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

David McCracken@crackemcFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2016

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles
Jaguars QB Blake BortlesAssociated Press

Let the fantasy football lineup tinkering begin.

Week 1 had a lot of great fantasy performers, but it also had a lot of duds. That makes setting a good lineup each week difficult because the reality is that everything is out of a fantasy owner's control once the games kick off.

While it's important to not overreact to one bad game, it's just as important to not punish a player and demote him to your bench. Study the matchups, say a prayer and, most importantly, let the dice roll on your gut feeling to start or sit a player heading into Week 2. 



Start 'Em: Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars, believe it or not, could be a fantasy gold mine this season, and that all starts with the play of third-year quarterback Blake Bortles. 


Perfect. That's really the best way to describe this @BBortles5 TD pass.👌 #GBvsJAX https://t.co/kt85qOYMNA

The Jaguars fell to the Green Bay Packers 27-23 in Week 1, but Bortles had himself a day, passing for 320 yards and a touchdown with one interception. He only scored 16 points in Yahoo fantasy leagues, but he had 39 passing attempts on the game, showing the type of volume every fantasy owner dreams about their quarterback having. 

Bortles should be in your starting lineup heading into Week 2 against the San Diego Chargers, who blew a 24-3 lead in a 33-27 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1. Chiefs QB Alex Smith—who isn't the type of fantasy option to rack up points—scored 29.02 points on the day. 

Can you imagine what Bortles and the Jaguars offense could do against San Diego? 


Sit 'Em: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

It's not just about his sore ankle, nor is it about a tough Los Angeles Rams defense. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks offense just didn't look good in Week 1.

It must be hard to believe that the Rams have a solid defense after they were blown out of the water in a 28-0 loss on Monday to the San Francisco 49ers, but this defense is still a legitimate threat to harass an offense. 

Wilson's health is something to worry about, however, as he was injured against the Miami Dolphins in a 12-10 win at home on Sunday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport (via the NFL's Twitter account): 


Russell Wilson sustains ankle injury, status in question for Week 2: https://t.co/aC0KMpr5Fx (via @RapSheet) https://t.co/sGCOMsABYZ

It's fair to assume that a tough-nosed player like Wilson will play against the Rams in Week 2, but you shouldn't start him. The Seahawks scored 12 points against Miami and never looked like a dangerous offense.

Credit to the Dolphins for holding Seattle's offense in check for the majority of the game, but 12.92 fantasy points from your starting quarterback isn't worth it at this point.

Let Wilson rest on your bench until the Seahawks step their game up. 


Running Backs

Start 'Em: Arian Foster, RB, Miami Dolphins

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

It's clear that Foster is the top running back for the Dolphins after Week 1, and his matchup this week is easier, as Miami will head to Foxborough to face the New England Patriots.

While he didn't make many explosive plays, Foster put up solid RB2 numbers this past Sunday, scoring 10 points after accumulating 100 all-purpose yards (38 rush, 62 receiving). 

The Patriots allowed 19.2 points to Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson last week, and while I'm not comparing Foster to Johnson by any means, it's a positive sign that Foster might be able to rack up some all-purpose yards against New England. 

If Foster can get half as many points as Johnson did last Sunday, that'll be considered a win for your team. 


Sit 'Em: Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Martin played well against the Atlanta Falcons, although he only rushed for 62 yards on 18 attempts. He finished with 9.6 points on the game, but his Week 2 matchup against the Cardinals won't be forgiving.

The Cardinals defense knows how to get after opposing tailbacks, and they proved it in Week 1, holding Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount to 3.1 yards per carry.

Pro Football Focus @PFF

Doug Martin generated 8 missed tackles today, most in a game by an HB since Chris Ivory in Week 12 of 2015. #TBvsATL https://t.co/8OsodRgbXZ

While Martin was able to break a lot of tackles against the Falcons, he may find it more difficult to create space between him and his defender against an Arizona front seven featuring Chandler Jones, Robert Nkemdiche and Calais Campbell. 

If you're already desperate at the running back position, you might have no choice but to play Martin. However, he might be a dud in Week 2. 


Wide Receivers

Start 'Em: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

A new contract and a team-high nine targets in Week 1? What's not to like about Emmanuel Sanders right now?

Sanders didn't score a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers, but he did lead his team in receptions, including a nice sideline grab early in the first quarter.

NFL Network @nflnetwork

.@ESanders_10 makes it look easy. Sweet sideline grab. #Kickoff2016 #Broncos https://t.co/ya0iSAca7O

Sanders seemed to be Trevor Siemian's favorite target, and heading into a Week 2 contest against a subpar Indianapolis Colts secondary that surrendered three passing touchdowns to the Detroit Lions last week, it could be a field day for Sanders and the rest of the Broncos offense.

To make a good situation even better, Sanders' targets should increase on Sunday, as Demaryius Thomas is banged up after last Thursday's game and will practice sparingly this week, per ESPN.com's Adam Schefter

Let Sanders torch the Colts this weekend, and enjoy the points while you're at it.


Sit 'Em: John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals

John Brown isn't 100 percent healthy, and he wasn't close to being so last weekend against the Patriots, regardless of what the Cardinals' injury report said.

After suffering a concussion during the offseason that has concerned the Cardinals since mid-August, Brown was relegated to the No. 3 wide receiver role on offense, often being used as a decoy for teammates Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Nixon @CTowersCBS

Have to assume John Brown's limited role was at least partially result of offseason injuries. Was strictly used as 3rd WR tonight.

Brown was a go-to fantasy option last season, recording 1,003 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. 2016 was supposed to be a breakout season for the third-year wideout, but instead, it has started out as a dud with just one catch on four targets for eight yards.

Let's hope that Brown gets back to form soon for his sake, the Cardinals' sake and your team's sake.


Fantasy point totals courtesy of Yahoo Sports.


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