Start/Sit PLUS: Justin Herbert, Mike Williams, Ryan Tannehill (2021 Fantasy Football)
It’s amazing how only two weeks can change so much in fantasy football! The challenge for us is incorporating what we now know without overreacting to such a small sample size.
Let’s get into some Start/Sit plus. We’ll look at six categories (described in detail here in the Week 1 article). To ensure total transparency, I’ll also note at the bottom of each section how I did in last week’s article. I’ve logged it as 52 hits and 21 misses, meaning a 73% success rate this season, but you be the judge. If you disagree or have start/sit questions, hit me up on Instagram or Twitter.
Editor’s Note: Ben finished No. 24 overall in 2020 in-season fantasy football accuracy and No. 3 overall in Rest of Season accuracy for 2020. He’s currently No. 1 overall in the 2021 in-season accuracy competition.
*Every-week starters, regardless of matchup)*
Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI)
With a consistent rushing floor and a clear hold on the starting role, Jalen Hurts looks the part of a fantasy starter not just this week in a solid matchup against the Cowboys, but every week moving forward. If you’ve got him, lock him in your starting lineup and throw away that backup.
Justin Herbert (QB – LAC)
Despite a slow start to the season, Justin Herbert is still an every-week starter, including in this week’s iffy matchup against the Chiefs. The only thing missing has been TDs, and there’s no reason to expect that won’t regress closer to his higher mean. Lock in Herbert every week, but keep tabs on his production.
David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
Despite a tricky matchup against the Browns on tap, David Montgomery remains an every-down starter, at least until Tarik Cohen returns. The snap counts are solid, the volume is high, and the points will continue to come. There’s no reason to even think about benching Montgomery any time soon.
Elijah Mitchell (RB – SF)
The 49ers’ running back job has been a poisoned chalice this season, with Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Trey Sermon, and JaMycal Hasty all going down due to various injuries. While Elijah Mitchell also has a minor shoulder injury, he appears to be the only viable option with the possibility to play this weekend. When a team starts throwing around names like Kerryon Johnson, Duke Johnson, and Lamar Miller, you know they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. This is Mitchell’s backfield, and you should start him — as long as he’s active — in most leagues.
Mike Williams (WR – LAC)
My fantasy partner at FFD and I argued all offseason about Mike Williams, and this is officially me admitting I was wrong. Williams is the kind of late-round bargain that can win your league, and you should start him every week. He’s not in Keenan Allen territory, but Williams is a late WR2 with weekly upside of 100+ yards and a TD.
Mike Evans (WR – TB)
People asked me if they should pick up Mike Evans off waivers last week. Yep, that’s how far he fell in some fantasy players’ estimations. Evans is a low-end WR2, but he has such high TD upside that you have to start him every week and ride the rollercoaster. And please, please don’t drop him.
Mark Andrews (TE – BAL)
The Ravens are changing, and Mark Andrews is no longer the clear number one option in their passing game. That’s not to say he’s no longer an every-week starter, though. He still has strong TD upside and will get enough targets to make him a TE1 by the end of the season. Just adjust your expectations.
OK: Joe Mixon
*Consider benching if you have a viable alternative*
Ryan Tannehill (QB – TEN)
The Titans have had an awkward start to the season, getting crushed by the Cardinals before scraping past the Seahawks behind some Derrick Henry brilliance. That game saw Ryan Tannehill throw no touchdown passes for the first time in nearly 12 months. Fantasy managers shouldn’t pull the panic cord yet, as Tannehill has an efficient fantasy track record in Tennessee and still managed 347 yards with a small rushing bonus. It would be prudent — depending on your situation — to consider sitting him this week against a solid Colts defense, to see whether this is his new normal or a blip on the radar.
Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)
Devin Singletary got fantasy managers excited with only his seventh career TD on a strong early carry. That’s surely got you excited for more? How slowly we fantasy managers learn! This is the Bills we’re talking about. The team that’s addicted to four-wide sets. The team that uses Josh Allen in the red zone. The team who gave Zack Moss 10 touches on just 18 snaps — including two short touchdowns — last week. They’re not giving this backfield over to one of the smallest backs in the NFL. This is still a committee, Moss is now out of the doghouse, so Singletary is back to being a desperation bye-week filler.
