Welcome back! Football went off without a hitch in Week 1, and with all of the injuries, moves, and surprise breakouts, the fantasy football season is off to a great start as well. But just in case you need a little nudge in the right direction, this column is here for you. As always, we are going to examine the Week 2 matchups using our Fantasy Football Consistency Score (C.S.) and Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score (DPACS) to highlight the top matchups and players to start or sit for your fantasy lineups.
If you would like more detailed information as to how the C.S. and DPACS works, please refer to the Introduction to the Fantasy Football Consistency Score. But the basic premise is, the higher the C.S.; the more consistent a player is scoring high-level fantasy points. Or, in the case of DPACS, the consistency in which that team allows high-level fantasy points to the position.
PSA: I don’t feel the need to tell you, the savvy fantasy G.M., to start a player like Patrick Mahomes every week. I abide by the golden rule, “Start Your Studs.” However, if there is glaring evidence to sit a bonafide starter, we will discuss that as needed.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Start/Sit: Quarterbacks
**Editor’s Note** My original Start was Tom Brady. But after the initial publishing of the column, it came to light that Chris Godwin is in concussion protocol.
Start Ryan Tannehill
After a ho-hum Week 1 Monday Night Football finale, many folks are rethinking Ryan Tannehill as their fantasy football starter. The final stat line of 29 completions on 43 attempts for 249 yards and two touchdowns, good for only 19.36 fantasy points, making him the 16th QB on the week, makes it understandable.
While the Tennesse Titans weren’t flashy in Week 1 there were some bright spots. Both Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith had positive Fantasy Point Differential (FPD) scores, 24% & 11% respectively. And with Derrick Henry doing Derrick Henry-like things (116 yards rushing), the play-action pass still looked to be an incredibly effective weapon for Tannehill. If this offense can have multiple pass catchers be weapons available for Tannehill, and not just A.J. Brown, he could actually improve on his 2019 breakout campaign.
The Titans also host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since Week 14 of 2019, this Jaguars defense has averaged 19.32 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and currently posts a 7.84 DPACS to QBs, 10th highest. Last week they surrendered 363 yards to Philip Rivers and a touchdown. This defense is susceptible in its current state, especially in allowing receiving production to running backs and tight ends. Factor in one of the most dynamic young receivers in A.J. Brown, and Tannehill is going to be able to go wherever he wants to with the ball on Sunday.
Sit Matthew Stafford
This one pains me. If you follow me on Twitter, then you know all offseason, I have sung the praises of Matthew Stafford when it comes to fantasy football. But that was when I thought he had a healthy crop of pass-catchers, and Matt Patricia wasn’t going to let an easy win slip away from him like a wet fart. But we don’t have any news on Kenny Golladay and his status for Week 2, and the matchup isn’t looking great either.
In Week 1, Stafford faced a plus matchup against the Bears, whose 9.64 DPACS is the 4th highest. But regardless of that juicy matchup, Stafford threw for only 297 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. That added up to 16.18 fantasy points making him the 21st quarterback on the week.
Having Quintez Cephus replace Golladay didn’t help Stafford in fantasy. Stafford’s FPD was -28.02% on the week as he missed his xFP by 6.3 points. This after he had a positive 33.7% FPD for all of 2019.
In Week 2, the Lions head to Lambeau to visit the Green Bay Packers in what makes for a comfortable “sit” for me in fantasy football. Green Bay held Kirk Cousins in check for nearly the entire game in Week 1. Cousins had only five pass attempts for the whole first half. It wasn’t until the official Garbage Time kickoff that Minnesota crawled back into the box score to make this game appear closer than it was.
Mike Pettine has this defense much improved, and Aaron Rodgers and company controlled the ball most of the game. Not to mention their DPACS vs. Q.B.s is a measly 4.23, 28th highest in the league.
Which running backs should you start/sit in Week 2?
Start Nyheim Hines
That’s right. I am “all in” after one week. I love the prospect of starting Hines in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings. Aaron Jones just carved up the Vikings for 17.6 PPR points, and Minnesota is a top tier matchup for opposing running backs.
Since Week 14 of last season, they have allowed 27.35 PPR points to the position and ranked 9th highest in DPACS, which means they have been very consistent in hemorrhaging fantasy points to running backs.
It is sad at how we got here, but we can’t ignore that Hines is also stepping into an increased workload. With Marlon Mack sidelined, Hines is now the veteran back on the team and going to split opportunities with only Jonathan Taylor now. Whereas Taylor did lead the backfield in carries, nine to seven, Hines lead the two in targets, eight to six, essentially splitting the workload right down the middle. With targets being more valuable to fantasy, it’s no wonder his FPD was a positive 31.88%, as he finished as the fourth-best RB in fantasy Week 1.
These opportunities are not going to go anywhere. Philip Rivers has always tended to check down to his running backs. Since 2010, Rivers has funneled 25% of targets to his running backs, making guys like Darren Sproles, Danny Woodhead, and Austin Ekler fantasy darlings.
A new team and new offense didn’t stunt that tendency at all, as 37% of his targets went to the position in the first game of the year. Hines is going to be a PPR machine this year and should be a start for you in Week 2.
