We’re In This Together
My goal is to make the tough decisions for you. You won’t see the obvious starts or sits on these lists. I want to help you choose who to flex between guys like DJ Chark and Mike Davis. Or help you pick which QB to start while Patrick Mahomes is on a bye. Or maybe even help you decide which defense you should stream for a given week. I want YOU to win a championship. Let’s do this together.
In a weekend full of fantastic QB performances, there are two that are most deserving of your starting lineup this week. I am talking about Jameis Winston & Matthew Stafford. Jameis had a phenomenal week one torching the Packer’s secondary for five TDs and zero turnovers! That LASIK was no joke! I was really high on this guy and took him late in a few drafts, hopefully, you did too. This week they take on the Carolina Panthers and I expect another big showing from Jameis.
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Another must-start for your lineup, Matthew Stafford. Stafford had a great week against a tough Chicago defense putting up over 300 yards in the air and three TDs. If he can do that against the Bear’s defense then he should have no trouble replicating that success against a similarly built Colts defense. I was not high on Stafford entering the season, I thought he was overhyped, but the guy looked as sharp as ever. I would be too if I had Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp to throw to.
Let us start with a first round talent that totally bombed last week, Aaron Jones. I was unfortunate not to have an opportunity to draft him this year, however; I am glad I evaded his week one performance. Expect a huge bounce back this week. The Packers take on the Lions who allowed over 100 yards and a TD to one Eli Mitchell of the 49ers. If they allowed that, imagine what Aaron Jones is going to do to that defense.
These next two guys had some solid performances last week that I think you need to ride out. The first is Damien Harris. He had just over 20 carries for 100 yards and a couple of catches. If not for a fumble, he would have had a nice little stat line. All of that was against Miami last week and now the Patriots are taking on a weaker Jets defense. This week, look for Harris to continue to get volume and touches with greater results.
Lastly, David Montgomery needs to be in your lineup every week. Although, I would say this week is even more important as they play the Bengals. Montgomery managed to rush for over 100 yards and a TD against what could be a top-five rush defense in the Rams. If the game was not a blowout, Montgomery would have had more touches as he was averaging almost seven YPC. Look for the Bears to be more competitive in this one and Montgomery needs to be your RB1.
The league is so deep at this position, so it gets difficult sorting out who to start and who to bench. I am going to give you a few options, but first, we need to get Antonio Brown in your lineup. His route running looked clean, his hands were as solid as ever, and the Brady-Brown connection was spot-on. Expect another big number day from AB against the Falcons this weekend.
We saw Tyler Lockett torch the Colts’ secondary for 100 yards and two TDs on just four catches last week. For that, he needs to at the very least be your flex in his matchup against the Titans this week. Tennessee’s secondary allowed both DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk some monster games, DK and Lockett will feast as well.
DeVonta Smith had the second-best performance by a rookie receiver last week. Side Note: Ja’Marr Chase, I apologize for last week. Smith emerged as the #1 target for the Eagles in what was a blowout win over the Falcons. Hurts looked great in the game and with them positioned to play the 49ers this week, I would expect them to either A. take advantage of an injured secondary or B. go down big early and pass the rest of the game. Either way, Smith will get his.
This last receiver did not have a great game last week, his name is Courtland Sutton. The Broncos got the dub against the Giants, but the win cost them Jerry Jeudy for the next several weeks. Someone is going to get those targets and Sutton will be the one to take advantage. Sutton once was the WR1 before an ACL injury cost him his 2020 season. This will be his opportunity to reclaim that title. Get him in your lineup!
Last week I had Rob Gronkowski in the start column and I wanted to use this opportunity to add him one more time before he goes off again and becomes a must-start every week. The connection between Brady and Gronk has connected for 100 TDs, look for them to push closer to Manning-Harrison’s 114 this week!
Now, I want you to bring your attention to this next tight end, Jared Cook. Cook and the Chargers take on the Dallas Cowboys this week, a defense that Rob Gronkowski torched last week. In the Chargers week one matchup, Cook was the second-highest targeted option from Justin Herbert. Herbert used Hunter Henry really well last year, and Jared Cook seems to slide right into that role. If he puts up another solid performance, he could be a weekly option at tight end. Plug him in this week.
Kicker & Defense
I am a firm believer in streaming kickers and defenses. So let’s look at a matchup or two that we can plug in our lineup if we don’t have one of the mainstays at the two positions. I have big expectations this week for Rodrigo Blankenship and the New Orleans defense.
For Blankenship, he and the Colts take on the Los Angeles Rams this week. The Rams have a fantastic defense and could be a constant roadblock for the Colts in the red zone. This means more field goals. Get him in your lineup.
