NFL Week 2 Predictions | 2021

NFL DFS predictions post here every Tuesday night, including projected outcomes and players to watch for every matchup, every week. (We respond to all reader comments so jot them below.)

Thursday, Sept. 16th


Favorite: Washington (-3) O/U: 41

The Giants visit the Washington Football Team on Thursday Night Football for the first divisional game in the NFC East. Division games are notoriously difficult to forecast due to each team’s familiarity with the other. The Giants struggled mightily against the Broncos’ defense in week 1. It’s pretty bad when Daniel Jones has more yards (27) than Saquon Barkley (26 on 10 carries). As for Washington’s vaunted defense, it allowed the Chargers to mount a 15-play game-winning drive. On the offensive side of the ball, Washington lost starting QB Fitzpatrick to a hip injury. Replacement, Taylor Heinicke, finished with a skimpy 122 passing yards and a TD. This game has the lowest total on the board this week—not exactly a DFS delight.

DFS Player to Watch: Taylor Heinicke | QB | $5,600 DraftKings | $6,700 FanDuel

Taylor Heinicke brought improvisation to the offense and a burst of energy to the home crowd when Fitzpatrick went down. His stats weren’t exactly world-beating in just over two quarters of play (11-15 / 122 yards / 17 yards rushing / 1 TD / 0 Int) but 28-year old Heinicke threw for over 300 yards in last year’s wildcard game. He could do the same against the visiting Giants on primetime TV.

Sunday, Sept. 19th (Early Slate)

49ERS (1-0) AT EAGLES (1-0) — 1:00pm EST FOX

Favorite: San Francisco (-3.5) O/U: 50

The 49ers survived a late-game collapse against the Lions to win 41-33 after leading 41-17 with just two minutes left. The Eagles on the other hand absolutely demolished the Falcons on the road 32-6. This could be a scoring-fest with both teams exploiting the other run defense and coverage weaknesses. The loser will likely be the quarterback who makes the biggest mistake(s).

DFS Player to Watch: Deebo Samuel | WR | $6,700 DraftKings | $6,900 FanDuel

Deebo Samuel was a man on a mission, punishing the Lions with 189 yards and a touchdown. Jimmy G (314 yards + one TD) was slinging it all over the place, but had the best chemistry with Samuel, by far.

BENGALS (1-0) AT BEARS (0-1) — 1:00pm EST FOX

Favorite: Chicago (-3) O/U: 45

The Bengals made a statement Sunday by outmuscling the Vikings, winning in OT on a last-minute field goal. Joe Burrow was solid (20-27 / 261 yards / 2 TDs / 0 Int) and the Bengals defense overpowered the Vikings’ interior line, harashing Cousins and limiting Dalvin Cook to just 61 yards. The Bears, meanwhile, got manhandled by the Rams on Sunday Night Football, due in part to poor play calling by Matt Nagy and a mediocre Andy Dalton. The Bears are home favorites but they easily had the worst pass coverage in week 1. Don’t be surprised to see the Bengals take it to the Bears on the road.

DFS Player to Watch: Joe Burrow | QB | $5,800 DraftKings | $7,100 FanDuel

While Joe Mixon deserves props for his 127-yard rushing performance, Burrow is one to watch. The Bengals offense goes through him and he could easily best his week 1 numbers against a Bears defense that coughed up 34 points and 300+ passing yards to Matt Stafford.

TEXANS (0-1) AT BROWNS (0-1) — 1:00pm EST CBS

Favorite: Cleveland (-12.5) O/U: 48

The Texans welcomed Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer to the NFL with a sledgehammer. Tyrod Taylor and Brandin Cooks lit up the Jags and made everyone do a second-take on the 37-21 final score. This week Houston’s task gets tougher, facing the Browns on the road. Despite their week 1 stumble, the Browns are a legitimate contender in the AFC. They absolutely stuffed the run and gave the Chiefs all they could handle on Sunday, before Magic Mahomes took over in the fourth quarter. The Browns will take out their frustrations from that loss on the visiting Texans who are battling for respect.

