Editor’s note: The players listed below are NFL stars who were drafted in virtually every Yahoo Fantasy league. That said, this column is not an endorsement to bench them in Week 2. You’re in control of your roster; every league size and shape is different. What we are trying to explain is that expectations should be lowered this week compared to usual for some of the NFL’s biggest stars. Aside from examining this week’s matchups, this can also serve as a reminder not to overreact if one of your high draft picks disappoints in Week 2.
Brady has struggled historically against the Saints, losing the last four regular-season games with Tampa Bay scoring just three points or fewer in two of them. The Bucs also enter dealing with multiple health concerns, as left tackle Donovan Smith and receivers Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Julio Jones and Mike Evans are all either out or playing through injuries. Brady has seen a noticeable drop in production when Rob Gronkowski has been off the field throughout his career, and he was fantasy’s QB27 in Week 1.
Some of the Bucs’ receivers will play Sunday, but Tampa Bay is going to win a lot of games with its defense this season and Week 2’s total has dropped a whopping 3-4 points from its opening line down to 44.5. Brady remains a top-15-type start this week, but expectations should be held in check given the matchup and his team’s injuries.
The same applies to Mike Evans, who’s averaged 40 percent fewer fantasy points when facing the Saints, as Marshon Lattimore has been a nightmare matchup throughout his career. Evans saw a real nice boost in target% last week with Chris Godwin leaving early, and he’s fully expected to play Sunday, but there are better DFS options in Week 2.
Derrick Henry @ Buffalo Bills
Henry didn’t look bad during the Titans’ season-opening loss, but he ran just seven routes and didn’t record a catch during his first game without AJ Brown. Henry had shown signs of decline before suffering a foot injury that now requires him to play with the help of metal plates and screws, and even prime Henry didn’t really turn it on until the second halves of seasons.
Meanwhile, Tennessee has a tough matchup on the road Monday night in Buffalo, where the Titans are 10-point underdogs. Over the last three seasons, Henry has seen his PPR scoring drop 45% during Tennessee losses. It’s possible an injury to Dontrell Hilliard could lead to more third-down work for Henry, but he’s more of an RB2 than a top-10 option this week. For what it’s worth (maybe nothing!), the new-look Bills’ run defense ranks second in DVOA after one week of play.
CeeDee Lamb vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 1 was an absolute disaster for Lamb, who produced just 29 scoreless yards on 11 targets and lost Dak Prescott for the foreseeable future. The Cowboys’ offense already had plenty of issues while missing left tackle Tyron Smith and having the worst No. 2 WR situation in the NFL. Still, Dallas is now in real trouble with Cooper Rush taking over at quarterback. The Cowboys have averaged 11 fewer points in 12 games without Prescott since 2020, and this week Lamb faces tough Bengals corners who just completely shut down the Steelers’ talented receivers. It’s also a matchup in which the Cowboys have one of the lowest implied team totals (17 points) of the week.
Lamb should retain fantasy value moving forward, but he suddenly looks more like a WR3 than a possible top-five WR. He’s still going to see a ton of targets, but Lamb might not be quite the alpha receiver needed to overcome a shaky quarterback situation and plenty of extra defensive attention.