The 2014 season has officially kicked-off. Every team took the field Sunday giving fans a glimpse of what to expect for both their favourite teams and their fantasy teams. Some liked what they saw, such as fans of the Miami Dolphins who beat their division rival, the New England Patriots. Their offensive line looked significantly better than it did last year and to many people’s surprise, Knowshon Moreno looked just as good on Sunday as he did last year in a Broncos uniform. Others may have already come to the realization that this year will be just as bad (or worse) than last year. Just ask any New York Giants fans who had to endure that brutal display on Monday night. The same can be said for Victor Cruz owners who saw him drop balls and only put up 24 yards in a game he was expected to dominate.
With week one in the rear-view mirror, it is time to look forward to week 2 and the new slate of games which begin Thursday night. In other words, it’s time to start setting your weekly line-up. In this weekly segment, we will not be listing obvious Sit ‘em and Start ‘em candidates, instead the players that are included as Start ‘em candidates are players that are usually not considered weekly starters, whereas players that you will find in the Sit ‘em portion are players typically considered weekly starters or players you will be tempted to start after a big game the week before. It’s your job to use the information to help you make your decisions every week. Remember we’re here to do the research so you don’t have to.
20. Kansas City Chiefs, DEF – SIT
Well, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise; you shouldn’t be starting ANY defense (with the exception of the Seahawks) against the powerhouse offense of the Denver Broncos. As long as Manning is at the helm of the Broncos, it isn’t safe to start the oppositions defense.
To top it off, KC didn’t look good against Jake Locker and the Titans, giving up 26 points and recording 4 sacks with no turnovers. No one was really expecting the Chiefs to repeat as the highest scoring defense were they? Sit ‘em this week.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, DEF – START
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers DEF, like the KC Chiefs DEF, did not have a great start to the fantasy season. Though they only gave up 20 points to the Panthers, they failed to create any turnovers and only sacked the QB once. It should also be noted that the Panthers started their backup QB, Derek Anderson.
The good news is that Tampa Bay will be facing the St. Louis Rams this week, who fielded one of the worst offenses in week 1. The Rams will be starting their 3rd string QB Austin Davis if injured Shaun Hill is unable to go. Start Tampa Bay as they are in line for a big day.
18. Antonio Gates – TE, San Diego Chargers – SIT
Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green will be fighting for targets all season long. Based on the small sample size we have (only 1 game), the early signs point to Gates still beging the #1 TE in San Diego. Antonio Gates caught 6 passes on Monday night for 81 yards, and it should be noted that this came against the Arizona Cardinals who were notoriously bad against TE’s last season.
Gates and Green have a much more difficult match-up this week as they square-off against the World Champion Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks only gave up 26 yard to Green Bay’s TE’s in their week 1 match-up, so we’d recommend staying away from Gates (and Green) this week.
17. Zach Ertz – TE, Philadelphia Eagles – START
Zach Ertz picked up exactly where he left off last season, as he put up 77 yards and a TD against the Jaguars in week 1. He is the TE to own from the Philadelphia offense as Ertz continues to develop a nice rapport with Nick Foles.
The Eagles are facing off against the Indianapolis Colts this week in the Monday night game. The Colts were lit up by Julius Thomas in week one to the tune of 104 yards and 3 TDs. Don’t expect these type of numbers from Ertz, however this game has the makings of a shootout and Ertz figures to be a large piece of the Eagles offense going forward this season. Start Ertz.
16. Keenan Allen – WR, San Diego Chargers – SIT
Many of you likely drafted Keenan Allen as a WR1 or a high-end WR2. Those who did were likely very disappointed in Allen’s week 1 performance, which saw him accumulate a mere 27 yards. It’s not time to panic just yet but it would be wise to keep Allen on the bench this week as he faces off against the fierce Seattle defense.
Much like the DEF teams playing the Broncos, you should typically avoid starting offensive players playing against the Seattle defense. If you have some depth at WR and own a player like Kelvin Benjamin, sit Allen and start the receiver with a better match-up.
