Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 2
The opening week was difficult for a lot of fantasy football fans, as they didn’t have much to go on. Without preseason we used our best judgment with lineup decisions and hoped for the best. We all learned about certain offenses, and how new coaches and coordinators plan to move the ball. However, despite some flat performances, I want to recommend you to stay calm in the early stages. There was a lot of rust this opening weekend, and players and offenses should begin to find rhythm sooner than you think. Panic trades at this point could backfire on you.
In this week’s Start’ Em Sit’ Em week 2 article I do make some bold choices, but remember to always take things with a grain of salt, if you can’t find a better option on your bench or on the waiver wire, you still need to start that player despite the bad matchup.
Recapping last week
Reviewing my picks from last week, it looks like they paid off for the most part. Josh Allen finished in the top three for quarterbacks while Drew Brees finished as QB20. Raheem Mostert finished as the sixth highest-scoring running back while Latavius Murray finished outside the top 50 at running back. Anthony Miller finished inside the top 20 at wide receiver while Odell Beckham scored only 3.7 points in half-PPR leagues. Austin Hooper only came away with two receptions for 15 yards as well. So let’s look beyond into week two now.
As a helpful hint, you can always find me on Twitter (@DMooreNFL) for any additional start/sit questions not answered in this piece. Without further adieu, let’s get into it!
- Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
- Start percentages originate from ESPN.com
- Start options range from 0-60%
- Sit options range from 50-100%
The following are my Start’em Sit’em Week 2 recommendations:
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Quarterbacks
49ers vs Jets
ESPN Starting Percentage: 8.1%
Garoppolo came into the season opener without his top wide receiver as Deebo Samuel was placed on the injured reserve prior to the game. Despite that, Garoppolo still managed to put just under 20 fantasy points with over 250 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. While a good chunk of his numbers came from an early 76-yard touchdown reception from Raheem Mostert, Garoppolo did well despite dealing with a depleted pass-catching core that also included George Kittle dealing with a knee injury suffered in-game. He finds himself facing a Jets defense that gave up 28 fantasy points (third-most) to Josh Allen in this past weekend.
Garoppolo will have the chance to right the ship in week two after losing at home to the Cardinals. Even without Samuel and Kittle at less than 100%, Garoppolo has a strong offensive line and productive running back group out of the backfield. He has the chance to improve upon his previous weeks’ numbers and put up a top-12 performance this weekend.
Packers vs Lions
ESPN Starting Percentage: 31.0%
After a disappointing 2019 that saw him finish as QB10 in fantasy football, Rodgers came into 2020 with a chip on his shoulder and delivered for those who stuck by him. Against the Vikings, Rodgers scorched them for 364 passing yards and four touchdowns. He would be the second highest-scoring quarterback in fantasy football. What makes this even more remarkable is that he was able to do this with a non-existent tight end group and a suspect wide receiver room outside of Davante Adams. Now he comes into week two against a reeling Lions secondary dealing with injuries to their top three cornerbacks.
Top draft pick Jeff Okudah was inactive with a hamstring injury while Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman departed Sunday’s game with their own hamstring injuries. That allowed Mitchell Trubisky to throw for 242 yards and three touchdowns along with orchestrating an improbable fourth-quarter comeback. Now, Rodgers comes in coming off a terrific first game of the season and a depleted and demoralized Lions defense in his crosshairs.
Texans vs Ravens
ESPN Starting Percentage: 93.5%
On the surface, Watson had another solid game in the season opener against the Chiefs. But in watching that game, it was clear to see that the Texans struggled to protect him as Watson dealt with pressure all night and struggled with consistent production from his wide receivers. Both of Watson’s touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) came in the fourth quarter in garbage time, and only managed 253 yards passing. Now he comes up against the Ravens, who only allowed 189 yards passing with one touchdown and interception to Baker Mayfield. Despite playing in a heavy pass-script because of the huge deficit, Mayfield and the Browns struggled to get anything going against Baltimore. Now Watson will be up next and he faces an even tougher opponent this time around.
He could be in for a long week against one of the best teams in football.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Running Backs
Buccaneers vs Panthers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 17.3%
For a good portion of the offseason and even coming into the season, a big question for the Buccaneers was who their number one starting running back would be. While Jones was in the mix, the team went out and drafted Ke’Shawn Vaughn plus signed veterans Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy. After watching their performance against the Saints, it’s clear that Jones is not only going to be heavily involved every week but that the starting role is his to lose. Despite an all-around uneasy performance from the new-look Buccaneers, Jones played well given the circumstances. Against a strong Saints defense, Jones had 17 carries for 66 yards and had two receptions for 16 yards. More notably, McCoy and Fournette combined for nine offensive touches and 17 offensive yards.
Jones comes into a juicy match-up against the Panthers, who were just gashed by Josh Jacobs for 139 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns. The Buccaneers will look to take out their frustrations from their season opener on a paltry Panthers defense. Jones is lined up to have a much bigger week two performance.
Colts vs Vikings
ESPN Starting Percentage: 1.9%
The Colts’ running back trio of Hines, Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack performed extremely well this past weekend, with 85 rushing yards and one touchdown and 142 receiving yards with another score between the three. Unfortunately, Mack would get hurt in the game with a season-ending Achilles injury. In his absence, Hines stepped up with 15 offensive touches, 73 scrimmage yards, and two touchdowns. There was some sleeper hype around Hines even before Mack’s injury with how often new quarterback Philip Rivers targeted running backs in the passing game over his career. But with Mack’s injury, the Colts seem determined to spread the wealth between not only Taylor but Hines as well.
