Week 1 has been and gone and wow there were some immense fantasy performances from quite a few of our must starts….. and admittedly a couple of stinkers!
But that’s the game and as the weeks go by the cream will no doubt rise to the top, and vice versa. I was particularly pleased with the performances of CJ Anderson, Spencer Ware and Matthew Stafford – the trio of un-notables amongst the top players of the week. Cam Newton proved that he is a force to be reckoned with regardless of the opposition and I personally was particularly devastated with my own decision to sit DeMarco Murray after a 2 receiving TD performance. But hey, thanks to the Vikings D and a number of other strong performers I’m pleased to say I’m sitting top of my league, albeit temporarily!
Now, onto our week 2 starts and sits. Apologies for the delay in getting this up, I’ve spent the last week moving overseas to a tropical island. But other than Matt Forte (an obvious starter), there wasn’t going to be anybody mentioned from the Jets v Bills showdown. Hope anyone who did have anyone featured in this AFC East showdown is off to a good start in their matchup!
MUST START QBs
Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders (v Atlanta Falcons)
After a strong start in New Orleans, I’m backing the Oakland QB for an even better second showing as the Raiders play their first home game of the season against the visiting Atlanta Falcons. I won’t bother repeating all the reasons I’m loving Carr this year, but if you missed last week you can check them out here. But one thing to add is the match up. Last week the Falcons gave up 4 TD’s and 25 odd fantasy points to Jameis Winston. Needless to say, they face a much stronger offence this week so look for Carr, Cooper and co to put up some solid numbers.
Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens (v Cleveland Browns)
Flacco’s main receivers were well covered in a tight contest against the Bills in week 1, but despite the close attention Smith and Aiken received the QB was still able to post a respectable 258 yards and a TD thanks to a big game from Wallace and a total of 10 targets sharing the load. Coming up against a hapless Cleveland defence should see the big guns enjoy more opportunities with the rest of the receiving corps on hand to get open. Wouldn’t be surprised at all to see over 300 yards and a handful of TDs coming via the arm of the Ravens veteran.
Eli Manning – New York Giants (v New Orleans Saints)
Last week I said I’d be favouring pretty much any QB coming up against the woeful New Orleans defence, and that statement rings especially true this week when the Saints travel to New York and come up against Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. Manning managed to put up 3 TDs on the road against NFC East rivals Dallas last week with Beckham Jr playing a relatively subdued hand by his standards. The QB and his superstar receiver are poised for bigger and better things in the Giants home opener.
MUST SIT QBs
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers (v Cincinnati Bengals)
I must admit I’m personally starting Big Ben this week, but that’s only due to my back up QB being the suspended Tom Brady and my complete lack of desire to trade who will ultimately be one of the season’s top performers. But I’m not expecting big things from the big man in what looks to be an epic rematch of their brutal playoff meeting (and one of my favourite finishes to a game ever!) earlier this year. The Bengals will still be hurting from their defeat in January thanks to a Vontaze Burfict brain explosion, moments after a Vontaze Burfict clutch moment of brilliance. The fact Burfict is out suspended for this match-up is actually a good thing for the Bengals who will be steeled for redemption without a potential liability giving up flags left, right and centre.
MUST START RBs
CJ Anderson – Denver Broncos (v Indianapolis Colts)
CJ Anderson was an absolute standout last week and is set for a huge season as the Broncos feature back. If you didn’t listen last week, chances are he may be pretty tough to acquire now. But if you have him – start him! On top of everything we saw both in this column and on the field last week, CJ is coming up against the Colts – who last week allowed the Detroit Lions committee to run riot with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick combining for 100+ yards and a TD on the ground plus 120 yards and TDs as passing options – a total of 228 yards and 3 TDs for two running backs who are well below Andersons calibre.
Justin Forsett – Baltimore Ravens (v Cleveland Browns)
I’d normally opt against recommending a QB and a RB from the same team, but when that team is playing the Browns I’m prepared to make an exception. Forsett had a low workload in week 1 against the Bills, sharing quite a lot of snaps with 2RB Terrence West – which is admittedly some cause for concern. However against Cleveland this week I’m expecting Forsett to bust out a couple of his trademark long runs and cross for at least one TD. Combine that with a few receiving plays and it’s fair to say the veteran looks set for a productive game.
DeAngelo Williams – Pittsburgh Steelers (v Cincinnati Bengals)
As touched on with Roethlisberger, I’m expecting a tough, brutal affair in the rematch of last January’s playoff match up. Which means a big day on the ground for Williams – possibly the best backup RB in the league, who seems to become an absolute beast whenever he’s filling in for Le’Veon Bell. In week 1 Williams produced a mighty 143 yards and a TD against a Bengals D that is fearsome against the pass but somewhat susceptible to a good running game. With Bell returning from suspension in a matter of weeks, look for Williams to make his worth known in no uncertain terms until that time.
