2014 Fantasy Football: Week 2 Start/Sit
Below are the guys I like or dislike in Week 2 compared to the other experts on FantasyPros.com. I’m focusing on guys that are actually on that start/sit bubble in 12-team leagues. For quarterbacks and tight ends, that means I’m focusing on guys I have on one side of 12th at the position while the consensus is on the other side. For running backs and receivers that means guys I have on one side of 24th at the position while the consensus is on the other side. For example, There’s no need to tell you I’m higher on Pierre Garcon when I have him ranked #9 and the expert consensus rank (ECR) has him ranked #17. Both rankings have him in the top 24 and tell you to start him.
If you have specific start/sit questions, leave them in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @TheRealTAL.
Normally I have at least one player from each position listed in both the start ’em and sit ’em sections, but there isn’t a quarterback or tight end in my top 12 this week who is lower than 13th in the expert consensus. My 12th QB is Jake Locker, and the ECR has him 13th at the position. I have his tight end, Delanie Walker, 9th at his position, but the ECR has him 13th also. With the purpose of this post being to give you plays for the week that aren’t being touted all over the internet, Locker and Walker don’t really fit here. Locker is only owned in 12% of ESPN.com leagues as of Wednesday afternoon, so it’s clear fantasy owners aren’t jumping all over the smorgasbord of Locker love that’s out there this week. If you’re not comfortable with your starting QB this week, say Jay Cutler against the 49ers or Cam Newton with a lingering injury, Locker is the guy you should add to play this week.
Shonn Greene / vs. Dallas / ECR: 30 / My rank: 23
I wrote about Greene earlier this week, so I’ll try to be brief. Most importantly, Greene is facing Dallas who some have said may have the worst defense in a generation. The Dallas D didn’t get destroyed by San Fran last week as some predicted, but the Niners hardly needed their offense as a defensive touchdown a minute into the game and an interception that put them at Dallas’ 2 yard line helped stake them to an early and insurmountable lead. Assuming this game has a more regular flow, the Titans offense will be full speed ahead for four quarters, and numbers should abound. We already touched on Locker and Walker being good plays, and players at the other skill positions should benefit as well. Greene got 15 carries last week to Dexter McCluster‘s nine and Bishop Sankey‘s six. And Greene got the only carry inside the 10 yard line last week. If he gets 15 touches and goal line work against Dallas, he’s going to eat.
Terrance West / vs. New Orleans / ECR: 28 / My rank: 24
With Ben Tate leaving the game after just six carries on Sunday, West got some work. And he did some work. West racked up 100 yards on just 16 carries. According to ProFootballFocus.com, West forced six missed tackles and averaged 4.1 yards after contact per attempt. For context, only one running back averaged more than three yards after contact per attempt last year. Obviously West isn’t going to shatter last year’s record, but it’s encouraging to know he can clearly make people miss.
With Tate already ruled out for Week 2, West will get another chance to do some work as the Browns have named him the starter over Isaiah Crowell. It’s understandable if you’re concerned that Crowell might be the one getting the goal line work since Crowell scored on carries from the 15 yard line and 3 yard line last week. That carry from the 3 yard line was the only carry the Browns had inside Pittsburgh’s 10 for the game. But it’s probably too soon to definitively say that West is the guy between the 20’s and Crowell will get the red zone work. Cleveland had a game plan last week that revolved around Tate getting most of the work. We’ll have to see how they choose to utilize West and Crowell when they’re the only two backs being used.
That said, you should be betting on the guy we know will be getting the bulk of the work, not the guy who might be used near the end zone. And West will be getting the bulk of the work against a New Orleans team that allowed 181 total yards and two scores to the Atlanta backs last week. Their run defense was ranked 20th in the league last year by Football Outsiders, so it would appear this is a good matchup for West.
DeSean Jackson / vs. Jacksonville / ECR: 25 / My rank: 17
The expert consensus is close to calling DJax a WR2 in 12-team leagues, but he should be safely in that range this week. It’s a little strange that the ECR has him 25th at the position when they had him 25th in preseason rankings. You’d think in a good matchup with the Jaguars that the experts would like Jackson more this week than they would on average. There’s really no reason to be concerned by how he performed in Week 1 either. He was thrown at eight times and had a respectable 62 yards, Sure, Pierre Garcon saw more work, but that’s not a huge surprise. Garcon will likely see more work again this week, but it shouldn’t prevent Jackson from getting his in a nice matchup.
Brandin Cooks / at Cleveland / ECR: 33 / My rank: 23
Yeah, we’re here already. Cooks clearly had the potential to be a fantasy stud if you ever watched him play at Oregon State. And the likelihood of him reaching that potential went up when he was taken by Drew Brees‘ Saints. But it’s a surprise that he reached stud status so quickly. His seven catches for 77 yards and a score in Week 1 were good enough for him to be a top 10 receiver for the week. Jimmy Graham led the team by being thrown at 10 times, but Cooks was right behind him with eight, which was the same total as Marques Colston and one more than Pierre Thomas. He also got a touch on a carry that he turned into 18 yards. It’s clear he’s already one of the main pieces of this top notch offense.
Andre Ellington / at New York Giants / ECR: 18 / My rank: 25
There’s a decent chance the experts are just ranking Ellington as if he’ll play for now and waiting until we have more information later in the week to solidify their ranking of him. But it seems clear that the foot injury is still an issue as Ellington was wearing a walking boot earlier this week. As a result, you should go ahead and start making other plans for the week. It would be a surprise to see something drastically different than the 18-9 touch split we saw last week between Ellington and Jonathan Dwyer. Not that Ellington can’t do damage with 18 touches. But that’s probably his max, and it would be no shock if his foot injury limited him more than that. If Ellington can get fully healthy, he’s going to help your fantasy team this year. But wait to utilize him until there’s not as much risk associated with doing so.
Ryan Mathews / vs. Seattle / ECR: 24 / My rank: 31
The reason for my ranking is highlighted above. You should have a better option. Which is to say you should have someone not facing the Seattle defense.
Keenan Allen / vs. Seattle / ECR: 22 / My rank: 32
We just covered this.
Victor Cruz / vs. Arizona / ECR: 23 / My rank: 33
Anyone know the last time Cruz caught a touchdown pass? That would be Week 4 of last season. In the 11 games since he’s had eight games with less than seven fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. His high fantasy point total in that span is 11 points, and he’s averaging 5.4 points per game. WOOF! I command you to click that link. And I command you to leave Cruz on the bench against Patrick Peterson. It’s highly unlikely he breaks his streak of sucking with that matchup.
Kyle Rudolph / vs. Patriots / ECR: 9 / My rank: 13
Rudolph was listed in this very spot last week. And he was probably listed here several times last year if you were to go back and check. Rudolph is simply too risky because he doesn’t rack up yardage at all. He averaged 39 yards per game last year and 30 yards per game in 2012. He remains fantasy relevant because he finds the end zone at a good rate. He scored nine times in 2012 and three times in eight games last year. He was listed as a sit here last week because it was hard to count on a touchdown when he was facing the team that allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends last year. But Rudolph did score even though he only had two catches for 16 yards. The matchup isn’t as bad this week, so maybe Rudolph will score and get you 10 points with six from the TD and four or so for yardage. But there’s also a good chance he gives you close to nothing.