Written By: Cory Stace | @corystace
Member of Ball State Sports Link
The way that week 2 started out on Thursday Night with Andy Reid’s ridiculous play call, all of us should have known that there was going to be a little more crazy to come.
The main thing is, it’s only week 2. Everyone can calm down about who is going to make the playoffs because in week 2, no one knows no matter how much of an expert they claim to be. Two teams right now that are 2-0 I would put money on not making the playoffs (Jets and Panthers). Two teams right now that are 0-2 I would put money that do make the playoffs (Seahawks and Colts).
The moral of the story is… no one knows anything after week 2. It’s a marathon not a sprint event though along the way there are definitely significant mile markers.
In fantasy football in week 2, some people lost their starting quarterback in Tony Romo and some owners got to put Le’veon Bell into the lineup for the first time this season just two days ago. There will always be happy and sad fantasy owners after every week.
Hopefully, after reading this week’s Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em, you will be a happy fantasy owner come Tuesday.
Here is my Week 3 Fantasy Football Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em:
Start ‘Em: Russell Wilson- For most people that have Russell Wilson, he probably is a consistent starter on your team. This week, he stays in Seattle for the home opener vs. a Chicago secondary that just doesn’t seem to get any better every single year.
Another very note worthy idea is that Marshawn Lynch sat out of Wednesday’s practice due to what is being called a calf injury. Although Marshawn is known to miss practices here and there and still be fine come Sunday, he may not look for as many carries on Sunday.
Russell Wilson has been in an offense that seems to be relying more on him this season with that big contract investment as he has threw 71 passes this season compared to only 33 carries for 114 yards for Marshawn. Wilson is only 5 rushing yards shy of tying Marshawn Lynch on the season… I could go on, but I think you get why Russell will put up big numbers this week.
Carson Palmer- Let me say this first, if Carson Palmer is still available on the waiver wire in your league, stop reading this and click the mouse as fast as you can to get Palmer on your team before it’s too late. Palmer is a fantasy gem that remains unowned in 22% of fantasy leagues. The vertical passing game is in full effect in Arizona. Roethlisberger put up over 30 points last week in a similar offensive scheme against San Francisco.
Andrew Luck- It seems silly for me to put Andrew Luck in a start ’em category because if you have him, you need to start him. Luck has struggled heavily so far this season which leaves fantasy owners in a questioning stage. Andrew Luck can be the #1 fantasy quarterback on any given week. He is facing the Titans, which the Colts have won 7 straight games against dating back to October 30, 2011… Andrew Luck is no Curtis Painter
Sit ‘Em: Colin Kaepernick- Kaepernick had a solid outing against the Steelers in week 2. Fifty-two yards rushing never hurts in fantasy circles when it comes to quarterbacks. Nonetheless, Kaepernick is inconsistent, and the Cardinals defense is for real. The Cardinals have held both Drew Brees and Jay Cutler in check with their first two outings.
I expect the 49ers to get back to what worked in week 1, RUNNING THE BALL. When the 49ers try to put too much pressure on the shoulders of Kaepernick, that is when they crumble. When Hyde is running the ball with success like he had in week 1, not many teams in the NFL can slow down the San Francisco offense.
On the other hand, when the 49ers try to rely on the passing attack of Kaepernick early and often, results like this past week’s 18-43 lose to the Steelers occur. The 49ers need to get back to running the ball, which means that Kaepernick will not get enough throws to put up solid numbers. Also, the Cardinals secondary is top notch.
Tyrod Taylor- Yes, he has been one of the fantasy breakouts so far this season coming in at 5th amongst quarterbacks after two weeks. But really, Tyrod Taylor was a 3rd string quarterback coming into the season for most teams. He is traveling on the road for the firs time this year vs. a Dolphins defense that will be motivated in their home opener after a shocking loss to Jacksonville.
Andy Dalton- Somehow the Ravens defense, which Dalton will be going up against this week, held Peyton Manning to 4.9 fantasy points in week 1 only to go on and give up 26.3 points to Derek Carr the next week. The Ravens will be fired up at home in their first division game vs. the Bengals. I expect this to be a grind it out, running style game where Dalton doesn’t throw often.
Start ‘Em: Dion Lewis- Lewis is the typical breakout running back week 1 that all fantasy owners thought would came back down to earth in week 2. LeGarrette Blount came back in week 2, and everyone thought that he would take on the shoulder of the load. Then we all forgot… this is a Bill Belichick coached team. He seems to have a new running back every week.
Belichick’s style makes me question whether I should even put Dion Lewis on this week’s Start ‘Em because for all the public knows, we could see Blount get all the carries this week. Nonetheless, Lewis makes the list, and I expect him to take on more of the starting role as the season goes on as he has had 120 total yards or more in both of his games this season.
