Wednesday, September 13, 2017

2017 Week 2 Fantasy Advice: The Column is coming for your Brains

It's not dead yet, and I'm not talking about your team if you drafted David Johnson #1 overall. No, this column is still going after it made its triumphant return from the dead last week. Week 1 in every NFL season is ripe for overreaction, and certainly this column will likely be guilty of it at points, but we pride ourselves (and by we I mean me and my imaginary fantasy friends) on brevity and calmness of mind and process. So as this column chugs along, trying to eat other ones like it alive, remember that there are 16 weeks of football left, and plenty more overreactions to come.

Quick aside: We're probably not going to recommend any players against the Jets in this column, because that would be too obvious. We have to work for our meager page clicks here. 

Start of the Week: Doug Baldwin (SEA) vs. SF

He was only targeted four times last week against the Packers, but that was largely because Wilson was running for his life against a resurgent Packers defense. Baldwin will certainly see more targets against the 49ers, who will be up for a tougher challenge this week on the road against a non-rusty QB.

Who to Start:

QB Jameis Winston (TB) vs. CHI: I am a huge Jameis Winston fan in fantasy, and will be riding on his shoulders all year. The Bears defense played up against the Falcons last weekend, but isn't that impressive. Winston and his cadre of weapons should be primed for success in their delayed season opener this weekend.

RB Dalvin Cook (MIN) vs. PIT: Anyone who can break a record originally held by Adrian Peterson is doing something right, and that's what Cook did Monday night against the Saints. The Steelers on the road are a step up in class, however that defense wasn't at its best against the Browns and may not have Stephon Tuitt for a bit.

WR Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) at IND: Yes, he and the Cardinals were bad last weekend in Detroit. But this week, they're facing the appalling bad Colts who handed Jared Goff the best game of his young career, and that says way more about the Colts than it does Goff. Without David Johnson, the Cardinals will lean more on the regulars and old faces like Fitz to guide them through, and this is a plum matchup for that.

WR Tyreek Hill (KC) vs. PHI: He will continue to rack up points, especially in PPR leagues, if he can come anywhere close to replicating his performance against the Patriots last Thursday. The Eagles won't have Ronald Darby, which makes this matchup even better for Hill and Alex Smith.

TE Delanie Walker (TEN) at JAX: While the Jaguars defense was amazing last week, Houston tight ends (three of them) still performed relatively well. Walker has also played well against the Jaguars in the past, and its not likely the Jaguars are going to match their performance against Houston against a better Titans team. Walker is a sneaky play this week that could pay off big.

DEF Baltimore vs. CLE: Since we're not in the business of telling you the obvious: start whoever is playing against the Jets, how about the Ravens? They shut out the Bengals, and even though they've dealt with some tough injuries on that side of the ball, they are a very talented yet underrated unit. Hosting a rookie QB is a fantastic matchup for the Ravens.

Sit of the Week: Frank Gore (IND) vs. ARZ

Gore defied time and logic last season, but with the carries and touches he's sharing with Robert Turbin and rookie Marlon Mack, that doesn't help his cause this season. Even with the Colts trotting out either Scott Tolzien or Jacoby Brissett this weekend and needing to rely on the run, Gore is a big risk.

Who to Sit:

QB Matt Stafford (DET) at NYG MON: While the Giants weren't impressive last weekend, it wasn't their defense that was the problem. And though Stafford lit up the Cardinals secondary, the Giants defense is a sterner test and may show us more about Stafford and the Lions offense this time around.

RB Tarik Cohen (CHI) at TB: Cohen played so well last week as a spell for Jordan Howard, so naturally he's a good play down the lineup this week, right? Well, consider Tampa's defense a sterner test than Atlanta's, and that it's still somewhat unclear how touches will be divvied up between he and Howard. Cohen will be good in fantasy, maybe even next week, but this week, perhaps not.

WR Sammy Watkins (LAR) vs. WSH: Should you be worried that Watkins saw fewer snaps than both Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp? Maybe. Should you be even more worried that Watkins is going up against Josh Norman, who is still very good at his job? Probably more so.

WR Kenny Golladay (DET) at NYG MON: Normally, I wouldn't put two players from the same team in this portion of the column, however Golladay is a prime case of buying high, especially when his exploits are now on tape. The Giants will key in on the rookie as a prime player to take away, and so expect his numbers to fall this week.

TE Jordan Reed (WSH) at LAR: Reed is still not 100% healthy, which is a problem. The Rams defense also has confidence, which itself is a problem. And the Washington offense is also not quite in gear yet, which is likely the biggest problem Reed faces at the Coliseum on Sunday.

DEF Minnesota at PIT: The Vikings have an insanely talented defense that is one of the best units in football. However, even those best units will struggle against the Steelers offense, which though not at its best, still gave Antonio Brown 182 yards receiving. As they start to mesh and click, even the best defenses will need to be weary.

3 Super Sleepers:
QB Sam Bradford (MIN) at PIT: Is Sam Bradford a good and viable fantasy option after last year's disaster? Certainly the early returns from Monday night are encouraging. And he gets to face another less than stellar defense in Pittsburgh, with plenty of offensive weapons and confidence. If you lack a better option, Bradford isn't a bad choice.

RB Javorius "Buck" Allen (BAL) vs. CLE: With Danny Woodhead out for half of the season, it'll be a mixture of the other Buck in Baltimore and Terrance West to split touches. While Allen may not be the number one, he's shown explosive potential in the past and is certainly a possibility this week and for the immediate fantasy future.

WR Chris Hogan (NE) at NO: The Patriots offense won't struggle like it did against the Chiefs again. The Saints defense is also very bad. So Hogan, who has to see more looks with the injuries to the Pats receivers, will likely be successful.

Buyer Beware:

QB Kirk Cousins (WSH) at LAR: He was a relatively decent QB1 prospect this summer, but the performance against the Eagles left a lot to be desired. He's not particularly a great option this week, but remember, once is an accident, twice is a trend. If there's another poor performance on the cards for Cousins in LA, the future may start looking bleaker for him as a fantasy play.

Good luck in Week 2!

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