Fantasy football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Second-rounders racking up points
The NFL's Week 1 had the good (Colin Kaepernick!), the bad (C.J. Spiller!) and the ugly (Lamar Miller!). The top 12 players in 2013 average draft position scored a total of 142 fantasy points in Week 1, compared to the 156 put up by the second set of 12 players in ADP. Should have taken your second-rounders first and your first-rounders second.
This week has some interesting matchups, including The Manning Bowl (Broncos at Giants), The Parcells Bowl (Jets at Patriots), The Lamar Hunt Bowl (Cowboys at Chiefs), The Art Modell Bowl (Browns at Ravens) and The Oilers Bowl (Titans at Texans). Winners are bound to see some strong fantasy performances out of these matchups.
These Week 2 Start 'em, Sit 'em recommendations are based on standard scoring, non-PPR, 12-team leagues that start 1-QB, 2-RB, 2-WR, 1-TE, 1-FLEX, 1-K and 1-DST. I've tried to list most of the possible players at each position, but if you find one missing -- please comment below, and I'll share my recommendation.
St. Louis Rams at Atlanta Falcons
• Rams: Daryl Richardson, Chris Givens, Jared Cook, Greg Zuerlein
Richardson didn't do anything special in his first week, but he should get the lion's share of the carries again, despite the return of suspended sophomore Isaiah Pead. The Falcons were the ninth-worst against running backs from a fantasy perspective last season. Givens saw just three targets in Week 1, but this week should be a higher scoring affair, so look to him as a third wide receiver or in the flex position. Cook proved he was underutilized with the Titans, and he joins Broncos tight end Julius Thomas in the top 12 at the position going forward.
• Falcons: Matt Ryan, Steven Jackson, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant
Jackson's game wasn't overly impressive, but it's great to see he was so involved in the passing game. There were plenty of Week 1 duds, and his eight targets were second-highest on the team (Jones had nine). Ryan, Jones, Gonzalez and Bryant remain in the top class at their positions.
• Rams: Sam Bradford, Isaiah Pead, Tavon Austin, Rams DST
Bradford played well in Week 1 against Arizona, coming up one yard short of 300 passing yards. However, he'll have to prove his consistency before owners can trust him as one of the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks. Pead returns from suspension, but he's behind Richardson on the depth chart. Austin didn't get the yards we're expecting, but he's still a good home-run threat if you don't have other options.
• Falcons: Jacquizz Rodgers, Roddy White, Harry Douglas, Falcons DST
White ruined the Sunday morning of many, as his ankle injury was evidently more serious than we all realized. Thankfully, White gave fantasy owners something to chew on as this week's decision-time approaches. He tweeted Monday, in response to fantasy owners' unhappiness over his two catches for 19 yards, that if he doesn't participate in practice, fantasy owners shouldn't start him because it's a red flag. If he sits, then Douglas becomes a third wide receiver option.
San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles
• Chargers: Ryan Mathews, Vincent Brown, Antonio Gates
Mathews didn't do much in Week 1 against Houston, but he was also facing 2012's toughest defense against fantasy running backs. The Eagles weren't bad against the run last year, and while they played Washington tough -- they still have a lot to prove before we sit featured running backs against them.
• Eagles: Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Alex Henery
Head coach Chip Kelly's offense has an early '90s Loyola-Marymount feel to it, with Vick, McCoy and Jackson as the immediate beneficiaries. Whether Vick can stay healthy all year or not is a question for another article, but for Week 2, he should play well against a Chargers team that got lit up by Matt Schaub. For those in fantasy survivor leagues that only get to start players once per season, get Vick in your lineup sooner than later. He won't last all season in this offense.
• Chargers: Philip Rivers, Danny Woodhead, Ronnie Brown, Malcom Floyd, Eddie Royal, Nick Novak, Chargers DST
Yes, Rivers threw four touchdown passes against a tough Texans defense, and Royal caught two of them. But relying on them at this stage of the season is not smart -- even against a questionable Eagles defense. One interesting thing to note is that Royal was the talk of camp one season ago, but then had a disappointing year.
• Eagles: Riley Cooper, Brent Celek, Eagles DST
This offense targets the tight end down the seams a lot. Celek will be a good bye-week replacement this season, but the Chargers are tough on tight ends (in spite of Monday's big game by Owen Daniels).
Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs
• Cowboys: Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Dan Bailey
Romo plays hurt, which is something fantasy owners love -- and hate -- about him. He took some big hits Sunday night, but X-rays say he's fine, and he says he's fine, so fantasy owners say he's fine. The Cowboys also said they plan to be more balanced going forward, which is good news for Murray's owners. Witten could be the top fantasy tight end this year, as long as Romo continues to target him near the end zone.
• Chiefs: Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe
Speaking of injury scares, Charles should be fine for Week 2 after suffering a quadriceps injury. Expect him to post his first 100-yard rushing game of the season against a Cowboys team that allowed the seventh-most points to running backs in 2012. Bowe remains a fantasy starter despite dropping a dud in Week 1 against a bad Jaguars defense. But if Bowe does little this week, it will be time to sit him.
• Cowboys: Cowboys DST
Monte Kiffin's new defense gave up 31 points to the Giants in Week 1, which only four other defenses managed to eclipse. There were definitely signs of improvement, however, but fantasy owners should steer clear for now.
• Chiefs: Alex Smith, Donnie Avery, Ryan Succop, Chiefs DST
The No. 1 overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft (Smith) is not quite the same caliber as the No. 1 overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft (Eli Manning). Both of Smith's touchdown passes came on short fields resulting from a long punt return and an interception return). Once teams hit their bye weeks, Smith will be someone to pick up for a fantasy start or two, but not yet. And while the Chiefs DST held the Jaguars to just 178 total yards, you don't want to start them against the Cowboys' buzzsaw offense.
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts
• Dolphins: Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline
Wallace got a little grumpy this past weekend after he was essentially shut down by Browns CB Joe Haden and removed from the Dolphins offensive game plan. He'll get a chance to rebound against a Colts defense that couldn't handle the Raiders. Hartline remains one of Ryan Tannehill's favorite targets, and they should have more success through the air again this week. Only Anquan Boldin (17) and Andre Johnson (16) were targeted more than Hartline (15) in Week 1, although Wallace will take some of those targets away.
• Colts: Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne
Both of these guys are must-starts in all formats, even though they're facing an underrated pass defense. Luck has thrown at least two touchdowns in nine of his past 11 games -- including against Miami last season when he threw for 433 yards. Wayne caught seven passes for 78 yards in that game, and he's likely to duplicate that this weekend.
• Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Caleb Sturgis, Dolphins DST
Miller came into preseason as a hot commodity in fantasy drafts, but he underwhelmed at every turn. The South Florida media hyped him all last season -- and right when I finally bit, he turned into a major dud. Even so, the Dolphins will continue to give the former Miami Hurricanes player some chances, but if he stumbles again as bad in Week 2, Daniel Thomas will become a hot waiver-wire pickup for Week 3.
• Colts: Ahmad Bradshaw, Darrius Heyward-Bey, T.Y.Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Adam Vinatieri, Colts DST
The Dolphins' front seven put on an impressive performance against Cleveland, and they should be able to stop the Colts' rushing attack, which is led by a less-than-100-percent Ahmad Bradshaw. It doesn't help Indy that Vick Ballard is lost for the year. Someone other than Wayne will likely break out with a nice afternoon, but no one else in the passing game is reliable enough to start this week.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
• Titans: Chris Johnson
The Texans defense led the NFL in 2012 holding down opposing RBs in fantasy points. CJ2K was unspectacular against the Steelers, and he actually averaged 96 rushing yards against the Texans in two games last year. It's a coin toss, but you have to start the guy you took in the second round in Week 2.
• Texans: Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Randy Bullock, Texans DST
Foster proved to be healthy enough, getting twice as many carries as Tate against the Chargers in the opener. Granted, Tate outrushed him, but after not playing at all in the preseason, this was good to see. Keep Foster going as he has another week to heal. Tate should also be looked at as a flex option -- even by those who own Foster. Outside of the Patriots/Jets matchup, Vegas sees this game as the best chance for a blowout, which means lots of late running.
• Titans: Jake Locker, Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker, Rob Bironas, Titans DST
Locker is a fantasy afterthought these days, which makes it difficult to like any of his wide receivers. The Titans DST gave up more points than any other team in the NFL last season, and despite their manhandling of the Steelers, let's give them a few more games before thinking about them for fantasy.
