Start/Sit Week 2
September 12, 2017 | Josh Stanley
Le’Veon Bell only gained 47 total yards? David Johnson injured his wrist and may need surgery? Alex Smith and Sam Bradford were the two highest scoring QB’s? Friends, fantasy football is back and just as it does every year Week 1 shows why running a fake football team is no simple task.
If you won, congratulations your one step closer to hoisting that championship. If you lost, take a deep breath and quiet that rage caused by losing to someone who started Alex Smith and Kenny Golladay. Week 2 is on the horizon and as we do every week we’re going to take a look at who to start and who to sit, with the exceptions of every week studs even if they did have a poor first week.
Smith and the Chiefs came out of nowhere on Thursday night to create an unpredictable result, to a game everyone outside of Kansas City thought would be predictable. Smith does not often have performances with 4 touchdowns and 368 yards, but going up against an Eagles defense that was suspect in the secondary and just lost a top corner in Ronald Darby, should produce nice results. Smith completed an unbelievable 80 percent of his passes Week 1 and connected on 3 of 7 passes that were thrown 16 yards or further, which is not something we have seen from him. Smith will have to pay attention to the Eagle’s pass rush, but with the help of Kareem Hunt and Smith’s above average ability to escape a collapsing pocket this offense to keep rolling in Arrowhead.
After a summer of speculation Newton looked healthy in his first game of the season and will only become more comfortable as the Panthers return to Charlotte. The Bills defense appeared better than expected on Sunday, however we must keep in mind that the Jets were their opponent and that does not necessarily mean the Bills defense is great. Newton threw for 171 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception against San Francisco, but he also only had 25 attempts which should increase as his shoulder is another week stronger. As he knocks off that last bit of rust he should also contribute a greater yardage total on the ground than what we saw in Week 1. However, if the coaching staff decides to keep him in the pocket, it was promising to see their willingness to throw both in the red zone and the ability of Newton’s new weapons, such as Russell Shepherd, to create big plays.
On the opposite side of the field from Cam Newton, Taylor will struggle this week against a Panther’s defense that allowed only 3 points and 217 total yards. The Bill’s offense runs through LeSean McCoy, limiting the opportunities Taylor has to run up those points for your fantasy team. The Panthers front seven will be more than enough for Taylor to handle after a 4 sack performance in Week 1 and will likely try to take away McCoy in an attempt to make it difficult for Buffalo’s number 1 receiver so far this season. There are better streaming options available this week.
Not much can be, nor should be said, about Dalton’s Week 1 performance against the Ravens. He only completed 51.6 percent of his passes and threw 4 interceptions, while failing to lead his team even to a field goal attempt. The poor offense output was not entirely his fault, but he looked out of sorts and life may not get any easier for him against the Texans. The Texans defense surprised many of us with their poor outing against the Jaguars, but it’s a safe bet to expect regression, at least to their normal level of play. The Bengal’s offensive line, which lost their starting guard Trey Hopkins to injury in Week 1, looks to be outmatched by the Texan’s defensive line. On a short week, keep Dalton on the bench until this offense figures itself out.
Points will not be in short supply as the Packers take on the Falcons, which bode well for the versatile cog in the Green Bay offense. Montgomery played on a league high 90 percent of his teams snaps, showing the trust the coaching staff has in him. He saw production in the air, catching 4 out of 4 passes for 39 yards and being the only running back targeted. He also found production on the ground seeing 19 out of 21 team carries for 54 yards and a touchdown. It seems like his transition to running back is coming along well and the coaches want to use him in the same fashion as Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson. Montgomery should find even better production in Week 2 after we saw the Falcons give up 6.6 yards per rushing attempt and allowing the Bear’s running backs to gain 23.1 fantasy points in Week 1.
Tampa Bay and Rodgers are going to come out fast in Week 2 after having to delay the start of their season due to Hurricane Irma. With Doug Martin suspended Rodgers has been tagged as the starter and should see the bulk of the work, with Charles Sims occasionally siphoning off receptions. Rodgers played well last year however when he received 10+ carries, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and 105.4 total yards per game. The Bear’s defense that Rodgers will go up against played fairly well against the Falcon’s run offense, but did cede a touchdown. Fantasy football is all about opportunity and Rodgers is in line to get all the opportunity he can handle this Sunday.
Crowell and the Brown’s offensive line did not look like the players they were touted to be in the offseason. Against the Pittsburgh defense he averaged only 1.9 yards per carry on 19 rushing attempts and saw the same number of targets as Duke Johnson and the rookie Matthew Dayes. The offensive line meanwhile was pushed around for 7 sacks. Week 2 will only prove to be a stiffer test against a Baltimore defense that pitched a shutout in Week 1. The Ravens held the Bengal’s trio of running backs to just 77 yards (3.5 yards per carry) and looked to impose their will on a Bengal’s offensive line that is far worse than Cleveland’s.
