Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: How to set your fantasy lineups for Week 2
It’s time for our weekly stroll across the league, looking at all the start and sit possibilities for every fantasy-relevant player in all 16 games on the Week 2 slate. Remember, we've added a new category this season to account for the nuances of each individual league, highlighting conditional starters along with must-starts and must-sits for each game. Your deployment of the conditional start players will depend on your roster and league parameters. Use those in conjunction with our weekly rankings to build your best possible lineup.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Must start: C.J. Anderson (toe, ankle), Jamaal Charles, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Jeremy Maclin (back), Travis Kelce, Broncos DST
The last thing the Broncos’ offense needed was a short-week assignment against a defense like Kansas City’s, but that’s exactly what it will get. Despite Denver's struggles last week, you want Thomas and Sanders on the field. Anderson is also a go if he can play through ankle and toe injuries, but don’t expect him to be more than an RB2. Maclin owners should roll with him if he can shake off his back injury to start Thursday night. He was going pretty well last week before the injury slowed him down. Kelce and Charles, meanwhile, look like potential top-three players at their respective positions.
Conditional start: Peyton Manning, Alex Smith, Ronnie Hillman, Chiefs DST
It took just one week for us to reach a point many thought was not possible: Manning is not a slam-dunk fantasy starter this week. Combine the way he looked in the Broncos’ win over the Ravens with the short week and the Chiefs’ defense, and it’s possible that he finishes outside the top 12 at the position. He’s actually my No. 14 quarterback this week. Hillman could be an intriguing play if Anderson is out, but I wouldn’t think of him as more than a flex play in a deep league. I’ll put my words where my money already is and let you know that I’m starting the Chiefs’ defense in two leagues. Short weeks almost always favor the defense, especially one as good as Kansas City’s. A matchup with a Manning-led team may not be as scary as it used to be.
Sit: Knile Davis, Owen Daniels, Albert Wilson
Until we see more from Manning, Daniels cannot be thought of as a fantasy starter, especially given the depth at the tight end position. Wilson could have some value in deep leagues if Maclin is out for a while, but he’s not yet worth a roster spot.
Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers
Must start: Jonathan Stewart, DeAndre Hopkins, Greg Olsen, Texans DST, Panthers DST
Welcome to the WR1 class, Mr. Hopkins. The third-year receiver out of Clemson checked every box in Week 1. He had plenty of opportunities, getting 13 balls thrown his way. He was efficient with his chances, catching nine of them for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He got targets of both the red-zone and deep varieties. Hopkins is my bet to lead the NFL in targets this year and could end up a top-five receiver. Stewart remains an RB2 this week, but the low ceiling of the Carolina offense could keep him slowed against the Texans. Teams are going to force Cam Newton to beat them with his arm. If you’re a Greg Olsen owner, forget about the no-show last week.
Conditional start: Alfred Blue
With Houston trailing Kansas City by multiple scores for nearly their entire game last week, the game flow got away from Blue early. He looked decent on his nine carries, gaining 42 yards, but he’s still a low-value running back in what should be a tough matchup with the Panthers this week. Ryan Mallett should help, but Blue is no more than a low-end flex play.
Sit: Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett, Philly Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, Ted Ginn, Devin Fuchess, Cecil Shorts, Nate Washington
Mallett’s ascension is good news for every skill player in Houston, but he’s not yet on the fantasy radar, beyond being a low-end play in two-quarterback leagues, and even that would be based largely on matchup. There’s no doubt that he has a big arm, but you should want to see a little more on-field proof from him before trotting him out as a starter in any format. This may seem a bit harsh for Newton, but the reality is that there just isn’t a lot of value in the Carolina passing game. He threw for just 175 yards, 5.65 yards per attempt and one touchdown against one interception last week. His value depends on what he does as a runner, and Ron Rivera wants him to do less of that. He’s no more than a low-end QB2.
San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Must start: Ben Roethlisberger, Carlos Hyde, DeAngelo Williams, Antonio Brown
This game will feature two of Week 1’s heroes, most notably Hyde, who looked every bit the RB1 in the 49ers’ win over the Vikings on Monday Night Football. In all likelihood, this will be an easier assignment for the burgeoning star out of Ohio State. Brown is now working on a 34-game streak with at least five catches for at least 50 yards. He doesn’t have the weekly ceiling that, say, Julio Jones or Odell Beckham Jr. feature, but no elite fantasy player is as consistent as Roethlisberger’s No. 1 target. Speaking of Roethlisberger, he scraped together a useful fantasy game last week, and while the 49ers’ defense looked much better than expected in Week 1, he remains a top-five quarterback for me. Just wait until he gets Le’Veon Bell back next week. Finally, Williams has one more week of fantasy relevance before getting brushed to the side. He’s a low-end RB2.