• Texans: Matt Schaub, DeAndre Hopkins
Schaub averaged two touchdown passes against Tennessee last season, and he had a stellar start to the 2013 season. If you waited on quarterback and grabbed Big Ben, with Schaub as a backup, it might be time to swap them out. Otherwise, there are just too many other good QB plays this week. Despite an impressive debut from Hopkins on Monday night, it's tough to recommend him in Week 2, when no teams are on byes. He'll be in lineups soon, though, and he'll be taking away some opportunities from Daniels.
Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers
• Redskins: Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon
This is sure to be a fantasy-fest with two of the top five scoring offenses from 2012. RGIII needed a full half to get back up to NFL speed against the Eagles. His timing was just off, throwing without planting his foot and not showing the accuracy he had last year. At least he smartly learned to take the ball out of bounds rather than take the hit. The Packers gave up over 400 passing yards last week. While Morris fumbled, like many other young running backs in Week 1, he was able to come back and make up for it with a score.
• Packers: Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, Mason Crosby, Packers DST
Lacy also fumbled early against the Niners, and the Packers gave him a chance to redeem himself -- which he did with a touchdown. Expect the Packers to work Lacy into the passing game a little more this week, also. Jones is probably a huge question mark for you, after he didn't catch either of the two passes thrown to him in Week 1. He's a boom-or-bust type player.
• Redskins: Roy Helu, Leonard Hankerson, Fred Davis, Jordan Reed
Helu earned playing time this preseason, and he'll earn more work as a nice change-of-pace pass-catching back, too. Hankerson looks like he's on track to move across Garcon in the starting lineup. Reed, the rookie tight end out of Florida, has Davis' owners raising an eyebrow. Davis also had a couple drops in the game. He could bounce back against the Packers, but he's not a top-12 tight end this week.
• Packers: Packers DST
The Redskins made the Eagles defense look great in the first half, but they turned it up in the second. The Packers defense, meanwhile, allowed 34 points and almost 500 yards in offense to San Francisco.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
• Browns: Trent Richardson, Jordan Cameron
Just 15 touches for Richardson in the opener, but the Browns have already come out and said they got away from the run too early. He averaged 120 total yards in two games against the Ravens last season, with 10 total catches. While this Ravens defense is different from last season's, they've had 10 days to prepare for this home opener. Richardson's a must-start, but the Ravens are going to key on him. Cameron could take some of that heat off of the sophomore, especially inside the red zone. He's a big man with basketball instincts, and he led all tight ends with 13 targets in Week 1.
• Ravens: Ray Rice, Ravens DST
These are no-brainer starts, even though both had less-than-desirable opening games. Rice averaged 78 rushing yards and 26 receiving yards in two games against the Browns last season, but he did score. With Jacoby Jones joining Dennis Pitta in street clothes, Joe Flacco will have to involve Rice more in the passing game.
• Browns: Brandon Weeden, Josh Gordon, Greg Little, Davone Bess, Billy Cundiff, Browns DST
Gordon is still in the penalty box, which affects the Browns passing game greatly. Bess played well in his absence, but he's only worth a look as a cheap option in weekly fantasy play. Little had a quiet four catches, but he was targeted 10 times. He has averaged about 47 receiving yards in four career games against the Ravens.
• Ravens: Joe Flacco, Bernard Pierce, Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown, Ed Dickson, Dallas Clark, Justin Tucker
Smith is the tough call here, but Browns CB Joe Haden should clamp down on him, like he did Mike Wallace. Clark got most of his stats in garbage time in Week 1, and while the Ravens will continue to use him, there are just too many good options at tight end in fantasy.
Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills
• Panthers: Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Panthers DST
The Seahawks really clamped down on the Panthers in Week 1. Newton and Co. should bounce back against a Bills defense that gave up 27.2 points last season -- seventh-worst in the NFL. Granted, Tom Brady and the Patriots didn't kill them like we expected, but divisional games are funny that way. Williams, likely the last starting running back drafted in your fantasy draft last month, was a top-five rusher in Week 1, with 85 rushing yards. Steve Smith continues to get things done, even when his QB only throws for 125 yards and Olsen earns a fantasy start after leading the team in receiving yards -- and getting over 40 percent of Newton's targets -- in Week 1.
