Week 2 Start/Sit

There is always a lot of speculation after the first week of the NFL season. What players can you trust and which ones you can’t. It is very difficult to base anything off of just one week of football especially after some players haven’t played since last season. I’m going to go through who to start or sit this week and for each position give a “must start” player who I think can help you win your week.

QB

Must Start- Aaron Rodgers: This last week was one of the worst performances by Aaron Rodgers in his entire career. Don’t hold a grudge, get him into your lineup! Rodgers faces off against the Lions, home on Monday night. If he can’t light up a defense this bad then you can start to panic.

Start- Justin Herbert: I really like Justin Herbert this week against Dallas. The Cowboys will be without the leader of their defense, DeMarcus Lawrence. Dallas has some decent defenders but as a whole they aren’t a great defense. Herbert looked sharp this last week and should only get better as the season goes on. With the highest over/under on the week, this should be a very exciting game for fantasy purposes.

Sit- Tyrod Taylor: I think we can all agree, nobody was expecting that kind of game from Tyrod and the Texans last week. Either the Texans will be a surprise team this year or the Jaguars are that bad. He will have a much more difficult matchup on Sunday going up against the Browns at Cleveland. Tyrod still has his rushing ability but the Browns defensive line will make his life difficult this week.

RB

Must Start- Najee Harris: I decided to make Najee my must start player because I don’t want people to panic over him. He played a tough defense but he rushed the ball 16 times and was targeted three times. More importantly, he played 100% of snaps! Pittsburgh will go up against Las Vegas this weekend and I’m expecting a big game out of Najee.

Start- Javonte Williams: Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon had a very similar snap count last week and prior to Gordon’s long TD run, Javonte looked like the better RB in my opinion. Denver goes up against Jacksonville so the Broncos should be able to establish the run early and often.

Sit- Mark Ingram: Definitely a shock last week was that Mark Ingram racked up 26 carries! I expect the Texans to be down in this game so it will be David Johnson as the receiving back more often than not.

WR

Must Start- Mike Evans: I know there are a lot of people disappointed with Mike Evans after a very poor performance in week one. This is now three seasons in a row where Evans scored less than eight points in week one. Evans will turn things around and has a great matchup against Atlanta to right the ship.

Start- Cooper Kupp: There is a very clear rapport between Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp. The Rams are going against the Colts who Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett destroyed last week.

Sit- Robby Anderson: Robby Anderson saved a lot of fantasy managers a head ache by taking his lone reception to the house for 57 yards. The Panthers have a relatively tough matchup with the Saints coming into town. There are a lot of mouths to feed on this offense so I would rather not hope for one big play to get production out of Anderson.

TE

Must Start- Noah Fant: As we know Jerry Jeudy will be out for an extended amount of time with a high ankle sprain. But even with Jeudy for a majority of the game last week, Noah Fant had eight targets for six catches and 62 yards. For me, I love Fant because he is safe but still has big play ability. Bridgewater looked solid last week and Denver plays Jacksonville this week. Fant should have a favorable matchup against a defense that made Tyrod Taylor look like a pro bowler.

Start- Jared Cook: This game between the Chargers and Cowboys has all the makings to be a great game for fantasy. Jared Cook had eight targets last week and seems like he will be a fixture in this Chargers offense. In a high scoring game I like Jared Cook to be a safe start this week.

Sit- Mike Gesicki: Week one was kind of a shock for Mike Gesicki managers. He was out performed and out snapped by Durham Smythe. Gesicki was coming off what looked like a successful training camp and pre season. He was dropped in a good amount of leagues and is more of a wait and see player at this time if you decided to hold onto him.

Plant Your Flag

You have heard it referred to as “My Guys” but what does it mean? To me players that I’m willing to plant my flag on, are players I expect to our produce their ADP, and help you win your leagues. I’m going to give you a couple of guys who have that league winning ability and none of them cost you more than your third round draft pick!

1. D’andre Swift– I’m a die hard Lions fan and I’m very aware of how bad this team will be. But the main reason I’m so high on Swift is because of his receiving ability and the lack of pass catchers on this team. Last season, D’andre Swift had 57 targets, and 46 receptions. There is no reason he shouldn’t reach a minimum of 60 receptions this year. On the ground Swift averaged a little over 4.5 yards per carry and racked up 8 touchdowns. He only played 13 games and finished as the RB18 as a rookie! I believe with the workload and the talent, D’andre Swift will finish as an RB1 this year.

