Week 2 Starts and Sits
September 15, 2016 | Jackson Safon
Even in the heartbreak of your two point loss thanks to Dez Bryant barely dropping a touchdown, you made it to week two. And so did this column.
Accountability is important so each week I’ll go back and review how I did the week prior. Last week I nailed at least one start at each position (Stafford, Ware, Moncrief, and Allen), but missed a couple as well (Bortles and Jennings).
If you’ll indulge me, I have a short rant. If you won’t indulge me…well you’ve probably already scrolled through to the bolded names.
There are countless injuries in the NFL every season, some more severe than others. These days it seems there are more ACL tears every year, and last week Keenan Allen was the victim. I’m as sad as the next guy that my big sleeper for 2016 is lost for the season, but the reactions of some on Twitter just go too far. There was a lot of anger directed at Allen, when instead it should be condolences. Last year Allen was hurt with a lacerated spleen and this year he lost his entire season to a freak, non-contact injury. It’s not his fault. So everyone tweeting at him needs to remember it’s just a game after all.
But you have start/sit decisions to make and I’m here to either reinforce a decision you already made or make you completely question your decision making process. Either way, let’s get to it.
Start: Matt Ryan @ Oak
One of the many number one rules of fantasy football is this: you don’t have to be good at actual football to be good at fantasy football. While Matt Ryan isn’t exhibit A, he’s probably exhibit G or so. The dude isn’t the elite quarterback people expected him to become, but he’s become almost underrated in fantasy football.
Ryan was the sixth-highest scoring fantasy QB last week and has a match(up) made in heaven. The Raiders gave up 34 points last week and this game has the third-highest expected point total of the week. The Falcons are five point underdogs and the Raiders actually did a pretty good job containing Mark Ingram last week. Neither Devonta Freeman nor Tevin Coleman is as good a running back as Ingram, so I would expect the Falcons to be airing it out this week. Ryan as a “start” is definitely contingent on Julio Jones starting, but I expect both guys to be top options for week two.
Sit: Kirk Cousins vs. Dal
Cousins obviously disappointed in week one, scoring single digit points in ESPN’s standard scoring. Week two won’t be much better. With Dak Prescott starting last week, the Cowboys played at a painfully slow pace and tried to make the game as simple as possible. Less plays means less chance for fantasy points for Cousins.
The Cowboys defense was actually better than average against quarterbacks last year, allowing the 12th-fewest fantasy points to signal callers last year. While there are obviously worse options in week one, Cousins isn’t exactly an inspiring choice after his flop last week in a good matchup.
Start: DeMarco Murray @ Det
While the “exotic smashmouth” running game of the Titans didn’t exactly live up to the bill in week one (41 passes to only 22 runs), Murray looked to be in good shape. While I’m not personally the biggest fan, he out-carried Derrick Henry 13-5 and out-targeted him 7-2. Murray is clearly the workhorse in this offense and, most importantly, plays the third down role.
The Titans are underdogs on the road in a high-scoring game against a team that let up 35 points last week. While the Titans are obviously not the Colts, they’ll have a much easier time moving the ball this week than last week going up against the Vikings. Murray is a virtual lock for 15 touches and will have more good opportunities to reach the end zone against the Lions.
Sit: Todd Gurley vs. Sea
Yes, I’m being serious. No, I don’t mean this with any relativity or qualifiers. Todd Gurley, the unanimous redraft and dynasty running back, should be sitting on your bench this week. The entire world saw the Seinfeld-level comedy that was the Rams offense on Monday, and the 49ers defense is to the Seahawks defense what the replacement level player used for WAR is to Mike Trout.
For some reason, Jeff Fisher always seems to play the Seahawks well, but there’s a very legitimate chance that the Rams still haven’t scored a point by the time they reach the coin toss in week three. This was the one concern with Gurley, that the offense is so bad it completely holds him back. He’s one of the players transcendent enough to rise above this, but I have close to zero faith in week two.
Start: Dez Bryant @ Was
I said last week that I’ll try not to use this column for the Aaron Rodgers’ off the world. Sorry.
Some Bryant owners are concerned after he only had one reception for eight yards in week one, but if he had been able to hold on to that touchdown, we’d probably be looking at him much differently. Only five targets isn’t exactly inspiring, especially compared to 14 for Jason Witten and 12 for Cole Beasley, but it was Dak Prescott’s first start ever. The Cowboys weren’t exactly pressing Prescott to throw the ball downfield, but as he gets more comfortable, he will target Bryant more in that fashion.
While Josh Norman isn’t a good matchup for anybody, Bryant will be moved around in a similar fashion to Antonio Brown last week. Because of his quarterback situation, Bryant’s weekly floor is obviously lower, but I expect the Cowboys to get him more involved this week and he should bounce back fine.
Sit: Corey Coleman vs. Bal
He might not be a starter for you anyways, but if you were even considering him, let’s nip that one in the bud right now. Many expected Coleman to be a target hog, especially early on, for the Browns, but that was not the case last week as he only received five. His offense isn’t going to be efficient so he needs volume to make up for it.
Meanwhile, the Ravens defense held Tyrod Taylor to 122 total yards and Sammy Watkins to 43. This game has the third lowest over/under of the week, and Vegas doesn’t expect many of those points to come from Cleveland. Avoid Believeland this week, especially Coleman.
Start: Gary Barnidge vs. Bal
Hold up. Wait a minute.
Yes, I just spent 111 words telling you why the Browns passing game is one to avoid in week two. And yes I’m telling you to start the guy who had two targets and zero receptions last week.
Last year, Josh McCown played eight games for the Browns. In those eight games, Barnidge averaged 8.6 targets, 5.75 receptions, 80 yards, and 0.75 touchdowns; good for 18 points per game. That would’ve made him the TE1 last year by a full point per game. In the eight games not started by McCown, Barnidge averaged a cool 11 points per game on 7/4.1/50/0.38.
Barnidge needs McCown like Gotham needs Batman. And you need Barnidge in your lineup just as much.
Sit: Martellus Bennett vs. Mia
If Rob Gronkowski plays, this should be obvious. But frankly, it should be obvious even if he doesn’t.
The Black Unicorn only received five targets from Jimmy Garoppolo in week one, despite Jimmy G having 33 attempts. Everybody and their mother and their mother’s mother had Bennett in DFS, and he obviously disappointed. While I don’t think the Dolphins defense is as good as it looked last week, they’re no slouches. Miami was a top-10 defense facing tight ends last season, and not surprisingly they held down Seattle’s tight ends with relative ease.
I’d almost rather start Jordan Cameron. Ha, who am I kidding.