Fantasy Football Starts, Sits, Sleepers: Week 2by Mike Fanelli September 18, 2021 1 comment
The best part about fantasy football is winning. The second best part is the draft. However, the draft has come and gone. Now fantasy owners struggle with the weekly decision about which players to start, which to sit, and which to use as a sleeper. To help with that, I will provide two starts, two sits, and two sleepers at each position every week. Be sure to reach out with any fantasy football questions you may have. Without further ado, let’s get started.
All stats are base on four-point per passing touchdown and PPR scoring.
START: Jalen Hurts vs San Francisco 49ers
Last week, Hurts finished the week as the QB5, scoring 28.8 fantasy points against the Atlanta Falcons. This week, Hurts gets an equally fantasy-friendly matchup against the 49ers. In Week 1, the 49ers gave up 338 passing yards, three touchdowns, and 28.9 fantasy points to Jared Goff. Furthermore, the 49ers’ starting cornerback Jason Verrett suffered a torn ACL last week and will miss the rest of the season. Hurts was able to curve the Atlanta secondary up for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 62 yards on the ground on only seven rushing attempts. Hurts should have no trouble putting up similar numbers this week against the 49ers.
START: Joe Burrow at Chicago Bears
Despite playing in his first meaningful game in almost a year, Burrow didn’t show any signs of rust. Even though he only threw 27 passes in last week’s overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings, Burrow had 261 passing yards, two touchdowns, and 18.6 fantasy points. Most important of all, Burrow looked healthy throughout the second half and overtime. Meanwhile, the Bears had no answer for Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams’ passing attack last week. Stafford threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns on only 26 pass attempts. Furthermore, Stafford averaged 0.94 fantasy points per pass attempt, finishing the game with 24.3 fantasy points. The Bears’ secondary is one of the worst in the NFL, and Burrow should have no trouble scoring 22 or more fantasy points against them.
SIT: Lamar Jackson vs Kansas City Chiefs
Yes, sitting Jackson is difficult and probably not possible for most fantasy owners. However, those who do play him need to temper their expectations. Last week against the Las Vegas Raiders, Jackson scored only 18 fantasy points despite playing a terrible defense and the game going into overtime. Instead, Jackson struggled, in part thanks to troubles on the offensive line. Alejandro Villanueva had issues in pass protection while starting guard Tyre Phillips suffered a severe knee injury. Meanwhile, the Chiefs held Baker Mayfield to only 12.6 fantasy points last week despite throwing for 321 yards. Between the injuries at running back and now the struggles on the offensive line, Jackson isn’t in an ideal situation for his fantasy owners.
SIT: Derek Carr vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Carr finished last week as the QB10, scoring 24 fantasy points. Against a talented Baltimore Ravens defense, Carr threw for 435 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to Zay Jones in overtime. However, Carr scored 34.2 percent of his fantasy points when targeting Darren Waller 19 times on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh defense showed why they are one of the best in the NFL last week against the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen struggled, completing only 58.8 percent of his passes for 270 yards, one touchdown, and 17.2 fantasy points against the Steelers. Moreover, the Steelers got pressure on Allen all game long, totaling three sacks. Despite coming off a strong performance, Carr is nothing more than a mid QB2 this week against Pittsburgh.
SLEEPER: Teddy Bridgewater at Jacksonville Jaguars
After winning the quarterback competition in training camp, Bridgewater proved the Denver Broncos made the correct decision. Against the New York Giants, Bridgewater completed 77.8 percent of his passes, threw for 264 yards, two touchdowns, and scored 20.5 fantasy points. More importantly, Bridgewater threw both touchdowns after Jerry Jeudy left the game with a severe ankle sprain. Meanwhile, the Jaguars had no answers for Tyrod Taylor last week as he threw for 291 yards, two touchdowns, and scored 23.6 fantasy points on only 33 pass attempts. Furthermore, the 291 passing yards were the third-highest total in Taylor’s career. With all the weapons at his disposal, Bridgewater should throw for over 300 yards tomorrow.
