For one week, it appeared like drafting receivers early paid off compared to selecting running backs. Antonio Brown , Julio Jones , DeAndre Hopkins , A.J. Green , Mike Evans and Brandin Cooks all played at a high level in Week 1, while Todd Gurley , Adrian Peterson , Devonta Freeman , Eddie Lacy and Mark Ingram all struggled.
Now, a one-week sample size is too soon to judge if your draft strategy was successful, and there are any number of scenarios that could alter a potential outcome. But if you drafted one of the elite receivers early over a top-tier running back, you probably feel happy after Week 1.
On the other hand, you could be miserable if you drafted Keenan Allen (torn ACL) in the first 30 overall picks, and it will be hard to replace someone of his caliber. We also have two high-profile receivers dealing with injuries in Sammy Watkins (foot) and Demaryius Thomas (hip), and hopefully both will be active in Week 2.
Jamaal Charles (knee), Chris Ivory (illness) and Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) are all injuries worth monitoring this week, but it appears like Charles and Ivory will again be out. That’s good news for Spencer Ware , who is a must-start running back at Houston Cougars , and T.J. Yeldon , who is worth starting at San Diego (more on him below).
We’d love to get Gronkowski back since tight ends were awful in Week 1, and Zach Ertz (ribs) is also out this week. It would help if guys like Coby Fleener , Gary Barnidge and Martellus Bennett actually showed up since all three combined for one Fantasy point in a standard league. I’m confident in all three, but they need to prove it on the field.
This should be another fun week of action with several exciting matchups, especially New Orleans at the New York Giants , Tampa Bay at Arizona and Jacksonville at San Diego, which are expected to be high scoring. But then there are the low-scoring affairs like Kansas City at Houston, Seattle at Los Angeles and Philadelphia at Chicago, which could lead to low production.
We’ll find out soon enough once the games start Thursday night with the New York Jets at Buffalo Bills , and hopefully your Fantasy teams will be in great shape for Week 2.
Editor’s Note: Projections are provided by CBSSports, not Jamey Eisenberg.
Start of the Week
You’re probably looking at this suggestion with a little bit of confusion. After all, the San Francisco 49ers just shut down one of the best running backs in the NFL in Todd Gurley with 17 carries for 47 yards in Week 1 and should be able to contain Stewart.
But that won’t be the case this week.
The 49ers have several things working against them in Week 2. They are playing on a short week and have a long trip to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. start. And their run defense has been bad on the road the past two years.
Over the past 16 road games, the 49ers have allowed a running back to score or gain 100 total yards in 14 games, including 10 in a row. And last year, after shutting down Adrian Peterson in Week 1 at home (10 carries for 31 yards and three catches for 21 yards), the 49ers traveled to Pittsburgh when DeAngelo Williams had 20 carries for 77 yards and three touchdowns and four catches for 15 yards.
We’d love to see Stewart match what his former teammate did in Week 2 this year, and Stewart actually played better than expected last week at Denver with 15 carries for 64 yards. He also has a good track record at home with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in four of his past five games.
The Carolina Panthers should also be rested after playing their season opener on Thursday night of Week 1 at Denver, and the 49ers could be weary from the long road trip after a big Monday night victory against the Los Angeles Rams . While it might seem like a surprise to trust Stewart this week against the 49ers, we’re playing the trends here that Stewart will do well at home. He’s worth using as at least a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues.
I’m starting Stewart over: DeMarco Murray (at DET), Doug Martin (at ARI), Devonta Freeman (at OAK), Carlos Hyde (at CAR) and Jeremy Hill (at PIT)
Manning did exactly what you hoped he would do in Week 1 on the road at Dallas with 24 Fantasy points behind 207 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception. His receiving corps could be special this season with Victor Cruz back from his knee injury in 2014, and he connected with Cruz in the end zone against the Dallas Cowboys . The only Giants receiver who didn’t score was Odell Beckham since Manning’s two other touchdowns went to Sterling Shepard and Larry Donnell , but look for all the Giants receiving options to be in play this week. Manning has faced the New Orleans Saints three times in the past five years, including last season, and is averaging 338.3 passing yards over that span with 12 total touchdowns and just three interceptions. He went off for 350 passing yards and six touchdowns at New Orleans last year. The Saints allowed 23 Fantasy points against Derek Carr in Week 1, and that should be the floor for Manning in this matchup.
