Week 2 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Highlighting Matchups to Exploit and Avoid

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2015

Sep 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) looks to pass during the game against the Detroit Lions at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego won 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The guess work is over as we head into Week 2 in Fantasy Football.

We can look at last year's results if we want a history lesson and we can go back to the preseason if we want a few clues. However, the real lessons come from the Week 1 results.

The second week of the season does not mean those results will be repeated. However, some light was shed in Week 1. Carlos Hyde was a complete question mark heading into his Monday night performance against the Vikings, and he showed that he has legitimate talent. He ran into Vikings tacklers and bounced off of them with little problems.

If anything, he could have a better matchup against a Pittsburgh defense than he did against the Vikings. The Steelers not only looked a half-step behind most of the night against the Patriots, they were regularly out of position.

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler may turn out to be very good at his job, but he has a very big hill to climb after his first game running the Steelers defense.

As we look at the Week 2 menu, here are the matchups to exploit and avoid.

Week 2: Start 'em and Sit 'em
QBPhilip RiversSan DiegoCincinnatiStart
QBJoe FlaccoBaltimoreOaklandStart
QBMatthew StaffordDetroitMinnesotaSit
QBColin KaepernickSan FranciscoPittsburghSit
RBCarlos HydeSan FranciscoPittsburghStart
RBEddie LacyGreen BaySeattleStart
RBBishop SankeyTennesseeClevelandSit
RBDion LewisNew EnglandBuffaloSit
WRJordan MatthewsPhiladelphiaDallasStart
WRJulian EdelmanNew EngalndBuffaloStart
WRPierre GarconWashingtonSt. LouisSit
WRNate WashingtonHoustonCarolinaSit
Silvrman selections

Quarterback Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

If we have learned one thing about Philip Rivers over the years, it's that he is a fighter. He will do anything he can to win and he is regularly among the passing leaders at the end of the season.

Unfortunately for Rivers, he has rarely had the kind of balanced team that could challenge in the AFC. It's difficult to say that the Chargers will be any more balanced this year, but if rookie running back Melvin Gordon can provide a consistent threat on the ground, it will help Rivers find his top receivers on a regular basis.

It certainly worked out well for Rivers in Week 1, as he spit in the face of a 21-3 deficit against the Detroit Lions and led his team to a 33-28 comeback victory. Rivers completed 35-of-42 passes for 404 yards against the Lions.

Top 5 most accurate QBs in Week 1: 1. Philip Rivers 2. Andy Dalton 3. Matthew McGloin 4. Tony Romo 5. Tom Brady

— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 17, 2015

While the assignment against Cincinnati looks tougher, the Bengals are bullies. They may come out with fire and nastiness, but they don't like to get hit back. That's just what Rivers can do.

He doesn't mind playing on the road either. Rivers led the Chargers to score 34 points or more in two of their last three road games last year, and he's got a sensational weapon in Keenan Allen, who caught 15 passes for 166 yards in Week 1.

Exploit Rivers' competitive fire and put him in your fantasy lineup.

RB Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers

Even though Hyde ran for 168 yards in Week 1 against what is supposed to be a stout Minnesota defense, we are a little dubious about his long-term chances of becoming a star in the NFL.

However, we like his chances to put up good numbers for the second week in a row. The Steelers gave up 69 yards to Dion Lewis last week on just 15 carries. Lewis worked hard this summer in New England's training camp and earned a spot on the team. However, there's no guarantee that he will get double-digit carries in any other game the rest of the year.

Hyde is the No. 1 running back for the 49ers, replacing Frank Gore who is now wearing an Indianapolis Colts uniform. Hyde gained 333 yards in 2014, and he still has to prove himself.

How good was @49ers RB Carlos Hyde last night on @ESPNMondayNight? Really good. 168 rushing yards and 2 TD. pic.twitter.com/WXgklZFCBj

— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 15, 2015

But he certainly got off to a sharp start against the Vikings as he rushed for 168 yards against Minnesota and he picked up steam and confidence as the game went along. The Steelers should pick it up at home, but they don't have their defensive timing yet. 

