There are also a good number of players you know you should sit each week, such as a fringe RB like Marshawn Lynch going up against a normally tough and very pissed off rush D like the Pittsburgh Steelers have.
And then there are those players with whom you have no idea whether you should start 'em or sit 'em.
Here are a few not so obvious guys at each major fantasy position that you might not know what to do with, but the stats and information we’ve found say otherwise.
Joe Flacco (at Ten)
Flacco IS what the Ravens thought he would be; a golden-armed stud. Against one of the toughest defenses in the league last week, Flacco had already carved up the Steelers for 180 yards and three touchdowns before fans were back in their seats from halftime. Joey and the Ravens would cruise to a victory after opening up a 29-7 lead, but you had the feeling Flacco could have done it to them all day long. Next up is Tennessee, and if the Titans couldn’t hold Luke McCown to worse than a 91.5 QB Rating last week, how do you think this one will end up?
Rex Grossman (vs Ari)
Grossman’s a funny guy. You never know whether to expect one of the worst games you’ve ever seen, or one of the better ones of the season. He pretty much does the opposite of whatever you expect, and then once you think you’ve got him pegged, he pulls a 180 on you and makes you lose your mind again. One of these days, we’ll get him, and it could very well be this week against an Arizona defense that just gave up a rookie QB record by allowing Cam Newton to pass for 422 yards through the air. Would it shock you if I told you Rex has actually done better than that? Well he has…back in 2001 playing for Florida against LSU.
Chad Henne (vs Hou)
Maybe all Henne needed to show he can play at this level was for Miami to commit to NOT having a running game. Reggie Bush is electric out of the backfield, which is great for Henne, but he still can’t run in between the tackles and never will be able to. Until Miami finds someone who can, this offense will be based on the pass, which alone will boost the fantasy stock of most any NFL quarterback. Last week's performance won’t be repeated, but it won’t be for lack of trying. Look for somewhere around 300 yards and a TD or two.
Peyton Hillis (at Ind)
Hillis was a workhorse for the Browns in Week 1, receiving 23 touches in their loss to the Bengals. Don’t look for this to change against the Colts this weekend just because the team lost, and honestly, I expect his usage to rise. Indy couldn’t stop Houston’s backup running backs for a second last Sunday, and I can’t see their ineptitude changing in one week of practice. This has the looks of a bang-it-out game which is, of course, the Big Twinkie's strong suit. Bet on Cleveland's version of Peyton going off this weekend.
Cedric Benson (at Den)
My disdain for Cedric Benson knows no bounds, but I can’t see a way he doesn’t put up some nice fantasy numbers against this awful Denver rush D in Week 2. The Donkeys gave up the most rushing yardage in the NFL last weekend (191 yards), while Benson is nearly a sure bet to see 25 or so carries. Get him in your lineup if you have him.
Jahvid Best (vs KC)
This could end up one of the more exciting games to watch this weekend, with Jahvid Best lining up on one side of the ball and Jamaal Charles on the other. Add to the electricity the fact that they’ll be playing indoors on the Ford Field turf, and you’ve got a scorcher of a matchup to pay attention to. The Chiefs couldn’t stop Fred Jackson from putting up 112 yards on 20 carries last weekend, so Best is a good bet to break at least one long run off and possibly more on Sunday.
James Starks (at Car)
I have a sneaky suspicion the Packers are going to light the Panthers up early in this one and then turn the game over to James Starks to see what he can do. After Beanie Wells ran roughshod over that Carolina D last weekend, I’m convinced the Packers second-year back will be able to do the same after watching him against the Saints in the season opener. Anyone who watched that game knows that Starks is already a better option than Ryan Grant; and I believe Green Bay will give him a chance to prove it this weekend.
Santonio Holmes (vs Jax)
It looks like Santonio will be giving it a go this Sunday, so get him in there immediately. Holmes was targeted 10 times on Sunday against the Cowboys, which he turned into six catches for 70 yards. Sanchez loves throwing to him, and sooner rather than later, Holmes is going to break off a huge game. Jacksonville’s pass D was one of the worst in the world last season and didn’t get a whole hell of a lot better in the offseason, so this could be the game he goes ballistic.
Anquan Boldin (at Ten)
Finally, the ‘Quan we all love to see is back. It took a year of getting in tune with Flacco, plus a little more speed in the offense and Vonta Leach leading the way for Ray Rice, but he’s back and here to stay. Against a Tennessee secondary that was one of the worst in the league last year and just allowed Luke McCown to lead the Jags to a victory against them, Boldin should be able to carve ‘em up for a nice fantasy day.
Mario Manningham (vs StL)
I still believe Manningham will be a nice starting fantasy receiver this year, but he didn’t show me all that much in Week 1. Scratch that; Eli Manning and the Giants offense in general didn’t show me that much last weekend. I DO, however, believe they will turn it around, and it could start this weekend against the Rams. St. Louis has a beaten up secondary at the moment, and with the Giants playing at home in New York on Monday night, you can bet the sparks will be flying everywhere. Also, if Hakeem Nicks ends up sitting this one out, Mario will be Eli’s clear-cut WR1 for the week.