DFS Player to Watch: Nick Chubb | RB | $7,800 DraftKings | $8,400 FanDuel

Nick Chubb scored two touchdowns on 83 yards in just 15 carries. The Browns offensive line is one of the best in the league. It should open plenty of lanes for Chubb to run roughshod over the Texans.

RAMS (1-0) AT COLTS (0-1) — 1:00pm EST FOX

Favorite: Los Angeles (-4) O/U: 47.5

The Matt Stafford/Sean McVay era is off to a red hot start in LA. The Carson Wentz/Colts era? Somewhat turbulent to say the least. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks absolutely exposed the Colts secondary and Carson Wentz struggled against the Seahawks’ leaky defense. The Colts will have their hands full dealing with Rams defense, the league’s top ranked unit in 2020. Meanwhile, the Rams mixture of air raid passing and ground and pound running should exploit the Colts tackling and coverage woes.

DFS Player to Watch: Matthew Stafford | QB | $6,400 DraftKings | $7,500 FanDuel

Matt Stafford was phenomenal in his LA debut, going for 20-26, 321 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. He’ll look to pad those stats against a Colts secondary that got exposed by Russell Wilson.

BILLS (0-1) AT DOLPHINS (1-0) — 1:00pm EST FOX

Favorite: Buffalo (-3.5) O/U: 47.5

The Bills were humbled at home after collapsing in the fourth quarter against the Steelers. The vaunted Bills offense stalled out, failing to counter the Steelers’ haymakers late in the game. Buffalo will have its hands full against a feisty and opportunistic Dolphins defense in the blistering heat and humidity of South Florida. The Dolphins won a close one against Mac Jones and the Patriots on the road. Miami now tries for its second win of the season—and in the division—in front of the home crowd. The Bills will bring everything they’ve got to avoid going 0-2.

DFS Player to Watch: Josh Allen | QB | $7,200 DraftKings | $8,100 FanDuel

Josh Allen was a shell of his 2020 self last week. While surprising to watch, it’s unlikely that he’ll struggle for a second straight week. Look for Allen to bounce back big on the road against his AFC East rival.

PATRIOTS (0-1) AT JETS (0-1) — 1:00pm EST CBS

Favorite: New England (-5.5) O/U: 43

The Pats suffered only the second home loss to the Dolphins in eleven years on Sunday. It was a winnable game that slipped away thanks to a costly Pats fumble inside the red zone with three minutes left. As for the Jets, they rallied in the second half against the Panthers after an abysmal first half from Zac Wilson. But they still lost. The Pats will look to get into the win column against the rebuilding Jets, who lost 5 players to injuries in week 1.

DFS Player to Watch: Mac Jones | QB | $5,400 DraftKings | $6,800 FanDuel

Mac Jones was solid enough in his regular season debut: 29-39, 281 yards and a touchdown. Now he gets the Jets, with one of the worst pass coverage units in the business. Given he’s the bulk of New England’s offense, and despite the Jet’s solid pass rush, Jones should easily post more than 3X his salary on DraftKings.

RAIDERS (1-0) AT STEELERS (1-0) — 1:00pm EST CBS

Favorite: Pittsburgh (-5.5) O/U: 47

The Steelers pulled off an incredible comeback against the Bills on the road and will look to go 2-0 against their historic AFC rival Raiders. The Raiders just survived what can only be described as the wildest game of this young season. They overcame a fourteen-point deficit and endured a Carr interception in the end zone to stun the Ravens. The Ravens’ D looked somewhat pedestrian while the Raiders upgraded pass rush was drew the highest PFF rating of the week (91.2). Vegas will no doubt find Pittsburgh much less hospitable of an environment this Sunday.

DFS Player to Watch: Ben Roethlisberger | QB | $5,900 DraftKings | $7,200 FanDuel

Ben Roethlisberger, along with his defense, carried his team to a stunning last-minute victory against the Bills with a stat line of 435 yards and one touchdown. The Raiders defense, while seemingly improved under new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, is not the Steelers’ defense. With the training wheels not yet off Pittsburgh RB Najee Harris, look for Big Ben to have another 300+ yard passing day at Heinz Field.