What we saw from Stafford in Week 1 at Indianapolis might just be a sign of things to come all season after he completed 31 of 39 for 340 yards and three touchdowns for 31 Fantasy points in a standard league. You can say he took advantage of a bad defense for the Indianapolis Colts , which is true, but since Jim Bob Cooter took over as the offensive coordinator in Week 8 last year, Stafford has posted some incredible stats. In Stafford’s past nine games under Cooter, he has 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions, with an average of 279.9 passing yards a game. He’s been consistent, and he was excellent in his first start without the retired Calvin Johnson . This week he faces a Tennessee Titans defense that held Minnesota Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill to only nine Fantasy points in Week 1, but that’s not an indication of this Tennessee defense, which allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in 14 of 16 games last year. Stafford should continue playing at a high level this week and is worth starting in all formats.
Carr made me sweat a little as the Start of the Week in Week 1 when he finally threw his only touchdown in the fourth quarter, and he followed it up with a two-point conversion to finish with 319 passing yards and one touchdown and 16 rushing yards for 23 Fantasy points in a standard league. He should be equally successful this week against the Atlanta Falcons , who got obliterated by Jameis Winston in Week 1 for 281 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception for 33 Fantasy points. We don’t think Carr will achieve that level of success this week, but his floor is likely his stats from Week 1. The Falcons have also allowed multiple touchdowns to the past four opposing quarterbacks they have faced on the road going back to last season in Blake Bortles , Newton, Winston and Blaine Gabbert . Carr should keep that streak alive this week.
Winston could be a little risky with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing their second road game in as many weeks, and they have to face a tough Arizona Cardinals team coming off a bad loss after the New England Patriots won in Arizona. But Winston appears to be maturing into a standout Fantasy quarterback, and going back to last year he now has at least 20 Fantasy points in a standard league in four of his past six games. Jimmy Garoppolo also played well against Arizona in Week 1 with 264 passing yards and one touchdown and 12 rushing yards, and Winston could be forced to chase points if the Cardinals offense shows up in a big way. I’m very confident starting Winston in this matchup, and he might become a must-start option in all leagues very quickly if he continues to progress like we saw last week — and going back to last season.
It was nearly the perfect Bortles game in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers . Jacksonville was chasing points in the fourth quarter, and Bortles was throwing, which was the case for most of 2015. The Jacksonville Jaguars ultimately fell short in a 27-23 loss, but Fantasy owners were left hanging since Bortles failed to get a second touchdown. He finished with 320 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception for just 16 Fantasy points. But he should do better this week against San Diego, and he scored 26 Fantasy points against the San Diego Chargers in 2015 with 329 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception and 33 rushing yards. Alex Smith , of all quarterbacks, just had 363 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception and 15 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Chargers, and Bortles should lean on his weapons in Allen Robinson , Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas , especially with Ivory again likely out following a hospital stay. Bortles should remain a low-end No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this week on the road.
- Kirk Cousins (vs. DAL): He had three touchdowns in his last meeting with DAL.
- Joe Flacco (at CLE): CLE just allowed 23 FPTS to rookie Carson Wentz .
- Matt Ryan (at OAK): He’s coming off an excellent Week 1 vs. TB with 28 FPTS.
The performance we got from Dalton in Week 1 at the Jets is what I expect to see all year long. He played well with 23-of-30 passing for 366 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but he finished with just 18 Fantasy points. The good thing was he allowed A.J. Green to be dominant with 12 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown, and even Brandon LaFell looked competent with four catches for 91 yards. But Dalton was held under 20 Fantasy points, which should be a theme for him this season and will lower his Fantasy value. The last time Dalton faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8 of last year he had just 231 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for 11 Fantasy points at Pittsburgh, and he has just one game with more than 20 Fantasy points in his past five trips to the Steel City. His stats over that span are an average of 223.6 passing yards with six total touchdowns and six total interceptions. He should have another tough game at the Steelers this week and is only a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback at best.
