Shocked and disappointed in that single-digit score Aaron Rodgers gave you in week one? Panicking because you expected more from Najee Harris? Had your high expectations for Brandon Aiyuk completely dashed?
Have no fear.
As the three-time MVP Aaron Rodgers said, “it’s just one game!” So, let’s analyze which players to start and which players are better off on your bench in Week 2.
Quarterback Start ‘ems:
Aaron Rodgers (vs Lions)
Okay, don’t panic! If he has two games like last week, then you can panic. But against the Lions? I don’t expect it. The Lions are struggling…again. I would start pretty much any quarterback against them, but definitely this one. Rodgers is still Rodgers. Hopefully he got some sense knocked into him after last week’s disaster and will act more like the Rodgers who only got five interceptions in a season last year rather than two in a game. It’s not time to write him off just yet.
Matt Stafford vs Colts
Last week, Stafford completed 20/26 pass attempts as well as three touchdowns. Granted, the Bears defense didn’t seem to get the pattern that Stafford really liked passing to Cooper Kupp, but either way, Stafford looked good. The Colts defense were a bit sketch last week, so it’s possible Stafford could have a big game.
Jalen Hurts vs 49ers
Hurts proved last week that he is a solid QB and puts up big numbers. He recovered two fumbles, completed 27/35 passes, and had three touchdowns. He’s confident and looks good on the field. He should be a solid starter every week
Ryan Tannehill vs Seahawks
So, he wasn’t great last week against the Cardinals. One TD and one interception is not exactly impressive. But the Seahawks pass rush should be a bit easier for him to handle than Arizona’s was. Chandler Jones sacked Tannehill five times, making it near impossible for him to get anywhere the whole game. I expect he’ll be looking to improve this week against the Seahawks.
Matt Ryan vs Buccaneers
First game post Julio Jones and Matt Ryan looked…meh. He didn’t connect much, get many yards, or any touchdowns. He was also sacked three times. So why should we start him, you ask? Well, he’s up against the Bucs. Yes, the Super Bowl champs. But if you’ll recall, the Bucs defense are still struggling and last year Ryan threw five touchdowns in two games against them, even towards the end of the year when the Bucs were looking better.
Baker Mayfield vs Texans
The Browns nearly beat the Chiefs last week and Mayfield contributed strongly to the yardage gain. Unfortunately, his only turnover happened at the most desperate of times for Cleveland. Mayfield should be as good as if not better this week against the Texans.
Mac Jones vs Jets
Jones looked good in his season opener last week when he completed 29/39 passes and one touchdown. Jones did everything he could to win that game and led the Patriots into field goal territory late in the game, but Damien Harris lost a fumble. The Jets didn’t look spectacular last week so this is an opportunity for Jones to really build on that potential.
Quarterback Sit ‘ems:
Jared Goff vs Packers
Goff had three TDs and one interception against the 49ers last week, but ultimately didn’t gain much yardage. In real life, he’s not going to be the clutch QB the Lions would like to have. In fantasy, he might get rack up some points being forced to pass due to lack of help from the Lions defense. However, I’d rather not take my chances with this guy, and against the Packers, who will be out for a comeback after last week’s debauchery.
Tyrod Taylor vs Browns
I don’t like Taylor’s chances against the Browns this week. He played well against the Jaguars, completing 21/33 passes and one TD, but the Browns won’t go so easy on him. He got off to a good start, but he’s not likely to put up the kind of points against the Browns that Patrick Mahomes did.
Joe Burrow vs Bears
It’s not that Burrow isn’t a good QB - it’s just that there are so many better ones you could start. He took 53 percent of snaps last week, which is perhaps indicative of a more run-heavy approach for the Bengals. He had two TDs against the Vikings, but he’s still low on the list of starters. Only start him if your other options are pretty bad.
Jameis Winston vs Panthers
The QB who surprised us all in the epic butt-kicking of the Green Bay Packers. Winston completed 14/20 passes and had five touchdowns. He also showed lots of accuracy and better decision-making than in the past. But just as no one saw it coming that Rodgers would throw two interceptions and get no TDs, no one saw this coming either. I’m not convinced yet, since that game seemed like such a fluke.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs Eagles
Only one TD fo Garoppolo last week with a terrible start. He fumbled the ball on his first offensive snap. He didn’t let it faze him though so at least he seems to be able to stay focused. It’s still expected he’ll be splitting time with Trey Lance, too. So he’s not a top starter for fantasy.
Running Back Start ‘ems:
Jonathan Taylor vs Rams
Taylor had 23 touches against the Seahawks last week, even after splitting time with Nyheim Hines, who had 15. They will be up against the Rams this week, and they tend to play two safeties, giving potential for more ground game to the other team, so Taylor should be a safe fantasy bet.
Chris Carson vs Titans
Carson had 19 touches and had three receptions last week. He’ versatile and reliable. This week, he’s up against the Titans, who saw the Cardinals RBs play well against them.
Najee Harris vs Raiders
Well, he played every single offensive snap for the Steelers last week and ended with 17 touches. He brought in one of three targets for the Steelers against the Bills. I think he’ll be solid against a so-so Raiders defense.
Other good RB picks: Nick Chubb - Browns (vs Texans), Javonte Williams - Broncos (vs Jags)
Running Back Sit ‘ems:
Devin Singletary vs Dolphins
Singletary could have had a lot of the workload with Zack Moss out, but that didn’t end up happening. He had three receptions but they didn’t gain much yardage. Considering how much the VBills like to split time, I wouldn’t count on Singletary as a strong fantasy option against the Dolphins.
