Coach’s Office: Who to Start and Who to Sit – Week 2

RAVENS @ BENGALS – Ciriaco

Quarterbacks: 

START – None
SIT – Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton

My recommendation on QB in this AFC North showdown is to stay away from both QBs. I hope those owners out there that subscribe to the “late round QB” motto were able to grab better options than these two. Dalton has been a mildly successful QB in years past but that success would be short-lived when he crapped out in the playoffs. “Playoff Dalton” showed up for the entire year in 2017. In this tough match-up, I will stay away if I have better options. Joe Flacco looked “elite” against a Bills team that is the early favorite to pick first in the 2019 draft. I have a hard time buying a guy who has but one 4000 yard season in eleven years. If you have either one of these guys as your starter it is time to work waivers or a trade.

Running Backs:

START – Joe Mixon

SIT – Alex Collins, Giovani Bernard, Javorius Allen

Joe Mixon was a revelation in week one. He had an opportunity share in week one that mirrored another AFC North RB, Le’Veon Bell. He had 24 total opportunities, seven in the air. Giovanni Bernard was a non-factor with two touches after many in the fantasy community touted him as a pass catching value back. This is the Joe Mixon show. Even if the Ravens stop Joe cold in his tracks on the ground he will still get his points with catches and air yardage. He has become an every week starter, regardless of matchup, who will finish the season as an RB1. The Ravens RB situation is quite different from the Bengals. There is a two-headed monster at RB in Baltimore. Alex Collins is the thunder and Allen is the lightning in this pair. You could start either in a pinch but both will be TD dependent and tough to predict which will find paydirt.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – AJ Green, Tyler Eifert

SIT – Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree, Tyler Boyd, John Brown, Maxx Williams

Green is another Top 5 threat at WR who is match-up proof. I’m not really sweating a game against the Baltimore defense given that their Week 1 breakout was against Buffalo and that lets me start Eifert as he works his way back into form this year. The Bengals TE will become a heavy TD factor as the season progresses. Much like the RB situation in Baltimore, the receiver and tight end group is completely unpredictable right now. Volatility is bad and must be avoided in fantasy.

CHIEFS @ STEELERS – Ciriaco

Quarterbacks: 

START – Patrick Mahomes, Ben Roethlisberger

SIT – None

In a game that has shootout potential with an over under of 52.5 according to sportsinteraction.com, I will start both Rothlesburger and Mahomes comfortably. With 424 yards and three touchdowns last week, Phillip Rivers was a weekly winner. Big Ben looks to do the same as he will often shred teams at home. With some of the best weapons in the business even without Le’Veon Bell, Ben will do just that. Mahomes is in a very similar position as he may have even better weapons. This could be one of the top games of the week and I look forward to seeing two gunslingers go toe to toe.

Running Backs:

START – James Conner, Kareem Hunt

SIT – Spencer Ware

Kareem Hunt was a big letdown for a lot of owners but it is way too early to tilt him out of your lineup. You drafted him to be your RB1 and, barring injury, should never leave your lineup. After rushing for only 49 yards on 3.06 yards-per-carry, a lot of owners may be getting nervous. Don’t be. Hunt led the league in rushing last year and will continue to get a lions share of the running back opportunities. Punt the first game as nothing but preseason game number five and win your game this week. While you shouldn’t buy into Hunt’s opening performance, you should fully buy into Conner’s. Pittsburgh loves to feature it’s back and Conner is obviously capable of carrying the load. The beatings shall continue until Bell returns or something.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jesse James, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce

SIT – Sammy Watkins, James Washington

AB, Hill, and Kelce are must-start options each week. While Brown put on his normal display of greatness with 9 catches, 93 yards, and a TD, Hill was that much better posting 3 total TD and 169 receiving yards – these are elite options. Kelce was quiet, but he’s simply too talented to bench. JuJu had 119 yards on 5 catches, he’s a big part of a heavy passing attack for the Steelers as is the emerging Jesse James. James 3 catches on 5 targets went for 60 yards and he is poised to breakout this year. He’s also available in most leagues and makes for a cheap start. Watkins can’t be trusted and neither can Washington yet.

DOLPHINS @ JETS – Ben

Quarterbacks: 

START – None

SIT – Sam Darnold, Ryan Tannehill

These two QB’s are very similar in their current fantasy value. We need to see just a little bit more before we can start trusting them. Were the Lions and Titans just bad or were Tannehill and Darnold good? We probably won’t know for sure after this game, but we’ll be one step closer. Monitor from a close distance.

