Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fantasy Football Start/Sit For Week 2

James Edwards

And football is finally back! After a crazy week 1 of the season I have to say I cannot be more excited about what we have ahead. That being said, week 1 left a lot of fantasy questions that need answering. Quite a few hyped players bombed spectacularly and some broke out in ways no one saw coming. This begs the question of which ones do you start? The proven fantasy stud who had a rough outing or the promising young fella who exploded onto the scene out of nowhere. Here are a few of my suggestions on good moves that should help you get a win for week 2. Before I begin, let me remind you that the fantasy proverb “always start your studs” is a very solid strategy to live by. I would rather watch my star struggle in my lineup than to see him have an amazing game while sitting uselessly on my bench. Only bench a player if you have someone that you trust as a replacement. That being said, let’s get on with the column!

Quarter Backs to Start

Michael Vick: Is it too late to hop on the Eagletrain? If not then count me in! Aside from the fumble/incomplete pass on the first drive, Vick looked incredible on Monday night. He was decisive in the pocket and made the Redskin’s pass rush look like they were running through mud. Until he proves different, I firmly believe that he has returned to fantasy stud status.

Robert Griffin III: It was clear to everyone watching that Griffin had a lot of rust to shake off. By the second half he looked far more like the QB we were expecting than the scrub that showed up in the first half. Look for him to bounce back against a Packer defense that just gave up over 400 yards to another mobile QB with a cannon arm.

Carson Palmer: I am not sure who is happier, Larry Fitzgerald to have a QB who can actually throw, or Carson Palmer to have WRs that can actually catch. Palmer will never be considered an elite QB option again but if you need someone you can pencil in for 300 yards 2 TDs and an INT per game then he is your man.

Sam Bradford: Amidst all the insanity of week 1 football, Bradford quietly had a very efficient game. 300 yards 2 TDs and an INT are not exactly world beating numbers but they are very solid. He should be a reliable starter in deeper leagues, he probably will not win your week for you, but he will not lose it for you either.

EJ Manuel: While Manuel did not have an amazing stat line on Sunday he has a good matchup this coming week against the Panther’s secondary. Should approach 300 yards and a couple TDs.

Quarter Backs to Sit

Tony Romo: Romo is currently nursing a bruised ribcage which will still be stinging on Sunday. The Chiefs are not an elite defense but they did just hold a professional football team to 2 points total for a whole game. Injured Romo is almost always a lock for at least 2 INTs.

Joe Flacco: Flacco’s second best WR is injured and his most talented WR is unreliable at his best. Flacco will struggle to put up elite numbers against a talented Brown’s secondary.

Philip Rivers: Rivers is coming off a strong game but it is far more likely that his performance against the Texans is the exception this season, not the rule. Rivers remains a QB with a weak arm and unreliable WRs and RBs. Do not waste a week on hoping that he has returned to his previous elite form.

Russell Wilson: The 49rs have a quick and supremely talented defense. They are smarting from the massive beatdown the Seahawks put on them last year and are hungry for payback. I like Wilson and I think he is a top 15 QB, but this is not the week to start him.

Ben Roethlisberger: The Steelers are going to have a very bad start to the season. With no appreciable running game, defenses can focus on covering Pittsburgh’s not so elite WRs and on putting pressure on Big Ben. The Steelers are going to need to throw early and often which increases the likelihood of Roethlisberger throwing plenty of INTs this season.

Running Backs to Start

Steven Jackson: While a matchup against Ram’s impressive run defense would seem to indicate a rough night for Steven Jackson it is important to remember a few important facts. The Falcons will be playing with a hobbled Roddy White and that means more touches for the rest of their skill players. Jackson had an impressive performance against the Saints averaging 7.0 YPC and 9.0 YPR. The only knock against him was no touchdowns but the Falcons use their running backs in the red zone more than most teams in the NFL. Expect a TD for Jackson as he looks to get a measure of revenge against the team that refused to offer him a lucrative extension after last season.

Eddie Lacy: Lacy had a solid if unimpressive debut against the 49rs who remain one of the league’s elite defenses against the run. Despite the talent against him he still managed 41 yards and a TD on the run and more importantly 31 yards in the passing game. His next opponent, the Redskins, just gave up 263 yards on the ground to the Eagles. Lacy has the potential to be an elite running back in the NFL and this game has massive breakout potential for him.

