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Fantasy football Week 2: Start and sit

Eddie Brown, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Football

Here's a look back at Week 1's action, and fantasy advice for the week ahead:

WEEK 1 RECAP

Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 29: I feel like I don’t need to remind those who have played fantasy football before not to overreact after the first week. We’re all known for being cool, calm and collected at all times. Wait, what? We’re not? We’re actually loose cannons who probably need to visit a rage room. Yeah, that sounds about right. Take a breath and repeat after me, “Ezekiel Elliott is going to be fine.”

Eagles 32, Falcons 6: Kyle Pitts will never be cheaper. Pitts’ debut was relatively quiet — 31 yards on four receptions — but he had eight targets, which is impressive for a rookie tight end. See if you can trick someone into trading you the No. 4 overall pick for 75 cents on the dollar.

Steelers 23, Bills 16: It’s very rare these days for any running back to play 100% of any team’s snaps, and Najee Harris did it in his first game. The big season most of us expect from the rookie has moved from possible to probable.

Bengals 27, Vikings 24 (OT): Exhibit A for why you take preseason results with a grain of salt when it comes to fantasy: Ja’Marr Chase (101 yards on five receptions, including a 50-yard touchdown).

49ers 41, Lions 33: Write this down: Any running back that suits up for a head coach with the last name of Shanahan has potential value in fantasy.

Cardinals 38, Titans 13: Temper your expectations after Christian Kirk’s big opener (70 yards on five receptions and two touchdowns). We’ve been fooled before and I still believe rookie Rondale Moore has the highest upside in Arizona’s offense outside of DeAndre Hopkins.

Seahawks 28, Colts 16: If you thought Carson Wentz wouldn’t target his running backs the way Philip Rivers did last season, you were wrong. Nyheim Hines (8) and Jonathan Taylor (7) finished first and second in targets and both had six receptions. Hines can be counted on to produce flex value in PPR formats on a weekly basis.

Chargers 20, Football Team 16: Rookie Larry Rountree clearly earned the backup spot to Austin Ekeler, which means eight-to-12 carries per game and some potential for goal-line opportunities (where he excelled in college).

Panthers 19, Jets 14: Corey Davis is an obvious start going forward.

Texans 37, Jaguars 21: The flukiest line of the week: Mark Ingram’s 85 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Houston won’t have many leads — let alone many big leads — for Ingram to receive this type of workload going forward.

Chiefs 33, Browns 29: Buy low on Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He produced an unspectacular day against Cleveland, but it was primarily because of game script. There’s a whole bunch of touches coming and the production will follow.

Dolphins 17, Patriots 16: Nelson Agholor had a solid day (72 yards on five receptions) and scored a touchdown, but Jakobi Meyers is the New England wide receiver you want going forward.

Saints 38, Packers 3: Juwan Johnson doesn’t deserve your attention yet, but Adam Trautman does. Johnson caught everyone’s attention with two touchdowns, but Trautman saw the 30% target share, which is impressive for a tight end. Target Trautman if he’s available in your league.

Broncos 27, Giants 13: Sell high on Melvin Gordon. The majority of Gordon’s production came on a 70-yard touchdown, and Javonte Williams ended the game with more carries, touches and snaps. That gap will only widen as the season progresses.

Rams 34, Bears 14: The trade for Sony Michel caused Darrell Henderson’s value to take a dip during draft season. Well, Michel didn’t see the field until the last five minutes of the blowout. Henderson has top-10 upside this season.

Raiders 33, Ravens 27 (OT): Latavius Murray will likely end up the primary option at running back for Baltimore. Murray was on the field when the game was on-the-line and scored a touchdown, after Ty’Son Williams got off to a hot start at the beginning of the game. Murray has RB2 upside in standard formats.

Follow me on Twitter @UTEddieBrown if you have questions throughout the week.

Here are my best bets for Week 2:

N.Y. GIANTS AT WASHINGTON

Obvious starters: Kenny Golladay (NYG), Antonio Gibson (WAS), Terry McLaurin (WAS), Logan Thomas (WAS), Football Team D/ST.

Who to start: Sterling Shepard (NYG) has produced at least six receptions in eight of his last 11 games — and received at least seven targets in seven of those 11 contests. The Giants D/ST deserves streaming consideration with Ryan Fitzpatrick on injured reserve.

Who to sit: It’s clear Saquon Barkley (NYG) is still dealing with limitations, so the only way I’m starting him with this difficult matchup is if I’m desperate. Evan Engram (NYG) is sidelined with a calf injury. Darius Slayton (NYG) remains a boom-or-bust option. I’m not trusting Daniel Jones (NYG) against this defense. Taylor Heinicke (WAS) only deserves streaming consideration in deeper leagues on a short week. J.D. McKissic (WAS) only received one target against the Chargers.

