Injuries swept across the NFL in Week 1. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes sustained a sprained ankle and his teammate, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, was hospitalized with a shoulder injury during Sunday’s win. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles did not return after suffering a broken left clavicle in the first quarter of that game. San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman was ruled out for Week 2 with an ankle injury. Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon suffered a right ankle injury against the Seattle Seahawks and is day-to-day. Indianapolis Colts wideout Devin Funchess suffered a broken collarbone in the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Those injuries could force some reserve players to be promoted to your fantasy roster sooner than expected. Don’t fret. Here are three players to count on and three to be wary of in Week 2.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Allen wasn’t spectacular in Week 1 against the New York Jets — 254 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions — but this week he will face a New York Giants defense that allowed the most passing yards (405) and got no sacks on opening weekend.
Giants corner DeAndre Baker was torched for three receptions on three targets for 111 yards by Michael Gallup of the Dallas Cowboys, safety Antoine Bethea gave up catches of 28 and 45 yards, and cornerback Antonio Hamilton allowed Dallas pass catchers to go 7 for 7 with at least one reception to four different receivers.
Look for Allen, and wideouts John Brown, Cole Beasley and Zay Jones, to pick apart this defense on Sunday.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Starting running back Joe Mixon left the opening game early with a sprained ankle, allowing Bernard to assume lead back responsibilities. The seven-year pro responded with seven carries for 21 yards on eight rushing snaps in addition to two catches for 42 yards against the Seattle Seahawks.
In Week 2 Bernard and the Bengals go up against the San Francisco 49ers, who allowed opposing running backs to catch 7 of 10 passes for 63 yards plus add another 108 yards on the ground in Week 1.
Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
Andrews, undrafted in many fantasy leagues, was targeted eight times on Sunday, catching all eight for 108 yards and a touchdown, producing a league-high six yards per route run at the position, per Pro Football Focus.
More importantly he was asked to run a route on almost two-thirds of Lamar Jackson’s drop backs, the seventh-highest rate among tight ends in Week 1.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
Green Bay mustered 47 rushing yards (10 of 22 carries stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage) against the Chicago Bears, the No. 1 run defense entering the 2019 season per Pro Football Focus. The Packers’ next opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, are projected to be the ninth-best run stopping unit of 2019.
The Vikings also took care of business in Week 1, allowing 73 rushing yards to the Atlanta Falcons, a team that finished with the seventh-best run-blocking group of 2018.
Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers’ offensive line is underwhelming and it appears the team is compensating with short passing to help neutralize an opponent’s pass rush. For example, quarterback Philip Rivers targeted receivers that were, on average, fewer than seven yards from the line of scrimmage (league average was more than eight yards) and focused heavily on wideout Keenan Allen (team-high 10 targets and 11.3 air yards per attempt) and running back Austin Ekeler (seven targets averaging almost two yards behind the line of scrimmage). As a result Williams, a deep threat, was marginalized (three targets).
The strategy worked. Rivers completed 7 of 10 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown when faced with a pass rush on Sunday and could employ the game plan again in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington Redskins
An injury to Derrius Guice forced Jay Gruden to activate Peterson for this week’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. It’s understandable why you would consider starting Peterson, especially in deep leagues with a flex option: The 34-year-old carried the ball 251 times for Washington in 2018, producing 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns. But this isn’t about skill, it’s about opportunity, and there doesn’t figure to be enough rushing opportunities for him to be worth a roster spot on your fantasy squad because Washington doesn’t figure to outscore Dallas by many points, if at all.
Consider this: In Week 1 the Redskins ran the ball eight times when leading by four or more points on Sunday (15:03 of game time), three times when the score was within three points (4:36) and twice when they found themselves trailing by four or more points (5:54). Vegas oddsmakers have the Cowboys as 4½-point favorites on Sunday, indicating the Redskins should find themselves trailing more often than not, reducing Peterson’s impact in real and fantasy football this week.