Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Debating Difficult Fantasy Football Lineup Decisions

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2017

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10:  Ty Montgomery #88 of the Green Bay Packers stands on the field during a timeout in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on September 10, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Fantasy football owners know it is going to be quite the odd week for start 'em, sit 'em decisions.  

All it took was Thursday Night Football between the Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals to reinforce this notion. There, in a victory for the visitors, only one player scored above the 10-point mark—Houston rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, of course.

Guys like A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and DeAndre Hopkins? Duds. Not world-ending duds, but enough to put owners in a bad spot ahead of the weekend.  

Speaking of the weekend, let's take a look at matchup comparisons before diving into start 'em, sit 'em calls on notable names. 

         

QB

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Tom Brady (@NO) vs. Aaron Rodgers (@ATL)Aaron Rodgers
Jameis Winston (CHI) vs. Carson Palmer (@IND)Jameis Winston
Derek Carr (NYJ) vs. Russell Wilson (SF)Derek Carr
Matt Ryan (GB) vs. Matthew Stafford (@NYG)Matt Ryan
Kirk Cousins (@LAR) vs. Carson Wentz (@KC)Carson Wentz
Author's opinion

Start: Jameis Winston (CHI)

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gives a prayer before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium on August 26, 2017 in Tampa, Florida. The Browns defeated the Buccaneers 13 to 9. (Photo
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

This one is going to get ugly in the best way for Jameis Winston owners.  

Winston finally makes his season debut in Week 2 and sits in a near-perfect matchup against the Chicago Bears. Those Bears coughed up 17.94 points to Matt Ryan in Week 1 during a game more focused on the run, so Winston should find some success at home. 

After all, Winston not only has Mike Evans this year—his offense added DeSean Jackson, rookie wideout Chris Godwin and rookie tight end O.J. Howard. 

To top it all off, there is history here. Winston has faced the Bears in each of the past two seasons and thrown a pair of scores in each encounter. He's good for two more against a hobbled Bears team on the road.

           

Sit: Dak Prescott (@DEN)

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 10:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys stands behind center in the second half of a game against the New York Giants  at AT&T Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Owners can do better than Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott this week.  

Prescott posted only 17.12 points against the New York Giants in Week 1 despite playing at home and attempting 39 passes in a win. Now he faces an even tougher task by hitting the road and needing to spar with the Von Miller-led Denver Broncos. 

Those Broncos weren't perfect in Week 1, coughing up three touchdowns to Philip Rivers. But Prescott isn't Rivers, and the key to a road win rests in the running game, not through the air. At the easiest position to stream on a weekly basis, Prescott is a sit. 

        

RB

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Ezekiel Elliott (@DEN) vs. Kareem Hunt (PHI)Ezekiel Elliott
Jay Ajayi (@LAC) vs. Ty Montgomery (@ATL)Ty Montgomery
Frank Gore (ARI) vs. Marshawn Lynch (NYJ)Marshawn Lynch
Leonard Fournette (TEN) vs. Dalvin Cook (@PHI)Leonard Fournette
LeSean McCoy (@CAR) vs. Jordan Howard (@TB)Jordan Howard
Author's opinion

Start: Ty Montgomery (@ATL)

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 08:  Ty Montgomery #88 of the Green Bay Packers runs for yards against the New York Giants during the NFC Wild Card game at Lambeau Field on January 8, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The Packers defeated the Giants 38-13.  (Photo b
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It is quite understandable if owners are a little shaky on Green Bay Packers running back Ty Montgomery.  

The converted wideout still doesn't have a ton of experience at the position and even in Week 1 suffered a minor injury that saw him miss some snaps. He still totaled 15.30 points, but the injury concerns remain. 

Still, Montgomery has one of the best overall matchups of the week against the Atlanta Falcons. Those Falcons were notorious for coughing up big numbers to running backs last year—especially through the air—and did so again in Week 1 by allowing Tarik Cohen of the Chicago Bears to tally 17.30 points. 

Cohen, by the way, is a rookie complement to Jordan Howard. Montgomery is a former wideout with surefire hands in a passing offense led by Aaron Rodgers. Easy start. 

             

Sit: Frank Gore (ARI)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 01:  Frank Gore #23 of the Indianapolis Colts watches action during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Colts defeated the Jaguars 24-20.  (Photo by Stac
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Formerly a reliable weekly workhorse freeing owners from the task of thinking about it at all, Frank Gore is now an iffy play.  