SLEEPER: Tyrod Taylor at Cleveland Browns
Speaking of Taylor, the Houston quarterback led the Texans to an upset victory over the Jaguars last week, in part thanks to his excellent performance in the passing game. In addition to throwing for 291 yards and two touchdowns on only 33 pass attempts, Taylor had four rushing attempts for 40 yards. Whether it was in the running game or downfield throws to Brandin Cooks, the Jaguars had no answer for Taylor. Meanwhile, the Browns gave up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in Week 1, giving up 33.3 to Patrick Mahomes. Taylor won’t finish as a top-12 quarterback like he did last week. However, he is an excellent QB2 option in two quarterback or super flex leagues.
START: Najee Harris vs Las Vegas Raiders
Not only is Harris a must-start this week despite his poor performance last week, but he is also the ideal buy low trade candidate. Last week, Harris played 100 percent of the snaps while the rest of the Pittsburgh running backs played zero snaps. Furthermore, Harris had 16 rushing attempts against the Bills. Moreover, he either carried the ball or targeted on 33 percent of the Steelers’ plays in Week 1. While Harris had a tough matchup last week against the Bills, this week it is very fantasy-friendly. The Raiders gave up 98 rushing yards, two touchdowns, and 31.2 fantasy points to the Ravens’ running backs last week. Buy low on Harris while you can, as he could finish the week as the overall RB1.
START: Ty’Son Williams vs Kansas City Chiefs
In his first career start, Williams had a terrific fantasy performance. Williams had nine rushing attempts for 65 yards, one touchdown, and three catches for 29 yards against the Raiders. He finished the week as the RB9 with 18.4 fantasy points. While Latavius Murray had a role, he only averaged 2.8 yards per carry on 10 rushing attempts. By comparison, Williams averaged 7.2 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, the Chiefs gave up three rushing touchdowns and 39.2 fantasy points to the Cleveland Browns’ running backs last week. Both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt finished the game with over 17 fantasy points. The Ravens will want to run the ball and keep Mahomes off the field, so fantasy owners should expect another top-12 finish from Williams this week.
SIT: James Robinson vs Denver Broncos
How on earth does Urban Meyer only give Robinson five rushing attempts despite averaging five yards per carry? For some reason, that happened last week against the Texans. This week, things don’t look better for Robinson. The Broncos held Saquon Barkley and the rest of the New York Giants running backs to only 2.4 yards per rushing attempt and 7.6 fantasy points last week. Furthermore, the Jaguars project to get blown out, limiting Robinson’s rushing upside. Between Meyer giving Carlos Hyde more touches than Robinson and the tough matchup, fantasy owners would be wise to look elsewhere this week when filling their RB2 slot.
SIT: Kenyan Drake at Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week, Josh Jacobs averaged only 3.4 yards per attempt, yet he finished with 17 fantasy points thanks to two rushing touchdowns. Furthermore, Jacobs and Drake split the touches equally, both finishing with 11. While Jacobs won’t play this week, Drake is far from a must-start against the Steelers. Last week, Drake averaged only 1.8 yards per carry against the Ravens. Meanwhile, the Steelers held the Bills’ running backs to only 11.4 fantasy points last week. The Steelers should have no trouble scoring on the Raiders, forcing Las Vegas to abandon the run, further limiting Drake’s upside. While Drake will play a role in the passing game and could have another five catches this week, he is a risky RB3 at best.
SLEEPER: Nyheim Hines vs Los Angeles Rams
Despite the change at quarterback this offseason, the Indianapolis Colts will still feature both Jonathan Taylor and Hines this year. Both players finished last week as top-20 running backs, each scoring over 14 fantasy points. Hines finished last week with 15 touches, six of which were catches for 82 scrimmage yards. Furthermore, his six catches finished tied for the team-high with Taylor and the fourth-most among running backs in Week 1. Meanwhile, the Rams gave up five catches and 26.8 fantasy points to David Montgomery and Damien Williams last week. Between the lack of weapons at wide receiver and his play last week, expect Hines to have another top-24 finish in Week 2.
SLEEPER: Kenneth Gainwell vs San Francisco 49ers
While Miles Sanders finished as the RB14 last week, scoring 17.3 fantasy points, Gainwell also had a strong fantasy performance. Gainwell had 11 touches for 43 scrimmage yards, a touchdown and scored 12.3 fantasy points while playing only 35 percent of the snaps. More importantly, Boston Scott didn’t play a single snap, suggesting that Gainwell has earned the No. 2 running back role on the team. Meanwhile, the 49ers gave up the most fantasy points to running backs in Week 1, giving up 49.4 fantasy points to D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Furthermore, the 49ers allowed both Swift and Williams to finish last week as top-four running backs. While Sanders and Gainwell won’t have that level of success this week, Gainwell is a sneaky flex option against the 49ers.
