Last week, when picking Starts/Sits for Week 1, the information available was a combination of old data, projection, and theoretical analysis. In Week 2, we begin to have live data that we can react to. Live footage that we can run. And we still have all of those same data points that we carried into Week 1.
The real difficulty is trying to decide how important our single data point from Week 1 was. Surely, some of the ideas and concepts that we believed in heading into 2018 are not going to hold true, and surely at least one of those showed itself in Week 1— but which and how to tell? The Starts and Sits for this week, as they always are, are largely match-up based. But the player analysis obviously plays a big factor and some of the players on this list are here not necessarily because I see something in the DEFENSIVE scheme, but rather saw something in Week 1 in the OFFENSIVE scheme that suggests that this player deserves at least some love heading into Week 2.
Christian McCaffrey @ Atlanta ($7,000 DK, $7,400 Fanduel)
So while this blurb is first, it is actually the last one I’m writing, and that is because I am writing it as a direct reaction to Deion Jones being put on IR by the Atlanta Falcons. Deion Jones may not be the biggest household name, but he was a 2nd-Year Pro-Bowler last year and could be argued as the best coverage-LB in the entire NFL, as well as one of the games premiere Tacklers. Deion Jones is a MASSIVE loss for the Atlanta Falcons defense, and repercussions for opposing offenses likely mean far better production particularly from Running Backs. And as a pass-catching Running Back, Christian McCaffrey is a terrible match-up for Atlanta’s first game without Jones. McCaffrey is a high-end start for me in Week 2, and keep an eye out for how this Atlanta LB core makes up for the loss of Jones. If they don’t do it well, plan to start fringe-RBs against the Atlanta Falcons a bit more frequently.
Matt Breida v. Detroit ($4,800 DK, $6,100 Fanduel)
Matt Breida didn’t light the world on fire in Week 1. He had only 12 Touches, the same number as teammate Alfred Morris. While his 51 total yards were better than Morris’ 38, there was nothing very special about this performance. But this game was against the VIKINGS, one of the league’s premiere defensive units. This past Monday against the Lions, Jets starting RBs Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell combined for 22 Carries, 162 Yards, and 2 TDs. And I mean no offense by this statement, but I don’t actually believe Powell and Crowell are particularly talented for the NFL level. Breida is still a better fit for Shanahan’s system, and figures to see a few more touches. I do think Alfred Morris could also be a Flex play in this game, particularly because he is more likely to see the Goal Line work. And while you may be saying “you’d start BOTH RBs??” I’d like to point out once again Shanahan’s career two-back usage (Freeman/Coleman) and the difference in defensive talent San Francisco will have to face in Week 2.
Adrian Peterson ($5,900 DK, $6,700 Fanduel) and Chris Thompson ($5,900 DK, $6,200 Fanduel) v. Indianapolis
This is another back tandem where I would actually recommend both this week. Chris Thompson is just… a poor man’s Kamara? A pass first back who seems exceptional at making the most no matter how few touches he gets. If it weren’t for the stench of fragility on CT, I’d be a much bigger Thompson fan for season long leagues. Adrian Peterson I find to be a bit more of a match-up based play. I want AP in games against weaker defenses and in games where he has a shot at getting 20 carries, like he did in Week 1. This Colts match-up fits both those factors. Adrian Peterson may not be as physically talented at this stage of his life as Joe Mixon, but Mixon just shredded the Colts. If the Redskins can get themselves playing with a lead, Adrian Peterson should see close to 20 carries again in this game.
Dion Lewis v. Houston ($5,000 DK, $6,500 Fanduel)
Many will call this an overreaction— but I think Dion Lewis is clearly the back you want to own in Tennessee. I personally ranked Lewis ahead of Derrick Henry with new OC Matt LaFleur, but even as a big Dion Lewis fanatic, I was surprised by his usage in Week 1. Dion Lewis got roughly 2/3 of the touches, with 21 to Henry’s 11. And while Henry had a big run called back, I was surprised to see Lewis’ best run of the game come from the I-Formation and I was surprised when he got the carry around the 5 yard line that led to his TD. These were areas where I expected Henry to dominate a bit more. Many will say Henry is the ideal back because of his size, strength and speed. But Dion Lewis, with his skills and long-reaching tool-kit, is my ideal back, and I think he’s LaFleur’s ideal back too. Houston is going to score some points and I don’t think the Titans will be able to take this game over and run the clock down, which makes it time for Dion Lewis to continue to shine. If his role stays at 2/3, I think there’s a solid chance he puts up RB12 numbers or better.
