Bad football, ratings are down and your highest of draft picks are all injured: seems like quite the flying start for most of us in the world of fantasy football. The good news is that things can only go up from here, right? This column always expects the worst, and for good reason (have you read it since 2010? That'll tell you), so be prepared for more debilitating injuries, nine carry, eight yard games for Ezekiel Elliot and offensively bad QB play.
And no, these opening paragraphs for this column are not ripping off Matthew Berry's fantasy show in any way. This column has been around longer than Berry's attempt to make a fantasy football version of Pee Wee's Playhouse (you're awesome Matt).
Start of the Week: QB Derek Carr (OAK) at WSH
Somehow, Derek Carr was not as highly regarded in the world of fantasy as he probably should have been, and his first two performances this season have been excellent. Washington's secondary looked OK against Jared Goff, but struggled against Carson Wentz and the Eagles in Week 1, and Carr is better than both of those QB's and then some. He is one of the best QB options this week.
Who to Start:
QB Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. ATL: The Falcons defense is still very good, but without Vic Beasley they lack a little of that extra punch. Stafford is also a far better QB at home than he is on the road as well. His decision making has looked quite a bit better in 2017, which means debilitating and dumb interceptions are on the way down. Even though at first glance this matchup isn't wonderful, it's one worth considering.
RB Carlos Hyde (SF) vs. LAR THU: Hyde was able to break through a bit against a stout Seahawks defense, and that is saying something. Since the 49ers have very few legitimate options, they'll turn to Hyde to create something, and odds are against the Rams, who were destroyed on the ground last week by Washington, there's a chance Hyde has a breakout game.
WR Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) vs. NO: Carolina's offense has been... poor to say the least, but if there's any week where they can and will break out, it'll be this week against the absolutely pathetic Saints defense. Benjamin should see an uptick in production with Greg Olsen out, and most everyone on the Panthers offense figures to be good fantasy plays this week.
WR Keenan Allen (LAC) vs. KC: It's good to see Keenan Allen looking healthy and at his best after his injuries last season, and he's taking the majority of the snaps and seeing a healthy number of targets. In spite of what you may think, the Chiefs do give up fantasy points to wide receivers at a decent clip, and Allen will get his action this Sunday as the best option for the StubHub Chargers on offense.
TE Zach Ertz (PHI) vs. NYG: Ertz has been one of the league's most solid tight ends for a good while now, but he's never gotten the pub he deserves for being one of the better PPR options at tight end. He's seeing plenty of love from Carson Wentz, and his start to the season is no fluke. The Giants have linebacker issues, which will lead to issues defending tight ends, so Ertz figures to be in the spotlight on Sunday.
DEF Baltimore vs. JAX LONDON: This should have been obvious before, but any defense playing against the Jaguars (except maybe the Jets) is a wonderful fantasy play because Blake Bortles is Blake Bortles. The Ravens defense is also a machine, which helps.
Sit of the Week: QB Russell Wilson (SEA) at TEN
I've always thought Russell Wilson was a better fantasy option than most people, but my opinion on that is slowly changing as I cringe watching the Seahawks offense and their horrible offensive line. Tennessee's defense is a machine and underrated, so with the Seahawks offensive troubles, Wilson is someone you should avoid this week if you can.
Who to Sit:
QB Jameis Winston (TB) at MIN: I love Jameis just as much if not more as a fantasy option than even Russell Wilson. But with last week's season debut, it was mainly academic for my fantasy crush since the Bucs crushed the Bears. This week, it's a less than stellar matchup that might hurt Jameis in Minnesota, since the Vikings defense did a number on both Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger.
RB Joe Mixon (CIN) at GB: Backfields with three options are always riddles to figure out, and if you own Joe Mixon, that riddle is not yet solved. He's splitting snaps with Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill, and it beats me to figure out who is the workhouse, handcuff, etc. We keep saying that eventually it will be Mixon's time, but that time evidently isn't now.
WR Marvin Jones (DET) vs. ATL: He's quickly losing favor to Kenny Golladay both in reality and in fantasy terms as the Lions begin to turn away from him as the primary receiver. He does have a touchdown and has played a ton of snaps, but that isn't turning into fantasy production. Desmond Trufant also makes for a tough matchup too.
WR Sammy Watkins (LAR) at SF THU: After trading all of that capital to acquire Watkins from Buffalo, the Rams have done precisely nothing with him and he's been surpassed as a fantasy option by rookie Cooper Kupp. The 49ers defense has been tougher than expected early in the season, so keep Watkins away from any starting lineup everywhere.
TE Tyler Eifert (CIN) at GB: A friend of mine who owns Eifert texted me earlier in the week, "I'm done with his BS". While I might not go that far, his injuries are problematic, and this is hurting a player who is so very good when he does play, but heading into Green Bay with the injuries he's carrying, it's seriously hard to start him.
An alternative option at TE since I don't like recommending starting or sitting two players from the same team: David Njoku (CLE). Only four targets thus far this season as he grows into the offense, and that growing process is still in its infancy.
DEF Houston at NE: Houston's fantasy defense looked great in Cincy last Thursday, but the Patriots are not the Bengals, and Tom Brady is certainly not Andy Dalton.
3 Super Sleepers:
QB Cam Newton (CAR) vs. NO: I'm concerned about his health, his offensive line and his sudden lack of Greg Olsen. But for this week, he's worth a flyer against the Saints, who as this column has already mentioned essentially doesn't play defense.
RB "Buck" Allen (BAL) vs. JAX LONDON: While he's still splitting carries and touches to an extent with Terrance West, he's starting to take on more of the workload. As the Ravens inevitably wear out the Jaguars defense since they'll be on the field a ton, Allen has a chance to do what Derrick Henry did last week: eat up points as the game wears on.
DEF Indianapolis vs. CLE: This has the makings of a very ugly game between two 0-2 teams with no QB's. Even Cleveland's defense is not a terrible fantasy option, but the Colts are probably a slightly better idea, considering they weren't all that bad against Arizona last week.
WR DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) at NE: If you have Hopkins, you're probably starting him because you drafted him as WR1. But, the Patriots will do what they always do: scheme to take your best player away in every way possible. DeAndre Hopkins has looked good in the six quarters of football he's played at times, but at the Patriots is another challenge entirely, which means Hopkins will have troubles too.
Good luck in Week 3!
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