Running Backs:

START – Kenyan Drake, Isaiah Crowell (ish)

SIT – Billal Powell, Frank Gore

Crowell went off against the Titans to the tune of 102 yards and a TD on only 10 carries. Surely those opportunities will increase, though there is some risk as the bruising Derrick Henry failed to gain much room against the Dolphins in Week 1. Crowell is slightly risky, but there are worse options. Despite Gore’s emergence, Drake remains the every-down back in Miami and his volume in the run and pass game give him starter appeal. Gore, like Powell, is a second fiddle fade.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Robbie Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Kenny Stills

SIT – Devante Parker, Terrell Pryor, Jakeem Grant

Yes, I know, I’m telling you to start Anderson and his one catch in Week 1? Yes, like Stills, Anderson is a monster threat for big plays and this game could see some on either side. Both stills and Anderson have big upside on that front. Enunwa is a PPR/possession start and Grant is actually sneaking into that role in Miami but needs a little more time. Pryor is a bench as are all tight ends in this game and Parker needs to get healthy.

EAGLES @ BUCCANEERS – Ciriaco

Quarterbacks: 

START – None

SIT – Nick Foles, Ryan Fitzpatrick

So am I really suggesting that you sit both last years Super Bowl winning QB and a guy who hung 48 points on the Saints in their own building? Yes, I’m doing exactly that. One of the biggest reasons Fitz was able to throw deep all game long is because he had time to throw all of those passes. Zero sacks and very little pressure made Ryan’s life easy on the way to 417 yard and four TDs. This week is different. This week Fitz will play one of the deepest and talented defensive lines in the league. He will see consistent pressure which will lead to turnovers. I will let someone else use up all of their capital to acquire him only to release him next week. Foles did indeed win the Super Bowl last year but that does not make him a good QB. A journeyman who has played with three teams in his second stint with the Eagles, Foles is closer to being a back up than a star QB. I would not trust Foles to be my starting QB on my fantasy team in anything but the direst situations.

Running Backs:

START – Jay Ajayi

SIT – Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones, Corey Clement, Jaquizz Rodgers, Darren Sproles

Ajayi is the focal point of the Eagles run game and that means TD opportunities like the 2 TD he converted Week 1. It also makes him the only startable back in this game with no other dependable opportunities available to the rest of this bunch. Sproles flashed his upside but his age and dependency on being used in the passing game is too much risk. The Tampa backfield is uninspiring and lackluster and should be avoided until further notice.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Nelson Agholor,  Zach Ertz, OJ Howard

SIT – DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jefferey

Evans is match-up proof, as is Ertz and Agholor is emerging as the go-to threat in Philly with Jefferey sidelined. Speaking of sidelined, Jackson’s presence in the concussion protocol take him off the board and open the door wide open for Howard and Godwin. While Tampa won’t be able to just huck the ball downfield all day against the Eagles like they did against New Orleans, they can still distribute and Godwin has the talent to emerge as a true breakout weapon this year with opportunity. Howard is a freakishly athletic tight end who showed his skill off with 2 catches for 54 yards in Week 1. All of these players have upside this week and the only benches are the wounded warriors.

BROWNS @ SAINTS – Matt

Quarterbacks: 

START – Drew Brees, Tyrod Taylor

SIT – None

Brees gets another home cooked meal in week 2. Last week he threw for 439 yards and three scores at home. This week he gets a Cleveland defense that allowed Roethlisberger to throw for 335 yards. Also, last season against the pass the Brown defense allowed the 6th most fantasy points to quarterbacks. All things considered, if Brees decides to keep the pedal to the metal he could be the top fantasy scorer this week. Tyrod Taylor’s debut was hampered by sloppy weather conditions but he still managed 197 passing yards and one TD he also ran for 77 yards and another score. Things are looking better for the Browns quarterback this week because he gets to show off his wheels on the Superdome turf. Against a Saints defense that allowed 400 passing yards and 42.3 fantasy points to Fitz-magic last week. Taylor is a good streamer this week.

Running Backs:

START – Alvin Kamara, Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson

SIT Nick Chubb

Kamara is coming off a great Week one performance totaling 141 yards, and scoring 3 TDs. He faces a talented Cleveland defense with Mile Garrett and Ogunjobi who are a force to be reckoned with. By the way, last year the Browns defense gave up the 8th fewest rushing yards per game. James Conner burned the Browns defense for 192 yards and 2 TDs in week one. I fully expect the Saints to come up with creative ways to get Kamara involved and find success. In his first action of the season, Carlos Hyde carried the ball 22 times for 62 yards and a touchdown. This week Hyde will square off against the New Orleans Saints run defense. They allowed the 10th fewest rushing yards per game in 2017. It’s also worth noting, losing Joe Thomas on the offensive line won’t help matters. Hyde has a tough matchup this week and can be used as a low-end RB2 in fantasy. Duke Johnson wasn’t involved much against the Steelers he only touched the ball six times. The Saints should be leading for most of the game so Johnson will play a bigger role this week. Johnson is only a low-end flex at best.