2. Javonte Williams– Now I normally wouldn’t plant my flag on a rookie but this just shows the confidence I have in Javonte Williams this year. I tried to leave every single draft with this guy, even if I had to reach for him. Yes, Melvin Gordon is still in Denver and will be used a lot. But I think Javonte will be a flex play to start the season and I expect him to take over and become the 1A in the Denver backfield. Williams can do it all and I am enamored with his talent. I expect Denver to be a decent team and with the safe play of Bridgewater at QB, and a top half of the league defense, I expect them to try and get the run game going early to make it easier for their QB.

3. Myles Gaskin– I brought up Gaskin in my 2021 breakouts article, and I thought about it more and more. I’m planting my flag on Myles Gaskin this year. Gaskin was great last year in the games that he played. He averaged over 16 points per game in PPR leagues. Everybody decided to freak out after the first pre season when Malcom Brown got the start and ran nine times for less than ten yards. Gaskin is the best RB in this backfield and will be given the workload to be a fantasy MVP.

Breakout Players

Myles Gaskin– Welp, week one of the preseason was not ideal for Myles Gaskin. Malcom Brown was awarded the start and played first and second down, with Gaskin coming in as the third down back. The good news for Gaskin is, Malcom Brown ran the ball nine times and totaled a very underwhelming eight yards. Gaskin looked fine while he was on the field averaging just below five yards per carry. Not the usage we were all hoping for but I don’t want to read too much into week one of preseason. Last year, Gaskin finished as the RB28 in PPR leagues (depending on league scoring). The impressive part is that he did it in only ten games! Last year Gaskin averaged just over 16 PPG. To put that in perspective, that puts him at RB12 on a points per game basis for RBs who played three or more games. The talent is there and the Dolphins had plenty of opportunity to draft a RB to be the long term solution and they didn’t. Myles Gaskin has the talent to repeat and go beyond what he did in his 2020 season as long as he gets the workload. His current ADP is pretty high in the 4th round right now but I expect that to drop with the usage we saw in week one of preseason.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire– If you go back to last off-season, Clyde Edwards-Helaire shot up rookie drafts after going to the Chiefs in the first round of the NFL draft. His draft stock rose like crazy and everyone was ready for the breakout of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Well, after week one last year the entire fantasy community about lost their mind after he got 25 carries to start the season and rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown. He was ready to set the fantasy world on fire. But after week one, if you were the Edwards-Helaire owner you felt let down. Don’t get me wrong, he had a fine rookie season but after his week one performance, fantasy managers were left wanting more. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is primed for a full on breakout season in 2021. The Chiefs didn’t add anyone that would be a threat too take snaps or targets away from CEH, and expect him to a more confident runner in year two. It also helps that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is on one the best offenses in the league and has Patrick Mahomes getting him the ball. Edwards-Helaire has the right tools and right situation to finish as a top ten RB this season.

Terry McLaurin– I know, most people love Terry McLaurin this season and is probably an obvious breakout candidate. But I think he goes beyond a typical breakout and steps into the elite category this year. It’s hard not to root for this guy as he came in from day one and stepped into a leadership role. McLaurin had a hard time finding the end zone last year but I feel like part of that could have been the QB play. After Alex Smith retired, Washington went out and got the always interesting Ryan Fitzpatrick. They also added Curtis Samuel to be the Robin to Mclaurin’s Batman. On top of that everyone is calling for a breakout season for Antonio Gibson, which means this offense has potential to be pretty dangerous. This may or may not be bold but I’m expecting a top ten finish for McLaurin at the WR position with the potential of an overall WR1 finish! McLaurin finished as the WR20 in PPR leagues which is a solid season. He had 87 receptions for over 1,100 yards but only found pay dirt four times. In my opinion, we will see McLaurin reach 100 plus receptions and I think he will see closer to 8-10 touchdowns. I’m very excited for Terry McLaurin this year and you should be to. He has been a target in the third round for every mock and real draft I have done.

