Did you open up the fantasy season with a win last week or are you like the Cowboys and need to pull out a win this week to avoid an 0-2 start? Well, whatever the case, my colleague Michael Sisemore and I are here to help you. Here are our fantasy sit/starts for week two:
Must Start Players
Phantom: Matt Ryan against Oakland.
This isn’t so much an adulation of Ryan, but rather the appeal of his situation. Ryan faces a Raiders defense that gave up 423 yards passing and four touchdowns. Granted, it was to Drew Brees and the high powered Saints offense, but the Falcons offense had a good showing themselves as Ryan had 334 yards against Tampa Bay. The Raiders secondary struggled last week and it’s going to get worse for LB Malcolm Smith as he will have to cover the Falcons fast running backs.
Sisemore: Eli Manning against New Orleans.
Sure the Giants haven’t won a lot of matchups against the Saints (2-4) since Eli took over. However, you don’t have to win the game to win over our Fantasy Football hearts. Since 2009, Eli and the Giants have averaged 38 points per game on New Orleans. The last two contests, Eli Manning has thrown for 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions. He’s also posted an average passer rating of 118.9 in those contests. Besides, same New Orleans Saints, same defense, they gave up 486 yards and 35 points in a loss to the Oakland Raiders in week one. This is your “DUH” pick of the week.
Phantom: Rashad Jennings against New Orleans.
The Saints gave up the most rushing yards to a running back last week (151). They also allowed three rushing touchdowns and they weren’t going against a bona fide superstar RB. They are just terrible against the run. Here’s someone named Jalen Richard running through them like it’s a Pop Warner game.
.@Raiders RB Jalen Richard.— NFL (@NFL) September 11, 2016
TO. THE. HOUSE.#RaiderNation #OAKvsNO https://t.co/biRWn1fKKf
Although the Giants employ a two-headed monster with the help of Shane Vereen, Jennings still gets the heavy workload. He got 18 carries compared to Vereen’s six against Dallas last week.
Sisemore: Ezekiel Elliott against Washington.
The Cowboys are an angry team after losing to the Giants and not having a 100-yard rusher. In fact, Elliott was stifled in his first matchup against that $200 million front seven. After the Redskins gave up 143 yards on the ground to the 33-year old DeAngelo Williams, expect the Cowboys to come out for redemption. The Redskins have some formidable pass rushers but they don’t have enough beef to stop the run.
Phantom: Larry Fitzgerald against Tampa Bay.
Why do people keep forgetting about this guy? He finished in the top 10 in fantasy points for receivers last year, yet both his younger WR teammates were valued more in my draft. And in week one, he puts up 20 fantasy points. He now faces a Buccaneers that defense that gave up the eighth-most fantasy points last week. The big sell for Fitz is that he keeps getting a heavy dose of targets, particularly in the red zone. And that’s a fantasy manager’s best friend.
Sisemore: DeSean Jackson against Dallas.
It’s sad to say this but Jackson is a Cowboy Killer and he could have a big day this week. Dallas is currently a Top-5 passing defense but they might be outgunned in Washington. They also have Orlando Scandrick nursing a tight hamstring. They’re going to be able to cover some of Washington’s weapons but not all of them. Though Morris Claiborne was an adequate defender on Odell Beckham, it would be ill-advised to put him on DeSean. Jackson has averaged at least 12 points against the Cowboys in the last three meetings.
Phantom: Dwayne Allen against Denver.
With Colby Fleener out of Indianapolis, the door has opened for someone to fill the void at tight end for the Colts. And in week one, they had two different players step up. Both Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle found the end zone against the Lions. While Doyle’s two TD catches has everyone rushing to the waiver wire, touchdowns are hit or miss. What is more reliable is targets and Allen is the guy getting more looks. The Broncos have a great defense and that typically forces offense to rely more on tight ends. Denver gave up the 10th most points to tight ends in week one.
Sisemore: Delanie Walker against Detroit.
After a breakout season last year (led all TEs in receptions, 94) Walker got off to a slow start in week one. He had just three catches for 42 yards. The Lions gave up three TDs to tight ends last week. And not even good tight ends; some guy named Jack Doyle. Well, Walker is a good tight end so the Lions will have their hands full this week.
Phantom: Baltimore against Cleveland.
Baltimore held Buffalo to just one score last week and now they face the mess that is the Cleveland Browns. Josh McCown could provide a spark, but it also could get real ugly. This is what it looks like when you find out you’re going against the Cleveland Browns.
