Start or Sit These Players on Sunday to Win Week 2 Fantasy
Week 1 is in the books, and I hope this finds you all 1-0. If by chance you enter this week 0-1, Do NOT overreact. It is far too early in the season to panic and sit a player you drafted to start simply because they had an off week in the opener.
Players have off weeks; trust your process, as you drafted these players where you did for a reason, and that reason is not to sit them in Week 2. Evaluating matchups and projecting usage early in the season can be tricky because there is a lot of unknown. The best advice I can give you is to make informed decisions based on moves teams have made during the offseason, historical data, and your gut. You have to trust the moves you make, because after all this is your fantasy roster.
I will be here each week to give you my start/sit recommendations for the Sunday match-ups. The goal is to aid you in setting the best roster possible. I will avoid suggesting you start Christian McCaffrey and sit Benny Snell. The obvious moves won’t be found here. My goal is to assist you with your tough decisions each week, and often the recommendations here will be weekly flex plays.
Each and every week this season, I will give you my “Start of the Week,” along with three “Start” recommendations and three “Sit” recommendations at each skilled player position. So without further ado, let’s take the first step towards your Week 2 victory.
1. Start of the Week
Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns
Last week in Kansas City, Browns RB Nick Chubb played 53% of the snaps (31) and had 17 touches that he turned into 101 scrimmage yards, two touchdowns, and 22.1 PPR points (RB5). Simply put, Nick Chubb is one of the best pure running backs in football, if not the best.
Since returning to the Browns lineup in Week 9 last season, Chubb has averaged 18.84 PPR points a game and is the RB5 in PPR scoring. In Week 2, Chubb and the Browns host the Houston Texans. In 2020, the Texans allowed the most rushing yards to the RB in the NFL (2,206) as well as touchdowns (20).
In addition to all those yards and touchdowns, the Texans also yielded 31.8 points to the RB position, second worst in the league. Last week, Houston allowed 69 rushing yards to the Jacksonville Jaguars, second lowest among all defenses as the Jags only attempted 14 runs.
The Browns will attack the Texans with a balanced approach that will use the run game to set up their play-action passing game. Nick Chubb should be able to gain plenty of yards in this one in addition to finding the end zone. Chubb is a slam dunk start this week, and if need be fellow RB Kareem Hunt is a startable option in your flex spot as well.
Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield posted 13.64 fantasy points in the season opener versus the Kansas City Chiefs which placed him at QB27. The thing is, Baker looked way better than those fantasy totals indicate. He completed 21 of his 28 attempts for 321 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. All Baker was missing were touchdowns as the Browns scored all four of their scores via the ground game.
Week 2 against Houston shapes up as a good matchup for Mayfield and the Browns. The Texans allowed 22.08 points to rookie QB Trevor Lawrence last week and they have given up around 20 points a game to opposing quarterbacks in their last 10 games dating back to last season. Baker won’t have to throw a lot, but I expect him to be efficient when he does and for the touchdowns to come this week. I am starting Baker with confidence in Week 2.
Matthew Stafford – Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford delivered as advertised in the season opener against the Chicago Bears. He finished 20 of 26 for 321 yards with 3 TDs in his Rams Debut, good for 24.34 fantasy points and QB10 finish.
The matchup on the road versus the Indianapolis Colts doesn’t seem like an ideal situation in which to start Stafford. The reality is the Rams very well maybe defense proof with Stafford under center and all their weapons. In addition, the Colts in their last 10 games have allowed an average of more than 20 fantasy points to quarterbacks. Last week they were beaten to the tune of 27.06 points by Seattle’s Russell Wilson (254 yards & 4 TDs). Stafford looked like an every-week starting QB against the Bears in the opener, and as a result I am going to treat him like one and start him once again in Indianapolis.
Jameis Winston – New Orleans Saints
When I saw that Jameis Winston had thrown for 5 touchdowns in Week 1 against the Packers, I figured that he had accomplished this feat many times in his 6 year career. I also figured that in those 5 TD games that he likely added some interceptions as well. Much to my surprise, Winston has only one 5 TD game on his resume prior to last week, and that came back in Week 10 of his 2015 rookie season. Even more surprising, the former 30/30 man didn’t throw a pick in that one either.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jameis in his first start as a Saint, but I can assure you it wasn’t 5 touchdown passes on 14 completions. As a result of this ultra-efficient outing, Winston is back on the starting QB radar. He should be started in all Superflex and two-quarterback leagues this weekend when the Saints face Carolina. In their last nine games dating back to 2020, the Panthers passing defense has surrendered 21 touchdown passes to opposing quarterbacks.
Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Raise your hand if you are concerned about the Atlanta Falcons’ offense? Please know that you are not alone. Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense looked terrible last week against an average at best Philadelphia Eagles defense.
In Week 2, Atlanta travels to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. The Falcons O-Line struggled last week and now face one of the best front seven units in the league. After seeing them struggle against the Eagles, it’s very hard to trust in Week 2. Matt Ryan has been bad without Julio Jones, and he has hit 18 fantasy points in just three of his 13 career starts against the Bucs on the road.
Tua Tagovailoa – Miami Dolphins
I have been rather vocal that I like Tua and that I expect him to have a much better season in year two than he did in year one.
That doesn’t mean I have him as a week in and week out starter. In Week 2 facing the Buffalo Bills I have him on the bench. The Bills bottled up a good Pittsburgh offense in Week 1, and they have allowed 12 touchdown passes and an average of fewer than 17 fantasy points to the QB position in their last nine games. Tua will have his day, but it just won’t be this Sunday.
Carson Wentz – Indianapolis Colts
Carson Wentz had a good Colts debut all things considered. He missed a good portion of training camp with his foot injury in a time he needed to gel with his new pass catchers. Last week against the Seattle Seahawks, he threw 251 yards with two touchdowns and scored 18.34 points (QB19).
Week 2’s opponent is much tougher than Week 1’s. The matchup with the Los Angeles Rams is going to be tough. The Colts’ offensive line struggled last week, and this week they get to deal with Aaron Donald. The Rams defense is one of the best in the league and they have allowed only eight touchdown passes and an average of 12.2 fantasy points in their last nine games to the opposing QB. Wentz is an easy sit here.
3. Running Backs
Najee Harris – Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris entered the NFL Draft with expectations that he would be one of the first running backs selected. After the Pittsburgh Steelers called his name in round one, his expectation for fantasy production reached an elevated level.
In Week 1, Harris’ production failed to meet the expectations that come along with his ADP. Harris put up just 5.9 PPR and finished as RB45. I understand a fantasy manager’s disappointment, but don’t let Week 1 influence your decision in Week 2. Harris played all 58 of the Steelers’ offensive snaps vs. Buffalo, and this week’s matchup against the Raiders is far more favorable. Start Najee Harris this week, as he has top-12 upside.
Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals
Edmonds produced 14.6 fantasy points in his season opener, and he and fellow RB James Conner both had a 29 percent touch share against the Titans.
I like Edmonds as a back-end RB2/Flex this week against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings defense, rumored to be better, certainly didn’t look that way in their Week 1 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Mixon popped for 25 PPR points. The Vikes have surrendered 15 total touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs over their last 10 games. Start Chase Edmonds, and if need be, start James Conner as well.
Damien Harris – New England Patriots
I know what you are thinking–starting a New England Patriots running back can drive a fantasy manager mad. I get it, especially one that cost his team the game last week with a late fumble in the red zone, but hear me out. You should start Damien Harris in Week 2.
He looked good last week against the Dolphins, rushing for 100 yards while seeing nearly 43 percent of the Patriots’ backfield touches. The fumble could reduce his workload in Week 2, but I still see him as a flex play or better. The Patriots have a matchup with the New York Jets in Week 2, and the a Jets defense has allowed 132 scrimmage yards per contest to opposing running backs since Week 9 in 2020. Harris is comfortably in my Week 2 lineups.
Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs battled a toe injury, and illness in the Raiders Week 1 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens. He also reportedly has an ankle injury to go along with the toe aliment. In addition to injury, the matchup against the Pittsburgh is not ideal. The Steelers have allowed seven total touchdowns and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs over their last 10 games. If that isn’t enough, just three RBs have scored more than 15 points as visitors to Heinz Field since the start of last season.