START: Jarvis Landry vs Houston Texans
Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will miss his second straight game as the Cleveland Browns are cautious with his knee coming off a torn ACL. Without OBJ on the field, Landry is in a great position this week against the Texans. Last week, Landry caught all five of his targets for 71 yards to go with a rushing touchdown, finishing the game with 19.4 fantasy points. Meanwhile, the Texans gave up two touchdowns and over 50 fantasy points to Jacksonville wide receivers last week. The Browns are heavy favorites in this game, and Landry should have no trouble scoring 18 or more fantasy points for the second week in a row.
START: Mike Williams vs Dallas Cowboys
Entering a contract year, Williams got off to a strong start last week. Williams caught eight of his 12 targets for 82 yards, a touchdown, and scored 22.2 fantasy points against the Washington Football Team in Week 1. Furthermore, the 12 targets marked the second-most in a game in Williams’ career. This week, Williams takes on a Cowboys’ secondary that gave up 250 receiving yards, two touchdowns, and 52.6 fantasy points to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers in Week 1. Furthermore, star pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence will miss this game with a foot injury, giving Justin Herbert all the time in the world in the pocket. Fantasy owners should expect Williams to score over 20 fantasy points this week against the Cowboys.
SIT: Deebo Samuel at Philadelphia Eagles
Amari Cooper and Tyreek Hill. Those were the only two wide receivers to score more fantasy points than Samuel in Week 1. However, it took a 46.2 percent target share and an excellent matchup against a terrible Detroit secondary for Samuel to finish last week with 31.9 fantasy points. Meanwhile, reports are that Brandon Aiyuk will get back his starting role this week after only playing 47 percent of the snaps in Week 1. Furthermore, the Eagles held Calvin Ridley and the Atlanta wide receiver core to only 10.1 fantasy points last week. Sell high on Samuel while you still can because, after this week, you won’t be able to anymore.
SIT: Robby Anderson vs New Orleans Saints
Coming off his career year in 2020, many thought Anderson would be a plug-and-play wide receiver this season. However, things looked quite the opposite in Week 1. While Andersen scored 12.7 fantasy points last week, it all came on one play. He scored a 57-yard touchdown thanks to a blown coverage by the New York Jets. Furthermore, Anderson had only three targets, finishing tied for fifth on the team in Week 1. More importantly, rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. finished with twice as many targets as Anderson despite playing 28 percent fewer snaps. Meanwhile, the Saints completely shut down the Green Bay Packers wide receivers last week, allowing only 29.5 fantasy points. The only Panther wide receiver fantasy owners should start this week is D.J. Moore.
SLEEPER: Darnell Mooney vs Cincinnati Bengals
Last week, both Allen Robinson and Mooney struggled against the Rams, scoring a total of 17.1 fantasy points. However, Mooney finished tied for second with Cole Kmet with seven targets last week. More importantly, Mooney played 100 percent of the snap against the Rams. Meanwhile, Mooney has a great matchup this week against the Bengals. In Week 1, the Bengals gave up the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. The Minnesota receivers had 250 receiving yards, two touchdowns, and nearly 60 fantasy points last week. While Robinson is a plug-and-play WR1, Mooney is an excellent flex option with WR2 upside against a terrible Cincinnati secondary.
SLEEPER: Tyler Boyd at Chicago Bears
While Burrow had 261 passing yards, two touchdowns, and 18.6 fantasy points last week, Boyd had only four targets and 6.2 fantasy points. However, the Bengals gave Joe Mixon 29 rushing attempts last week but won’t do the same against the Bears, which should open up more targets for Boyd. Meanwhile, the Bears gave up over 230 receiving yards, three touchdowns, and 56.3 fantasy points to the Rams’ wide receivers last week. Furthermore, slot receiver Cooper Kupp caught seven of his 10 targets for 108 yards and 23.8 fantasy points. Burrow looked healthy in the second half against the Vikings last week and should take full advantage of a great matchup against the Bears. Fantasy owners should start all three of the Bengals’ wide receivers this week.
