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

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorSeptember 12, 2018

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Quincy Enunwa #81 of the New York Jets runs the ball in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 10, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, and focus has shifted to Week 2 with the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals kicking things off on Thursday Night Football. Like last week, every team is playing, with the only noticeable change being one extra Sunday matchup and one fewer Monday game.

A few have significant fantasy potential, with the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers matchup the most notable one by far.

It's safe to say that any of the big names in that one are automatic stars, but we'll take a look elsewhere around the league at nine players who may be on the start/sit borderline, with recommendations and analysis for each.



Start 'Em: San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

The Detroit Lions defense looked awful on Monday against the New York Jets. They couldn't stop the run. They couldn't stop the pass. They couldn't rush the passer and get in rookie quarterback Sam Darnold's face. Combine those three things, and you have the recipe for a 48-17 loss.

Now the Lions have to regroup on a short week and travel 2,000 miles to face the San Francisco 49ers, who hung tough in a 24-16 road loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could have a big game. If the 49ers establish the ground attack like the Jets, that could open things up for Jimmy G, especially to deep threat Marquise Goodwin.

The Lions got beat for a 41-yard touchdown pass to the Jets' fastest receiver (Robby Anderson), and if that is a sign of things to come against that type of pass-catcher, the Garoppolo-Goodwin connection will have a big day.


Sit 'Em: Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is known for pulling plays out of nowhere in the face of oncoming pass-rushers. However, he's going against edge-rusher Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears on Sunday without No. 1 wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who suffered an MCL injury and will be out at least a few weeks.

Wilson is going to have a severe handicap on Sunday afternoon. He can connect with his other targets, such as speedster Tyler Lockett, but the 'Hawks best bet to pull off a road win may be to establish the run game with Chris Carson as opposed to putting the ball in Wilson's hands. By doing that, Mack is less of a worry.

As is, Carson showed that he's back to 100 percent after suffering a season-ending ankle injury last year, rushing seven times for 51 yards. If he gets more opportunities Sunday, it could be he, and not Wilson, who stars for Seattle.


Running Back

Start 'Em: Tennessee Titans RB Dion Lewis

Sit 'Em: Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry

An interesting development occurred during the Tennessee Titans-Miami Dolphins game, as the assumed running back time share between Tennessee Titans Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry did not take place. Rather, Lewis out-touched Henry 21-10, rushing 16 times for 75 yards and a touchdown in addition to catching five passes for 35 yards.

Henry couldn't get much going on the ground, rushing just 10 times for 26 yards. He's capable of better outputs, but one has to wonder if Lewis assumes a greater share of touches this year. The ex-New England Patriot is coming off a 2017 season where he led the league in defense-adjusted yards above replacement, per Football Outsiders. His efficiency should be a big boost for Tennessee, in addition to his pass-catching ability, which will be beneficial when the Titans are down.

If quarterback Marcus Mariota, who left Week 1 with an elbow injury and did not return, can't go this Sunday (his status for this week has not been confirmed), the Titans will be clear underdogs against the Houston Texans and their high-powered offense. That could mean more Lewis as Tennessee plays from behind.


Wide Receiver

Start 'Em: New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa emerged as rookie quarterback Sam Darnold's favorite target on Monday as he caught six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 10 targets. Enunwa, who missed all of last season with a neck injury, kept finding space in the Detroit Lions defense to move the sticks.

Look for that connection to continue all season. It's clear the two players have a rapport, and it's also possible Enunwa leads the team in receptions over No. 1 wideout Robby Anderson, who saw just one target Monday (that one was a 41-yard touchdown catch, however). Enunwa should be a big asset in point-per-reception leagues.


Sit 'Em: Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods is only here because there are too many mouths to feed on offense. Outside of running back Todd Gurley, it will be hard to predict which of the top-three Rams wide receivers has a big game: It could be deep threat Brandin Cooks, red-zone threat Cooper Kupp or the all-around threat in Woods.

The Rams are heavy home favorites against the Arizona Cardinals, who looked bad in a 24-6 season-opening loss to the Washington Redskins at home. They can just give the ball to Gurley 25-plus times and spread the ball around elsewhere, much like they did in last year's 33-0 win against Arizona.

Woods fared well in that one (five catches for 59 yards), but he may have a limited ceiling in this matchup.


Tight End

Start 'Em: Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku is the team's clear No. 1 player at the position after sitting in a timeshare last year with others. Njoku is a 6'4", 246-pound athlete capable of making ridiculous catches, like this one last year against the New York Jets.

He didn't produce much against the Pittsburgh Steelers, catching just three passes for 13 yards, but he did see seven targets and was on the field for 88 percent of the snaps, per Rotoworld.

Njoku can be called upon against the New Orleans Saints, whose top-tier offense will present a significant problem for the Browns. Cleveland may have to throw the ball more than it would like to hang with the Saints, which could mean more looks for Njoku.


Sit 'Em: Indianapolis Colts TE Eric Ebron

Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron impressed in his team debut, catching four passes for 51 yards and a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals. Ebron looks like he's making the most of his fresh start after a disappointing beginning to his career in Detroit, but from a fantasy standpoint, it's unclear how many opportunities he'll get on a week-to-week basis.

No. 1 wideout T.Y. Hilton and No. 1 tight end Jack Doyle are undoubtedly quarterback Andrew Luck's go-to options, but Ebron also has to fight wideout Ryan Grant (nine targets last week) and whichever running back takes the field (Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines had 29 touches between them).

Ebron can be a more efficient pass-catcher this year, but the guess here is he will have uneven production throughout the year due to his lessened target count.


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