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Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, Ben Watson

SIT – David Njoku, Cameron Meredith, Antonio Callaway

Michael Thomas is coming off a game where he set a team record with 16 catches. In week two he gets to face a Browns defense that just allowed Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster 212 combined receiving yards. Thomas is locked into your starting lineup only an injury or bye week should cause him to be benched. Ben Watson is a good start this week for the simple reason that, Cleveland struggled against tight ends last year giving up the third most fantasy points. Factoring in all the injuries at the tight end position Watson can be considered a low end TE1 this week. Playing in sloppy conditions didn’t slow down Jarvis Landry in week one. He was targeted 15 times last week and caught seven passes for 106 yards. More importantly, the Bucs wide receivers burnt Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley all game last week. Landry is a borderline WR2 this week. Josh Gordon didn’t play much in Week 1 but he did score a TD. His snap count should increase in week two. For one thing, Gordon only needs a handful of targets to provide fantasy points. Gordon is a good start in a tasty matchup against the Saints who’s coverage just got exposed in week one. Sit David Njoku Saints were good against the tight end last season giving up the second-fewest fantasy Points and fewest receiving yards allowed in the NFL.

COLTS @ REDSKINS – Matt

Quarterbacks: 

START – Andrew Luck, Alex Smith

SIT – None

Alex Smith draws the Colts bottom-barrel Defense in week 2. Last week Smith looked good running Jay Gruden’s offense. This game should be close which will help the passing game involved. Washington needs to take advantage of the Colts defense. By incorporating the receivers and taking shots downfield. Smith could put up a nice stats line making him start-worthy. On a different note, Andrew Lucks week 1 performance was a success as he threw for 319 yards and two touchdowns. He draws a tougher matchup in week 2 against an impressive looking Redskins passing defense. They contained Bradford only letting up 145 passing yards last week against them. The Redskins ranked in the top ten for fewest passing yards allowed last season. This week is a good test for Luck. He should be started in all leagues.

Running Backs:

START – Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson

SIT Jordan Wilkins, Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Samaje Perine

Adrian Peterson turned back the clock in week 1. Against his former team the Cardinals totaling 166 yards and one TD. He should find similar success this week against a bad Colts defense that let Joe Mixon run for 149 total yards and one TD. Chis Thompson should see his share of targets this week. Thompson is such an explosive player he doesn’t need a lot of touches to do damage. He’s becoming a must-start in PPR leagues. With a Redskins beefed up defensive line and an unsettled run game the Colts could struggle to find running room. It’s best to sit all Colts running backs in this one.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – T.Y. Hilton, Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle

SIT – Josh Doctson, Ryan Grant

T.Y. Hilton will face off against the Redskins in week 2. Last season Washington was not kind to wide receivers allowing the 5th fewest fantasy points and 6th fewest receiving yards. It’s hard to bench him especially considering the teams veteran signal caller is back under center. Plus it only takes one big play from Hilton to put fantasy points on the board. He should be locked into your starting lineup. For the most part, Grant looked good last week catching eight passes for 59 yards. He could end up having a nice season, but Washington is tough on receivers. Sit Grant.  Jamieson Crowder was a bust last week catching 3 passes for 36 yards. He should bounce back against the Colts defense that allowed the fifth most receiving yards to receivers last season. Jordan Reed appears to be Alex Smith’s number one target. Look for Reed to get fed early and often against the Colts. Both Colts tight ends were productive last week. Jack Doyle had seven catches for 60 yards. And Eric Ebron had four catches 51 yards and one TD. They should be fantasy relevant in this one too. Redskins allowed the 7th most fantasy points and 8th most receiving yards last year to tight ends. Start both the Colts tight ends.

CHARGERS @ BILLS – Matt

Quarterbacks: 

START -Philip Rivers 

SIT – Nate Peterman, Josh Allen

Phillip Rivers is one of the top QB’s this week drawing the Bill’s defense that was torched by Joe Flacco and company for 236 yards three TDs. Unless they run on every play, Rivers should throw for 300 yards and 2 TD’s in his sleep. Its safe to say, the Raven have a good defense but Peterman was a disaster last week. He was benched in week one after struggling only passing for 24 yards and two interceptions. As of right now the Bill’s haven’t named a starting quarterback. It doesn’t matter who starts for the Bill’s because you shouldn’t start any Buffalo quarterback.

