Welcome to the weekly Start/Sit column! Each week I’ll aim to analyze upcoming games, research team injury reports, and check-in on any depth chart movement – all in an effort to offer you weekly start/sit recommendations.
The starts will feature players that may be on your bench or even on the waiver wire that need to be in your starting lineup. The sits feature more popular players that I think will underperform this week. I’ll list a must start/sit for each position, then briefly touch on some other options that I like/dislike. While this is useful when setting your weekly lineups in your season long leagues, it can also be a valuable tool if you’re playing daily fantasy sports (DFS).
First, in the name of accountability, here’s a look back at my Must Sit/Starts from last week. Highlights from the must-starts include week one studs Kenny Stills and Eric Ebron, while Blake Bortles and Jamaal Williams were my biggest swings and misses. The must-sit picks were highlighted by Robby Anderson, who would’ve put up a goose egg if it weren’t for one deep touchdown catch. David Njoku and Marshawn Lynch also underperformed, while Patrick Mahomes made me look as bad as the Chargers defense for suggesting he’d struggle in week one.
On to week two.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben had a rough week one in Cleveland and finished tied for QB21 on the week. Roethlisberger is notorious for his poor road performances, and the weather in Cleveland didn’t help the situation. He’s poised to bounce back in week two with a home game against the Chiefs, who are fresh off of getting torched by Phillip Rivers for 424 yards and three touchdowns through the air last week. With or without Le’Veon Bell, Roethlisberger has plenty of weapons to carve up the Kansas City defense and put up some big fantasy points this week.
Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Alex Collins final stat line in week one appears underwhelming, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. He scored on a nice touchdown run early in the game, but then fumbled early in the second quarter. By the time Collins touched the ball again the game was out of hand. Kenneth Dixon, Collins’ main backfield competition, limped off with a knee injury in the fourth quarter and is expected to miss several weeks. Expect Collins to see plenty of carries Thursday night against a questionable Bengals defense without suspended linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers
Devin Funchess emerged last season after the Panthers lost tight end Greg Olsen to a foot injury. The same scenario is playing out this season after Olsen re-injured his foot again in his season debut. Funchess already saw nine targets in week one while seeing the field on a healthy 85% of the offensive snaps. He built a strong connection with Cam Newton last season and should continue to see plenty of the target share, especially in the red zone.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Seferian-Jenkins was a constant presence in Jacksonville’s week one offense. He played on 87% of the Jaguars offensive snaps, higher than any of their wide receivers. His stat line of three catches for 25 yards would have looked a lot better if it weren’t for a penalty that negated a 10-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Look for Blake Bortles to rely on him when the Patriots come to town this week.
Defense/Special Teams: Los Angeles Chargers
There’s a good chance that the Chargers aren’t owned in your league after getting lit up by the Chiefs in week one. The Chargers came into the season with high expectations defensively and they should fare much better in week two as they get to face the hapless Buffalo Bills. Even with Josh Allen replacing Nathan Peterman the Bills are just too inept on offense to be dangerous.
Other Good Starts
After playing the late Monday night game Oakland has to travel to Denver, and I expect Case Keenum will put up a few more scores.
Phillip Rivers didn’t disappoint in week one and gets a home game against a Bills team that just gave up three touchdown passes to Joe Flacco.
After missing all of last season with a knee injury Ryan Tannehill put up a solid fantasy game and should have a safe floor this week against the Jets.
I don’t think Adrian Peterson stays healthy and effective all season, but he’ll be fresh enough in week two to run all over the awful Indianapolis run defense.
I think Jay Ajayi proved last week that he needs to be the lead ball carrier in Philadelphia. Don’t expect two touchdowns again, but Ajayi is definitely worth starting at Tampa Bay this week.
Sticking with the Eagles offense, Nelson Agholor was targeted 13 times in week one. With Jeffery still out he should continue to be the focus of the passing game; yardage and touchdowns will come.
