Austin’s Fantasy Train: Week 2


Austin West, Contributing Writer

Let’s be honest: was that a week one that anyone expected? We saw Joe Burrow responsible for four turnovers in the first half, the Cowboys are the only team without a win in the NFC East, and no team in the AFC South has a win even though two teams played each other. In terms of fantasy football we saw Justin Jefferson EXPLODE with 184 yards and two touchdowns, Derrick Henry got outscored by his backup Dontrell Hilliard, and Kyle Pitts and CeeDee Lamb combine for less than 10 points. Obviously, things like this can have a huge effect on fantasy rankings and predictions, and not just mine, even some of the professionals got things wrong. Let’s take a look at my mistakes from last week, shall we?

Last week saw my players that were set to overperform all perform less than ESPN projections. Derek Carr was closest to projections but with three interceptions, it becomes difficult to overperform. As for my underperformers, some of them looked like they would be true but then late into the games the players decide to go against what I had predicted. Josh Allen at the end of the third quarter only had 13 points and was looking like an average fantasy quarterback, not the fantasy QB1 he was projected until two fourth-quarter touchdowns bumped him up to 20+ fantasy points to end the game. Zach Ertz also picked up a last-second touchdown for the Cardinals with five minutes left in the fourth quarter on just his third reception of the day, the first two being an eight-yard catch and the second a two-point conversion. The touchdown put him into double-digit fantasy points and made him one of the best tight end performers of the day.  So to recap, all but two of my predictions were wrong, Javonte Williams and Tyler Lockett turn out correct on Monday Night Football. Maybe I should make an in-depth video on all my picks because those choices are 100% this season. However, this one does sting a little bit, but it’s all about how you recover, and this week I look to recover in a big way. Time to ride the fantasy train for Week two.

Tickets to Ride 

Quarterback, Kirk Cousins: Am I wrong in jumping on the Kirk Cousins hype train? Maybe. Am I also absolutely bought in? Yes, yes I am. The Minnesota Vikings face off against the Philadelphia Eagles who pulled out a close win against another NFC North team in the Detroit Lions. With the Viking’s new pass-first offense we saw against the Green Bay Packers, they look to continue the streak against the Eagles’ defense that allowed Jared Goff and the Lions to two for two touchdowns and 215 yards on 37 attempts. Cousins and the Vikings offense should look to have even better production from receivers Jefferson and Thielen as well as Cook out of the backfield. Look for 20+ fantasy points from Captain Kirk.



Running Back, Antonio Gibson: All of that nervousness from the preseason is disappearing for Washington Commanders’ Antonio Gibson. After a strong fantasy outing in Week one, with 58 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards, he faces a Detroit Lions defense that allowed a rushing touchdown to three separate running backs and allowed an average of 7+ yards per carry to Miles Sanders of the Eagles last week. Gibson also took the majority of rushing attempts from JD McKissic so expect him as the main rusher for the Commanders as well as the main receiving back as Gibson was targeted eight times to McKissic’s three. An advantage for Gibson if the Commanders begin to fall behind throughout the game.

Wide Receiver, Diontae Johnson: After an average fantasy day against the Bengals with just seven receptions for 55 yards, he looks to lead this Steelers offense against the Patriots defense who allowed 164 yards to Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill in Week one. If the Steelers want to be able to put up points against the Patriots, Mitchell Trubisky is going to have to make use of his receivers Johnson and Claypool, especially if Najee Harris’s foot injury goes from “good to go” to questionable to out. Coach Tomlin and Coach Belichek are two of the greatest minds in the league right now I expect them both to have schemes to beat each other this weekend.

Tight End, Robert Tonyan: A quiet game for Tonyan against the Minnesota Vikings last week as he had only three receptions for 36 yards in the loss. What we saw in that game was Aaron Rodgers lose faith in his young receivers, especially after the touchdown drop from Christian Watson. As the Packers face off against another division rival in the Chicago Bears, it becomes a must win game for the Packers, and who better for Rodgers to target than one of his most trusted targets from 2021 in Robert Tonyan. On the two receptions that 49ers tight ends had last week, each went for at least ten yards. In a game that should fair much better weather than the 49ers and Bears, Tonyan should expect 5+ targets.

Pliers that Missed the Train  

Quarterback, Trey Lance: I can’t believe I’m writing this as a 49ers fan but Trey Lance might not be the play this week in fantasy. The Seahawks were able to hold the more experienced quarterback of Russell Wilson under 20 fantasy points so the outlook for second-year Lance is not as positive. While you can’t truly rate his Week one performance due to the monsoon in Chicago, with Elijah Mitchell missing time and Jeff Wilson Jr. a downgrade at the running back position, the 49ers may be relying on Lance to throw the ball more, if not rush more himself this week. Don’t forget that Shanahan likes to have plenty of runs and jet sweeps with Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, potentially relieving the pressure on Lance’s arm. If George Kittle returns for this Week two rivalry game, Lance could have himself a safety blanket for checkdowns and quick passes to keep the game moving.

Running Back, Rashaad Penny: The Seahawks running back had a rough outing on Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos scoring less than 10 fantasy points on 12 rushes and two receptions. Not a large workload for the starting running back. Seattle may try to get him more involved this week as they face off against conference rival the San Francisco 49ers but that might not be enough. The 49ers held David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert of the Bears to a combined 19 points in PPR leagues helped mostly by Herbert’s rushing touchdown. Montgomery had most of the workload and was only averaging 1.5 yards per carry against one of the league’s best front seven. With possibly the league’s worst-rated offensive line, it will be hard for Penny to get anything going between the tackles.



Wide Receiver, CeeDee Lamb: Boy, does this one hurt to write. A top receiver in fantasy drafts around the country has a poor Week one after his quarterback goes down with an injury, now looks to have a poor Week two as well. As someone with not much other choice to start other than CeeDee this week, I would not be opposed to this pick being wrong. It may seem with Cooper Rush likely to start for the next couple of weeks, Lamb should be a top target for him in this game. I don’t disagree with that but you have to remember Lamb is the biggest threat receiving in that offense so the defense is focused on shutting him down and letting the less proven receivers do their worst. Add the O-Line injury of Conor McGovern and this could be a game where the Bengals pass rushers get after the quarterback quickly forcing checkdowns and forced throws. The Bengals were able to hold Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson to just 55 yards so we could see much of the same against Lamb.

Tight End, Hunter Henry: Not a name you hear often anymore since he left the Chargers, but Hunter Henry is listed as the New England Patriots starting tight end. Maybe not much longer after Mac Jones targeted backup Jonnu Smith more than Henry. Granted, it was only one more target, but Smith had the more productive day because of it. The Patriots play the Steelers this week who held Hayden Hurst to under 10 fantasy points, even with five receptions off eight targets. If Henry is only getting three targets a game and being out targeted by Jonnu Smith,  he shouldn’t be considered a start this week.

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