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“All in On” or “Grin and Bear it” NFL Week 2 Matchups

Rivers and Gordon
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Much like poker, you want to play your best hand each week in fantasy football. As most of us who play fantasy football know, getting a good performance out of your players is like winning a hand in poker. You have to ask yourself, “Am I going to win with this hand, or am I going to have to discard some cards, hoping to get something good off the ‘waiver wire?'” However, in poker you don’t have many options to increase your odds of winning, in fantasy football, you have options. The best way to increase your odds in fantasy is playing the best match-ups. Which is why I am calling this first segment my “All in On” NFL week 2 matchups.

Check Out: Week 2 Fantasy Rankings


“All In”

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills

If I could compare a matchup in the NFL to a royal flush, it would be this one. The Chargers are set up to have a perfect fantasy week. The Bills either made little to no effort against the Ravens last week, or they are really just that bad. Buffalo had 40 points scored on them within the first three quarters of gameplay, before they were able to put up any points. Those 40 points were from the Ravens offense… a rather mediocre offense if you ask me. Anyone who knows me knows I have never had much respect for Joe Flacco when it comes to fantasy football. So, you can take this bias with as much weight as you want, but I had to honestly look at Joe Flacco’s performance. Flacco had a 74% completion rate against the Bills defense… which I found impressive. Please don’t take this as me recommending you going out and pick up Flacco as a dependable quarterback play.

What I am saying is you should be making eyes at Philip Rivers. Just so you know, Rivers completed the exact same number of passes last week as Flacco attempted (34). Rivers had a 66% completion rate last week, which is still above average in my book. Now put Rivers up against that Buffalo defense, who allowed a 74% reception rate. It is a gold mine! Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are all must-start players this week. Besides, Gordon and Allen were more than likely high picks in the draft, so you’re going to have to start them anyway. Even Austin Ekeler may be a good start this week. The only offensive starter on the Chargers team I would not start is Antonio Gates. I’m afraid that there is no reason to start Gates.


Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

This matchup I would compare to a Full House or a Four of a Kind in poker. Especially if you have members of the Rams. Writing negatively about Arizona is going to be hard for me. I think they have the potential to be great, but Sam Bradford looked like a fish out of water against the Redskins in week one. Bradford only passed for 153 yards on 20 completions. If he can’t find his stride in Arizona, the Rams will be set for an easy win. Moving on to the Rams. Jared Goff was not bad last year, and I think he will improve this year as well. Last year, he was in the middle of the pack amongst QBs in attempts, completions, and yards per game. Then, he was 10th in yards (3,809), and 6th in total touchdowns (28). This means he has upside, and is able to improve. Last week, Goff only had a 55% pass completion rate, but was still able to get 233 yards and 2 touchdowns. I predict his completion percentage will increase above 60% soon, especially since he has the weapons to make that happen. Which is why, besides Rivers, Goff is my preferred streaming option at the quarterback position this week.

Before the season started, I was pessimistic about the wide receiver options for the Rams. I was telling people about Cooks, Kupp and Woods saying, “one week it’s going to be one wide out scoring touchdowns and another getting yards, and it’s going to be different each week.” To me, this situation is a nightmare, and each one of these guys was ranked high in preseason rankings. This is why I chose this matchup as an equivalent to a full house or a four of a kind–they have a chance to get you a win, but there is some risk in starting some of these Rams players. For example, Robert Woods was targeted 9 times last week, which is a good sign, but the man only came down with three receptions for 37 yards. If Woods continues getting targets, he is going to cut into Kupp and Cooks’ fantasy production. Hopefully, Woods will become irrelevant in future weeks… but for this week, I think you can safely start all starting members of the Rams, minus the tight end position. The Cardinals were barely able to stop the aging Adrian Peterson, and the Redskins were able to capitalize through the air with Jordan Reed, and Chris Thompson. I am looking forward to seeing what is going to happen with the array of catching options the Rams will use against the Cardinals. So, to sum up, Goff should be a good start if you are still waiting for Wentz to come back to play. You are starting Gurley no matter what, and you should start Kupp and Cooks for sure, but put a “best by (enter date here)” sticker on Woods.

These two matchups look great to me for streaming options. For the Chargers, Philip Rivers, Mike Williams, and possibly Austin Ekeler, and Tyrell Williams, and for the Rams; Jared Goff. You can go all in on these guys if you need to replace some players in your starting lineup for the week. Unfortunately, finding streaming options to fix all matchup downfalls are not always possible. Which brings me to my second segment called my “Grin and Bear it” matchups.


“Grin and Bear it”

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

The Ravens’ defense is tighter than a rusted lug nut. Last year, they were fantastic at forcing turnovers and keeping offenses off the board. They played the Bills last week, and as I said earlier, the Bills are just no good, so some might say the Bills make everyone look good. Though, I can still see the Ravens continuing their defensive superiority. The Ravens resigned their defensive talent in Brandon Williams, Tony Jefferson and Brandin Carr, then they went and used their first four picks in the draft to get more defensive talent.

Anyway, there are two players in this matchup that you have to start, even though they are going up against this defense: AJ Green and Joe Mixon. There is a reason I am not a fan of AJ Green in fantasy, he has a history of being inconsistent. Though this is not his fault. Andy Dalton has his bad weeks and bad matchups. Unfortunately, this week is one of those weeks. You probably got AJ Green within the first three rounds of your draft. Essentially, this means you are going to start him based on the draft capital you spent. Then there is Joe Mixon. Before the season started, I was a little concerned with Mixon’s possible outcomes. This past week proved these concerns to be wasted worry. He appears to be the workhorse running back in Cincinnati moving forward. Though this week may be a down point for Mixon. Once again, you have to start him due to the capital you would have had to spend to draft him. There you have it, AJ Green and Joe Mixon… you’re just going to grin and bear it.


Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

This border battle is always drawing attention, but here we have the Vikings defense and the Packers offense. Both are near the top of the charts in their respective categories. But when it comes to the Packers, you just have to grin and bear it this week in fantasy. Especially with Aaron Rodgers. If you drafted him, you used too early of a draft pick to get him. That means when he is starting in a game, he is starting on your fantasy team. He suffered a knee injury last week against the Bears, which is a possible setback going forward. Especially since last year, Rodgers was taken out for most of the season from an injury he suffered against the Vikings. A Vikings matchup is a tough match for any quarterback, even for a healthy Rodgers. Anyway, the running back situation didn’t get any clearer in Green Bay after last week, though I am predicting that Jamaal Williams will be the primary back this week merely due to his pass protection ability, but I wouldn’t expect many yards from him. The wide receiver corps is going to keep me nervous this week as well. Before the season started, I predicted a bad year for Davante Adams, where his reception percentage would drop down to 55%, as it was in 2015. I may have to concede on this prediction, because he did look good against the Bears, however this week is more than likely going to be trouble for Adams. You are just going to grin and bear it for this week.

This Grin and Bear it segment is definitely not a suggestion for you to trade or drop these players. It is to lower your expectations for your potential star players.

I wish you all luck this week, go and get yourself a winning hand.


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