Almost everything that could go wrong for Taylor did in Week 1 at Baltimore. He was 15-of-22 passing for only 111 yards, was sacked twice and limited to just 11 rushing yards. His star receiver, Sammy Watkins, is still dealing with problems in his surgically-repaired foot, and if Watkins plays Thursday night he won’t be at 100 percent. And the Jets did a great job against him last year by holding him to an average of 15.5 Fantasy points in a standard league in two meetings, including a high of just 18 points at home in Week 17. I hope Taylor plays well this week and bounces back from last week’s miserable performance because I still have high expectations for him as a starting Fantasy quarterback. But he needs Watkins to be healthy, which might not be the case this week, and quarterbacks have a bad history of playing well on Thursday night. If you can bench Taylor this week that would probably be the right move to make.
We had Osweiler as a sleeper in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears , and he delivered with 20 Fantasy points behind 231 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception and 14 rushing yards. But that was a fantastic matchup for him against a banged-up secondary, and this game against the Kansas City Chiefs will be a little tougher. Kansas City gave up only 243 passing yards and one touchdown to Philip Rivers in Week 1, and the Chiefs faced Osweiler last year when he was in Denver. He was 14-of-24 passing for 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception and 18 rushing yards in relief of Peyton Manning. He’ll do better in a full game at home, but the Chiefs should keep him under 20 Fantasy points. He’s only worth using in two-quarterback leagues this week.
It’s not hard to recall Fitzpatrick’s last game against the Bills. It was Week 17, and the Jets just needed to win at Buffalo to reach the playoffs. Instead, the FitzMagic ended when he threw three fourth-quarter interceptions, and the Jets were eliminated. He struggled in two games against Rex Ryan last year with an average of 16 Fantasy points in a standard league, and his high was just 18 points. He also had 18 Fantasy points in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals with 189 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception and 15 rushing yards, and I expect him to be in the same range this week against the Bills, who only allowed 14 points to Flacco in Week 1. Fitzpatrick is only an option in two-quarterback leagues this week.
It’s hard to find a team that has played Wilson tougher than the Rams. In his past eight meetings against the Rams, Wilson is averaging 18 Fantasy points a game in a standard league, which includes a high of 40 points and a low of one. He’s gone over 20 points against the Rams just three times over that span and scored 18 points or less in the five other meetings. We’ll see which end of the spectrum Wilson ends up on this week since he’s coming off a miserable performance at home against Miami with 13 Fantasy points in a standard league. He attempted a career-high 43 passes and completed 27 for 258 yards, one touchdown and one interception and 16 rushing yards. More importantly, he suffered an ankle injury, which should limit him in practice. The Rams defense was embarrassed in Week 1 at San Francisco, but most of it was on the ground since Blaine Gabbert passed for just 170 yards and a touchdown and added 43 rushing yards. Wilson is more of a bust alert than an outright sit candidate, but you might consider an another Fantasy quarterback this week given his history and health in the first game for the Rams in their return to Los Angeles.
Luck was fantastic in Week 1 at home against the Detroit Lions with 43 Fantasy points in a standard league, and he reminded us of how great he can be with 385 passing yards and four touchdowns and 21 rushing yards. But Detroit at home is different than Denver on the road, and Luck could be in store for a big letdown this week. The Denver Broncos just held Cam Newton to 22 Fantasy points, which is more than respectable, but he was only the No. 12 Fantasy quarterback in Week 1. Now, Luck faced the Broncos last year in the game where he suffered a lacerated kidney and was lost for the season, but he played well with 25 Fantasy points. But that was at home. It’s a small sample size, but in three games outdoors last year (at BUF, at TEN and at CAR), Luck averaged just 19.7 Fantasy points in a standard league. I expect him to be in that range in this matchup. You should still start him, but lower your expectations against this dominating defense.
Jennings did a nice job in Week 1 at Dallas with 18 carries for 75 yards, and we hope the Giants continue to lean on him as a workhorse runner. I’m confident that if he gets 18 carries this week against the Saints then he should go off. Last week, Raider running back Jalen Richard needed one carry to go for a 75-yard touchdown at New Orleans, and he was among three running backs who scored against the Saints in Week 1. Jennings had 10 carries for 54 yards and two catches for 31 yards at New Orleans last year, and that should be his floor. A running back has scored a touchdown against the Saints in seven of their past eight games going back to last season, and Jennings is an excellent No. 2 running back in all leagues this week.
