Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Predicting Biggest Boom-or-Bust Performances
It happens every year. After the first week of the season people fall into panic mode after some projected breakout stars don’t perform and they end up losing their first fantasy football game.
That explains the ridiculous trade proposal questions that are running rampant on the Internet ahead of Week 2. Obviously, people need to learn a little patience. You’re not going to win every week and your boom-or-bust players aren’t always going to be big contributors.
That’s the risk you’re taking, but it’s one that’s worth it.
Here’s a look at some start-or-sit advice on some second-tier players that fit that description.
Start ‘Em: WR James Jones, Green Bay vs. Washington
With Greg Jennings gone, 2013 was supposed to be a breakout season for James Jones. The Green Bay Packers receiver was targeted a staggering 98 times last season and scored 14 touchdowns. In Week 1, though, Jones played 100 percent of the snaps but was thrown to just twice, per CBS Sports’ Dave Richard:
His performance last season has undoubtedly made defenses more aware of his presence on the field. Plus, Aaron Rodgers does have a lot of options. But this week against Washington, Rodgers will have the chance to exploit a young secondary. With a favorable matchup, expect him to keep Jones happy by looking in his direction more this weekend.
Sit ‘Em: WR Torrey Smith, Baltimore vs. Cleveland
Speedster Mike Wallace recorded just one catch in five targets while being blanketed by Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden in Week 1. Without much talent in its secondary, Cleveland will have no choice but to play its best corner against Baltimore’s biggest player threat: Torrey Smith.
This isn’t a knock on Smith as much as it is praise for Haden and the Browns’ revamped pass rush. They’ll make it uncomfortable for Flacco and difficult for him to find time to get the ball down the field. Smith could break one, but his inconsistency in the past is alarming, especially against better pass defenses.
Start ‘Em: QB Carson Palmer, Arizona vs. Detroit
The problem in Arizona for the past few seasons was allegedly its offensive line. While it’s hard to debate that unit has struggled some, it’s even harder to defend the quarterback play there since Kurt Warner retired. Enter journeyman quarterback Carson Palmer. In Week 1, Palmer did something twice that the team’s quarterbacks couldn’t accomplish once in 16 games last year, per ESPN Denver’s Cecil Lammey:
Larry Fitzgerald caught 2TD passes from Carson Palmer in wk1. #Cardinals QBs were 0-for-9 when targeting Fitzgerald in the end zone last yr— Cecil Lammey (@cecillammey) September 10, 2013
This week, Palmer will be tested as a legitimate fantasy starter against a pretty good Detroit Lions pass rush. Their secondary, though, is beatable in comparison to the stingy St. Louis Rams defensive backfield that he put up good numbers against last week. He has multiple weapons in Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd. You should consider starting them as well this week.
Sit ‘Em: QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati
Things look bleak in Pittsburgh this year offensively. The Steelers couldn’t run the ball, they couldn’t throw the ball and they somehow couldn’t do enough with their vaunted defense to keep the Tennessee Titans at bay. Ben Roethlisberger’s struggles were apparent in Week 1, and without a touchdown pass with less than two minutes to play, it would have been a horrendous showing.
This week might be better, but don’t count on it against a good Cincinnati Bengals defense. In his last nine meetings against them, Roethlisberger has thrown more than one touchdown just one time. He also hasn’t passed for over 280 yards in 15 straight contests against his divisional rivals.
Start ‘Em: RB Daryl Richardson, St. Louis vs. Atlanta
Don’t be afraid of deploying Daryl Richardson this week despite the stories you’ve heard about about him missing practice. According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Richardson should be OK to play on Sunday:
As expected, RB Daryl Richardson (foot) returned to practice Thursday and got a fair amount of work.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) September 12, 2013
He’ll have a favorable matchup after nearly scoring 10 fantasy points against a tough Arizona Cardinals defense a week ago. The Atlanta Falcons, on the other hand, aren’t really scaring anyone with their front seven. Richardson could conceivably have a big day on the ground and in the passing game and is well worthy of RB2 or flex consideration.
Sit ‘Em: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis vs. Miami
Indianapolis Colts starter Vick Ballard tore his ACL in practice on Thursday and will miss the rest of the season after being placed on injured reserve on Friday, per team owner Jim Irsay on Twitter:
Breaking News: Vick Ballard placed on Injured Reserve— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) September 13, 2013
Ahmad Bradshaw could potentially become a strong asset to own in the wake of Ballard’s unfortunate injury. But it’s smart to wait this one out before playing him with confidence. Bradshaw is still recovering from offseason foot surgery and was limited in action in Week 1.
Donald Brown also figures to get some of the workload as Pep Hamilton’s original plan called for a 50-50 split in carries between Ballard and Bradshaw once the latter was healthy, per Stephen Holder of The Indianapolis Star:
Pep Hamilton says Ahmad Bradshaw's role will continue to expand over course of the season. Ideal carries be he and Ballard? 50/50 acc to Pep— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) September 12, 2013
Stay away from both Brown and Bradshaw until we see how this plays out.
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