Week 2 Start/Sit PLUS: Aaron Jones, Ja’Marr Chase, Ty’Son Williams (2021 Fantasy Football)
After months of hypothesizing, the experiment finally begins! While many believe the fantasy season is won during the draft, it’s only just begun.
Whether your season started with a win or loss, let’s make your team better! We’ll look at six categories (described in detail in Week 1’s article). To ensure total transparency, I’ll also note how I fared last week at the bottom of each section. It looks like 33 hits and 10 misses from Week 1, 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. 8 overall in the 2021 in-season accuracy competition.
*Every-week starters, regardless of matchup)*
Josh Allen (QB – BUF)
There’s been quite a gnashing of teeth after Josh Allen’s poor start to the season. A QB21 finish isn’t what you want from someone who likely cost you a fourth-round pick, and the matchup against a solid Dolphins defense may have you thinking about picking up a second QB to start instead. Don’t. Allen is an every-week starter. That’s not to say he’ll always be a top-12 QB come Tuesday morning, but he’ll always be the best available option. Use that bench spot for something more productive and set and forget the Bills star.
Aaron Jones (RB – GB)
Week 1 was diabolically bad for Jones’ managers, who likely spent their first pick on the Packers runner. The whole offense was atrocious, but you shouldn’t expect that to be the case most weeks. When Green Bay leads and Aaron Rodgers is rolling, Jones is a must-start. That begins this week against the Lions. Unless we see some continued signs of negative regression, it should continue for the near future.
Najee Harris (RB – PIT)
The Steelers rookie had a disappointing RB42 effort in a winning debut against Buffalo, but there are signs that he will be a stud in the coming weeks. Pittsburgh played 58 offensive snaps, and Harris was in the backfield for all 58. That’s right. He played every single snap. That’s more than even Christian McCaffrey most weeks. Whether that usage continues isn’t the point; the Steelers are committed to the first-round draft pick and will continue to use him. That means the results will come, and it starts this week against a Vegas defense that looked susceptible to an iffy Ravens running attack on Monday night.
Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR)
There was a lot of intrigue around what Shane Waldron would do with the Rams’ offense. While there were a few surprises, the anticipated emergence of Cooper Kupp occurred. He was the team’s clear WR1 and is well ahead of Robert Woods right now. Kupp is an every-week starter until a new pattern emerges.
D.J. Moore (WR – CAR)
The Saints are one of the tougher matchups for a receiver, as Davante Adams showed last week, but you need to start D.J. Moore every week, especially in PPR leagues. While Carolina’s offense revolves McCaffrey, Moore is the clear second option. His 24% target share and 11.4-yard average depth of target (ADOT) were exactly what you want from your WR2. He’s a great buy-low option who could boom very soon.
T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET)
Last week was precisely what you want to see from a tight end. A high percentage of routes run (83%) and a target on over a fifth of those routes. Those are Travis Kelce numbers. Hockenson is a top-five tight end, so start him every week and drop that backup if you’re still rostering one. It’s time to commit.
Tyler Higbee (TE – LAR)
This won’t be a popular take given this week’s tough matchup, but I’m starting Higbee regardless. Gerald Everett’s departure and Waldron’s arrival have converted Higbee into a true pass-catching stud. I mentioned Hockenson’s elite route % and target share above, but Higbee’s are way better. This is an explosion waiting to happen. Get in early if you can.
*Consider benching if you have a viable alternative*
Trevor Lawrence (QB – JAC)
After a QB12 finish in Week 1, you may be tempted to start rookie Trevor Lawrence this week. Please resist that urge. He takes on a strong Broncos defense and is unlikely to luck into the same garbage-time production this Sunday. Avoid this situation for now, and possibly indefinitely.
Mike Davis (RB – ATL)
I’m a big fan of Mike Davis. I have him in quite a few weeks and will likely start him every other week of the year. However, he’s a total fade against the Buccaneers. They have been a matchup to avoid for running backs for years, and Ezekiel Elliott showed last Thursday night that this remains the case. Hold onto Davis, but avoid starting him this week if you can.