Conditional start: Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Markus Wheaton, Vernon Davis, Heath Miller
There is a little bit of concern for the 49ers traveling east to play a game that will begin at 10 a.m. in their home time zone. That has to push down everyone on this offense just a little. Kaepernick didn’t do much against the Vikings, taking a back seat to Hyde and throwing for just 165 yards. He did add 41 yards on the ground, however, and that’s the equivalent of a passing touchdown in standard-scoring leagues. He and Hyde are going to be great for one another all year. I’d have to be in a very deep league before considering Smith or Wheaton as a starter at receiver or flex. Neither may get very many opportunities to make plays this week. Davis is a borderline TE1, but after what we saw from the position last week, chances are you can do better. If you were down at the position, hopefully you were able to scoop someone like Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jordan Reed, Ladarius Green or Eric Ebron.
Sit: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates, 49ers DST, Steelers DST
Heyward-Bey made a few plays down the field last week, and it appears that he could fill that field-stretching role in the offense until Martavis Bryant returns from his suspension. The Niners DST is back on our minds, but you don’t want to start it against an offense like Pittsburgh’s.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Must start: Drew Brees, Doug Martin, Mark Ingram, Mike Evans (hamstring), Vincent Jackson, Brandin Cooks, Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Remember that defense that gave up four touchdowns to Marcus Mariota in his first career game? That same defense gets Brees this week. Not only does that make him and Cooks potential matchup-changers this week, but also it gives some juice to a few more players we’ll discuss in the next section. Evans owners should pay close attention to his practice participation this week. If he’s able to make his season debut, chances are you’re starting him. Even at 80%, he’s going to be one of the better players on your roster. He may not be more than a WR2 in those circumstances, however. His return would be bad for the fantasy value of both Jackson and Seferian-Jenkins, though not bad enough to push either to the fantasy bench. Seferian-Jenkins, in particular, looks like a regular fantasy starter in all formats. This game sets up nicely for both starting backs, though Ingram’s value could take a slight hit if C.J. Spiller can return from his knee injury.
Conditional start: Jameis Winston, C.J. Spiller (knee), Brandon Coleman, Marques Colston, Saints DST
As poorly as Winston played last week, there’s an argument for getting him active in two-QB leagues on Sunday. That argument is neatly summarized by Carson Palmer’s performance against the Saints in Week 1. Winston may not be anywhere near the same league as Palmer, but this Saints defense can be exploited, especially against the pass. Winston can take advantage, especially if a mostly healthy Evans returns. Ingram and Khiry Robinson combined for 13 receptions for 149 yards last week. Spiller is going to be a significant weapon in this offense when healthy. If he plays this week, he’s a solid flex option. Depending on league depth, Coleman and Colston are potential WR3s in what should be a great matchup. The 6’6” Coleman has the size and skill set to develop into Brees’s go-to receiver in the red zone. He’s my No. 36 receiver for Week 2.
Sit: Charles Sims, Khiry Robinson, Louis Murphy, Ben Watson, Josh Hill, Buccaneers DST
Sims had five carries for 12 yards last week. Hill didn’t get a target. We can all stop talking about them, right?
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Must start: Ameer Abdullah, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate
The Abdullah Hype Train is now running at full speed after the rookie out of Nebraska totaled 94 yards and a touchdown on just 11 touches last week. There’s no way you can sit him against the Vikings, especially considering what Carlos Hyde did to them. If you’re an owner of any of the other three players listed above, just forget about what happened last week. Peterson never got a chance to get rolling, which was partly self-inflicted by the Vikings’ play-calling. Expect them to change that this week. Meanwhile, the Chargers did a great job on Johnson and Tate with an ingenious bit of defensive scheming. No. 1 corner Jason Verrett spent his entire day covering Tate, not Johnson, mostly in man coverage, shutting him down all by his lonesome. That freed up the defense to apply safety help to Johnson on every play, with No. 2 corner Brandon Flowers in coverage. Not every team is equipped to do that.
