Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 2
Now that football is finally back, we can all rejoice in all of fantasy football predictions and opinions being true, right? Well, maybe. But regardless, we can all celebrate football being back as we move forward now to week two. With that, let’s dive in and look at the players to start and sit for this weekend.
Recapping last week
Jalen Hurts was a top-six quarterback and Justin Herbert finished outside the top-24 but Ryan Tannehill also finished just inside the top-24. Raheem Mostert got hurt early on, Chase Edmonds finished inside the top-20 but so did Miles Sanders. Tee Higgins and Robby Anderson both scored a touchdown but were mid/low-tier WR3s while Juju Smith-Schuster did not crack the top-50. Tyler Higbee finished inside the top eight and Robert Tonyan finished outside the top-36 while Noah Fant had a solid game and also finished in the top-10. With that, let’s get to week two.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 2 QB’s
Rams vs. Colts
ESPN Starting Percentage: 39.4%
Expectations were high for Stafford and the Rams offense coming into this season. They had a tough test against the Bears but still had a terrific showing. Stafford looked on point all night with 321 yards passing and three touchdowns on 20-of-26 passing. He now faces a Colts defense that just got burned for 254 yards and four touchdowns from Russell Wilson. The Rams offense looked strong throughout Sunday Night Football and appear poised to take a huge step forward after being restricted by Jared Goff’s subpar play the past few seasons. Stafford is a top-10 option in week two.
Broncos vs. Jaguars
ESPN Starting Percentage: 0.9%
Bridgewater looked really strong against a sneaky-strong defense in the Giants, throwing 264 yards and two touchdowns on 28-of-36 passing (with 19 yards rushing). He had solid protection all day, a good group of pass-catchers to throw to and a reliable run game to lean on. While we can’t expect Bridgewater to put up 20+ fantasy points a week, he now faces a Jaguars defense that just gave up 291 yards, two passing touchdowns, and 40 yards rushing to Tyrod Taylor. This may not be as close of a game as the Jaguars-Texans one was but Bridgewater should get enough work to have another solid day. He’s got high-end QB2/low-end QB1 potential in week two.
Packers vs. Lions
ESPN Starting Percentage: 83.4%
If there was a more disappointing team than the Packers in week one, I’ve never heard of them. They were downright demolished by the Saints to a score of 38-3. He does have a much easier matchup against the non-existent Lions defense but I have concerns in regards to fantasy football for Rodgers. There should be no doubt he’ll have a better performance than his 133 passing yards and two-interception game but this might be a game that gets out of hand very quickly and may not need Rodgers to put up big numbers through the air. Despite scoring 41 points against Detroit in week one, Jimmy Garoppolo only needed to throw the ball 25 times. Rodgers may just simply not be needed much. He’s probably still a top-12 option but there is a tiny bit of concern between his poor performance and the Packers’ potential heavy run-game script.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 2 RB’s
Patriots vs. Jets
ESPN Starting Percentage: 28.5%
When the Patriots traded away Sony Michel last month, it paved the way for Harris to take on the lead running back duties for them. He saw 23 of 30 rushing attempts and had 117 scrimmage yards against the Dolphins in week one. While he did also have a costly fumble in a close game, his direct back-up Rhamondre Stevenson also had a fumble on Sunday and was only on the field for five of 75 snaps. James White will always be a threat to see most of the passing work but the Patriots are still predicated on establishing the run even with Cam Newton out of the picture. Harris may lose some touches this weekend because of the aforementioned week one fumble but the Jets just gave up 187 scrimmage yards to Christian McCaffrey. Harris is a top-24 play this weekend.
49ers vs. Eagles
ESPN Starting Percentage: 0.1%
Mitchell was active in week one over fellow Trey Sermon, who was hyped up a lot more than Mitchell was coming into the season. So it came as a surprise when Sermon was a healthy scratch. Then Raheem Mostert suffered a knee injury that will take six to eight weeks to heal. That allowed Mitchell to step up and run for 104 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut. While Sermon will likely be active moving forward, it’s clear that Mitchell is going to be the hot hand for now in a very successful run-focused offense. He gets the Eagles in week two, who gave 103 yards rushing on 22 carries to Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson in week one. Mitchell should be a high-end RB3/FLEX with potential for so much more.
