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Fantasy Football Matchups That Matter - Week 2

By Jared Smola | Updated on Sun, 17 Sep 2023 . 11:08 AM EDT

Welcome to Week 2’s Matchups That Matter.

The goal of this article is to give you a look into the process that fuels our weekly projections and rankings.

The information below is all stuff that we use when formulating those rankings. Hopefully taking a look through it helps you make better lineup decisions each week.

An important note: All the data below is based on Week 1 results. That’s a tiny sample size – even for the game of fantasy football which is largely based on small sample sizes.

So be careful not to read too deeply into the matchup data. And, of course, check the Week 2 Rankings and the start/sit advice on your Team Intel page.

Good luck in Week 2!

  

Highest Game Totals

1. Chiefs at Jaguars (50.5)

2. Vikings at Eagles (48.5)

3. Seahawks at Lions (47.5)

4. Raiders at Bills (47.0)

t-5. Chargers at Titans (45.5)

t-5. Ravens at Bengals (45.5)

t-5. Dolphins at Patriots (45.5)

t-5. 49ers at Rams (45.5)

 

Lowest Game Totals

27. Colts at Texans (40.0)

t-28. Giants at Cardinals (39.5)

t-28. Saints at Panthers (39.5)

t-30. Commanders at Broncos (38.5)

t-30. Jets at Cowboys (38.5)

t-30. Browns at Steelers (38.5)

 

Highest Implied Points

1. Bills (27.5)

t-2. Eagles (27.0)

t-2. Chiefs (27.0)

4. 49ers (26.5)

5. Lions (26.0)

 

Lowest Implied Points

27. Packers (18.5)

28. Panthers (18.25)

29. Steelers (18.0)

t-30. Commanders (17.5)

t-30. Cardinals (17.5)

32. Jets (15.0)

 

Fastest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

1. Jets at Cowboys (21.2 seconds)

2. Dolphins at Patriots (22.1 second)

3. Colts at Texans (23.1 seconds)

4. Vikings at Eagles (24.8 seconds)

5. Seahawks at Lions (26.0 seconds)

 

Slowest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

28. Raiders at Bills (27.7 seconds)

29. Commanders at Broncos (28.1 seconds)

30. Browns at Steelers (28.2 seconds)

31. Giants at Cardinals (28.6 seconds)

32. 49ers at Rams (30.7 seconds)

  

Weather Concerns

Chance of rain in Chiefs-Jaguars and Bears-Bucs, but not enough to impact start/sit decisions.

  

Quarterback

5 Best QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

1. Ryan Tannehill vs. Chargers

2. Kirk Cousins vs. Eagles

3. Baker Mayfield vs. Bears

4. Patrick Mahomes vs. Jaguars

5. Mac Jones vs. Dolphins

 

5 Worst QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

28. Zach Wilson vs. Cowboys

29. Josh Dobbs vs. Giants

30. Bryce Young vs. Saints

31. Russell Wilson vs. Commanders

32. Kenny Pickett vs. Browns

 

Sneaky Starters

Jared Goff, Lions

He didn’t put up a huge fantasy score last week but played well in a tough spot in Kansas City. Goff ranked ninth in Pro Football Focus’ Week 1 passing grades.

Goff returns home this weekend for a Seahawks defense that just coughed up 334 yards on 8.8 yards per attempt to a Cooper Kupp-less Matt Stafford.

Goff threw for 378 yards and four TDs vs. Seattle last year, in a game that produced 93 points. And WR Amon-Ra St. Brown didn’t even play in that game.

Geno Smith, Seahawks

Let’s go to the other side of the Seahawks-Lions matchup.

Smith is coming off a disappointing opener – and I’m a tad concerned about him going forward after his play tailed off a bit over the second half of last season. Seattle is also likely to be without its two starting OTs on Sunday.

But this is still a prime bounce-back spot against a better-but-still-beatable Lions defense. 

Smith racked up 320 yards and two TDs in last year’s shootout vs. Detroit.

Brock Purdy, 49ers

The only reason Purdy didn’t have a bigger Week 1 is because the Steelers didn’t put up a fight.

Purdy still tallied 220 yards and two TDs, giving him multiple passing scores in eight of his nine full games as a pro.

The Rams defense played surprisingly well in the Week 1 win over the Seahawks, but I still think is a secondary to attack.

 

Running Back

5 Best RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

1. Saints vs. Panthers

2. Patriots vs. Dolphins

3. Buccaneers vs. Bears

4. Falcons vs. Packers

5. Raiders vs. Bills

 

5 Worst RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

28. Eagles vs. Vikings

29. Broncos vs. Commanders

30. Commanders vs. Broncos

31. Chiefs vs. Jaguars

32. Chargers vs. Titans

 

Sneaky Starters

Jamaal Williams, Saints

Williams disappointed in the box score against a tough Titans run defense last week.

But the usage was there:

  • 75% snap rate
  • 62% route rate
  • 18 carries
  • 2 targets

Williams is a solid bet for another 20+ opportunities in Week 2, with the Saints 3-point favorites vs. the Panthers. Carolina just coughed up 177 total yards and three TDs to Atlanta RBs last week.

Tyler Allgeier, Falcons

He’s gonna post some duds in games in which the Falcons fall behind early.

I don’t think this week is one of those games, at home for the Packers. The Falcons are 1.5-point underdogs (but I like their chances to win).

Allgeier racked up 15 carries and three targets in the opener. And he garnered all four of Atlanta’s carries inside the 10-yard line.

