high-ceiling play in week two and should be in your starting lineup.

Sit ‘em: Drew Brees, QB NOS

Brees looked unstoppable at times in Monday night’s thriller in New Orleans in week one. The Saints not only have one of the best quarterbacks in the league but also one of the best supporting casts. However, Brees finds himself in the “Sit ‘em” category this week for two main reasons. First, Brees has been historically worse on the road than at home. This was evident last season as well. Below are Brees’s splits at home vs on the road in 2018 from Pro Football Reference.

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On the road, Brees averaged over 100 fewer passing yards per game, over one fewer passing touchdowns, and had four times the amount of interceptions. Nearly every per-game stat for Brees is worse, and significantly so. Secondly, he faces a tough Rams opponent that allowed just 6.4 fantasy points to Cam Newton in week one in a game where the Panthers still scored 27 points. All of this is pointing to Brees being a mid-level QB2 on the week, which is great in superflex formats but less appealing in a typical one QB league.

If you’re desperate: Derek Carr, QB OAK

Carr looked sharp in the Raiders opening game on Monday night against the Broncos. Despite no Antonio Brown, Carr completed nearly 85% of his passes, including a few deep balls to new number one receiver Tyrell Williams. Carr was excellent on third down, specifically, completing eight of nine passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, including seven first-down throws. This matchup, at home against Kansas City, looks to be a shootout as the Raiders try to keep up with the incredible Chiefs offense. Further, the Chiefs defense let rookie Gardner Minshew complete 88% of his passes in week one. Carr has a high ceiling in this matchup and is worth consideration as a desperation play.

Running Backs

Pos Player Matchup Week 2 Rank
RB Christian McCaffrey TB 1
RB Le’Veon Bell CLE 2
RB Saquon Barkley BUF 3
RB Alvin Kamara @LAR 4
RB Ezekiel Elliott @WAS 5
RB Todd Gurley NO 6
RB Nick Chubb @NYJ 7
RB James Conner SEA 8
RB Joe Mixon SF 9
RB Dalvin Cook @GB 10
RB Kerryon Johnson LAC 11
RB Mark Ingram ARI 12
RB David Johnson @BAL 13
RB Austin Ekeler @DET 14
RB Leonard Fournette @HOU 15
RB Josh Jacobs KC 16
RB Chris Carson @PIT 17
RB Sony Michel @MIA 18
RB Devonta Freeman PHI 19
RB Damien Williams @OAK 20
RB Derrick Henry IND 21
RB Duke Johnson JAC 22
RB Aaron Jones MIN 23
RB Marlon Mack @TEN 24
RB Tarik Cohen @DEN 25
RB Matt Breida @CIN 26
RB Kenyan Drake NE 27
RB Latavius Murray @LAR 28
RB James White @MIA 29
RB David Montgomery @DEN 30
RB Jalen Richard KC 31
RB Devin Singletary @NYG 32
RB Lesean McCoy @OAK 33
RB Phillip Lindsay CHI 34
RB Chris Thompson DAL 35
RB Miles Sanders @ATL 36
RB Ronald Jones @CAR 37
RB Adrian Peterson DAL 38
RB Jaylen Samuels SEA 39
RB Justin Jackson @DET 40
RB Carlos Hyde JAC 41
RB Darren Sproles @ATL 42
RB Giovani Bernard SF 43
RB Dion Lewis IND 44
RB Royce Freeman CHI 45
RB Malcolm Brown NO 46
RB Jordan Howard @ATL 47
RB Jamaal Williams MIN 48
RB Alexander Mattison @GB 49
RB Mike Davis @DEN 50
RB CJ Anderson LAC 51
RB Dare Ogunbowale @CAR 52
RB Nyheim Hines @TEN 53
RB Peyton Barber @CAR 54
RB Frank Gore @NYG 55
RB Rashaad Penny @PIT 56
RB Ito Smith PHI 57
RB Tony Pollard @WAS 58
RB Gus Edwards ARI 59
RB Kalen Ballage NE 60

Start ‘em: Duke Johnson, RB HOU

Johnson predictably split the total touch count fairly evenly with new teammate Carlos Hyde on Monday night, but Johnson saw five targets in the contest to Hyde’s one. In PPR formats, Johnson brings efficiency on the ground as well as receiving upside in one of the best offenses in the league. Last week, the Jaguars allowed Damien Williams to see six targets out of the backfield. The Texans will look to utilize Johnson/Hyde similarly to how the Chiefs did with Williams/McCoy last week. In what looks to be another high scoring game, Johnson is a locked-in RB2 this week. Play him accordingly.

