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Week 2 Fantasy Sleepers: Injuries to James Conner, Michael Thomas open the door for Benny Snell, Tre'Quan Smith

Sporting News — (Jacob Camenker)

Week 2 is here, and fantasy football owners are surely glad to see it. As great as Week 1 is, it's incredibly hard to predict what will happen during the opening week of the NFL season, and it was especially hard to figure this year because of the lack of a preseason. But with a game under our belts, it's a bit easier to make tough lineup decisions and identify sleepers that may be involved in key start 'em, sit 'em choices, especially if you were lucky enough to snag handcuffs/injury fill-ins like Benny Snell Jr. (James Conner) and Tre'Quan Smith (Michael Thomas) off the waiver wire.

Beyond injury-based sleepers, we have some steady veteran quarterbacks playing in good matchups, young RBs emerging in bigger roles, and pass-catching options that should be startable even in tougher-looking matchups.

WEEK 2 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

With the top defenses, the strategy always stays the same. Pick teams that are going up against weak offenses or offenses with holes that can be exploited. Don't base everything on a team's Week 1 performance, as that can come back to bite you, but generally, it's easy to find streamable defenses with good matchups (at least on paper).

All of these sleepers come with some level of risk, but they can certainly be good options in year-long fantasy leagues depending on your situation. Obviously, you're not going to bench a stud for one of these guys, but if you want a sneaky flex option, one of these players could pan out. And in DFS, feel free to start as many as you want as you look to differentiate your lineup in GPP tournaments.

MORE WEEK 2: Busts | Start 'em, Sit 'em

Week 2 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs

Benny Snell, Steelers vs. Broncos (Jacob Camenker). James Conner suffered an ankle sprain in Week 1, and even though he'll play this week, there are still question marks. He wasn't that effective against the Giants, as he carried the ball nine times for six yards. Snell looked much better racking up 113 yards on 19 attempts. The Broncos just did a good job of slowing down Derrick Henry, but Snell ran well on a good Giants defensive line. He should find similar success against the Broncos and be worth a flex spot even with Conner active.

Ronald Jones, Buccaneers vs. Panthers (Vinnie Iyer). Jones looked better than expected running ahead of Leonard Fournette, and he’ll keep that status in a matchup that Josh Jacobs just abused.

Antonio Gibson, Washington @ Cardinals (Matt Lutovsky). Gibson played second-fiddle to Peyton Barber (seriously, that guy?) in Week 1, so his owners might have soured on him. Expect a bounce back against a Cardinals defense that allowed seven catches for 121 yards and two TDs to 49ers tail backs, plus another 98 rushing yards on 22 carries. Yes, a lot of that receiving production came on a 76-yard TD catch by Raheem Mostert, but Arizona still has holes against versatile RBs.

WEEK 2 NFL DFS CASH LINEUPS:
YahooDraftKings | FanDuel

Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers @ Jets (Camenker). The 49ers were without some of their top receiving weapons in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk in Week 1 (and George Kittle was banged up), but that didn't stop Jimmy Garoppolo from logging 19.3 fantasy points. He gets a great matchup against a weak Jets defense that allowed the third-most QB points last week to Josh Allen (28.2), so feel free to trust him as a streamer if Kittle is a go.

Philip Rivers, Colts vs. Vikings (Iyer). The Vikings can rebound a little vs. the run but without Danielle Hunter up front and a new look secondary, Rivers will have high volume again in a high-scoring game.

Ryan Tannehill, Titans vs. Jaguars (Lutovsky). Why are we all so nervous about Tannehill? "Because the Titans are a running team!" Yeah, tell that to his game log, which shows he's had at least two total TDs in each of the past 11 regular season games. Maybe his ceiling isn't quite as high as some higher-volume QBs (especially with A.J. Brown out), but his floor is as high as anyone outside the consensus top three or four signal-callers. The Jaguars defense remains vulnerable, so expect another good game from Tannehill. 

WEEK 2 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endD/ST | Kicker

Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers

Darius Slayton, Giants @ Bears (Camenker). Slayton appears to be Daniel Jones' favorite receiver and caught two TDs in a tough Week 1 contest against the Steelers. The Bears may put Kyle Fuller on him, but Slayton should still find a way to get open and potentially score again to be a good WR3/flex play, especially if Golden Tate (hamstring) is once again out.

Emmanuel Sanders, Saints @ Raiders (Iyer). No Michael Thomas elevates him to No. 1 WR, and his familiar former Broncos big-play threat makes him a good bet in Las Vegas.

Tre'Quan Smith, Saints @ Raiders (Lutovsky). No Michael Thomas elevates Smith to New Orleans' No. 2 WR -- and perhaps the No. 1 downfield/red-zone target. In truth, Smith is probably fourth in line for targets after Sanders, Jared Cook, and Alvin Kamara, but he's the Saints best "big" wideout. It's unclear if Drew Brees still has the arm strength to really take advantage of Smith's big-play talents, but he should see more targets in this favorable matchup, so he's worth a shot as a boom-or-bust WR3/flex.

WEEK 2 NFL DFS TOURNAMENT LINEUPS:
Yahoo | DraftKings | FanDuel

Week 2 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends

Noah Fant, Broncos @ Steelers (Camenker). Fant saw six targets from Drew Lock on Monday night and turned them into five catches, 81 yards, and a TD, all of which were team highs. The Steelers defense is tough, but Evan Engram had some open opportunities against them -- he just dropped the ball (literally). Fant should continue to play well, especially if Courtland Sutton returns to soak up some of the attention from the defense.

Dallas Goedert, Eagles vs. Rams (Iyer). The Cowboys worked to exploit the Rams in the middle of the field, and Goedert will be busy with more wideout woes.

Logan Thomas, Panthers vs. Raiders (Lutovsky). Normally, we don't like picking a sleeper who might have peaked the week before, but Thomas seems like the real deal after eight Week 1 targets. Arizona held a gimpy George Kittle in check last week, but this is still the team that was historically bad against the TE position in 2019. 

WEEK 2 DFS: Best stacks | Best valuesLineup Builder

Week 2 Fantasy Sleepers: Defenses

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Panthers (Camenker). The Panthers may have just dropped 30 points on the Raiders, but Las Vegas has one of the worst defenses in the league. The Bucs will be motivated to win after a disappointing Week 1 loss to the Saints, and they have the talent needed to get pressure on Teddy Bridgewater early and often.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington (Iyer). Between Chander Jones, Isaiah Simmons, Budda Baker and Patrick Peterson, there are enough playmakers to force some big mistakes from Dwayne Haskins playing catchup vs. Kyler Murray.

Cleveland Browns vs. Bengals (Lutovsky). Cleveland is mediocre, at best, but we like our chances with a defense playing against a rookie QB on short rest in Week 2. We wish there was going to be more fans in the stands, but with no preseason, the turnaround for this game will be even more of a blur for Joe Burrow.