First thing’s first: breathe. Always breathe. Breathing is so crucial right now. Week 1 is a hell of a drug, and right now you are Future-at-a-baby-shower high and running ass-naked through the waiver wire with a head full of Wentz wishes. This is natural and bad. Because now, of all times, is the time to remain calm, take stock and kick some tires. To this end, the following are 20 fantasy studs to avoid in Week 2—strong, talented players who also happen to be in prime position to fail this week due to bad matchups, nagging injuries or other circumstances. Last week was fun. But now it’s time for your cold shower.
Dez Bryant: slingin' Dak
The Dez-Dak connection is far from an established pipeline, and Bryant’s Week 2 matchup against a called-out Josh Norman isn’t an appetizing tableau for the Cowboys veteran. Start him anyway, temper your expectations and hope Norman turns back into a pumpkin at halftime.
Andrew Luck: entering the thunder dome
“OH MY GOD HE’S DOING THE THING WHERE HE THROWS IT TO PEOPLE NOW. OUR PEOPLE.” After a huge game against the Detroit Lions in Week 1, Luck will do his very best to not die publicly in Von Miller’s arms this Sunday at Mile High Stadium— home of the “He’s Young and Large Therefore Not a Person” home field advantage.
Carson Wentz: Returning from Wentz he came
NO. BAD. BAD WAIVER WARRIOR. I do not blame you for shooting for Wentz in the waiver lottery this week. He threw two touchdown passes and zero picks in a close loss in Week 1, and most importantly didn’t resemble a newborn giraffe trying to decipher the mysteries of its limbs —meaning he aced the all-important rookie quarterback eye test with honors. Just gird your loins against high expectations. Philadelphia plays Chicago on Monday night — not a nightmare matchup but one that history indicates could devolve rapidly into an horrifying gasoline fight accident.
Jeremy Maclin: a Redskins WR
Maclin had a big first week against San Diego and now faces sterner stuff in Week 2 at Houston. And for all his talents, Maclin is still paid to catch football for the Kansas City Chiefs, meaning there’s always the possibility he could be targeted twice and then vacuum-sealed for dry storage.
Rob Gronkowski: sandbag-itus
The only thing in this world Bill Belichick relishes more than hunting infant seals with a claw hammer is sandbagging talented players in times of non-need.* This is why you should not get excited for Gronkowski to return for Week 2. The Patriots are hosting Miami at Gillette, Ryan Tannehill is still a person, and barring a biblical miracle in favor of a team from God’s most forsaken state, the Patriots won’t have any regrets about shelving Gronk and his recovering hamstring for later. The fine silverware is for special occasions. (Belichickian pastime I made up but feels right.)*
Tyrod Taylor: the sound and the fury
Tyrod isn’t really a fantasy stud, per se, but as a young quarterback an uncomfortable number of fantasy owners have an uncomfortable amount of stock in, it’s worth addressing the seven-headed demi-gorgon that will be hunting him at the Ralph on Thursday night. The Jets sacked Andy Dalton seven times and intercepted him once in Week 1. If they can haunt Taylor half as much as they did the Ginger Avenger, the turnovers might block out the sun.
Travis Kelce: Watt's the worst that could happen
Travis Kelce is a unique quantity, in that he’s a feast or famine tight end whose talent has forced many of us to suspend our hard and fast rules on drafting professional athletes with reality shows. But we suspend it nonetheless, because we are junkies, and we’re going to let this one ride. Unfortunately, this week Kelce faces an uphill battle against the Houston defense and its rank and file of intermittently bleeding G.I. Joe action figures. Clean releases at the line of scrimmage will be tough to come by for Kelce with J.J. Watt standing so firmly for the anthem in his way.
Getty ImagesJamie Squire
Jordan Reed: cousin saturation
Reed was a one-stop shop for Kirk Cousins against Pittsburgh on Monday night, reeling in seven passes on 11 targets. He's a hot commodity coming into Week 2, and it should be noted this clip is not sustainable, even if Cousins reverts to Checkdown Charlie and turtles for an entire half against the Cowboys. This isn’t a judgment of Reed so much as an acknowledgement of probability.
T.Y. Hilton: (T.Y. Hilton)
Never forget who you are or what you stand for or that T.Y. Hilton is more washed than the Presidential limousine.
