4 Downs: Week 2

In week 1 we witnessed the likes of Kareem Hunt, Kenny Golladay and Dalvin Cook pull out surprise superstar fantasy performances. One of the most important aspects of fantasy football success is getting in on the ground floor, realizing talent before everyone else does. This low risk-high reward strategy allows you to buy low on a player (or even pick them up for $Free.99) and instantly reap their fantasy produce.

While sadly many of these hidden gems have already revealed themselves to us in week 1, here are four candidates to surprise us with big fantasy performances this weekend.

1st Down | Shane Vereen – RB, New York Giants

Vereen has been a forgotten player since his huge performance in SuperBowl XLIX as he has not been healthy since, yet his skills as a receiving back are almost unparalleled. Even during a week 1 beat down versus the Cowboys, Vereen still caught 9 balls.

The absence of Odell Beckham Jr. has left a dark cloud over this Giants offense, a cloud Eli Manning did very little to dissipate with his week 1 outing. However, no tool is more useful to a struggling QB than a receiving back to dump off passes to.

Vereen should see an increased workload in week 2 and having built trust with Eli during week 1 it is likely his targets and carries will take an upward turn again. Facing up against a mediocre Lions defense, Vereen may be the only effective piece on the Giants offense and should be poised for a huge game, especially in PPR formats.

2nd Down | Cooper Kupp – WR, Los Angeles Rams

Kupp has already had a mini coming out party, racking up 76 yards and a TD in week 1. However, going forward it is easy to suggest Kupp as LA’s No. 1 WR. The Eastern Washington grad seems poised for a stellar rookie season and could quite conceivably see over 100 targets.

Kupp’s skillset is similar to that of Julian Edelman, however, his bigger size and athleticism gives him an even higher ceiling. With questions surrounding Sammy Watkins’ health and Tavon Austin becoming more and more of a gadget player Kupp seems more and more likely to become Jared Goff’s favorite target.

However, Kupp does face a tough match-up in week 2, squaring up against Josh Norman and Breshaud Breeland of the Washington Redskins, one of the best CB tandems in the NFL. So while he may not have a ton of production this week, this may be the perfect opportunity to buy low on Cooper Kupp.

3rd Down | Allen Hurns – WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Hurns is one of the least likely candidates on this list for a big week yet he has already proved to us he has the ability to do so. The difficulty Hurns faces is that of his quarterback, Blake Bortles. Bortles’ inaccuracy is a significant issue for any receiving option in the Jags offense and especially as their game plan appears to be running the ball at every possible opportunity.

However, with Allen Robinson landing on IR this week Hurns, by far the best receiving option on the Jags roster now, has just fallen head first into a huge pool of volume. While many of the targets he receives will be uncatchable, Bortles has shown the ability to rack up fantasy points in the past and Hurns has more than once has been the main beneficiary from this.

While Hurns may be a longshot to guarantee any fantasy worth as of now, he did lead the Jags in receiving yards in week 1 and there is no suggestion that this will not be the case in week 2 when they face a lackluster Tennessee secondary.

4th Down | Marlon Mack – RB, Indianapolis Colts

While the start to the 2017 season has had few silver linings for the Colts, Marlon Mack appears to be one such thing. Mack looked both explosive and athletic in week 1, even while facing a tough defensive front in the Rams, running for 1 touchdown and having a receiving score falsely ruled out of bounds also.

While Frank Gore will obviously eat into Mack’s carries, the Colts game plan will be extremely run heavy and so both backs will have ample opportunity to produce. As mentioned previously in regards to Vereen and Manning, the Colts new starting QB Jacoby Brissett will benefit immensely from Mack’s receiving ability and his ability to make people miss in the open field should lead to plenty of yardage after the catch.

Mack’s volume and usage will only increase further and further into the season and with Frank Gore aging the Colts will want to see what they have in his replacement. While Mack’s week 2 opponents, the Arizona Cardinals, pose a difficult challenge to an offensive rookie, Mack should be utilized enough to still pick-up decent fantasy value.

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