SAINTS (1-0) AT PANTHERS (1-0) — 1:00pm EST FOX

Favorite: New Orleans (-3.5) O/U: 44

Jameis Winston and the Saints defense completely embarrassed the Packers on a neutral field Sunday. Reigning MVP and “trade-me” squabler, Aaron Rodgers, was the week’s worst starting fantasy QB. How often do you say that? And Winston? He was the height of efficiency. Count five touchdowns on just 148 yards passing with zero INTs. The Saints’ defense put Winston and the offense in terrific positions all afternoon. As for the Panthers, they edged the lowly Jets with Sam Darnold looking confident and McCaffrey back to his former glory. The pressure will now be turned way up on the Panthers as they face a new-look Saints defense and a rejuvenated Jameis Winston.

DFS Player to Watch: Christian McCaffrey | RB | $9,900 DraftKings | $10,000 FanDuel

Christian McCaffrey should get his first TD of the year and be the crux of the Panthers’ offense, as usual. Although, he may have more luck in the air versus New Orleans rock wall run D. Either way, McCaffrey (98 yards rushing and 89 yards receiving vs. New York) presents no shortage of matchup issues, with his knack for driving through the smallest holes, and getting wide open on routes.

BRONCOS (1-0) AT JAGUARS (0-1) — 1:00pm EST CBS

Favorite: Denver (-6) O/U: 45.5

Teddy Bridgewater and the Broncos went into the big apple on Sunday and thoroughly dominated the New York Giants on both sides of the ball. The Jaguars? They were outclassed by the Houston Texans of all teams, also on both sides of the ball. Lawrence tossed a trio of touchdowns but also threw three interceptions. The Broncos defense is more formidable than the Texans’ so Lawrence will have to get the jitters out by Sunday to give the Jags any chance.

DFS Player to Watch: Teddy Bridgewater | QB | $5,400 DraftKings | $7,000 FanDuel

Teddy Bridgewater put up 264 passing yards and 2 touchdowns against the Giants. He should have just as big a day against the Jags woeful secondary. Indeed, Bridgewater looked poised on Sunday with a 28 for 36 completion rate. Perhaps it’s the start of a Ryan Tannehill-like resurgence for the 28-year-old Louisville product.

Sunday, Sept. 19th (Aft. Slate)

VIKINGS (0-1) AT CARDINALS (1-0) — 4:05pm EST FOX

Favorite: Arizona (-4.5) O/U: 51

This game could get ugly mighty quick. The Vikings are loaded with talent and well coached, but their failure against the New Kids on the Block Bengals raised eyebrows. Minnesota played catch-up the entire game and ultimately shot themselves in the foot one too many times, culminating in a Dalvin Cook fumble that set up a heartbreaking overtime field goal for Cincy. The Cardinals? They made easy work of what many consider a shoe-in AFC playoff team. Kyler Murray threw for four touchdowns and walked one in, while Chandler Jones had five sacks…FIVE. The Cardinals are loaded on both sides of the ball and they’ll flex that muscle in front of the home crowd this week.

DFS Player to Watch: Kyler Murray | QB | $8,200 DraftKings | $8,700 FanDuel

Kyler Murray is the top-priced QB on DraftKings this week, climbing $600. And for good reason. Murray is an elite dual threat that can shred defenses with both his arms and his shifty legs. He’ll wreak more destruction Sunday against Mike Zimmer’s vulnerable defense.

FALCONS (0-1) AT BUCCANEERS (1-0) — 4:05pm EST FOX

Favorite: Tampa Bay (-13) O/U: 52

The Falcons passing attack short-circuited in a disastrous outing against the Eagles. Matt Ryan, who is starting to show some age, could only muster 164 yards, with no TDs. And things don’t get any easier for week 2. Atlanta faces the defending Super Bowl champs on the road in the scorching heat and humidity. Vegas linemakers peg this as the biggest mismatch of the week.

DFS Player to Watch: Tom Brady | QB | $6,900 DraftKings | $8,200 FanDuel

The ageless GOAT probably sees Atlanta like a starved lion sees a gimpy antelope. And it just so happens that Bruce Arians loves to take deep shots down the field. Heck, with Brady as QB and an embarrassment of riches at WR, why wouldn’t he — especially against one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses? If you’re wondering how to pick the best DFS quarterback this week, you could do a lot worse than TB.