Running Backs:

START – Melvin Gordan, LeSean McCoy, Austin Ekeler

SIT Chris Ivory

Melvin Gordon might be the lead all running backs in fantasy scoring for week 2. The Bill’s are horrible against the run they surrendered 22 touchdowns last season. Buffalo also allowed 47 points to the Ravens last week. To everyone’s surprise, Ekeler had a bigger role than expected in week one totaling 126 yards and one touchdown. This matchup is so good that Ekeler can be considered a decent flex play. Sure enough, McCoy couldn’t get anything going last week against a tough Ravens defense. This week might be the same story, but his volume should keep him in the low RB2 range. Give McCoy one more shot before we start benching him,

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Keenan Allen, Mike Williams

SIT – Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Antonio Gates, Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones

Kennan Allen is coming off a big fantasy effort last week. He posted eight receptions for 108 yards and one touchdown. This week Allen will be matched up against Tre’Davious White one of the most productive cornerbacks in the NFL. With that being said, last year Allen torched the Bill’s for 159 yards and two touchdowns. For the most part, Mike Williams capitalized on game flow last week catching 5 balls for 81 yards. Williams will have to beat out Benjamin and Tyrell Williams for the WR2 if he’s going to have any fantasy consistency. As for the tight ends so long as Gates and Green split the workload neither is worthy of starting. Kelvin Benjamin is the top receiving target on the Bills but after last weeks debacle, no Bill’s receiver or tight end is worth a start.

VIKINGS @ PACKERS – Matt

Quarterbacks: 

START – Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins

SIT – None

Aaron Rodgers heads back home to Lambeau Field for the rivalry game against the Vikings. He will be playing on one leg facing a mean hungry front seven. Who allowed second-fewest passing yards and lead the league with the fewest fantasy point allowed to quarterbacks in 2017. For almost any other quarterback this would be a scary matchup. Rodgers is a start no matter what the circumstances. On the other side of the field, Kirk Cousins head into the frozen tundra on a high. After easily defeating the 49ers in a week one contest, the Vikings proceeded to run the ball 32 times. With that being said, Cousins still had a good game passing for 244 yards and two touchdowns. It’s also important to note, the Packers gave up the 4th most fantasy point to quarterbacks last year. The game flow this week should cause Cousins to air it out more. His floor in Week 2 will be more like 275 and 2 TD.

Running Backs:

START – Jamaal Williams, Dalvin Cook

SIT Latavius Murray, Ty Montgomery

After facing a motivated Bears defense Jamaal Williams has a tougher task this week when he takes on the Vikings strong defense Sunday. Williams should dominate the workload and could see heavy volume with Rodgers banged up. Start William’s. Cook looked good in his return to action from a torn ACL. Minnesota fed him the rock 22 times for 95 total yards. With Minnesota’s high octane offense and Cooks usage in the run and passing game he should produce an RB1 number in week 2

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, Randell Cobb

SIT – Jimmy Graham, Kyle Rudolph, Geronimo Allison

The Minnesota Vikings dynamic receiving duo Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs will do battle this week. With their black and blue division rivals the Packers. Both the Vikings receivers are every week starters. It’s important to note, the Packers gave up the 5th most fantasy points to wide receivers in 2017. Diggs and Thielen will have no problem racking up fantasy points this week. On the other hand, both tight ends are sits. Green Bay allowed the 7th fewest fantasy points to tight ends. And the Vikings defense allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends in the league last year. The Packers receivers have a tough matchup. With that being said, Adam’s is Rodgers number one option so he’s always a start. Cobb exploded last week for 9 catches 145 yards and a TD. Cobb and Rodgers have always had good chemistry. Start Cobb. Allison is the fourth option on the team right now. The matchup is too tough you can’t count on production from him. Sit Allison.

PANTHERS @ FALCONS – Josh

Quarterbacks: 

START – Cam Newton

SIT – Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons are reeling on defense with the losses of safety Keanu Neal and linebacker Deion Jones. In concert with the losses from a talent standpoint, the Falcons could be equally affected by the psychological aspect of seeing their season take such a dire turn so early in the year. Look for Newton to capitalize on the situation. Matt Ryan does hold some appeal as a garbage-time scorer, but there are far better streaming options this week than counting on the Falcons to pull off too drastic of a turnaround from their lackluster performance in Week 1.

