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Fantasy Football Preview: Week 2

Evan Birchfield is here to prepare you for your fantasy matchups!

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Greetings, Falcoholics! Hopefully your fantasy team(s) had a better season opener than the Falcons did, but don’t worry if they didn’t. It’s a long season for both the Atlanta Falcons and your fantasy team(s), so let’s look at some moves you can make as we head into Week 2 of the 2019 regular season.

First, let’s review last week. For Week 1, I mentioned that I loved Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay heading into the matchup with the Arizona Cardinals. He was targeted nine times in the tie, and delivered a solid 14.2 points to his fantasy owners.

A Falcons player I expect to do well on Sunday night is wide receiver Calvin Ridley. In the season opener, Ridley recorded four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, which provided fantasy owners with 16.4 points. This week he will face a Philadelphia Eagles secondary which gave up the 12th most fantasy points to opposing receivers last week. In 2018, the Eagles allowed an average of 26.1 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, which was tied for the 5th most in the league. If you have Calvin Ridley, start him.

If you need a sleeper this week, I’d look at Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman. The Chiefs view Hardman as a Tyreek Hill kind of player, as they drafted Hardman in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. As University of Georgia fans are aware, Hardman is extremely fast with decent hands and is a solid route runner. Heading into the matchup against the Oakland Raiders, Hardman should slide right into Hill’s role. He’s also rostered in only 32% of leagues, making Hardman definitely worth a roster spot.


Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is currently rostered in roughly 20% of fantasy leagues. There’s definitely optimism that he will return, but when asked by CBS if he’d return to the NFL, Gronk was noncommittal.

“That is a good question. A lot of people are like, ‘Are you going to come back as a wide receiver?’ I’m going to tell people that I’m going to be a safety or something — a 6’6’ safety,” he said. “But it is the same answer I had with everyone, I have to feel it to come back, too. I am in a good place right now.”

He’s been asked several times if he’d return to the Patriots and he hasn’t said “no.” If you have an open bench spot, I’d roster him – but at the same time, don’t get rid of talent for a small possibility that he’ll return.

Great question, as always! Always go with your gut, so I’m going to agree with it. James Conner is a must-start every week. As much as I’d like to go with my heart and tell you to start Devonta Freeman, I can’t. I know last week’s game flow was impacted by the Falcons playing from behind, but Freeman only had eight carries for 19 yards. Until he shows us something else, I’d go with a sure thing. Mark Ingram had over 100 yards with two touchdowns last week. To make things better, this week he’s facing the Arizona Cardinals who allowed a league-high 25 rushing touchdowns in 2018.

Zack Lee asks via email: “Do I start RB Sony Michel (vs. Dolphins) or RB Tarik Cohen (vs. Broncos) at my flex spot. In another league do I start WR Tyler Lockett (vs. Steelers) or Ted Ginn Jr. (vs. Rams) at flex.”

For the first league, I would start running back Sony Michel. I know last week he finished with an embarrassing 15 carries for 14 yards, but we’ll pretend that didn’t happen. Even with the other receiving backs the Patriots have, Michel remained their primary rusher. This week they’re facing a tanking Dolphins squad that gave up 265 yards on the ground to the Ravens in Week 1. I could see Michel finishing the day with 80 yards and two touchdowns.

In regards to your other question, Tyler Lockett had only two targets last week – that’s horrible for a player rostered in 97% of leagues. Ted Ginn Jr. however caught all seven passes thrown his way. With Ginn, you should be banking on the game being a shootout, as that’s practically what propelled him last week against the Houston Texans. I would still go Lockett because I expect that he’ll bounce back, but I would understand if you went the Ted Ginn Jr. route.

Thanks for your question. Between the two, I’d go Sony Michel (see above). In terms of volume, Michel should be used more against the Dolphins than Matt Breida against the Bengals. Michel is still the clear favorite for touches in New England going forward and I think he’s in for a rebound game against Miami this week.

Well that does it, folks. I wish everyone who took the time to read this the best of luck in their Week 2 fantasy matchup’s. If you have any fantasy questions, be sure to email me at or find me on Twitter at @EvanBirchfield. Remember, when it comes to fantasy football – always go with your gut!