A.J. Green (at Den)
A.J. was pretty well blanketed by the Browns' Joe Haden last weekend and didn’t make a single catch until a 41-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Even then, the catch was made with nobody guarding him, as the Browns weren’t even ready for the snap. Despite the poor debut, Green still has more talent than most in the league and could bust out at any moment. It might not be against Champ Bailey and the Broncos this weekend, but if Bailey doesn't play or Denver takes him off Green at any time, watch out folks.
Johnny Knox (at NO)
It never should have taken this long for Knox to get into the starting lineup, but a whole week of the season has passed and he’s just now getting the chance. I, of course, say this with a touch of sarcasm, but not much. Roy E. Williams (groin) came up lame towards the end of the Bears win last weekend, and might not be able to play this weekend, so Knox will get the chance to prove to Martz and Co. that he should have started for the Bears all along. Indoors in New Orleans, Knox should be able to use his all-world speed to do some fantasy damage in Week 2. Take a chance with him as a WR3 with major upside.
Fred Davis (vs Ari)
Anyone who watched Freddy play last weekend against the Giants could see how good this guy is, and believe me, it wasn’t a fluke. Due to both age and injuries, Chris Cooley is on the downside of his career… and the Redskins know it. They didn’t draft the 6’4”, 257-pound Davis in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft for nothing. This week, he plays against an Arizona team who not only was terrible at guarding tight ends last year, but who also gave up seven catches for 129 yards to Carolina TEs last weekend. This Sunday could be Freddy’s coming out party, folks.
Greg Olsen (vs GB)
Olsen began his new career in Carolina nicely, turning in four catches on six targets for 78 yards. As a receiving tight end, he’s one of the best in the league, and it looks like Cam Newton figured that out pretty quickly. Despite his incredible Week 1 performance, I’m expecting a TON more check-downs out of Newton going forward with a bunch of those targets headed Olsen’s way. My guess is, Green Bay keeps him out of the endzone, but maybe not, and that certainly doesn’t mean he won’t have a nice fantasy day regardless.
Matt Ryan (vs Phi)
Ryan may not have gotten off to the start some predicted in Week 1 against the Bears, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be a bust either. He’s still one of the most talented QBs in the game with some of the best skill-position players in the league surrounding him, so expect better things from him coming up… just not this week. Philadelphia may have the best group of cornerbacks ever assembled in their secondary this season and can shut down any team’s passing game from week to week. Don’t expect Matty Ice to un-freeze until Week 3.
Josh Freeman (at Min)
Admittedly, I’m not very high on Freeman this year, but even if I was, I'd still say sit him this week. Coach Raheem Morris has already said he plans on using RB LeGarrette Blount much more in the coming weeks, and though it could just be a smokescreen, I don’t think it is. In what is sure to be a rip-roaringly hostile environment in the Metrodome on Sunday (it will be the Vikings' first game back there since the roof collapse of 12/12/10), I’m not sure Freeman has the type of day fantasy fans will be hoping for
Frank Gore (vs Dal)
Gore had some serious problems finding holes to run through against the Seahawks last weekend, and it’s possible he could be looking at more of the same in Week 2. Dallas shut down the Jets' rushing attack pretty well on Sunday night, so if Gore is going to do any better, he might need to use his speed to the outside a little more. Coach Harbaugh knows what he’s doing, so even though it’s not the greatest matchup for him, he could still put up some pretty good numbers.
Beanie Wells (at Was)
Chris Wells looked like the Wells of 2009 last week against the Panthers as opposed to the Beanie Baby he turned into last season. He looked quick and strong through the holes and ran through contact with a vengeance throughout the game. That said, I’m not so sure he’ll be able to do the same against a Redskins defense that held Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to just 73 yards on the ground last week. If you can slide someone else into your RB2 slot this weekend, do it.
Percy Harvin (vs TB)
Harvin is clearly one of the most electric players in the game, as he showed by taking the opening kickoff 100-plus yards to the house last weekend. However, Donovan McNabb has to do a better job at getting him the ball, and I don’t mean by handing it off to him four times as opposed to completing just two passes to him. My guess is, Percy’s poor outing had more to do with the Chargers stifling pass D than anything else, but either way, he'll still have to go against Aqib Talib this Sunday. It's going to be an AP28 show anyway, so find another WR3 this week.
Mike Thomas (at NYJ)
Going up against a New York Jets pass D this weekend, I wouldn't even start him in a PPR league. If you have any other option for your WR3 slot, go with him over Thomas. I wouldn't even start him at the WR4 position this Sunday to be honest.
Kellen Winslow Jr. (at Min)
Looks like it’s going to be the same old story for Winslow this season. Sure, his Week 1 production of six receptions on eight targets for 66 yards is nice (even better in a PPR league), but as usual, Kellen can’t seem to find the endzone. Minnesota gave up 11 receptions to Chargers tight ends last weekend, but they should be commended for holding Gates without a TD. If Gates can’t score against them, Winslow won’t, either. Expect the norm from Junior again this Sunday.
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