New Orleans put on a show last week. They held the Green Bay Packers offense to just three points, and also picked up two interceptions, a fumble, and a handful of sacks. This week they get Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers, look for this defense to have another huge showing against a weaker team. Not to mention, a division rival.
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I’ll admit, I was wrong about Matt Ryan last week. For that, he finds himself on my sit list. The Falcon’s offensive line look terrible, Matt Ryan looked out of sorts, and it was clear that he and his receivers were not on the same page for the majority of the game. This week, they find themselves against a much tougher Tampa Bay defense and that will result in me benching Matt Ryan. I advise you do the same.
This next guy is about to step into the same shoes that Ryan Tannehill filled last week: The who quarterback gets destroyed by the Cardinal’s defense. Chandler Jones and company sacked Tannehill over five times last week, enforced several turnovers. Not to mention, they stopped Derek Henry and Julio Jones from having solid games. I’m talking about Kirk Cousins. The Minnesota Vikings are taking on the Cardinals this week, and I would leave cousins on the bench if you can help it.
The first running back I want to highlight is Mike Davis. You’re going to want to sit him for the same reason you will want to sit Matt Ryan. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of the best front sevens in football, and I expect that to be on full display this weekend when they take on the Falcons.
This next guy is going to come as a shock, but you need to let him ride the pine this week. His name is Saquon Barkley. He looked absolutely terrible against the Broncos last week, and I don’t see him doing much better this Thursday against Washington’s front seven. If you have other options, definitely explore them. At best, Barkley is a flex, but even then I wouldn’t expect much from ol’ quad god.
Much like last week, there is a group of running backs to avoid, the San Francisco 49ers RB platoon. With the recent news of Raheem Mostert being out for the season, there is little known about who may rise to the top of the depth chart. Trey Sermon was a healthy scratch last week, and Eli Mitchell dominated a weak Lions defense. I would let the results of their game against the Eagles determine what you do with those RBS in the future.
I have a few receivers that need to sit this week out, but I want to start with the guy most difficult to sit, Terry McLaurin. I had some high hopes for the Fitzpatrick-McLaurin connection, but with Fitzmagic getting hurt super early, it appears Heinicke will be the one filling in. The Giants will likely have James Bradberry shadowing McLaurin, so that adds an extra layer of difficulty to an already difficult situation.
Robby Anderson had a respectable stat line, 57 yards, and a TD. The problem with that is the fact that it all came on his lone catch of the game. With Sam Darnold throwing the ball, there will always be some limitations. Add in a talented Saints defense that held Davante Adams to less than 60 yards and you have a Robby Anderson sit.
Kenny Golladay of the New York Giants was less than impressive and sat third in targets behind Sterling Sheperd and Darius Slayton. Daniel Jones has better chemistry with the latter two receivers and his relationship with Golladay needs a bit more time. I would not expect any breakthroughs to happen in their matchup against the Washington Football Team on TNF, so leave him on the bench if you can.
Lastly, we have Henry Ruggs. A sleeper pick in most leagues, I know fantasy owners and Raiders fans alike expected much more from the second-year wideout. He had a few catches, but the speedster never seemed to get open for the deep ball the way we expected. It also appears that Darren Waller, Bryan Edwards, and possibly Kenyon Drake are going to get the bulk of the targets. Let Ruggs ride it out on the bench this week for their matchup against the Steelers defense that shut down the Bills’ passing game last week.
There are way more tight ends that you should bench than ones you should start. That is just the nature of the position. I am going to highlight Mike Gesicki & Anthony Firkser. Firkser was seen as the replacement for Jonnu Smith after he departed for New England in the offseason. But after a long day against the Cardinals’ defense, he only managed three catches for 19 yards. The Titans will be squaring up with another defense, the Seattle Seahawks, that I see limiting the Titans’ offense. Leave Firkser on the bench this week.
This season is supposed to be a breakout year for Gesicki. We did not see that happen in week one as he managed to finish the game without a catch. Zeros in all columns. He was matched up against Bill Belichick’s defense, and this week’s contest against a different Bills’ defense will be just as tough for the Phins. Keep Gesicki on your bench and snag another TE for your starting lineup.
Kicker & Defense
Alright, let’s wrap this up with some options projected to be in the top 10; I am talking about Younghoe Koo & the Colts’ Defense. Leave them on the bench this week. The Rams looked like a true Super Bowl contender in week one against the Bears and I see these two defenses as complimentary. If the Colts allow 35 as the Bears did, it will not look good on the fantasy scoreboard.
With Koo, you have to look at who they are playing. The Buccaneers are a tough defense and Zuerlein had an awful game against them last Thursday in the kicking department. Add in the Falcons’ offense and how they only gave Koo two opportunities to kick last week, you get some very low upside. Try streaming another low-risk option to avoid a stinker.