Conditional start: Matthew Stafford (elbow), Teddy Bridgewater, Charles Johnson, Mike Wallace, Eric Ebron, Vikings DST
Stafford will almost certainly play on Sunday, but his throwing elbow isn’t quite 100%. It was in a wrap for most of the second half after a crushing blow from Melvin Ingram and could be an issue for him this week. If you have another suitable, similarly ranked option—think Ryan Tannehill, Andy Dalton or Sam Bradford—go in that direction. Bridgewater is going to be fine, despite his flop against the 49ers on Monday. Both he and Johnson are way undervalued right now. I still have Johnson at WR26 this week. Remember, Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson torched Detroit for 21 catches for 248 yards and a touchdown last week. Ebron is a borderline TE1, and likely will be most weeks this season. I’d play him over Zach Ertz and Heath Miller.
Sit: Joique Bell, Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata, Kyle Rudolph, Lions DST
The story here is Bell, who sure looked like a real-life backup last week. He got just eight touches, accumulating 41 yards. The story is even more troubling if you look at just his rushing output, as he ran for 14 yards on six carries. Bell is no more than a low-end flex play in deep leagues.
Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears
Must start: Carson Palmer, Matt Forte, John Brown, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Cardinals DST
Palmer was one of the most impressive quarterbacks of Week 1, facing a defense no better or worse than the one he will see in Chicago on Sunday. He can likely approach the 307 yards, 9.59 YPA he put up against the Saints when he takes on the Bears in Week 2. That’ll mean good things for John Brown, who just might raid this secondary. Forte owners had to be giddy seeing the star back get 24 carries last week. He’s the focal point of this offense, as he should be. Jeffery didn’t have a huge game, but he was able to play through a calf injury that should be one week better at this point. He and Bennett are both top-tier plays at their respective positions in a game in which the Bears could very well be playing from behind.
Conditional start: Jay Cutler, David Johnson, Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington (knee), Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd (hand), Eddie Royal
Pay close attention to the Arizona backfield, both in practice this week and in the game on Sunday. Ellington is dealing with a knee sprain, but he may be able to give it a go against the Bears. If he can’t, the workload split between David Johnson and Chris Johnson will be the story of the game on Arizona’s side, at least from a fantasy standpoint. There’s a lot of hype surrounding David Johnson, the rookie out of Northern Iowa right now, as there should be given his size, speed and skill set. If he can carve out a role that nets him double-digit touches every game, he could be a weekly flex play. Cutler can be started in two-quarterback leagues but should be on the bench in traditional one-QB formats. Fitzgerald had six catches on eight targets for 87 yards last week. He’s my No. 30 receiver, but I wouldn’t think it's crazy if someone had him six or seven spots higher.
Sit: Jacquizz Rodgers, Marquess Wilson, Darren Fells, Bears DST
Fells may have had 82 yards and a touchdown last week, but he’s still not on the fantasy radar. The other three in this group never will be.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Must start: Tom Brady, LeSean McCoy, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Patriots DST, Bills DST
Regardless of what happens in this game from a fantasy perspective, it’s going to be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. It always is when the Patriots take on a team coached by Rex Ryan. He’s one of the few coaches who can say he has had consistent success against Brady. You’re still starting the Patriots’ star, but don’t expect the same level of production he gave you last week. McCoy ran for just 41 yards on 17 carries last week and ceded a goal-line score to Boobie Dixon. It’s too early to panic, but I’m a little nervous if I invested in him. Regardless of the matchup, Edelman and Gronk are a go for fantasy owners. Expect the Bills to throw a lot of different coverages at Gronk to try to confuse him and Brady. Top corner Stephon Gilmore, who measures 6'0" and 190 pounds, could draw Gronk a lot on Sunday.
Conditional start: LeGarrette Blount, Sammy Watkins
I’m far more bullish on Watkins than I am on Blount in this game. Watkins was shut out last week, but he’s not going to see anyone as good as Vontae Davis in the New England secondary. I still have him outside the top-30 receivers for the week, but he’s a solid WR3 in my book. Blount, meanwhile, draws a stout Buffalo defense that gets Marcell Dareus back this week. The expected New England starter is game-script dependent, and this just doesn’t seem like a great spot for him. He’s going to have top-20 weeks that we can see coming days in advance. This isn’t one of them.