The Pats showed that they also trust Dion Lewis with goal line work as he was given a carry on the 6-yard line that he took in for his first touchdown of the season. If he continues to see goaline work throughout the season and stays away from fumbling, Dion Lewis could become this season’s fantasy version of what Justin Forsett was last season.
Latavius Murray- Murray has a lot of ability. People saw that displayed even last year when he occasionally got in to run the football. This year through 2 weeks he has been involved in both the rushing and passing attack with 80 total yards or more in both weeks with a touchdown in week 2. He probably faces his worst rushing defense of the year so far in the Browns this week as well.
Joseph Randle- With 19 touches in both week 1 and 2 it’s safe to say that Randle has made himself the starting back in Dallas despite McFadden and Michael on his heels. With Tony Romo going down, expect the Cowboys to lean on the running game and their offensive line until Romo comes back. An Atlanta matchup this week is also favorable for Randle as they rank 32nd in allowed fantasy points to running backs.
Sit ‘Em: Bishop Sankey- Somehow Bishop Sankey has ranked in the top 10 in running backs so far in fantasy this season after the preseason that questioned whether he would even be the starter over David Cobb. He broke out in week 1 over the Tampa Bay defense that was not up to par, but was held to only 4.2 points in week 2.
The Colts have had one of the strangest and worst starts this season out of any team, but it is worth noting that they have won the last 13 games against AFC South opponents. If one area of the game stuck out as a bright spot for the Colts vs. the Jets, it was the run defense against Chris Ivory holding him to only 6 points on Monday.
As fantasy owners, you should learn to know that breakout stars one week like Sankey cannot be relied on every week. Sankey is the typical breakout star week 1 that still will fall back into his place amongst fantasy running backs as the season goes on.
DeAngelo Williams- Williams is still starting in 24% of leagues even with Le’veon Bell coming back after his two game suspension. Williams ranks #1 in fantasy running backs this season so far, but let’s be straight, there is no running back controversy or committee in Pittsburgh. Le’veon is the guy going forward and Williams finds himself in a handcuff role at most.
Mark Ingram- The Carolina Panthers run defense is for real as they maintain maybe the best front 7 in the league. Ingram hasn’t been as productive rushing the ball this season as many, including me, thought, but he has helped himself out with a strong receiving performance in week 1. The Panthers will key in on the ground game, and expect Spiller to take more of receiving role in the Saints backfield this week.
Start ‘Em: Donte Moncrief- Coming into the season, the Colts figured to have one of the best passing attacks in the league with multiple wide receivers to throw to. Moncrief had a very solid rookie season that went relatively unnoticed because of all the other rookie breakout star wide receivers from last year.
Coming around to week 3, it seems that the hype around the Colts passing offense was premature as both Phillip Dorsett (1st round draft pick) and Andre Johnson (Big free agent acquisition) have both been disappointing so far. Although this doesn’t seem great for the Colts overall, it has propelled Donte Moncrief into a #2 wide receiver role with Andrew Luck throwing to him.
Moncrief has built on his rookie season already with 168 yards and 2 touchdowns through 2 weeks. The Titans passing defense isn’t as stout as either the Jets or Bills and Andrew Luck has to get back to speed at some point this season. It seems that this may be the week that the passing attack is clicking for Indy, and expect many of the targets to be going Moncrief’s way.
James Jones- When James Jones got signed during the preseason by the Packers, we all knew what could be coming. Aaron Rodgers simply just finds Jones in the endzone. With 3 touchdowns through week 2 with only 5 receptions total, James Jones is a touchdown or bust situation. Monday Night Football is a stage that is set for a big passing attack for Rodgers and James Jones will be involved.
Stevie Johnson- Coming into this season, many liked the move from the 49ers to the Chargers for Stevie Johnson and he hasn’t disappointed. He already looks to have good chemistry with Phillip Rivers. With Xavier Rhodes, the top corner for Minnesota, covering Keenan Allen all day, Rivers may look to find Johnson more and add to his 2 touchdowns already this year.
Sit ‘Em: Torrey Smith- From 1.1 points in week 1 to 20 points in week 2, Torrey Smith is truly a boom or bust potential fantasy wide out with his big play ability. He looked like he had more connection with Kaepernick in week 2 although they did play Pittsburgh who doesn’t have a true shut down corner on the outside to guard a #1 target.
Arizona does have a shut down corner on the outside named Patrick Peterson. Peterson will follow Smith around the field, and I expect Smith to struggle using his speed to get open as Peterson is one of the fastest corners in the game.