Mike Davis – Atlanta Falcons
I mentioned in my sit recommendation of Matt Ryan, that I am concerned with Atlanta’s offense. That includes Mike Davis. Davis ran 15 times for 49 yards in Week 1 versus the Eagles, and now matches up with the leagues best run defense in Tampa Bay. In addition, Wayne Gallman is likely to be active in this one and is even more likely to mix in when Davis struggles. On top of that, Cordarrelle Patterson out rushed Davis by 5 yards on 8 less carries in Week 1. Mike Davis is an easy sit in Week 2.
Leonard Fournette – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I have no idea what is going on in the Tampa Bay backfield. In Week 1, Ronald Jones had 4 carries for 14 yards, and a lost fumble. Leonard Fournette ran 9 times for 32 yards. Earlier this week for some reason Bruce Arians announced that Rojo is his starter, and in a juicy matchup against the Falcons he could very well deliver. Last week Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell combined 111 yards on 24 carries. If Arians goes with the hot hand in this one, Leonard Fournette might struggle for carries as Ronald Jones excels against this terrible defense.
4. Wide Receiver
Deebo Samuel – San Francisco 49ers
When I completed my rankings for Week 1, I figured that Brandon Aiyuk would be the San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver to dominate the Detroit Lions, not Deebo Samuel.
Clearly that was not the case. Samuel led the Niners in snaps (84), targets (12) and fantasy points (31.90). Brandon Aiyuk posted a donut. Aiyuk likely isn’t 100 percent, and it appears he is in Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse. Samuel is the WR with a higher ceiling and floor in Week 2 against Philadelphia, making him an easy start this week.
Antonio Brown – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Antonio Brown was the third Tampa Bay wide receiver selected in fantasy drafts this season, yet he led the trio in points in the opener. Against the anemic Atlanta defense, expect Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Brown to all be solid options this week when the Bucs host the Falcons. Their defense has surrendered the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers since Week 9 in 2020, including 41.3 points to the Eagles last weekend. I boldly predicted that Brown would be the Bucs top WR this season, so I’ll start him here.
Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos
The unfortunate injury to second-year WR Jerry Jeudy that will likely keep him out of the Broncos lineup for the next 6-8 weeks opens the door for Courtland Sutton. Sutton was only targeted three times in the opener, but Sutton led all Broncos wideouts in snaps played (53%). Sutton and the Broncos get the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2, a defense that just gave up 291 yards to Tyrod Taylor and the Houston Texans a week ago. The Jaguars have also given up 13 touchdowns and an average of 38.4 points to wideouts in their last 10 games. Courtland Sutton belongs in your starting lineup this week.
Marquise Brown – Baltimore Ravens
Marquise Brown had a much better game than I had anticipated on Monday night. He scored a touchdown and 19.4 fantasy points in the Ravens crazy overtime loss to Las Vegas.
Not to discredit the solid outing, but I am not chasing the points in a tough matchup against the Chiefs on Sunday. Their defense has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers in their last nine games, as wells as the fourth-fewest yards per game. In addition Brown has a bum ankle that has held him out of practice all week. Look elsewhere for WR help this week.
Will Fuller – Miami Dolphins
Will Fuller’s six-game suspension came to a close at the conclusion of the Dolphins Week 1 victory over the New England Patriots. He will be back in action for the Dolphins when they host the Buffalo Bills in Week 2.
Buffalo’s defense has been hard on opposing wide receivers, allowing just eight touchdowns to the position in its last nine games. Fuller’s return further crowds the group of Miami receivers including DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki. I am sitting Tua this week and I will be sitting Will Fuller as well.
Michael Pittman Jr. – Indianapolis Colts
Michael Pittman was a popular streaming option last week, and he failed to deliver. Pittman finished Week 1 with just three catches on four targets for 29 yards in a loss to the Seahawks. In Week 2, the Rams and CB Jalen Ramsey come to town. This is not good news for the Colts and it’s not good news for Pittman. The Rams are a much more difficult defense to deal with than the Seahawks. Dating back to Week 9 a year ago, LA has allowed just three touchdowns and the second-fewest fantasy points to enemy wide receivers. Sit all your Colts pass catchers in Week 2, including Michael Pittman.