Sit Chris Carson
The Seattle Seahawks put on a show in Week 1, and it seems like this offense is going to be supercharged moving forward. All that said, I would still look to sit Chris Carson in fantasy football wherever possible.
The New England Patriots are a terrible matchup for running backs ranking 32nd in DPACS, with a miserable 4.86, and averaging only 16.83 (29th) points to the position since Week 14 of last year. On top of that, this is a new-look Patriots team, and they seem to want to lean on Cam Newton and their running game more than they did with Tom Brady under center. That slows the game down and keeps the ball out of the opponents’ hands.
Whereas Carson looked great in the box score, thanks to two touchdowns, he only had 66 yards from scrimmage. He ran the ball six times for a mere 21 yards (3.5 yds/att), and surprised, well everyone, by hauling in all six of his targets for another 45 yards and two touchdowns. But the part that concerns me was how super-efficient he had to be to generate that stat line.
Carson was only on the field for 45% of the team’s offensive snaps. Carlos Hyde saw 34% of the team’s snaps and seven carries. And Travis Homer was on the field for 21% of the snaps for three carries and two targets. This backfield is messier than one would initially think. Factor in an unfavorable matchup, and if any of my rosters allow it, I am going to sit Carson Week 2.
What WR’s should you start/sit in fantasy football Week 2?
Start Parris Campbell
In Week 1, Philip Rivers had no qualms with throwing the ball, 46 times to be exact. And of those 46 passing attempts, 19.6% of them went to Parris Campbell, who tied T.Y. Hilton for the lead in targets. He turned those nine targets into six receptions for 71 yards.
Moreover, Campbell led the receivers in offensive snaps too. He was on the field for 82% of the team’s offensive snaps, while Hilton played 80%. They want to feature Campbell in this offense and the easy number two option to Hilton. With a lovely matchup coming in Week 2, Campbell has made his way into the start column.
At home, the Colts are going to host the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2. The same Vikings defense that surrendered 79.4 PPR points to Devante Adams and company in Week 1. Over the last four fantasy season games, the Vikings are allowing an average of 46.48 fantasy points to the receiving group with a DPACS of 16.74, 7th highest. They are as clear cut of a favorable matchup for you to start a receiver against in fantasy football that you can find.
Sit Terry McLaurin
The Washington Football team showed some promise at the end of Week 1, sneaking out that win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Even after that surprising showing of life in the fourth-quarter comeback, the number one receiver in Washington is a sit for Week 2.
McLaurin was second on the team in targets with seven and led the team with 61 receiving yards. But he missed his Expected Fantasy Points of 12.1 and finished the week with -8.04% FPD. His 3.93 CS is another warning sign that you can’t rely on McLaurin week-in and week-out as he ranks 30th among receivers. This tells us McLaurin is a matchup dependent play, and Week 2 is not a good matchup.
The Washington Football team heads to Arizona for a matchup against the Cardinals, who rank dead last in DPACS with a score of 4.71. Since week 14 of last season, they have allowed, on average, 18.48 to the position in fantasy, also last. Last week they allowed a mere 8.1 PPR points to the 49ers receivers (who are banged up, but still!). As much as I love watching McLaurin play, he is a must sit for Week 2.
Taking a look at the tight ends in Week 2
Start Jonnu Smith
One of the best parts about Jonnu Smith being a starter for Week 2 is that, according to FleaFlicker, he is rostered in about 70% of leagues. There’s a chance of him being a waiver pick up this week (especially if you drafted Blake Jarwin).
In Week 1, Smith’s seven targets were only one target behind Corey Davis and A.J. Brown, who both led the team with eight. But he was the only one of the three to find paydirt and record a touchdown on the night.
Over his last four fantasy-relevant games, Jonnu Smith has been a fantasy goldmine. Over that span, he has averaged five targets, 47 yards, 0.75 touchdowns, 12.5 fantasy points a game, and flaunts a 9.82 CS, which would rank 2nd among all T.E.s.
This upcoming week the Titans face a much friendlier defensive matchup hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars who have the 3rd highest DPACS and are averaging 17.28 fantasy points a game to tight ends. These are precisely the types of matchups that are key to exploit in fantasy football and why Smith is a must-start in Week 2.
Sit T.J. Hockenson
We’ve been here before with Hockenson, haven’t we? A great Week 1 performance, everyone rushes to the waiver wire to pick him up, and then *Insert sad trombone sound here*.
With this Week 2 matchup, I do not want to roll the dice and start Hockenson crossing my fingers for something different. Hock is a sit for me for one main reason; the Packers are the worst matchup versus tight ends in fantasy.
In Week 1, Green Bay allowed just 6.9 fantasy points to the tight end group of Minnesota. Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. combined for three receptions and 39 yards. Since Week 14 last year, their average points allowed to the position is 2.95 per game, and their DPACS comes in at less than one! At 0.64, it’s easy to see they are consistently shutting down tight ends.
Without Kenny Golladay to open up space for Hockenson to work, and against one of the best teams in the NFL when it comes to defending the position, you need to look elsewhere at the position and sit T.J. Hockenson.
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