September 26, 2021

NFL Fantasy Football Week 2: Start’ em, sit ’em advice from ESPN, CBS Sports, more | Tom Brady, Michael Gallup, NOT Daniel Jones

The NFL season is in full swing, and Week 2 will feature plenty of intriguing matchups that will have a big impact on your fantasy football team.

After an exciting Week 1, which players are for real? Who’s destined for a disappointing follow-up performance? There are plenty of decisions to make on who to start and who to sit.

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Here is a roundup from some of the top fantasy football experts around, including from ESPN and CBS Sports, as well as our own picks.

QUARTERBACK: START ‘EM

Here are some quarterbacks you should start this week.

NJ Advance Media: Tom Brady, Buccaneers – I get it. Week 1 was tough to watch. A pair of interceptions, including a pick six, put a damper on Brady’s Bucs debut. But the longtime Patriots quarterback still managed to post more than 20 fantasy points against a tough Saints defense, and now he’ll get a home meeting against the Panthers, who allowed 34 points to the Raiders in Week 1.

ESPN: Josh Allen, Bills – Allen averages 31.1 points per game in his career against Miami. Allen is not only a Love for me (I have him in the top four this week), he is a must-start going forward.

CBS Sports: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – It was great to see Ben Roethlisberger back on the field Monday night in Week 1 at the Giants. After a sluggish start, he looked good, and he should continue to get better after missing most of last season with an elbow injury. He has the chance to go off in Week 2 against the Broncos.

QUARTERBACK: SIT ‘EM

Here are some quarterbacks you should sit this week.

NJ Advance Media: Daniel Jones, Giants – Jones finished with 21 points against a tough Steelers defense in Week 1, but he’s got another tall task in Week 2 on the road against a formidable Bears unit that kept Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in check for the most part last weekend. Jones has plenty of fantasy upside in a season where the Giants will need to throw a lot to keep up. This just isn’t the week to rely on big numbers.

ESPN: Drew Brees, Saints – The over/under number here is a high one, and nothing we saw in Week 1 from the Raiders’ defense scares us. But I worry the Saints go more run-heavy here (they had a rush rate of 47.7% last week in a game they were leading for a lot of it, and they are heavy favorites in this one), especially since their defense should have no issue stopping the Raiders.

CBS Sports: Carson Wentz, Eagles – Wentz is getting reinforcements this week with Lane Johnson (ankle) and Miles Sanders (hamstring) expected to return after sitting out Week 1, which is important. That said, I don’t love the setup for Wentz, even at home. Aaron Donald and Co. should be able to pressure Wentz, who was just sacked eight times by Washington last week. Wentz did manage 270 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he also had two interceptions and lost a fumble. And the Rams held Dak Prescott to just 19 Fantasy points in Week 1, which is about what I expect from Wentz in this matchup.

RUNNING BACK: START ‘EM

Here are some running backs you should start this week.

NJ Advance Media: Raheem Mostert, 49ers – Mostert’s production in Week 1 came primarily from a 76-yard touchdown catch during a 25.1-point performance. But he also got 15 carries to go along with his four receptions, and in a game against the Jets where the 49ers should be playing with a lead, Mostert should again be in line for a high volume of touches.

ESPN: Austin Ekeler, Chargers – I’m sorry, but I don’t believe the Chargers will say, you know, we have one of the best pass-catching running backs in football, you know what we should do? Fewer passes to him. The receptions will come. And I think it starts this week against a Chiefs defense that, since the start of last season, has given up the most receiving yards to running backs and the fourth-most catches, while coughing up 4.95 yards per carry last week to Houston.

CBS Sports: Nyheim Hines, Colts – Hines, Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack combined for 17 catches for 142 yards and a touchdown on 17 targets in Week 1 at Jacksonville. Hines led the way with eight catches for 45 yards and a touchdown on eight targets, and he also added seven carries for 28 yards and a touchdown. With Mack (Achilles) out for the season, Taylor is a must-start option in all leagues, but Hines is right there with him in PPR.

RUNNING BACK: SIT ‘EM

Here are some running backs you should sit this week

NJ Advance Media: Mark Ingram, Ravens – Ingram was out-snapped by rookie J.K. Dobbins, 23-21, while the Ravens cruised to a Week 1 win over the Browns. Dobbins also got some of the key goal-line work, scoring a pair of touchdowns. Baltimore should have no issue running against the Texans in Week 2, but outside quarterback Lamar Jackson, it’s tough to predict where the other carries are going to go. Ingram’s suspect volume justifies a spot on the bench this week.

ESPN: Melvin Gordon, Broncos – Saquon Barkley had 15 carries for just 6 yards against the Steelers on Monday night. News flash: Melvin Gordon isn’t Saquon Barkley. Sure, Denver’s offensive line isn’t as bad as the Giants’, and with Phillip Lindsay likely missing this game with turf toe there should be more work for Gordon, but still, the Steelers’ defensive line is no joke, having allowed just five rushing touchdowns to RBs over their past 17 games.

