Week 2 is officially in the books and with the surprising number of injuries that were sustained in week 2, many of you are likely looking for some help setting your lineups as you’re trying to fill the holes left by your fallen stars. We are here to help and will dive into the numbers which should help you decide which players are worth taking a chance on this week versus which players should be taken out of your lineup and glued to the bench. With new fantasy stars emerging and past fantasy studs beginning to look more like duds, it’s important not to keep your lineup the same every week just because you drafted a player with the expectation of them being a weekly starter. It’s time to make some tough decisions and do what you must to help you win your week.
Every week there are players who significantly outperform their projections, much in the same way there are players who significantly underperform. You should use the information presented to make your own decision in order to start your optimal line-up and get the W at the end of the week. If you find yourself at 0-2 already it’s not time to press the panic button just yet, all you need is a win this week to get yourself back on track and keep yourself in the playoff race. Therefore, read up and get those line-ups set using your new-found knowledge.
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20 Denver Broncos Defense – SIT
The Broncos Defense have not lived up to their early-season billing. This unit continues to look better on paper than they do on the field. They have only sacked the QB five times over the first 2 games and only managed to turn the ball over twice. Additionally, the Broncos are facing the Seahawks this week who have only turned the ball over twice in their first 2 games, both on fumbles. Given that the defenses that have faced the Seahawks have not performed well, it’s time to put the Broncos on your bench until they begin to look like a cohesive unit.
19 Indianapolis Colts Defense – START
This one is a no brainer; the Colts are playing an offense that has struggled mightily for 7 of the 8 quarters played so far this season. After the Jaguars started the season with 2 TDs in the 1st quarter against the Eagles, they only managed to find the end-zone once in the next 7, with only 2 FGs. It is also worth noting that the opposing defenses have already managed to sack Chad Henne a whopping 13 times in only 2 games and also managed to turn the ball over twice. Though the Colts don’t possess an elite pass rush, they should be able to minimize the Jaguars scoring opportunities and rank among the top 12 defensive teams this week. Get them in your lineup.
18 Kyle Rudolph – TE, Minnesota Vikings – SIT
Kyle Rudolph has not blown anyone out of the water in his first two weeks of the season. Many fantasy enthusiasts pegged Rudolph as a breakout candidate this year. He has put up respectable tight end totals in both games so far, however those who drafted him likely expected more. This week Kyle Rudolph will face off against the Saints defense, who have given up an average of 6.25 fantasy points per game to TEs based on standard scoring. Given Rudolph’s early season performance and the Saints early-season propensity to stop TEs, Rudolph should be benched this week.
17 Greg Olsen – TE, Carolina Panthers – START
Olsen has had a very nice start to his season accumulating 155 yards and a TD over the first 2 weeks. He is the only pass catcher on the Panthers offense who was a major part of the aerial attack last year. Along with the fact that Olsen is one of Cam Newton’s favorite targets, the Panthers will be facing off against the Steelers defense this week who have given up 13.4 fantasy points per game to opposing fantasy TEs. It should also be noted that Kelvin Benjamin missed Wednesday’s practice and if he is unable to suit up come Sunday, or is limited in any way, this only increases Olsen’s value. Start Olsen with confidence this week.
16 James Jones – WR, Oakland Raiders – SIT
James Jones has emerged as one of Derek Carr’s favorite weapons. Jones has found the end-zone in both of his games in a Raider uniform. He was targeted 14 times in the Raiders' week 2 game against the Texans and hauled in 9 of those targets for 112 yards. Though we fully expect Jones to quietly put together a nice season, he is squaring off against the Patriots defense who has been the toughest defense on WRs so far this year. Wide-outs facing the Patriots have only scored 1 TD and accumulated 188 yards over 2 games. Sit Jones against this fearsome defensive unit.
15 Cordarrelle Patterson– WR, Minnesota Vikings – START
The Vikings will be without their star running back (Adrian Peterson) for an undetermined amount of time and will need someone to step up and make big plays. Patterson has showed flashes of superstar ability, as was the case in the Vikings week 1 game in which Patterson put up 102 rushing yards and 26 receiving yards. The Vikings will be facing off against the Saints this week who have been unable to stop opposing wide-outs. Opposing WRs have totaled 489 receiving yards and scoring 2 TDs over 2 weeks which makes this a mouth-watering match-up for Cordarrelle Patterson.
14 Markus Wheaton– WR, Pittsburgh Steelers – SIT
There are high hopes for Wheaton this year as he is the Steelers starting wide-out opposite Antonio Brown. He has yet to find the end-zone thus far this season but has managed to accumulate 135 yards through the air and added another 22 on the ground. These numbers are not screaming elite receiver however Wheaton should be able to fill in as a WR3/Flex starter in certain weeks based on his match-up. This is not one of those weeks. The Steelers play against the stout Carolina Panthers defense this week. Carolina ranks among the top 5 defenses against WRs so far this year and this will likely continue this week. Keep Wheaton on the bench this week.
13 Sammy Watkins – WR, Buffalo Bills – START
Let’s all welcome Sammy Watkins to the big leagues. Watkins showed us why the Bills traded up in the draft to get him, as he shredded the Dolphins defense in week 2 on his way to 117 yards and his first NFL TD. Look for Watkins to continue his stellar play as he is quickly becoming one of E.J. Manuel’s favorite targets. Watkins will be up against the Chargers Defense who has given up the 8th most points per game to opposing wide-outs with an average of 23.6 points per game. Plug Watkins in this week as he continues to build his case on being a weekly starter.
12 Marques Colston– WR, New Orleans Saints – SIT
Colston followed up his impressive season opener with a dud in which he put up a goose egg. It’s even more concerning that he didn't even receive a single target. It seems that the days of Marques Colston being an elite fantasy option are in the rear-view mirror. Though Colston will likely have a few good games this season, he lacks what fantasy owners typically want in their WRs, consistency. Colston is to be considered a boom or bust type of receiver and if you have him in your lineup, be aware that you are taking this risk. The Saints are playing the Vikings who possess a middle of the pack defense against wide-outs which implies that there is a chance that Colston puts up a respectable stat line at home this week. Regardless, don’t take the risk, bench Colston.
11 DeAndre Hopkins– WR, Houston Texans – START
It’s time to start believing the hype if you haven’t started to already. Hopkins already has 2 scores to his name coupled with 111 yards. Though the Texans are intent on running the ball, there is still room for the passing game to thrive with opposing defenses stacking the box against Arian Foster. Not only has Hopkins performed well so far this season, he has the luxury of playing against the New York Giants defense this week who have given up an average of 24.05 points per game to opposing wide-outs. This ranks them among the bottom 5 defenses against wide-receivers, so get Hopkins in your line-up this week.
10 Donald Brown – RB, San Diego Chargers – SIT
Donald Brown was a hot waiver wire commodity this past week as the injury to Ryan Mathews has provided Donald Brown the opportunity to carry the bulk of the load for the Chargers until Mathews returns. That was the good news, now the bad news, Brown has been a career backup and is playing against the Bills Defense who has a stout run defense which will make it difficult for Brown to put up good numbers this week. The Bills possess a top 10 rush defense as opposing RBs are only averaging 14 points per game. Don’t get creative, sit Brown this week.
9 Bobby Rainey – RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – START
You won’t have to wait long to know if you should start Rainey, as he will be taking part in the Thursday night game. You should only start Rainey if Doug Martin is inactive tonight as he would be in line for the start again after rushing for 144 yards and adding 30 receptions yards against the Rams last week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a very favorable match-up this week as they face-off against the league’s worst run defense in the Atlanta Falcons, who have given up an average of 37.4 points to opposing RBs. If Martin is a no go, get Rainey in your lineup and start the week off on the right foot.