 

Wide Receiver

5 Best WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

1. Titans vs. Chargers

2. Chargers vs. Titans

3. Bears vs. Buccaneers

4. Lions vs. Seahawks

5. Browns vs. Steelers

 

5 Worst WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

28. Ravens vs. Bengals

29. Packers at Falcons

30. Steelers at Browns

31. Jets at Cowboys

32. Saints at Panthers

 

CB Matchup Upgrades

Eagles WRs A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith vs. Vikings CBs Akayleb Evans and Mekhi Blackmon

Saints WR Chris Olave vs. Panthers CB C.J. Henderson (Top CB Jaycee Horn is out)

49ers WRs Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk vs. Rams CBs Akhello Witherspoon, Derion Kendrick, and Cobie Durant

Commanders WR Jahan Dotson vs. Broncos CB Damarri Mathis

 

CB Matchup Downgrades

Jets WR Garrett Wilson vs. Cowboys CBs Trevon Diggs and Stephon Gilmore

Falcons WR Drake London vs. Packers CB Jaire Alexander

Colts WR Michael Pittman vs. Texans CB Derek Stingley

 

Sneaky Starters

Jahan Dotson, Commanders

He underwhelmed in the opener, catching five balls for 40 scoreless yards. But Dotson drew 7 targets for a strong 22.6% share.

While WR Terry McLaurin figures to see a bunch of Broncos stud CB Patrick Surtain this weekend, Dotson draws CB Damarri Mathis in primary coverage.

Mathis was just blasted for eight catches, 95 yards, and two TDs in coverage last week.

Nico Collins, Texans

Collins delivered as a Sneaky Starter for us last week, tallying 80 yards on six grabs. 

Let’s go right back to the well.

Collins’ usage was awesome in the opener: 11 targets for a 25% share and 158 air yards (third-most in the league).

And the Houston offense was fast and pass-leaning, so there might be more upside to this passing game than we initially thought.

Indianapolis’ secondary looked burnable heading into the season and got torched by Jacksonville in Week 1.

Zay Jones, Jaguars

Jones, not Christian Kirk, is Jacksonville’s No. 2 WR. At least based on playing time.

Jones is in something close to an every-down role, while Kirk is basically only playing in 3-WR sets. In Week 1, that led to 7 targets on a 21.9% share for Jones.

Sunday’s game vs. the Chiefs has massive shootout potential.

 

Tight End

5 Best TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

1. T.J. Hockenson vs. Eagles

2. Cole Kmet vs. Buccaneers

3. Luke Musgrave vs. Falcons

4. Hunter Henry vs. Dolphins

5. Noah Fant vs. Lions

 

5 Worst TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

28. Logan Thomas vs. Broncos

29. Kylen Granson vs. Texans

30. Michael Mayer/Austin Hooper vs. Bills

31. Durham Smythe vs. Patriots

32. Hayden Hurst vs. Saints

 

Sneaky Starters

Sam LaPorta, Lions

LaPorta didn’t score huge fantasy points in his debut, but the usage was encouraging. He ran a route on 73% of Detroit’s pass plays and drew five targets for a 14.3% share.

Now he gets the Seahawks defense that just got smoked for 334 yards by Matt Stafford last week. TE Tyler Higbee caught just three balls in that one. But WR Puka Nacua did a lot of his damage over the middle of the field, where LaPorta will be working.

Luke Musgrave, Packers

Ah, what could have been for Musgrave last week. 

QB Jordan Love overshot him for a would-be 56-yard TD in the second quarter. Then in the fourth, Musgrave broke wide open deep for a 37-yard catch. But he stumbled over his own feet making the catch, preventing what would have been a 41-yard TD.

Musgrave’s usage was strong: an 80% route rate, 14.8% target share, and a TE-leading 72 air yards. He’s going to have some big games this season.

Week 2 brings a Falcons defense that just allowed a 5-41-1 line to TE Hayden Hurst.

 

Defense/Special Teams

5 Best DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

1. Cardinals vs. Giants

2. Raiders vs. Bills (ignore!)

3. Broncos vs. Commanders

4. Buccaneers vs. Bears

5. Dolphins vs. Patriots

 

5 Worst DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

28. Ravens vs. Bengals

29. Bears vs. Buccaneers

30. Falcons vs. Packers

31. 49ers vs. Rams

32. Jets vs. Cowboys

 

Sneaky Starters

Broncos

The Commanders managed just 248 total yards and 20 points at home for the Cardinals in Week 1. Their 17.75-point implied total vs. Denver is third-lowest for the week.

Giants

Washington’s DST just tallied three sacks and two takeaways vs. the Cardinals. The Giants get Josh Dobbs and Co. this week.

Buccaneers

As I wrote last week, “Let’s attack Justin Fields and the Bears offense until they give us a reason not to.”

The Packers DST racked up four sacks and two takeaways vs. Chicago in Week 1.

 

Kicker

5 Best K Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

1. Eddy Pineiro vs. Saints

2. Jason Sanders vs. Patriots

3. Nick Folk vs. Chargers

4. Dustin Hopkins vs. Steelers

5. Riley Patterson vs. Seahawks

 

5 Worst K Matchups 

(based on 2023 fantasy points allowed)

28. Chris Boswell vs. Browns

29. Brandon McManus vs. Chiefs

30. Greg Joseph vs. Eagles

31. Brett Maher vs. 49ers

32. Greg Zuerlein vs. Cowboys

 

Sneaky Starters

Riley Patterson, Lions

Kicking indoors as a 5.5-point favorite with a 26.5-point implied total.

Jake Moody, 49ers

The rookie made three FGs and three XPs in his debut last week. His 49ers have a big 26.5-point implied total vs. the Rams this week.

 

Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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