Mark Ingram vs Browns
Ingram is a great player. It’s not that. It’s just that I’m not sure he’s going to see as much playing time every week as he did last week against the Jaguars. Plus the Browns defense is quite impressive this season. Bench him until he proves more consistent.
Mike Davis vs Bucs
Davis is good. But the Bucs are better. He’s a risky start as he plays a big role as pass catcher but his rushing attempts last week were cut short due to the flow of the game. I don’t like his odds.
— Jacob Gibbs (@jagibbs_23) September 13, 2021
Encouraging Week 1 snap rates:
100% - Najee Harris
100% - Darnell Mooney
94% - Darrell Henderson
92% - Dyami Brown
90% - Zach Pascal
85% - TJ Hockenson
83% - Adam Trautman
79% - Joe Mixon
77% - Chris Carson
75% - Mike Davis
74% - CEH
74% - Cole Kmet
68% - D'Andre Swift
Josh Jacobs vs Steelers
Well, he didn’t practice on Friday after an ankle injury, but nothing has been officially announced. It’s always risky to start someone questionable and even if he does play, he’ll be on the road and likely limited.
Tevin Coleman vs Pats
I think this is an obvious bencher, but I’ll explain. The Jets are swapping amongst three RBs, none of whom are very effective, and Coleman is no exception. He didn’t do much last week against the Panthers and I wouldn’t expect him to do much this week either…or the rest of the season.
Wide Receiver Start ‘ems:
Ja’Marr Chase vs Bears
Proof that preseason games mean nothing. Chase caught five of seven targets for 101 yards against the Vikings. He also made one huge 50-yard touchdown in the final minute of the first half. He made big plays and this week, he’s up against the Bears, who gave up several of those last week.
Mike Williams vs Cowboys
As a Dallas fan, it pains me to say it, but the Cowboys’ defense is still quite horrid. Last week, Williams caught eight of his 12 targets for 82 yards and a TD. That was with time split between him and Keenan Allen, who got 13. With those two plus Austin Ekeler, the Chargers are likely to take advantage against the ‘Boys.
Diontae Johnson vs Raiders
Johnson was the lead in targets for the Steelers last week and he will likely get a lot of volume against the Raiders. He received five of ten targets for 36 yards and a TD last week.
Cooper Kupp vs Colts
Kupp was Stafford’s favourite receiver last week. He targeted him ten times, which Kupp turned into seven receptions for 108 yards and a TD, which was a 56-yard pass for a TD with no Bears in sight.
Other good receivers: Chris Godwin - Bucs (vs Falcons), D.J. Moore - Panthers (vs Saints)
Wide Receiver Sit ‘ems:
Michael Pittman vs Rams
Unfortunately for Pittman, Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor were targeted more than he was in week one and I expect that to continue.
D.J. Chark vs Broncos
Yes, he was targeted a lot. But he only had three receptions and 41/86 of his yards came from his TD reception. Overall, not too impressive.
Quintez Cephus vs Packers
Cephus is good, if he can get the touchdown. And he was fourth in targets for RBs on the Lions team. It’s unlikely that will change in week two against the Packers.
Brandon Aiyuk vs Eagles
Here is a surprisingly bad start to the season we didn’t see coming from this player. This was such a terrible start, in fact, that it makes me nervous to start him again. Rather than hoping he will have a breakout game each week, bench him until he does.
Tight End Start ‘ems:
Noah Fant vs Jags
Fant led the Broncos in targets with eight, six of which were receptions for 62 yards. It should be a good matchup for him against the Jaguars.
Tyler Higbee vs Colts
Higbee is the clear starter at TE for the Rams, as he was the only tight end to see any targets last week. He caught five of six for 68 yards and was second in targets only to Cooper Kupp.
Rob Gronkowski vs Falcons
A solid starter every year in fantasy and in reality. He may not get as many TDs every week as he did last week against the Cowboys, but he should continue to see targets.
Robert Tonyan vs Lions
Like I said before, that Packers game was a fluke. I expect a way better performance from Tonyan this week against a poor Lions defense. Bonus knowledge: Tonyan has never NOT scored a TD against the Lions.
Jonnu Smith vs Jets
Smith caught all five of his targets for 42 yards. He was limited at practice this week so pay attention to that as the weekend progresses. But if he does play, I think he’ll continue to be the better option than Hunter Henry.
Tight End Sit ‘ems:
Mike Gesicki vs Bills
Poor Gesicki. He was targeted just twice and held to zero catches last week against the Pats. He saw only 21 snaps and though he may be more involved this week, it’s not likely he’s going to rack up the points for your team.
Zach Ertz vs 49ers
Hamstring injuries never seem to end well, so I’d be hesitant to start this one. Eagles playing the Niners doesn’t leave me too confident for Ertz anyway though.
Gerald Everett vs Titans
He a touchdowns which sounds great, right? But after that, he was not targeted the rest of the game and in the end didn’t produce many points.
Juwan Johnson vs Panthers
Two touchdowns from Johnson aint bad, but he’s another player who is very touchdown dependent and I don’t like his odds against the Panthers. Not to mention, I still don’t trust Jameis Winston and that flukey Packers game.
Anthony Firkser vs Seahawks
Only 19 yards and zero touchdowns. Ouch, man. He could be a backup for when your players get injured or are on bye week, but that’s pretty much all I’d count on him for.