Hines and the Colts come into week two against the Vikings, who just gave up 28.8 half-PPR points to the Packers’ running backs in week one (eighth-most in the league). In what’s expected to be a high-scoring affair, Hines should get plenty of looks in the passing game after seeing eight targets (tied for second-most amongst Colts’ players) in week one. He has the chance to be an extremely strong FLEX play for week two and going forward.
Ravens vs Texans
ESPN Starting Percentage: 50.7%
Ingram had a terrific 2019 season in an explosive Ravens offense. But after seeing the team draft J.K. Dobbins in the second round of the NFL Draft, many wondered in Ingram’s role would shrink this season. Even in a game that was over pretty early and allowed for the Ravens to just chew clock for most of it, Ingram only saw 10 carries for a disappointing 29 yards. What makes it even more disappointing is that Dobbins got a decent amount of goal-line work and scored two touchdowns. But even though Ingram has a friendly match-up against a weak Texans run defense, this is a situation to avoid until more clarity can form. Lamar Jackson already commands a large number of carries and with Dobbins’ two-touchdown performance, Ingram may continue struggling to get meaningful work.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Wide Receivers
Patriots vs Seahawks
ESPN Starting Percentage: 39.7%
In an unorthodox look from the Patriots, new quarterback Cam Newton presents a different play-style from long-time gunslinger Tom Brady. Newton actually only threw the ball 19 times and ran for 75 yards in an easy win against the Dolphins. But what is more notable is that of those 19 attempts, Edelman saw seven targets, which is good for a 36.8% target share. He would end up having a respectable 57-yard performance in a game that required very little passing from the Patriots. With very little competition for targets, Edelman should continue to see a majority good chunk of Newton’s looks in the passing game.
Now he will face the Seahawks, who just gave up 450 yards passing and 65.5 fantasy points (second-most in the league) to wide receivers. Will we see the Patriots come in and throw for 450 yards? Unlikely but there is expected to be an uptick in passing as they will face a much tougher opponent. Edelman should see a lot more work and be in a good spot to perform in week two.
Cowboys vs Falcons
ESPN Starting Percentage: 46.5%
With $100 million-dollar Amari Cooper and first-round draft pick Ceedee Lamb alongside him, Gallup was the forgotten man amongst the Cowboys wide receiver group. Even though Gallup saw the least amount of targets amongst the three (five), his week one performance (three receptions, 50 yards) is not indicative of what we should expect weekly from Gallup. He also had a crucial fourth-quarter catch that was questionably made null by penalty. The Cowboys also dealt with offensive line injuries that caused Dak Prescott to only 266 passing yards and one touchdown.
But the Cowboys face the Falcons this weekend, who just gave up 38.4 points (tied for seventh-most) to the Seahawks’ wide receiver group in week one. This should represent an easier matchup for the entire Cowboys offense and Gallup is in a very good rebound spot for week two.
Washington Football Team vs Cardinals
ESPN Starting Percentage: 57.6%
Despite the upset victory over the Eagles, the WFT had an underwhelming season-opening performance in fantasy football. Dwayne Haskins only completed 17 of 31 passes for 178 passing yards and one touchdown while they only picked up 80 yards rushing on 36 attempts (2.2 yards per attempt). McLaurin was really the only bright spot for the WFT, picking up five catches for 61 yards. But week two presents a match-up with the Cardinals, who gave up only 6.1 fantasy points to the 49ers’ wide receivers (fewest in the league) this past weekend. The WFT doesn’t represent a strong wide receiver unit (much like the 49ers) besides McLaurin and the Cardinals possess an underrated secondary as well.
McLaurin will be hard to trust in a tough matchup and with a quarterback as inefficient as Haskins. Despite being one of the players I recommended starting last week, I have to advise against that this weekend.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Tight Ends
Chargers vs Chiefs
ESPN Starting Percentage: 58.4%
For the most part, the Chargers passing offense was underwhelming in their season debut. Tyrod Taylor completed just over 50% of his passes and threw for 208 yards with no touchdowns against a weak Cincinnati Bengals defense. Henry was the leading receiver with five receptions and 78 yards and was tied for second-most targets (eight). So even in a disappointing game for the Chargers’ offense, Henry was able to put up respectable numbers. Now he faces a Chiefs defense that just gave up 39 yards and a touchdown to Jordan Akins in last week. In what’s expected to be a higher-scoring affair, Henry and the Chargers offense should be able to bounce in week two.
Buccaneers vs Panthers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 70.0%
In what was expected to be an explosive game between two strong offenses (on paper), the Buccaneers offense sputtered for the majority of the game. That includes Gronkowski, who saw a very quiet return from his retirement with two receptions and 11 yards on three targets. In fact, fellow tight end O.J. Howard had more targets (six), receptions (four), and yards (36) plus one touchdown as well. “Gronk” was expected to be rusty in his first game back in over a year but he wasn’t even heavily involved in the offense. Now he faces a Panthers defense that gave up a lot of points to the Raiders but only 8.2 fantasy points to tight ends this past Sunday.
Gronk will undoubtedly have some big weeks at a position that points are hard to come by. But until we can see him more involved in the offense and actually do something with the ball in his hands, it’s best to keep him on the bench.
Doug Moore is a fantasy football writer for Gridiron Experts. He has previously written for sites such as ESPN, SBNation, FFToday & Inside The Pylon. He also was the co-host for the highly-rated fantasy football podcast Overtime Ireland for several years. You can find him on Twitter at @DMooreNFL