I am nothing if not accountable, and I come to you a humbled man this week. I let you and myself down with start ‘em, sit ‘em advice that left much to be desired in Week 1.
Here is the Week 1 start ‘em, sit ‘em column if you’d like to review, but I’ll lay out the hits and misses right here for you.
- Start ‘em hits: Vernon Davis...barely, in a PPR league...maybe? (5 catches, 40 yards)
- Start ‘em misses: David Garrard (122 yds, 0 TDs), Willie Parker (19 yds, 0 TDs), Braylon Edwards (1 rec, 13 yds, 0TDs), New England D/ST (24 points allowed, 1 turnover)
- Sit ‘em hits: Matt Schaub (166 yds, 0TDs); Chris Johnson & LenDale White (8.6 fantasy points combined); Miami D/ST (19 points allowed, 0 turnovers)
- Sit ‘em misses: Roy Williams (3 rec, 86 yds, 1 TD); Kellen Winslow (5 rec, 30 yds, 1 TD)
So, not a great start.
In fact, the results of my Week 1 start ‘em, sit ‘em lineup advice reminds me a little bit of the Carolina Panthers, with me playing the role of Jake Delhomme: high hopes, big expectations...and then a depressing thud as interceptions get fired all over the field.
But, in my defense, in the “others” category for start ‘em, I did nail all of the three QBs listed—Hasselbeck, Flacco, and Shaun Hill, plus I recommended Julius Jones. And I told you to sit Steve Slaton! That should count for something, right?
We’re all about results here. Like fantasy football, it’s about touchdowns (or LOTS of yards) and I did not get into the endzone enough last week with my primary start ‘em, sit ‘em recommendations at each position. But what we love about sports is that there is always next week, so I am looking forward to Week 2.
I’m here to rebound—both for you and for myself—and to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start. And no, I will not give into the temptation to pick obvious ones (start Adrian Peterson against Detroit!) just to pad my stats.
Let’s get right to it.
Week 2 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Lineup Advice
Week 2 Start ‘Em – Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Start ‘Em: Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
What am I, crazy? Start the guy who had 4 picks on national TV last week against the defending champs and their suffocating defense this week?
I say yes, and there is one primary reason why: no Troy Polamalu.
The lynchpin of the Steelers’ secondary is out with a sprained MCL, which will make Pittsburgh’s D more susceptible to the pass and less dangerous overall. Granted, the Bears’ WR corps leaves a lot to be desired, but I think the determination of Jay Cutler will overcome that.
Cutler may be a bit of a whiny douche, but he’s a very talented and prideful player. He also did not complete a pass to RB Matt Forte in Week 1, and only a single one to TE Greg Olsen, which I have to think will change after taking a look at the film.
The Bears are at home and will do everything to avoid going 0-2. I’m not sold on Cutler as a consistent fantasy starter throughout the season, but I do like him this week, despite the matchup.
Others I like: Jason Campbell, Washington (vs. St. Louis); Trent Edwards, Buffalo (vs. Tampa Bay)
Sit ‘Em: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (@ Miami Dolphins)
Let me guess what you are probably thinking right now: this idiot is recommending Jay Cutler as a start against Pittsburgh and Peyton Manning as a guy you should sit? Is he insane?
But I don’t think so in this particular case.
Courtesy of Stats Inc. (via Yahoo Sports), Peyton Manning has thrown for 16 TDs and 18 INTs lifetime against the Dolphins. Now, clearly that stat line spans a decade and many different coaches and players for the Dolphins. But considering that Manning will be going into a hornet’s nest (on the road in Miami, home opener for Dolphins, Monday night, team coming off of a bad loss and looking for redemption, etc.) and will not have Anthony Gonzalez, I’m not all that optimistic about his chances.
The Colts offense is becoming a little worrisome. They could not establish a consistent ground attack in Week 1 against Jacksonville, which they need for Manning’s play-action to be effective. Miami, despite its struggles to contain Matt Ryan, did an effective job of limiting the Falcons’ powerful ground attack last Sunday (3.0 yards per carry for Michael Turner).
I think an emotional Dolphins’ D bottles up Manning and the Colts offense, at least enough that he is limited to one TD pass and harassed into a turnover or two. If you have a decent backup for Manning, this might be a good week to use him.
Others I don’t like: Carson Palmer, Cincinnati (@ Green Bay)
Week 2 Start ‘Em – Sit ‘Em: Running Backs:
Start ‘Em: Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (@ Dallas Cowboys)
I liked Ahmad Bradshaw before the season started because he was stepping into a big void of opportunity left by the departure of Derrick Ward. After one game the returns are pretty solid, and I think his matchup on Sunday night against the Cowboys is a good one.