Alfred Morris: Ouch. If you spend a first round pick in your draft on the promising second year RB for the Redskins then Monday was not a good day for you. 12 carries for 45 yards is not the kind of performance expected from an elite level RB. Expect him to come out next Sunday with a massive chip on his shoulder looking to prove that he is not a one year wonder. The Packers’ have a decent defense against the run but they struggle mightily against mobile QBs. Look for him to see several wide open lanes when the Packers focus on Robert Griffin.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Looking back I do not believe there was a single thing that went well with the Jaguars’ offense on Sunday. The only positive the Jags can take from the game is that they will have a different QB leading them next week. This is not to say that Chad Henne is a world beater but he actually can complete a pass from time to time and force defenses to stay honest. Also, the Raiders’ defense is just about the NFL’s equivalent to the NBA’s D League. Any team that allows Vick Ballard to run for 63 yards on 12 carries will part in front of MJD like the Red Sea.

DeMarco Murray: While Murray has been fantasy football Kryptonite for me the past two season I cannot deny his effectiveness in his first game and the favorable matchup he has against the Colts. He is especially valuable in PPR formats with 10 targets and 8 receptions last week. As long as he remains healthy he is a virtual lock for 100 total yards and a TD.

Running Backs to Sit

Stevan Ridley: I wonder if Bill Belichick’s doghouse is still warm from when Wes Welker was its main tenant. While Shane Vereen will not play until after week 10 with a broken wrist, this does not mean that Ridley will see the light of day anytime soon. The Patriots are playing the soap opera formerly known as the Jets on Thursday and the game will likely be out of reach very quickly. If it was anywhere approaching a close matchup I could see Belichick begrudgingly starting Ridley but he is far more likely to sit the young RB at least for the first half to make a point. I like Ridley a lot and I believe he will have a good year, but week 2 is not where he begins his redemption project.

Rashard Mendenhall: Ugh, is he still a starting RB in the NFL? Why? Mendenhall is a plodding run between the tackles style RB who unfortunately is lining up behind an offensive line that is barely an upgrade over a wet paper towel. Pencil him in for 15 carries and maybe 45 yds.

Chris Johnson: This happens to me every year, every single season I think Johnson rebounds and reminds us about why he was the league’s most terrifying RB for a year. And dammit, I think he does it this year, but not this week. The Texans have a smothering running defense and the Titan’s offensive line will need a few more games to gel as a unit and give Johnson the holes he needs to show off his game breaking speed.

Marshawn Lynch: Lynch has been a model of consistency the past few seasons, you could just about set your watch for 80 to 100 yards and a TD. This year just feels different though, he struggled mightily against the Panthers’ revamped front seven to a subpar 43 yards on 17 carries. Against an even more intimidating run defense in the 49rs I do not see Lynch having a breakout game.

Any Pittsburgh RB: Pittsburgh has caught precisely 0 lucky breaks this season. Their RB of the future is out for the foreseeable future and their RB of desperation is now out for the season along with their most talented offensive line player. It is never a good sign when a team resigns a RB who they cut just a week before. The Steelers should probably start shutting their eyes and praying that the season ends before the football gods take any more of their players.

Wide Receivers to Start

Stevie Johnson: Johnson had a not so stellar game against the Patriots with 39 yards and a TD but he was tied for the most targets from EJ Manuel. The Panthers have one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL but they smartly decided to pair that with one of the absolute worst defensive backfields in the league. Johnson will have plenty of opportunities to show his talent.

Kenbrell Thompkins: Thompkins would not have made this list with a healthy Danny Amendola but reports say that the oft injured WR will not play on Thursday. This is a second chance from heaven for Thompkins who struggled in his first game and needs a solid performance to prove his worth in the Patriot’s offense. It is important to remember that Tom Brady targeted him 14 times on Sunday. 14 targets again from Brady will result in a very good day for Thompkins if he can live up to his hype.

Steve Smith: As the top WR on a team with pretty much no other WR worth targeting means that Smith will see the ball plenty of times next week against the Bills. Also, the Bills will still be without their best cover cornerback in Stephon Gilmore, and Jairus Byrd will be playing hurt if he even suits up. Smith has too much talent to not take advantage of such a depleted secondary.

Dwayne Bowe: Bowe received a lot of hype coming into this season as this is the first time in a long while that he is playing with a QB that really belongs in the NFL. He did not live up to that hype against the Jaguars but I fully expect him to rebound in fine form against a Cowboy’s defense that was absolutely destroyed by Giant’s WRs.