Sit: Tyrod Taylor, Dion Lewis, Karlos Williams, Boobie Dixon, Danny Amendola, Percy Harvin, Robert Woods, Charles Clay
Taylor had a great season debut, but he was asked to throw the ball just 19 times in the win over the Colts. He was efficient, and added 41 yards on the ground, but he won’t be able to do the exact same things against the Patriots. Even in two-quarterback leagues, I’d be sitting him unless I were desperate. Harvin’s production was driven almost entirely by the fact that Davis shadowed Watkins last week. Harvin won’t have that luxury on Sunday.
San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Must start: Jeremy Hill, Keenan Allen, A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert
Last week, Hill did exactly what elite backs do when they don’t have their best fastball. He ran for just 63 yards on 19 carries, but scored twice, finishing as the No. 5 back in standard-scoring leagues. You can’t bet on him scoring twice, but chances are he’ll have a better day as a runner against the Chargers. Green will have to deal with the same treatment that Calvin Johnson did last week, but the Detroit offensive line was also culpable for the struggles of the team’s passing game. Green isn’t getting as much respect as the league’s other elite receivers, and that’s a big mistake. Eifert had the first of what should be many big games in 2015. You can start him with confidence every week. As for Allen, he made me eat crow last week. The touchdown upside is still a bit low, but 17 targets will make anyone’s heart sing.
Conditional start: Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, Giovani Bernard, Stevie Johnson, Ladarius Green, Bengals DST
This game has more borderline starters who are closer to being on the right side of that line than any other this week. Dalton is my No. 12 quarterback while Rivers sits at No. 15, so clearly I think both can play very well in this one. Bernard racked up 88 total yards on 14 touches last week and can gash the Chargers in much the same way that Ameer Abdullah did a week ago. He’s a must-start back in full PPR leagues. Gordon and Woodhead will again split the duties in the San Diego backfield, but it has to be troubling for Gordon owners that Woodhead got all six of the Chargers’ red-zone carries. If Gordon doesn’t start wresting some of those away, he may be no more than an RB3 this year. Johnson and Green both found the end zone last week and will benefit all year from being in a high-volume passing game. I’d play Johnson over the likes of Eddie Royal and Mike Wallace. Green is a better play in my eyes than Delanie Walker and Dwayne Allen. I could see all the players listed here as starters in typical 12-team leagues.
Sit: Malcom Floyd, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Chargers DST
The Bengals offense is for real. Don’t stream the Chargers. All the receivers are depth guys and nothing more.
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns
Must start: Bishop Sankey, Titans DST
Yes, that’s right. The much-maligned Sankey is a must-start player this week. He lit up the Buccaneers, running for 74 yards and a score on 12 carries and adding another touchdown through the air. Even with Terrance West in the fold and potentially looking for revenge against his former team, Sankey is the man in Tennessee. He can replicate Chris Ivory’s effort (91 yards, two touchdowns) against the Browns last week. The Titans defense made life for Jameis Winston miserable, sacking him four times and picking him off twice. The Browns’ line is much better than the Buccaneers’, but this offense could be in just as much disarray in Johnny Manziel’s first start of the season.
Conditional start: Marcus Mariota, Isaiah Crowell, Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker (hand), Browns DST
Mariota had an NFL debut we won’t soon forget, throwing more touchdowns (four) than incompletions (three) in a dominant win over the Buccaneers and winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Before you start bronzing Mariota’s bust for Canton, guess who the last rookie was to win the conference player of the week in his first career game. It was none other than Robert Griffin III, who did so against the Saints in 2012. Cleveland’s defense isn’t a doormat like Tampa Bay’s. Mariota is a low-end QB2 this week. Wright had a huge game last week, as well, and he can surge back to prominence with a competent quarterback at the helm this year. He’s my No. 28 receiver for Week 2. Walker is dealing with a hand injury that could have him inactive on Sunday, but he’s my No. 12 tight end for now, just ahead of Dwayne Allen, Vernon Davis and Eric Ebron.
Sit: Johnny Manziel, Terrance West, Duke Johnson, Dorial Green-Beckham, Justin Hunter, Harry Douglas, Travis Benjamin, Taylor Gabriel, Brian Hartline, Gary Barnidge
All eyes will be on Manziel in his first start of the 2015 season. All things considered, he looked all right against the Jets last week, throwing for 182 yards, 7.58 YPA, one touchdown and one interception, while running for 35 yards on five carries. His touchdown pass was a beautiful 54-yard toss to Benjamin, though the interception was equally as ugly. He should, however, be owned in all two-quarterback leagues.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
Must start: Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Tevin Coleman, Rashad Jennings, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham
We have one quarterback, one running back and one receiver as must-start plays for each team. That makes sense in a game with an over/under of 51, the second highest on the board this week. Ryan–Jones vs. Manning–Beckham could be a show in and of itself. Manning owners shouldn’t be worried about his poor showing last week. The Falcons' defense could again be among the league’s worst. Manning and Beckham will get back on track on Sunday. Meanwhile, Tony Romo was able to put up 346 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants, largely without the services of Dez Bryant. What chance do the G-Men have against Ryan and Jones? Coleman owners should be thrilled that he got 20 carries last week. He’s the back to own in Atlanta.
Conditional start: Shane Vereen, Roddy White, Rueben Randle
Vereen got five targets last week, catching four of them for 46 yards. He’s worthy of consideration in full PPR leagues but nowhere else. White and Randle can both be WR3s in deeper leagues, though I have more confidence in White. The Giants got burned by a bunch of secondary options last week. At least it was Jordan Matthews doing most of the damage against the Falcons. White is my No. 42 receiver, while Randle checks in at No. 50.
Sit: Devonta Freeman, Leonard Hankerson, Victor Cruz (calf), Jacob Tamme, Larry Donnell, Falcons DST, Giants DST
My favorite bet heading into Week 2: Freeman will be droppable in most leagues sooner rather than later. Cruz will have some relevance when he makes his return to the field, but there’s a chance he’ll never again be the same receiver.
St. Louis Rams at Washington Redskins
Must start: Jordan Reed, Rams DST
On one side in this game, we have a ball-control offense with a dominant defense. On the other side is a low-ceiling offense and a team that could very well be the worst in the league. That’s a recipe for a boring fantasy game. Now, there are a handful of conditional starters here, which we’ll get to shortly, but only Reed and the elite Rams defense are locked in as starters this week. The latter speaks for itself and is my No. 1 defense this week. As for Reed, he should get a ton of targets in this offense with DeSean Jackson on the shelf due to a hamstring injury. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be a top-10 tight end this year.
Conditional start: Nick Foles, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon
The most controversial player listed above is likely Morris. I will admit that if you own him, you’re probably starting him. He had a great game against a stout Miami defense last week, running for 121 yards on 25 carries. Still, this Rams front four is potentially the best in the league. It held Marshawn Lynch to 73 yards on 18 carries and kept him out of the end zone. Morris is outside my top 25 backs this week, behind Tevin Coleman, DeAngelo Williams and Melvin Gordon. It’s certainly possible you can find better starters at running back and flex. Garcon will be the No. 1 in Washington with Jackson out and could turn that into a WR2 week. I have him outside the top 30, thanks in large part to the matchup, but he could end up with double-digit targets. Foles had a great game against the Seahawks last week, though Washington’s performance against Miami last week has me a little concerned about a quarterback who doesn’t really have a go-to receiver. He’s a low-end starter in two-quarterback leagues.
Sit: Kirk Cousins, Tre Mason (hamstring), Todd Gurley (knee), Benny Cunningham, Matt Jones, Brian Quick (shoulder), Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Redskins DST
The Rams’ backfield gets more interesting this week. Mason will likely play after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury, while Gurley returned to practice. Both have a higher ceiling than Cunningham, the current starter, but this is too muddy a situation to get involved with this week, especially given the way Washington held Lamar Miller in check for much of their Week 1 meeting with the Dolphins. The receiver depth chart in St. Louis also bears watching this week. My favorite players long term are Quick and Bailey. Austin is too gimmicky to trust for fantasy purposes.
Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars
Must start: Lamar Miller, Jarvis Landry, Jordan Cameron, Dolphins DST
Miller had a down game against Washington last week, though he did start to get it going in the fourth quarter. He should be able to excel against a Jacksonville defense that looks much the same as the unit that really struggled against the run last year. Landry remains a PPR darling, and owners in any league have to be pleased with his 12 targets from last week. With DeVante Parker still working his way back from a foot injury, Cameron served as Ryan Tannehill’s primary downfield threat last week. He can be a seam splitter against the Jaguars this week.