What can be said about the Giant’s offense on Sunday night? It was a tough one to watch and while the game script did not go in Perkins favor, he still only managed 16 yards on 7 carries for no touchdowns. More so, in Week 2 he will be facing a Lions defense which gave the Cardinals fits in Week 1 and held them to only 45 rushing yards, of course this is with the caveat of David Johnson leaving the game. Regardless the Giant’s may be in for another long night in Week 2 and Perkins does not look to have any upside. If Odell Beckham Jr. returns it may force some defenders out of the box, but even so the Cardinals longest allowed rushed of the day was only 10 yards. Perkins looked less than dynamic in Week 1 and gave up 3 of the 12 rushing attempts to Orleans Darkwa who will continue to get carries as well.
It looks as though David Johnson will miss Week 2, which may force the Cardinals to rely more heavily on the pass even more than they already have. Fitzgerald was targeted a team high 13 times and led all Cardinals in receiving with 74 yards. Now while this yardage total may not excite you, the targets should as that equates to 27 percent of the team’s target share. As the player that Palmer trusts the most, Fitzgerald should feast in this tilt against the Colts “defense.” With a rash of injuries, most importantly to Vontae Davis, the Colts gave up a healthy 310 passing yards to Jared Goff. Yes, that Jared Goff. Even if Palmer plays poorly again, the targets will still be there for Fitzgerald and a touchdown is a likely possibility. If he would have scored a touchdown in Week 1 he would have been vaulted to WR6 in Week 1, so keep the ageless wonder in your line up this week.
The revenge game. If you buy into this narrative, then Tom Brady is going to make sure the Saints wish they had never traded Cooks. If you think that Belichick could care less about anything other than drawing up touchdowns than you can still have faith in Cooks after his Week 1 outing and the Saint’s embarrassing Week 1 outing. Cooks opened the season against a talented Chiefs secondary and secured 3 targets for 88 yards. The more important stat here is the 7 targets, which can give fantasy owners confidence going forward that Brady trusts Cooks. This in addition to Danny Amendola’s concussion should mean a greater target share for Cooks. The Patriots will come up against a Saints defense that was torched by Adam Thielen for 157 yards and Stefon Diggs for 93 yards leaving little doubt of how Cooks’ game will go.
Hilton is going to be a bench warmer until Andrew Luck returns. Tolzien is not the answer, as he just managed 128 yards in a game the Colts were trailing almost from kickoff. Hilton only managed 57 yards on 3 catches and things look no better for the receiver in Week 2. Maybe Jacoby Brissett will be an upgrade over Tolzien, but I would temper my expectations with Brissett as well. The Colts will be facing a Cardinal’s defense that did not play to their potential in Week 1. They did lose several players in the offseason, but their secondary in particular is still loaded with talent and will cause nightmares for Hilton and whoever is attempting to get him the ball.
Garcon’s debut as a 49er affirmed everything we thought about his role in this offense. He will most likely lead the team in targets and yards every week just as he did in Week 1. He saw 10 targets and caught 6 of them for 81 yards against a young Carolina secondary. The real test will be Week 2 against the Legion of Boom and I’m not taking my chances on Garcon. The Seahawks are a whole different beast at home and coming off a decent, but unimpressive loss to the Packers this defense will look to rebound. Garcon will be a good play in the weeks to come, but avoid him as he travels to Seattle.
One of the most surprising players of Week 1 was Austin Hooper. While he was slotted for a larger role this year after a good rookie season, not many saw the 128 yard and 1 touchdown explosion against the Bears. Both of his targets were 16+ yards from scrimmage, which is encouraging to see him involved in the Falcon’s deep passing attack. As we touched on with Ty Montgomery, this game pits two of the most talent offenses against one another and points should come a plenty. Look for Hooper to continue his breakout year against the Packers in Week 2.
The Colts may not have a threatening passing game without Andrew Luck, but it is often in these situations where tight ends can benefit. Doyle will be the security blanket running underneath routes for either of these inexperienced Colt’s quarterbacks. We saw a glimpse of this in Week 1, as Tolzien targeted Doyle twice in a row, leading to 41 yards. He only saw one other target, but with the Cardinals pressuring the passer the Colts will look to get the ball in the air quickly, instead of waiting for routes to develop. Doyle could be the beneficiary of this and end up with a nice stat line at the end of the day.
Ebron was nonexistent in a day where the Lion’s offense went off. He looked like he may still be hampered by his hamstring injury from training camp, which could explain his lowly 3 targets for 9 yards. He should be taken out of line ups this week against an impressive Giant’s defense. Furthermore, Kenny Golladay appeared to be another weapon that Stafford can use all over the field and in the red zone. This creates a crowded receiving space, in which Stafford prefers his wide receivers and running backs, throwing to his tight ends 17.3 percent of the time, which is 4.3 points below league average.
The Vikings defense did well to limit the Saints on Monday night and they are up against another high powered offense in the Steelers. Although James had a huge Week 1 performance, don’t make the mistake of chasing points. Roethlisberger never featured his tight end, even with Heath Miller, his passing percentage to that position hovered just below the league average of 21.6 percent. James benefited from a Cleveland defense full of holes, which will be harder to find against the Vikings. He scored a touchdown on 33 percent of his receptions (6), which is not sustainable for most receivers. Vance McDonald will also seemingly play a role sooner or later for the Steelers which may limit James opportunities as well. If you streamed him Week 1 then appreciate the great game, but move on to other tight ends with much better match ups.