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

Theo SalaunContributor IIISeptember 16, 2020

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws against the Chicago Bears in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Duane Burleson/Associated Press

For the first time since February, fantasy managers can base their decisions on real football. After an offseason without preseason games, it's good to be back.

Watching social media's workout montages and dissecting quotes from coaches and players was fun, but actual game tape and usage sets a real foundation for fantasy decisions. Of those decisions, we'll look at some of the more interesting starts and sits for Week 2—based on the fringe starters, according to FantasyPros' consensus rankings.



Start: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at GB)—Rank: 15

This all hinges directly on Kenny Golladay's availability for Week 2. The star receiver was a late scratch last weekend with a hamstring injury and seems likely to make his return sooner than later. If he does, Matthew Stafford could be an excellent play. 

In Week 1, Stafford struggled without his top target against the Chicago Bears, totaling 297 yards, one touchdown and one interception. This week, he faces a Green Bay Packers defense that held Kirk Cousins to 259 yards and two touchdowns, while picking off one ball. 

But Stafford is more of a gunslinger than Cousins (who only threw 25 passes), and Green Bay should be able to put numbers on the board, forcing Detroit into a high-volume, high-upside attack.


Sit: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (vs. BAL)—Rank: 7

Against the Kansas City Chiefs, Deshaun Watson threw for just 253 yards and one touchdown (alongside one interception) as the Houston Texans offense looked entirely discombobulated without their former superstar receiver, DeAndre Hopkins.

The running game looked better than it did in 2019, but the passing game was broken. Will Fuller V got volume, but nothing felt effective, and the Chiefs secondary never truly seemed to be under duress. Unfortunately, the Baltimore Ravens are on the docket for Week 2, and their defense is terrifying. Baltimore just ruined every ounce of faith Cleveland Browns fans had in a 2020 redemption arc by picking Baker Mayfield off and holding him to 189 yards and a touchdown. 

If you can afford to, bench Watson this week and wait until Houston can reassemble their offensive scheme against an easier opponent. 


Running Back

Start: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (vs. NYG)—Rank: 26

Unlike Golladay, David Montgomery was a late start in Week 1. After overcoming a prior injury, the second-year back earned 74 yards on 16 looks (13 rushes, three targets) against the Detroit Lions. It wasn't an awe-inspiring performance, but the road gets easier in Week 2 as he should be healthier and faces a New York Giants team that was not intimidating on Monday Night Football.

Montgomery averaged 4.9 per carry on the ground in Week 1 and should receive more volume against the Giants, as they just let the Pittsburgh Steelers' rotation of backs hit 124 yards on 26 carries. This is likely to be one of the week's weirder, chaotic matchups, but Montgomery could come out with a successful week thanks to increased volume. 


Sit: Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills (at MIA)—Rank: 24

Devin Singletary was incredible as a rookie in 2019, but his competition for touches is harder to ignore in 2020 as Zach Moss has entered the equation, complementing Josh Allen's vulturing at the goal line. Singletary and Moss each had nine carries against the New York Jets, while Allen outpaced them both.

Singletary did receive seven targets, and his role is best seen as similar to James White's right now. White's New England Patriots were comfortable enough against the Miami Dolphins last week that he only had three targets and five carries. Buffalo isn't likely to need Singletary's pass-catching and playmaking prowess either, making his risk outweigh his reward for this matchup.


Wide Receiver

Start: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (at CLE)—Rank: 28

Many worried A.J. Green would be limited in an effort to protect the oft-injured star receiver, but he led the Cincinnati Bengals across all pass-catching metrics with nine targets, five catches and 51 yards. Unfortunately, his toe-tap, game-winning touchdown was overturned by a flag. 

This week, Joe Burrow has more experience and should be able to capitalize on that connection with Green against an injury-riddled Cleveland defense that was just decimated by the Ravens. Mayfield's Browns should be able to score enough to force Cincinnati into throwing the ball a lot, too.


Sit: DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (vs. NE)—Rank: 19

DK Metcalf had a strong first game, tying the Seattle Seahawks' lead for targets with eight and catching four of those for 95 yards and a touchdown. But that was against the Atlanta Falcons, not New England and Stephon Gilmore.

Gilmore's secondary just brought out the tragic side of Ryan Fitzpatrick, by holding him to 191 yards and suffocating each of his receivers. The matchup is an ugly one, and Metcalf's already inefficient production should slip far enough to warrant a one-week benching for your roster.


Tight End

Start: Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans (vs. JAX)—Rank: 12

Tight end is a hard position to project outside of the top several options, but Jonnu Smith proved his sleeper value is real in Week 1 against an impressive Denver Broncos defense. He saw seven targets from Ryan Tannehill, including a creative screen at midfield and the ever-important goal-line touchdown snag. In total, Smith only caught four of his targets for 36 yards and the score, but he showed enough to continue deserving some trust.

This week, he faces a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that is past its better years. As a much more dynamic player than the Indianapolis Colts' Jack Doyle, Smith could put up a stronger week than the former's three catches for 49 yards against Jacksonville. 


Sit: Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (at DAL)—Rank: 10

Hayden Hurst could still be a valuable tight end by season's end, but this may not be the week to test it. In Week 1, Hurst earned just five of Matt Ryan's 54 passing attempts and turned those into just 38 yards.

In Week 2, he faces a Dallas Cowboys defense that defended the highly touted Tyler Higbee well enough that he only saw four targets, catching three for 40 yards. It's a tough matchup for Hurst, and he should be downgraded wherever possible.



Start: Joey Slye, Carolina Panthers (at TB)—Rank: 15

It wasn't ideal seeing Joey Slye miss one of his two extra points, but he did knock in all three of his field-goal attempts. Now, he could possibly see even more volume against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that may be good enough to keep the Carolina Panthers offense out of the end zone, but not enough to keep them away from kicking range.

Additionally, Tampa Bay should score enough points for this to be a fast-paced affair.


Sit: Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. DEN)—Rank: 10

Like tight end, kickers are uncomfortable to predict. Chris Boswell was fairly efficient against the Giants, hitting both field goals and two of three extra points, but Week 2 should be a lower-scoring affair. Although they weren't almighty, the Broncos defense was impressive against the Titans, and that offense looks better than Pittsburgh's. Boswell's opportunities could be limited. 



Start: Arizona Cardinals (vs. WAS)—Rank: 16

The Arizona Cardinals held the Super Bowl runner-up San Francisco 49ers to 20 points in Week 1 and brought all of Jimmy Garoppolo's concerns back to light. That should continue in Week 2, as the Washington Football Team's Dwayne Haskins may not be ready to deal with the pressure from Arizona's Chandler Jones or their young, improving secondary (that gets to start 2020 with a healthy, active Patrick Peterson).


Sit: Philadelphia Eagles (vs. LAR)—Rank: 10

Philadelphia was hit hard by the injury bug. They just gave up 27 points to Washington in Week 1 and now face a Los Angeles Rams offense coming off of a win against an above-average Cowboys defense.

Until the Eagles start getting healthy, fantasy managers should sit them down.


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