Look for Hyde to bounce off tacklers and exceed the 90-yard mark in this game and find a way to get into the end zone.

Exploit this matchup and put Hyde in your lineup.

Sep 14, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) misses a pass that is intercepted by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Ricardo Allen (37) in the fourth quarter to preserve the win at the Georgia Dome. The falcons defeated t
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

WR Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles

Chip Kelly's critics have some ammunition. While this "genius" begins his third-year in the NFL, his teams have yet to win a playoff game and the Eagles needed a wake-up call in the second half just to get close to the Atlanta Falcons.

However, it may not be much longer before he gets at least one check mark in the victory column in the postseason and perhaps more. The Eagles appear to have a lethal offense with Sam Bradford at quarterback and DeMarco Murray at the running back slot.

They also lost Jeremy Maclin, their No. 1 receiver in 2014, a year after DeSean Jackson became a Washington Redskin. That make Jordan Matthews the team's No. 1 receiver, and he started the season by catching 10 passes for 102 yards against the Falcons.

Matthews is just getting started. If the Eagles offense can get started early Sunday night, mark Matthews down for 12-122-1 against the Cowboys.

I'd like to go back in time and slap myself—hard—for not making Jordan Matthews a first-rounder. So stupid.

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) September 16, 2015

Exploit Matthews' presence and put him in your lineup.

QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

The Lions certainly looked sensational into the second quarter of their Week 1 matchup with the San Diego Chargers as they scored three touchdowns early and looked like they would run the Chargers right out of Qualcomm Stadium.

It didn't happen like that, and there's every chance they will run into an even more motivated team in the Minnesota Vikings than they did last week in the Chargers. The Vikings were embarrassed in their season opener at San Francisco, and head coach Mike Zimmer is not about to take that kind of performance kindly.

No matter how upset he gets, his offense may have problems, but the Vikings defense has speed and some degree of nastiness. They return home this week, and they have to play with anger and intensity to reflect their coach's personality. 

Don't blame a miscommunication for Melvin Ingram's big interception-forcing hit on Matthew Stafford http://t.co/p4U3OhouMl via @freep

— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 16, 2015

Look for defensive ends Everson Griffen and Brian Robison to set the tone by punishing Stafford early. He will be hit hard and often, and he won't reach 200 passing yards and will throw at least two picks.

Sit Stafford on your fantasy bench and don't even think about putting him in the lineup.

Sep 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) hands the ball off to running back Bishop Sankey (20) during the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers  at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODA
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

RB Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans

There are many out there that will tell you Bishop Sankey is a real force after running for 74 yards and a touchdown and also catching a touchdown pass in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Sankey ran with quickness and was far more aggressive than he was last year. But the Tampa Bay defense was awful and struggled to contain the Tennessee offense because it was regularly out of position.

The Titans, with rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, are on the road against the Cleveland Browns. Can a rookie quarterback make an offense hum for two consecutive weeks away from home? The answer is no.

The Browns need to take advantage of a home game against a young team that is trying to establish itself. The Browns had a fairly effective defense last year, ranking ninth in points allowed.

While they struggled in their opener against the Jets as they dropped a 31-10 decision, they will bounce back at home and hold the Tennessee running game in check.

Sankey gets a seat on the bench in Week Two.

Sep 13, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) runs with the ball as Miami Dolphins defensive back Brice McCain (24) chases in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

WR Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

The Redskins were a solid last-place pick in the NFC East in many of the preseason magazines, but they did push the Miami Dolphins hard before losing 17-10 when they gave up a punt return for a score in the fourth quarter.

Special teams have been an issue for the Redskins for years, and that may continue this year. If it is in this game against the St. Louis Rams, don't expect the Washington passing game to bail them out.

Pierre Garcon has been a smart and consistent receiver over the years and he caught 6-74 in the opener. He will not be a telling factor against the speedy St. Louis defense. He won't be able to get open on a consistent basis and quarterback Kirk Cousins won't get him the ball.

Put Garcon on your bench this week.


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