Brandon Aiyuk– Admittedly, I was not very high on Brandon Aiyuk coming into the NFL. But sometimes I’m more than happy to be wrong, and this is one of those times. Aiyuk did benefit from George Kittle and Deebo Samuel being hurt a good portion of the year. But Aiyuk balled out as a rookie WR which is extremely hard to do. Brandon Aiyuk showed he had that big play ability once he gets the ball in his hands. His draft stock is climbing rapidly but where he is going in the fifth round is a great spot to grab Aiyuk if you can. Aiyuk is another player similar to Terry McLaurin who I can see taking that next step into the elite WR conversation after this season. All the reports coming out of training camp are saying Jimmy Garoppolo has never looked better. With Garoppolo under center Aiyuk will be a safe play. I think when rookie QB Trey Lance gets the bump to starter is when you will see Aiyuk really shine. Aiyuk had four games of double digit targets and scored in three out of four of them. Granite, each of those four games Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle were hurt and did not play. It comes down to whether you believe in the talent for Aiyuk. To me he has shown flashes of his elite traits, and should take a step forward in his second year. Do yourself a favor and make sure to leave your fantasy drafts with him on your roster!

Bounce Back Players

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Carson Wentz– It was a pretty wild season for Carson Wentz last year. But in all fairness, it was a wild season for everyone due to Covid-19. Carson Wentz finished as the QB12 (depending on your scoring format) in 2019. So coming into 2020, most felt like Wentz was a safe option with upside. As we all know things didn’t turn out that way. Wentz ended the season playing in 12 games and had just over 2,600 yards, with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions! That is not the safe TD to interception ratio most had in mind for Wentz last year. He did add the 2nd highest rushing total of his career with 276 yards and added five touchdowns on the ground. But only playing in 12 games with those stats landed him at QB22 on the year. Fast forward to 2021, the Eagles traded Carson Wentz and he is now with the Indianapolis Colts. With his current ADP being in the 13th round, you could see a solid return on your investment. He will have a solid offensive line and one of the best running backs in football, in my opinion, in Jonathan Taylor. He won’t have the greatest receivers around him but he should be used to that with his years in Philly. I’m all about late round QB’s in redraft leagues and Wentz is definitely a guy I like to target late in drafts this year. Carson Wentz needed a mental reset to gain his confidence back and I think reuniting with head coach Frank Reich, is just what Wentz needed.

Ezekiel Elliot– I know, Zeke finished as a top ten RB last year. So why is he on my bounce back list, you ask? Well for starters, Zeke had some inconsistencies when Dak Prescott went down with his injury. In the five games that Dak started, Zeke averaged 22.34 points per game. In the eleven games that the Cowboys played without Dak, Elliot averaged only 11.2 points per game based on PPR scoring. That’s literally half of what he was averaging with a healthy Dak Prescott! Elliot also had his lowest amount of carries since 2017 where he only played ten games due to his suspension. On top of that, he had his lowest rushing yards total and tied his lowest rushing touchdown total in his career. I fully expect Zeke to be a top five RB this year, if he can remain healthy. The icing on the cake is that he will likely catch at least fifty passes this season as well. Ezekiel Elliot should be going in the top five picks of all redraft leagues this season and according to his ADP it seems like everyone else has caught on as well. If they haven’t they probably will once HBO’s Hard Knocks airs in a couple weeks.

Cooper Kupp– Not all bounce backs are alike. Cooper Kupp didn’t have a serious injury last year and he had a fine season. But I’m expecting him to bounce back into a top ten WR for fantasy this season. We all know the inconsistency that the Rams had with Goff at QB last season. They decided to go all in this off-season and trade for Matthew Stafford. Cooper Kupp didn’t have an awful 2020 by any means but he was inconsistent at times and had major TD regression. With Matthew Stafford behind center this year I expect things to change for Kupp. In 2019, he had over 1,100 yards and double digit touchdowns. I’m expecting a similar resurgence from Cooper Kupp. He is my dark horse to finish as the WR1 this season, mostly because of his normal TD volume. Now that may sound like a bold take but I think he will bounce back into the realm of ten plus touchdowns. Kupp is one of my favorite WRs to grab if I go RB heavy in drafts. I’m 100 percent okay with him as my number one WR on my fantasy rosters this season.

Tyler Higbee– I think we all remember Tyler Higbee’s fantasy heroics to finish the 2019 fantasy season. Or at least the people who rostered him do. He went on an absolute tear from weeks 13-17 and helped win fantasy managers a championship. He had four straight games of at least 100 yards receiving, no less than seven catches per game and had double digit targets in four out of five of those games. The shocking thing was he only found the end zone in twice during that stretch of games and only three times for the whole year. As I mentioned with Cooper Kupp, the Rams making the QB change from Goff to Stafford should pay dividends for all pass catchers in Los Angeles. Higbee has also had to split time with Gerald Everett over the last few year and with Everett gone to Seattle, Higbee is now cemented as the starting TE with little to no competition behind him. If I miss out on one of the premier TEs in my drafts, I will be targeting Higbee in drafts with a current ADP of 11.09.