CBS Sports: James Robinson, Jaguars – Robinson had a solid NFL debut in Week 1 against the Colts with 16 carries for 62 yards, as well as one catch for 28 yards on one target, and he was the only running back to get a carry for the Jaguars. This should be a tougher task against the Titans, and we’ll see how Robinson performs if Jacksonville is chasing points in the second half.

WIDE RECEIVER: START ‘EM

Here are some wide receivers you should start this week.

NJ Advance Media: Emmanuel Sanders, Saints – Even if Brees isn’t primed for a big week, the Saints are still going to throw some, and with Michael Thomas nursing an ankle injury, Sanders could be in line for a busy night. Sanders had four red-zone targets in Week 1 during his debut with the Saints, so he’s already got the trust of Brees.

ESPN: Diontae Johnson, Steelers – Even in a game in which JuJu Smith-Schuster had two touchdown catches, and even after starting the game with a muffed punt and a dropped pass, Johnson still led the Steelers in targets on Monday night with 11. Targeted on 33.3% of his routes (tied for the sixth-highest rate among WRs who ran 20-plus routes in Week 1), he’s in the Antonio Brown role in the Re-Roethlisberger’d Pittsburgh offense, and the Johnson business should be booming in Week 2.

CBS Sports: Michael Gallup, Cowboys – I like all the Cowboys receivers this week with Amari Cooper as a must-start Fantasy option, and CeeDee Lamb is a sleeper. Gallup is also a solid starter, and he should take advantage of this Falcons secondary. He started the season with three catches for 50 yards on five targets at the Rams in Week 1, but he also had a 47-yard reception negated by a bad offensive pass interference call when he ran past Jalen Ramsey. The Falcons secondary was torched by the Seahawks in Week 1, and the Cowboys receivers should go off this week.

WIDE RECEIVER: SIT ‘EM

Here are some wide receivers you should sit this week

NJ Advance Media: DK Metcalf, Seahawks – Metcalf had a strong 2020 debut in Week 1 against the Falcons — pretty much every Seahawks wide receiver did — but he’s in line for a much tougher matchup against the Patriots in Week 2. Metcalf will likely draw reigning defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore, putting a ceiling on his value in this matchup.

ESPN: Cooper Kupp, Rams – You know it pains me to say, but my little Kupp is on the Hate list. And it’s all because the Rams are giving him only a little bit of targets: just 52 in his past nine games. In the nine games before that? Kupp got 93 targets. A Kupp getting 10 targets a game is always a Love for me, but not one getting five.

CBS Sports: Will Fuller, Texans – Fuller is one of my favorite guys this year, and he was awesome in Week 1 at Kansas City with eight catches for 112 yards on 10 targets. But he’s more of a bust alert this week against the Ravens, who just held Beckham to three catches for 22 yards on 10 targets with the help of cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. I expect Fuller to do better than that, but not by much. He’s only worth using as a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.

TIGHT END: START ‘EM

Here are some tight ends you should start this week.

NJ Advance Media: Hunter Henry, Chargers – The Chargers played a low-scoring game against the Bengals in Week 1, but their defense should have a much tougher time keeping Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in check during Week 2. Los Angeles will have to throw more to keep up, and after making five catches on eight targets last Sunday, Henry should see an uptick this week.

ESPN: Dallas Goedert, Eagles – Goedert led the Eagles in targets, catches and yards in Week 1, and among TEs since the start of 2019 he ranks seventh in targets, eighth in receptions and 10th in yards. Over the same period, the Rams — Goedert’s Week 2 opponent — allow a league-worst 12.7 yards per reception to tight ends.

CBS Sports: T.J. Hockenson, Lions – For the second year in a row, Hockenson had a great Week 1, this time coming against the Bears when he finished with five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown on five targets. I expect him to remain heavily involved if Golladay is out again, and the Lions should be chasing points this week at Green Bay. Hockenson should be considered a top 10 Fantasy tight end in this matchup.

TIGHT END: SIT ‘EM

Here are some tight ends you should sit this week.

NJ Advance Media: Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers – Not much went right for the Tampa Bay offense in Week 1, but perhaps most notably, Gronkowski had just two catches for 11 yards on three targets. It’s hard to imagine Gronk being that quiet every week, but after joining a new team following a year away from football, the safest spot for him is on the bench until he shows he can be a reliable fantasy option again.

ESPN: Mike Gesicki, Dolphins – Facing a Bills defense that since the start of last year has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, you’re likely looking elsewhere. Nothing that Ryan Fitzpatrick did last week could inspire confidence here, especially in another tough matchup. Gesicki has more than 51 yards in just three of 33 career games. You’re most likely gonna need a score for him to pay off here.

CBS Sports: Chris Herndon, Jets – Herndon didn’t have a good stat line in Week 1 at Buffalo with only 37 receiving yards and no touchdowns, but he did manage six catches on seven targets. And the latter two stats were second on the team behind (Jamison) Crowder. Big games are coming for Herndon, but it might not happen in Week 2 against the 49ers. He should be considered a low-end starting option at best this week.

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Chris Ryan may be reached at cr[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRyan_NJ. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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