15. Mike Wallace – WR, Miami Dolphins – START
Mike Wallace and the Miami Dolphins will be facing off against the Bills in Buffalo. Some may be tempted to bench Wallace as he has had his face share of struggles away from home, but we wouldn’t suggest it. After witnessing what Wallace was able to do against Revis who was covering him for most of the MIA- NE week 1 match-up, it’s time to start believing and giving Wallace the respect he deserves as a weekly WR3/ flex starter. In case you were wondering, Wallace put up 81 yards and a TD in week 1. Start Wallace this week.
14. Michael Crabtree – WR, San Francisco 49ers – SIT
Michael Crabtree played one of the NFL’s worst defenses in week 1. What does he have to show for it? A whopping 25 yards. Crabtree will likely still put together a respectable season. However, as was seen this past Sunday, there are a lot of mouths to feed in San Francisco and as such Michael Crabtree finds himself as a Sit ‘em candidate this week. The 49ers will be facing off against the Bears who surprisingly held the Bills receivers to only 145 total yards and no scores. All this to say, you should sit Michael Crabtree this week.
13. Reggie Wayne – WR, Indianapolis Colts – START
All Reggie Wayne doubters were proven wrong very quickly. Wayne looked to have reclaimed his role as Andrew Luck’s favorite target and security blanket as he caught 9 passes on 13 targets amounting to 98 yards. It remains to be seen if this will continue throughout the season but given the Colts week 2 match-up against the Eagles, who gave up 110 yards and 2 TDs to the undrafted rookie WR Allen Hurns, you should get Reggie Wayne in your starting line-up.
12. Victor Cruz – WR, New York Giants – SIT
On Monday night we got to witness the new look Giants offense under Ben McAdoo. To say the least, it was underwhelming. Cruz had a rough night as he dropped two balls, however, that was only part of the problem. Cruz was only targeted 6 times even though the offense struggled mightily for large part of this game.
The Giants will be facing off against the Arizona Cardinals this week who have a solid defense and kept the Chargers pass catchers in check for most of their week 1 match-up. They held Keenan Allen to 37 yards while Malcom Floyd managed to accumulate 50 yards and a score. This is not the week the Giants will fix their woes and benching Cruz is the way to go until the Giants offense can show some signs of life.
11. Jeremy Maclin – WR, Philadelphia Eagles – START
Much like Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Maclin silenced his doubters last week. Maclin put up 97 yards and a score. Granted 68 yards came on one play, but he was still targeted 10 times and this implies he is going to be a big piece of the high-flying Eagles offense.
The Colts are coming off a great night defensively against wide-outs, as the Broncos wide-outs only scored 15.2 points combined against them (based on standard scoring). However, Monday night’s game will likely be a shootout, so you should start most of your fantasy players from these two teams and Maclin is no exception.
10. Doug Martin – RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – SIT
Doug Martin’s attempt to be recognized as a top 10 RB again this season took a hit in week 1 as he only managed 9 yards on 9 rushes (he also added 7 yards receiving to this lackluster total). Additionally, Martin injured his leg in the week 1 contest against the Panthers. Though the injury is said to be minor, it is important to keep an eye out for his availability in week 2. Though Martin is going up against the Rams who had a rough showing in week 1 against the Vikings, his injury coupled with his rough week 1 outing is reason enough to bench him.
9. Knowshon Moreno – RB, Miami Dolphins – START
Many thought that Moreno’s incredible season was purely a result of being in Peyton Manning’s offense (which is known to help RBs as they rarely see a stacked box). Moreno had other things in mind as he scampered for 134 yards and hit pay dirt once. This was good enough to be the 3rd best fantasy RB in week 1. Looks like Moreno is for real and should be in your line-up this week as he plays another divisional rival in the Bills.
8. Trent Richardson – RB, Indianapolis Colts – SIT
The Eagles run defense looked good in week 1 against the Jaguars. The Eagles only allowed 7.9 fantasy points to the opposing RBs. Though the Eagles aren’t expected to be one of the best run stopping defenses, they are a unit that is improving. Given this. and the fact that Ahmad Bradshaw looks like he will be eating into Richardson’s touches. it would be wise to sit Richardson until he can prove he still has fantasy value. He’s just not worth the risk this week.