No matter who starts at quarterback in Tennessee, they’re going to have to lean on Corey Davis now that Delanie Walker is gone for the season and Rishard Matthews still doesn’t look up to full speed.
The Colts are going to be passing a lot this season, and Ryan Grant appears to have made an immediate connection with Andrew Luck.
With his size and athleticism, OJ Howard is always a threat to put up big fantasy points. He had a clear advantage over Cameron Brate in week one, out-snapping him 43 to 24.
Ricky Seals-Jones saw the field on a crazy 92% of the Cardinals offensive snaps in week one. With his skill set and that kind of play share, he’s bound to have a better week two, even against a good Rams defense.
The Cowboys may struggle on offense all season, so the New York Giants defense is a solid streaming option for week two.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins put up a fine stat line in week one, but his performance was relatively unimpressive considering the home matchup with the 49ers. In week two he has to travel to Lambeau Field to take on an underrated Green Bay defense that held the revamped Bears offense to only 294 total yards in week one. I don’t see Cousins finishing as a top quarterback this week and there are plenty of other streaming options out there.
LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
McCoy may have been able to dodge legal trouble last week, but he wasn’t able to dodge many defenders as he ran for only 21 yards on seven carries and caught one pass for negative yardage. It doesn’t look to get much better for the veteran ball carrier this week. As the Bills take on a Chargers team who, despite getting torched through the air, did a good job holding Kareem Hunt in check last week.
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
Marvin Jones was completely outplayed by his fellow Lions receivers in week one. He was out-snapped by Kenny Golladay and out-targeted by both Golladay and Golden Tate. Of his nine targets, he was only able to haul in four catches. He still has big-play potential, but with his inefficiencies, I would slate him behind both Tate and Golladay when Detroit travels to San Francisco in week two.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
It was nice seeing Eifert get through an entire game without being injured, but the Bengals tight end left a lot to be desired in week one. It looked promising when he hauled in a catch for a 29 yard gain early in the first quarter, but he was only able to catch two more passes and totaled only 44 yards on the day. Even more concerning, he only saw the field for 40% of the offensive snaps. It’s a tough matchup with the Ravens this week, and while Eifert always has touchdown potential, I’m not counting on it in week two.
Defense/Special Teams: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers take on Atlanta in a game that could turn into a shootout. The Falcons are back home on long rest after having to face the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles last Thursday. I expect Matt Ryan and company to put up lots of points on the suspect Panthers secondary. You can find plenty of better defensive options to stream this week.
Others to Avoid
Andy Dalton has a tough matchup with Baltimore on short rest, so temper your expectations for The Red Rifle
It was a dreadful week one for Sam Bradford, and now he has to take on a tenacious Rams defense on the road in week 2.
The Colts might get Marlon Mack back, and if they don’t Jordan Wilkins will get the nod as the starter again. It’s hard to trust either against Washington this week.
I don’t buy the Pete Carroll coach talk on Chris Carson. I think the former seventh-round pick still splits time with the new first-round pick against a clearly improved Bears defense.
Dalvin Cook averaged just 2.5 yards per carry against a 49ers defense that struggled against the run all of last season. I don’t see him doing any better against the Packers this week.
Here’s your weekly reminder to check who Patrick Peterson is covering each week. I have a feeling he’ll be all over Cooper Kupp in the red zone, limiting Kupp’s upside this week.
After a great camp and preseason, Anthony Miller disappointed with only two catches for 14 yards in week one. He just seems too far down the offensive pecking order in Chicago to be worth the fantasy start.
Jump on the hype train if you dare, but I don’t expect Will Dissly to repeat his week one performance.
Cameron Brate was shutout in week one, and as long as Ryan Fitzpatrick is at quarterback I don’t expect him to be a big part of the Buccaneers offense.
I hope you find this useful and I’m always happy to interact on Twitter @aalarson if you have any start/sit questions. Be sure to check out the rest of our weekly in-season content right here as we give you the tools and content to win every week of the season. Good luck this weekend!