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 – Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs – at Pittsburgh
Mahomes was heavily hyped entering the season, but with little NFL experience it was hard to know exactly what the sophomore quarterback would bring to the table. In Week 1 he showed off his big arm and ability to make plays, turning just 27 attempts into 256 yards and 4 TD. His 9.5 yards/attempt put him third in the NFL:
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – 14.9
- Drew Brees – 9.8
- Patrick Mahomes / Aaron Rodgers – 9.5
That’s impressive, and Mahomes as the ability and weapons to maintain a gaudy mark. Against a Pittsburgh defense that may not scare you, figure him as a must start option in all formats.
Sit – Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans – at Tennessee
He checked in at #13 on our rankings for the week so it’s hard to call him a “must sit”. That said if we had a strong alternative we’d be in favor of sitting Watson down this week after his season got off to a slow start (17-34, 176 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT). He did add 40 yards on the ground, but also turned the ball over twice and could need a few more weeks to fully get back up to speed after the knee injury that cost him a good chunk of 2017.
Start – Jay Ajayi – Philadelphia Eagles – at Tampa Bay
There were already concerns about a potential committee, even before Ajayi was banged up heading into Week 1. What did he do with those concerns? Take 15 carries for 62 yards and 2 TD, and with 10 days off a healthier Ajayi could see an even bigger workload (especially with Carson Wentz already ruled out). While he won’t necessarily play a big role in the passing game, the Buccaneers allowed a pair of rushing TD to the Saints in Week 1 (3 TD total). It all comes together to make Ajayi a must play option given the upside and opportunity.
Start – Dion Lewis – Tennessee Titans – vs. Houston
There is some risk involved given the presence of Derrick Henry, but Lewis is coming off a game where he appeared to be “the man” as he showed his talent both rushing and catching the football:
- Rushing – 16 carries for 75 yards and 1 TD
- Receiving – 5 receptions for 35 yards
Even if Henry plays a bigger role in Week 2, Houston allowed the Patriots’ running backs to amass 178 total yards in Week 1 and Marcus Mariota is currently banged up. Look for the focus to be on the running game, with Lewis potentially again carrying the torch.
Sit – Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – at Denver
He took 11 carries for 41 yards and 1 TD in Week 1, a performance that isn’t going to instill great confidence. He could easily lose opportunities to both Jalen Richard and Doug Martin which alone would make him a risky play, but a matchup against the Broncos makes things that much tougher. They allowed the sixth fewest rushing yards in Week 1 (59).
Sit – Peyton Barber – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. Philadelphia
The Eagles stout defense stifled the Falcons’ running game in Week 1 and should prove to be a tough test for the Buccaneers’ rushing attack. As it is Barber averaged just 3.6 yards per carry in Week 1 and didn’t factor into the passing attack despite the game being a shootout with the Saints. Given the matchup, look towards alternatives.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Format)
Start – Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers – at Atlanta
Funchess didn’t post big numbers in Week 1, but with Greg Olsen sidelined he should see his role increase significantly in Week 2. Let’s not forget last season, while Olsen was sidelined and working back into form (September 24 – December 10), Funchess averaged just over 8 targets per game and scored 7 TD. That’s a lot of opportunity, and even in two wide receiver formats it’s something you will want to take advantage of.
Sit – Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions – at San Francisco
He isn’t a “must sit”, but he’s much better suited as a WR3 this week as opposed to a trusted option. We watched Kenny Golladay emerge in Week 1, turning 12 targets into 7 receptions and 114 yards, and Golden Tate is also going to remain a factor. That’s a lot of competition for opportunity, and while the 49ers aren’t going to scare you defensively there’s still a lot of risk involved.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Format)
Start – Kenny Stills – Miami Dolphins – at New York Jets
Still showed big play ability in Week 1, turning 5 targets into 4 receptions, 106 yards and 2 TD. There is going to be a battle for targets, especially if DeVante Parker returns this week, but after watching Golladay shred the Jets in Week 1 it’s easy to envision Stills posting another strong performance and taking advantage of the matchup.
Sit – Robby Anderson – New York Jets – vs. Miami
There’s going to be a lot of hype surrounding Sam Darnold and the Jets after their dominant Week 1 performance, and with Anderson expected to be the top receiver owners may be stubborn in keeping him in their lineups. That said Miami’s secondary allowed just 79 receiving yards to Tennessee in the opening game and Anderson played second fiddle to Quincy Enunwa. There’s just too much risk involved, even in deeper formats.
Start – Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders – at Denver
The question here is going to be if Derek Carr starts pushing the ball down the field, because he was more focused on getting the ball to his tight ends and running backs in Week 1. Even if he does, Cook should continue to be one of the focuses of the offense against a Denver defense that allowed Will Dissly to make big plays (they allowed 116 receiving yards and 1 TD to opposing tight ends).
Sit – Antonio Gates – Los Angeles Chargers – at Buffalo
Sooner or later Gates is going to round back into form and make an impact, but he should continue to be eased into action. Until he shows signs of getting there he simply can’t be trusted, despite the name appeal.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings: