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BOLD PREDICTIONS: Week 2

Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan will combine for more than 700 passing yards and six passing touchdowns in their matchup this week.

My thinking:  With the NFL shifting towards a “pass-first, pass-second, pass-always” philosophy, expect two of the league’s best passing offenses to air it out all over the field on Sunday. First, though, I have to talk about one of the great myths in all of fantasy football. I always hear the fantasy minions refer to Matt Ryan as being “a much better quarterback at home than on the road.” I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Matt Ryan is basically the same quarterback no matter where he plays. Check out his home/road splits from the last four seasons:

2018 (Home) – 2,452 passing yards, 18 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions
2018 (Away) – 2,472 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions

2017 (Home) – 1,985 passing yards, 8 passing touchdowns, 7 interceptions
2017 (Away) – 2,110 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions

2016 (Home) – 2,581 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions
2016 (Away) – 2,363 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions

2015 (Home) – 2,355 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions
2015 (Away) – 2,236 passing yards, 9 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions

When you look strictly at his home/road splits, his numbers are eerily similar. So, the next time you’re in a bar or talking football with some buddies on a Saturday night and someone says “Matt Ryan is a much better quarterback at home than on the road, you should definitely start him in your lineup this week,” pull up this article and rattle off these stats for that person.

Moving on, this matchup is all about two above-average offenses facing off against two below-average pass defenses. In 2018, the Philadelphia pass defense ranked 31st in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (288.3), and 22nd in fantasy points allowed per game (18.6). Atlanta’s pass defense, on the other hand, ranked 26th in passing yards allowed per game (273.3), tied-30th in passing touchdowns allowed (33), and dead-last in fantasy points allowed per game (21.3). Carson Wentz had a strong showing in Week 1 against Washington, completing 29-of-38 passes for 313 passing yards and three touchdowns. Expect him to easily eclipse 300 passing yards and three touchdowns for a second week in a row against a middling Atlanta defense. After getting shut down by a stout Minnesota defense in Week 1 (though he still threw for more than 300 yards and had two touchdowns), Matt Ryan and the plethora of offensive weapons around him are going to rebound in a big way in Week 2 against Philadelphia.

Alvin Kamara will have more than 200 total yards, seven receptions, two touchdowns, and finish as the best fantasy running back vs. Los Angeles this week.

My thinking: In two career games against the Los Angeles Rams, Alvin Kamara has tallied 169 rushing yards on 24 carries (7 yards per carry), three rushing touchdowns, 10 receptions for 135 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Yeah, it’s fair to say Kamara owns the Rams defense, so expect another monster game from one of the best fantasy running backs on the planet in Week 2. Kamara was wildly efficient in Week 1 against Houston, running for 97 yards on just 13 carries (7.5 yards per carry) and catching seven of eight targets for 72 receiving yards. It’s crazy how that is considered an “average” week for a player like Kamara. To make matters even sweeter, the Rams allowed three rushing touchdowns to Carolina in Week 1 (which is the most in the NFL after one week), while also allowing Christian McCaffrey to snag 10 receptions for 81 receiving yards. Lastly, even though his $8,200 price tag on DraftKings is a bit hefty, don’t hesitate to plug Kamara into your daily league lineup. You won’t regret it when he goes for more than 35 PPR (point per reception) points and leads all running backs in fantasy points this week.

JuJu Smith-Schuster will have 12 receptions for 160 receiving yards and one touchdown against Seattle this week.

My thinking: After a tough opening week against Stephon Gilmore and the sneaky-good New England defense where JuJu Smith-Schuster saw just eight targets and had a mere six receptions for 78 receiving yards, expect Ben Roethlisberger and his JuJu Smith-Schuster to get back on track in Week 2 against what appears to be an incredibly inadequate Seattle pass defense. At home in Week 1 against Andy Dalton (yes, that Andy Dalton) and the Cincinnati offense, Seattle’s defense allowed a whopping 22 receptions (most in the NFL after one week), 276 receiving yards (second-most after one week), and two receiving touchdowns to Cincinnati’s wide receivers. And, for the record, the receiver that did the most damage to that Seattle pass defense was John Ross (yes, that John Ross).

In 2018, Smith-Schuster totaled 166 targets in 16 games, an average of 10.4 targets per game, which ranked fourth in the NFL. Oh, and that was all while playing alongside Antonio Brown. It would not surprise me in the least bit if Smith-Schuster leads the NFL in targets this year. Roethlisberger is going to pepper him with targets on a week-to-week basis, which is going to result in a bevy of fantasy points this season. That all starts at home in Week 2 against Seattle. If you are fond of the “stacking” strategy in your daily lineup, Ben Roethlisberger’s $5,800 price tag on DraftKings this week is an attractive cost, which means pairing him with JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7,500 price tag) figures to be a worthwhile endeavor.

Stefon Diggs will have 10 receptions, 140 receiving yards and two touchdowns against Green Bay this week.

My thinking: It’s stat time! Here are Stefon Diggs’ stat lines in his last five games against Green Bay:

2018 Week 12: 8 receptions, 77 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
2018 Week 2: 9 receptions, 182 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
2017 Week 16: 5 receptions, 60 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
2016 Week 16: 4 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
2016 Week 2: 9 receptions, 182 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

AVERAGE: 7 receptions, 95.2 receiving yards, 1.2 touchdowns

Diggs has had incredible success against what has typically been a subpar Green Bay defense. Even though the Green Bay defense appears to be on the upswing this season, expect this game at Lambeau Field to be a shootout between two high-powered offenses. Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and company won’t lay an egg two weeks in a row, which will result in a bountiful amount of points scored from both teams. After a ho-hum performance in Week 1 (two receptions, 37 receiving yards), expect Diggs to light up the stat sheet in Week 2.

About Evan Reardon

An avid Boston sports fan, Evan has been a Patriots and NFL fan since the 1990's. Fantasy football runs in his family. He grew up in the 90's watching his father and uncles play in a 6-team, Touchdown-only league. He has been playing fantasy football since the early 2000's and has been writing fantasy sports content since 2014.