I dipped my toe into the raging waters of start/sit advice in Week 1. Guess what I learned? It is tough to predict NFL football, especially in Week 1 after the many changes that occur in the offseason. Ultimately, 70% of my start/sits were correct last week. I feel this was relatively successful considering this was my first endeavor and it was Week 1 to boot.
As this becomes a weekly column, I feel I may be deserving of a nickname in the same vein as Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificient and Chris Berman’s Swami. I could go with simple Stompy the Oracle. Or maybe I am the fantasy football version of Nostradamus? Stomptradamus perhaps? I like that. You can now refer to my as Stomptradamus. Now just imagine me with a giant turban with feathers on my head.
Nostradamus is famous for writing his prophecies in quatrains. Here is my attempt at a quatrain to introduce my starts/sits for Week 2.
Fantasy football makes us jolly,
but sometimes it can make us blue,
to avoid a loss and melancholy,
here are starts and sits for Week 2.
Alex Smith vs. Indianapolis Colts
Alex Smith continued his safe, turnover-free ways in Week 1, this time with the Washington Redskins. Though not a spectacular line, Smith was able to put up 255 yards and two touchdowns against the 10th ranked pass defense in DVOA in 2017. Andy Dalton did not have the day many expected against the Colts in Week 1. Dalton, however, was a streamable option with 243 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The Colts still do not have a good secondary or pass-rush. With a better offensive line than the Bengals and the ability to run, Alex Smith should be able to produce another borderline QB1 line in Week 2.
Case Keenum vs. Oakland Raiders
If it had not been for 3 interceptions, Case Keenum would have been a top-8 quarterback in Week 1. Keenum had his way with the Seahawks defense to the tune of 329 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also showed an aggressiveness and gun-slinger mentality that the Broncos have been missing for several seasons. This led to a lot of big plays for the Broncos.
The Broncos had seven pass plays of 20+yards in their season-opening win vs. Seattle, marking the 3rd most of any NFL team for Week 1.
Denver's seven pass plays of 20+yards were its 2nd-most in a season opener over the last 25 years, trailing only its 9 such plays vs BAL in '13. pic.twitter.com/R9Ss0mKhV2
— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) September 10, 2018
The Raiders defense actually faired pretty well against a high powered offense in the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. However, the Raiders still do not have a good defense. Their Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (or DVOA) on passing plays ranked 30th in 2017, with Khalil Mack. Without Mack, this defense should be much worse in 2018. Keenum should continue to move the ball in Week 2.
Patrick Mahomes @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Patrick Mahomes exploded onto the scene in Week 1 with 254 and four touchdowns against the ninth-ranked defense against the pass in terms of DVOA in 2017. Granted, the Chargers were without arguably the best defensive end in the NFL in Joey Bosa due to a foot injury. On the other hand, Mahomes really 0nly used one of his many weapons. While Tyreek Hill had 169 yards receiving and two touchdowns and another return touchdown, tight end Travis Kelce had six receiving yards, Watkins had 21 receiving yards, and Kareem Hunt and Spencer Ware combined for 81 yards on 19 carries. Overall, Mahomes was mistake free and should continue to improve. He will match up against the Steelers who also have an excellent offense. I expect this game to be another shootout for the Chiefs and another chance for Mahomes to put up monster numbers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Philadelphia Eagles
We saw Fitzmagic against the Saints. It was an improbable game against one of the top pass defenses in the league in 2017. I do not foresee a repeat performance against the Eagles. The Eagles have one of the best all-around defenses in the league. Last season, the Eagles ranked eighth in pass defense DVOA, second in run defense DVOA, and fourth in points per game in 2017. The Eagles held the Falcons to 12 points and under 300 total yards in Week 1. Fitzmagic made an appearance in Week 1. I think we see Fitztragic in Week 2.
Dak Prescott vs. New York Giants
The Dallas Cowboys passing game looks UGLY. Dak threw for 170 yards against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1. Dak struggled without his left tackle, Tyron Smith, last season. IS the same true without his center, Travis Frederick? It really does not help that the Cowboys, having let Dez Bryant go, have arguably the worst wide receiving corp in the league. With the return of several key players from injury, the Giants defense is much better than 2017. They held the Jaguars to 13 points on offense and only 305 total yards. Avoid the Cowboys except for Zeke in Week 2.