Conditional start: Ryan Tannehill, T.J. Yeldon, Allen Robinson (knee)
Tannehilll is a must-start play in two-quarterback leagues and can be a starter in one-QB formats. He’s in the same tier for Week 2 as Sam Bradford, Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton, and should have a better performance than he did against Washington last week. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him put up a top-seven week at the position, though I do have him ranked 13th. Like Alfred Morris above, Yeldon will probably start for most of his owners this week. There’s a scenario in which he could be on your bench, but you have to be encouraged by the way Morris ran against the Dolphins, as well as the fact that Yeldon out-touched Denard Robinson 15 to 7. Robinson had a terrible Week 1, catching one pass, dropping two, and slightly tweaking his knee. He should be good to go Sunday, but he’s just my No. 25 receiver. His best friend, at least from a fantasy standpoint, might be Miami’s offense. He could rack up a ton of targets if the Dolphins get out to a lead.
Sit: Blake Bortles, Denard Robinson, Greg Jennings, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker (foot), Allen Hurns, Rashad Greene (concussion), Marqise Lee (hamstring), Jaguars DST
The Jaguars’ depth chart at receiver remains a jumbled mess behind Robinson. Greene caught seven of his team-high 13 targets, but had just 28 yards before leaving with a concussion. Hurns led the team with 60 yards and was second with seven targets. Lee is expected to return after missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury. None has much fantasy value. Keep a close eye on Parker this week. He has true breakout potential once he’s 100% and up to speed in the Miami offense.
Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders
Must start: Justin Forsett, Steve Smith, Ravens DST
The Raiders are already in midseason form. It’s just Week 2, but we already have our first week without a must-start player from Oakland. Forsett struggled against the tough Denver defense last week, but there was a silver lining. He tied for the team lead with seven targets, a display of Marc Trestman’s influence over this offense. Smith also had seven targets, though he caught just two of them for 13 yards. The good news for him is that he won’t have to deal with Aqib Talib this week. Both Forsett and Smith should bounce back. Even without Terrell Suggs, the Ravens defense should feast on the Raiders.
Conditional start: Joe Flacco, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper
Andy Dalton carved up the Raiders last week, throwing for 269 yards and two touchdowns. That makes Flacco somewhat intriguing, but he doesn’t have near the weapons Dalton does. Consider him a low-end QB2, at best. It’ll be hard for owners who drafted Murray to sit him this week. After all, he was likely, at worst, your third back. This is, however, an awfully tough matchup, and the game could get out of hand. The good news there is that Murray got seven targets last week, catching all seven for 36 yards. At worst, he should be a flex play. Cooper, on the other hand, may suffer the same fate as Sammy Watkins did last year. Watkins was held back by substandard quarterback play his entire rookie season. The Alabama product could have the same frustrations this year. He’s my No. 31 receiver ahead of his date with Jimmy Smith.
Sit: Derek Carr (hand), Matt McGloin, Buck Allen, Marcel Reece, Roy Helu, Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken, Michael Crabtree, Maxx Williams, Crockett Gilmore, Mychal Rivera, Raiders DST
All those names, and nary an iota of fantasy value, potentially for the entire season. Carr under center would give more value to Cooper and Murray than if McGloin started.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Must start: Tony Romo, Sam Bradford, Joseph Randle, DeMarco Murray, Terrance Williams, Jordan Matthews, Jason Witten
The over/under on this game is 56, the highest of any Week 2 game. That’s something we’ll probably say a lot for Eagles games this year. Romo is going to miss Dez Bryant, but he should be fine in this game. The Eagles and Falcons combined to run 138 plays last week, and that’s the kind of pace the Eagles force in every game. That’s great news for everyone in Dallas. It’ll be all hands on deck to make up for Bryant, and we saw that on display against the Giants. Witten caught eight passes for 60 yards. Lance Dunbar caught eight for 70. Williams had five receptions for 60 yards. Randle hauled in all three of his targets for 42 yards. Expect a similar approach on Sunday. Williams takes over as the de facto No. 1 and should have a WR2-type game. It took the Eagles a little while to get going against the Falcons, but when they did, it was the Bradford show. He put the ball in the air 52 times, compared with just eight carries for Murray. That was largely because the Eagles trailed 20–3 at halftime. Expect a lot more balance, with the same pace, from the Eagles this week. Matthews made the fantasy community look good for all the love thrown in his direction this summer, catching 10 of his 13 targets for 102 yards. A WR1 season is coming.
