With Week 2 approaching, we’ve already seen a number of star players go down with injuries that will keep them out of Sunday’s action. Because of that, you may have logged into your fantasy football rosters on Saturday afternoon and panicked because one of your star players is out, and now you’re scrambling to find a substitute. Well, fear no more because help has arrived. Here is a list of Week 2 fantasy football sleepers that you can add to your roster. More than likely, these players are available in your league, as indicated by the percentage of ESPN leagues in which they are rostered.
QB Marcus Mariota (8.7%)
Perhaps this is just an overreaction to a strong performance in Week 1, but Marcus Mariota gave the New Orleans Saints defense all it could handle in Atlanta. Most of this damage was done with his legs as Mariota ran 12 times for 72 yards and a touchdown. On the day, he totaled 19.8 fantasy points, good for ninth most among QBs.
Seeing as Dak Prescott is out, and others like Mac Jones head into Week 2 banged up, Mariota looks like one of the best remaining options to pick up. Granted, the LA defense may do a better job at containing him in the pocket, but that certainly did not happen against Josh Allen as he ran for 56 yards and a touchdown last Thursday.
RB Khalil Herbert (28.5%)
David Montgomery is certainly the lead back in Chicago, but Khalil Herbert was the Bears leading rusher in Week 1’s victory over the 49ers, and he scored the team’s only rushing touchdown. Against a ferocious San Francisco front seven, the Bears o-line held up surprisingly well in the running game.
As for the Green Bay Packers defense, the story last week was that they could not do anything against Justin Jefferson in the secondary. That said, Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison combined for 144 yards from scrimmage and rattled off 28 carries at 4.5 yards per rush. If the Bears are going to keep this game against the Packers close, they need to get both their RBs involved early.
WR Christian Watson (16.9%)
Christian Watson had the rookie “yips” about as badly as you can get them in Week 1. He dropped what would have been a 75-yard touchdown, trimming 13.5 points off his eventual fantasy points total on one play.
After that play, in typical petty Aaron Rodgers fashion, Watson was frozen out of the offense for much of the game. That said, Watson proved on that breakaway go-route that he has the speed to burn NFL cornerbacks. As long as Rodgers continues to slice up the Chicago Bears defense (he’s past for 14 TDs in his last four games against CHI), the rookie receiver should see opportunities in Green Bay’s home opener.
Patriots D/ST (21.2%)
Despite having to cover some of the most dynamic skill-position players in the entire NFL, the Patriots defense held up relatively well against the Miami Dolphins. Granted, much of that may have to do with the fact that Tua Tagovailoa is the QB, but New England does not exactly have a dynamic matchup at QB this week, either, against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mitch Trubisky completed just 55% of his passes against the Cincinnati Bengals for 194 yards and a touchdown. The biggest threat on this offense remains Najee Harris, but New England’s pass rush should feast on Pittsburgh’s offensive line throughout the game. For fantasy managers with defenses going against high-powered offenses, such as Dallas, New England should be considered as a substitute for the week.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken