Josh Jordan

Fantasy football under-the-radar plays — Week 2

Lamar Miller looks like he's a good play again this week. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The first week is in the books and I have more sleeper plays for Week 2. Let’s take a peek at how I did last week, and then look ahead to this week’s slate of games. My criteria for a good game is around 100 total yards and/or a TD. Last week was a pretty good week considering the uncertainty of Week 1 in fantasy football, and the fact that I’m not picking studs. Here’s how I did in Week 1.

Derrick Henry (TEN): Wrong

James White (NE): Right

James Conner (PIT): Right (Holy Crap)

Lamar Miller (HOU): Right

JuJu Smith Schuster (PIT): Right

Chris Hogan (NE): Wrong

Jamison Crowder (WAS): Wrong

Eric Ebron (DET): Right

Jordan Reed (WAS): Right

Week 2

 

RB

James White (NE): This week, I like James White again. His matchup is not good, but he does have several things working for him. He plays with Tom Brady, Jeremy Hill is out for the year with a torn ACL, and RB Rex Burkhead is dealing with a concussion. White should get a lot of touches against the Jags.

James Conner (PIT): Start him every week until Bell comes back. That is all.

Lamar Miller (HOU): He was pretty good against the Patriots, and he might get even more opportunity against the Titans this week. Hey Bill O'Brien, let's give Miller some goal line opportunities! If the weather turns out to be an issue, Houston may focus on the running game. 

Dion Lewis (TEN): They may lean on Lewis this week with Mariota banged up. Lewis could be deployed against the Texans in a similar fashion as James White and Rex Burkhead were last week. I don’t expect a ton of rushing yards against the Texans stout defense, but he should be active in the passing game.

TJ Yeldon (JAX): If Fournette is out with a hamstring injury, Yeldon becomes a must-start.

WR

JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT): I love his matchup this week. Big Ben is at home and the Chargers WRs had huge games against the Chiefs last week. Roll with JuJu again unless Roethlisberger is unable to go or limited. 

Cooper Kupp (LA): Kupp was active with 9 targets catching 5 of them and also scored in Week 1. He has a nice matchup in the slot where he shouldn’t have to deal with Patrick Peterson, so he’s looking good.

Josh Gordon (CLE): If Gordon is set to start this week, you have to like his chances in the Superdome against the Saints. They were dominated by the Bucs in Week 1, but keep an eye on his hamstring. I’m out on him if he’s not practicing all week.

Mike Williams (LA): Williams is a bit of a dart throw if you’re looking for a flex play this week. He had over 80-yards receiving against the Chiefs, and there’s nothing scary about his matchup against the Bills. Keep in mind, he’s not someone you HAVE to get in your lineup. The negative body clock could be an issue for the Chargers traveling all the way across the country. But if you’re desperate, he’s worth taking a chance on.

Brandon Marshall (SEA): Doug Baldwin is out and Jimmy Graham left in free agency. Somebody has to catch some passes in this offense, so why not Marshall? The Bears gave up quite a few plays to some big-bodied Packers WRs last week, and Marshall is a big dude. He's a low-end flex play.

TE

Jordan Reed (WAS): Reed was good in Week 1, and if you played him, you had to be happy. The Colts are not what you would call GOOD on defense. Give him another shot this week, before he gets hurt again.

Jack Doyle (IND): Doyle caught 7 balls last week, and Andrew Luck is still a little hesitant to push the ball down the field. Washington gives up points to the TE, so fire him up again.

Eric Ebron (IND): He had over 50-yards and a TD against the Bengals, so he’s worth using again. I was on him last week, and I think he’s worth using, especially with all the injuries to the TE position across the NFL in Week 1.

 

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The Rockets got a steal at No. 3 overall. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images.

With the Astros absorbing their worst loss of the season Thursday night at the Yankees, here's to the Rockets! Wait, what? It's only educated guess work, but in landing Jabari Smith out of Auburn the Rockets had a spectacular night. Heaven knows they have had very few of those the last two years. After having to settle for the third pick in the NBA Draft despite being the worst team in the league again, in Smith the Rockets got the best player in the Draft. Of course Smith could be an epic flop, it’s very inexact science. But Orlando taking Paolo Banchero from Duke first then Oklahoma City selecting Gonzaga beanpole Chet Holmgren second left the "surest thing" two-way player on the board. Through most of the run-up to the draft the six-foot-10 inch Banchero was most commonly projected to the Rockets. It's not as if he would have been a bad choice as a player. Banchero certainly could turn out to be the best player in this draft class. But his game is skewed toward his offensive skills, his fit in Houston would have been quite questionable. The also 6-10 Smith has shown the vastly better outside shooting ability, and is indisputably more athletic and better equipped to defend at a higher level and with more versatility. Jabari Smith is not going to be Kevin Durant or Kevin Garnett. Let's at least call it extreeeeemely unlikely given very few in the history of the planet come close to those guys, still, envisioning Smith providing some KD and KG level moments on both ends of the floor is pretty, pretty, pretty good.

The Rockets' defense was an absolute joke last season. Little to no improvement was shown as the death march of 2021-22 dragged on and on and on to its 20-62 finish. Frankly if Head Coach Stephen Silas can't demand/develop vastly improved D this coming season he'll deserve and need to be fired. The Rockets love Alperen Sengun, and his rookie season offense showed both flair and promise. Defensively he was one of many parts of the joke. Just 20 years old late next month so some improvement should come, but Sengun is slow. Quick twitch muscles, slow. Lateral movement, slow. He’s not long, not a leaper, not thick. Sengun will be hard-pressed to become an average defender. In today's game he's the kind of big who quality small-ball opponents play off the court. Banchero would have been a lousy defensive pairing with Sengun. Smith-Sengun has a chance. Smith as a small-ball center has potential. Christian Wood was a dog, not in a good way. Smith’s character grades are very high.

The seven-foot 194 pound Holmgren has a fascinating array of skills. He could be Rudy Gobert defensively with way better offense, or a skinny guy who can’t hack it physically. Had the Thunder taken Smith at two, Holmgren to the Rockets would have been interesting. Getting Smith to pair with Jalen Green as the tent poles of the Rockets’ still long way to go reconstruction is more encouraging. With due respect to all the other first round picks added in 2021 and 2022, what Green and Smith become individually and as a tandem is what will foremost determine how long the Rockets remain horrible. It could go pretty well for the duo and the Rockets could still be awful for multiple more years. A third consecutive losing season is virtual certainty. By the end of it though at least a few meaningful rays of light at the end of the tunnel need to be peeking through.

As for the other two first rounders added Thursday night, both are interesting darts at the board. Tari Eason out of LSU brings defensive chops and size (six-foot-eight) for his position, a combo that exactly zero returning Rockets have. Jae’Sean Tate plays really hard, but he’s a six-four forward. All their Josh Christophers, Garrison Matthewses, Kenyon Martin Jrs., and David Nwabas add up to very little.

No one smart really believes in Kevin Porter Jr. as a long term winning point guard growth stock. TyTy Washington should get some rookie run at the point. He’s the only non-worthless to the team ex-Kentucky point guard on the Rockets’ roster. Yes, John Wall and his 47.3 million dollar salary are still on the roster.

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