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    Tommy Garrett’s Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 2: Kirk Cousins, Darrell Henderson, and Christian Kirk have promising outlooks

    With the NFL moving full steam ahead with the new season, which players make the Week 2 start/sit list for fantasy football?

    The NFL season is back for another round of action, and fantasy football managers are ready for a full slate of action to flood their TVs this weekend, giving ample opportunities to adjust their lineups. As not all matchups or roles are equal, here are our top fantasy football start/sit Week 2 plays.

    Fantasy football start/sit Week 2 | Quarterbacks

    Start: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings at PHI

    Kirk Cousins looked good in his first game with the new scheme under Kevin O’Connell, completing 23 of 32 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. Cousins finished Week 1 as the QB12 with 19.1 points, which is pretty darn good for someone with little to no rushing upside.

    Cousins couldn’t miss when looking toward Justin Jefferson, accounting for 184 yards and both of his touchdowns. This duo could end up leading their respective positions in yards this year, and while Jefferson is receiving adequate praise for this, Cousins isn’t, and that might be a mistake.

    Last week, the Eagles had a sizeable lead on Detroit but did allow 35 points and 386 yards.

    I feel we can agree Minnesota is a more complete offense, and that is with minimal impact from Adam Thielen (3 for 36), no real WR3, or Irv Smith Jr. recording a catch. Cousins has moved up to QB11 in this week’s fantasy rankings, placing him well within starting range for Week 2.

    Start: Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams vs. ATL

    Safe to say, last week was not the start the defending Super Bowl Champions had in mind. Mathew Stafford did little to quell the detractors. If anything, his QB29 outing added more fuel to the “his elbow is shot” narrative.

    But what if this is more about the Bills than it is Stafford? For as large of a mismatch as this is on paper, it could have significant ripple effects in the fantasy football world on how we view Stafford moving forward, along with Cam Akers and especially Allen Robinson.

    I am giving Stafford a pass for this week because I think a decent part of his struggle was going against the No. 1 ranked defense in EPA last year that just so happened to get even better in the offseason. Los Angeles has a perfect bounce-back opportunity against the Falcons’ defense that was 28th in EPA last week against the Saints. QB10 in PFN’s Week 2 rankings, I’d hold off on fading Stafford for one more week.

    Sit: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans at BUF

    Sorry, Ryan Tannehill, you’re on the bench this week. That’s not to say Tannehill didn’t have a solid week, throwing for 266 yards and two scores, finishing with just under 20 fantasy points as a top-12 QB.

    But this is Buffalo. Not only that, but it’s their home opener, so you know that place will be rocking. To combat that, as long as the game script allows, I see a heavy diet of Derrick Henry in the future. Buffalo was No. 1 vs. QBs last year as well as No. 1 in both passing yards and touchdowns, and just held Stafford to 10 fantasy points. Every Titans player has dropped in this week’s rankings, with Tannehill someone I would sit for fantasy football in Week 2.

    Sit: Justin Fields, Chicago Bears at GB

    This is not a commentary on what Justin Fields did on Sunday. For me, both teams got a pass due to the weather, which was warned about in our weekly weather report. Fields passed just 17 times on Sunday against the 49ers but did rush 11 times, albeit for 28 yards, and topped out at 14.6 fantasy points (QB23).

    Better days are ahead, and I will not discount them coming this week in Green Bay. But when we have a full slate of games and no bye weeks, we haven’t seen enough to elevate Fields from the mid-QB2 range into the top 12, which is jam-packed with more reliable and proven options. Fields is undoubtedly someone I expect to rise and could become a weekly starter due to his rushing upside. But for now, until both Fields and this team show they can be trusted, I’ll leave Fields on the bench.

    Sit: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NO

    Am I playing with fire benching the G.O.A.T? One million percent. I’m not saying bench Tom Brady for anyone, either. They need to be a clear top 10 option, but I think I am staying away this week.