Getty ImagesMichael Hickey
Mark Ingram: Lord of the Flies
I've said this before, but it bears repeating that starting a New Orleans running back in fantasy football is like throwing your car keys into a scrum of toddlers and hoping one of them gets the oil changed. There are no guarantees and a lot of small bodies flying around, and if you’re lucky, the worst possible thing of all things might not occur. As for Ingram, his status as the head figure of New Orleans’ Lord of the Flies running back rotation remains tenuous as ever, even with C.J. Spiller being melted down for glue this week. If you have Ingram in a PPR league, take a long hard look at a possible handcuff in Travaris Cadet, who’s seeing more goal line and passing snaps with the offense this year.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Dak Prescott: Questionable (laws of probability)
I love him. I wish nothing but the best for him. But rules are rules, and Prescott will still have to play his butt off to be worth the risk of starting a rookie quarterback on his first regular season away game. Roll the dice and offer a prayer to Saint Witten if you will.
Todd Gurley: running uphill
Easy there. Remember the breathing we talked about. It is not time to sell Gurley, burn your house for the insurance and run for the relative safety of wilderness. Los Angeles is figuring things out, but Gurley’s season debut against the 49ers was physically painful to watch, and the “natural catcher” tag the Rams are trying to stamp on their second-year back as they attempt to diversify his workload didn’t seem to stick on Thursday night. Gurley grabbed awkwardly at awkwardly thrown passes from awkward Case Keenum and it was awkward. The good news is Gurley is a huge talent. The bad news is the Rams are playing Seattle this week
Giovani Bernard: nope
Better than Jeremy Hill. Not the answer. Especially against Pittsburgh.
Jimmy Garoppolo: must lose because he's beautiful
It might not be this week. It might not be next week. But Garoppolo bleeds, and one of the three remaining pugs on New England’s schedule before Tom Brady’s return will prove it by dropping drop an L on him and his exquisite bone structure.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Russell Wilson: Doubtful (hummus-poisoning)
You probably don’t have any choice here. That’s how drafting Wilson tends to go. Drafting Wilson is agreeing to be content with 16 to 18 fantasy points per week, with the possibility for the odd 30-point eruption if the grains in his Kashi bowl align meaningfully that day. But Russ’ ankle injury from Week 1 makes Sunday’s tilt in L.A. a murkier proposition than it looks on paper. The Rams are, indeed, trash, but so is the human six-pack ring Seattle employs to protect its most important player. It will be the most traditional of Southern Californian duels — a good ol’ fashioned Los Angeles trash battle.
Andy Dalton: reentering atmosphere
Will have to contend with Pittsburgh’s defense at Heinz Field, and has the added voodoo baggage of a return-to-Earth-game after last week’s fireworks against the Jets. On the bright side, A.J. Green is a cartoon roadrunner, and no one has any idea what do about it.
Matt Forte: Between two Ryans
As a Forte owner and a devout believer in his Reaper-like inevitability, this is difficult to say. But that Buffalo front line the Jets are facing this week is cult-scary, and Rex and Rob will shoot Roman candles at Forte's eyes from the sideline if they think it will help take away Fitzpatrick’s steadiest crutch.
Jameis Winston: the cardinal way
This Winston thing is happening, which is to say, it seems fairly clear that it’s only a matter time until he enters the conversation of the top-tier passers in the league. But that doesn’t mean I think Winston is going to fly down and hang nectarines on the Cardinals in Glendale on Sunday. Jimmy Garoppolo chalked up 14 points in regular formats against Arizona in a narrow Week 1 win. Then again, New England doesn’t have a Mike Evans.
Devonta Freeman: now is not the time
Devonta’s quad is jacked up and the Falcons have a perfectly good 6-foot, 225-pound backup in Tevin Coleman running in support for their feature back. The Falcons also play away against the new and improved Exciting Raiders of 2016, and their onions runneth over.
Greg Olsen: G-Reg vs. the tight end twilight zone
Rock solid against Denver. Was targeted nine times for 73 yards. Still don’t like Greg Olsen against San Francisco, who have some sort of tight-end canceling talisman or warp crystal they employ on defense.
Dan is on Twitter telling people about his fantasy team they don't care about.