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.
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?
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, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings: