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Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Fantasy Football Week 2 Include Joshua Kelley, Drake London, Kadarius Toney

Kadarius Toney - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers

Welcome back RotoBallers to my Week 2 Lineup Spotlights - Key Starters and Tough Calls for fantasy football. Every week, I share some of my favored players to go with when dealing with challenging lineup decisions. These choices are based on my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a discount and get access to my ranks in all formats, plus a full roster of tools and analysis for the 2022 fantasy football season.

We feature players that you should lean to in tough calls, and guys who may exceed expectations this week are also highlighted, so you can feel even more confident about starting them. Skill position analysis here is based on my PPR rankings.

When considering each player for your lineup, also consult our fantasy football rankings to see exactly where they are positioned when compared to your other possible lineup choices.

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Running Backs – Fantasy Football Week 2

Rachaad White

Not everyone I talk to in fantasy circles is a big fan of White. My co-host on RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, Michael Florio, doesn’t view him as much of a playmaker. On this week’s Saturday show, he mentioned White as being in the Alexander Mattison category of running backs who must depend more on volume than any sort of explosiveness or significant potential.

Whether you believe in White or not, he certainly should see a lot of work this week and going forward. He was on the field for 79 percent of the snaps in Week 1. White is more of a dual threat than Mattison, as he can potentially be more productive as a pass-catcher. This week, he faces a Bears team that allowed 163 scrimmage yards to Tampa Bay’s top two RBs in the opener. We will find out more about White’s possible upside this week, and at worst, you should expect decent all-around stats.

Dameon Pierce

Last week, Pierce came out of the 2023 gate slowly, rushing for 38 yards. It was a disappointing outing from those who drafted the second-year RB after he showed some true promise last year. Naturally, many fantasy players are hesitant about starting Pierce in Week 2.

I am recommending keeping the faith in Pierce for at least a respectable performance against the Colts. Based on one game, I have not changed my opinion of Pierce as a very determined runner who fights hard through opposing tacklers. The Texans need Pierce to help them establish offensive balance and ease pressure on their young quarterback.

In Week 1, the Colts allowed two fourth quarter rushing touchdowns to the Jaguars. The Texans won’t move the ball as well as Jacksonville can, but they can certainly position Pierce for a few shots at a rushing TD. In Week 2, Pierce can provide a good enough statistical floor to adequately complement your other top starters.

Joshua Kelley

Last week, Kelley rushed for a career-high 91 rushing yards and a TD. He is set to be the lead RB for Los Angeles in Week 2 with Austin Ekeler out. He gets a very tough draw, though, against a Tennessee run defense that was best in the NFL in 2022 and held Jamaal Williams to 45 rushing yards in Week 1.

Kelley has averaged 3.6 yards per attempt as he begins his fourth pro season, with one start in 2022. That one start actually was against Tennessee, and he rushed for 24 yards on 10 carries, but he did rush for a TD in a 17-14 Chargers win. He caught one pass for seven yards.

Replacing Ekeler has some fantasy players feeling optimistic about Kelley as an RB2 or flex option. But the matchup is tough and Kelley has never demonstrated any upside in his first three NFL seasons. He does have TD promise, though, as the Chargers’ offense can put him in position for some short scoring runs. The 5-foot-11, 212-pounder will be a TD-dependent low-end RB2 option for Week 2.

Kyren Williams

The majority of fantasy players do not want to risk starting Williams against the 49ers, but may not have much of a choice in some situations. After he rushed for the first two TDs of his career at Seattle in Week 1, though, Williams has earned some early-season starting consideration.

Against a Seahawks team that was attempting to show improvements stopping the run, though, Williams was held to 3.5 yards per carry and Los Angeles was held to 2.3 yards per carry as a team. TD chances may not surface much at all in Week 2, so I don’t have Williams ranked as a top 36 RB. I would use alternatives such as Khalil Herbert, Justice Hill and Zack Moss over Williams.


Wide Receivers – Fantasy Football Week 2

Jaylen Waddle

The monstrous opening-week performance of Tyreek Hill did create some negative fantasy reverberations in Week 1. Waddle finished with just four receptions. Some fantasy players who roster Waddle might be starting to become concerned about him shrinking frequently as Hill basks in the statistical glow so many times.

Yet consider that Waddle finished with 78 yards, which was a 19.5 yard-per-reception average. In 2022, he averaged 18.1 yards per catch. He is highly efficient and will often get his yardage numbers based on the facts that Hill will draw so much defensive attention and Miami has no other standout playmakers in their offense. The Dolphins’ attack runs through both Hill and Waddle, and the third-year WR has caught TD passes in three of four career games vs. New England.

Drake London

The fantasy outlook is suddenly bleak for London, after he was shut out in Week 1 and gets a matchup against top Green Bay cover corner Jaire Alexander in Week 2. The Falcons have become notorious for leaning too heavily on their ground game and leaving London and Kyle Pitts to run wind sprints.

Alexander and the Packers held D.J. Moore to two receptions for 25 yards in the season opener, seemingly further dimming the projected output for London. Yet Green Bay will be expecting a heavy run game, as most of us might be, so do not be shocked when the Falcons possibly open up things a bit more in the air early on. I don’t expect a big rebound outing from London, yet he may get enough volume for a decent PPR day. When top pass-catchers are quieted, they might get the ball more in the following game.

Kadarius Toney

I don’t need to provide details of Toney’s awful Week 1 performance. But it does set up for a bounce-back performance. If you are in a deeper league or are looking to fill a lineup hole from some unappealing choices, consider using Toney in Week 2.

According to The Athletic, Toney felt the need to apologize to Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid after his drop-filled outing against the Lions. The best way to put it behind them all is to attempt to get him the ball early, and maybe more often than anyone else other than Travis Kelce. Toney is still a very talented WR and the projected No. 1 at the position, and that status is not going to change after one down game. In fact, his role in the offense may be affirmed with at least a solid statistical outing.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba

After eliciting much excitement from many fantasy analysts in the preseason, the Seattle rookie was not a factor in his NFL debut, catching three passes for 13 yards. I believe he will be much more involved in the game flow at Detroit in Week 5, and he is a viable flex play for PPR purposes.

Smith-Njigba was drafted to help the Seahawks with their third-down issues, after they ranked 20th in the league in third down conversion percentage last season. Geno Smith is going to be without his two starting offensive tackles and will need to get the ball out quickly. Smith-Njigba will operate as his trusted quick-hit guy in Week 2 and  I expect him to catch in the range of seven to eight balls against the Lions while also getting a few TD chances.


Quarterback and Tight End – Fantasy Football Week 2

Jared Goff

Here is a reminder that Goff is best utilized for fantasy purposes in home games. Last season, he passed for 20 TDs, and 23 of them were thrown at Ford Field. This week, he faces a Seattle defense that failed to sack Matthew Stafford one time and allowed him to finish with 334 passing yards. In 2022, Goff passed for 378 yards and four TDs against the Seahawks. Even if he does not pass for four TDs again, 300 yards and two-plus scoring passes appear to be a strong bet.

Dalton Kincaid

This is a week to consider starting the Buffalo rookie, as Kincaid could be headed for the first impressive fantasy performance of his career. After being frustrated by the Jets, Josh Allen will right himself against a Raiders pass defense that was second-worst in the AFC in 2022. He will look to involve others besides Stefon Diggs and Kincaid will get a healthy amount of looks from Allen, possibly near the goal line, too.


Scott Engel's fantasy and betting analysis is also featured at The Game Day.

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