James Robinson (RB – JAC)
I’m very much not in the camp that suggests James Robinson will be a bust who you should drop. The Jags runner was a stud in 2020, and that talent hasn’t disappeared. He’s a far better runner than Carlos Hyde and owns the passing-down role in Jacksonville. Given the Jaguars will likely play most games from behind, that role may lead to plenty of touches moving forward. Not this week, though. The Broncos are a challenging matchup, and I’d frankly like to see Robinson perform before starting him.
Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN)
The Bengals rookie had a tremendous debut, but he now takes on one of the league’s biggest tests. See how he performs against the Bears’ secondary before slotting in Chase as an every-week starter.
Robby Anderson (WR – CAR)
The points were there for Robby Anderson, but the usage wasn’t. One big catch isn’t a reliable way to achieve weekly fantasy production, and this week’s matchup against New Orleans is tricky. He’s not a must-sit if you lack alternatives, but think twice before trotting him out this weekend.
Robert Tonyan (TE – GB)
Until this offense sorts itself out, avoid Robert Tonyan. He’s effective when Rodgers is purring and tossing five TDs a game, but he lacks the target share to make up for the lack of volume.
(Last week: Hits: Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Zack Moss, Mike Gesicki, Javonte Williams, Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow, Cole Kmet. OK: Devin Singletary. Miss: Matthew Stafford, Amari Cooper, Corey Davis)
*Players you wouldn’t normally start who should have a good week*
Teddy Bridgewater (QB- DEN)
This is a pretty deep pull. The Broncos will play without Jerry Jeudy, and a solid defense and strong running attack make throwing rather unnecessary. But the Jaguars were awful against the Texans last week. There’s a chance Bridgewater beats them up and runs up a score. Starting Bridgewater is not for the faint of heart, but he’s a viable streaming option if you’re in a pinch.
Ty’Son Williams (RB – BAL)
Latavius Murray (RB – BAL)
Kansas City’s defense has long been one to target with running backs. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt proved that still holds with RB3 and RB13 finishes, respectively, in Week 1. Baltimore’s backfield certainly doesn’t have the same talent level, and it could get crowded by adding Le’Veon Bell, but Williams and Murray are still solid streaming choices. Williams isn’t likely to be on your bench after a promising debut, but Murray could do just enough to validate a starting nod. Proceed with caution with Murray, but break the glass in case of emergency.
Jamaal Williams (RB – DET)
I called this one last week, and I’m going back to the same well. The Lions had two top-five running backs against the 49ers in Week 1 and now take on a Packers defense that was a treasure trove for opposing runners last year. That continued for Alvin Kamara last week and will likely continue for D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Swift is the safer option, but Williams could see enough volume to fill your flex spot, especially in PPR leagues.
Jarvis Landry (WR – CLE)
Whether Odell Beckham Jr.plays or not, Jarvis Landry is a viable streamer against a questionable Texans lineup. While Cleveland’s run game will lead the way, Landry should see enough volume to make some big plays. Slide him in if you’re struggling to find options.
Mike Williams (WR – LAC)
Mike Williams went way too low this draft season, and you won’t find him cheap after last week’s effort. If he’s on your bench, this is another boom spot where you want him in your lineup against a Cowboys secondary dominated by the Buccaneers last week.
Hunter Henry (TE – NE)
It will soon become apparent that Jonnu Smith isn’t the leader of New England’s tight end group. Hunter Henry had more routes and a far higher ADOT than his teammate, and the Patriots have a fantastic matchup against a Jets team that’s very generous to the position. Slide him in if he’s available.