7. Chris Johnson – RB, New York Jets – START
Chris Johnson finds his way onto this list for the 2nd straight week. Both Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory were used in the Jets backfield during the week one game against the Raiders and both managed to find the end-zone. Chris Johnson saw 18 touches (13 rushes and 5 receptions) with Chris Ivory seeing only 10, all rushes. Chris Johnson scored on a short shovel pass and accumulated 91 total yards from scrimmage.
On top of the fact that he was the Jets back with the most touches in week 1, his week 2 opponent is the Green Bay Packers who got torched by the Seahawks running game. Don’t expect the Jets to run all over the Packers the way the Seahawks did, but they should put together respectable rushing totals, so you should get Chris Johnson into your starting line-up.
6. Toby Gerhart- RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – SIT
Gerhart is one of the few remaining featured backs in the NFL. However, this is not enough to start him this week. Gerhart suffered an ankle injury in week one when he was taken down by an illegal horse collar tackle. Additionally, Gerhart only managed a total of 42 rushing yards and 15 receiving yards in his week one game against the Eagles.
Gerhart will be going up against the Redskins defense who gave up only 10.2 points to the Houston Texans backs, which featured a heavy dose of Arian Foster. This has them ranked as the 4th best running defense after week 1.
5. Mark Ingram – RB, New Orleans Saints – START
Though Mark Ingram didn’t see the field for as many snaps as his fantasy owners would have liked in week 1, he definitely made the most of them. Ingram was only on the field for 20 of the Saints’ 75 offensive plays which is 14 less than the 34 plays that Pierre Thomas was in for. This being said Ingram still got 13 carries which he used to run for 60 yards and two touchdowns, making him one of the highest scoring RBs for the week.
Ingram’s value will be based largely on his ability to find the end-zone given the Saints’ potent aerial attack. With this being said, expect him to find the end-zone this week against the Cleveland Browns who made Le’Veon Bell look like the 2nd coming of Barry Sanders in week 1.
4. Philip Rivers – QB, San Diego Chargers – SIT
Philip Rivers had a quiet week 1 against a strong opponent in the Arizona Cardinals. He put up 238 yards with only 1 TD and an INT. Don’t expect his stat line to look much better in week 2 as he has another tough opponent in the Seahawks. If you haven’t figured it out yet, don’t start your players if they are playing the Seahawks unless they are truly elite level players (Rivers is not truly elite, so sit him). Things should get better for Rivers and the Chargers offense in week 3 as the have a match-up against the Buffalo Bills.
3. Jake Locker – QB, Tennessee Titans – START
Locker looked pretty good week 1, where he threw for 266 yards and 2 scores against the Chiefs defense. Now, I wouldn’t recommend starting Locker over an top tier QB, such as Brees, Manning, Luck, Stafford, or Rodgers. However if you have Tony Romo or Philip Rivers as your starter this week, you should consider taking a chance on Jake Locker as he will be going up against the woeful Dallas defense. If you need a spot start this week, go pick up Locker and start him.
2. Jay Cutler – QB, Chicago Bears – SIT
Cutler put together a respectable stat line in week 1 as he threw for 349 yards/2 TDS/2 INTs. Cutler has the potential to be great this year, however with both his superstar receivers missing practice Wednesday and with their statuses currently unknown for Sunday’s game, this week might be rough on Cutler.
It would be wise to keep on eye on the status of both receivers, as if they can each get a full practice in before the end of the week you would have to reconsider sitting Cutler and adding him back into your line-up. If either or both of them miss you should bench Cutler against the 49ers who gave Tony Romo fits in week 1.
1. Carson Palmer – QB, Arizona Cardinals – START
Palmer looks to continue his impressive start to the season. He threw for 304 yards and 2 TDs and added 29 rushing yards in his week 1 game against the San Diego Chargers. Palmer also has the benefit of playing the New York Giants in week 2. With the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Josh Brown catching his passes, coupled with the fact that the Cardinals are playing the Giants, Palmer should find his way into your starting line-up as he is in line for a big day.
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