Sit ‘em: Phillip Lindsay, RB DEN

One year ago to this very week, Phillip Lindsay was at the top of the list of waiver wire pick-ups after a breakout week one game. This year, Lindsay’s week one resulted in a clear timeshare with fellow second-year back Royce Freeman. The two split the rushing workload essentially evenly, and the snap shares favored Lindsay only by a few percentage points. Lindsay did get the majority of the receiving work, which is why he’s still the better option of the aforementioned duo. However, in week two, the Broncos face the Chicago Bears, a team that limited the similarly efficient Aaron Jones to just 3.0 yards per carry in week one. Consider Lindsay no more than a back-end RB3 option for this week and look elsewhere for a higher ceiling.

If you’re desperate: Darren Sproles, RB PHI

Darren Sproles and Frank Gore must have a bet going on to see who can last in the league as a 10+ touch player for longer. In any event, Sproles is set up for a potentially big ceiling in week two against the Atlanta Falcons. In week one, the Falcons let running back Dalvin Cook receiving a 20% target share in the passing game. Now, the Vikings only threw ten times total, but this 20% actually ranked seventh among all running backs in week one. This isn’t just a one-game trend either. In 2018, the Falcons allowed 117 receptions to opposing running backs, which was the most in the NFL. As the primary pass-catching back on the Eagles, Sproles is in line for what could be a big game in a high-scoring affair.

Wide Receivers

Pos Player Matchup Week 2 Rank
WR Julio Jones PHI 1
WR DeAndre Hopkins JAC 2
WR Juju Smith-Schuster SEA 3
WR Keenan Allen @DET 4
WR Davante Adams MIN 5
WR Julian Edelman @MIA 6
WR Michael Thomas @LAR 7
WR Odell Beckham Jr @NYJ 8
WR Sammy Watkins @OAK 9
WR Amari Cooper @WAS 10
WR Mike Evans @CAR 11
WR DJ Moore TB 12
WR Tyler Boyd SF 13
WR Kenny Golladay LAC 14
WR Adam Thielen @GB 15
WR Robert Woods NO 16
WR Tyler Lockett @PIT 17
WR Tyrell Williams KC 18
WR Antonio Brown @MIA 19
WR Brandin Cooks NO 20
WR Allen Robinson @DEN 21
WR Dede Westbrook @HOU 22
WR Alshon Jeffery @ATL 23
WR Calvin Ridley PHI 24
WR Cooper Kupp NO 25
WR Stefon Diggs @GB 26
WR Chris Godwin @CAR 27
WR Jarvis Landry @NYJ 28
WR Robby Anderson CLE 29
WR TY Hilton @TEN 30
WR Mike Williams @DET 31
WR John Brown @NYG 32
WR Will Fuller JAC 33
WR Curtis Samuel TB 34
WR Jamison Crowder CLE 35
WR Marvin Jones LAC 36
WR Michael Gallup @WAS 37
WR DK Metcalf @PIT 38
WR Josh Gordon @MIA 39
WR Corey Davis IND 40
WR Courtland Sutton CHI 41
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling MIN 42
WR Terry McLaurin DAL 43
WR John Ross SF 44
WR Marquise Brown ARI 45
WR Christian Kirk @BAL 46
WR Sterling Shepard BUF 47
WR Larry Fitzgerald @BAL 48
WR Mecole Hardman @OAK 49
WR James Washington SEA 50
WR Emmanuel Sanders CHI 51
WR Hunter Renfrow KC 52
WR Donte Moncrief SEA 53
WR Tre’Quan Smith @LAR 54
WR AJ Brown IND 55
WR Danny Amendola LAC 56
WR Randall Cobb @WAS 57
WR Desean Jackson @ATL 58
WR Cole Beasley @NYG 59
WR Geronimo Allison MIN 60


Start ‘em: Calvin Ridley, WR ATL

Ridley got off to an efficient start to the season with 16.4 PPR points in week one on just six targets. While splitting targets with the team’s WR3 Mohamed Sanu, Ridley bested the latter in air yards by 42. This is an important distinction between the two, as the Philadelphia Eagles – the Falcons week two opponent – allowed 278 attempted air yards to Redskins receivers on just 22 targets in their week one matchup. This Eagles team is vulnerable against the deep ball. While Julio Jones will certainly command his fair share of targets, Ridley is the next best option as a deep threat on this Falcons team. He’s a strong start as both a high-floor/high-ceiling play in week two in what should be a shootout in Atlanta.

