Week 2 NFL Fantasy Football: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em

start 'em, sit 'em

Week 1 is in the books, and hopefully you started off your season with a W! I was lucky enough to start my season with a win in all three of my fantasy leagues (thank you, Saquon Barkley). If you found yourself on the opposite side of the spectrum, let’s get you on the board this week. Regardless, it’s still very early in the season, so there’s no time to panic or get too excited.

In last week’s article, Christian Kirk was my smash start of the week. He dominated the Commanders, and it would’ve been even better, had he not been stopped on the 1-yard line. A.J. Dillon and Kirk Cousins were two players I had as a “start ’em” and they both had pretty good games. I also pointed out Breece Hall, Amari Cooper and Diontae Johnson as players you should keep on your bench. None of them had double digit points in 0.5 PPR leagues. For the most part, it was a very successful week for me. Momentum is on our side, so let’s keep it up.

We won’t cover too many players, so if you have specific questions after reading this, you can reach out to me via Twitter.


Start ‘Em

1. Brandon Aiyuk – Last week’s game in the Chicago monsoon was a mess. The rain and wind combination were not a recipe for success on offense. Brandon Aiyuk did not have a good game, nor did anyone on either team. However, there were some positives that I took away. On the 49ers’ first offensive snap, Kyle Shanahan drew up a jet sweep for Aiyuk, which picked up 7 yards. Three plays later, he had a nice gain of 31 yards on a dart from Lance. It was clear they wanted him to get involved early, which is encouraging, considering he started last season in the doghouse. After that, the weather got a lot worse, the game got even uglier, and Aiyuk was not able to do much.

This week, we will see the real Trey Lance and the 49ers offense: an offense that also just lost Eli Mitchell and is still practicing without George Kittle. Their Week 2 matchup against the Seahawks should be a cake walk, especially since Seattle will be without starting safety, Jamal Adams. Aiyuk is a playmaker and is going to make big plays against this bottom-end defense without their best player. I think he’ll do a little bit of everything for the Niners this week. They’re going to need him to step up, and he will deliver.

2. Derek Carr – If you just lost Dak Prescott due to injury, Carr is the perfect replacement this week. I know he threw 3 interceptions last week, but he was under duress all game against a Chargers defensive line with Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa. Now, he gets an Arizona defense that just let up five passing touchdowns to Patrick Mahomes and didn’t sack him once. Obviously, Carr is nothing compared to Mahomes. The reality is, though, the Raiders have more weapons on their offense and are playing at home. They’re also facing against a bad defense in a game where the projected total is over 50 points. Whether it’s Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller or someone else, they’re going to score a ton of points on Sunday.


3. Kareem Hunt – Last week, we saw Kareem Hunt vulture a couple of touchdowns from Nick Chubb. He had a total of 15 opportunities, and he did not disappoint. If you’re a Chubb owner, this isn’t something that should surprise you. Hunt has always been an effective running back, going back to his days in Kansas City. Ever since joining the Browns, he’s been somewhat of an afterthought for most people, but he shouldn’t be. Last year, he was a top-10 RB in fantasy until he got hurt. I don’t know why people continue to doubt the fact that he’s an easy RB2 or FLEX every week in every format.

With Jacoby Brissett under center, it’s crystal clear that the Browns are going to use both Chubb and Hunt a ton. With all of that said, he gets a mouthwatering matchup against the Jets on Sunday. The Browns are likely going to crush them, and that means we should easily see somewhere between 12-17 opportunities yet again. Don’t convince yourself that Hunt is the backup in Cleveland. He’s more of a 1B, like A.J. Dillon in Green Bay. Start him.

4. Darnell Mooney – Similar to Brandon Aiyuk, Darnell Mooney was in a horrible spot last week due to the weather in Chicago. I know it’s hard, but you need to completely forget that game ever happened. All offseason, there was a ton of hype around Mooney, and I don’t think that Week 1 was any indication of what we’re going to see throughout the year. He’s a very talented receiver who had 1000+ yards and 81 receptions last year. That was with Allen Robinson on the team.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Isn’t Jaire Alexander going to shadow him all game?” Well, the Packers run zone coverage about 70-80% of the time, so no, he won’t be shadowing him all game. The Bears are 10-point underdogs, so there is a pretty good chance that Justin Fields will have to throw the ball 35+ times. If he does, Mooney will benefit tremendously, and I think he’ll prove that he’s a receiver you’ll want in your starting lineup most weeks, especially this one.

Sit ‘Em

1. Breece Hall – For the second week in a row, I’m throwing Breece Hall in the doghouse. I believe this kid is uber talented, but he’s not in an ideal situation right now. Not only does the Jets offense turn me off in every aspect, but even more so when they’re playing against a stout defense. This week, he gets a Cleveland Browns defense that just did a pretty good job containing Christian McCaffrey. Last week, Hall had 15 opportunities which is very encouraging. However, he turned that into 61 yards and a lost fumble. Michael Carter looks like the starting RB in New York.

So, why start a backup RB on a bad team in a bad matchup? If you drafted him early, you must be disappointed, but you can’t be surprised. You took a chance on him with hopes of him being your RB2, but now it’s time to be realistic. He’s more of an RB4 with upside, since he’s really good at football. After this week, he’ll be a decent buy-low option in your leagues. For now, store him away on your bench and hope for the best.

2. DeVonta Smith – I’ve been struggling with this one for a little. While I love the matchup and think this week could be a bounce back week for Smith, I have nothing to back that up. Smith put up a goose egg against my hometown Lions, which was a much easier matchup for WRs. This offense is very good, but they run the ball a lot, and A.J. Brown is the clear alpha here. I just can’t start a guy that had 0 catches in a game where his team scored 38 points. I don’t have much more to say, because I love the player and I love the matchup, but I need him to prove to me that he’s not just a dart throw. At this point, that’s exactly what he is.

3. Adam Thielen – Does everyone remember when Thielen was a top wide receiver to own in fantasy just a few seasons ago? Well, he’s officially passed the torch to Justin Jefferson. Thielen was used minimally in the Vikings’ Week 1 victory against the Packers, while Jefferson just went ballistic. I envision the offense to look quite similar this week against the Eagles. With so many receivers available on the market or on your roster, I think sitting Thielen is the right play here.

4. Rashaad Penny – On Monday Night Football against the Broncos, Rashaad Penny ran very well, turning 12 carries into 60 yards while adding a couple of receptions too. There are some red flags here though. The Seahawks were in control of that game and had the lead from start to finish, and Penny only got 12 carries. Kenneth Walker also didn’t play in that game, and it looks like he’ll be prepared to make his debut this Sunday against the stout Niners’ defense. It seems to me like the Seahawks want to be careful with Penny, since he gets hurt every year. That’s probably why they drafted Walker in the second round of this year’s draft. Being 10-point underdogs on the road in San Fran makes this a clear sit situation.


Antonio Gibson

If you were lucky enough to draft Gibson in the 8th or 9th round, congratulations. He won’t be as valuable to own when Brian Robinson comes back, but he’s very valuable now. He gets a Lions defense that just gave up over 5.0 yards a carry and 4 rushing touchdowns to the Eagles. This is a smash spot. Gibson had 14 carries for 58 yards and 7 catches for 72 yards. Had he scored, he would’ve been one of only eight running backs to eclipse 20 points in 0.5 PPR scoring. The good news is that this game has one of the highest O/Us on the slate, so he’s got a really good chance to punch one in on Sunday. It was nice to see Wentz look his way eight times and for the Commanders to play to Gibson’s strength: catching the football in space. I love Gibson in every format this week, including DFS.

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