IBM Smart Lineup Decisions for NFL Week 2

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Fantasy football is an emotional game, and that's a large part of why we love it. But love isn't the only emotion that comes with this game. The flip side is just as strong of an emotion.

What if I told you that it was possible to take the emotion out of the decision-making process while retaining the sheer joy that comes with watching the games every week?

That's where IBM Insights comes in. It uses Watson AI to break down all of the content you're consuming and then some. And by "some," I mean every inch of the interwebs. Below are the highlights for NFL Week 2 -- good and bad. All you have to do now is avoid the bust players and watch the boom points pile up!


Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Football is a game of inches. If D'Andre Swift makes a routine catch at the end of Week 1, Stafford finishes the week as QB11 instead of QB21 and you're not considering benching him against a Packers team that he has thrown multiple touchdown passes against in nine of his past 10. He's ranked as QB13 this week and could be the biggest overachiever at the position this weekend.

Watson's Insight: Among universally rostered QBs, only Cam Newton has a higher ceiling above projection in Week 2 than Stafford (+8.1 points) against the Packers.

Running back

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Ekeler's stat line was one of the weirdest from Week 1 and it has left many managers wondering what to expect in Week 2. Well, I'm here to help. Ekeler was targeted on just 5% of his routes (down from 33.2% last season) in Tyrod Taylor's first start with the team and that greatly lowers his production ceiling when you consider that, over the past decade, a running back target is worth 2.64-times what a running back carry is worth.

Watson's Insight: Ekeler's ceiling is a mere 2.1 points ahead of his ESPN projection, the fourth lowest difference among Week 2's top-30 running backs.

Wide receiver

N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks

There were five instances last season in which a player standing at least 6'4" scored 18.5 points against the Seahawks and those players were about as efficient as you could ask for. Together, they were targeted on 31% of their targets, caught 80% of their looks and found the end zone five times. Why do I mention that? Well, there were only three Patriots to record multiple receptions in Week 1: 6'4" Harry, 5'10" Julian Edelman and 5'10" James White. Your chance to get Harry at a discount ends this weekend.

Watson's Insight: No healthy player, at any position, enters Week 2 with a smaller difference between his ESPN projection and his production floor, thus making him an upside investment.

Defense and Special Teams

Minnesota Vikings D/ST Since the midway point of the 2018 season, Philip Rivers has 11 multi-interception games, two more than any other signal caller. Were the Vikings the worst fantasy defense in Week 1 (and thus 40% available)? Yes. But they blitzed 31.8% of the time (up from 22.2% last season) and it only takes one bad Rivers decision to land them among the elite (a pick-6 is worth eight fantasy points and that would have ranked as D/ST8 in Week 1).

Watson's Insight: No D/ST has a greater difference between their ceiling performance and their ESPN projection than the Vikings this weekend against the Colts.

Insights by IBM Watson brought to you in partnership with ESPN