MUST SIT RBs
Frank Gore – Indianapolis Colts (v Denver Broncos)
Although Cam Newtown slightly exceeded expectations in the season opener at Denver, the Broncos defence proved they would still be a force to be reckoned with this year, even after losing Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson. This was especially evident against when dealing with Jonathan Stewart, who they last week limited to 60 odd yards. The veteran Frank Gore will have even more limited opportunities, especially playing behind Andrew Luck – a passing QB who lacks the dynamic running game of the likes of Newton to give the offence a bit of variety. Add to that the likelihood Indy will playing from behind and all things point to a pass heavy performance from luck, and very limited production from Gore.
MUST START WRs
DeSean Jackson – Washington Redskins (v Dallas Cowboys)
I’d pencilled in Jackson as a must start last week and while not managing to cross the plane, he didn’t completely disappoint, managing a very respectable 102 yard game. In week 1 the Giants managed to pick up 3 TDs through the air in their season opener in Dallas, and I expect a similar showing from Kirk Cousins and the Skins. DeSean Jackson leads that offence and has been talking a big game early on this year, especially after being somewhat disappointed with his yearly Madden rating(!), and is desperate to back it up. At home against bitter rivals Dallas he could very well be in for a big showing.
Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers (v San Francisco 49ers)
I was kicking myself last week when I left Kelvin, his 91 yards, 1 TD and 15 fantasy points on the bench. Needless to say, it will seldom be happening again – and it certainly will not be happening at home when the 49ers are in town! The Niners defence looked like world beaters last week with their shutout of the LA Rams. But then again, what defences wouldn’t against the likes of Case Keenum. In his return from a long layoff, Benjamin wasted no time at all in making his return known, and looks to have established himself as Newton’s main man in the air. No reason at all why he would back up his strong first up showing in week 2.
Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars (v San Diego Chargers)
Now I know that the Chargers got out to a hefty lead against Kansas City in week one, which meant their defence would be up against the pass almost exclusively… But under no circumstances is it acceptable to give up 350+ yards and a couple of TDs to Chiefs QB Alex Smith. The fact this was allowed to happen shows a defence and secondary that is especially shaky. A defence I believe Blake Bortles and the Jags will be able to cash in on this week – with Robinson no doubt eager for a big display after being somewhat subdued by the underrated Packers pass defence. Look for the Jaguars number one receiver to stamp his authority this week and get what is shaping up to be a big season off to a big start.
MUST SIT WRs
Tavon Austin – LA Rams (v Seattle Seahawks)
Tavon Austin is a popular pick with fantasy coaches – both for his speed and elusiveness as well as the opportunities he gets on the ground as a runner. Both aspects of his game look to be strongly negated this week when the Seattle Seahawks feared Legion of Boom comes to town. This probably goes without saying, but in a time of the season where players are still finding their feet and capable of anything, this looks to be amongst the most certain WR sit decisions. Austin will be warming the bench in my lineup, and should do the same on yours.
MUST START TEs
Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers (v Jacksonville Jaguars)
It was slim pickings across the board for TEs in week 1, with the Chargers veterans showing against Kansas City no exception. But with injuries to Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson, all of a sudden Gates becomes Phillip Rivers’ main man in the passing offence. The Jags defence is still finding its feat so I’m tipping the always reliable Chargers TE to see a considerably higher workload – and to capitalise accordingly.
Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints (v New York Giants)
After a miserable week 1 showing where Fleener somehow only managed 6 yards in a passing shootout against Oakland, I’m prepared to give the Saints TE one more chance. And to be quite honest, if he was coming up against anyone but the Giants I probably wouldn’t be so generous. As mentioned last week, the Big Apple’s NFC representatives are amongst the worst in the league defending the tight end position. So with that in mind, I’m tipping Fleener to make amends for his poor showing last week. If not, expect to see him permanently on my sit list, not to mention straight out of my own lineup.
MUST SIT TEs
Jared Cook – Green Bay Packers (v Minnesota Vikings)
In week 2, Green Bay travel to Minnesota to help christen the Vikings amazing new home – US Bank Stadium. I’m predicting a tight one between the two leading NFC North rivals, which suggests the bad man Aaron Rodgers will be looking to familiar faces to get the job done. Cook will become a legitimate Packer threat as the season goes by, but I’m expecting the new boy to have a relatively quiet day as Rodgers looks to Jordy Nelson, Richard Rogers and co on the big clutch plays.