Sleeper: Kyle Rudolph (NYG) works if you’re streaming at tight end — he received five targets on a healthy 77% snap share against Denver last week.

CINCINNATI AT CHICAGO

Obvious starters: Joe Mixon (CIN), Tee Higgins (CIN), Ja’Marr Chase (CIN), Allen Robinson (CHI), David Montgomery (CHI).

Who to start: Joe Burrow (CIN) deserves streaming consideration against a secondary that just got torched by the Rams.

Who to sit: It looks like Tyler Boyd (CIN) is clearly the third option, which limits his upside significantly. Even the revenge angle doesn’t get me excited about Andy Dalton (CHI). Dalton is holding Darnell Mooney (CHI) back.

Sleeper: Five receptions (on seven targets) against the Rams is indicative of Cole Kmet (CHI) likely being the No. 2 option in the Bears’ pass attack.

HOUSTON AT CLEVELAND

Obvious starters: Brandin Cooks (HOU), Nick Chubb (CLE), Browns D/ST.

Who to start: Consistent usage and touchdown opportunities help Kareem Hunt (CLE) maintain flex value in most formats. Jarvis Landry (CLE) has WR2/WR3 upside as the top target in this pass attack against a bad secondary.

Who to sit: I’m fading Mark Ingram (HOU), David Johnson (HOU) and Phillip Lindsay (HOU) against a much better defense than they faced last week. Quarterback is too deep to stream Tyrod Taylor (HOU) this early in the season. Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE) remains sidelined with a knee injury. A run-heavy game script has me fading Baker Mayfield (CLE) this week. Austin Hooper’s (CLE) upside is cannibalized by two other talented tight ends (David Njoku and Harrison Bryant).

Sleeper: Donovan Peoples-Jones (CLE) has flex upside, especially if Anthony Schwartz is limited by a knee injury.

L.A. RAMS AT INDIANAPOLIS

Obvious starters: Matthew Stafford (LAR), Darrell Henderson Jr. (LAR), Robert Woods (LAR), Cooper Kupp (LAR), Rams D/ST, Jonathan Taylor (IND).

Who to start: Tyler Higbee (LAR) played 100% of the snaps and saw a 23% target share last week — he has TE1 upside if this continues. Nyheim Hines (IND) maintains flex value in PPR formats.

Who to sit: Sony Michel (LAR) remains touchdown-dependent. DeSean Jackson (LAR) remains boom-or-bust. Let’s see if the volume increases before we trust the talented Van Jefferson (LAR). I’m fading the Colts D/ST with a bange-up secondary. I’m also fading Carson Wentz (IND), Michael Pittman Jr. (IND) and Zach Pascal (IND) with such a difficult matchup.

Sleeper: Parris Campbell (IND) will likely avoid Jalen Ramsey, which makes him a potential flex flier if you need a lottery ticket.

BUFFALO AT MIAMI

Obvious starters: Josh Allen (BUF), Stefon Diggs (BUF), Bills D/ST.

Who to start: Cole Beasley (BUF) maintains WR3/flex value in PPR. Double-digit touches should help Myles Gaskin (MIA) maintain flex value. Will Fuller (MIA) makes his season debut after serving a suspension last week and deserves flex consideration on his big-play ability alone.

Who to sit: Pass-heavy tendencies have me fading Devin Singletary (BUF) and Zack Moss (BUF) — if Moss even suits up. The matchup makes Gabriel Davis (BUF) a touchdown-dependent option. The way the Bills secondary shut down Pittsburgh’s wideouts last week makes it hard to trust Tua Tagovailoa (MIA), DeVante Parker (MIA) or Jaylen Waddle (MIA). Mike Gesicki (MIA) only played 39% of the snaps last week. I’m fading the Dolphins D/ST against a high-powered offense looking to bounce back from a subpar performance.

Sleeper: Decent volume — he received eight targets against the Steelers — should give Emmanuel Sanders (BUF) WR3/flex upside this week.

NEW ENGLAND AT N.Y. JETS

Obvious starters: Damien Harris (NE), Patriots D/ST, Corey Davis (NYJ).

Who to start: A healthy target share (24% against Miami) gives Jakobi Meyers (NE) WR3/flex upside.

Who to sit: There are more established options at quarterback than Mac Jones (NE) and Zach Wilson (NYJ). Jonnu Smith (NE) and Hunter Henry (NE) are both touchdown-dependent lottery tickets at tight end. I don’t believe there’s enough volume in this pass offense to support Nelson Agholor (NE) on a consistent basis. There’s no reason to risk Michael Carter (NYJ), Tevin Coleman (NYJ) or Ty Johnson (NYJ) with this matchup. I’m fading Elijah Moore (NYJ) and Jamison Crowder (NYJ) — if he plays — against a difficult secondary.