This won’t be an easy matchup for Mathews, and he didn’t have the best game in Week 1 against Cleveland with 22 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown. But you have to love his volume, and the Philadelphia Eagles should again lean on him enough to make him a starter in the majority of leagues. The Bears did a nice job against Lamar Miller in Week 1 by holding him to 3.8 yards per carry, but he got 28 carries for 106 yards and four catches for 11 yards. We doubt Mathews gets that much work, but he should have the chance for 20 touches again if the Eagles are in a close game or playing with the lead. And if Mathews scores like we saw in Week 1 then he will have a standout stat line on Monday night.
The Miami Dolphins defensive line is a mess heading into this game, which should mean the Patriots can lean on Blount, especially if they are playing with a lead in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Mario Williams is dealing with a concussion, and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (calf) was just placed on injured reserve. Miami did a good job limiting Seattle’s run game in Week 1 with Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls combining for 27 carries for 98 carries (3.6 yards per carry) and five catches for 31 yards, but Blount had a good Fantasy outing at Arizona with 22 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. You never know how the Patriots will use their running backs, but it appears like Blount and James White (one carry for 4 yards and five catches for 40 yards at Arizona) are locked into their respective roles. And with Jimmy Garoppolo still starting for the suspended Tom Brady , we expect Blount to have a chance for a solid outing this week.
The storyline for Langford coming out of the preseason was that he looked like the Bears workhorse running back with little competition, and that was the case in Week 1 at Houston. He played 96 percent of Chicago’s offensive snaps, which was the highest among all running backs in Week 1 ( David Johnson was second at 95 percent). Langford grinded out 17 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 6 yards, and his touchdown was gifted to him following a pass-interference penalty put Chicago at the goal line. It was a tough matchup against the Houston Texans , and the Eagles won’t be much easier. But Isaiah Crowell had 12 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown at Philadelphia last week, and Langford should get enough work to be successful. He now has four games in his career with at least 15 carries, and he’s finished with at least 80 total yards or a touchdown in all four outings.
We doubt Ivory is going to play this week after he was just released from the hospital Tuesday following a two-day stay for an undisclosed illness, which should allow Yeldon to again work as the feature back for the Jaguars. He played 88 percent of the offensive snaps in Week 1 against Green Bay and finished with 21 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 30 yards. Clearly his 1.8 yards per carry is terrible, and he would have been a disaster without the touchdown. But now he gets to face a Chargers defense that was beat up by Spencer Ware in Week 1 with 11 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown and seven catches for 129 yards. Yeldon could be a standout option in PPR leagues, and last year against the Chargers he had nine carries for 36 yards and four catches for 46 yards. That should be his floor in this matchup if Ivory remains out as expected.
- Theo Riddick (vs. TEN): He is a must-start option in all PPR leagues.
- Danny Woodhead (vs. JAC): His usage will increase now that Allen is out.
- Thomas Rawls (at LAR): He’s starting this week and should get a full workload.
- Alfred Morris (at WAS): Don’t be surprised if he scores in a revenge game.
- Terrance West (at CLE): Like Morris, West could score against his former team.
Hill’s performance in Week 1 at the Jets was exactly what happened to him in 2015 when everyone considered him a bust. He had nine carries for 31 yards, but a touchdown saved his Fantasy production and gave him nine points in a standard league. We’re hoping more is in store this season, but this is a tough matchup to trust him and Giovani Bernard . The Steelers were tough on the Bengals running backs in 2015 and limited Hill to a combined seven Fantasy points and Bernard to nine points. Hill has faced the Steelers four times in his career and has one game with more than six Fantasy points, which was Week 17 in 2014, and he has never scored against Pittsburgh. The Steelers also have allowed just one rushing touchdown to a running back in their past six games going back to last season.
One of Gore’s best games last season was Week 9 against Denver at home when he had 28 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 19 yards. It was one of four games he had with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, and he was able to have success against this tough Broncos defense because of his volume. We’ll see if a repeat performance can happen this week on the road, and the Broncos defense should be rested for this matchup. Gore had a mediocre game in Week 1 against Detroit with 14 carries for 59 yards and four catches for 19 yards. We could see a similar stat line this week, and Stewart had 15 carries for 64 yards at Denver last week. Gore is nothing more than a potential flex option in Week 2.
Foster finished with a positive stat line in Week 1 at Seattle with nine Fantasy points, but he had the benefit of a 50-yard reception to get there. His final numbers were 13 carries for 38 yards and three catches for 62 yards, so you see what could have happened without that big play. Still, it was good to see him produce in his first game coming off last year’s ruptured Achilles, especially without center Mike Pouncey (hip). For this week, Foster is a low-end starting option at best at New England for the second road game in a row. The Patriots struggled with David Johnson last week (132 total yards and a touchdown), but Foster isn’t in Johnson’s class any more. He’ll need a big play to buoy his stat line again this week, but it’s hard to count on that from him on a consistent basis. Be cautious if you’re forced to start him in Week 2.
Crowell continued his track record in Week 1 of being productive when he has at least 12 carries, which he had at the Eagles. He had 12 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 16 yards, which now gives him double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league nine times in his past 14 games with that much work. One of those outings was Week 5 at Baltimore last season when he had 13 carries for 49 yards and two catches for 38 yards and a touchdown, and we’ll see if he can do it again this week. The Baltimore Ravens did a good job limited LeSean McCoy in Week 1 with 16 carries for 58 yards (3.6 yards per carry) and four catches for 12 yards, but he scored a touchdown to help his Fantasy production. It will take Crowell finding the end zone to make him a starter this week, and we don’t expect that to happen. He should be considered a flex option at best in Week 2.
After a dominant preseason, Henry was left on the bench for most of Tennessee’s Week 1 matchup against Minnesota. He was held to five carries for 3 yards and two catches for 41 yards, and he played just 31 percent of the offensive snaps. By comparison, DeMarco Murray played 75 percent of the snaps and finished with 13 carries for 42 yards and five catches for 35 yards and two touchdowns. Murray will likely continue to lead the team in touches as long as he’s healthy, but you should continue to stash Henry because his time will come. But we need to see a consistent workload first before telling you to start him in the majority of leagues. Detroit also has allowed just one running back to score in the past seven games going back to last year, including four in a row.
Hyde had one of the best performances of Week 1 when he had 23 carries for 88 yards and two touchdowns and two catches for 5 yards against the Rams. It’s reminiscent of his Week 1 last year against Minnesota when he dominated for 29 Fantasy points, only to come crashing down in Week 2 at Pittsburgh for five Fantasy points in a standard league. The Panthers were just gashed by C.J. Anderson for 139 total yards and two touchdowns, but the defense should be rested and ready to make a statement after losing in Week 1. Carolina also has not allowed a rushing touchdown to a running back in the past five games at home, including matchups with Doug Martin, Devonta Freeman and Eddie Lacy. Hyde is a low-end No. 2 Fantasy running back in standard leagues and worth benching in PPR formats this week.
Edelman did exactly what you could have hoped for in Week 1 at Arizona in his first start with Garoppolo with seven catches for 66 yards on seven targets. The Patriots didn’t alter their game plan without Brady, and Edelman did everything but find the end zone. This week, he faces a Dolphins defense he knows well and has had plenty of success against. He has 28 catches for 309 yards and three touchdowns in his past five meetings with the Dolphins, and Doug Baldwin just posted a stat line of nine catches for 92 yards and a touchdown against Miami in Week 1 on 11 targets. Edelman should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues and a must-start option in PPR.
Floyd was outplayed by Larry Fitzgerald in Week 1 against New England when he had eight catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns on 10 targets compared to three catches for 61 yards on seven targets for Floyd. But Floyd had the tougher matchup with Malcolm Butler for most of the night, and we’re expecting a better outcome this week. Fitzgerald is definitely worth starting as well, but Floyd should also do well against a Buccaneers defense that just allowed Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu to score in Week 1 and combine for nine catches, 146 yards and two touchdowns on 16 targets. We hope John Brown gets going this week as well, but Floyd is a solid No. 2 Fantasy receiver in this matchup.
Jackson started off his contract year with a solid performance in Week 1 against the Steelers with six catches for 102 yards on 10 targets. He now has 100 yards or a touchdown in three of his past five games, including all three at home. One of those games was Week 13 against Dallas when he had six catches for 80 yards and a touchdown on seven targets, and he has at least 80 receiving yards in his past three outings against the Cowboys, including two touchdowns over that span. Dallas just allowed two touchdowns to Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz in Week 1, and Jackson should be started in all leagues this week.
Jones didn’t have the dominating game many were hoping for given the matchup with the Colts in Week 1, but he showed enough that should feel comfortable starting him most weeks, including Week 2 against the Titans. He led the Lions in targets with 10 and finished with four catches for 85 yards, which was also a team high. Tennessee allowed Stefon Diggs to have seven catches for 103 yards on nine targets in Week 1, and Jones could easily post a similar stat line. He’s a solid No. 2 Fantasy receiver this week with top-15 upside, and he could make a splash in his first home game in Detroit.
Matthews was awesome in Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns with seven catches for 114 yards on a whopping 14 targets. He wasn’t totally on the same page with Wentz, but it was good to see Wentz lean on him so much. That should continue this week with Ertz out, and the matchup is stellar with the Bears secondary a mess. Last week, the Texans had two receivers score with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller , and Matthews should have the chance for another quality outing on Monday night. We used to wait for Matthews to produce in garbage time, but he looked like a third-year breakout in the season-opener against the Browns. Hopefully that game is a sign of things to come in 2016.
- Emmanuel Sanders (vs. IND): Great matchup and Demaryius Thomas (hip) is hurting.
- Sterling Shepard (vs. NO): He and Victor Cruz are in play this week against NO.
- Stefon Diggs (vs. GB): A strong debut in Week 1 with seven catches for 103 yards.
- Travis Benjamin (vs. JAC): He has the chance for a big year with Allen now out.
- Tajae Sharpe (at DET): Three receivers scored at least 6 FPTS vs. DET last week.
You probably know the story with Watkins by now that he’s dealing with a sore foot and went from being shut down for several weeks at the beginning of the week to now playing. But clearly something is wrong with his surgically-repaired foot, and the short week probably isn’t the best thing for his outlook since the game is Thursday night. He had four catches for 43 yards on six targets in Week 1 at Baltimore, and it’s risky to trust him this week. Now, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he went off for a huge game since he torched the Jets in Week 17 last year at home with 11 catches for 136 yards, and A.J. Green just beat up this secondary for 12 catches, 180 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. But you knew Green was healthy last week. You can’t say the same about Watkins, so use caution when setting your lineup.
Cobb didn’t have the best season debut in Week 1 at Jacksonville with six catches for 57 yards on eight targets, and the return of Jordy Nelson from last year’s torn ACL didn’t magically turn Cobb back into a star. But better days are ahead, although it might not happen this week given his track record against the Vikings. In his past five games against Minnesota, Cobb has failed to score double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in all five meetings, including scoring two touchdowns over that span. He’s been held to fewer than 65 yards in all five outings, and it’s been a long time since he’s actually helped Fantasy owners. He’s scored eight Fantasy points or less in a standard league in nine games in a row and 13 of his past 14, including nine games with five points or less. The majority of that was with Nelson out, so better days are ahead, but for this week he’s just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in most formats.
Landry was a solid play in PPR leagues in Week 1 with seven catches for 59 yards at Seattle, and he should post a similar stat line this week. But in standard leagues, it will be hard to count on Landry given his history against the Patriots and his lack of finding the end zone. He’s only scored receiving touchdowns in seven of 33 career games, and he’s never scored against the Patriots, averaging just 7.7 Fantasy points in a standard league. That’s No. 3 Fantasy material in a standard format, and he’s not a must-start in this matchup. But in PPR leagues you should still feel comfortable with Landry, who has at least six catches in each of his past three outings against New England.
The downside of Lockett is he’s not likely to be a high volume receiver most weeks, especially when everyone is healthy in Seattle’s offense. Even when he was playing great as a rookie last year his best game was seven catches, and he had more than five catches just twice. He was bad in Week 1 against Miami with three catches for 11 yards, but he did have a career-high eight targets. We hope that continues moving forward, but he struggled in two games against the Rams last year. The first game you can ignore because it was his NFL debut in Week 1, and he had just four catches for 34 yards on four targets. But he played the Rams in Week 16 last year when he was having his best production of the season and finished with just three catches for 33 yards on seven targets. He’s a boom-or-bust play most weeks, and this is a bad matchup to trust him given Wilson’s history against the Rams. Consider him a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best.
Hurns played the Chargers in Week 12 last year and struggled with four catches for 42 yards on five targets. He could have a similar stat line this week. Bortles spread the ball around to his entire plethora of weapons with four players (Robinson, Thomas, Hurns and Yeldon) all getting at least five targets. And Hurns has struggled when Thomas is healthy, so you might be rooting for Thomas to miss this game with the ankle ailment that’s bothering him heading into this week. Hurns only scored twice in his final six games last year once Thomas was fully healthy, and Thomas had four touchdowns over that span. You should still consider Hurns a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week, but that’s about it given what could be a low ceiling of production.
Hilton and Moncrief faced the Broncos at home in Week 9 last year, and both struggled against Denver’s standout corners of Chris Harris and Aqib Talib . Hilton had five catches for 82 yards on six targets, and Moncrief was held to three catches for 30 yards on four targets. Hilton actually has a miserable track record against Denver with three games against the Broncos over the past three years, and his eight Fantasy points last year was easily the best. He had five catches for 41 yards on 11 targets at Denver in 2014 and two catches for 27 yards on 11 targets against the Broncos in 2013. Both players are a threat to score each week, but the matchup is tough, with a poor track record for Hilton. Both receivers should be considered No. 3 Fantasy receivers at best this week.
Even though he missed a month because of an ankle injury, the Lions threw Ebron heavily into the mix in Week 1 at the Colts. He played all but five offensive snaps (92 percent), which was second among skill players to only Marvin Jones , and finished with five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown on five targets. It’s clear he will remain a focal point on offense, and the Titans allowed Kyle Rudolph to catch four passes for 65 yards in Week 1. Last year, Tennessee was among the league leaders in Fantasy points allowed to tight ends, so Ebron can have another productive game this week.
I hope this isn’t me going down with the ship, and that Fleener is going to right all the wrongs he had for Fantasy owners in Week 1. He had just one catch for 6 yards on four targets at home against the Oakland Raiders in a game where Drew Brees passed for 423 yards and four touchdowns. Fleener was fifth among targets behind Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead , Michael Thomas and Travaris Cadet , but his snap count was still high among skill players at 81 percent, which trailed only Cooks (90 percent). So he was on the field a lot, just not featured in the offense, and maybe that changes this week against the Giants, who just allowed Jason Witten to catch nine passes for 66 yards in Week 1 on 14 targets. The Giants were also second in most Fantasy points allowed to tight ends in 2015, so this is a good test to see if Fleener can get going with his production. I’ll buy in for another week and start him in this matchup.
The Chargers need help now that Allen is out, and Gates should definitely step up with more targets and better production. And this is a matchup he’s familiar with after he torched the Jaguars for four catches, 53 yards and two touchdowns on six targets in Week 12 last year. Jacksonville just shut down the Packers tight ends of Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers in Week 1 for two catches and 29 yards on five targets, and Gates struggled in Week 1 against Kansas City with three catches for 20 yards on four targets. But the Jaguars were bad against tight ends last year with nine scoring touchdowns and seven reaching double digits in Fantasy points. And Gates should have the chance for a solid game at home.
- Jesse James (vs. CIN): Heath Miller vs. CIN last year (2 games): 20 rec., 171 yds.
- Kyle Rudolph (vs. GB): GB had no answer for Julius Thomas in Week 1 at JAC.
- Jason Witten (at WAS): It’s hard to overlook 14 targets from Prescott in Week 1.
The 30-yard touchdown catch last week at Atlanta was impressive, and he actually finished as the No. 4 Fantasy tight end in Week 1 with nine Fantasy points in a standard league. But that was his only catch on his lone target, and the Buccaneers used all three tight ends along with Cameron Brate and Brandon Myers . Brate had four targets and finished with three catches for 30 yards, and Myers had one target but converted it for a 4-yard touchdown. This is something that is likely to continue with the Tampa Bay tight ends, and it’s hard to trust Seferian-Jenkins in the majority of leagues. He’s worth putting on your scout team in case he does earn more playing time and targets, but until that happens he should not be started in most formats.
I had moderately high expectations for Miller this season with Martellus Bennett gone as a free agent to New England, and he may still become a viable option. He was limited all preseason with a concussion, and then he had a dud in Week 1 at Houston with three catches for 14 yards on just four targets. Jay Cutler gave more targets to Kevin White (seven), Alshon Jeffery (six) and Eddie Royal (six), and Miller had the same amount of targets as Langford. We’ll see if that changes this week against the Eagles, who weren’t challenged by Browns tight end Gary Barnidge in Week 1 since he had just two targets, which was a horrible oversight. But Philadelphia only allowed four tight ends to score double digits in Fantasy points last year and only five to score touchdowns. Take a wait and see approach with Miller if you can, but he’s not worth starting this week in most leagues.
One of the bigger disappointments in Week 1 was Cook, who had one catch for 7 yards on two targets at Jacksonville. Things looked promising for him in the preseason, and it appeared like he was poised for a breakout campaign since he never had a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers before. But Richard Rodgers had one more target than Cook, and the Packers might just have too many mouths to feed for Cook to be relevant when Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams are healthy. We hope Cook can rebound this week against the Vikings, but Minnesota was able to limit Delanie Walker to three catches for 42 yards on five targets in Week 1. Fantasy owners would take four Fantasy points from Cook this week after last week’s disaster, but we need to see him prove himself first before trusting him in most formats.
It’s the Patriots, so you never know who will be featured and when, but Bennett was a non-factor in Week 1 at the Cardinals with Gronkowski out. And now that Gronkowski looks like he’ll play against the Dolphins it will be hard to trust Bennett as a starting option in all leagues. He only had five targets against Arizona and finished with three catches for 14 yards, and it looked like he was a glorified offensive lineman at times. Gronkowski clearly will dominate targets if he’s active, and the Dolphins were actually one of the best teams at defending tight ends in 2015 and only allowed Jimmy Graham one catch for 11 yards on one target in Week 1. Bennett is a low-end starting at best in Week 2.
Patriots (vs. MIA): The Patriots allowed 21 points at Arizona last week with no turnovers, but they had three sacks and didn’t get overwhelmed on the road against a great offense. That’s not the case this week as the Dolphins managed just 10 points on the road at Seattle with 222 total yards. Now, the Seattle Seahawks defense is clearly better than the Patriots, but this is the second consecutive road game for Miami. And Ryan Tannehill was bad at New England last year with two interceptions, and he was sacked five times in a 36-7 loss. We’ll see if Mike Pouncey (hip) is able to play in this game, but the Patriots DST is a solid starting option in Week 2.
- Ravens (at CLE): The Ravens should make things tough on Josh McCown this week.
- Jets (at BUF): The Bills are beat up, and teams tend to struggle on Thursday night.
- Eagles (at CHI): It was CLE, but PHI allowed just 10 points with three sacks in Week 1.
Chiefs (at HOU): The Chiefs defense isn’t the same without standout pass rusher Justin Houston (knee), and it showed in Week 1 against the Chargers. The defense had one sack and no turnovers while allowing 27 points, and the Chiefs DST scored just three points in a standard league. This week, the Chiefs face an offense on the rise in the Texans, who have some elite playmakers in Lamar Miller and Hopkins, as well as a potential future star in Fuller. If Osweiler can avoid making mistakes, we could see the Chiefs DST struggle again on the road. They are a low-end starting option at best in Week 2.
Blair Walsh missed two field goals in Week 1 at Tennessee, but he still made four, which tied for the NFL lead in Week 1 with Dan Bailey . Walsh also added an extra point, and he scored 13 Fantasy points in a standard league. Now, there’s no guarantee Prater has that much success this week, but he managed one field goal and four extra points in Week 1 at Indianapolis. Last year at home, Prater was 16-of-16 on field goals and scored at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league in five of his final six games in Detroit. He’s the perfect streaming option since he’s at home and with a quality matchup.
- Brandon McManus (vs. IND): IND just allowed 39 points against DET in Week 1.
- Josh Brown (vs. NO): He’s worth starting now that his suspension is over.
- Will Lutz (at NYG): Bailey had 13 FPTS against the Giants in Week 1.
Bryant had a solid debut to his 2016 campaign with three field goals and one extra point against Tampa Bay for 10 Fantasy points in standard league. But he was at home against the Buccaneers, and he usually does well at home. On the road, however, we’ve seen Bryant struggle, and last year he made just six field goals in five road games. He’s never played in Oakland in his 15-year career, but he is 4-of-6 on field goals and 10-of-10 on extra points against the Raiders in three games in his career, including just one with multiple field goals. We’ll see if Bryant can perform at a high level on the road this week, but you can probably find some better options in Week 2.
Source: CBS Sports / Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em: Stewart gets sweet home edge