By Alex Kurpeski
As we enter the second week of the 2020 NFL season, several key players are listed as uncertainties ahead of this weekend’s slate of games. Michael Thomas, Le’Veon Bell, and A.J Brown are all expected to miss their respective games, while players like James Conner and Kenny Golladay are questionable. Looking ahead, there are some very exploitable matchups for players that could be plugged in as replacements for these downed studs.
1 PM Games
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans
The Jaguars upset the Colts last weekend, while the Titans were nearly upset by the Broncos. This could be a trap game for the Titans, who will be without star receiver A.J Brown.
What To Expect From The Jaguars
We saw a lot of checkdowns and short throws from Gardner Minshew last week. This Jags offense likes to chip away at their opponents, which may not be a very good thing against a disciplined Titans defense filled with playmakers. It’s hard to love anyone on the Jags offense in this one, though James Robinson is a nice flex-start simply due to the fact that he took 100% of the team’s carries last week.
What To Expect From The Titans
The Titans seem to kill the Jaguars with Derrick Henry every season. Without A.J Brown they’ll likely do the same this time around. I’d start Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith too.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Derrick Henry
Henry is going to roll over this weak Jaguars run defense that got gashed by the Colts last week. He’s a top-five start this week.
Denver Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Broncos hung around in a tough matchup with the Titans on Monday Night Football, while the Steelers squashed the Giants in their MNF matchup.
What To Expect From The Broncos
The Steelers are going to torment these guys. Avoid starting anyone from the Broncos if you can. After what we saw from the Giants last week it’s hard to trust a team facing off with the Steelers.
What To Expect From The Steelers
Pittsburgh is going to move the ball in a variety of ways. This is a solid matchup for all of their starters. I like Ben Roethlisberger as a streamer this week, as well as Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Fantasy Player of the Game: JuJu Smith-Schuster
We could see a RBBC approach, which would limit the upside of any back on the Steelers. That leaves JuJu as the safest bet to shine here.
Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This game could be a shootout if the Bucs defense continues to shoot themselves in the foot.
What To Expect From The Panthers
Christian McCaffrey is gonna get his. The Panthers will likely need to put up points in order to hang around in this matchup so I like D.J Moore and Robby Anderson as well.
What To Expect From The Buccaneers
Josh Jacobs ran wild on the Panthers defense last week. The Bucs should take notes and ride RoJo and Leonard Fournette in this one. With Chris Godwin possibly inactive, start O.J Howard and Mike Evans as well.
Note: Chris Godwin has been confirmed inactive for Week 2.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Ronald Jones
The Panthers run defense is not good. Jones looked very solid last week and should capitalize on this matchup. If not him, then Fournette. Maybe start both if you can.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Rams beat a tough Dallas team last week, while Philly blew a lead to Washington. This could be a gut check game for the Eagles.
What To Expect From The Rams
Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp should get their targets and points in this one, while Malcolm Brown should lead the way on the ground. This could be a sneaky good game for Tyler Higbee as well, especially with so many tight ends out this week.
What To Expect From The Eagles
Hopefully less deep balls and a healthy dose of Miles Sanders. If last week’s performance was no aberration, the Eagles could be in trouble.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Robert Woods
Woods carries a safe floor and a high ceiling against a suspect Eagles secondary.
San Francisco 49ers vs. New York Jets
Pray for the Jets. Start Frank Gore if you must. Chris Herndon and Braxton Berrios could prove to be decent garbage time contributors.
What To Expect From The 49ers
The Niners don’t even have to throw the ball to win this game. And they might not. No George Kittle, no problem.
What To Expect From The Jets
These guys might not even register a yard of offense without Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Raheem Mostert
Jesus Christ, how are people Jets fans?
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
This game is going to be closer than it seems. The Dolphins were feisty last week and the Bills will likely be overconfident following their blowout win over the lowly Jets.
What To Expect From The Bills
The Bills will attempt to do what they did to the Jets last week. Josh Allen is a must start, while Zack Moss, Devin Singletary, and Stefon Diggs are all good starts as well.