Kareem Hunt @ Pittsburgh ($6,200 DK, $7,800 Fanduel)
I’ll preface this by saying that I try to pick a HIGH level RB to fail—and sometimes it is hard to find one you really believe will fail. I’m not outright saying I would be benching Hunt. But I’m worried about his opportunity to have a good game against Pitt on the road, and I’m worried about his season long value if Spencer Ware continues to produce, albeit in limited touches. Hunt was the clear #1 RB when it came to this Sunday’s game, but Spencer Ware was the only RB to catch a pass and had easily the most explosive run of the game, even if it was late in the first half. The question isn’t if this will become a timeshare, but rather if Ware can just dig in another carry or three and start digging into Hunt’s value a bit more. I wouldn’t think it were too likely because of how much I like Hunt’s skill-set, but I also have to remind myself how much I liked Ware in 2016 before he got hurt. I’m definitely not paying Hunt’s Fanduel price this week ,which is currently the highest on this list even higher than Christian McCaffrey.
Corey Davis v. Houston ($5,100 DK, $6,300 Fanduel)
I am as optimistic about new OC Matt LaFleur’s impact on Corey Davis as I was about its impact on Dion Lewis. While he didn’t make the most of his whopping 13 Targets in week 1, I think we have plenty of reasons to believe that Corey Davis is very much a focal point of this offense. What I like in particular is that last year, in the more run heavy offense, Davis was more of the deep threat. While that’s a role I expect him to excel at, LaFleur seemed to use Davis far more creatively. They seemed to set up pass plays often just to get the ball into the hands of Davis. He may not have gotten into the end zone, but he had two receptions within the 5 yard line, and was tackled twice at the 2 Yard line. Mariota may not be healthy for this Sunday’s game, but no matter who quarterbacks in Tennessee, I think Davis has a chance to be a target hog that we rarely see currently ranked outside the top 10 or let alone 20 WRs.
Emmanuel Sanders v. Oakland ($6,200 DK, $6,800 Fanduel)
Sanders has already moved past Demaryius Thomas as the #1 WR in Denver in terms of daily pricing on DraftKings. Frankly, I don’t find this one to be an overreaction. Keenum and Sanders have had great chemistry. Bill Musgrave’s offense often focuses on getting the ball to the Z or Slot receiver, which Sanders is playing full-time for the first time in 2018. Oakland doesn’t have a great defense. So while Sanders’ stock is rising, I’m buying into Sanders as the guy I absolutely want to own in the Case Keenum/Denver Broncos offense.
Ryan Grant @ Washington ($4,300 DK, $4,900 Fanduel)
Revenge game anyone? Grant gets to play his former team. But what really interests me about this game is the whopping 53 pass attempts by Andrew Luck in Week 1. That number will regress. But I really like Ryan Grant and the Colts offense coming into this year because, whether they’re good for real football or not, this offense always has volume with Luck. Jay Gruden’s going to be able to move the ball on Indianapolis, which means Luck is going to have to do the heavy lifting again in this one. And while he may not be the lockdown stud he once was in Carolina, 30 Year-Old Josh Norman is still Washington’s best corner and will likely see a whole lot of TY Hilton in this match-up.
Chris Hogan @ Jacksonville ($5,400 DK, $6,200 Fanduel)
This is another game that feels kind of like a reaction after last week’s pitiful performance. But this has less to do with the past and more to do with the present and Jalen Ramsey. The Patriots will line up in multiple different arrays But Hogan is the #1 WR and therefore is likely to see the most of Ramsey in Week 2. What happens when elite defensive corners get matched up on a NE WR? I’m going to guess that we see a lot more Dorsett, Gronk, and running backs in this game than reliance on the “#1” Chris Hogan. Hogan will benefit from Edelman’s absence. Still, I think Hogan is a Buy-Low opportunity. I just might wait until he has the chance of two bad weeks.
I don’t have Alex Collins as a start this week, primarily because I think the TNF match-up against the Bengals isn’t the most ideal. I still have him as a top 20 RB this week and a borderline RB1 for the rest of the season. No, he didn’t have a great debut. Yes, maybe I’m just being a stubborn mule. But I believe in Alex Collins and his role on this team. I don’t have workload concerns. He does have to hold onto the football, but I consider this more a buy-low window then a reason to be concerned.
And speaking of Buy-Lows, pretty much the same goes for the entire San Francisco offense coming off of a rough game against Minnesota. I have faith in Garcon and Goodwin (and Garoppolo) to continue to establish a high volume offense like we saw at the end of last year. Just not against the Vikings. And Goodwin’s injury seems largely minor.
Also this was mentioned above alongside McCaffrey, but the loss of Deion Jones for the Falcons is something to monitor in terms of RB Match-Ups. It could be a very significant blow at the Linebacker position.
This may be my last Start/Sit for the year. I’ll continue my work as an alternate though and cover the upcoming Waiver Wire article for Week 3.