Running Backs:

START – Tevin Coleman, Christian McCaffrey, Devonta Freeman

SIT – CJ Anderson, Ito Smith

Tevin Coleman is the biggest upside fantasy play in this matchup with Devonta Freeman questionable with a knee injury. Whether or not Freeman plays, Coleman certainly deserves another shot at lineups after finding the end zone last week. At worst, he’s got flex appeal in PPR leagues with the Falcons likely playing from behind. At best, he’s a solid RB2 with RB1 upside should Freeman miss the game. If Freeman plays, however, he should at least make most lineups as a flex play. He’s simply too talented to bench if he’s on the field. Christian McCaffrey is a no-brainer start each week while C.J. Anderson’s offseason appeal as a goal-line back appears to be much more a pipe dream than what the Carolina Panthers envision for the tailback.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Julio Jones, Devin Funchess

SIT – D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper, Torrey Smith, Jarius Wright, Ian Thomas

For a game that figures to have quite a few points put on the board, it’s hard to trust many of the pass-catchers in this contest. Julio Jones will always be in the lineup when he suits up, as he is a must-start. Devin Funchess also looks like he could produce this week. With tight end Greg Olsen going down with a foot injury, Funchess should regain the leading receiver role he held for most of last season for the Carolina Panthers. First-round picks D.J. Moore and Calvin Ridley will be worth watching after neither one caught a pass in their debut. But that stat also makes them impossible to trust in lineups this week.

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TEXANS @ TITANS – Josh

Quarterbacks: 

START – Deshaun Watson

SIT – Marcus Mariota/Blaine Gabbert

The analysis on this one isn’t very complicated. Deshaun Watson was drafted as a high-end QB1 and should be in lineups unless he’s in an absolutely brutal matchup, which this is not. Marcus Mariota has tremendous upside and could turn in a solid game with his ability to run the football. However, while he’s expected to play after suffering an elbow injury in Week 1, there’s a risk of re-injury which could see him duck out early as he did last week, leaving fantasy lineups high and dry at the highest-scoring position.

Running Backs:

START – Dion Lewis, Lamar Miller, Derrick Henry

SIT – Alfred Blue

In Week 1, Lamar Miller turned in a very solid performance against a pretty good New England Patriots defense. He should be in line for a big workload again in this one and should be started. Dion Lewis is also a bit of a no-brainer start in this one, especially in PPR leagues. He led the Tennessee Titans in backfield snaps, taking the field for 71 percent of plays on his way to a solid day (110 total yards, five catches, and a touchdown). Then there’s his backfield mate Derrick Henry, who actually started the game against the Miami Dolphins before seeing his snap count drop to 20 percent. Henry didn’t get many opportunities after dominating the touches early, and perhaps the two lengthy weather delays played a role. He’s on the fence of a flex play/wait-and-see option.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Corey Davis, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, Jonnu Smith

SIT – Bruce Ellington, Keke Coutee, Rishard Matthews, Tywan Taylor, Luke Stocker, Ryan Griffin

When Delanie Walker went down with a season-ending injury in Week 1, Corey Davis received a substantial boost in his stock. As the clear top-option in the Tennessee Titans’ offense, his target share could mimic what DeAndre Hopkins has seen in the past with the Houston Texans. Hopkins, by the way, is a must-start when he’s healthy. Will Fuller missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury. While these soft-tissues injuries pose a massive threat of flaring up, Fuller seemed close to playing in Week 1 as he tested it before kickoff before being declared inactive. If he’s able to suit up, his upside with Watson at quarterback is too good to leave on the bench. Jonnu Smith figures to be the top tight end for the Titans in the wake of Walker’s injury. While he’s not a great option, the tight end position is in shambles from a fantasy standpoint. With Mariota’s elbow injury and the possibility of a Blaine Gabbert appearance, Smith could draw some short and intermediate targets. Rishard Matthews suited up for Week 1 but failed to a see a single target while playing 52 percent of the snaps. He is one to watch but should be left on the bench until his role in the offense is clear.

CARDINALS @ RAMS – Josh

Quarterbacks: 

START – Jared Goff

SIT – Sam Bradford

The Arizona Cardinals had one of the worst offensive performances in the league in Week 1. Luckily for them, the Buffalo Bills played a game and the Detroit Lions were eaten alive by the New York Jets. While company in the offensive cellar is nice, it doesn’t turn the cellar into the penthouse. There isn’t much to trust on this offense. On the other side, the Los Angeles Rams looked to be every bit as explosive and dynamic as many expected. While it may not be the most favorable matchup, with the weapons he has at his disposal, Jared Goff is trending toward a solid QB1 option week-in and week-out. As he ascends the QB ranks this season, he should be started in most cases, including this one.