Pierre Garcon: Every aspect of the Redskins offense struggled to get in gear to start this season, but once they regained control it was Garcon that Robert Griffin targeted. Even though he did not score a TD last game, Garcon is Griffin’s favorite target and with his elite speed the TDs will come.

Wide Receivers to Sit

Roddy White: White is playing while hobbled by a high ankle sprain and will not perform at an elite level for another few weeks as it recuperates. The Falcons have too many other elite receiving options to frequently target an injured WR. Give him a few weeks and he will return to form.

Chris Givens: Givens entered the season hyped as the Ram’s number one receiving option. After one game it is clear that designation belongs to someone else. He has the potential to emerge as a reliable WR but for now he belongs on your bench not in your lineup.

Greg Jennings: I wonder if he regrets bad mouthing Aaron Rodgers now that he has the immortal Christian Ponder throwing to him. The Vikings are a run first, run second, and most likely run third offense and Jennings is a shell of his former self.

Mike Wallace: Today on brilliant ideas from diva WRs. It is definitely a great idea to complain publicly about my usage after the first game of the season. That will absolutely get me the targets and respect I deserve instead of making everyone in the locker room hate me even more.

Julian Edelman: I know he is a sexy pick up for most people after a truly incredible first game. I just do not see him repeating that performance again this season. With Amendola out and Thompkins struggling, expect defenses to focus more on him and he just does not have the talent or speed to survive in heavy coverage.

Tight Ends to Start

Jordan Cameron: Not only is he the best receiving option for the Browns, he is their Only receiving option. Until Josh Gordon returns from suspension the Browns have no one else that Brandon Wheedon can trust in the passing game and Cameron’s targets will reflect this. He should remain a viable starting option at TE through the whole season.

Julius Thomas: Wow, I thought Thomas would be a respectable TE this season but I did not see a 110 yard 2 TD performance. He has emerged as one of Manning’s favorite targets and can be started with confidence.

Jared Cook: Cook has always been a player so full of talent but never living up to it. It looks like he will quickly grow past that stigma in Saint Louis. With 141 receiving yards and 2 TDs (almost 3 except for a godlike defensive play from Honey Badger), he is Bradford’s favorite receiver and will be an elite TE this week and every week.

Martellus Bennett: I was just about as surprised as everyone else, apparently Jay Cutler does realize that the Bears have more receivers than Brandon Marshall. At 6’5 and with elite speed for a TE, Bennett will get plenty of looks in the red zone which is as much as can be hoped for with most TE options.

Brandon Myers: Without the abysmal drop in front of the end zone and the fumble, we might just be talking about the reemergence of Dallas Clark this week. Denver is hurting in the middle without Von Miller in the pass rush and Elvis Dumervil at LB. This leaves plenty of room for TEs to exploit and the Giants will take full advantage.

Tight Ends to Sit

Zach Sudfeld: I wonder if there is room in Belichick’s doghouse for Ridley and Sudfeld’s massive 6’7 frame. Reports suggest that Rob Gronkowski might suit up against the Jets and after Sudfeld’s no show in Buffalo I cannot see him getting anything approaching reliable targets on Thursday.

Owen Daniels: This is not a knock against Daniels’ talent. I think he is a solid TE but he is not going to repeat his stellar week 1 performance. Expect the Texans to get back to their roots as a run first team this week which hurts the fantasy value of all their receivers.

Kyle Rudolph: Rudolph led the Vikings in red zone targets last season and made the most of his targets. Now if only they could actually get to the red zone this season.

Fred Davis: Davis is finally healthy and could prove to be a good fantasy add for later in the season. However, it is clear he does not have the necessary chemistry with Robert Griffin yet. He will not get the targets required to make him a viable fantasy starter.

Jermichael Finley: Yeah yeah I know he had a good game against the 49rs but I am unwilling to trust Finley just yet. It is far more likely that he disappears into dropped pass obscurity than he emerges as an elite TE option for the year.

As I said before, this list is not perfect. Most of the players represented here are very talented but suffering from a bad matchup or poor coaching. The most important thing from every week is to put out a starting group that you are confident in. If you like one of my sits over one of my suggested starts then absolutely go for it, and if it works then gloat and let me know about it. Remember to have fun and good luck in week 2 everyone!

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