Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Debating Difficult Fantasy Football Lineup Decisions
Fantasy football often becomes a game of attrition, as your ability to manage rosters and replace missing players can wind up determining your success.
However, it's early enough in the 2021 NFL season there aren't too many injuries to navigate around. You might find yourself without Raheem Mostert, Jerry Jeudy or Michael Gallup, but there shouldn't be many absences to cover.
The biggest choices you'll make in Week 2, then, are which players to start and which ones to sit. We'll help you get started with a few recommendations of our own.
Start: Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (vs. Houston Texans)
Baker Mayfield was quietly awesome in his season opener.
Folks just may not have realized it, since he didn't score a touchdown and did throw an interception that killed Cleveland's comeback hopes. Set those facts aside, though, and you'll see 321 yards on 75 percent passing—against a stingier defense (Kansas City) than the one he'll draw in Week 2.
The Texans allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season, then opened this one by letting Trevor Lawrence throw for 332 yards and three scores in his NFL debut.
Tack a few touchdowns onto Mayfield's Week 1 line—a reasonable expectation for this weekend—and you're talking about a monster, matchup-winning performance.
Sit: Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders (at Pittsburgh Steelers)
If you caught the early part of the Raiders' overtime win over the Ravens on Monday night, you'd wonder why anyone would even consider using Derek Carr in fantasy. If you tuned in for the latter portion, you'd be amazed that he isn't an automatic start every week.
That's sort of the crux with Carr. He can post massive numbers, but he doesn't always do it. Last season, he had five games with 300 passing yards and at least two touchdowns and another three in which he didn't throw for 170 yards (not counting the contest he left early with an injury).
In the fantasy realm, Carr is worth having on your roster, but he is ideally someone you can rotate in and out of the lineup depending on the matchup.
This is one of those matchups to avoid. The Steelers are ridiculously stingy. Last season, they allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks by a comfortable margin. In Week 1, they sacked Josh Allen three times and limited him to 270 yards and a single score on 51 pass attempts.
Start: Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Minnesota Vikings)
Chase Edmonds' first week alongside James Conner in the Arizona backfield was largely a success.
While Conner got more carries (16 to 12), Edmonds did more with his opportunities (63 yards to Conner's 53). Edmonds also caught all four of his targets for another 43 yards, while Conner was never targeted.
Both will likely to continue to split carries. Edmonds is clearly more dynamic, but the Cardinals might not want to put too much wear and tear on his 5'9", 210-pound frame. Arizona will lean on the 6'1", 233-pound Conner to withstand some of the punishment and probably handle a good amount of the goal line work.
Still, this Cardinals' offense is best when operating in space and with tempo, and that style favors Edmonds by a mile. He should get a chance to show he productive he can be in it against a Vikings defense that was sixth-worst against fantasy running backs last season and run over by Joe Mixon in Week 1 (29 carries for 127 yards and a score, plus four catches for 23 yards).