Tuesday - Jan 19, 2021

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RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 2

Welcome to the Week 2 edition of a matchup guide for all of this weekend’s NFL contests (and Monday night).

In each NFL Week 2 game profile below, I will choose a total of three players to highlight as green, yellow or red light options.

green-light Green Light: Players who have a great matchup. These guys are usually flying under the radar and can be counted on as a strong source of fantasy production.
yellow-light Yellow Light: Players with just an OK matchup and/or usage concerns. These guys are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire.
red-light Red Light: Players with serious matchup/usage concerns, thus requiring lowered expectations lowered for the week, and/or should just be avoided altogether if possible.

Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not carry your team to victory.

As always, the information conveyed below is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, but can be used to evaluate those decisions as well.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default points per reception (PPR) league scoring system. Point Spreads and Over/Unders are based off the Fantasy Sharks consensus analysis.

Jacksonville at Tennessee

Tale of the Tape — Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Jaguars Titans
Quarterback 18th 26th
Running Back 1st 15th
Wide Receiver 20th 28th
Tight End 15th 4th
Defense/Special Teams 9th 24th
Vegas Line: Titans -9.5
Vegas Over/Under: 43

Green Light, Derrick Henry (RB, Tennessee)

Henry generated 131 yards of total offense last Monday night, though it took him a whopping 34 touches to get there. Expect an easier time for Henry against a Jacksonville defense that he trampled for a combined 441 rushing yards and seven touchdowns over the last three times he’s faced them.

Yellow Light – Tennessee D/ST

While the spread is tilted heavily in Tennessee’s favor, this Jacksonville offense is capable of putting up points. Like Indianapolis last week, those expecting a dominating performance over a perceived inferior opponent will be in for a letdown.

Red Light – D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville

While Chark bailed his fantasy managers out slightly with a touchdown in Week 1, you have to be at least a little concerned with Jacksonville’s spread-the-wealth approach in that contest (no offensive player was targeted more than five times). Tennessee has a talented secondary that is well equipped to keep Chark at bay.

Carolina at Tampa Bay

Green Light – Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay

Gutting through a hamstring injury last Sunday, Evans’ only contribution in the box score was a 2-yard touchdown in reception in garbage time, though it is notable he was able to draw a few long defensive pass interference penalties. Seemingly healthier now than he was this time a week ago, look for Evans to get fed a smattering of targets against Carolina’s undermanned secondary. It doesn’t hurt that teammate Chris Godwin (concussion) is trending toward sitting this one out.

Yellow Light – Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay

If we knew for sure Jones will remain the guy in Tampa Bay, he would be a sure-fire green light option against one of the softest run defenses in the NFL. Alas, Leonard Fournette lurks, and this week could be the perfect opportunity for Bruce Arians to get his big name acquisition going.

Red Light – Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina

While Tampa Bay did allow Alvin Kamara to score two short touchdowns last Sunday, it held the Saints’ New Orleans to just 73 total yards on 32 touches if you exclude a fluky gimmick play New Orleans executed to ice the game. Similarly, McCaffrey struggled against this same Bucs defense in 2019, totaling 110 combined rushing receiving yards across two contests.

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers

Tale of the Tape — Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Broncos Steelers
Quarterback 16th 15th
Running Back 24th 26th
Wide Receiver 15th 10th
Tight End 3rd 19th
Defense/Special Teams 21st 13th
Vegas Line: Steelers -6.5
Vegas Over/Under: 42

Green Light – Pittsburgh D/ST

Denver quarterback Drew Lock will be making just his seventh career start, and first at Heinz Field. Courtland Sutton (shoulder) likely won’t be 100 percent, if he even plays at all, so Denver will have a tough time moving the ball against this extremely stout unit.

Yellow Light – Noah Fant, TE, Denver

Already looking to be on the same page as Drew Lock vis-à-vis five cathches for 81 yards and a touchdown performance, look for more of the same this Sunday as Denver’s inexperienced wideouts struggle against the Pittsburgh cornerbacks.

Red Light – Benny Snell Jr., RB, Pittsburgh; and Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver

James Conner (ankle) looks to be be trending toward inactive, which means Snell would remain the Pittsburgh featured back after breaking out for 113 rushing yards on 19 carries last Monday night. Red flags are aplenty though, as Pittsburgh could be down as many as three starting offensive linemen with tackle Zach Banner (knee) now out for the season, and guards David DeCastro (knee) and Stefen Wisniewski (chest) not practicing this week. Furthermore, Snell is nowhere near as capable a pass catcher as Conner is, which lowers the former’s floor against a swarming Denver rush defense.

Update: Conner returned to full practice on Thursday, and Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin iterated earlier in the week that Conner would start if healthy. Just another reason to shy away from Snell.

While Snell was the main guy I wanted to hit on here given he was a hot waiver pickup this week, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Gordon’s brutal matchup. Pittsburgh coming off allowing the New York Giants’ backfield to rush for just 7 yards on 16 carries last Monday night.

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Tale of the Tape — Ranks for Most 2020 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Rams Eagles
Quarterback 19th 27th
Running Back 5th 16th
Wide Receiver 14th 25th
Tight End 27th 12th
Defense/Special Teams 19th 1st
Vegas Line: Rams -0.5
Vegas Over/Under: 46

Green Light – Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Woods appears to have the early edge over Cooper Kupp at the moment as Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff’s favorite target. We can’t take too much away from Philadelphia’s normally leaky secondary shutting down Washington’s wideouts last Sunday as Goff is miles ahead of Dwayne Haskins as a NFL passer.

Yellow Light – Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia

Those who spent a high draft pick on Sanders can breathe a sigh of relief, as he finally returned to full practice earlier this week. Defending the run is a deficiency the Los Angeles Rams have not addressed dating back to last season, but that won’t matter for Sanders if Philadelphia’s offensive plays like it did in Week 1. Philadelphia needs Lane Johnson (ankle) back in the lineup if it wants to plan to establish a ground game.

Red Light – Carson Wentz, Philadelphia, QB

Wentz was a piñata last Sunday against Washington, getting sacked eight times as Philadelphia was ere missing three starting offensive linemen. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the rest of the Los Angeles front seven are licking their chops to get a piece of the embattled quarterback.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.