(Last week: Hits: Nyheim Hines, Antonio Brown, Jamaal Williams, Ty’Son Williams, Deebo Samuel, Robbie Gould, Broncos DST. OK: Sm Darnold, Vikings DST. Miss: Tyler Boyd, Kyle Rudolph, Devontae Booker, Alexander Mattison)
*Pick up and bench*
Tua Tagovailoa (QB – MIA)
After a poor week Week 1 from a fantasy perspective, players may give up on the Dolphins leftie. This offense should provide Tua Tagovailoa with good scoring opportunities moving forward, though, with Will Fuller arriving this week and Jaylen Waddle looking like a true top-10 draft talent. Tagovailoa is worth a gamble in deep leagues if you don’t roster a top-12 QB. Although I dislike rostering a second QB, it’s not a bad idea to pop him on your bench to see it come together before starting him.
Larry Rountree (RB – LAC)
There were plenty of question marks surrounding the Chargers’ backfield in the preseason, and Week 1 cleared only some of them. Joshua Kelley was inactive while Justin Jackson played 11 snaps, primarily on passing downs. That left Larry Rountree as the clear backup to Austin Ekeler and a likely change-of-pace back who could even be startable come bye weeks. The key value comes from locking in the handcuff for a sixth-year running back who has never had more than 132 carries in a season. Rountree is a good option if you have a vacant spot and a solid starting lineup.
Trey Sermon (RB – SF)
The 49ers making Trey Sermon inactive in Week 1 could be the biggest shock of the season. Nobody saw this coming, with the talented rookie drafted as an RB3 with upside. He seemed set for a reliable role with Jeff Wilson injured. Raheem Mostert going down should have led to a massive opportunity for Sermon, but he’s now stuck behind waiver-wire star Elijah Mitchell and possibly even JaMycal Hasty. Nevertheless, Sermon is a superior talent and is perfectly suited for San Francisco’s offense, making him a sensible upside stash if he was dropped.
Cordarrelle Patterson (WR – ATL)
A backup RB with a WR designation? Yes please! Patterson looks like the clear handcuff to Davis and even has possible desperation-bye-week appeal. The talented kick returner has shown his rushing chops in the past and could be a valuable addition if Davis goes down, especially in deeper, non-PPR leagues.
Elijah Moore (WR – NYJ)
The Jets rookie had a mediocre first week, with Zach Wilson regularly missing him. This offense will likely be a mess for weeks, but if you have the bench space, Elijah Moore could emerge as a great midseason option. Only grab him up if you have the slot to spare; you may need to wait a few weeks.
Rondale Moore (WR – NYJ
I loved Rondale Moore in college, but it will take him a while to settle into the big leagues. While Christian Kirk stole the show in Week 1, Moore had enough manufactured looks to suggest he could emerge as the true Cardinals WR2. Moore is very much a dart throw, but it’s a risk worth taking with ample upside in this offense.
James O’Shaughnessy (TE – JAC)
The Jaguars’ tight end could be the unexpected star of this faltering offense. Running routes on nearly 80% of plays and dragging in six catches last week, O’Shaughnessy is a solid option if you missed with your drafted tight end.
*Players who will likely lose value in the future to sell now*
Zach Wilson (QB – NYJ)
A lot of people drafted Zach Wilson for reasons I don’t understand. His Week 1 effort didn’t look as bad on paper as it did in reality, so you may get some value from the rookie before you’re forced to drop him. Wilson’s offensive line was already iffy before losing Mekhi Becton for four to six weeks. He’s going to struggle to amount anything bordering on useful fantasy production. Cash out now.
Leonard Fournette (RB – TB)
After Ronald Jones hit the bench thanks to an unfortunate fumble, Lombardi Lenny was the guy for Tampa in Week 1. But Bruce Arians has burst that bubble quickly, naming Ronald Jones the Week 2 starter. Now while that may be ceremonial, it indicates this Week 1 usage isn’t the new normal. Perhaps someone in your league isn’t as tapped in and is willing to pay up for Fournette.
Tevin Coleman (RB – NYJ)
The whole Jets backfield looks like a total nightmare that will now run behind a mediocre line that just lost Becton. It’s time to cut loose Coleman and Ty Johnson. If you can get some value, explore that first.
Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)
The Vegas backfield will be very frustrating this season, with Josh Jacobs looking like the definition of a TD-or-bust back. When you score two TDs in an overtime game when your team plays 86 offensive snaps, but only finish as the RB10, the upside isn’t there. Get some value for Jacobs there while you still can.
Deebo Samuel (WR – SF)
I have no idea what’s going on with the Brandon Aiyuk situation yet, but I certainly don’t think Deebo Samuel is suddenly a stud WR in an offense led by its running backs and George Kittle. If you can convert the 49ers receiver into a solid RB2 or WR2, take it and run.
Corey Davis (WR – NYJ)
The Jets’ passing game could be a mess this season. Corey Davis will still get plenty of targets, but there’s unlikely to be many more top-five fantasy finishes. Now is the time to sell high.
Christian Kirk (WR – ARI)
Kirk has a habit of creating big boom weeks, but he’s nobody’s idea of a reliable fantasy option. You won’t feel good about starting him most weeks, so sell Kirk now rather than hating yourself every few weeks when he randomly does something amazing on your bench.
Jonnu Smith (TE – NE)
This week is an excellent matchup for New England’s tight ends, but as mentioned above, Henry could be the true pass-catcher in this offense. Or maybe it’s just a committee. Regardless, if someone in your league thinks Smith is the next great tight end, now is the time to offload him.
Jameis Winston (QB – NO)
Daniel Jones (QB – NYG)
Mark Ingram (RB – HOU)
David Johnson (RB – HOU)
Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)
Zach Pascal (WR – IND)
Jalen Reagor (WR – PHI)
Mike Gesicki (TE – MIA)
Juwan Johnson (TE – NO)
*Drop, assuming a viable alternative is available*
Any backup QB you can’t sell
In a standard 12-team (or less) league with six or seven bench spots, there is no reason to roster a backup QB if you have one of the top-10 QBs. You don’t start them most weeks, and there will always be a viable option on the waiver wire to deploy in bye weeks. If you can’t get any value for that Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones, or Wilson on your bench, drop them and pick up an RB or WR with upside.
J.D. McKissic (RB – WAS)
The Washington offense could struggle mightily without Ryan Fitzpatrick. While a new QB should be a good sign for the team’s passing-down back, that wasn’t the case in Week 1. Taylor Heinicke isn’t a check-down master like Alex Smith, so McKissic lacks the upside to hold onto at this stage. It’s a bad sign when you’re out-touched by a rookie who got four snaps.
Malcolm Brown (RB – MIA)
What are you hoping for here? Brown is a reliable option for the Dolphins, but he’s not Myles Gaskin‘s backup or a pass-catching monster. He’s just kind of there to take touches from Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed. Hard pass.
Devontae Booker (RB – NYG)
Saquon Barkley’s touches will ramp up over the next few weeks. Even if they don’t, this offense isn’t good enough to make Booker a solid starter with a 15-20 touches. There’s no upside, so pick up a back with more hope of an RB1/2 role.
Parris Campbell (WR – IND)
The talent is there, but the snaps aren’t and never will be in this offense. A player on the field for barely over half the team’s passing snaps will never be a good fantasy option, so drop Parris Campbell and look elsewhere.
Randall Cobb (WR – GB)
Don’t look here, though. The Packers veteran was considered the possible WR2 after Rodgers dragged his mate back to Green Bay, but Cobb barely saw the field, playing as many snaps as Amari Rodgers and Malik Taylor. Yeah, eww.
Austin Hooper (TE – CLE)
The Browns used a tight end committee in Week 1. If they keep that up, Austin Hooper will have next to no value. As a superior blocker to David Njoku and Harrison Bryant, he needs a specific set of circumstances to get targets, which isn’t what you want from your starter. It’s time to look elsewhere.
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – NE)
Justin Jackson (RB – LAC)
Jerick McKinnon (RB – KC)
DeSean Jackson (WR – LAR)
Chris Conley (WR – HOU)
Nico Collins (WR – HOU)
Anthony Firkser (TE – TEN)
Blake Jarwin (TE – DAL)
Eric Ebron (TE – PIT)
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