Decisions, decisions. You’re going to be faced with a lot of them this year when trying to put together your most effective fantasy football lineups.
Do you start a struggling star player or look deeper for a better matchup?
That’s the biggest question you’ll face. But it’s not one we’re going to really get into too much here.
For the most part, it’s much too soon to start sitting your top draft choices because of a poor showing in Week 1, no matter who they’re matched up against. But your secondary options should never be set in stone, especially when pitted against a defense that can potentially shut them down.
Here’s some advice on getting the most out of your lineup this weekend.
Start ‘Em: DeAngelo Williams vs. Buffalo Bills
Did anyone else see how easily the New England Patriots ran the ball against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1? OK, I hate making these types of quick judgements this early in the season, but Buffalo does not look like a team that can contain anyone, let alone a fast and elusive runner like DeAngelo Williams.
Williams held his own in fantasy production despite a tough challenge against the Seattle Seahawks. Look for the unquestioned ball-carrier to get his fair share of touches—and points—against that defense.
Sit ‘Em: Lamar Miller at Indianapolis Colts
There’s nowhere but up to go from here for Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller. Right? After his dismal opening performance as Miami’s starting back, you could surmise that there are better things in store for the highly-touted runner.
But after closer review, it’s hard to justify starting Miller even if he plays better than he did in Week 1. Daniel Thomas looks like he’s locked up goal-line duties and also a fair share of the workload, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald:
Stay away from this backfield until one emerges or at least until the Dolphins offensive line proves it can win matchups to help produce a competent rushing game.
Start ‘Em: Michael Floyd/Andre Roberts vs. Detroit Lions
The Minnesota Vikings somehow found a way to make Jerome Simpson a viable fantasy starter in Week 1. Detroit tried to slow him down, matching him up with a variety of defenders, but he came through nearly every time. He abused Darius Slay, catching three of the four targets thrown to him with the defensive back in the area.
Michael Floyd has a great shot to build on his four-catch, 82-yard performance against St. Louis. Both Floyd and Andre Roberts should get a good amount of opportunities with Carson Palmer throwing the football. Arizona’s poor rushing offense and Detroit’s defense focusing on Larry Fitzgerald also doesn’t hurt. I like both of those receivers a lot this weekend.
Sit ‘Em: Torrey Smith vs. Cleveland Browns
Torrey Smith has found success against Joe Haden and the Cleveland Browns in the past. That’s true, but it’s also true that Joe Flacco has had a lot more time in the pocket against Baltimore’s divisional rival. Plus, with the absence of Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta and Jacoby Jones, Smith is going to be the focus of the Browns’ secondary plans.
He also had just nine of Flacco’s 62 attempts come in his direction against the Broncos last week, catching only four. In a game where the Ravens were airing it out, he ended up with decent fantasy numbers. But in a game where they will likely be playing closely or ahead of their competition, Smith looks like a boom-or-bust play this week; one that I’d stay away from.
Start ‘Em: Terrelle Pryor vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
As you likely watched the fantasy scoreboards on Sunday as I did, you undoubtedly kept seeing a new name atop the top rushers category. It wasn’t a rookie running back or some undrafted free agent you’ve never heard of. No, it was Oakland Raiders starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor. And that still feels weird saying.
What feels even weirder is endorsing people to start him after severely questioning his abilities during the preseason. Let’s face it, he looked rough before making things happen last week against Indianapolis. He also made the Raiders less of a laughing stock than many predicted.
Pryor has the tools to extend plays and also make some with his decent-sized arm. That alone makes him a potential superstar against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week.
Sit ‘Em: Matthew Stafford at Arizona Cardinals
Last year, Matthew Stafford had his worst game of the season against the Arizona Cardinals’ stingy pass defense. When pressured, he was bad. But when the Cardinals didn’t blitz, Stafford still folded, throwing three interceptions and the game to the opposing team.
Stafford is the biggest feast-or-famine quarterback that you can find. He’ll put up a ton of yards, but also fumble three times and throw three interceptions to lose the game for both the Detroit Lions and your fantasy team. Most weeks he’ll be able to compensate for turnovers and miscues, but don’t count on it against Arizona.
Players to start over Stafford this week: Pryor; Andrew Luck, IND; Eli Manning, NYG; Carson Palmer, ARI
*All stats used in this article were obtained from Pro Football Focus (subscription required) unless otherwise noted.