Running Backs:

START – Todd Gurley, David Johnson

SIT – John Kelly, Malcolm Brown, Chase Edmunds

This is one of the easier start-sit calls any fantasy manager will ever have to make. Todd Gurley and David Johnson are among the elite running backs in the NFL and are three-down weapons with tons of talent. Etch these two into lineups in stone.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Larry Fitzgerald, Ricky Seals-Jones

SIT – Tyler Higbee, Chad Williams, Christian Kirk

There certainly is fear in the fantasy community for the Rams’ pass-catchers this week as a date with Patrick Peterson awaits one of them. Cooper Kupp likely is safe from this nightmare matchup, as Peterson does not travel into the slot, which is Kupp’s home. That leaves Woods and Cooks as the options for the island. However, as the Rams showed in Week 1, they will use motions, trips sets, play action jet sweeps and a host of other tricks to get their receivers open. All three Rams wideouts deserve to be in lineups this week, as the balance of the offense is too good to ignore (Kupp and Woods each had nine targets last week while Cooks had eight). On the Cardinals’ side, Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best receivers to ever play in the NFL and it is difficult to imagine a fantasy receiving so deep that Fitz lands on the bench. He’s a start despite the Cardinals’ shortcomings on offense last week. Rick Seals-Jones also makes the start list in this matchup. After the Rams gave up 180 yards and a touchdown on nine catches to Jared Cook, starting a tight end against them is something that must be done.

LIONS @ 49ers – Josh

Quarterbacks: 

START – Jimmy Garoppolo

SIT – Matthew Stafford

Jimmy Garoppolo gets a solid matchup this week as he leads the San Francisco 49ers into a game against the Detroit Lions, who are on the road on a shortened week. The Lions look to be more prey than predator in this one after getting trounced by the New York Jets, 48-17, in Week 1. Rookie Sam Darnold looked solid against the Lions, so there’s no reason to think Jimmy GQ won’t be even better. On the other side, Matthew Stafford threw four picks in what was supposed to be a favorable matchup at home in Week 1. Now he faces a defense that held Kirk Cousins 244 yards in Week 1. Stafford needs some time on the bench to collect his thoughts.

Running Backs:

START – Matt Breida, Alfred Morris

SIT – Kerryon Johnson, Theo Riddick, LeGarrette Blount, Kyle Juszczyk

Like the quarterback outlook, the running back scene also heavily favors the San Francisco 49ers. Against the Jets last week, the Lions allowed Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell to combine for 162 yards and two scores on 22 carries. While Matt Breida (11 carries, 46 yards) and Alfred Morris (12 carries, 38 yards) certainly left a lot to be desired in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings, this matchup is considerably more favorable. Meanwhile, the Lions backfield remains as unclear as the bottom of Loch Ness. Like the famed body of water allegedly hiding a giant monster, if this Lions backfield does have a solid fantasy option in its midst, it is not visible yet. Theo Riddick does have some PPR appeal if this game heads for garbage time, but the receiving back needed such a chance in Week 1 to produce 8.5 PPR points (five catches, 35 total yards).

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, George Kittle, Marquise Goodwin (Q), Pierre Garcon

SIT – Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor, Luke Wilson

As was proven in Week 1, a team can produce several fantasy relevant wide receivers while the quarterback lobs up a stink bomb and the team gets embarrassed. The Detroit Lions accomplished this in Week 1, as Golden Tate (seven catches, 79 yards, one touchdown), Kenny Golladay (seven catches, 114 yards) and Marvin Jones (four catches, 54 yards) each brought something to the table for those who started them in fantasy despite Stafford’s showing (286 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions). The Lions could be headed for the same territory in this one with plenty of receiving points to spread around. For the 49ers, George Kittle has risen to the status of must-start after his Week 1 performance (five catches, 90 yards) along with the injuries to Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen. There also figure to be some points left on the outside for either Marquise Goodwin or Pierre Garcon. Goodwin suffered a leg bruise in Week 1 and was held out of practice Wednesday. Still, if he suits up he figures to be Jimmy GQ’s favorite receiver. However, should Goodwin miss the game or the bruise create a limitation to his game, Garcon would be elevated to a solid start in this contest. However, even with Goodwin on the field, there figures to be some room underneath for Garcon to make some plays the same way Quincy Enunwa did against the Lions in the opener.

RAIDERS @ BRONCOS – Ben

Quarterbacks: 

START – Case Keenum

SIT – Derek Carr

Case Keenum pulled a Nuke LaLoosh and announced his presence with authority by ripping off 329 yards and 3 TD in the season opener against Seattle. Now, the 2018 Seattle secondary looked nothing like the once formidable Legion of Boom and Keenum’s package of joy still came with three frustratingly awful interceptions, but the newly minted Broncos signal caller looked at easy distributing to a lethal group of Denver receivers. Derek Carr also had 300 yard and 3 interceptions, unfortunately, he didn’t have the 3 TD’s to go with them. Keenum is a start against a shaky Oakland D that Jared Goff made easy work out of, but I’m fading Carr against a potentially dangerous Denver defense that picked the normally secure Russell Wilson twice.