Also, I mentioned above with Kaepernick’s sit ’em tag that the 49ers should look to run the ball more with Carlos Hyde after they had success in the win against Minnesota in week 1. This game should be more of a grinder, and expect Smith to be held in check closer to his week 1 numbers with Patrick Peterson across from him.
Travis Benjamin- Benjamin is a true deep threat in Cleveland. He spreads the defense well with his speed, but one thing will be missing for Benjamin in this week’s game… JOHNNY MANZIEL! All of Benjamin’s big plays have come from the arm of Manziel. McCown is getting the start this week for Cleveland, and Benjamin does only have 6 receptions on the year. He relies on the deep ball and McCown may not be throwing too many this week.
Jordan Matthews- Have you ever heard of garbage time? Matthews benefitted a whole lot from garbage time last week as the Eagles offense was terrible for most of the game until the last drive when the Cowboys had the game in hand. Matthews had most of his yards and a 6 yard touchdown on that drive that made him look relevant. This week he goes up against Darrelle Revis who will take Matthews out of the game plan.
Start ‘Em- Jordan Reed- Still unowned in 40% of leagues, Reed seems like he is the official starting tight end for Washington after there were questions last year between him and Niles Paul. Paul is now gone and Jordan Reed is a new favorite weapon for both this offense and Kirk Cousins.
Washington has focused on running the ball so far this season leading the league in rushing yards with Matt Jones and Alfred Morris, but Jordan Reed has been a nice piece both blocking and on play action passes. Reed has had good chemistry with Cousins already having 17 targets on the year for the Redskins in the passing game.
He scored a touchdown in week 1, but unlike most tight ends in fantasy, Reed still put up a solid 8.2 points in week 2 on 82 receiving yards with no touchdowns. It’s rare that someone can rely on a tight end for receiving yards for points. Reed may develop into one of those guys. Thursday’s matchup vs. the Giants is favorable as they have allowed the 30th most fantasy points to tight ends this year.
Jared Cook- If you can’t tell by my talk about Jordan Reed, I really like tight ends that a fantasy owner doesn’t have to rely on touchdowns for production. The Rams offense doesn’t have much of a passing attack, but the attack they do have comes from Cook who has lead them in targets, receiving yards, and catches both weeks this season. He also has a favorable matchup vs. Pittsburgh.
Sit ‘Em: Tyler Eifert- Out of no where, Eifert blew up in week 1 posting 9 catches, 104 yards with 2 touchdowns. He came back to earth more in week 2 with only 49 receiving yards along with a touchdown. Eifert seems to have put it all together for the first time in his career through weeks 1 and 2, but the fun fantasy outrageous numbers ends this week.
The Ravens defense simply knows how to stop opposing tight ends really no matter who they play. C.J. Mosley likely will get the nod to cover Eifert on plays this week, and he is one of the best linebackers in the league already in his 2nd year at staying with tight ends out in space.
The matchup doesn’t look favorable for Eifert, and his storied success can’t continue at this rate all season, right? I expect this game to be more of grind instead of a passing attack through the air with Andy Dalton.
Jason Witten- First of all, he is already banged up this week struggling with both knee and ankle injuries although he was able to take part in practice on Wednesday. Tony Romo going down for Dallas limits the passing offense for a while, and I expect Dallas to transition into the run team that they were last year, or at least try. Less targets headed to Witten with less experience at QB and less confidence in passing.
Start ‘Em: Justin Tucker- It’s simple in fantasy with kickers. Look at the matchup and look at the accuracy of the kicker. A Cincy vs. Baltimore game always seems to result in a lot of field goal attempts. Justin Tucker is a perfect 6 for 6 this season with 4 mad extra points as well. He is one of the best fantasy kickers around, and I will continue to rely on him any given week.
Sit ‘Em: Adam Vinatieri- I can’t believe a HOF kicker is on my sit ’em this week, but Adam Vinatieri has gone 0 for 2 this season so far with -1 points on the season. Until Vinatieri proves that age hasn’t caught up to him, I would look elsewhere. The Colts also may experiment with more 2-point conversions given that one of Vinatieri’s misses came from 29 yards away last week.
Start ‘Em: Panthers D/St- Drew Brees’ play on the road is not a myth. Brees through his career especially the last few years has simply not played up to par on the road compared to in the Dome in New Orleans.
It’s not just about Brees, but also the Panthers defense takes the #1 target out of the game, which would mean Brees has to throw elsewhere besides Cooks. I think the Panthers force enough turnovers to produce solid fantasy numbers this week at home.
Sit ‘Em: Cowboys D/St- The Cowboys have played well ranking 4th amongst fantasy defenses so far this year, but this week going up against an Atlanta offense that has been performing well, the Cowboys defense looks less appealing. Matt Ryan has been airing the ball out with success. Also, they have done a better job this year of limiting sacks.