Analysis Paralysis: Week 2 Start & Sit
As it always is, that was one strange first week of the season, fantasy-wise. There were almost as many tight ends with double-digit fantasy points as there were running backs. Terrelle Pryor and Sam Bradford outscored Tom Brady and Cam Newton. Leonard Hankerson and Julian Edelman outscored Andre Johnson and Julio Jones. The Chiefs finished as this week’s best defense/special teams unit. The only strange thing that didn’t happen was another huge game from Kevin Ogletree.
Moving into Week 2 (note: Anthony Olivetti has a great Week 1 recap here), the key in making start/sit decisions will hinge on balancing a correct reaction and an overreaction. You’ll have already made your decision on whether or not Julius Thomas and Julian Edelman are for real, but what about guys you already own like Jared Cook and Anquan Boldin? Was last week a sign of what’s to come or just a one-week Ogletree? I don’t have my Magic-8 Ball handy right now so I’ll have to get back to you on that, but I can try to not overreact and offer some start/sit calls for Week 2.
Just like last week, let’s take a look at one player per position who I think is set up for a big weekend and one player per position who I’m a little worried about this weekend (note: I have a few general rules I try to follow in my start/sit thought process that you can see in last week’s column):
12-Pack of Goodness
(12 players who are primed to outplay their normal value this weekend)
Michael Vick: Vick looked great in Chip Kelly’s new offense against the Redskins last week on his way to finishing as the fourth-best quarterback last week with 25 fantasy points. This week, he gets a home game against a defense that just made Matt Schaub look like Tom Brady.
Terrelle Pryor: Coming into Week 2, Pryor is currently the NFL's second-leading rusher behind LeSean McCoy. He may not be a good real-life quarterback, but those rushing yards come in handy for fantasy since they set a nice floor (10 points just from rushing yards last week) in case he struggles passing the ball. It's hard not to like Pryor as a high-end QB2 (and maybe even low-end QB1) against Jacksonville this week.
DeAngelo Williams: Williams had a promising start to the season as he averaged five yards per carry on 17 carries (which is another promising sign). I’m not the biggest Williams fan in the world, but Buffalo can be run on (as evidenced by Shane Vereen last week) and Williams offers more of a guarantee of carries than quite a few running backs at this point.
Stevan Ridley: He looked absolutely horrible in putting the rock on the ground twice in the first half, but the Patriots literally have no one else to turn to. They're not going to make LaGarrette Blount or Leon Washington their feature back, so fumble-itis or not, I'd expect Ridley to get a workhorse amount of carries in this game.
Eddie Lacy: LeSean McCoy he is not, but Lacy looked pretty good against a tough 49ers run defense last week and gets to play a Redskins defense that McCoy ran all over this week. I'd like to see him get a little bit more involved in the passing game, but a 31-yard reception didn't hurt his cause last week and should help the coaching staff (and Aaron Rodgers) gain some confidence in his pass-catching ability.
Julian Edelman: Coming off a 19-point fantasy game in which he caught seven passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns, Edelman looks primed for a big game in Week 2. Danny Amendola may not play Thursday night and Shane Vereen is now out for at least eight weeks. With the Patriots lack of current offensive options, Edelman has a very good chance to see double-digit targets this Thursday night.
Rod Streater: I don't think Streater is a great receiver by any stretch (and you've already seen my thoughts on Pryor), but usage is often more important than talent in fantasy football. Coming off a week in which he led the Raiders in targets with eight (and even got to run the ball once), I think Streater could be a sneaky play this week against the Jaguars.
Emmanuel Sanders: I'm a little surprised that Sanders had almost twice as many targets as Antonio Brown last week (12 to 7), but it looks like Sanders could actually provide some value this year -- especially in PPR leagues this year. While he has a tough matchup against Cincinnati this week, the targets that Sanders got last week were very promising for his future prospects. Remember: usage over talent.
Jared Cook: Cook’s monster game last week currently has him leading all tight ends in fantasy points (24 in standard leagues). There are obvious reasons to be skeptical, but Cook’s 10 targets were the third-most of any tight end last weekend and are a promising sign for his usage going forward. Jimmy Graham managed to find the end zone against Atlanta last week and while Cook is no Graham, I think he’ll manage to find his way in as well.
Jordan Cameron: I feel like I'm covering the two big preseason tight end sleepers here, but they both produced last week and were both in the Top Three for tight end targets. Julius Thomas absolutely abused the Ravens last week, and I see no reason why Cameron can't do the same this week.
