The unpredictability that comes from the first week of the new NFL regular season was very apparent, as several players broke loose and delivered fantastic performances this past week. That being said, a select few deserve more recognition than others, especially in terms of fantasy football value.
NitroBetting is here to bring not only the latest NFL betting news and previews but also tips and updates from the realm of fantasy football. Let’s take a closer look at the top waiver wire pickups heading into Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season. Learn more about the breakout players from Week 1 who are available in most fantasy leagues, as well as the latest NFL odds with regards to several of the teams featured below.
Top 2021 NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Picks
Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders
- Pct. Owned: 15.2%
Thanks to a terrific showing by Derek Carr on Monday Night Football, the Las Vegas Raiders improved their odds to win the AFC championship to +2,500 after their thrilling overtime victory over road favorites the Baltimore Ravens.
Carr finished the game with 435 yards on 34-of-56 passing to go with two touchdowns and an interception, which was enough to land him as the 10th-best fantasy quarterback in Week 1. Having Darren Waller has certainly helped his stats, but so did getting his other receivers like Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards involved in the passing game in the latter half of the contest to give the Raiders a more balanced aerial attack moving forward.
Melvin Ingram II – Houston Texans
- Pct. Owned: 13.3%
There’s no denying that the Houston Texans’ backfield is a mess. However, their three-headed running back situation got a little bit clearer after the first game with regards to who’s actually the lead back of the team. Veteran Mark Ingram out-snapped his peers David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay, finishing Week 1 with 26 carries for 85 rushing yards and a touchdown, which is good enough for 14 fantasy points.
While it’s rather obvious that Ingram will see the most touches in most of Houston’s offensive formations, there’s still a fear that the Texans will not be ahead in most contests the rest of the season to hamper their running game and, in turn, Ingram’s opportunities to produce. Then again, picking up a starting running back off the waivers for cheap is still a solid value that the former Heisman Trophy winner can provide.
Elijah Mitchell – San Francisco 49ers
- Pct. Owned: 4.8%
Due to the serious injury that Raheem Mostert suffered last Sunday, San Francisco’s running back platoon appeared as thin as it was last season. However, and just like the previous campaign, the 49ers did more with less with a depleted roster. This time around, it’s rookie Elijah Mitchell who answered the call.
Mitchell, a sixth-rounder of Louisiana, had a tremendous NFL debut with 19 carries for 104 rushing yards and a TD. While the threat of fellow rookie Trey Sermon looms, it’s still worth noting that Sermon was a healthy scratch in Week 1 and is not as reliable a fantasy start as the former Sun Belt standout. The Niners are currently -3.5 road favorites to win their Week 2 matchup against the Eagles, and Philly’s front seven will be a welcome challenge that Mitchell must overcome.
Sterling Shepard – New York Giants
- Pct. Owned: 30.2%
Let’s face it: the Giants are not very good despite their seemingly short odds of +500 to win the NFC East crown this season. New York is expected to play from behind on most occasions, but there’s a silver lining to that flaw when it comes to fantasy football, as this means the team will be passing the ball more often trying to rally against their opponents.
This was indeed the case during the G-Men’s loss to Denver, and Sterling Shepard was the main beneficiary of his team’s passing attack. Shepard led his team with nine targets and seven catches for 113 receiving yards and a trip to the end zone. Daniel Jones has often connected with the 28-year-old wideout when he was healthy last season, which pretty much cements Shepard as the second option in the Giants’ receiving corps behind Kenny Golladay and ahead of Darius Slayton and rookie Kadarius Toney.
Tim Patrick – Denver Broncos
- Pct. Owned: 0.7%
Another player benefitting from an injury in his team’s roster is Tim Patrick of the Denver Broncos, who lost second-year receiver Jerry Jeudy to a high ankle sprain that immediately placed the Alabama product on IR.
Patrick, like Shepard, had a decent campaign last season playing in place of Denver’s revolving door of injured receivers. The undrafted wideout out of Utah has some of the most reliable hands in the business, catching all four of the passes thrown by Teddy Bridgewater in Week 1 for 39 yards and a score. Patrick did not drop a single pass last season and will serve as a decent flex play with a stable floor in PPR leagues as a possession receiver for the Broncos’ revived offense.
Cole Kmet – Chicago Bears
- Pct. Owned: 24.9%
Fantasy managers shouldn’t be fooled by Chicago’s two-headed tight end lineup, as it’s clear that Cole Kmet is the team’s real starting TE over veteran Jimmy Graham. Kmet saw seven targets compared to just two for Graham, and the 2020 second-round pick from Notre Dame turned those targets into five catches for 42 receiving yards.
The Bears certainly had a tough matchup last Sunday night against a stout Rams defense, as Kmet was actually the team’s second-leading receiver in the game in spite of his relatively paltry numbers. They’ll face a softer defensive unit in Week 2, which has breakout-game potential for Kmet written all over it. As of this writing, the Bears are -2.5 favorites at home hosting the Bengals.
Check out our latest sports betting guides for the 2021 NFL Regular Season. Stay tuned for more Football previews and articles and don’t forget to check out the latest Football betting odds at our online Bitcoin sportsbook.
*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.