Cole Beasley (WR – BUF)
Some touted the Bills’ slot receiver as a PPR cheat code this preseason, but Cole Beasley is just not getting the reliable snaps or volume to make that dream a reality. I’d strongly suggest sitting him against a tough Washington defense this week. The same goes for Emmanuel Sanders.
Will Fuller (WR – MIA)
Many will be excited about Will Fuller’s possible return, and I am too. But let’s just cool our jets a little. Wait at least a week before throwing him back into your lineup, especially since Jacoby Brissett is likely Miami’s quarterback this Sunday.
Robert Tonyan (TE – GB)
This one still stings. Tonyan’s managers get lucky last week, as his three targets somehow led to 52 yards and a TD. That’s simply not a sustainable way to score fantasy points. That may change, but this week he faces last season’s toughest test for tight ends in the 49ers. He’s a strong fade. (Now watch him score another fluky TD.)
OK: Ja’Marr Chase
*Players you wouldn’t normally start who should have a good week*
Teddy Bridgewater (QB – DEN)
Despite Jerry Jeudy‘s injury, Teddy Bridgewater was still a top-12 QB in Week 2 against the Jaguars (and yes, you may recall I predicted that last week). He has another kind matchup against a Jets defense that conceded the third-most fantasy points to QBs last season. While Mac Jones didn’t need to take advantage of that generosity in a 25-6 win last week, Bridgewater is a viable starter if you’re nervous about your main quarterback and want a high-upside filler.
Peyton Barber (RB – LV)
With Josh Jacobs “very questionable” for Week 3, Peyton Barber becomes a desperation streaming option. Despite seeing the field only 19 times, the Raiders gave him as many touches as Kenyan Drake. Barber is locked into that big-back role, so don’t be surprised if he rumbles in for a touchdown. This is a very deep pull, but a better option than most other RB4/5 guys.
Sterling Shepard (WR – NYG)
Sterling Shepard has emerged as the Giants’ WR1 (at least until Kenny Golladay gets fully up to speed) and now gets a juicy matchup against last season’s kindest WR defense, Atlanta. After amassing 207 receiving yards against two of the league’s tougher defenses in Denver and Washington, this will be an interesting test of Shepard’s fantasy prowess moving forward.
Gerald Everett (TE – SEA)
After a Week 1 TD, Gerald Everett ran 29 routes against the Titans but received only one target. It simply wasn’t his matchup, with the receivers getting most of the volume. However, he’s one of the most likely TE2s to snatch a touchdown, and that makes him a viable option against an iffy Vikings defense.
Austin Hooper (TE – CLE) and David Njoku (TE – CLE)
The Browns take on the Bears, who are sneakily bad against tight ends. Austin Hooper and David Njoku are essentially splitting the passing-down work in Cleveland’s tight end room, so it’s anyone’s guess who will pop up here. Heck, it could even be Harrison Bryant. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these guys snags a TD and has a TE1 day.
*Pick up and bench*
Derek Carr (QB – LV)
As I say every week, I’m not a fan of rostering two QBs. But if you’re rolling with a streamer this week and want someone more permanent moving forward, Derek Carr could be your guy. Injuries Jacobs made the Raiders more reliant on their quarterback than usual, and it’s possible Jon Gruden liked what he saw and continues that trend. This week’s matchup against Miami is difficult, but Carr has some good upside moving forward. He’s a worthwhile stash who has managed consecutive top-10 QB finishes despite only tossing two TDs each week.
Sony Michel (RB – NE)
Darrell Henderson may play in Week 3. Even if he doesn’t, the matchup against the Buccaneers is terrifying. Yet rib injuries are brutal, so the Rams may decide to shut down their starter for a couple of weeks. That would vault Sony Michel into an every-down role and make him a viable RB2. That’s the kind of guy worth stashing.
Elijah Moore (WR – NYJ)
The Jets’ rookie took a step forward in a tough matchup against the Patriots last week, running more routes and playing more snaps than any other receiver in East Rutherford. He has another tough matchup at Denver, but things will get easier moving forward, especially if Zach Wilson finds his footing and Mekhi Becton returns soon.
Hunter Henry (TE – NE)
I claimed last week that Hunter Henry is the true Pats TE1 for fantasy, and the numbers backed that up in Week 2. However, Jonnu Smith had some injury issues, and it’s hard to tell if that pattern will continue. For now, Henry and Smith are stashes. There’s plenty of upside if one emerges as the clear leader in New England.