Ryan Tannehill @ New York Jets
The Jets smoked the Detroit Lions on the road 48-17. The Jets defense only allowed 10 points to the Lions offense, the other seven coming from a pick-six. The defense also intercepted the Lions quarterbacks five times, including Stafford four times. Ryan Tannehill is not Stafford. Despite the win against the Titans, Tannehill only threw for 230 yards. Though he did throw for two touchdowns, Tannehill also threw two interceptions. I expect Tannehill to struggle on the road against what seems to be a good Jets defense.
Adrian Peterson vs. Indianapolis Colts
I thought AP was done. He looked good at times with the Cardinals in 2017 but ultimately seemed like he wilted under the heavy workload towards the end of the season. Signing with the Redskins before the third preseason game, AP looked recharged against a very good Broncos run defense. The Redskins leaned on AP in Week 1 to the tune of 26 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown. He also added two receptions for 35 yards. In four of the last five seasons, Jay Gruden’s RB1s have finished top-10 in terms of fantasy. AP will be leaned on again. Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon had his way with the Colts in Week 1 with 17 carries for 95 yards and one touchdown and five receptions for 54 yards. AP should see a healthy volume again in Week 2.
Jay Ajayi @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Though Ajayi tied for the highest snap share among Eagles running backs with Darren Sproles at only 40%, he out-touched Sproles by six. The Eagles will be a true running back committee, but Ajayi will get a lion’s share of the carries as well as the goal-line carries. Behind PFF’s top overall offensive line entering 2018, this is a valuable role. This was evident against the Falcons, against whom Ajayi took 15 carries for 62 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles offense was not great in Week 1 with 232 total yards. I would expect a better day for the Eagles and Ajayi against the Bucs. The Saints had to abandon the run against the Bucs after falling behind early, so the running backs’ lines do not look great. Alvin Kamara was able to rush for two touchdowns. I do not think the Fitzpatrick nor the Bucs will have the same type of day. Ajayi will get his work.
Rex Burkhead @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Burkhead was far and away the most used running back for the Patriots. Against the Texans, Burkhead carried the ball 18 times and received 3 targets, catching 1. The next closest was James White with five carries and nine targets. Jeremy Hill tore his ACL against Texans, leaving Burkhead as the healthy best between the tackles and goal-line back the Patriots have. This is very valuable on a high scoring team. Yes, Sony Michel is still there, but did not play against the Texans and has been limited in practice. The Jaguars have a scary defense. However, they have not been great against running backs. In 2017, the Jaguars were 27th in rush defense DVOA. They also gave up the seventh worst yards per carry and 12th most rushing yards per game. In Week 1, Saquon Barkley was able to run for 106 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. He also caught two balls for 22 yards. It seems the Jaguars’ struggles to stop the run continues into 2018. Burkhead is a sneaky start in Week 2.
Marshawn Lynch @ Denver Broncos
The Broncos had one of the best run defenses in the league in 2017. That continued into 2018. The Seattle Seahawks produced only 64 yards on the ground on 4.0 yards per carry. Though Lynch did score a touchdown, he still struggled on the ground with 41 yards on 11 carries. That should be expected with a defensive front that has Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald. It does not get much easier against the Broncos. Avoid Lynch in Week 2.
Peyton Barber vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Peyton Barber is in control of the Bucs backfield. Ronald Jones was a healthy scratch against the Saints and the rest of the running backs combined for three carries. However, Barber only produced 69 yards on 19 carries and did not receive a target. The Bucs had a positive game script against the Saints. I do not expect the same against the Eagles. The Eagles defense is one of the best in the league overall, ranking second against the run in DVOA in 2017. Barber has been an underwhelming runner overall in his career to date and he will struggle against the Eagles.
