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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Making the Call on Fantasy Football Fringe Starters

Fantasy Football
September 16, 2015

Whether a player cost you a win in Week 1 or someone on your bench exploded for a huge game, you still have to evaluate each week of your fantasy football season separately.

Obviously, you can’t ignore what happened during the first weekend. It’s simply important to not get emotional and start benching players like Adrian Peterson and Odell Beckham Jr. after a rough game. At the same time, don’t just throw a middling contributor into your rotation after one big showing.

Here is a look at some close calls heading into Week 2 and what you should do with these players.


Start ‘Em: Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

We often forget about Carson Palmer, but he is once again healthy and ready for a big year with the Arizona Cardinals. The 35-year-old veteran tossed three touchdown passes with 307 yards in a win over the New Orleans Saints last week, earning praise from numerous people within the locker room.

“I thought he played outstanding,” head coach Bruce Arians said, per Paola Boivin of AZCentral.com. “He came out on fire. He was right on point with his game plan.”

“We’re going to be a really difficult team with Carson healthy throwing the ball around to all the weapons that we have,” Larry Fitzgerald told reporters after the game, per ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss.

These weapons are still going to be there in Week 2 with an offensive line that continues to improve, giving Palmer a great chance at another big game against the Chicago Bears.

Sit ‘Em: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

It’s not all Cam Netwon’s fault. The problem is he simply has no one to throw to and a below-average offensive line protecting him. After throwing for just 175 yards in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, his life will only get tougher in Week 2.

J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans come to town, and Newton will likely be under pressure all game long. It’s also hard to imagine his body holding up too well after 14 carries (for just 35 rushing yards) in his last game.

There will be better days ahead for the quarterback, but this isn’t a good matchup for him to shine.

Running Back

Start ‘Em: Bishop Sankey, RB, Tennessee Titans

After being a disappointing “sleeper” last year, Bishop Sankey is now looking to redeem himself in his sophomore season. Through one week he is already off to a good start, finishing with 74 rushing yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. He also added a second score through the air.

The negatives are obvious, most notably that Terrance West finished with more carries (13). The good news is he was ineffective (3.2 yards per carry), and a lot of those touches came after the game was already a blowout.

Sankey clearly has a solid role within this offense and should get more room to run with defenses now focusing on rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. Against a Cleveland Browns run defense that finished last in the NFL in 2014 and didn’t show much improvement in Week 1, the former Washington star can keep producing.

Sit ‘Em: Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants

It’s true he had twice as many carries as anyone else on the team and scored the Giants’ only offensive touchdown in Week 1. However, Rashad Jennings is in a timeshare you don’t want to be a part of this season. Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News broke down the snap information for the backfield:

Jennings was targeted once in the passing game, but it’s clear Shane Vereen has that role locked down. This is not good in an offense that featured Eli Manning throwing more than 600 passes last season.

Even if Jennings is the most effective runner in New York, the opportunities simply don’t appear to be available right now.

Wide Receiver

Start ‘Em: Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts had a poor game against the Buffalo Bills, and Andre Johnson was a big part of their struggles. The veteran receiver was miserable in his debut, bringing in only four of his 10 targets.

His drop on a two-point-conversation attempt stood out as one of the worst plays in a bad game.

Despite the struggles, Nerdy Football’s Cian Fahey believes this isn’t something to be alarmed about going forward:

The 34-year-old receiver is only two years removed from a 109-catch, 1,407-yard season and remains in a great situation with the Colts. He was targeted 10 times by Andrew Luck in Week 1 and could get even more with T.Y. Hilton reportedly injured. Give Johnson at least another week before giving up.

Sit ‘Em: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Jeremy Maclin‘s first start with the Kansas City Chiefs was solid (five catches for 52 yards), even if Travis Kelce overshadowed it. The question will be whether he can improve upon these numbers in the coming week.

The Chiefs will face the Denver Broncos on Thursday night, forcing Maclin to beat a defense that didn’t allow a single Baltimore Ravens receiver to total more than 25 receiving yards. They also did that without safety T.J. Ward, who will return from his suspension in Week 2.

With Maclin also dealing with a back injury in a short week, this doesn’t seem like a good opportunity for the receiver to post big numbers.

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