James Conner (RB – ARI)
Tony Jones (RB – NO)
Damien Williams (RB – CHI)
Tyrell Williams (WR – DET)
K.J. Osborn (WR – MIN)
Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF)
Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL)
Mike Gesicki (TE – MIA)
Evan Engram (TE – NYG)
Jack Doyle (TE – IND)
*Players who will likely lose value in the future to sell now*
Kyler Murray (QB – ARI)
Kyler Murray has had a spectacular start to the season with consecutive QB1 finishes. However, he’s got a far uglier schedule following Week 3’s cakewalk against the Jaguars. Now might be the time to see if you can trade him for Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, or Josh Allen while getting a bonus depth player. To be clear, I’m not saying Murray will suddenly be bad, but the hype is probably exceeding the expected outcome. That’s the perfect time to sell.
Cordarrelle Patterson (RB/WR – ATL)
Last week, I suggested you stash Cordarrelle Patterson. I hope you did, because now you can sell him for a juicy profit. This was a game-dependent role, and you won’t want to start Patterson barring a Mike Davis injury. Someone in your league might not agree. Sound out the suckers and see what they’ll give you (just don’t show them this article first).
J.D. McKissic (RB – WAS)
Last week, I told you to drop J.D. McKissic. I was wrong. He had a rare boom week. If you’re still holding him, please sell him. His role isn’t improving; it was just a fluke. Pawn him off now before you have to drop him later.
Henry Ruggs (WR – LV)
The young speedster had a big week against the Steelers, burning a big touchdown and 113 receiving yards. It looks great on the box score, but it’s exactly what you should expect from a deep threat like Henry Ruggs. This is likely the highest value he’ll have this season, so sell him if you can.
Adam Thielen (WR – MIN)
The Vikings’ WR1 so far is Adam Thielen. Their WR2? K.J. Osborn. Clearly, things won’t remain that way. Justin Jefferson is the main guy in Minnesota, and Thielen has gotten by on high TD numbers. He’s still a solid low-end WR2, but sell while you can if someone sees him as more.
Dallas Goedert (TE – PHI)
It may be too late, but Dallas Goedert is no longer a fantasy starter. He saw two targets and trailed Zach Ertz with only 15 routes ran. It’s ugly in Philly, so you’re better off seeing if you can get something for Goedert before it’s too late. I love the talent, but it’s just not happening for him this year. (Note: The Eagles placed Ertz on the COVID list Tuesday.)
Tom Brady (QB – TB)
Trey Lance (QB – SF)
Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC)
Chris Carson (RB – SEA)
Damien Harris (RB – NE)
Deebo Samuel (WR – SF)
Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN)
Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU)
Darius Slayton (WR – NYG)
Noah Fant (TE – DEN)
Juwan Johnson (WR/TE – NO)
*Drop, assuming a viable alternative is available*
Baker Mayfield (QB – CLE)
I truly don’t understand why Baker Mayfield is still rostered in single-quarterback leagues, but every week, people ask me if they should start him. No! Of course not! He just lost Jarvis Landry to IR. We have no idea how healthy Odell Beckham Jr. is, and Cleveland has some ugly matchups coming up. Eject now!
Tevin Coleman (RB – NYJ)
I tried to suggest selling Tevin Coleman last week while he had some value. That value is gone. This ugly committee has swung away from the former Falcon. While he may have the occasional productive week, it won’t be predictable, and that makes Coleman useless from a fantasy perspective.
Russell Gage (WR – ATL)
I’m doing it. I’m giving up on Russell Gage. Yes, he had seven targets in Week 2, but he took them for 28 yards. This Atlanta offense is a hot mess, and Gage isn’t a significant contributor to it.
Maxx Williams (TE – ARI)
If you’re excited by the Cardinals suddenly using Maxx Williams and bought him on waivers, settle down. It’s time to get a refund while you still have the receipt. That was very much a one-off, game-dependant situation. He’ll be back on waivers next week, so you might as well beat the rush and pick up one of the guys in the Stash section.
Matt Ryan (QB – ATL)
Ben Roethlisberger (QB – PIT)
Larry Rountree (RB – LAC)
Samaje Perine (RB – CIN)
Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – DET)
Gabriel Davis (WR – BUF)
Dan Arnold (TE – CAR)
Dawson Knox (TE – BUF)
Misses: J.D. McKissic
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