Seattle Seahawks Running Backs @ Chicago Bears
Yes, I am putting the Seahawks running backs on the list again, and probably indefinitely, until things shake out. Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny each had seven carries against the Broncos, and besides a 24-yard run from Carson, did not do much with them. Despite additions to the offensive line, the Seahawks line was still ranked 30th by PFF entering 2018, and they did nothing to prove them wrong against the Broncos. The Bears held the Green Bay Packers run game to 69 yards on 18 carries on Sunday night. The addition of linebacker Roquan Smith in the draft and Khalil Mack has made this front seven one of the best in the league. The Seahawks face another daunting task on the road, do not expect the running backs to do much in Week 2.
Devin Funchess @ Atlanta Falcons
Normally I would not like this matchup. But that was before a slew injuries to both the Panthers and the Falcons. Funchess broke out in 2017 with 840 yards and eight touchdowns. This was largely thanks to tight end Greg Olsen’s broken foot. According to RotoViz’s game splits app, Funchess received nearly two more targets per game, resulting in 10 more yards, 0.4 more touchdowns, and five more PPR fantasy points per game without Olsen in the lineup. Olsen injured the same foot as he did in 2017 in Week 1 and will likely miss several weeks. The Falcons also suffered a couple of devastating injuries to their defense. Linebacker Deion Jones was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury. Jones was the best linebacker in coverage according to PFF. The Falcons also lost safety Keanu Neal to a torn ACL. Known more for his run defense, Neal steadily improved in pass coverage over his first two seasons. These injuries have created the perfect opportunity for Funchess to explode in Week 2.
Quincy Enunwa vs. Miami Dolphins
If you have been following me for a while, you know that I have been harping on Enunwa’s ability. That ability showed in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions. Enunwa received a 48% target share, producing 63 yards and one touchdown. The next most target receiver only had three targets. Enunwa seems to be rookie quarterback Sam Darnold’s favorite target early on. Though the Dolphins secondary locked down the Titans passing game in Week 1, PFF ranked them 26th entering the 2018 season. The Dolphins pass defense also ranked 29th in DVOA last season. With the mixture of a bad pass defense and volume, Enunwa should follow up his Week 1 performance with another great game.
Nelson Agholor @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Let’s try this again. In Week 1, Agholor tied for the Eagles team lead in targets with 10, catching eight for 33 yards. Week 1 was overall not good for the Eagles offense. The remedy to this is facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs gave up 439 yards through the air against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. This is just a continuation of 2017 when they gave up the most passing yards and ranked 31st in passing DVOA. PFF ranked the Bucs secondary 31st entering 2018. Agholor should have the opportunity to turn targets into a lot more yards in Week 2.
Chris Hogan @ Jacksonville Jaguars
While Odell Beckham Jr. got his in Week 1 against the Jaguars, the Giants passing offense as a whole was held to just 224 yards passing and no touchdowns. While I do not expect the same results against Tom Brady and the Patriots, the wide receivers may suffer. Hogan only caught one of his five targets against the Texans while Phillip Dorsett caught all of his targets for 66 yards and one touchdown. Facing the best pair of cornerbacks in the league will likely result in another dud for Hogan.
Larry Fitzgerald @ Los Angeles Rams
The Cardinals offense looked awful in Week 1. Sam Bradford only threw for 153 yards and the Cardinals only scored six points. However, Fitzgerald did have seven catches for 76 yards. That is probably his ceiling against the Rams. Against the Oakland Raiders, the Rams only gave up 43 yards receiving to wide receivers. The Rams have one of the best duos of cornerbacks and best defenses in the league and the Cardinals will not challenge them. Expect a down Week 2 for Fitzgerald.
Amari Cooper @ Denver Broncos
Cooper had an AWFUL start to 2018. He only received three targets, catching one for nine yards. Things may not be much better facing the Broncos. Cooper has struggled through his career against the Broncos. In six games against the Broncos, Cooper has produced only 160 yards, two touchdowns, 9.4 yards per catch, and 46% catch percentage. Despite trading cornerback Aqib Talib, PFF ranked the Broncos secondary 10th entering the 2018 season. They also have one of the leagues best pass rushes. The Raiders offense will likely struggle once again in Week 2, making Cooper a sit.