What To Expect From The Dolphins
With Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds out this week, look for Miami to run the ball early and often. Myles Gaskin and Preston Williams are the only players that I would consider starting.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Josh Allen
Allen was excellent last week and he draws another easy matchup this time around.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts
Both of these teams are coming off of tough losses. This should be a hard fought game.
What To Expect From The Vikings
I’m liking the Vikings offense after seeing the Jags against this defense last week. Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen in particular.
What To Expect From The Colts
I’m liking the Colts offense after seeing what Aaron Rodgers did to this Minnesota defense. Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Philip Rivers, Parris Campbell, and T.Y Hilton are all solid plays.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Adam Thielen
This could be so many different players. Great matchups on both sides.
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
If the Lions can’t keep Aaron Rodgers at bay they’re going to lose this game by a wide margin.
In short, the Lions are going to lose by a wide margin.
What To Expect From The Lions
With Kenny Golladay out once again expect to see a lot of T.J Hockenson and Marvin Jones. It’s hard to imagine this being a good week to start a Lions running back.
What To Expect From The Packers
If what we saw from the Packers offense last week is any indication, this will be a great game for all of their playmakers. Be sure to start Aaron Jones, MVS, and Allen Lazard.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Davante Adams
Adams had double digit targets in the first half of last week’s game. He’s gonna feast on the Lions secondary.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys
This is not the game for people who like defense.
What To Expect From The Falcons
Got a Falcons guy? Yeah, start him.
What To Expect From The Cowboys
Oh, you have a Cowboys player? Yes, you should start him.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Ezekiel Elliott
New York Giants vs. Chicago Bears
This game sounds so chaotic yet so boring.
What To Expect From The Giants
Let’s hope Saquon Barkley breaks double-digit yardage in this one. Feel free to start Darius Slayton and Evan Engram.
What To Expect From The Bears
David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Allen Robinson, and Anthony Miller all have nice ceilings in this game.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Allen Robinson
AR wants to be paid and he’s gonna show the Bears why he needs to be in this matchup.
4 PM Games
Washington Football Team vs. Arizona Cardinals
This is the week where one of these teams is exposed as fake news.
What To Expect From The Football Team
This could be a nice matchup for Washington, as the Cardinals defense was not great against a depleted 49ers team last week. Start Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas.
What To Expect From The Cardinals
Washington sacked Carson Wentz eight times last week. The Cardinals offensive line is still suspect, but it’s a good thing that Kyler Murray has wheels.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Logan Thomas
Interesting choice, I know. Thomas was a target hog last week and will draw a matchup with a Cardinals defense that was the worst in the league against tight ends last season.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers (3CoSports Game of the Week)
The two best teams in the AFC West square off in what could be a playoff matchup.
What To Expect From The Chiefs
The Chargers secondary is good. But this is Patrick Mahomes we’re talking about. Roll with your Chiefs players.
What To Expect From The Chargers
The Chargers will need to throw the ball in order to keep up in this game. Start Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Austin Ekeler
Ekeler is always a killer against the Chiefs. The Chargers need to lean on him in this game.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans
This game could be a blowout, especially if the Texans receivers fall flat once again.
What To Expect From The Ravens
Oh, you know. Lamar Jackson slicing and dicing, with a little Mark Ingram and J.K Dobbins sprinkled in. Start Hollywood Brown.
What To Expect From The Texans
We saw the Browns get throttled by Baltimore last week. The Texans could face a similar fate. Be careful with Brandin Cooks, David Johnson, and Will Fuller.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Mark Andrews
Andrews is gonna carve up this soft defense. He’s the best tight end start this week.
Sunday Night Football
New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Patriots and Seahawks always deliver in their head-to-head matchups. This will be a hard fought game for both teams. Time of possession will be key, so expect both sides to establish the run.
What To Expect From The Patriots
With their new Go-Go offense the Patriots may be able to overwhelm this Seahawks defense that got taken to town by the Falcons last week. I like Cam Newton a lot in this matchup. Start Newton, James White, Julian Edelman.
What To Expect From The Seahawks
The Patriots defense is tough but the Seahawks should be able to run the ball. Look for a good game from Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. Avoid D.K Metcalf.
Fantasy Player of the Game: Julian Edelman
We saw Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage destroy Seattle in the middle of the field last week. Edelman should feast in this matchup.