Baltimore D/ST: It’s tough to feel very confident about a unit that just gave up 49 points last week, but the Ravens should be able to redeem themselves this weekend. They’re playing their home opener after a Super Bowl season and they get to go up against a guy who is tied for the league-lead in interceptions in Brandon Weeden.
Philadelphia D/ST: I realize Philip Rivers showed a little of his old self last week, but then the world returned to normal and he looked like the quarterback we've seen for the past two seasons. Coming off a week in which they put up 10 fantasy points against a more potent Redskins offense, I like the Eagles to exceed that total at home against the Chargers.
6-Pack of Sorrow
(Six players you should think about benching if you have better options)
Tom Brady: This could be a tough week for Tom Brady. With Danny Amendola’s status very much up in the air, it’s very possible Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins will be his best receivers going into Thursday night. Combine that with the fact that the Jets typically give Brady some trouble, I’d seriously consider benching Brady this week if there is someone else you can replace him with.
Lamar Miller: Miller was generally drafted as a RB2/RB3, but he sure didn’t perform like one in gaining a barely-there three yards on 10 carries. Daniel Thomas didn’t do much better (14 yards on eight carries), but he did manage to find the end zone. While I Miller will mostly likely take over in Miami eventually, he hasn’t done it yet and is just too risky to start if you have other decent options.
Joique Bell: I like Bell if you're in a deeper league, but I don't think we can expect him to score two touchdowns on six carries every week. While he still has some value as a flex play in PPR leagues, he has a tough matchup against Arizona this week, and I'd rather find other options.
Eric Decker: Coming off a game in which he only caught two passes for 32 yards, it’d hard to trust Decker this week. He was still targeted seven times (so that’s a good sign), but Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, and Julius Thomas stole the show for the Broncos passing game. I wouldn’t sell on Decker since you never want to sell low, but I’d bench him this weekend if you have a better option.
Kyle Rudolph: I know he had some big weeks last year, but I think It’s also time to look at some things that should scare us away from Kyle Rudolph. In half of the games he played in last season, he had somewhere between 0-2 points. He only had two catches for 27 yards on four targets last week. And he has Christian Ponder throwing to him! As I said above, there were 12 tight ends who scored in double-digit points (and there were 32 who had more points than Rudolph). I’d feel much safer using one of them.
Giants D/ST: I normally don’t mind starting the Giants defense (depending on the matchup) just because they’ll at least give me some points for sacks, but I’m staying away this week. While I don’t think Peyton is going to throw seven touchdowns again, I don’t really think three or four is out of the question.
Your Questions, My Answers
@Connor_Maloney: I don't know if I'm crazy for asking but Kaep vs Seattle or Pryor vs Jacksonville
Nick: After Pryor's Week 1, it's not crazy (especially with Colin Kaepernick's matchup), but I'd still have a really hard time sitting Kaepernick at all this year. I understand the line of thinking, but I think Pryor just has too much bust potential to sit Kaepernick for him.
@shawnhannington: what to do with D Wilson? B pierce is on my bench, or do I look on the ww?
Nick: I think you have to be patient with Wilson and not sell low in terms of long-term outlook. As you saw above, I'd sit him this week if I could afford to, but I think he's less risky than Bernard Pierce and definitely offers a higher ceiling this week. I'd roll the dice on him in that situation.
@RgTc409: start Cameron or Daniels this week at TE standard league.
Nick: Both had a big week, but Cameron really stuck out for me last week in leading all tight ends with 13 targets. Weeden is horrible, but that really doesn't matter as long as he keeps looking Cameron's way a lot.
@SDoreson: Non-PPR. If I get the winning bid on Edelman I'm starting him over Givens, right?
Nick: Ya, I think you have to. Chris Givens has that big-play potential, but I think Edelman is going to see the ball a lot this week. I'd do this even if Amendola plays this week, and it solidifies the decision even more for me if he doesn't.
@TailGateFuel: Pick 3 to play this week: Spiller v Panthers / Forte v Vikes / Bush v Cards / SJax v Rams.
Nick: Wow. Four really good options. I think C.J. Spiller and Reggie Bush are definites for me and then it comes down to Matt Forte vs. Steven Jackson. If it's a PPR league, I might think about Forte, but I think I'd still land on Jackson either way. This will be a revenge game for him against the Rams and I think he'll be running hard.
Have any other start/sit questions? Throw them in the comments section below and I'll check back and answer throughout the week.