Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 2
Well, well, well, you made it through Week 1. Congratulations! I know it feels great to have nailed your first week and stare at your perfect record, just as it feels awful to stare down injuries and dud performances from your high-round picks that led to a loss. Well, shake it off! Week 2 is just around the corner and we need to be ready.
I realize catering to all formats is impossible. I’ll do my best to provide context as I go. I’ll use players that I’m higher or lower on against the consensus within a reasonable range such as QB5-QB20, RB12-RB40, WR20-WR50 and TE5-TE20. Let’s get to it.
Deshaun Watson (HOU at TEN): Mariano Rank: 2, ECR: 6
The Patriots did their thing in taking away DeAndre Hopkins and pressuring Watson into poor decisions behind a subpar offensive line that saw right tackle Seantrel Henderson suffer what’s reportedly a season-ending broken ankle. Yikes.
But with Aaron Rodgers facing Minnesota and Tom Brady up against Jacksonville, I’ve got Watson as my No. 2 with that rushing floor in a much better matchup. The Titans’ line should do well against Lamar Miller and the traditional run game, but their secondary surrendered a 4-106-2 line to Kenny Stills and I think a frustrated Hopkins kicks off his ’18 campaign with power here.
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF vs. DET): MR: 6, ECR: 12
Garoppolo was grounded by a premier Minnesota defense in Week 1, throwing three picks and completing only 15-of-33 passes. But that’s the past, as now Jimmy G and the 49ers get to play on their home field against a Lions defense that just got taken to the cleaners by a rookie making his NFL debut. This game will be why you drafted him late as your starting QB. Hopefully, Marquise Goodwin is fine and can join Pierre Garcon, George Kittle, and Dante Pettis for a TD party.
Aaron Rodgers (GB vs. MIN): MR: 14, ECR: 4
I realize that injury news and practice updates throughout the year may alter how we view Rodgers, but while everyone is wrapped up in the mystique of his miraculous comeback, I see a guy on one leg heading into a matchup with a tough divisional opponent that ran him into the ground last season. You didn’t draft Rodgers to ever bench him, but I’d bench him in 10- and 12-teamers.
Others I’m lower on: Patrick Mahomes (at PIT): MR: 12, ECR: 8
Joe Mixon (CIN vs. BAL): MR: 9, ECR: 12
I’m already wishing that I drafted more Joe Mixon. I’m okay “overreacting” based on one week, even one against the Colts defense, when someone puts up 147 total yards on 21 touches (17 carries, four catches). Bengals coach Marvin Lewis praised Mixon and said he’d be comfortable with around 25 touches per game for the breakout RB. The Ravens are much better than the Colts, but I’m comfortable following the volume into the top-10.
Bilal Powell (NYJ vs. MIA): MR: 29, ECR: 34
Isaiah Crowell stole the Week 1 show in the Jets backfield with his 62-yard TD, but Powell and Crowell both played on 40% of snaps (24 each) while Trenton Cannon checked in for 20% with the game well in hand. Powell quietly averaged five yards per carry on his 12 totes. I get wanting to avoid this situation or go with the bigger back in Crow, but I believe Powell is more talented.
Royce Freeman (DEN vs. OAK): MR: 26, ECR: 21
Perhaps most are envisioning the Broncos mercilessly stomping on their division rival with Freeman racking up the carries to seal the deal, but I see even murkier waters for Freeman now. Yes, he’s very talented, but so is Phillip Lindsay and HC Vance Joseph isn’t letting Devontae Booker go away. Freeman’s 29 snaps led Lindsay’s 26 and Booker’s 19, but he saw zero targets (Lindsay got three and Booker had two) and his ascension will likely take time.
Carlos Hyde (CLE at NO): MR: 24, ECR: 20
I just don’t see the Browns as able to run the ball often enough to give Hyde square RB2 value here. I love Tyrod and the passing game’s chances of generating points, but this feels more like a Duke Johnson game than Hyde. The two nearly split snaps against PIT (47 for Hyde, 41 for Johnson) in Week 1, but Johnson predictably out-targeted Hyde with six looks to two.