START: Kyle Pitts at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In his first NFL game, Pitts was a fantasy disappointment, scoring only 7.1 fantasy points. More importantly, Pitts played only 68 percent of the snaps, while Hayden Hurst played 60 percent. However, Pitts should have a massive performance this week against the Buccaneers. Last week, the Buccaneers gave up nine catches on 10 targets for 65 yards and 15.5 fantasy points to Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin. Furthermore, unlike Dallas, the Falcons lack weapons at wide receiver outside of Ridley. The Buccaneers will have no trouble scoring on the Falcons’ terrible defense, forcing them to chase points. Pitts should see enough targets this week to finish as a top-five tight end.
START: Rob Gronkowski vs Atlanta Falcons
Gronk found the fountain of youth last week against the Cowboys, scoring 29 fantasy points, finishing the week as the highest-scoring tight end. Furthermore, it was the most fantasy points Gronkowski has scored in a game since 2016. While he isn’t likely to have eight catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns again this week, he is a must-start against the Falcons. Last week, the Falcons gave up almost 20 fantasy points to the Eagles’ tight ends. Dallas Goedert scored 14.2 fantasy points as he caught four of his five targets for 42 yards and a touchdown. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers should have their way with the Falcons, opening up plenty of targets for Gronkowski, especially in the red zone.
SIT: Mike Gesicki vs Buffalo Bills
Last week, Gesicki was a massive disappointment for fantasy owners. He played only 39 percent of the snaps, while reserve tight end Durham Smythe played 70 percent. Part of the reason behind Gesicki’s limited snap count is the Dolphins wanted Smythe on the field for his blocking ability. Furthermore, Gesicki has averaged only 8.9 fantasy points against the Bills in his career, scoring more than 9.7 only once. Meanwhile, the Bills held the Steelers’ tight ends to only three catches and 7.1 fantasy points. Even with Will Fuller out for this game, Gesicki is a risk mid TE2 this week. Furthermore, instead of playing Gesicki, fantasy players should add and start Jared Cook this week as he is owned in only 48 percent of ESPN leagues.
SIT: Gerald Everett vs Tennessee Titans
In his first game as a Seattle Seahawk, Everett scored 10 fantasy points, thanks to a nine-yard touchdown. However, Everett had only two targets in the game. Furthermore, Everett played 39 snaps while Will Dissly played 38 snaps. While fantasy owners should still have high hopes for Everett this season, he belongs on the bench this week. The Arizona Cardinals’ tight ends scored zero fantasy points last week on four targets. While that isn’t a surprise, given who the Cardinals have at tight end, fantasy owners shouldn’t expect much from Everett this week. Furthermore, the Titans gave up four touchdowns and almost 66 fantasy points to the Cardinals’ wide receivers last week. Expect big performances from D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett while Everett has a quiet outing.
SLEEPER: Jared Cook vs Dallas Cowboys
Despite Keenan Allen and Williams combining for 17 catches on 25 targets last week, Cook finished the week as the TE13. He had five catches on eight targets, ending the game against Washington with 10.6 fantasy points. This week, Cook has top-10 upside taking on the Cowboys. Against Dallas on opening night, Gronkowski scored 29 fantasy points, finishing the week as the overall TE1. Furthermore, despite all the offseason hype surround Donald Parham, Cook had four times as many targets, finishing with 9.5 more fantasy points. The Cowboys will struggle to get pressure on Herbert, giving him plenty of time to find Cook.
SLEEPER: Cole Kmet vs Cincinnati Bengals
After an impressive end to his rookie season, Kmet kept up the strong play in Week 1. Against the Rams, Kmet caught five of his seven targets for 42 yards, scoring 9.2 fantasy points. More importantly, Kmet played 74 percent of the snaps while Jimmy Graham played only 20 percent. Furthermore, Graham saw only two targets, resulting in one catch for 11 yards. Meanwhile, the Bengals gave up four catches for 41 yards and 8.1 fantasy points to Tyler Conklin last week. Unlike the Vikings, the Bears don’t have two elite wide receivers. Last week, Kmet had a 17.5 percent target share. This week, it should be closer to 20 percent. Fantasy players who need a streaming tight end for this week should consider adding Kmet off the waiver wire.
Follow Mike Fanelli on Twitter @Mike_NFL2
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images