This rang true enough in Week 1 when Gore's Indianapolis Colts took a 46-9 whipping at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams while he tallied 5.20 points on 10 carries for 42 yards.  

Opportunities equal production still rests as a reliable rule at running back in most cases, but this isn't most cases. Gore's offense will go without Andrew Luck yet again in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals, one of the league's stronger defensive fronts coming off a good performance.  

With nothing else to worry about, Arizona will focus on Gore and clog the running lanes.  

            

WR

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Doug Baldwin (SF) vs. Amari Cooper (NYJ)Doug Baldwin
Keenan Allen (MIA) vs. Stefon Diggs (@PIT)Stefon Diggs
Antonio Brown (MIN) vs. Odell Beckham (DET)Odell Beckham
Brandin Cooks (@NO) vs. Sammy Watkins (WAS)Brandin Cooks
Golden Tate (@NYG) vs. Mike Evans (CHI)Mike Evans
Author's opinion

Start: Larry Fitzgerald (@IND) 

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Arizona 35-23. (Photo by Leon Halip/Gett
Leon Halip/Getty Images

On the flip side of the Arizona-Indianapolis encounter, veteran Larry Fitzgerald is about to have a big day.  

Carson Palmer's top target only posted 7.40 points on six catches for 74 yards in Week 1. But most encouraging of all for owners is the fact he saw 13 targets, meaning the usage will be there and owners simply need to pick the right matchups. 

It doesn't get much better than a woeful Colts team missing top corner Vontae Davis. 

Sans Davis, the Colts coughed up 24.50 points to Rams wideouts in Week 1, good for the seventh-highest number in the category. Fitzgerald should see his normal usage and hit on a big day.  

         

Sit: Sammy Watkins (WAS)

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 19:  Sammy Watkins #2 of the Los Angeles Rams warms up during pregame warm ups prior to playing the Oakland Raiders in an NFL preseason football game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.  (Phot
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Rams wideout who wasn't making a ton of noise against the Colts happens to be one of the bigger sits of the week.

This is Sammy Watkins, who only mustered five catches on as many targets for 58 yards, good for 5.80 points. Jared Goff simply preferred rookie Cooper Kupp more and even hit Todd Gurley out of the backfield with more targets. 

Which isn't to say a surefire trend is about to start here. But expecting Watkins to have his breakout game with Goff against the Washington Redskins and a corner by the name of Josh Norman isn't how owners go about winning fantasy championships. 

For now, Watkins needs to sit on the bench in most scenarios. 

             

TE

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Rob Gronkowski (@NO) vs.Greg Olsen (BUF)Rob Gronkowski
Jimmy Graham (SF) vs. Jordan Reed (@LAR)Jimmy Graham
Travis Kelce (PHI) vs. Cameron Brate (CHI)Travis Kelce
Charles Clay (@CAR) vs. Evan Engram (DET)Charles Clay
Delanie Walker (@JAX) vs. Zach Ertz (@KC)Zach Ertz
Author's opinion

Start: Charles Clay (@CAR)

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Charles Clay #85 of the Buffalo Bills fumbles the ball during NFL game action as he is hit by Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets at New Era Field on September 10, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Im
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

We highlighted Buffalo Bills tight end Charles Clay last week, and he went on to touch up the New York Jets in a supposed defensive battle for four catches, 53 yards and a score on nine targets, good for 11.30 points. 

Owners might as well roll Clay out again in an encounter with the Carolina Panthers. 

Clay clearly remains the top passing option by a mile after Watkins' departure, and he's long been an underrated player. And the matchup is great—the Carolina Panthers didn't have a tall task in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, but last year the unit finished the season coughing up the second-most points to tight ends on average. 

Usage assured, Clay can exploit a defense still searching for ways to stop tight ends. 

        

Sit: Eric Ebron (@NYG)

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Eric Ebron #85 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a play in the game Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It is still easy to fall into the Eric Ebron trap.

For whatever reason, owners still trusted Ebron enough to gift him an average draft position of 13.5, higher than notables like Antonio Gates and Cameron Brate.

Ebron still has all the upside in the world, yet it isn't hard to figure out where he stands in Detroit's pecking order. With wideouts like Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and rookie Kenny Golladay on the roster, not to mention strong pass-catching backs, it wasn't hard to see his three-target day from Week 1 coming. 

Granted, the New York Giants gave up 11.90 points to Jason Witten in Week 1. But he's Jason Witten and received nine targets. Owners can see where Ebron stands in Detroit. 

         

All scoring info, points-against info and ownership stats courtesy of Yahoo standard leagues. 

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