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Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Fantasy Football Stars to Play and Bench

Fantasy Football
September 17, 2015

Fantasy football owners can relate to Peyton Manning this week—it isn’t easy to partake in games Sunday and then turn around and suit up for Thursday.

So it goes ahead of the Denver Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs encounter on Thursday Night Football as owners scramble to make pertinent start ’em, sit ’em decisions.

The nice thing about Week 2, regardless of whether there is a short turnaround? Owners now have official in-season data to work with and can use it to better make projections and decisions.

Below, let’s do just that with some of the biggest stars with question marks around their name.


Star to Know: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (at JAC)

It’s all right for owners to still trust Ryan Tannehill.

The Miami Dolphins franchise quarterback posted just 11 points against Washington last week, but things figure to open up this weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jacksonville held the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton to just 12 points, but what the numbers don’t show is a pass interference on a touchdown and a dropped score by Ted Ginn.

Tannehill won’t have these problems—he’s surrounded by plenty of weapons, including tight end Jordan Cameron and wideouts Jarvis Landry, Greg Jennings, Rishard Matthews, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker.

In other words, one of the league’s best deep passers on a potent offense will turn things around and give owners a big day.

Star to Sit: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at MIN)

One star who doesn’t look ready to turn things around? Detroit Lions gunslinger Matthew Stafford.

Stafford went for 13 points in Week 1 and suffered a bit of an arm issue in the process.

“It was a tough one. He got me good, kind of right on the tricep, elbow area,” he said on Fox 2 Detroit, via ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein. “But I’ll be good to go. I started feeling better towards the end of the game, and I’ll be good to go.”

While great that Stafford looks healthy, he’s going into a matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings didn’t allow a passing touchdown in Week 1, and last year, Stafford threw for a maximum of 185 yards and totaled two scores in a pair of contests against a Vikings defense that improved over the offseason.

This is a run-first contest, so bench Stafford.


Star to Know: Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers (at CIN)

Don’t look now, but Danny Woodhead of the San Diego Chargers finished as the fifth-highest scorer among running backs last week.

Woodhead posted 18 points thanks to 12 rushes for 42 yards and two scores, as well as four catches for 20 yards. He’s a monster in most formats, especially heading into a matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Chargers won’t be able to run the ball well against the Bengals, but Woodhead‘s usage in the passing game makes him the back to start. He just received more snaps than high-profile rookie Melvin Gordon, including a whopping eight snaps in the red zone.

With such high-value usage against a strong opponent, Woodhead is an undercover star to bank on in Week 2.

Star to Sit: Alfred Morris, Washington (vs. STL)

Washington’s Alfred Morris surprised in Week 1, rushing for 121 yards and 12 points on a game Miami defense.

Just don’t expect it to happen again.

It was a shock to see Morris take 25 totes to Matt Jones’ six, but it’s clear he is the workhorse. It’s also clear, though, the team won’t trot out this game plan each week. Sigmund Bloom of FootballGuys.com put it best:

Now, Morris encounters an elite St. Louis Rams defense, which just held Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch to 73 yards on 18 attempts.

Morris was a nice Week 1 surprise, but it’s back to the bench already thanks to a brutal matchup.


Star to Know: Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (vs. TB)

Better days are ahead for Brandin Cooks, fantasy owners.

Owners will look at the bottom line, which says Cooks scored just four points this past weekend against the Arizona Cardinals.

Put it into perspective, though—he faced Patrick Peterson all day long. He didn’t light up the scoreboard, but he did receive eight targets, just one shy of the team high (which went to running back Mark Ingram, an example of how brutal a matchup it really was).

Things look much better for Cooks in Week 2 against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are the team that just gave up four scores to Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota. Given Cooks’ usage, he’s going to have a big day.

Star to Sit: Andre Johnson, Indianapolis Colts (vs. NYJ)

“Disappointing” would be the best word for new Colts wideout Andre Johnson.

The veteran just couldn’t seem to create separation in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills. Granted, most players on the team looked rough in the upset loss, but Johnson was a particular sour point. Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star was one of many to offer thoughts on the matter:

It’s hard to imagine Johnson (who touts a 96.0 ownership percentage) will remain a dud who scores two points per game, but this week isn’t the time to bank on a rebound performance. He faces the New York Jets, a stingy pass defense trumpeting Darrelle Revis and others. Owners will want to shy away for at least a week.


Star to Know: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NO)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins isn’t going anywhere as a fantasy asset.

While he might not pop off for two scores and a superb 23 points each week, ASJ has the benefit of playing with a rookie quarterback by the name of Jameis Winston.

It doesn’t matter if the Buccaneers win or lose, as ASJ will continue to be a fixture in the passing game as a safety net for the rookie. Next up is an encounter with the New Orleans Saints, where the Buccaneers figure to be playing from behind most of the day.

In other words, ASJ should post another strong performance as the Buccaneers take to the air early and often.

Star to Sit: Jordan Reed, Washington (vs. STL)

When he’s actually healthy, Washington’s Jordan Reed can look like one of the best tight ends in the league.

The problem? The Florida Gators product has suited up for only 20 contests over the course of the past three seasons. Well, 21 if owners count Reed’s 12-point outburst against Miami this past weekend.

Historically, though, the Rams have been one of the best teams against tight ends for years. With DeSean Jackson out of the picture due to injury, the Rams will be able to throw more attention than usual at Reed, which figures to make for a rough fantasy outing.

Reed is a star if he can stay healthy, but an iffy quarterback situation, injuries to others and a brutal matchup create a no-fly zone in Week 2.

All scoring info courtesy of ESPN standard leagues, as is points-against info and ownership stats as of Sept. 17. Statistics courtesy of ESPN.

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