• Bills: C.J. Spiller, Stevie Johnson
Spiller had a stinker in Week 1, but this first-rounder should rebound -- especially in the passing game -- against a Panthers defense that allowed a league-high 807 receiving yards to running backs last season. The rookie QB was able to find Johnson in the end zone, but he's still a questionable play here, as the Panthers were tough against wide receivers in 2012. But since Doug Baldwin caught seven balls for 91 yards against Carolina in Week 1, we lean toward starting Johnson.
• Panthers: Brandon LaFell, Graham Gano
LaFell didn't get the ball thrown to him once in Week 1, which makes it really hard to earn fantasy points. Only the Titans threw it fewer than Carolina's 23 passes, however.
• Bills: E.J. Manuel, Fred Jackson, Robert Woods, Scott Chandler, Dustin Hopkins, Dan Carpenter, Bills DST
Manuel and Woods didn't play like rookies against the Patriots and both could be fantasy starters by season's end. Jackson outperformed his younger backfield teammate, but head coach Doug Marrone knows that Spiller's ability to score from anywhere on the field is too valuable. Jackson will continue to be used a lot, though.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
• Vikings: Adrian Peterson, Blair Walsh
Peterson ran 78 yards for a touchdown on his first carry of 2013, but was held to just 15 yards and one more touchdown after that. You can live with that week in and week out. He averaged over 130 rushing yards and a touchdown against the tough Bears defense last season.
• Bears: Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Bears DST
The Lions threw for 357 yards in Week 1 against the Vikings, so Cutler and Marshall look good for Week 2 -- especially in Marc Trestman's new offense. The Vikings averaged fewer than 16 points against the Bears in two games last season. Forte's mediocre opener looks better when you compare it against the rest of the running backs in the NFL last week. He also kept the ball for goal-line carries.
• Vikings: Christian Ponder, Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph, Vikings DST
While Simpson broke out as Ponder's favorite target, catching 140 yards worth of passes, it's tough to think this will be something he can do weekly. No team had more interceptions than the Bears' 24 last year -- two of which came from Ponder.
• Bears: Michael Bush, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Robbie Gould
You very well might start these guys later in the season, but for now, they're safe bench players. Jeffery had a very nice start to the season, with five catches on eight targets for 42 yards, and he's making good adjustments to the ball we didn't see a lot of last season.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
• Saints: Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham, Garrett Hartley
Brees threw eight touchdown passes against the Bucs in 2012, although
they've shored up their secondary since then. Colston, despite facing Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis, is still the No. 1 receiver on one of the best passing offenses in the league. He might not put up WR1 numbers, but the Saints should still get to Colston enough to warrant WR2 totals. Moore is also a good start, considering Brees will have to look his way more to avoid Revis Island.
• Buccaneers: Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams
The Bucs couldn't get anything going on the ground against the Jets, and Martin's numbers suffered. Martin had his worst game as a pro against the Saints in Week 15 last year, but you still have to start him this week. Luckily, QB Josh Freeman's problems under center somehow didn't hurt the fantasy value of both Jackson and Williams. Jackson was expected to have trouble with CB Antonio Cromartie, but the Bucs moved their franchise receiver around and Freeman found him for his second-best game in a Buccaneers uniform (7 catches, 154 yards). Williams, meanwhile, caught his usual four passes (he's averaged four catches per game in every season so far) and a touchdown.
• Saints: Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Kenny Stills, Saints DST
Yes, the Saints have a three-headed monster at running back, but really, the battle for carries comes down to Ingram and Thomas. No matter how much we hope Ingram emerges into a fantasy-worthy RB, he just doesn't do much after the first hit. And unfortunately for Thomas, Ingram continues to hover around. Thomas might get some goal-line touches, too, but the Saints also love Graham and Colston in close.
• Buccaneers: Josh Freeman, Rian Lindell, Buccaneers DST
Freeman did not start the season the way he wanted. He was inconsistent, confused and easily shaken against the Jets in the opener, but few people were likely starting him anyway. The Buccaneers DST had an OK day when a great day was expected against the Jets -- and the Saints don't have a rookie quarterback.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
• Lions: Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Calvin Johnson, David Akers, Lions DST
Bush became the first Lions running back to rush for 90 yards and get 100 receiving yards since Barry Sanders did it in 1990. Oh yeah, and he dislocated his thumb and pulled his groin. But he was still able to play in the game, which should make you feel good about starting him against the Cardinals. You should also slyly work a deal to get Joique Bell away from his owner, just in case. While Bush is healthy, Bell still gets some goal-line carries.
• Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald
Finally, Summer Santa answered No. 11's wishes and he brought him Carson Palmer in a trade with Oakland. These two had immediate chemistry, and should become a big storyline for this team throughout 2013.
• Lions: Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, Lions DST
In a week when 16 tight ends caught a touchdown pass and five of them caught two, Pettigrew laid a big, fat egg. He'll bounce back, but he usually sees more action between the 20s, which isn't ideal for a fantasy tight end. Plus, the Cardinals were actually really good against the pass in 2012, allowing just 200 yards passing per game.
• Cardinals: Carson Palmer, Rashard Mendenhall, Andre Roberts, Michael Floyd, Cardinals DST
Palmer and Mendenhall are just on the cusp of starting in standard-sized leagues, but the Lions are better defensively than they get credit for. With Roberts in the slot and Floyd working the opposite sideline as Fitzgerald, these two receivers will be ones to consider during bye weeks and very good matchups.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders
• Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts
Not many fantasy characters coming out of this game, unfortunately. MJD barely gets the nod after a bad opener in which he tallied just four fantasy points. Shorts will play with a new quarterback under center, with Blaine Gabbert (hand) injured, so we'll give him another look.
• Raiders: Terrelle Pryor, Darren McFadden, Rod Streater, Raiders DST
Pryor was the second-leading rusher in the NFL in Week 1, and he was one of only three players, including all running backs, to register 100 rushing yards on the day. That earns him a starting nod, especially against a Jaguars team that was below average against the pass last season. Consider Streater for a flex spot for this game, and make sure you get the Raiders defense in there, too, as they'll get a chance at an offense missing their QB, TE and No. 1 WR.
• Jaguars: Chad Henne, Justin Blackmon, Ace Sanders, Marcedes Lewis
Henne gets the start with Gabbert sidelined, but there's not much of a difference there. Lewis likely sits again with his calf injury, and Blackmon still has three games left on his suspension.
• Raiders: Denarius Moore, David Ausberry, Jeron Mastrud, Sebastian Janikowski
Not much to look at here. Moore has been surpassed by Streater from a fantasy perspective. He's just not consistent enough.
Denver Broncos at N.Y. Giants
• Broncos: Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Matt Prater
This game is the exact opposite of the Jaguars-Raiders game, with about a dozen players worthy of a fantasy start. Manning is coming off an NFL-record-tying seven touchdown passes in the league opener, and now he will have had 10 days to prepare for a Giants defense that was not good against the pass in 2012. Thomas has to follow-up a breakout Week 1 with an above-average Week 2, against a Giants team that gave up 70 yards and two touchdowns to Witten on Sunday.
• Giants: Eli Manning, David Wilson, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Brandon Myers, Josh Brown
Eli is 0-2 against his big brother. It's crazy to think that these two Manning brothers threw for 912 yards and 11 touchdown passes in Week 1 ... and Cooper Manning started Ben Roethlisberger last week in his fantasy league ... Tsk, tsk. The Ravens saw more success through the air than on the ground against the Broncos, and so should the Giants. Wilson gets the reluctant nod to start again, but only because there's no faith in Da"Rel Scott or newly signed Brandon Jacobs. If D.W. fumbles again, we might not see him again until 2014.
• Broncos: Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, Montee Ball, Broncos DST
As long as there are three Broncos running backs getting a lot of carries, there likely won't be any Denver starting fantasy running backs in fantasy football. The Broncos defense was tough against the run in Week 1, but Peyton Manning will put up a ton of yards through the air again.
• Giants: Rueben Randle, Da'Rel Scott, Brandon Jacobs, Giants DST
If Andre Brown were healthy, then Wilson would have his helmet in his hand Sunday afternoon, but the Giants aren't going to go to Scott or Jacobs -- at least until Wilson puts the ball on the ground again.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
• 49ers: Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis
People are already beginning to call Kaepernick the best young quarterback in the game, which is a huge statement considering the number of great young quarterbacks out there. The Seahawks defense held him to 14 fantasy points late last season, but he's a must-start player these days. Gore, on the other hand, had better be glad he got a touchdown, or else his two-yards per carry would be a hot topic. Kendall Hunter should be obtained by Gore's owners.
• Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch
It's tough to recommend starting most Seahawks players this week. Last year, this offense had mixed results against the Niners, scoring six points against them in Week 7 and then 42 points in Week 16. Lynch is a must-start no matter what defense he plays. The Niners defense has allowed just five 100-yard rushing games since 2011 -- and Lynch has three of them.
• 49ers: Kendall Hunter, Kyle Williams, Phil Dawson, 49ers DST
The 49ers defense is the only big eyebrow raiser here, but the 49ers gave up 42 points to Seattle late last season. It's a tough start on the season for a fantasy defense most picked among the first two off the board. First, the Packers, now the 'Hawks, then get Andrew Luck in Week 3! Tough start.
• Seahawks: Russell Wilson, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, Steve Haushcka, Seahawks DST
I recommended sitting Wilson in Week 1 -- and I was very wrong. I'd love to reward him with a recommended start here, but I can't do it. In two games against the Niners last year, he totaled 293 passing yards, with four TDs and two interceptions -- that's quite a mixed bag. Hauschka is a borderline starter here, since he should get some kicking chances on stalled drives.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
• Steelers: Antonio Brown
The loss of C Maurkice Pouncey puts a dent in the Steelers' passing game, but Brown should see enough targets to warrant starting him again in Week 2. This offense could be in real trouble after Wallace's exit in the offseason, no standout talent at running back and now Pouncey's injury.
• Bengals: A.J. Green, Bengals DST
Green is a must-start receiver every week. He caught 10 passes for 116 yards in his last game against the Steelers in 2012.
• Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Emmanuel Sanders, Heath Miller, Shaun Suisham, Steelers DST
The Steelers re-signed Dwyer this week, but neither running back is a good option against this Bengals defense. Sanders is not a horrible play this week, especially if the Bengals get out to a two-score lead late. But it's just tough to rely on him in a week when all teams aren't on byes. He led the team with 12 targets in Week 1, but let's see that week over week before we start him blindly.
• Bengals: Andy Dalton, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Giovani Bernard, Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Eifert, Jermaine Gresham, Mike Nugent
This Bengals running game will be productive at some point, but it will probably only happen once Bernard shakes off the rookie nerves and uses his quickness and speed to pick up ground 10 yards at a time.
N.Y. Jets at New England Patriots (Thursday)
• Jets: None
The Jets' Week 1 win was inspiring, considering we had all written them off as a Fantasy wasteland. Their rookie quarterback overall put on a solid performance, and the front line of the Jets defense proved to be a handful. Someone very well could post decent fantasy stats in a green jersey, but you should have much better options elsewhere.
• Patriots: Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Kenbrell Thompkins, Julian Edelman, Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots DST
Ridley's horrible opener against the Bills won't really affect his status in Week 2, especially now that Shane Vereen is out a few weeks with a broken wrist. Ridley has 10 weeks to lock that job down again and put his fumble woes behind him, so get starts out of him while you can. A healthy Vereen is much more active in the passing game. Edelman reminded us why we always compared him to Wes Welker, and now, with Danny Amendola (groin) doubtful, he becomes a must-start as Brady's likely top target. Thompkins didn't do much on the stat sheet, but he was thrown to (14 targets) more than all but three wide receivers in the NFL in Week 1.
• Jets: Geno Smith, Bilal Powell, Chris Ivory, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Kellen Winslow
Smith wasn't as bad as we expected, but going up against Belichick's defense is going to be a tall order for the former Mountaineers quarterback. Avoid the Jets' running situation as well, as Powell and Ivory are sharing carries (for every two Powell gets, Ivory gets one), but the Patriots were 20th in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to running backs last season.
• Patriots: Danny Amendola, Zach Sudfeld, LeGarrette Blount
Sudfeld has been in Belichick's doghouse for a few weeks now, but Ridley joined him there this week. Sudfeld will probably break out in Week 2, now that people are sitting him for more reliable options.
David Gonos is a fantasy sports veteran of over 20 years and over 100 fantasy football leagues. You can also follow him @davidgonos on Twitter. If you have some good Week 2 Start 'em, Sit 'em opinions, drop them in the comments below.
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