Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2016): Week 2: Start Larry Fitzgerald, Sit Gionvani Bernard & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:


Start – Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – at Oakland

He’s not a “must start”, especially if you hold one of the elite in the game (like an Andrew Luck).  That said if you waited on quarterback and are now looking to piece things together, he’s a very good option to stream this week.  As it is Ryan is coming off a strong opening week against the Buccaneers (334 yards, 2 TD) and now draws an Oakland defense that was completely torched by Drew Brees and company (423 passing yards, 4 TD).  Is Ryan going to match that type of production?  Absolutely not, but with Julio Jones at his disposal (as well as others, which we will get to later on) it’s easy to envision another QB1-esque performance.

Sit – Jimmy Garappolo – New England Patriots – vs. Miami
After he defeated the Cardinals in Week 1, without Rob Gronkowski, it’s easy to see the hype machine spinning out of control (especially with Gronkowski likely to return on Sunday).  That said, this is the Patriots we are speaking about and you never truly know how they will game plan in a given week.  Would it be a surprise to see them go run heavy?  Garappolo definitely has upside, but there’s significant depth at the position and there is more risk here than in many other situations.


Running Backs
Start – Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders – vs. Atlanta

For all the talk about Murray being replaced in the offseason, he operated as the lead back in Week 1 delivering 59 yards on 14 carries (4.2 YPC) and a TD.  He also was a small factor in the passing game, catching one of his two targets.  Sure Jalen Richard broke a big run, but Murray is once again going to operate as the Raiders’ workhorse.  That’s something that isn’t always clear and makes him a solid play against the Falcons.

Start – Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. New Orleans
This one is expected to be a shootout, but let’s not ignore how poorly New Orleans’ defense was against opposing running backs in Week 1:

  • Rushing – 151 yards, 3 TD
  • Receiving – 51 yards

Jennings may not catch many passes, but he’s going to dominate the carries (75 yards on 18 carries in Week 1) and in this matchup that’s a great thing.  Obviously Eli Manning, Odell Beckham and company are likely going to dominate, but don’t underestimate the impact Jennings could make.

Sit – Giovani Bernard – Cincinnati Bengals – at Pittsburgh
Granted he had a tough Week 1 matchup, but that doesn’t make his poor performance any less disappointing (7 touches for 30 yards).  He also has struggled against the Steelers historically, as evidenced by his past four games against them:

  • 12/07/14 – 36 total yards, 0 TD
  • 12/28/14 – 64 total yards, 1 TD
  • 11/01/15 – 34 total yards, 0 TD
  • 12/13/15 – 67 total yards, 0 TD

That’s an average of 50.25 yards per game over the past two years.  Are you willing to roll the dice that this is the time he finds the end zone?  That’s a pretty big leap to take.

Sit – Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans – at Detroit
While we’d like to think that he’d be part of a timeshare, given his draft status, Henry was an afterthought in Week 1 as he took 5 carries for 3 yards and turned 2 targets into 2 catches for 41 yards.  It’s hard to bank on someone who received just 7 touches, and until that number grows (and it should as the year progresses), DeMarco Murray is the only Tennessee running back to consider.


Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Tampa Bay

There is still a little bit of risk here, considering the depth the team has at the position, but it’s hard to argue that Fitzgerald won’t once again be the “target monster”.  He led the way in Week 1 with 10 targets, turning them into 8 receptions, 81 yards and 2 TD.  With the Buccaneers giving up a pair of TD to opposing receivers in Week 1, there’s a lot of reason to believe.

Sit – DeSean Jackson – Washington Redskins – vs. Dallas
He turned 10 targets into 6 receptions and 102 yards in Week 1, but we need to keep in mind that Washington threw the ball 43 times as they were playing from behind much of the day.  That’s not likely going to be the case against the Cowboys, so look for the opportunities to slow significantly.  With a lot of boom or bust to his game, there’s reason to look elsewhere.


Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Mohamed Sanu – Atlanta Falcons – at Oakland

This all is based on him being healthy, of course, but the matchup appears to be a favorable one (Oakland gave up a league high 373 receiving yards to WR in Week 1).  Obviously the Atlanta offense isn’t the Saints, but they have some fire power and should put up some numbers.

Sit – Tavon Auston – Los Angeles Rams – vs. Seattle
The Rams’ quarterback situation is a disaster and it’s an incredibly difficult matchup.  Does anything about this situation make him seem like a strong play?


Tight Ends
Start – Gary Barnidge – Cleveland Browns – vs. Baltimore

Barnidge was shutout in Week 1, but with Josh McCown back at QB there’s a good chance that he bounces back strong.  Don’t give up on him so quickly.

Sit – Jared Cook – Green Bay Packers – at Minnesota
Cook is often heavily hyped, but once again he fell flat with just 7 yards in Week 1.  Why should we expect anything to be different this week?  Throw in the fact that the Vikings gave up just 3 catches for 42 yards to TE in Week 1 and this is a complete no go.

Sources – ESPN,

Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings:

Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Demaryius Thomas, Chris Hogan (Must Start?!), T.J. Yeldon & More
Thursday Night Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Is Sammy Watkins Worth The Risk & More


  1. Tyler says:

    Would you start Sterling Shepherd, Allen Hurns, or Jeremy Hill at FLEX in 0.5ppr?

    Also, would you trade Aaron Rodgers and Isaiah Crowell for Dez Bryant and Kirk Cousins? Would roll with Cousins or Winston week to week and current WRs are Fitz, Sanders, Shepherd, and Hurns.


  2. Travis says:

    Rotoprofessor help me! Start 1 in my flex in a .5 PPR league. Theo Riddick, Michael Thomas, or John Brown.