5. Tight End
Jonnu Smith – New England Patriots
The Patriots had Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry on the field together often in Week 1 against the Dolphins. Smith played 73% of the snaps and Henry was out there 72%of the time. I would anticipate that this is the game plan for the majority of the Pats matchups in 2021. This team wants to build off of the run, so 2 TE sets make sense.
Last Sunday, Jonnu had the better fantasy day of the two with five catches for 42 yards on five targets, while Henry had three catches for 31 yards on three targets. The Jets defended the TE in Week 1 well, but with all due respect to Dan Arnold and Ian Thomas, the Pats duo is vastly superior. In 2020, the Jets were the worst at defending the TE position. Over the course of the season they allowed 91 catches, 1,105 yards and 14 touchdowns to opposing TEs. Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry could both be starters this week. I prefer the versatility and after the catch ability of Jonnu, and as a result he’s in my starting lineups this week.
Cole Kmet – Chicago Bears
All offseason I have heard RotoHeat founder Rick Butts tell me, “Look out for Cole Kmet. The Bears are going to target him a ton this year”. Now I should say I didn’t agree with Rick, and without overreacting too much to Week 1, I think I have come around to his way of thinking.
Kmet was impressive against the Rams with five catches for 42 yards on seven targets. He tied with WR Darnell Mooney for second on the team in targets behind WR Allen Robinson who led the way with 11. Kmet, as Rick said should, be targeted heavily regardless if the Bears continue with Andy Dalton or transition Justin Fields at quarterback moving forward. The Bengals allowed 14.7 points to the TE last season (7th worst), and allowed Vikings Tyler Conklin to haul in all 4 of his targets a week ago. Kmet has top-12 upside in this one, so get him in your lineups.
Noah Fant – Denver Broncos
Noah Fant, much like Courtland Sutton, should benefit from the injury to WR Jerry Jeudy. Fant played well in Week 1 against the Giants with six catches for 62 yards on eight targets. The Jaguars struggled with converted WR Pharaoh Brown in Week 1 when he had four catches for 67 yards on five targets. Fant should eclipse those numbers as a go-to guy for Teddy Bridgewater this week. Start Fant with confidence.
Mike Gesicki – Miami Dolphins
If you started Mike Gesicki last week, you don’t need me to tell you to sit him this week against the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins TE got you as many fantasy points as I did in the opener versus the New England Patriots. Spoiler alert: that is not a good thing.
The most alarming part when it comes to Gesicki was his lack of involvement in the Dolphins game plan. He played fewer snaps (21) than Durham Smythe (38) last week and was targeted twice, catching none. Part of that was by design because the Dolphins needed more of a blocking presence, which likely continues against Buffalo this week. He also could struggle for targets now that Will Fuller is back from his six-game suspension. I recommend sitting Gesicki here and looking for a better matchup to get him back into your lineup.
Eric Ebron – Pittsburgh Steelers
Eric Ebron played fewer snaps than rookie Pat Freiermuth (29-27) in Week 1 at Buffalo, and that could be a sign of things to come. Neither tight end did much with their time on the field, as they combined for two catches for 43 yards on three targets, and this is a situation to avoid for now. For what it’s worth, the Raiders also held Mark Andrews to three catches for 20 yards on five targets. I like the Steelers run game and receivers this week. I have no interest in the tight ends. Sit Eric Ebron.
Austin Hooper – Cleveland Browns
I had Austin Hooper as a start last week, and early on in the game against the Chiefs I was looking like a genius. Hooper had three targets, three catches and 27 yards in the first quarter. The problem here is that is all he had. On the Browns
Hooper wasn’t the featured tight end for the Browns in Week 1, that was David Njoku. Njoku out targeted Hooper 5-4 and out gained him 73-27. This in not a declaration that David Njoku is back on the fantasy map, as the reality is the Browns have three good tight ends in Njoku, Hooper, and Harrison Bryant. Any given week it could be any of the three that rise up. I don’t want to trust any of them, so they all find themselves on my bench.
Thank you for reading Start or Sit These Players on Sunday to Win Week 2 Fantasy
For all your start/sit questions be sure to reach out to me on Twitter @RotoHeatSully.
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