Fantasy Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Picks for Week 2: Anthony Richardson, DeAndre Hopkins, Jamaal Williams, and Others

With Week 2 upon us, we have data to work with -- some noisy, and some predictive. Let's take a look at fantasy start 'em and fantasy sit 'ems for this week!

Rostering good fantasy football players is a wonderful start, but knowing how to maximize your lineup is how fantasy championships are won. Week 1 taught us plenty, though it is important to understand that, no matter what you saw last week, it is still only a one-week sample. With that in mind, here are the fantasy start ’em and sit ’em decisions that I’ve been asked about plenty early this week!

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Start/Sit Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

Start ‘Em

Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts

We did it! After a preseason of wanting to see Anthony Richardson flash his fantasy potential, we finally got a glimpse of just how friendly his profile is, and our Week 2 PFN Consensus Rankings suggest as much. The 47 opportunities (passes and rushes) is the number I liked the most from his NFL debut — he almost can’t fail if that usage is here to stay.

When you dig a little deeper into the play-calling, you’ll be even more encouraged. The Indianapolis Colts called three straight pass plays to open their season, something that tells me that they are confident in Richardson and not just trying to control the tempo.

His rushing TD came by way of a draw from two yards out, and we know head coach Shane Steichen is more than willing to let his QB call his own number in close.

The rookie slips just inside my top 10 at the position this week and could well prove to be in that second tier of fantasy signal-callers before long. Giddy up!

Jamaal Williams, RB, New Orleans Saints

Williams was the only Saint with more than three carries last week, and he had 18, which makes it safe to call this backfield his. I think that’s the case for at least the next two weeks with Alvin Kamara suspended, and that role on a road favorite has him penciled in as a fine RB2 for me.

Williams was on the field for 79% of New Orleans’ Week 1 offensive snaps — a great sign when you consider that Kamara averaged 19 carries per game against these Panthers as the lead man in this backfield last season.

Williams needs to score to prove he’s valuable, and he has a good chance to do that against a Carolina team that was gashed for 130 yards and two TDs last week in Atlanta.

Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders

The second-year budding star out of Penn State earned seven targets in Week 1, but they were a weird seven targets. We know his big-play ability, yet his five catches resulted in just 40 yards — none gaining even 15 yards.

His role will be something worth watching, and this could be a breakout spot if Pat Surtain does live in Terry McLaurin’s shorts.

We saw Jakobi Meyers produce as the WR2 against Denver last week, and Dotson has more physical tools while occupying the same role.

George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

The industry pegged Pickens as a rising star this preseason, and this author is very much included in amplifying that hype. Week 1 didn’t exactly go according to plan. Against San Francisco, the super sophomore failed to have a 10-yard catch in a game in which Kenny Pickett threw the ball 46 times. Buy the dip.

Pickens was close to a big play in Week 1, and if he makes that, this isn’t a question with Diontae Johnson likely sidelined. His playmaking talent pops off the screen at you, and this offense clearly wants to press the issue down the field. We saw it last season, and we saw it this preseason — relax people.

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Pickens had a 30+ yard catch in both games against the Browns last season, and he offers the same upside in this matchup that we identified him having in August.

Johnson saw 28.6% of the targets in Week 1 before leaving with the hamstring injury, and many of those opportunities will likely go Pickens’ way moving forward. You can feel good about flexing Pickens this week, and maybe he’ll prove to be a matchup winner as your final player goes!

Sit ‘Em

Deshaun Watson, QB, Cleveland Browns

Watson looked out of sorts last week against one AFC North foe, and I fear we could see more of the same in another bar fight-type of game. He was able to salvage his fantasy afternoon in Week 1 with a 13-yard touchdown run, but 5.3 yards per pass attempt is a problem.

Against the Bengals, Watson wasn’t able to get a single pass catcher over 43 yards, and the two receivers that cleared 25 yards combined to catch only 42.9% of their targets. I think better times are ahead — especially with the Rams, Jags, Bears, and Texans in succession in December — but fantasy managers may need to wait one more week.

Watson is my QB14 for Week 2.

Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens

I have Edwards projected as the lead back in Baltimore’s offense moving forward, which lands him on my Flex radar, but nothing more. His lack of versatility and competition by way of Justice Hill cap his ceiling, though Edwards has been efficient when featured — 87.7 rush yards with 0.6 TDs per game for his career when getting more than 15 touches.

Tyler Huntley (2) hands the ball off to Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards (35) in the fourth quarter during an NFL wild-card playoff football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley (2) hands the ball off to Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards (35) in the fourth quarter during an NFL Wild Card playoff football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.

There will be the natural temptation to play him after making him a priority add this week; I would just caution against assuming he sees the type of bell-cow work that it takes for a player with this profile to be locked into lineups.

Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears

The ground game was largely scripted out of Chicago’s Week 1 loss to the Packers (no Bears player had 10 carries), and thus, Herbert let fantasy managers down. That’s going to happen a fair amount of times this season, but it’s unlikely to be an issue against this woeful Bucs team.

On the plus side, the previously one-dimensional Herbert was responsible for 55.9% of Chicago’s first-quarter receiving yards. Now that’s interesting! If that role is his, Herbert profiles as a nice buy-low option. Understanding that, Roschon Johnson led this backfield with 29 snaps, followed by Herbert’s 27 and D’Onta Foreman’s 21 (all ran 13-18 routes).

Herbert is my favorite back in Chicago, but against a stingy Tampa Bay run defense, no one in this backfield needs to be considered.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Tennessee Titans

You’ve heard the saying that a “rising tide lifts all boats”? Well, in Tennessee, a lack of tide grounds all boats.

Hopkins earned a 39.4% target share at full strength with no weather concerns in Week 1 and finished with just 10 fantasy points.

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Let me put that a different way. One of the better receivers of this generation saw 13 targets and was outproduced for the week by Nico Collins and Josh Reynolds. Nuk was clearly the top threat in this passing game — targeted on 12 of 36 routes while Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Treylon Burks combined for 10 looks on 71 routes — and he finished as the WR29 for the week.

That’s right where I have Hopkins ranked for this week. He’s firmly in the “talented receiver whose quarterback I can’t trust tier” with guys like Terry McLaurin, Garrett Wilson, and Christian Watson.

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