8 Frank Gore – RB, San Francisco 49ers – SIT
Frank Gore has had a very respectable start to the season as he rumbled his way to 63 yards and a TD last week against the Bears. However, his match-up this week isn't quite as favorable. The 49ers face off against their division rival, the Arizona Cardinals, who boast the 3rd best running defense in the league. You should also keep in mind that Frank Gore has failed to surpass 70 yards in each of his first two starts and you shouldn't expect him to shake this trend this week. Bench Gore.
7 Stevan Ridley – RB, New England Patriots – START
While it is near impossible to determine who Coach Belichick plans to use for his weekly game plan, it is impossible to ignore what Stevan Ridley did last week against the Vikings as he scampered for 101 yards and a TD on 25 carries, while Vereen only saw 6 carries. As long as Ridley continues to hold onto the ball, he looks to be the back to own in the Patriots backfield. Given Ridley’s week 3 match-up against the Raiders who have given up the 3rd most points to RBs, you should definitely get Ridley into your lineup.
6 Terrance West – RB, Cleveland Browns – SIT
Terrance West has filled in admirably in Ben Tate’s absence, as he went off for 90 combined yards and a TD in the Browns’ week 3 game against the Saints, which came on the back of a 100 yard rushing effort in week 1. While he has had success in the first two weeks of the season, he finds himself with a difficult match-up in week 3 as the Browns will clash with the Baltimore Ravens who own a top 5 run defense. While West has looked good early in the season, he will likely hit a speed bump this week and get shut-down by the Baltimore defense. Sit him this week.
5 Joique Bell – RB, Detroit Lions – START
Joique Bell has silenced any doubters who though that he wouldn’t be able to repeat last year's production. He should be considered a RB2/Flex play in most weeks. This week is no exception as the Lions will be playing against the porous Green Bay Packers run defense. The Packers have given up an average of 27.7 points to opposing RB as they have been unable to stop the run at all so far this season. Both Reggie Bush and Joique Bell should find their way into their owners’ lineups this week based on the fact that they have a very favorable match-up.
4 Andy Dalton – QB, Cincinnati Bengals – SIT
Andy Dalton has been unable to find the end-zone regularly as he has only thrown 2 TDs over the first two weeks but has been able to balance this out by accumulating 553 passing yards. There are a few problems with starting Dalton this week. Dalton and the Bengals may be without superstar receiver A.J. Green due to his struggles with turf toe. Additionally, the Bengals are facing the Titans defense, which has been surprisingly strong against opposing signal callers thus far this year. The Titans defense has been the 3rd best defensive unit against opposing QBs and given the tough situation Dalton finds himself in, he should be benched this week.
3 Russell Wilson – QB, Seattle Seahawks – START
Russell Wilson is about as consistent a fantasy QB as you could have. It’s safe to assume that he will score approximately 2 TDs every week accompanied by 200 passing yards and a few rushing yards. If there is a week for Wilson to outperform this, it will be this week as he faces off against the Broncos, who he dismantled in last year’s Super Bowl. Additionally, the Broncos have given up the 4th most points to opposing QBs which is good news for Russell Wilson. He could be in line for a big day as these two titans clash on Sunday.
2 Ben Roethlisberger – QB, Pittsburgh Steelers – SIT
Big Ben has not been overly impressive so far this year. He has only been able to throw for 1 TD, yet has already thrown 2 INTS. Though Ben Roethlisberger has been able to throw for almost 600 yards, this is not enough to make me believe that he will perform well against the Carolina Panthers this week. The Panthers are one of the best defenses in the NFL and will give Ben Roethlisberger fits this coming Sunday and as such it’s best to keep Big Ben on the bench for now.
1 Jay Cutler – QB, Chicago Bears – START
Alright, I’ll man up. I was wrong last week when I said to sit Jay Cutler as I was expecting both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to miss the game. Instead they both suited up and Jay Cutler had a great game as he went off for 176 yards and 4 TDs adding 25 more rushing yards. Let the good times roll as Jay Cutler has yet another favorable match-up this week. Cutler and his Bears will be taking on the New York Jets who were lit up by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers aerial attack last week to the tune of 346 yards through the air and 3 TDs. Cutler has great weapons at his disposal, so expect him to continue to take advantage of this. Start him.
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