Running Backs:

START – None

SIT – Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Royce Freeman, Philip Lindsay, Jalen Richard

I wanted to start Lynch. I wanted to start Freeman. I wanted to start Lindsay. I started none. Lynch looked pedestrian against the Rams and Denver has a stout front seven making him an easy fade. Freeman has all the talent you could want for a thumper and he looked good in his limited work, but that limited work is why both he and Lindsay are not startable. It is impossible to know which back to trust in Denver right now. I’ll allow trotting Lindsay out in PPR formats and might even give consideration to the underrated Richard for Oakland in PPR formats, but there is risk all over these teams right now.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Emanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, Jared Cook

SIT – Jake Butt, Courtland Sutton, Jordy Nelson, Amari Cooper

Sanders spent all preseason glowing about how Denver wanted to “feature” him in the offense and even guest-hosted NFL Live on the NFL Network as part of his vanity swing. Seemed a tad like hype at the time, I guess not. 10 catches, 135 yards, and 1 TD later and we can see why Keenum has taken to the veteran. Thomas isn’t one to be completely outdone. After being pushed by the emergence of Baby-Tron (Sutton), Thomas stepped up to 10 targets that he turned into 6 grabs for 66 yards and a TD. These two are weekly must-starts, unlike Cooper and Nelson who were all but useless against the Rams secondary. Cook, however, thrived as the perennial fantasy sleeper finally woke up for 9 grabs and 180 yards. Factor in that the unknown Will Dissly roasted the Broncos for 105 yards and a TD in Week 1 and this could be a tasty play. Sutton and Butt are too raw to trust yet, but give it time.

READ  The Issue of the Giants Offensive Line in Week 1

PATRIOTS @ JAGUARS – Ben

Quarterbacks: 

START – Tom Brady, Blake Bortles

SIT – None

Brady is Brady, this will get old saying every week. Bortles makes for one of the more underrated starts this year with Leonard Fournette ailing and a potential to be playing catch up. Jacksonville’s defense is good but even still it will be tough to keep the Patriots in check and they can score which may force Bortles to the air and that’s what I’m projecting.

Running Backs:

START – TJ Yeldon

SIT – Leonard Fournette, Rex Burkhead, James White, Sony Michel

Might be surprising here, but I think Fournette’s hamstring and potential for the Jaguars to being playing catch up could mean bucco-playing time for Yeldon. My anticipation is 20+ touches for Yeldon this week and that might lead all backs in this game. It’s also not that I think the Patriots running backs are bad it’s that you can’t trust any one of them. Belichick hates fantasy and intentionally works his usage to screw the fantasy world over. It’s a fact.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Rob Gronkowski, Dede Westbrook

SIT – Chris Hogan, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Philip Dorsett, Dante Moncrief, Keelan Cole

Gronk is Gronk, see Brady is Brady. As the only other starter here I have Westbrook as the benefactor of the “playing from behind” theory after he flashed in Week 1. Since I’ve geared my entire projection to that idea, I’m sure I will be wrong and Jacksonville will hold a big lead earned on the ground all game and win easily (if wishing made it so). Hogan and Dorsett have the same problem as the Patriot running backs per se. Cole and ASJ could pop, but they’re not locks and I don’t like recommending too many gambles (and Yeldon is my gamble for this game).

GIANTS @ COWBOYS – Ben

Quarterbacks: 

START – Eli Manning

SIT – Dak Prescott

OK, so I called Manning as a starter in Week 1 and obviously, that didn’t work out, so here we go again. We really have no idea how good the Cowboys pass defense is because Newton and the Panthers looked disjointed and completely focused on the ground game. Manning still has elite weapons and they’re going to pop one of these weeks, might as well be this one. Dak looked bad Week 1 and I’m avoiding him until he proves otherwise that simple.

Running Backs:

START – Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley

SIT  – Wayne Gallman, Rod Stewart, Jon Stewart

Zeke and Barkley are weekly must-starts, pretty easy. Both are elite options who will likely contend for Top 5 status. No other options can be trusted on these teams in any format due to the appeal of the big two.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Odell Bekcham, Jr., Evan Engram, Cole Beasley

SIT – Allen Hurns, Geoff Swaim, Michael Gallup, Sterling Shepard

OBJ managed 11 catches for 111 yards against an otherwise stingy Jacksonville defense and he remains one of the top fantasy receivers in the game. I’m also starting Engram despite his poor performance due to the pure talent he possesses as a pass catcher at tight end. Beasley has emerged as the top target for Prescott so he gets to start, particularly in PPR formats. Hurns, Swaim, Gallup, and Shepard all need to prove more consistency before any can be trusted, though you could trot out Shepard if you’re desperate.