#Ravens defense right now: pic.twitter.com/IeXPVVvhPl— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) September 11, 2016
Sisemore: Seattle against Los Angeles
Herm Edwards said it best last week on Mike & Mike: “The Rams and 49ers set offenses back 50 years.” The Rams were absolutely dreadful and now they play a ferocious Seattle defense that does just about everything well. Los Angeles had 13 offensive possessions: Punt, Punt, Punt, Interception, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Interception, Punt, Turnover on downs. Start the Seahawks!
Take A Seat, Sucka
Phantom: Alex Smith against Houston.
The Kansas City quarterback had a breakout game against the Chargers, throwing for 363 yards, two touchdowns, and one rushing TD. Where did that come from? While Smith has an interesting appeal if the Chiefs plan on having him air it out more, this isn’t the week to play him. He faces a Texans defense that allowed only 216 yards passing last week.
Sisemore: Ryan Tannehill against New England.
The Patriots don’t have an All-World Defense by any stretch of the world but Foxborough has been a terrible place for the Dolphins and especially Tannehill. He’s only played at Gillette Stadium four times but has thrown seven interceptions.
Phantom: Isaiah Crowell against Baltimore.
If you drafted Crowell in late rounds, you might be pleased with his week one performance. He got double-digit fantasy points (13) and out-touched Duke Johnson, 14-6. He might be a nice flex plays some weeks, but it’s not a good idea against the Ravens. The Baltimore defense only allowed 54 yards last week so Crowell will have to fight it out for every yard he gets. Unless he finds the end zone, it looks to be a very disappointing week for the Browns RB.
Sisemore: Arian Foster against New England.
If it feels like I’m hatin’ on the ‘Fins, it’s because I am. Last week, Foster had 38 yards on 13 carries against Seattle. New England can stack the box because who’s really afraid of Tannehill beating them?
Phantom: Brandin Cooks against the New York Giants.
When Dez Bryant only has one catch for eight yards, that’s reason to celebrate for Giants fans. They have a strong front line to get to the quarterback and a solid secondary led by Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Look for them to take the Saints top target out of the game. The emergence of Willie Snead is another reason to be down on Cooks. Despite a big game by Cooks, Snead had more receptions and yards (6 for 143 vs. 9 for 172).
Sisemore: John Brown against Tampa Bay
Brown only saw limited action last week and it seems like his preseason concussion problems are still lingering. In week two, I wouldn’t expect much out of him as Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd will be your birds taking flight.
Phantom: Antonio Gates against Jacksonville.
The improved defense of the Jaguars is part of the reason to sit the future Hall of Fame tight end. The Jags only gave up two catches for 29 yards to their opponents tight end last week. It will be a tough matchup. But another reason for concern is that Gates only got two fantasy points in a game that was a 33-27 shootout last week. Even more concerning is that fact that rookie tight end, Hunter Henry got the same amount of fantasy points. Gates is very inconsistent as it is, but could those big game moments be fizzling?
Sisemore: Jimmy Graham against Los Angeles.
Where For Art Thou, Graham? Those of you expecting big things out of Jimmy shouldn’t hold your breath. Graham had only one target and 17 snaps last week. He just doesn’t seem like the target that people once thought he’d be for Russell Wilson.
Phantom: San Francisco against Carolina.
The 49ers looked great last week, shutting out the Los Angeles Rams 28-0. At the Carolina Panthers offense only put up 20 points. If there is any part of you that wants to believe the 49ers defense can keep the Panthers in check, let it go right now. San Francisco did well last week, but there’s a big different between the Rams offense and the Panthers.
Sisemore: New York Giants against New Orleans.
The Giants defense only scored one point against the Dallas Cowboys last week in fantasy. If they couldn’t really contain a rookie quarterback, how do you think they will fair against Drew Brees?
Cowboys Start Of The Week
Ezekiel Elliott - It was a rough debut for the Cowboys rookie, but he should rebound nicely against a Redskins defense that gave up 29 fantasy points to DeAngelo Williams. Besides the matchup, another appealing factor for Zeke owners is that he got 20 carries in his first NFL game. If that is an indication of how the Cowboys plan on using him, touches won’t be an issue.
Cowboys Sit Of The Week
Dak Prescott - The rookie QB did not throw a touchdown pass last week. And he had a measly 227 yards passing. That’s a terrible line for a fantasy quarterback. While he should find the end zone this week, the amount of attention the running game gets will diminish his value. There will be weeks to play Dak, but this isn’t one of them.
Fantasy Football Team Name Of The Week: Wake Me Up Before You Romo
Everyone loves to take shots at Tony but this one is a solid name for the week. Plus, WHAM! was on fire in the 80’s.