    New Orleans has Brady’s number. In the last four meetings since he joined Tampa, Brady has six touchdowns to eight interceptions and passing totals of 239, 209, 375, and 214 yards. That’s one good game out of four. Over that span, he averaged 16.8 fantasy points with a full complement of receivers.

    That’s not the case in Week 2. Just on the Wednesday injury report alone, Mike Evans (calf) was limited. Chris Godwin, who injured his hamstring in Week 1, was a DNP, as was Julio Jones (knee) and Russell Gage (hamstring). Even Breshad Perriman was limited (knee). I don’t know who will be on the field or if the Buc’s offensive line will hold up. It’s risky, but I will sit Brady in Week 2 for fantasy football.

    Fantasy football start/sit Week 2 | Running backs

    Start: Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders at DET

    After Week 1, Antonio Gibson is back in the good graces of fantasy managers. Leading the team with 14 carries, Gibson rushed for 68 yards and also saw a 19.5% target share (8), hauling in seven receptions for 72 yards, including a long of 26. The absence of Brian Robinson Jr. meant Gibson was once again the RB1 on the depth chart and was the player we have wanted to see, especially in the receiving game, given his background. In fact, Gibson set a new career high in targets and tied his high-water mark in receptions.

    While Gibson is probably the No. 1 sell-high candidate, if you hold him, odds are he’ll have another great week for you against the Detroit Lions, who gave up the fifth-most points to the position last year and just surrendered four rushing TDs to the Eagles. Start Gibson in Week 2 as a high-end RB2 for fantasy.

    Start: Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams vs. ATL

    I was one of the staunchest backers of Cam Akers this offseason, but even I have to look at this backfield in a new light. Right now, the running back you want to start in Week 2 for fantasy is Darrell Henderson.

    Henderson dominated the backfield last week, playing on 82% of the snaps and recording 18 touches compared to Akers’ three. Henderson turned those into 73 yards and 12.3 PPR points thanks to his five receptions (five targets). He had just as many points as Akers did snaps (12).

    I still hold hope Akers can show Sean McVay what he needs to see and re-take the starting spot, but until then, he is a stash and hope. The Rams have an extra three days of rest and recovery too. They head to Atlanta angry and looking for a get-right game. Henderson, one of the biggest risers in the rest of season rankings after Week 1, comes in as the RB18 for Week 2. Start him if you have him.

    Sit: Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans at DEN

    So, um, yeah, about that whole Dameon Pierce thing. Safe to say, we indeed have a problem, Houston, as this rocketship failed to take off from the pad. Pierce played on just 28% of the snaps last week, recording 11 carries for 39 yards and one lone target, posting less than five fantasy points.

    Meanwhile, Rex Burkhead was the clear RB1 and played on 72% of the offensive snaps and dominated them in overtime. The do-it-all back had 14 carries for 40 yards and caught five of his eight targets for 30 yards to finish as the RB23 (12 PPR).

    Until we see a change take place on the field, no fantasy manager should have Pierce in their lineup. This is not a good enough offense to support two running backs and the momentum Pierce appeared to have in the preseason came crashing back down to Earth.

    I am not even advocating you should start Burkhead against Denver. Just that Pierce, for now, is someone to sit in fantasy until something changes. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

    Sit: Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders vs. ARI

    After a sensational year, those who went all in on Josh Jacobs might be sweating a bit as Week 1 did not give anyone a warm cozy feeling. Facing the defense that allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL last year and ranked 31st in points allowed, Jacobs totaled just 57 yards on 11 carries. To make matters worse, he saw only one target, which is worrisome as he was coming off a career-high 64 targets a year ago.

    Much like we have seen with other teams, my fear for Jacobs this offseason was that when someone makes a massive addition or a trade, they become the offense’s focal point. Las Vegas didn’t go out and get Davante Adams for no reason. That was backed up with the Raiders passing on a whopping 78% of their plays. Los Angeles did stretch out their lead in the third quarter, but there is a legitimate concern for Jacobs’ workload.