Sit ‘em: Cardinals WRs

This is a matchup I’m avoiding for essentially all Cardinals not named David Johnson. Travelling to Baltimore in rookie Kyler Murray’s first away game of this career, this has all the makings of a “learning” game for this young Cardinals offense. Aside from a phenomenal fourth quarter, Murray struggled throughout much of his first start against a fairly average Detroit Lions defense at home. With an implied total of just 16.5 points according to the Vegas lines, I’m not comfortable starting any Cardinals wide receiver as more than a WR4 this week. In shallower starting lineup settings, you can safely sit these players for higher upside options.

If you’re desperate: DK Metcalf, WR SEA

Rookie wide receivers are notoriously hard to trust, but Metcalf is one to seriously consider in week two against a vulnerable Pittsburgh secondary. Against the Patriots, the Steelers allowed an average of 19.5 yards per reception to wide receivers as well as three touchdowns. Metcalf surprisingly led all Seahawks wide receivers in targets in week one, earning six of Wilson’s 20 attempts. This high target share, combined with both Metcalf’s 22.5 yards per reception and the Steelers’ propensity to allow the deep ball in week one, set Metcalf up as a solid week two upside play.

Tight Ends

Pos Player Matchup Week 2 Rank
TE Travis Kelce @OAK 1
TE George Kittle @CIN 2
TE Evan Engram BUF 3
TE Zach Ertz @ATL 4
TE Hunter Henry @DET 5
TE OJ Howard @CAR 6
TE Austin Hooper PHI 7
TE Mark Andrews ARI 8
TE Jared Cook @LAR 9
TE Darren Waller KC 10
TE Vance McDonald SEA 11
TE Delanie Walker IND 12
TE Jimmy Graham MIN 13
TE David Njoku @NYJ 14
TE TJ Hockenson LAC 15
TE Jordan Reed DAL 16
TE Jack Doyle @TEN 17
TE Greg Olsen TB 18
TE Eric Ebron @TEN 19
TE Kyle Rudolph @GB 20
TE Noah Fant CHI 21
TE Mike Gesicki NE 22
TE Tyler Eifert SF 23
TE Blake Jarwin @WAS 24
TE Vernon Davis DAL 25
TE Jason Witten @WAS 26
TE Cameron Brate @CAR 27
TE Ian Thomas TB 28
TE Tyler Higbee NO 29
TE Dallas Goedert @ATL 30


Start ‘em: Vance McDonald, TE PIT

It’s difficult to know what to take away from the Steelers week one game against the Patriots. Trailing early and throughout the game, the Steelers frequently deployed five wide receivers on the field on 23% of their snaps, according to Sharp Football Analysis. For context, no other team utilized this formation more than 5% of snaps, and 81% of teams never used this formation in week one. This is unlikely to repeat in week two, and Vance McDonald will be a beneficiary of a more standard game plan at home against the Seahawks. Given that Ben Roethlisberger is a quality start this week (and for all the same reasons about the Seahawks being vulnerable against the pass), McDonald joins him as a solid option at tight end.

Sit ‘em: TJ Hockenson, TE DET

TJ “Gronk”enson had arguably the best start to a career ever for a tight end last week. With 25.1 PPR points, Hockenson finished as the second-best tight end in week one. Unfortunately for many, this production came on your bench. As tempting as it is to start Hockenson in week two off of this huge breakout performance, remember starting him in week two does not give you his week one fantasy points. Despite his breakout, Hockenson is still a rookie tight end, and with that will come a wider spread of outcomes. In week two, the Lions will face a Chargers team that allowed just two receptions to the Jack Doyle/Eric Ebron combination in week one. Of course, this is just one data point, but the overall matchup leans me towards other solid options in week two. Hockenson is still a high-end TE2 on the week, but there are other, safer options I’d consider over the rookie in week two.

If you’re desperate: Mike Gesicki, TE MIA

If we learned anything from week one, it’s that the Miami Dolphins are going to be trailing a lot in 2019. This team is in complete shambles, but lost amongst the blowout on Sunday was Mike Gesicki’s six targets. With this 19% target share, Gesicki actually finished 11th among all tight ends in week one target share. Of course, simply getting targets does not equate to fantasy production, as Ricky Seals-Jones taught us in 2018. However, with how thin the tight end position is, if you could guarantee another six targets for Gesicki in week two, he has the chance to put up decent numbers. In another potential blowout in Miami this week, Gesicki may be the lone bright spot for your fantasy teams.

That concludes this week’s rankings article! As this series is released on Thursdays, be sure to follow any lingering injuries and changing injury status updates for players as Sunday approaches. If you’re wondering about a player I didn’t dive into detail about, feel free to reach out to me @FFzinger on Twitter. Best of luck this week, and I’ll be back next week to give Week Three’s positional rankings.

michael zingone
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