Sleeper: James White (NE) maintains flex value in most PPR formats.

SAN FRANCISCO AT PHILADELPHIA

 

Obvious starters: George Kittle (SF), Deebo Samuel (SF), 49ers D/ST, Jalen Hurts (PHI), Miles Sanders (PHI), Dallas Goedert (PHI).

Who to start: Elijah Mitchell (SF) has RB2 upside as the projected top option in the 49ers rushing attack. DeVonta Smith (PHI) is clearly Hurts’ favorite target and faces a secondary that just lost Jason Verrett for the season.

Who to sit: Park Brandon Aiyuk (SF) on your bench until he we have more clarity. Trey Sermon (SF) warrants monitoring, but keep him holstered until we see what the 49ers backfield breakdown will be without Raheem Mostert. This is a tough matchup to trust Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) as a streaming option. Jalen Reagor (PHI) remains a boom-or-bust option. Zach Ertz (PHI) is touchdown-dependent if he plays.

Sleeper: Kenneth Gainwell (PHI) looks like head coach Nick Sirianni’s new Nyheim Hines, which could produce flex value in deeper PPR formats.

LAS VEGAS AT PITTSBURGH

Obvious starters: Darren Waller (LV), Najee Harris (PIT), Diontae Johnson (PIT), Steelers D/ST.

Who to start: JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) has WR3/flex potential in PPR. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) deserves streaming consideration at home — in seven career games, he’s thrown for at least 275 yards and multiple touchdowns in five of the last six.

Who to sit: It’s a difficult enough matchup without Josh Jacobs (LV) dealing with a toe and ankle injury. The volume isn’t high enough to trust either Henry Ruggs (LV) or Bryan Edwards (LV). It’s hard to recommend Derek Carr (LV) against a defense that kept Josh Allen grounded. Low target share makes Chase Claypool (PIT) touchdown-dependent. Eric Ebron (PIT) and Pat Freiermuth (PIT) are both touchdown-dependent.

Sleeper: High usage in the pass game and a banged-up Jacobs could make Kenyan Drake (LV) a solid flex option with upside this week.

NEW ORLEANS AT CAROLINA

Obvious starters: Alvin Kamara (NO), Saints D/ST, Christian McCaffrey (CAR), DJ Moore (CAR).

Who to start: The efficiency likely won’t last, but Jameis Winston (NO) is a borderline QB1 with Sean Payton calling plays and will be a weekly streaming candidate. Marquez Callaway (NO) has WR3/flex value with a more positive game script. Panthers D/ST is a solid streaming option at home if you believe Winston’s off-season Lasik surgery won’t keep him from making poor decisions forever.

Who to sit: Tony Jones Jr. (NO) is a touchdown-dependent option in standard formats. The volume isn’t high enough to trust Juwan Johnson (NO) yet. I’m not streaming Sam Darnold (CAR) against this defense with plenty of other options out there. Robby Anderson (CAR) and Terrace Marshall Jr. (CAR) are both boom-or-bust options with this matchup.

Sleeper: Adam Trautman (NO) will be a TE1 with a pass-oriented game script if last week’s target share (30 percent) continues.

DENVER AT JACKSONVILLE

Obvious starters: Noah Fant (DEN), Broncos D/ST.

Who to start: Melvin Gordon (DEN) and Javonte Williams (DEN) both deserve flex consideration. Courtland Sutton (DEN) has WR2 upside with Jerry Jeudy on injured reserve. The matchup earns Teddy Bridgewater (DEN) streaming consideration. Decent volume in the pass game helps James Robinson (JAC) maintain flex value in PPR formats. Laviska Shenault Jr. (JAC) deserves flex consideration in PPR after receiving 10 targets last week.

Who to sit: KJ Hamler (DEN) remains a boom-or-bust option. I like the volume for DJ Chark Jr. (JAC) and Marvin Jones (JAC), but I don’t like the matchup. Game script helped Trevor Lawrence (JAC) produce solid numbers last week, but this defense is much better than Houston. Carlos Hyde (JAC) remains touchdown-dependent.

Sleeper(s): Tim Patrick (DEN) has at least four receptions or a touchdown in 10 of his last 16 games. James O’Shaughnessy (JAC) had eight targets last week if you need a flier at tight end.

MINNESOTA AT ARIZONA

Obvious starters: Dalvin Cook (MIN), Justin Jefferson (MIN), Adam Thielen (MIN), Kyler Murray (ARI), DeAndre Hopkins (ARI), Chase Edmonds (ARI).