SEAHAWKS @ BEARS – Ben

Quarterbacks: 

START – Russell Wilson

SIT – Mitchell Trubisky

Wilson was harassed constantly by the Broncos pass rush who brought him down 6 times and picked him off twice. With Kalil Mack in the fold, the Bears will pose an equally lethal threat but Wilson has proven he can still be fantasy relevant despite all that. He ripped off 298 yards and 3 TD’s to go along with the 2 interceptions he threw mounting an overall fantasy success. Wilson remains match-up proof. Trubisky, on the other hand, is far too raw to be used in any fantasy format. Allow the second year passer time to mature and avoid for now.

Running Backs:

START – Jordan Howard, Chris Carson

SIT – Rashad Penny, Tarik Cohen

Many will still slot Cohen into their lineups (especially in PPR formats) but after watching Jordan Howard best him with 5 catches to Cohen’s 3, I’m fading the scat back. Howard is poised to emerge as a true horse and should be started on a weekly basis. Carson flashed big upside on several plays and Penny was flat. At some point, Penny will develop, but the time the rookie missed in preseason is costing him. Carson is a volume play.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

START – Tyler Lockett, Will Dissly, Allen Robinson, Trey Burton

SIT – Anthony Miller, Brandon Marshall, Doug Baldwin

This might wind up being a tight end show. Dissly had an astounding introduction with 105 yards on 3 catches in Denver and he will share the profits of a Doug Baldwin-less receiver corps with Lockett. Lockett was mostly pointless in Week 1 except for a 50 yard TD grab but that’s what Lockett does and that’s what Wilson uses him for. Someone has to catch balls in Seattle so it might as well be those two. ARob had a solid if unspectacular open to his Bears career 4 catches for 61 yards and he remains a fairly high floor weekly start. Burton is the wild card, but give that he was open a couple of times that Trubisky missed him on, including a WIDE OPEN TD, I think the best is coming here and he’s as talented as any other sub you can find at this point.

Kickers – Josh

START – Wil Lutz, Graham Gano, Robbie Gould, Harrison Butker, Zane Gonzalez

SIT – Jake Elliott, Josh Lambo, Dustin Hopkins, Sebastian Janikowski, Ka’imi Fairbairn

Three kickers — Wil Lutz, Graham Gano, and Zane Gonzalez — figure to be on the kicking end of some high-scoring dome games this weekend and are worth a start given the shootout potential of their games as well as the wonderful indoor weather. Robbie Gould and Harrison Butker also are expected to benefit from both the high-scoring nature of their games. On the flip side, Jake Elliott, Josh Lambo, and Sebastian Janikowski have question marks surrounding their teams’ chances of putting up a bunch of points. Ka’imi Fairbairn and Dustin Hopkins each have tricky wind conditions likely for their matchups.

Defenses – Josh

START – Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

SIT – New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals

Matchups don’t get more favorable than what the Los Angeles Chargers have in Week 2 as a date with the lifeless Buffalo awaits. There’s, of course, the risk of a bad game with a West-coast team traveling to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. ET game. But the Bills are bad, so the Chargers defense is a must-start. The Rams performed solidly in Week 1 and now get to put Aaron Donald up front against an Arizona Cardinals offensive line that can be susceptible to pressure up the middle. The Chicago Bears also get a matchup against a suspect offensive line with they host the Seattle Seahawks. Then there’s the Miami Dolphins, who face Sam Darnold. While the rookie looked good against the Detroit Lions, this week will tell whether Darnold is the real deal or if the Lions are awful. This question makes the opponents of both those teams — Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers — solid starts this week. On the bench should be the New Orleans Saints, who looked like the “Shootout Saints” again while giving up 48 points to the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Arizona Cardinals have streamer appeal this season, but not against the Rams’ machine. The Minnesota Vikings have a matchup with Aaron Rodgers, who proved he can shred defenses on just a single leg. The Atlanta Falcons lost arguably the two most important pieces on their defense, leaving this as a unit that not only shouldn’t be started but needs to be left on the waiver wire. The Carolina Panthers looked good against a hapless Dallas Cowboys offense last week. And while there is streamer appeal in targeting Steve Sarkisian’s whatever it is that supposed to resemble an offense, garbage time points could drag down what might be a solid day for the Panthers’ unit.

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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker
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I'm a budding writer who's passion is for fantasy football. I love every NFL team but especially the Browns and what that franchise is creating on offense. I'm have two kids who I absolutely adore.
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I was born and raised in St.Louis Missouri, I have been playing fantasy sports since high school I write weekly previews and strategy articles to help the fantasy community
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Fantasy enthusiast armed with whit, sarcasm and some knowledge, too. The Fantasy Sports Chef is a fantasy writer for SportsTalkLine.com.
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