First off, Bradshaw got 12 carries against the Redskins last week, so we can see that some touches will be there. He also carried for 60 yards, a 5.0 yard average, against a pretty good run defense. Plus, he added 3 receptions, to get his total touches up to 15. All in all, a solid first week effort for Bradshaw against a good defense.
With the injury to Danny Ware, the Giants have announced that Bradshaw will be handling kickoff return duties this week, which should net him a few more touches and some extra all-purpose yards against a Cowboys’ special teams unit that was been a pretty significant question mark this offseason.
Most importantly, Bradshaw and the Giants are going up against a defense that is pretty adept at rushing the passer but not quite so adept at stopping the run. Last week, despite being behind most of the game and losing, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers torched the Cowboys on the ground over 160 yards and a pretty hefty per carry average. Cadillac Williams ran for 97 yards on 13 carries and scored a TD, while Ward ran for 62 yards on 12 carries and also scored.
The Jacobs-Bradshaw combo is just as good and they have a better O-Line than Tampa. I actually like the Cowboys to win this game, but I think the Giants will be able to get some work done on the ground. We certainly know that they will be committed to doing so.
You already know you’re starting Brandon Jacobs, but I wouldn’t hesitate to throw Bradshaw in there as a flex. This a good matchup for him.
Others I like: Thomas Jones, New York Jets (vs. New England); Mike Bell, New Orleans (@ Philadelphia...but check on Pierre Thomas throughout the week.)
Sit ‘Em: Julius Jones, Seattle (@ San Francisco)
Yes, Julius Jones had a good game last week, but there are a few things you need to remember:
- He’s Julius Jones.
- The Seahawks were playing the Rams last week.
- The 49ers are coached by Mike Singletary.
If Seattle is going to win this game, they are going to have to do it through the air. I think San Francisco has a chance to have a pretty stout run defense this year, and they gave a glimpse of it last week by bottling up Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells in Arizona. Granted, Tim Hightower had 12 receptions out of the backfield against them, but Jones has never been a guy to catch a lot of passes.
Enjoy it when Julius plays teams like the Rams; otherwise, remember who he is and consider his track record. The 49ers are an up-and-coming team that will be fired up for their home opener. I think Matt Hasselbeck will have to win this one with his arm if the Seahawks are to come into San Fran and get a W.
Others I don’t like: Cedric Benson, Cincinnati (@ Green Bay); Steve Slaton, Houston (@ Tennessee); Kevin Smith, Detroit (@ Minnesota)
Week 2 Start ‘Em – Sit ‘Em: Wide Receivers:
Start ‘Em: Terrell Owens, Buffalo (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
He only had two catches on three targets Monday night, and he’s coming off a toe injury that sidelined him most of the preseason. If you’re a little bit skittish about T.O. right now, you’re well within your right to be so.
But I wouldn’t be skittish about starting him this week against Tampa Bay. And the truth is, you probably spent a high draft pick on T.O., so you may not have any other choice but to start him. (Don’t worry, I’m not taking the easy way out in the WR Sit ‘Em to balance out recommending T.O.)
Trent Edwards and the Bills proved, somewhat surprisingly, that they can move the ball on offense with their performance against the Patriots. And remember that Bill Belichick’s defensive strategy is usually to try to take away the opposing team’s No. 1 threat. The Patriots did that by doubling and bottling up T.O.
Last week, Tampa Bay got absolutely shredded by Tony Romo and his trio of WRs. I don’t think Buffalo will have that much success against the Bucs, but they’ll get some work done through the air.
And after only being targeted three times in Week 1, you know T.O. will be both motivated and vocal about the need to get him the rock.
His huge games will be fewer and further between this season, but I think this is one of them.
Others I like: Desean Jackson, Philadelphia (vs. New Orleans); Brandon Marshall, Denver (vs. Cleveland); Percy Harvin, Minnesota (@ Deroit);
Sit ‘Em: Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City (vs. Oakland)
As with T.O., you probably have to start Dwayne Bowe because of where you drafted him. If you have no other options, keep Bowe in the lineup because you have to and he will get his fair share of targets.
But if you’re stacked at WR, this could be a week when Bowe hits your bench, as he will be matched up with Nnamdi Asomugha, against whom Bowe has yet to catch a TD pass in his career. Last year, Bowe had 8 catches for 117 yards in two games against Oakland. As a rookie, he had 7 catches for 147 yards.
The weakness of the Oakland defense is their ability to stop the run, although they were more effective than expected in Week 1 against San Diego. And while Philip Rivers completed 24 passes for 252 yards on Monday night, look a little deeper: only 11 of the completions were to WRs, the rest went to RBs and TEs.
There is also flux at the QB position in Kansas City, as well as an entire team getting used to a new offensive system. Bowe had 4 catches and a TD last week with Brodie Croyle at QB, but only tallied 40 yards. Who will be starting this week? Matt Cassel? Croyle?
