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 – Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Chicago
Tampa Bay was forced to sit out Week 1 thanks to Hurricane Irma, but the passing game is in line for a huge 2017 debut in Week 2. As it is the running game is in question, thanks to the suspension of Doug Martin and the uncertainty hanging over the other options. There are no issues with Winston and company, however, as they should look to exploit a secondary that allowed 321 passing yards and 1 TD in Week 1 (they allowed big plays to tight ends, and lucky for Winston he has a pair to utilize as well as one of the elite receivers in the league).
Sit – Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions – at New York Giants
Stafford had a monster Week 1, torching the Arizona Cardinals for 4 TD. However things aren’t going to be as easy this week, as he takes on a New York secondary that has emerged as one of the better groups in the league. It’s impossible to imagine that he comes close to the touchdown total from a week ago, and yardage could also be more difficult to come by. In two-quarterback formats you absolutely fire him up, but in one-quarterback leagues there’s too much risk considering the alternatives.
Start – Bilal Powell – New York Jets – at Oakland
It’s easy to ignore Powell after a disappointing Week 1, as he totaled 39 yards on 12 touches (7 carries, 5 receptions) against the Buffalo Bills. It was a questionable game plan, to put it mildly, as Powell is clearly the biggest impact offensive player the team has. They tried to keep Matt Forte involved (6 carries, 3 receptions), but we’d expect things to change. Don’t let one poor showing deter you, as Powell should be the focus of the offense.
Start – Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Packers – at Atlanta
There shouldn’t be any question whether or not you are going to use Montgomery, but just in case there was the Packers’ usage of him in Week 1 shows that he is the true lead dog. Then you have the matchup against an Atlanta defense that was torched for 11 catches, 61 yards and 1 TD by opposing running backs in Week 1, and it’s easy to envision an enormous performance. Don’t be surprised if Montgomery performs like a Top 10 running back, and could possibly push Top 5 depending on game flow.
Sit – Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – vs. New England
It was a confusing Week 1 for the Saints, as they utilized all three of their running backs (Ingram, Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara) with the rookie Kamara getting the most playing time. Will that continue? Probably not, but it shows that the team isn’t committed to one back right now and will let performance and game plan help to dictate the usage. Throw in that the Patriots were embarrassed by Kareem Hunt in Week 1, so we’d expect Bill Belicheck and company to make significant adjustments, and it could be tough sledding for Ingram.
Sit – Buck Allen/Terrance West – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cleveland
With Danny Woodhead out it would be easy to assume that one (or both) of the Ravens’ running backs emerge as a trustworthy option. While West should be the early down back and Allen the passing down, is either really a guarantee to produce? Then you get the matchup against an improved Cleveland defense, who held Le’Veon Bell and company to 43 rushing yards (14 carries) and 15 receiving yards (3 receptions). If you want you can blame Bell’s holdout for the struggles, but the Browns’ are improved and pose a tough matchup for this rag tag group.
Wide Receiver (Two-Receiver Format)
Start – Terrelle Pryor – Washington Redskins – at Los Angeles Rams
You would think that this was a situation to avoid, after the Rams allowed just 6 receptions, 111 yards and 0 TD to opposing wide receivers in Week 1. That said we have to remember the matchup against an Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis offense. Things are going to be much different this time around, and with Pryor being targeted 11 times in Week 1 (6 receptions for 66 yards) it shows that the opportunity will be there for production.
Sit – Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys – at Denver
The Giants did a good job of silencing Bryant in Week 1 (2 receptions for 43 yards on 9 targets), and things aren’t going to get any easier this week against the Broncos. Denver arguably has the best corner backs in the NFL, so would a repeat performance be that hard to imagine? It’s not to say that Bryant is completely unusable, because the upside is still there, but depending on your alternatives the risk outweighs the reward.
Wide Receiver (Three-Receiver Format)
Start – Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers – vs. Buffalo
You can argue that Benjamin is a starter in two-receiver formats, but in deeper leagues there’s no question that he should be in your lineup. Cam Newton, after missing the preseason, has a week under his belt and that should mean significantly better results. While Buffalo’s defense looked good on paper in Week 1, it also came against the hapless New York Jets.
Sit – Tennessee Wide Receivers – vs. Jacksonville
Maybe part of the Jaguars Week 1 success came because of the questionable Houston quarterback play, and that’s fair, but they still help DeAndre Hopkins (who has proven he can produce regardless of the QB) and company to 7 receptions, 55 yards and 1 TD. Throw in the uncertainty as to who will be “the man” and this is a situation to avoid if at all possible.
Start – Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks – vs. San Francisco
The Seattle offense was a disaster in Week 1, thanks to horrific offensive line play. While we can’t expect that to suddenly become dominant, the game plan can change. Sure Graham got 8 targets in Week 1 (3 receptions for 8 yards), but look for adjustments to be made to make the passing game quick and more efficient. That should lead to a much better performance for Graham, so don’t jump off the bandwagon quite yet.
Sit – Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys – at Denver
Sure he had a big Week 1, but things are going to be different against a Denver defense that allowed a talented Charger tight end corps to get just 2 receptions for 17 yards. Witten is a “safe” play most weeks, but this isn’t one of them to utilize him.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings: