Fantasy Football: Week 2 sit-start advice

Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).

Good luck with your Week 2 lineups.

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

Start: Marquez Callaway

Start in DFS: Christian McCaffrey ($37)

Callaway somehow flopped last week despite Jamies Winston throwing five touchdowns, but there’s reason not to (totally) panic. The Saints only attempted 21 passes, and Callaway easily led the team in routes run. Winston looks good, and Callaway is New Orleans’ WR1 right now.

It’s tough not to use McCaffrey as a DFS building block given his usage, as he was the No. 1 fantasy RB in Week 1 even in 0.5 PPR despite not scoring a touchdown. And he’s not even Yahoo’s RB with the highest salary in Week 2 (Alvin Kamara). The Saints allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs last season and shut down Aaron Jones in Week 1, but CMC’s role and skills make him matchup-proof. The Saints’ defense is also currently not even close to full strength while dealing with multiple injuries.

Houston Texans @ Cleveland Browns

Sit: Mark Ingram

Start: Browns D/ST

Ingram improbably had the second-most carries in the NFL in Week 1, but the game script figures to be dramatically different Sunday with the Texans 12.5-point underdogs on the road versus a Cleveland team with a strong front. There were 50 running backs who played more pass snaps than Ingram (eight) in Week 1, and Houston should be playing mostly from behind.

Tyrod Taylor balled out Week 1 (he even had a higher EPA/dropback than Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and Tom Brady), but this is still a good spot for Cleveland’s defense to bounce back after a tough loss to Kansas City. Houston had a nice Week 1 upset, but this is still the league’s worst roster.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Chicago Bears

Start: Ja’Marr Chase

Sit: Darnell Mooney

Any concerns about Chase’s preseason drops were put to rest after a big Week 1 that included the rookie finishing top-15 in target share. He also dominated Cincinnati’s air yards percentage, so Chase looks like an immediate alpha and a must-start in fantasy leagues (not great news for Tyler Boyd).

I like Mooney’s long-term prospects, but he’s in a tough spot as long as Andy Dalton is starting. Dalton’s Week 1 pass chart is wild and features essentially only attempts inside 10 yards, which isn’t ideal for a downfield burner.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sit: All Raiders but Darren Waller

Start in DFS: Najee Harris ($25)

The Raiders must travel for a 10 am body clock game after playing overtime Monday night, so the setup isn’t ideal even before considering Pittsburgh’s defense is coming off an extremely impressive performance in an upset over the Bills. It’s a Steelers D that also finished No. 1 in DVOA last season and enters with a massive advantage in the trenches. Josh Jacobs is banged up too. Waller, meanwhile, looks like a top-10 fantasy player and a must-play in Yahoo DFS at $22.

Harris was the only RB to play all 100% of the snaps last week (while leading all backs in routes per dropback), although that also came with him leading the league in contact behind the line of scrimmage, as fears of Pittsburgh’s shaky offensive line came to life. Sunday’s a plus matchup with the Steelers as near-TD home favorites facing a Las Vegas team that was gashed for the fourth-most fantasy points by running backs last season.

Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Buffalo Bills
Najee Harris could deliver the fantasy line that matches the workload in Week 2. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins

Start: Emmanuel Sanders

Sit: Mike Gesicki

Sanders would’ve been a much higher priority pickup in fantasy leagues this week if Josh Allen didn’t miss him wide open for a 50-yard touchdown in Week 1; the WR racked up the sixth-most air yards in the league during his Buffalo debut. The Bills have been the most pass-happy team in neutral situations since the second half of last season, and Sanders is going to benefit as long as he stays healthy this year.

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Gesicki should be a major breakout candidate as a tight end entering Year Four with truly elite workout metrics, but he finished with just a 38.9% snap share in Week 1, and targets will be even tougher to come by once Will Fuller returns.

Los Angeles Rams @ Indianapolis Colts

Start in DFS: Tyler Higbee ($16)

Sit: Parris Campbell

Higbee looks like a top-five fantasy tight end after playing 100% of the snaps in Week 1 and running a route on all but one dropback from new QB Matthew Stafford, who looked fantastic in his Rams debut. If Higbee is going to continue seeing close to a 23% target share from Stafford (and Gerald Everett signed in Seattle), he’s going to help a lot of fantasy managers win, including this week in DFS.

Unfortunately, Campbell can’t be trusted in fantasy lineups despite T.Y. Hilton going down and Carson Wentz ready to open the season, as he watched Zach Pascal man the slot while seeing just 60% of the snaps in Week 1.

San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles

Start: Elijah Mitchell

Start in DFS: Jalen Hurts ($27)

Starting any 49ers running back this season now comes with real risk and unpredictability, but Mitchell also has major upside as the new favorite for touches in the team’s backfield after Trey Sermon was inactive and Raheem Mostert was lost for the season last week. The team traded up for Sermon, who will likely get a chance now, but JaMychal Hasty struggled in pass protection last week while Mitchell impressed with a big game. The rookie has 4.4 speed and even runs upright like a Mostert clone! He should take over that role in a rushing offense that figures to be highly productive aided by a schedule that projects to be extremely favorable.

After averaging the most intended air yards (9.5) as a rookie last season, Hurts averaged the fewest (3.7) in Week 1, as Philadelphia’s new coaching staff made dramatic changes. Either way, Hurts is going to be an extremely valuable fantasy QB, as he’s averaged the second-most rush attempts at the position since taking over as Philadelphia’s starter. Hurts gets a tough matchup on paper, but Jared Goff put up a big fantasy game last week against the 49ers, who lost their top corner Jason Verrett for the season. There are 15+ quarterbacks with a higher salary than Hurts this week.

That won’t happen again.

Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Start: KJ Hamler

Sit: James Robinson

Hamler had a bad drop last week but should see more targets with Jerry Jeudy suffering a high-ankle sprain, and he gets a beatable Jacksonville secondary Sunday. Tim Patrick and Noah Fant also get upgrades, as does Courtland Sutton if he’s truly recovered from knee surgery. Hamler is a deeper flier for Week 2.

Robinson isn’t a bad flex option, but that appears to be his ceiling while filling more of the expected Travis Etienne role (he played the fifth-most pass snaps among RBs in Week 1) than anything close to last season’s workhorse one. Robinson had just five carries compared to Carlos Hyde’s nine, and his ADP is going to look far too high if that usage continues. He gets a tough matchup this week against Denver, although one positive for Jacksonville’s fantasy outlook is the team finished No. 1 in pace during Urban Meyer’s debut.

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

Start: Patriots D/ST

Start in DFS: Elijah Moore ($10)

The Patriots didn’t dominate Miami’s line quite as expected last week, but they get an even more favorable matchup Sunday against a Jets team dealing with a ton of injuries, including LT Mekhi Becton. Zach Wilson was among the most pressured quarterbacks in Week 1 while facing a Carolina defense that was bottom-10 in DVOA last season.

Moore flopped during his NFL debut while finishing with negative yards. But he also was top-30 in air yards and a slow start could be expected after he missed time late in the preseason with a quad injury. Moore otherwise received as much hype throughout summer as any rookie in recent memory, and the Jets are unlikely to run with much success against the Pats. Moore is worth a minimum flier ($10) in DFS and isn’t going to be rostered much after Week 1’s disaster that saw him commit a bad drop deep downfield.

Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals

Start: Kirk Cousins

Sit: A.J. Green

The main problem with Cousins’ fantasy value (other than lack of rushing) is Minnesota’s snail pace, which should be less of a problem this week facing an Arizona team that finished first in pace (in neutral situations) last season. In a matchup indoors with an over/under of 50+ points, Cousins is a fine fantasy start in Week 2.

After finishing with the third-most unrealized air yards last season, Green turned six targets into just 25 scoreless yards during his Cardinals debut while the rest of Arizona’s receivers went off. Teammates Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore are both far better fantasy starts moving forward.

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Start in DFS: Calvin Ridley ($28), Mike Evans ($27)

The Bucs were the league’s No. 1 pass-funnel defense last season and watched the Cowboys attempt 58 throws in Week 1. Matt Ryan struggled badly in the season opener, but Atlanta should be forced to pass a ton against Tampa Bay. Ridley disappointed last week but had a 51% air yards share and still projects to be a top-three fantasy WR moving forward. Kyle Pitts should bounce back this week as well.

Tampa Bay has the highest implied team total this week, and this game features two teams that were top-three in pass-funnel defenses last year. After Evans took a backseat to Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski in Week 1, expect Tom Brady to feature him heavily Sunday.

Tennessee Titans @ Seattle Seahawks

Sit in DFS: Derrick Henry ($35)

Start: Seahawks D/ST

Obviously, you’re starting Henry in season-long leagues, but consider this a warning to temper expectations again in Week 2. He encouragingly saw four targets last week, but it’s bad news Tennessee is near-TD underdogs in Seattle, as game script may not be ideal for the power back. The Seahawks had the No. 7 run defense in DVOA last season, and Henry sports the fourth-highest salary (non-QB) on the board this week.

The Titans went from calling play action on 36.4% of plays last season down to 11.6 during the team’s first game without play caller Arthur Smith in a highly discouraging debut by Todd Downing. Moreover, Taylor Lewan allowed five sacks to Chandler Jones last week, as Tennessee’s left tackle is still recovering from a torn ACL.

At least the Titans must travel to Seattle to play in front of a full Seahawks crowd for the first time since 2019 ... good luck.

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Chargers

Start in DFS: CeeDee Lamb ($23), Mike Williams ($23)

Lamb saw a whopping 15 targets in Week 1, finishing third in air yards. He figures to remain as busy as ever with Michael Gallup sidelined and Ezekiel Elliott struggling to break tackles. Dak Prescott looked terrific during his return, and Dallas has 10 days to prepare for a “road” game in which they will have most of the crowd’s support. Lamb should have a top-five-type salary among wideouts, but he’s tied for 17th this week.

Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys
Pounce on CeeDee Lamb's cheap DFS salary before it inevitably adjusts. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Williams looked great Week 1 in the Michael Thomas “X” role in new OC Joe Lombardi’s offense, racking up 12 targets while seeing plenty of air yards (and dropping a would-be touchdown) in a tough matchup. The Chargers have one of the highest implied team totals in Week 2 while facing a Cowboys defense that allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers last season and just lost DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory.

LA’s revamped offensive line is really going to help Williams, who finishes as a top-15 fantasy wideout in Week 2.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens

Sit: Mecole Hardman, Baltimore RBs

Hardman was KC’s clear WR2 last week, running just one fewer route than Tyreek Hill, but it resulted in only three targets. Long-term upside remains with Patrick Mahomes throwing to him (it’s also encouraging he ran half his snaps out of the slot), but it’s tough starting Hardman right now with the team’s target tree so narrow.

Kansas City can be run on, and Ty’Son Williams impressed at times last week, but he also disappeared after whiffing on a block. Latavius Murray should continue to see more action (while Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell are threats to be activated as well) in a backfield that looks like a full-blown committee with a QB who doesn’t throw much to the position and steals goal-line touchdowns. The Ravens will also be without left tackle Ronnie Stanley during this Sunday night matchup.

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

Start: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jamaal Williams

Valdes-Scantling finished with the fourth-most air yards last week, so there remain encouraging developments with MVS despite the disappointing box score that had plenty to do with Aaron Rodgers playing poorly. The Lions yielded the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers last season and just lost corner Jeff Okudah to a torn Achilles.

It helped that Detroit ran 80+ plays last week, but Williams saw nine carries and nine targets and is a flex option during his revenge game Monday night. Williams’ status needs to be monitored after he was limited in practice this week with a chest injury, but he also has upside to take all of Detroit’s backfield work, as D’Andre Swift continues to deal with a groin injury.

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