Kerryon Johnson (DET at SF): MR: 47, ECR: 37
I was +10 on him in Week 1 and it appears the same is true for Week 2. Detroit was put on its buns by the Jets in an embarrassing Monday night rout and their defensive shortcomings may put this squad in Theo Riddick catch-up mode early. The LeGarrette Blount injury does open some lanes for Johnson to work, but he’s not yet in Flex territory for me until they start folding him into their hurry-up packages.
Nelson Agholor (PHI at TB): MR: 19, ECR: 24
Agholor’s Week 1 8-33-0 stat line quickly became a PPR meme, but the facts are that the Eagles targeted him 10 times with Alshon Jeffery out. They even used him on an end-around that went for 16 yards. The Buccaneers secondary is decidedly not good even if Brent Grimes returns to action, and Agholor should have a great chance at dancing in the end zone here. Those in two-WR leagues should find a way to shoehorn Agholor into your starting lineup.
Pierre Garcon (SF vs. DET): MR: 35, ECR: 40
Garcon falls into my WR3 territory with a solid matchup against the Lions at home. In a perfect world, he wouldn’t line up most often across from Darius Slay, but his size should help him convert more than 2-of-6 targets into catches (that’s what happened against MIN in Week 1). I know George Kittle and Dante Pettis are more exciting commodities, but Garcon should lead SF WRs in snaps throughout a game where San Fran’s implied Vegas total is nearing a healthy 27.
Sammy Watkins (KC at PIT): MR: 55, ECR: 43
Watkins is another repeat customer here after a successful fade in Week 1, as he was only able to turn a 91% snap count and five targets into a paltry 3-21-0 line. Now, Tyreek Hill isn’t going to gobble up all of the yardage for himself every week, just most of them! Despite leading KC’s skill positions in snaps, Watkins is the fourth option behind Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt. I know he’ll have his moments, but I’d rather play the Mike Williams and Mohamed Sanu’s of the world for now.
Geronimo Allison (GB vs. MIN): MR: 61, ECR: 51
I don’t think I’ve ever written a bad word about Allison, so this is weird. Alas, his matchup is awful even without the aforementioned hobbled Aaron Rodgers fighting an uphill battle against Minnesota’s front seven. Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes are very good DBs — I think Randall Cobb against slot man Mike Hughes is the only solid matchup — and there are simply healthier ranges of outcomes to chase.
Jack Doyle (IND at WAS): MR: 8, ECR: 11
We talked up Doyle and Indy’s preference for the intermediate passing routes during the preseason, and the Frank Reich era did not dissuade that notion in the regular season. Doyle’s 10 targets trailed only T.Y. Hilton’s 11 and outpaced fellow TE standout Eric Ebron’s five looks. I know he lost a fumble, but Doyle’s a clear focal point for Andrew Luck in an offense that doesn’t have a running game right now.
Jonnu Smith (TEN vs. HOU): MR: 16, ECR: 20
Smith was a third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and boasts stellar athleticism — his 4.62 40-yard dash, 106.9 speed score, 130 burst score and 10.18 catch radius are all in the 80th percentile or higher for a tight end per PlayerProfiler. Delanie Walker is lost for the season after suffering a gruesome ankle injury in the opener and the Texans just got wasted by Rob Gronkowski in their own Week 1 effort. Not that anyone compares to Gronk, but Houston was also one of six teams to yield nine or more TDs to TEs in ’17.
Kyle Rudolph (MIN at GB): MR: 11, ECR: 8
Rudolph salvaged his day with a TD but otherwise did not see a lot of love from new QB Kirk Cousins. Rudolph saw just two targets in all, while Adam Thielen saw 12, Dalvin Cook got seven, Stefon Diggs drew six and even Laquon Treadwell worked in with four. Now, Cousins is no stranger to a stud TE and Rudolph isn’t going to be a complete dud, but I’d be pivoting in 10-teamers.
Will Dissly (SEA at CHI): MR: 33, ECR: 21
I’m willing to be a week late to this party, but I believe we just saw Dissly’s best game in Week 1 and that Nick Vannett will remain the TE to own in Seattle. I can appreciate that both TEs could hold some appeal with Doug Baldwin out and that Dissly out-targeted Vannett 5-to-2 in Week 1, but launching Dissly toward the top-20 just like that is not for me. It’s worth noting that Vannett played 35-of-57 snaps and Dissly was in on 33.