There are enough question marks surrounding Bowe this week that I’d be wary. He may still garner 5-6 fantasy points because he could accumulate a few catches and some yards, but don’t expect big numbers.
Others I don’t like: Laveraneus Coles, Cincinnati (@ Green Bay); Donald Driver, Green Bay (vs. Cincinnati);
Week 2 Start ‘Em – Sit ‘Em: Tight Ends:
Start ‘Em: Robert Royal, Cleveland Browns (@ Denver)
If you watched the Browns-Vikings game on Sunday, you noticed a few things:
- Brady Quinn often had time to throw, but there rarely appeared to be WRs open down the field.
- Quinn and Braylon Edwards simply are not on the same page yet.
- Quinn looked in the direction of TE Robert Royal a lot.
In fact, Quinn targeted Royal nine times on Sunday, resulting in four catches, 60 yards, and a TD for Royal. With the Browns’ WR corps likely to continue to struggle, and with Quinn’s well-known deficiencies throwing the ball deep down the field, I think Quinn will again be looking at Royal early and often.
Denver did do a nice job of shutting down the Cincinnati tight ends last week, but the Bengals rarely get their TE involved, anyway, so I don’t read too much into that.
The targets for Royal are not going to stop. If you are unsettled at tight end, he could be a solid play through at least the first few weeks of the season, until Brady Quinn can get more comfortable throwing the ball down the field to Braylon and the Browns’ other WRs.
Others I like: Brent Celek, Philadelphia (vs. New Orleans); Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay (@ Buffalo); Kevin Boss, New York Giants (@ Dallas)
Sit ‘Em: Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans (@ Philadelphia)
Yes, Shockey caught 2 TD passes last week and is a part of the best offense in the league, so it’s hard to sit him. But his entire value from last week is wrapped up in those TD catches (he had only 4 catches for 31 yards), which are hard to predict and expect from week to week.
Add to that the fact that the Saints are playing a much better defense this week in Philadelphia, and one that is very familiar with Shockey from his days in New York, and I think we could see a reversion to the no-TD Shockey that we became accustomed to during his first season with New Orleans.
And what do you trust more: a 16-game schedule during which he caught no TDs, or one game against a team that’s lost 18 in a row in which he caught two?
I thought so.
With Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, and Robert Meachem all more dynamic downfield playmakers than Shockey, he is the fifth option when Drew Brees drops back to pass. Shockey fattened up against the porous Lions, but this week the law of averages pulls his fantasy numbers back to what we’ve come to expect from him.
Others I don’t like: Owen Daniels, Houston (@ Tennessee); Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler, Denver (vs. Cleveland)
Week 2 Start ‘Em – Sit ‘Em Defense/Special Teams:
Start ‘Em: Green Bay Packers D/ST (vs. Cincinnati)
How can you not like the Packers’ D right now? They stifled the Bears in Week 1 and goaded Jay Cutler into 4 interceptions. They also have players like Charles Woodson and Al Harris, who are always threats to take one to the house.
The real key, however, is the Packers’ improvement in the front seven and their ability to stop the run. In Week 1, the Pack held Bears phenom Matt Forte to 55 yards rushing and nada out of the backfield as a receiver.
Cincinnati comes into Green Bay with a far less accomplished and dynamic running back in Cedric Benson. They also have a passing game that struggled against Denver in Week 1 and still looks as if it needs time to get in sync with Carson Palmer back under center and no T.J. Houshmandzadeh on the outside.
I think Chad Ochocinco will get his on Sunday, but that’s about it. Green Bay is one of the emerging contenders in the NFC and they’ll play like it at home against the Bengals.
Others I like: New England Patriots (@ New York Jets); Washington Redskins (vs. St. Louis)
Sit ‘Em: Philadelphia Eagles D/ST (vs. New Orleans)
This one is all about the matchup.
Philadelphia has a very good defense, forced lots of turnovers last week against Carolina, and will be a solid start most weeks.
This week, however, they face the Saints’ juggernaut. And until the Saints and Drew Brees provide a reason to doubt them, I’m sitting any defense that plays against them.
With Troy Polamalu out for Pittsburgh right now, there is no unit in the NFL that I trust more than the Saints’ offense. Sorry, Philly.
Others I don’t like: New York Jets (vs. New England); Baltimore Ravens (@ San Diego)
It’s early in the week, so obviously injuries could wreak havoc on these predictions, but I’ll update this post if anything pertinent happens. As always, feel free to submit any lineup questions you may have in the comment section and I’ll answer them as soon as I’m able.
* – Jay Cutler photo credit: Bleacher Report
* – Jeremy Shockey photo credit: Ted Jackson / The Times-Picayune via Nola.com