Colts Fantasy Preview

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It’s that time of year again where all the armchair general managers start building their teams for this season. Let’s take a look at the names you might want to familiarize yourself with before you huddle up with your buds and start claiming your perfect team.

Carson Wentz: Miss out on Mahomes, Lamar, or A-Rod? Wentz is so intriguing due to his shoulder. There is no denial that Wentz arm talent is top tier but he has struggled the last few seasons. That performance in recent years makes him a high risk yet high reward because, as I mentioned in a previous article, Wentz has upgrades everywhere around him. Everything is there for Wentz to carry your fantasy team the question is can he put it all together with his old OC Frank Reich. Wentz is a QB you want on that roster.

Jonathon Taylor: The year end explosion from Taylor helped many fantasy teams clinch gold as he went beast mode week 17 and set several franchise records as he topped 250 yards. Taylor has already started flying off the board early, lasting in a lot of drafts only until the 2nd round. If Taylor is one of your targets, make him your 1st. All signs point for the 2nd year man to continue his upward trend with Frank Reich already naming him the starter and the teams emphasis on running the ball. No brainer.

Marlon Mack: Marlon is an stash and pray player. If you were lucky enough to draft Taylor you need to grab Mack later in the draft. Stash him and pray Taylor stays healthy but this is your insurance right here. Mack is a proven rusher with over 2,000 yards in the last 3 seasons. If Taylor falters and Mack becomes the hot hand your team is still set. BOGO sale here

Nyhiem Hines: Hines time in the backfield may be short with the logjam of Taylor and Mack but he shines as a pass catcher. Hines has explosive speed combined with great hands to make him a major weapon running routes. Last season he was the 2nd most targeted pass catcher on the entire team, behind only TY Hilton. While the QB change may have an effect on his numbers the scheme the team runs keeps those numbers up. Hines is a boom or bust fantasy guy. He eclipsed 18 points 3 times last year but held solid around 7-10 per game. Need a bye week replacement? Hines is your guy. Late round stash or waiver wire pickup

Colts WRs: T.Y. was simply unplayable last season until week 12. The 1st 11 weeks he averaged 2.4 fantasy points per game. The last 6 weeks of the season he took off averaging 12.5, which was top 10 during that time frame for WRs. Despite that wild fantasy outlook he still lead the club in targets and receptions. If that trend continues he will be a great waiver wire pickup later in the year. Pittman had a few big games but fantasy wise was too unpredictable to roster a spot. Pascal has improved year after year but has yet to attain every week starter status. Parris Campbell needs to actually play. Bottom line is the Colts WR room leaves a lot to be desired. Waiver wire at your own risk.

Colts TEs: Jack Doyle will be the number 1 guy to start the season but that’s not the name to look at. Mo Alie-Cox has the potential to be a breakout star with his size and athleticism. Think 2018 Ebron level of breakout. Reich loves to use his TEs and Wentz best friend in Philly was Zac Ertz. Mo is the sleeper here. Look for him to start the season slow and build towards the middle. Dynasty guys a name to look for to stash and look for later is Kylen Granson. Reich pounded on the table for this guy and looks for him to be a prominent player in the years to come.

Colts Defense: Some leagues have defensive players and there are only 3 guys that are rosterable from Indy. Darius Leonard, Deforest Buckner, and Kenny Moore. Leonard has been a tackles machine with a nose for turnovers while his in game speed gets him sacks. He’s ranked as the 4th best LB by ESPN and lives that up on every snap. Buckner was also ranked by ESPN and he comes in as the 3rd best interior DL on that list. His long arms combined with his non-stop motor makes him a problem every snap. The league loves the slot WR and with the passing game numbers always climbing it pays for you to have the best slot corner in the game. That man is Kenny Moore. Kenny shows a willingness to tackle the ball carrier by leading all slot corners with 80 tackles which gives him fantasy value in the running game as well. He’s a defensive player you want week in and week out. The Colts defense has a top 4 player at each level and with the addition of Kwitty Paye the front looks to be even better. The Colts defense is incredibly draftable and may end up being one of the top in the league by the time fantasy playoffs start.