COWBOYS (0-1) AT CHARGERS (1-0) — 4:25pm EST CBS

Favorite: Los Angeles (-3) O/U: 55

There’s no such thing as a moral victory in the NFL, or so the saying goes. But the Cowboys should feel pretty good after the inspired effort they gave on opening night in Tampa. Dak Prescott put on a show and silenced all doubters with a 403-yard, three-touchdown performance. Justin Herbert and the Chargers strong all-around defense may not be Tampa, but they’re far from slouches. This game is tied for the biggest projected total of the week so expect high fantasy ownership in this one.

DFS Player to Watch: Dak Prescott | QB | $6,800 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel

Was last week’s effort against the Buccaneers the exception or the rule? We believe the latter. The Chargers front seven will do their best to rattle him but Dak isn’t easily rattled. He’s got an array of receiving talent and a running back that is not the man he once was, two good reasons to throw the football.

TITANS (0-1) AT SEAHAWKS (1-0) 4:25pm EST CBS

Favorite: Seattle (-5.5) O/U: 54

The Titans were humbled in their own house by the Cardinals. Arizona’s defense held last year’s offensive player of the year, Derrick Henry, to a meager 58 yards rushing. The Seahawks experienced a much different week. Russell Wilson went off on the Colts for 254 yards and four touchdowns. Needless to say, the Titans’ suspect defense is a glaring weakness for one of the most elusive and explosive quarterbacks in the NFL.

DFS Player to Watch: Russell Wilson | QB | $7,500 DraftKings | $8,500 FanDuel

Russell Wilson was on fire last week and he’ll almost assuredly play possessed again versus a leaky Titans defense. Metcalf, Lockett and Carson are a power-trio that should be fed regularly by Wilson. And we all know how much of a home field advantage the rabid fans of Lumen Field are.

Sunday, Sept. 19th (Late Slate)


Favorite: Kansas City (-3.5) O/U: 55

The Chiefs were backed against the wall by the Browns on Sunday before rallying to defeat their AFC North foes 33-29 behind 23 second half points. The Chiefs look every bit as explosive and dangerous as they have the last three seasons. The Ravens will be playing at home but injuries have decimated their backfield and defense. Their OT loss to the Raiders was soul-crushing. That’s the bad news. The worse news is that the Chiefs will be even tougher for their defense to contain. Lamar Jackson has lost his last 3 games against KC. The #1 ranked fantasy QB heading into week one will have to get more creative to out-score the Chiefs this time.

DFS Player to Watch: Patrick Mahomes | QB | $8,300 DraftKings | $8,600 FanDuel

Mahomes faces a less formidable Ravens secondary that got torched by Raiders superstar TE, Darren Waller. Luckily enough, the Chiefs have a superstar TE of their own, as well as WR that can outrun all defenders. This is likely not going to be a run-heavy game for KC.

Monday, Sept. 20th


Favorite: Green Bay (-10.5)

The Lions nearly pulled off the impossible against the 49ers when they came back from 41-17 and lost 41-33 with a chance to tie the game at the last second. It showed guts and effort, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in the motor city since the Jim Caldwell days. This team may be rebuilding but they’re not going to roll over for anybody. The Packers got absolutely humiliated in Jacksonville against the New Orleans Saints and Aaron Rodgers had the worst statistical performance of his career. The other Aaron, Aaron Jones, tallied an unbelievably pitiful 9 yards rushing. The question is, which Packers team will show up to play at Lambeau on Sunday?

DFS Player to Watch: Aaron Rodgers | QB | $6,600 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel

Aaron Rodgers threw two picks and led his team to a whopping three points, and New Orleans wasn’t even playing in its home stadium. He’ll desperately try to wipe the egg off his face in front of the cheese heads on prime time. Thankfully for him—the Lions’ defense is much easier to dissect than New Orleans.’

About the Author: Steven A. Cravens has been a professional sports better and analyst for over a decade. As a former Fox Sports NFL researcher and data logger, he specialized in player profiling and performance statistics.

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