Conditional start: Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles
Mathews and Sproles may end up being two of the most frustrating players this season. Both clearly have a role in the Philadelphia offense, but it can be nearly impossible to predict which one will have the better game or larger role behind Murray. Last week it was Sproles, and he’s certainly better from a PPR standpoint. On the other hand, Mathews plunged into the end zone from the one-yard line. Both are low-end flex plays in deep leagues.
Sit: Lance Dunbar, Darren McFadden, Cole Beasley, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Cowboys DST, Eagles DST
Dunbar could actually receive some consideration as a low-end flex play in full PPR leagues. He had eight targets last week, second on the Cowboys behind only Witten. He isn’t worth owning in non-PPR leagues, however. Agholor could very well develop into a top-40 receiver this year, but he had just two targets last week. Make him prove it before running him out there as a fantasy starter.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Must start: Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jimmy Graham
A rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game highlights the Week 2 slate. The luster just might be off this Seattle defense, evidenced by Nick Foles’s performance last week. Even if it weren’t, Rodgers would be among the best plays in Week 2, simply because he’s always among the best plays. Wilson’s job on the other side should be much easier this week than it was against the Rams in Week 1. He ranks as my top quarterback for Week 2. Adams led the Packers with eight targets last week, though he was the only receiver who didn’t get in the end zone. While James Jones’s red-zone usage was troubling, Adams remains a WR2 this week.
Conditional start: James Jones, Seahawks DST
Jones paid immediate dividends for the Packers last week, catching a pair of touchdown passes in their win over the Bears. Most importantly for his owners, both of his scores came in the red zone on plays that would typically be drawn up for Jordy Nelson. If he holds down that role all year, he could put up a top-30 receiver season. He’s my No. 43 receiver this week. The Seahawks' defense seems like an auto-start, but it looked bad against the Rams last week. Kam Chancellor is still holding out, and now it has to deal with the best quarterback in the league on the road. Proceed with caution.
Sit: Fred Jackson, James Starks, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jeff Janis, Jermaine Kearse, Ty Montgomery, Richard Rodgers, Packers DST
Kearse led the Seahawks with 10 targets last week, catching eight of them for 76 yards. Baldwin had seven grabs, but racked up just 35 yards. There’s still not a ton of value in this passing game outside of Wilson and Graham. Meanwhile, it’s Cobb, Adams and Jones in Green Bay. The preseason excitement for Janis and Montgomery has all but evaporated.
New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts
Must start: Andrew Luck, Chris Ivory, Frank Gore, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Donte Moncrief
Luck really struggled in the first half against the Bills last week, but he ultimately finished with a solid fantasy game, ending up as the No. 11 quarterback in standard-scoring leagues. His assignment isn’t nearly as tough this week, but that’s not to say the Jets are a pushover. Moncrief, of all people, is the one Colts receiver you want to start this week. Andre Johnson looked done last week, and Moncrief could very well become Luck’s favored target while T.Y. Hilton is out with a knee injury. On the Jets’ side, Chris Ivory confirmed all of our greatest hopes for him last week, running for 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He dominated the touches out of the Jets’ backfield and looks like a guy you plug into your lineup every week. Marshall and Decker are both worth playing, at least as flex guys, but I prefer Decker this week. Marshall will likely have to deal with Vontae Davis, who shut out Sammy Watkins last week.
Conditional start: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andre Johnson, Dwayne Allen, Jets DST
Fitzpatrick threw a pair of touchdowns last week, hooking up once apiece with Marshall and Decker. He’s worth starting consideration in two-quarterback leagues, given the way Tyrod Taylor performed against the Colts last week. He could also cut Indy's secondary up, especially if their pass rush remains non-existent. Johnson got 10 targets last week, but caught just four of them for 24 yards. He could draw Darrelle Revis in this one, too, meaning he should almost certainly be on your bench. Allen is my No. 13 tight end this week. He could be in for more work with Hilton out on Monday night.
Sit: Phillip Dorsett, Coby Fleener, Colts DST
There isn’t much, if any, fantasy value in any of these three. Dorsett could be intriguing if Johnson’s Week 1 performance is indicative of the player he’s going to be all season, but we’re not quite there yet.