Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Making the Call on Fantasy Football Fringe Starters

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2017

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 10:   Tarik Cohen #29 of the Chicago Bears carries the football ahead of  Duke Riley #42 of the Atlanta Falcons in the second quarter at Soldier Field on September 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Fantasy football owners who selected Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson with the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick will probably be frantically searching for a replacement due to his bleak injury news, per NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. For those who started 0-1 and finished with a disappointing point total, don't panic.

After monitoring the waiver wire, some owners may decide to start players who racked up points on their bench last week. Sometimes, it's situational planning—other scenarios will hold for the long term.

The highest amount of drop-add transactions usually occur after the first week. Owners drop late-round sleeper draft picks, and we've had a glimpse at the offensive personnel for regular-season openers. As mentioned above, significant injuries also factor into the decision-making on Week 2 lineups.

Among the fantasy assets on the fence, who should you start and sit for Week 2?


Start 'Em Fringe Starters

1. Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears 

2. Javorius Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens

3. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

4. Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots

5. Arizona Cardinals, DEF


Start 'Em: Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

CHICAGO, IL- SEPTEMBER 10: Tarik Cohen #29 of the Chicago Bears runs against the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter on September 10, 2017 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

Chicago Bears rookie running back Tarik Cohen ranks as the top must-start candidate among fringe players once he's added to your fantasy team from the waiver wire. The rookie fourth-rounder led the team in rushing yards (66) and receiving yards (47) in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Quarterback Mike Glennon targeted Cohen 12 times and that number should remain constant even if Jordan Howard returns to his 2016 form. The Bears will place wide receiver Kevin White on injured reserve with a fractured scapula, per Chicago Tribune reporter Rich Campbell. Running back Benny Cunningham suffered an ankle injury, which jeopardizes his availability for Week 2. 

Both injuries open more opportunities for Cohen as a ball-carrier and receiver. As the Bears wideouts continue to go down with significant injuries, expect the coaching staff to go with a conservative approach to the passing attack, which features increased targets for the running backs out of the backfield.


Start 'Em: Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots vs. New Orleans Saints

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. Typically known for his conservative play, the 30-year-old signal-caller went deep on several targets and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen didn't have an answer for the strikes over the top, per Kristian Garic of WWL Radio:

If Bradford left the field with a successful performance through the air, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should light up the Saints defense with close to 400 passing yards. According to Boston Herald reporter Jeff Howe, wideout Danny Amendola suffered a concussion, which clouds his status for Week 2:

With Julian Edelman out, Amendola in the concussion protocol and Phillip Dorsett still learning the playbook, Chris Hogan should benefit next to Brandin Cooks, who will likely lead the team in targets against the Saints. Familiarity with Brady bodes well for the sixth-year receiver's fantasy production.


Sit 'Em Fringe Starters

1. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

2. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions

3. Rishard Matthews, WR, Tennessee Titans

4. T.Y. Hilton, WR Indianapolis Colts 

5. Pierre Garcon, WR, San Francisco 49ers


Sit 'Em: Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 10:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants is sacked for a loss by Demarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Image
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Whether New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. suits up against the Detroit Lions or not, it's time to place quarterback Eli Manning on the bench and leave him there. The 36-year-old signal-caller doesn't have much fantasy value, even with his superstar wideout on the field.

Manning hasn't thrown for 250-plus yards since Week 9 of the 2016 season. In his last six outings, he's logged two touchdown passes or fewer. It's not completely his fault. The Giants don't have a viable ground attack, and the offensive line remains below average on the edges.

Until the Giants upgrade the rushing offense and address at least one of the tackle positions on the offensive line, Manning will continue to struggle in the pocket. He'll throw a touchdown pass or two to Beckham on a long catch-and-run, but it's not enough to keep fantasy owners happy with much better options available.


Sit 'Em: Rishard Matthews, WR, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

Technically, Tennessee Titans wideout Rishard Matthews lists as a No. 1 option on the depth chart, but he's going to split his targets with Corey Davis, Eric Decker and Delanie Walker throughout the season. All four pass-catchers saw eight to 10 targets against the Oakland Raiders in Week 1. 

As time progresses, rookie wideout Taywan Taylor may also see a decent amount of targets in the passing attack. He played well during the preseason and secured both passes thrown his way in Week 1. The ground attack keeps the Titans offense rolling downfield. To make matters difficult for Matthews, he's going to match up against a stingy pass defense in Week 2.

Last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars pass defense ranked No. 5 in passing yards and touchdowns allowed. In Week 1, Houston Texans quarterbacks Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson threw for 164 yards combined against the Jaguars. 

Expect a low-scoring close game between two teams looking to run the ball effectively. Keep Matthews out of the lineup.


Player injury reports provided by Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.


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