Week 1 of the NFL season was full of massive performances by players of all kinds, particularly guys that were flying a bit under the radar. Over the course of a long season, we tend to see the best players in the NFL take over and assert themselves as the best players in football. Let’s talk about some fantasy studs to watch out for in Week 2.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott returned to the Cowboys early last week and still saw about 40 snaps in a game that was basically never competitive. Now the Cowboys head to Washington for a game where they are only favored by 4.5 points. This spread suggests a positive game script for Elliott.
Elliott was rumored to see less snaps in his return, but his 40 snaps that included a touchdown were very promising moving forward. I think that the Cowboys plan to use Elliott as the feature back this week, which makes him a great option.
Elliott is also slated to be about half as owned as Saints back Alvin Kamara, who is someone that I am generally low on. Kamara is not the feature back in the Saints offense like he was without Mark Ingram in the offense early last season. Latavius Murray has really just taken over the Ingram role in this offense.
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
Ekeler is not your typical household name, but his production in Week 1 suggests that he should be rather soon. Ekeler was in a solid spot last week, and I think that this matchup is an even better one against the Lions.
Ekeler was the lead back on a good offense, and he was clearly trusted in the passing game. This is something that I expect to continue.
The Chargers are now without Hunter Henry and are also likely without Mike Williams this week. Nevermind the fact that the Chargers’ O-line is a bit banged up. This forced a lot of quick throws to Keenan Allen and Ekeler.
I expect this trend to continue in Detroit this week, and that means that Ekeler should be treated as a high-end RB1 in this spot.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas had a great opening week, and I expect him to keep the train rolling against the Rams in a high-scoring affair this weekend. Thomas is one of the most reliable receivers in the league, and I expect him to continue this production this season.
Thomas gets a Rams defense that just allowed seven catches and 76 yards to D.J. Moore last week, and I expect the Rams to struggle against Thomas this week. Thomas will likely be high-owned, but I expect him to have an elite floor and ceiling in this matchup.
Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
Watkins is an elite receiver that really has not been viewed as that until his breakout performance last week. Watkins was tracked as being one of the fastest players in the NFL in Week 1, and that is a great sign for his overall game.
Watkins has been hindered by injuries throughout his career and now seems like the time for him to capitalize on someone else’s injury. With Tyreek Hill out, Watkins becomes the WR1 in the best offense in football against the Oakland Raiders, who could be without their two best players in the secondary.
I expect Watkins to explode in the next few weeks as the clear WR1 next to Travis Kelce in this offense, and I am staying aboard the Watkins train until it falls apart.
Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders
Waller is not considered a “fantasy stud,” but he sure looked the part in game one with seven receptions for 70 yards. I expect Waller to continue to rise as the season goes on.
Waller projects as one of the best athletes in the league at the tight end position, and I think that the loss of Antonio Brown has really left the Raiders needing production from guys like Waller. Waller is in a great game environment vs. the Chiefs in a game where I expect them to be trailing.