Jared Cook @ Denver Broncos
Unlike wide receivers, the Broncos struggle to cover tight ends. In 2017, the Broncos gave up the fourth most PPR points to tight ends. They also ranked 31st in DVOA covering tight ends. These struggles continued into 2018. In Week 1, the Broncos gave up 105 yards and one touchdown to “blocking” tight end Will Dissly. Cook also had a big Week 1 with 180 yards against the Rams. Tight ends will streamable against the Broncos defense until they make a change at linebacker, and Cook draws a great matchup in Week 2.
George Kittle vs. Detroit Lions
Kittle and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo showed chemistry at the end of the 2017 season. Using Rotoviz’s game splits app, In the games that Jimmy G has started, Kittle a 16 yard per game increase and nearly two fantasy point per game increase. In Week 1, the chemistry continued, with Kittle catching 5 of 9 targets for 90 yards against a vaunted Minnesota Vikings defense. The Lions struggled to cover tight ends in 2017, ranking 26th in DVOA. Kittle has been one of Jimmy G’s favorite pass catchers and that should continue in Week 2 against the Lions.
Jordan Reed vs. Indianapolis Colts
Reed had surgery in the offseason to remove bones in his toes that were causing him pain for two seasons. This allowed him to enter the 2018 season healthy. Reed demonstrated his ability to be one of the top tight ends in the league, finishing as the second overall fantasy tight end in 2015 and with the most fantasy points per game in 2016. In Week 1, Reed caught four of five targets for 48 yards and a touchdown. The Colts ranked 23rd in DVOA covering tight ends in 2017. Reed should be a top target for quarterback Alex Smith in Week 2.
Austin Hooper vs. Carolina Panthers
Hooper was held to three receptions on four targets for 24 yards in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Hooper’s road does not get any easier against the Panthers. The Panthers held opposing tight ends to 585 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017, which was fifth best in the league in terms of fantasy points per game. They also ranked fourth in terms of DVOA against tight ends. Linebacker Luke Kuechly has long been considered one of the best coverage linebackers in the NFL. In 2017, he ranked fourth among linebackers in coverage grade by PFF. Avoid starting Hooper as he will have a hard time in Week 2.
Luke Kuechly was once again a top-five linebacker in coverage in 2017! pic.twitter.com/uubg6dnEvP
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 21, 2018
Trey Burton vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are also very good covering tight ends. They finished 3rd in DVOA covering tight ends in 2017. They were top-10 in fantasy points allowed to tight ends as well. The Seahawks also have two players on defense that are good in coverage. Linebacker Bobby Wagner is among the top-10 inside linebackers in coverage snaps per reception. Safety Earl Thomas ranked among the top safeties in PFF’s coverage grade. The Seahawks held the Broncos tight ends to three receptions for 44 yards. Burton was targeted six times against the Green Bay Packers but only caught one for 15 yards. Expect another bad day for Trey Boo Boo.
Travis Kelce @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Kelce had a poor showing in Week 1. Though he was targeted six times, he only caught one for 6 yards. Former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith liked to target his tight end. We have no idea what new quarterback Patrick Mahomes will do. Last week, Mahomes and wide receiver Tyreek Hill had a connection. In order for the Chiefs to compete, they will need Kelce. However, he may not be useful in Week 2. The Steelers finished first overall in DVOA against tight ends in 2017. They also gave up the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Last week, they Steeler held Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku. Three receptions on seven targets for 13 yards. Kelce will end up being a top-five tight end in fantasy. It just will not start this week.
I hope I was able to help you in Week 1 and continue to help you with your lineups in Week 2. Until next week, stay classy, fantasy football community.
Thank you for reading. You can follow me on Twitter @FFStompy. Enjoy more redraft articles from The Fantasy Authority here., dynasty articles here, and DFS here. Enjoy and subscribe to the four podcasts hosted by The Fantasy Authority found here. Also, follow The Fantasy Authority (@FF_Authority), the Dynasty Life Podcast (@DynastyLifePod), the Redshirts Fantasy Football Podcast (@RedshirtFFPod), and the DFS DegeNation Podcast (@DegeNationPod) on Twitter.