Who to start: A positive game script could make Kirk Cousins (MIN) a solid streaming candidate against an otherwise difficult defense.

Who to sit: James Conner (ARI) remains touchdown-dependent. I’m fading both the Cardinals D/ST and Vikings D/ST in what should be a high-scoring affair. A.J. Green (ARI) is too inefficient to trust at this point, while Christian Kirk (ARI) remains a boom-or-bust option until further notice.

Sleeper(s): Tyler Conklin (MIN) has received at least four targets in five straight games dating back to Week 13 of last season and out-snapped Chris Herndon 59-to-12 against Cincinnati. Rondale Moore (ARI) had a solid debut — 68 yards on four receptions — and my “Spidey Sense” says he finds the end zone this week.

ATLANTA AT TAMPA BAY

Obvious starters: Calvin Ridley (ATL), Kyle Pitts (ATL), Mike Evans (TB), Chris Godwin (TB), Tom Brady (TB), Rob Gronkowski (TB), Buccaneers D/ST.

Who to start: High usage keeps Mike Davis (ATL) in the flex conversation. Antonio Brown (TB) has at least five receptions or a touchdown in seven of nine games with the Buccaneers. Leonard Fournette (TB) maintains flex value due to his usage in the pass game.

Who to sit: If you’re hurting at quarterback, it makes sense to stream Matt Ryan (ATL) with the potentially high volume that comes with trying to keep up with the Bucs.

Sleeper: Despite being benched after an early fumble against Dallas, Ronald Jones (TB) is still a flex option with RB2 upside thanks to a potentially positive game script and a knack for bouncing back after a bad game.

DALLAS AT L.A. CHARGERS

Obvious starters: Ezekiel Elliott (DAL), Amari Cooper (DAL), CeeDee Lamb (DAL), Dak Prescott (DAL), Justin Herbert (LAC), Keenan Allen (LAC), Austin Ekeler (LAC).

Who to start: A healthy usage and positive game script should help Mike Williams (LAC) fulfill his WR2 potential. Jared Cook (LAC) has TE1 upside if his target share (17% against Washington) remains consistent.

Who to sit: Only use Blake Jarwin (DAL) or Dalton Schultz (DAL) if you’re desperate — both are touchdown-dependent. Tony Pollard (DAL) only has value in deeper PPR formats.

Sleeper: There should be fireworks in this one and Cedrick Wilson (DAL) will take on a much larger role with Michael Gallup sidelined.

TENNESSEE AT SEATTLE

Obvious starters: Derrick Henry (TEN), A.J. Brown (TEN), Russell Wilson (SEA), DK Metcalf (SEA), Tyler Lockett (SEA), Chris Carson (SEA).

Who to start: The matchup favors a bounce-back performance by Ryan Tannehill (TEN) and Julio Jones (TEN).

Who to sit: A committee at tight end could make Gerald Everett (SEA) touchdown-dependent.

Sleeper: Anthony Firkser (TEN) could emerge as the No. 3 option for Tannehill behind Brown and Jones, which would make him a solid streaming candidate with a projected positive game script.

KANSAS CITY AT BALTIMORE

Obvious starters: Patrick Mahomes (KC), Travis Kelce (KC), Tyreek Hill (KC), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC), Lamar Jackson (BAL), Mark Andrews (BAL).

Who to start: Target share (21% against the Raiders) and big-play ability help Marquise Brown (BAL) maintain WR3/flex value. Solid usage in a run-oriented offense locks Latavius Murray (BAL) in as a flex with RB2 upside in most standard formats. A robust 94 total yards on 12 touches and a touchdown in his debut gives Ty’Son Williams (BAL) flex value in PPR, especially with a premium matchup.

Who to sit: Mecole Hardman (KC) and Demarcus Robinson (KC) remain boom-or-bust options. I’m fading the Ravens D/ST against Mahomes.

Sleeper: Sammy Watkins (BAL) is a viable WR3 with WR2 upside against his former team.

DETROIT AT GREEN BAY

Obvious starters: TJ Hockenson (DET), D’Andre Swift (DET), Davante Adams (GB), Aaron Jones (GB), Aaron Rodgers (GB).

Who to start: An impressive 110 total yards on 17 touches and a touchdown helps support Jamaal Williams (DET) as a solid flex option against his former team. The Packers D/ST are a solid streaming option at home with a premium matchup after getting embarrassed by New Orleans last week.

Who to sit: Tyrell Williams (DET) remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Garbage time saved Jared Goff (DET) last week. Robert Tonyan (GB) and AJ Dillon (GB) remain touchdown-dependent.

Sleeper: Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET) has flex potential in deeper PPR formats with a very favorable game script on the horizon and Williams potentially sidelined.

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