Matthew Stafford, Lions (17): After drawing little interest during draft season, amid expectations that Detroit wanted to play a conservative, run-heavy style, Stafford has thrown for the fifth-most yards and fourth-most TDs thus far. As a result, he is inching up the weekly rankings and might begin to merit fringe-QB1 consideration if he lights up a Philadelphia defense that’s allowed the second-most passing yards and TDs.
Mason Rudolph, Steelers (23): Pittsburgh obviously has confidence in this 2018 third-round pick, given that the team traded away its 2020 first-rounder for defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. He might not actually be all that much of a downgrade from Ben Roethlisberger, given the latter’s inefficient play over the past season-plus, and Rudolph’s ability to wing it could very well make him a palatable starter in two-QB leagues.
Teddy Bridgewater, Saints (29): Seattle is not as imposing as a road venue as it has been in recent years, but it’s still a tough spot for Bridgewater to make his starting debut in place of Drew Brees. Of greatest concern to the fantasy community, of course, is that Bridgewater proves able to keep Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas among the elites at their respective positions.
Daniel Jones, Giants (28): He can’t be any worse than Eli, right? Technically, Jones certainly can, but his running ability and arm strength give him a shot at sneaky fantasy value (a la 2018 Josh Allen).
Austin Ekeler, Chargers (8): Your No. 1 scorer among RBs has more than earned the right to be thought of as a top-10 option, at least until Melvin Gordon returns. Or until Ekeler comes back to Earth, and J.J. Watt’s Texans now have a crack at taking him down a peg.
Chris Carson, Seahawks (11): Some fumbling issues and encouraging play by Rashaad Penny may have loosened Carson’s grip just a tad on the starting job. He can likely survive a mediocre outing against New Orleans but would be well-advised to hang onto the ball.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons (25): Free, man, of the injury- and Tevin Coleman-related problems that plagued him the past couple of seasons, this veteran RB was supposed to be a contender for top-12 RB status. Instead, with just 41 yards on 19 carries and zero TDs, he might be closer to ceding even more playing time to Ito Smith.
Tarik Cohen, Bears (37): Now would be a good time for Cohen to break off a huge play or two, just to remind nervous fantasy owners that a) he can still do that, and b) he’s worth even a flex spot.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers (9): A reasonable candidate heading into the season to lead all WRs in fantasy scoring, Evans has been a distant second on his own team, behind Chris Godwin. The Giants’ weak secondary could be just what Evans needs to get back on track.
John Ross, Bengals (37): Guess who’s leading all WRs in scoring? Okay, the placement of the question kind of gives away the answer, but it underscores Ross’s surprisingly hot start. Some skepticism toward the previously disappointing former top-10 pick is understandable, but it will be harder to keep him out of lineups if he keeps it up at Buffalo.
Terry McLaurin, Redskins (41): A big Week 1 outing opened eyes, and a terrific Week 2 follow-up opened plenty of wallets, in terms of free agent acquisition budgets. As with Ross, McLaurin can gain even more credibility as a starting option with a good game against Chicago’s stingy defense.
D.J. Chark, Jaguars (50): Let’s rinse and repeat with this surprise top-10 performer through two games, who also has a shot versus a rugged defense, in this case the Titans, to prove he’s no fluke.
George Kittle, 49ers (2): In Week 1, Kittle was heavily used, hauling in eight catches on 10 targets, and in Week 2 he showed off his big-play ability, averaging 18 yards per reception. All that sounds great, but it only amounted to 54 scoreless yards in each week, not quite what his drafters expected.
Greg Olsen, Panthers (7): We’ll find out later this week if Cam Newton or Kyle Allen will be starting for Carolina, but even if it’s the latter, Olsen will be impossible to bench, given that he’s coming off a 110-yard game and facing an Arizona defense allowing by far the most fantasy points to TEs.
Will Dissly, Seahawks (17): It doesn’t take much for TEs to get on the fantasy radar, and the two TDs Dissly scored last week, along with five catches for 50 yards, are more than enough. Russell Wilson has proven in the past to be very efficient in targeting TEs, so the 2018 fourth-rounder has a chance to emerge as a life raft for those desperate to stay afloat at that position.