Need a last-minute pickup to round out your Week 2 roster? We’re going to identify fantasy football pickups specifically for those of you seeking streaming options in deeper leagues. These are players that were available in a majority of ESPN Fantasy leagues (ahead of the standard waiver window on Tuesday night) and who could still be as of Friday morning, and who have enticing Week 2 matchups that make them worthy of consideration for your lineups.
While you might notice some overlap with Eric Moody’s pickup column that publishes on Mondays, an important distinction is that the options mentioned in this column are focused solely on this week’s matchup and not the players’ values for the remainder of the season.
Heading into Week 2, we have some quality players to work with here. We’ll start with two veteran quarterbacks who can be streamed as starters this week. This duo offer more upside than Cooper Rush for managers looking to replace injured Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Dak Prescott, who will miss six to eight weeks with a fractured thumb. Roster percentages are updated as of Friday morning.
You will get some roller-coaster moments in any game involving Wentz, who threw two interceptions in Week 1, as his physical tools can play to his detriment at times. However, Wentz also dropped four touchdown passes on the Jags’ defense on Sunday, finishing with 313 yards passing and 27.72 fantasy points. Getting a healthy Curtis Samuel back in the mix for Washington is a boost, and I believe we will see more targets for rookie Jahan Dotson. Plus, we have to look at the Commanders’ scheme and how it caters to Wentz’s traits as a passer: defined play-action concepts, along with third-level, vertical throws. With a Week 2 matchup versus the Lions, I’ll be first in line to stream Wentz as my starter in my home league, as I look to replace Prescott.
Ryan and the Colts get a Jaguars defense that went heavy on Cover 2 (28.9% of coverage snaps) and Cover 3 (20%) in Sunday’s loss to Washington. These are core zone coverages that can be schemed for Ryan to find wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (nine receptions, 121 yards and a TD in Week 1). Run the crossers and deep overs here. While we should expect Ryan’s throwing volume to decline after tossing 50 passes in Week 1 due to game flow versus Houston, he fits as a streaming option in leagues of 12 teams or more due to Indy’s passing stricture. Look for Colts coach Frank Reich to dial up some play-action throws for Ryan in this one. Hit the back foot at the top of the drop and attack the open void. It will be there.
There’s no question about D’Andre Swift‘s dynamic ability in the Lions’ offense as the clear RB1. But I’m in on Williams as a streaming option for Detroit’s Week 2 game versus Washington. On Sunday, Williams produced only 28 yards rushing on 11 carries. However, he turned two of those rushing attempts into touchdowns on low red zone carries. Sure, Williams has the look of a touchdown-dependent back. But given his Week 1 volume and situational opportunities, Williams has enough non-PPR upside to find a home as a deeper-league flex play this week.
Starting running back David Montgomery out-touched Herbert 20 to 10 in the Bears’ Week 1 win over the 49ers. The tape tells a different story here, however, when watching the Chicago run game. Herbert was much more decisive as a downhill runner on zone schemes. Press the hole and get vertical. Plus, it was Herbert (nine carries, 45 yards rushing, one touchdown) who saw red zone work during a critical fourth-quarter possession, finding the end zone on a rushing attempt. With a Week 2 game up in Green Bay, Herbert has flex appeal.
Eric Moody details why Khalil Herbert is a great fit in the Bears’ offense and mentions he’s a player to watch on the waiver wire this week.
Anderson’s Week 1 stat line — five receptions, 105 yards receiving, one touchdown — was inflated by a 75-yard score. However, Anderson was targeted by Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield eight times in the game against Cleveland. We know Anderson brings a vertical element to any NFL pass game, and Mayfield is an aggressive thrower who will challenge opposing secondaries on both play-action and dropback concepts. Up next on the schedule are the Giants, with a defense that registered a blitz rate of more than 26% in Week 1, so there also could be some isolation opportunities for Anderson outside of the numbers. Fade balls, straight go routes there. In deeper, non-PPR formats, Anderson is worth a look as a WR3 this week.
It’s easy to forget about Davis with young wideouts Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson in the Jets’ lineup. It was Davis, however, who led the Jets with 77 yards receiving (with six catches on nine targets) in New York’s Week 1 loss to Baltimore. With the anticipation that the Jets are once again forced to lean on the pass game in Week 2 versus the Browns, Davis can give you WR3 upside. He is a veteran player who can run the deep in-breakers in the Jets’ system or isolate outside to win on intermediate throws into the boundary.
I’d take a good look at Tonyan this week versus an extremely zone-heavy Bears defense. Matt Eberflus’ unit played zone coverage on more than 70% of coverage snaps in Week 1. That coverage structure sets up Tonyan (three catches, five targets, 36 yards receiving in Week 1) as a viable middle-of-the-field option for Aaron Rodgers in the Sunday night game. Stretch the seams and find the zone windows at the second level. In Week 1, Tonyan’s first game back since suffering a knee injury last season, I didn’t see any limited movement on the tape. This is a good matchup here for a Packers offense that needs to find some juice in the pass game.
Cleveland Browns (vs. Jets; 51.8% rostered)
If you stream a defense every week based on favorable matchups, like I do, then jump on the opportunity to pick up the Browns. In Week 1 against Baker Mayfield and the Panthers, this Cleveland unit logged four sacks and an interception and posted 8 fantasy points. And that fantasy total should rise this week versus the Jets. Remember, Cleveland has maybe the best edge rushing combo in the league with Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. The Browns feature a zone-based coverage unit that also will turn up the heat (No. 9 in blitz rate after Week 1), and they have speed at the second and third level of the defense too. Play the matchup against quarterback Joe Flacco on Sunday. And cash in.