    Jacobs is still the lead back, but I have enough concern that if you RB early in the draft or snagged a top waiver wire pick, I can make a case to sit him in Week 2.

    Fantasy football start/sit Week 2 | Wide receivers

    Start: Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills vs. TEN

    In a week that gave us many surprising performances, Gabe Davis having himself a day was not the least bit surprising. Identified as a top breakout candidate by many and my pre-season WR17, Davis looked great. He played 57 of 58 snaps, averaged 16.1 air yards per target, and led the Bills with 33 routes ran. The fact that people want to get hung up on his 16% target share is killing me. Do we really think that is the highest it will go? Come on, people.

    In a game where Josh Allen only threw 31 times, Davis was still the WR14 (18.8 PPR) with 88 receiving yards and a TD on four receptions. He is the second option in one of the highest octane offenses in the NFL. To top it off, Davis has 11 touchdowns in his last 34 receptions (including playoffs). Oh, and by the way, he gets the Titans, who were 31st in points allowed to the opposition and just got burned by Sterling Shepard and Richie James. He is a no-brainer, set-it-and-forget-it, locked-in top-20 starter for fantasy football.

    Start: Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. IND

    I promise to stop making contract jokes if Jacksonville keeps feeding Christian Kirk like this. On Sunday, Kirk had a staggering 12 targets, catching six passes for 117 yards. Kirk’s 142 air yards were second only to Davante Adams in Week 1.

    He is the clear focal point of this passing game. Kirk played on 64 of 70 snaps, ran a route on 65% of his plays, and had a 21% TPRR. It is worth noting, too, that some of the incomplete targets were uncatchable or throwaways, with Kirk being the closet player. This made his catch percentage look worse than it was. Kirk falls inside the top-30 in WR rankings for the week and is someone to start in Week 2 fantasy matchups.

    Sit: Amari Cooper, Cleveland browns vs. NYJ

    Given the uncertainty, Amari Cooper was a sit last week, and he ended up with 4.7 PPR points as the WR80. Ouch. In total, Cooper played on 75% of the snaps but only ran a route on 51.5% of his plays and came in second on the team in targets (6) to Donovan Peoples-Jones (11).

    I do not have enough confidence in this passing attack or in Jacoby Brissett to lock Cooper into one of my starting spots until we see something change. It might very well come this week against the Jets, but if you started Cooper last week and went down 0-1, do you want to risk it again and go 0-2 in your fantasy leagues?

    For now, the only starters on Cleveland are Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Everyone else should be on the bench, if not on the waiver wire. Cooper falls in the former section and should be sat in Week 2. Better days will come.

    Sit: Elijah Moore, New York Jets at CLE

    I hate doing this one. I am a massive fan of Elijah Moore and have been since he was at Ole Miss, which has turned into a WR factory. But Week 1 left a ton to be desired. Moore played on 89% of the snaps in Week 1, recording seven targets. If I stopped there, it would be great. However, those turned into five receptions and 45 yards.

    Still not convinced? Moore had fewer targets than targets Corey Davis (10), Garrett Wilson (8), Breece Hall (10), Michael Carter (9), and tied with Tyler Conklin (7). Yes, there were two running backs and a tight end in there.

    The quarterback situation scares me, as does the matchup against the Browns, who were No. 4 in points allowed to receivers last year and have a solid pass-rush. I do like Moore long-term, but for now, I’d sit him in Week 2 for fantasy until he shows the upside we know is there.

    Sit: CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys vs. CIN

    Honestly, I want to be so wrong about this. I do not want CeeDee Lamb to bust, but I’d be lying to your face if I said he was a confident starter in Week 2 for fantasy. The lack of pass catchers on this offense should help funnel more targets Lamb’s way, but even the Cowboys themselves have said they will need to rely on their running backs until Dak Prescott can turn following thumb surgery.

    Now, Lamb did play well back in Week 8 of last year when Cooper Rush played, catching six passes for 112 yards on eight targets. I can only hope it happens again. But Lamb and the Cowboys are facing a Bengals defense that just held all three Steelers receivers (Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and George Pickens ) to a combined 12 catches for 76 yards and no touchdowns on 21 targets.

    I’ve got Lamb right on the WR2/3 bubble in 12-team leagues, but in shallower formats, I wouldn’t mind buying myself a week to digest what we see on the field. Lamb, while lacking the same value he had on draft day, is a low buy candidate as managers dump him for 70% value. If you can survive with him as your WR3, you’d have a top 10 WR at minimum when Prescott returns.

    Fantasy football start/sit Week 2 | Tight ends

    Start: Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. NE

    One of the concerns for Pat Freiermuth heading into the season was whether or not he would see the same volume with Mitch Trubiksy or be a red zone option as he was in his rookie year. Well, after one game, it’s safe to say the volume absolutely is there for Freiermuth to remain a weekly starter.

    Taking on the Bengals in a game either team wanted to win, Freiermiuth hauled in five of his 10 targets for a team-high 75 yards, finishing with 12.5 PPR points and placing inside the top-six for the position. It is worth noting that George Pickens was not heavily targeted last week (3), so we have yet to see how his addition impacts Freiermuth and if the Steelers’ offense can support them all. Either way, while this is a difficult matchup (No. 1 vs. TEs in 2021), stick with the volume in Week 2 for Freiermuth and leave him in your starting fantasy lineup.

    Start: Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys vs. CIN

    Saying you should start the TE3 of last season would usually be a no-brainer. But things have changed for Dalton Schultz and this Cowboys team after losing Dak Prescott for the foreseeable future (thumb). We now have to readjust how we view this offense and its fantasy players.

    Against the Buccaneers, Schultz had seven receptions and 62 yards in Week 1 on nine targets, but new-QB Cooper Rush only targeted Schultz twice when he was under center. Schultz’s upside has certainly dropped but not to a point where he shouldn’t be a starter.

    If anything, I could see him being very busy as TEs tend to be safer and more consistent targets to keep drives moving for backup QBs. The Bengals can be exploited as well. Last week they allowed Trubisky and Freiermuth to hook up for 13 PPR points and were last in the NFL in 2021 in points allowed to the position. Schultz remains a top 10 TE in Week 2’s TE fantasy football rankings.

    Sit: Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins at BAL

    Mike Gesiski was a player I highlighted as a sit in Week 1 as I was very concerned for his snap share and involvement in this offense, as his skill set doesn’t fully match what Mike McDaniel wants on the field. Unfortunately, this came to fruition against the Patriots as Gesicki saw just one target, catching it for one yard, playing on 42% of the offensive snaps.

    McDaniel needs a TE with his hand in the dirt to help with the run blocking, and while his receiving skills are on par with George Kittle, Gesicki is about as far away as you can get from an inline TE, which led to more reps for Durham Smythe. Gesicki is a drop candidate, not someone to start in your fantasy team this week against the Ravens, who have more than enough speed and range at LB to cover tight ends.

    Sit: Hunter Henry, New England Patriots at PIT

    Selecting Hunter Henry was banking on him to maintain the touchdown upside we saw last season, as he averaged just five targets and three receptions a game last year. But he scored a touchdown (12) on every four receptions, resulting in a TE7 finish in 2021 (8th in PPR/game at 7.1).

    Yet, in Week 1, Henry saw himself fall behind Jonnu Smith. Henry was targeted three times, catching two of them for 20 yards. On the other hand, Smith saw four targets, catching three for 60 yards. Touchdowns and red zone opportunities will be what separates these two, and that could come in short supply this week with Mac Jones nursing a back injury.

    Oddsmakers have this with the second-lowest game total of the week (40.5), suggesting those much-needed TDs for Henry might not be coming. I’d sit Henry in Week 1 and target a higher upside option.

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