It was a challenging lead-up to the fantasy football season, but our Start-Sit decisions should get easier from here on out. The lack of preseason games along with limited training camp reports made fantasy drafts more difficult than during a traditional season. With one week of games in the books, fantasy players can now make better-informed decisions.
There are several high draft picks that unperformed in Week 1 including Michael Thomas, Austin Ekeler, Mike Evans and Nick Chubb. These players are all still must-starts unless an injury prevents any of them from being active. Chubb is a perfect example of how knowing what happened during the games each week can help you with your lineup, rather than just reading the box score.
The Browns were trailing by a large margin for most of their Week 1 matchup against the Ravens which caused them to try to chase points. With more of an emphasis on passing situations, Kareem Hunt became the preferred back against the Ravens, but Chubb is still expected to be one of the top fantasy backs this season. While you are staying calm, be aware of emotional decisions from your league mates. Some people can overreact to Week 1, and you will find players on your waiver wire who were surprisingly released after just one week of bad play. It is a long fantasy season making it important not to overreact in either direction.
One word of advice for your roster construction this season is to keep a few rookies stashed at the end of your bench. This is one of the most talented rookie classes we have seen for fantasy purposes. It can take time for these rookies to be utilized in a new offense, but we saw last season players like A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf come on late as great fantasy options.
As always, feel free to reach out on Twitter @JonDAdams with any fantasy questions you may have. Here is a look at the top starts for Week 2 along with which players you should leave on your bench.
Start Colts RB Jonathan Taylor vs. Vikings & Sit Washington RB Peyton Barber vs. Cardinals
Chubb may seem like an odd addition to this list, but it is important to re-emphasize confidence in the Browns running back after only notching 10 carries for 60 yards against the Ravens. The Browns found themselves in a big hole early which prompted Hunt to be the logical choice down the stretch but better days are ahead for Chubb. Especially in Week 2, as the Browns have an opportunity to bounce back against the Bengals, and we can expect more carries for Chubb.
The only silver lining when serious injuries arise is it opens up an opportunity for another player to shine. Indianapolis was planning on using Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor as their big one-two punch in the backfield but now are down to their rookie running back. Taylor should move into the team’s RB1 starting this week against the Vikings and becomes a must-start for the rest of the season. Nyheim Hines is a low-end RB2 start in PPR leagues.
Peyton Barber was only fantasy relevant in Week 1 thanks to his two touchdowns, but I am not counting on the rusher to do that every week. Barber received the majority of the work for Washington in Week 1 but averaged just 1.7 yards on 17 carries. I do not want any part of this Washington backfield in my lineup, but I do think it is only a matter of time until rookie Antonio Gibson earns top billing.
RB Starts Week 2: Rasheem Mostert gets a nice matchup against the Jets and looks to be an even bigger factor in the 49ers offense this season. James Robinson is getting plenty of work in Jacksonville and can be started as a low-end RB2 against the Titans.
RB Sits Week 2: Myles Gaskin is a solid waiver wire pickup, but he is not someone I want to immediately plug into my lineup. We need to see Gaskin receive consistent touches in more than one week before we can start the Dolphins running back. While I think Leonard Fournette has upside, right now neither Buccaneers running back is particularly appealing to start until they iron out the carries.
Start Jets WR Jamison Crowder vs. 49ers & Sit Texans WR Will Fuller vs. Ravens
Jamison Crowder was the lone bright spot in the Jets offense and has a history of being Sam Darnold’s favorite target when he is on the field. The Jets do not have a great matchup in Week 2 against the 49ers in a bounce-back spot after their loss to the Cardinals, but the work should still be there. Crowder’s 13 targets in Week 1 put him inside the top five players across the league. The battle for Crowder to be a long-term fantasy option this season is health and consistency.
Aside from David Johnson, there is not a lot to like about the Texans offense without DeAndre Hopkins in the equation. Will Fuller was expected to be more involved in the offense without Hopkins but disappointed against the Chiefs. Fuller is still worth a stash on your roster, but I am not starting the receiver until he proves he is going to be threat this season.
WR Starts Week 2: The Russell Gage show in Atlanta is here to stay as the Falcons wideout looks to be receiving some of the targets Austin Hooper used to get in the offense. Gage came on strong late last season after the Falcons traded Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots. Gage should be stashed if he is available in your league and has WR3 potential with upside moving forward.
If you are in a three wide receiver league, Scotty Miller is a solid start as a third receiver. Tom Brady and the Bucs offense should be able to bounce back against the Panthers after a rough outing in New Orleans. Miller was still able to have five receptions for 73 yards and looked to be one of the receivers Brady was most comfortable targeting.
Terry McLaurin did not have the big performance against the Eagles that I was expecting, but continues to be the team’s top wideout. McLaurin should have an even better outing in Week 2 against the Cardinals. Marquise Brown shined in the Ravens’ opener and shows no sign of slowing down this week against the Texans. Brown can be started as a WR2 in Week 2 against Houston as he looked like Lamar Jackson’s top receiving option not named Mark Andrews.
WR Sits Week 3: This week’s sits have more to do with teams than players. For Week 2, I do not want any part of the Eagles or Dolphins receiving group until a WR1 emerges on each team. The Eagles are without Alshon Jeffery but there was not a receiver that emerged in Week 1 that gives you any confidence to start.
The Dolphins’ offense appears to be on hold as long as Ryan Fitzpatrick is under center. Fitzpatrick has had his moments of fantasy performances but does not have the consistency we covet. Preston Williams is an intriguing long-term prospect, but I will have more confidence in this group once Tua Tagovailoa gets the promotion. For now, I am leaving the Dolphins receivers on my bench on teams where I have them rostered.
Start Buccaneers QB Tom Brady vs. Panthers & Sit Eagles QB Carson Wentz vs. Rams
This is going to be a week full of Brady criticism, but the new Bucs quarterback still notched more than 20 fantasy points despite not having his best game against the Saints. Brady is going to have every opportunity to succeed in Tampa Bay so let’s give it a few weeks before we call him a disappointment. Look for Brady to have a bounce-back performance this week against the Panthers.
It may sound odd to say, but it is hard to start Carson Wentz with confidence. Rookie receiver Jalen Reagor has the talent to develop into a top wide receiver, but right now the Eagles offense lacks firepower. The Rams defense was impressive against a Cowboys offense that is expected to be one of the best in the NFL. For now, there are much better fantasy options than Wentz.
QB Starts Week 1: After a slow start, Mitch Trubisky enters Week 2 on a hot streak after leading the Bears to a comeback victory. Trubisky has an opportunity to build on this momentum as he takes on a Giants defense that allowed the Steelers offense to have their way.
Matt Ryan was not able to lead the Falcons to victory but the offense looked like one of the top units in the NFL. The Cowboys defense is already banged up, and Ryan should continue to feed his receivers in Dallas.
QB Sits Week 1: If you have Cam Newton, you are probably not sitting him, but you would be wise to lower your expectations for the new Patriots quarterback in Week 2. Newton did much of his damage on the ground against the Dolphins, but he is going to face a much more challenging defense with Bobby Wagner, Jamal Adams and a retooled Seahawks defense on Sunday.
The Saints handled the Buccaneers in their opener, but Drew Brees looked far from polished. If Brees is your only quarterback, you are starting him but temper your expectations in Week 2. Not only did Brees look rusty, his favorite target Michael Thomas is dealing with a high-ankle sprain.