  3. Andy says:

    Hi RP,
    Can you change my line up for this week to be better? Thanks.
    10 teams PPR
    Q: Matthew Stafford
    WR: Allen Robinson, Brandin Cook
    RB: Rashad Jenning, Spencer Ware
    TE Julis Thomas
    W/R: Theo Riddick
    W/R/T: Marvin Jones Jr.
    BU: Sterling Shepard, Donte Moncrief
    BU: Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Doug Martin
    BU: Russel Wilson

  4. Tyler – Shepard & give me the Rodgers side. As for week-to-week, it’s Winston for me.

    Travis – Most would say Brown, but I don’t trust him. I’d lean riddick

    Andy – Can’t leave Gurley/Martin on bench in favor of Riddick/Jones.

  5. L says:

    Another tough spot this week.


    Need to fill 2 running back slots, 1 receiving slot, 1 flex slot, 1 tight end slot from this group of players.

    RB S.Ware
    RB R.Jennings
    RB J.Langford
    RB E.Lacy

    WR R.Cobb
    WR Marvin Jones
    WR D.Moncrief

    TE A.Gates
    TE V.Green

    I’m leaning toward this…

    RB1: R.Jennings – There’s potential for S.Vereen could eat further into his snap count if the game becomes a shootout, but the match-up is just so fantasy friendly and with the expected point total being as high as it is there’s a pretty good chance that he’s able to earn a TD or two at some point in the game as there should be plenty of opportunities.
    RB2: S.Ware – Despite a less than ideal match-up against the Texans it’s hard to not slot S.Ware in as a starter if J.Charles isn’t going to play because as he’s been able to prove he’s a bonafide three-down RB1 talent; he just needs to be given the opportunity to shine and I hope the Chiefs increase his snap count from the near split he had with C.West last week.

    WR2: M.Jones – Appeared to be the #1 big-play target for the Lions Week 1 and had the most overall targets too. Disappointing that he wasn’t able to convert more of those opportunities against the Colts’ porous D, but there’s a lot to be optimistic about with his match-up this week. The Titans’ secondary got beat pretty good by S.Diggs and the Vikings back-up QB and there’s not particular CB that should cause Jones any problems. R.Cobb and D.Moncrief has less favorable match-ups, but you have to wonder if their talent and roles will still allow them to outproduce M.Jones; heck, the Packers are exercising all kinds of methods to get the ball into R.Cobb’s hands.

    TE1: A.Gates – He scares me to death given his age and his somewhat lacking snap count during Week 1 paired with his minor usage when on the field, but I’m hoping most of that usage issue was part of the game plan put together for the Cheifs who with SS E.Berry are a difficult match-up for any tight end. There’s also a good chance that K.Allen’s injury could lead to more ROS value for A.Gates which could being to show-up this week in a much less difficult match-up or at least it should be. However, V.Green’s match-up appears to be even more incredible and if D.Thomas ends up being more of a decoy with his bad hip V.Green’s usage could be very high, but he is an unproven in comparison to the future HOF A.Gates which is what makes this such a difficult decision.

    FLEX: J.Langford – his dominance on the position is a huge factor for selecting him and the Eagles’ run D looked somewhat beatable when the Browns played them Week 1. I really wanted to go with E.Lacy or R.Cobb here, but it’s hard to pick against Langford’s dominate hold on the RB role for the run minded Bears. E.Lacy who I haven’t spoken of yet faces a tough Vikings defense who limited the Titans Week 1 (though Murray was able to do plenty of damage through the air which isn’t necessarily as big of a strength for Lacy), but if the Packers are able to build a sizable lead (quite possible IMO) then they may lean heavy on Lacy to manage the game clock throughout the second half.

    What are your thoughts?

  6. C.J. says:

    I keep going back and forth between starting either Eddie Lacy or Ryan Matthews this week

    What are your thoughts?


  7. dave says:

    Rawls or Edelman rest of season who would you take?
    Love Edelman but feel like Raws upside may be bigger
    what do you think?

  8. L:
    RB – I’d lean Ware/Jennings (I know Vereen is going to be a popular sleeper, but NO was beat up by RB in general last week)
    WR – Jones is appealing, but I’d still lean Cobb
    TE – Gates
    FLEX – LAcy

    C.J. – The popular choice is going to be Lacy, but I’d lean Mathews. I like the matchup and talk is that he’s going to get ample opportunities (especially with Ertz out)

    dave – Yea, I’d lean Rawls

  9. Matthew Summerlin says:

    Hi Prof,

    I’m in a .5 pt PPR league. Marvin Jones is probably my weakest WR. My other WRs are Julio, Hopkins, Cooper, Evans, and A. Robinson. My RBs are Lacy, Lat Murray, Hyde, and Ingram.

    Yeldon, Jennings, Langford, Rawls,and Riddick are the top RBs on the waiver wire. Should I drop Marvin Jones to shore up my RB situation? If so, which RB going forward.


  10. Haggy says:

    I lost Keenan Allen. I picked up T. Williams to replace him. Now I can’t decide which two WR’s to start. Diggs, Williams, E. Rogers, C. Hogan or T. Lockett. Got Lacy in Flex. You helped me good on WR’s last year. Which 2 would you start week 2 Prof. I actually have Rodgers and Hogan in now believe it or not.

  11. Toby says:

    Hi Professor,

    Standard, Non-PPR: I have a luxary problem at the WR position. I have to play two of these: Demaryius Thomas, TY Hilton, Kelvin Benjamin, Tyler Lockett. What would be your advice?

    Thanks in advance

  12. K says:

    Meant to get this in earlier…Standard league, Mathews over Langford tonight?

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