Jaguars vs. Broncos
ESPN Starting Percentage: 90.3%
After Travis Etienne’s season-ending injury, many expected (and hoped) that Robinson would see a similar workload to his stellar rookie season. So far, that is not the case. He was his usual efficient self with 5.0 yards per rush and just under 10 yards per reception but only saw eight total touches in the entire game. It’s even more troubling after seeing Carlos Hyde get almost twice as many carries (nine to five). The Jaguars are going to be in a lot of heavy passing-game script situations with how lackluster their defense is and that’s going to limit the amount of rushing attempts after seeing Trevor Lawrence attempt 50 passes in week one. The Jaguars now face a Broncos defense that held the Giants running backs to a combined 33 rushing yards and no touchdowns on 14 carries. Robinson will be a low-floor RB2 in week two.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 2 WR’s
Buccaneers vs. Falcons
ESPN Starting Percentage: 19.6%
A lot of attention is rightfully given to the duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin but Antonio Brown made sure no one forgot about him after his week one performance. He led the trio with 121 yards receiving on five receptions with a touchdown. He may have only seen half the amount of targets that Godwin did (14 to seven) but it was still more than Evans (six). With how poor the Buccaneers run game performed, we could continue to see a very heavy dose of passing going forward regardless of game-script from Tom Brady and company. Brown is certainly one of Brady’s favorite targets and will continue to be. He now faces a Falcons defense that gave up 143 yards and two touchdowns to Eagles wide receivers in week one. Brown will be a mid-to-low tier WR2.
Jets vs. Patriots
ESPN Starting Percentage: 15.6%
If it wasn’t already confirmed, Davis is the Jets’ number one pass-catching option. He was a big-ticket free agent signing after his breakout 2020 with the Titans and blew up for 97 yards and two touchdowns in week one. Davis was the only skill player to score a touchdown in week one and paced everyone else with his nearly 100 yards receiving. There is nothing to hint at that changing going forward and it could be fantasy gold with the Jets’ defense looking like a big letdown this year. He faces a Patriots secondary without top cornerback Stephon Gilmore and gave up eight receptions, 142 yards, and a touchdown between Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker in week one. Davis is a top-20 play in week two.
Titans vs. Seahawks
ESPN Starting Percentage: 79.9%
Jones’s debut with the Titans went extremely poorly, unfortunately. He saw only six targets (just as many as Chester Rogers) and turned that into a lowly three receptions for 29 yards. On top of that, head coach Mike Vrabel called out Jones on Monday for the personal foul called on him in week one. While there is every reason to believe Jones and the Titans’ offense will bounce back, there is a level of concern for Jones. This is a new team, he missed a lot of time in the preseason and he is on a more run-focused offense compared to his days with the Falcons and their pass-heavy playcalling. The Seahawks did give up two receiving touchdowns to Zach Pascal in week one but held every Colts wide receiver to 43 or fewer receiving yards. Jones is a risky WR3/FLEX in week two.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 2 TE’s
Chargers vs. Cowboys
ESPN Starting Percentage: 3.7%
Even on another new team, Jared Cook played well in his Chargers debut. He saw eight of the 11 total targets at the tight end position for 56 yards on five receptions. His eight targets and 56 yards receiving were third on the team behind Keenan Allen (13) and Mike Williams (12). So it’s evident Cook is the clear-cut starter at tight end and will be a solid contributor in the passing game. He faces a Cowboys defense with “shootout” written all over it. They were just eviscerated by Rob Gronkowski for eight receptions, 90 yards, and two touchdowns. Cook will be a high-end TE2 this weekend.
Rams vs. Colts
ESPN Starting Percentage: 24.1%
Between Stafford being brought in at quarterback and Gerald Everett leaving in free agency, Higbee had a lot of hype around him coming into this season. There seems to be little to suggest that Higbee won’t be a near every-down player for them. He was the only tight end to see any targets in the passing game in week one on his way to five receptions and 68 yards receiving. He also had a target in the end zone as well. He actually had the second-most targets on the team besides Cooper Kupp (10). Higbee has a decent matchup after the Colts gave up a combined five receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown between Gerald Everett and Will Dissly in week one. Higbee’s role solidifies his top-12 status going forward.
Packers vs. Lions
ESPN Starting Percentage: 53.3%
Much like Rodgers, Tonyan had a very disappointing week one performance with a dismal eight yards receiving on two receptions. There were a lot of strong opinions coming into the year as to whether Tonyan was fool’s gold after breaking out for 11 touchdowns in 15 games last season. So far, it may look that way. Much like Rodgers and the entire Packers’ offense, Tonyan should bounce back but how much will be the question. Tonyan doesn’t have a terrible matchup in week two as the Lions gave up 78 yards receiving on four receptions to George Kittle in week one. But with this having the makings of being a potential blowout, Tonyan may not see a lot of work in the passing game. He’ll be a high-ceiling, very-low-floor option in week two.
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