With one week of NFL regular season football in the books, we’ve got a better idea of what each team is looking like now. That means that we’re only slightly more informed about what to do with our fantasy football teams this week, as opposed to last week when we were making completely blind guesses. Using that incredibly small sample size, here are some suggestions on who to start and sit in your fantasy leagues this week.
QB Andy Dalton vs. San Francisco 49ers
Last week I said to sit Dalton on the road against the Seahawks and he put up 418 yards with two touchdowns. Oh, and that was without his favorite target, AJ Green. It’s clear that Dalton stands to benefit from new head coach Zac Taylor’s offense, and making his home debut this week should be a recipe for success.
QB Lamar Jackson vs. Arizona Cardinals
As long as the Cardinals defense is without Patrick Peterson, they’re going to be an easy matchup for opposing quarterbacks. It just so happens that Lamar Jackson is riding a hot wave and that’s without even flexing his skills as a runner. The Cards defense gave up a lot to Matthew Stafford last week and would’ve given up more if the Lions didn’t decide to Detroit. Expect another big game, though likely not as big as last week, from Jackson.
QB Baker Mayfield vs. New York Jets
Some fantasy owners might be motivated to sit Baker this week after his dud of a performance last week, and especially after the Jets defense forced four takeaways from Josh Allen. But those were more on Allen than the Jets, and as the second half of the Bills-Jets game showed, New York has problems in their secondary. Mayfield is a better passer and will be in the mood to make up for his mistakes in a big way.
RB Le’Veon Bell vs. Cleveland Browns
Bell didn’t set the world on fire in his much-anticipated return to football, totaling 92 yards on 23 touches, but he did catch a touchdown. This week, he should see his workload increase with quarterback Sam Darnold out with mono. Backup Trevor Siemian isn’t bad, but you should expect Bell to get more carries and more targets out of the backfield, especially after his MRI revealed good news.
RB Josh Jacobs vs. Kansas City Chiefs
If Week 1 is anything to go off of, the Raiders are going to feed Josh Jacobs. The rookie carried the ball 23 times for 85 yards and scored twice. He also had a big 23-yard reception that should earn him more targets in the passing game. The Chiefs defense surrendered over five yards per carry last week to Leonard Fournette, so Jacobs could be in for a big game.
WR DJ Chark vs. Houston Texans
Chark only saw four passes thrown his way last Sunday, but he caught all of them for a whopping 146 yards and a touchdown. That insane yards/reception average is guaranteed to go down this week, especially with sixth-round rookie QB Gardner Minshew II making his first career start, but Chark should still figure to see a lot of action. He showed good chemistry with Minshew and will likely become a favorite target of the mustachioed Minshew.
WR Marquise Brown vs. Arizona Cardinals
Just like with Lamar Jackson, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown should benefit from a Patrick Peterson-less Cardinals defense. His four catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns against Miami should earn him more targets this week, although he does have a minor hip injury. It’s not going to keep him out though, and the speedy rookie should be able to build upon his chemistry with Jackson.
TE Vernon Davis vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Redskins’ top tight end, Jordan Reed, has been ruled out this week with a concussion, meaning Vernon Davis will get the start again. He was a favorite target for Case Keenum last week, catching four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Add in that he’s going up against a defense that couldn’t stop Giants tight end Evan Engram, and Davis could be a sleeper start this week.
Buffalo Bills DEF vs. New York Giants
The Bills defense is legit, just as they were last year. Going up against a Jets offense that was expected to be vastly improved, Buffalo limited them to just eight points. They sacked the quarterback four times and landed nine hits on him while limiting Darnold to just 4.3 yards per attempt. Now, they face off against Eli Manning, who most likely won’t replicate his 300+ yard performance from last week.
K Stephen Gostkowski vs. Miami Dolphins
The kicking position in fantasy is all about finding a team who will score a lot of points in hopes of stacking PATs on top of each other. The Dolphins defense is terrible right now, and going up against an offense that just shredded the Steelers AND is adding Antonio Brown to the mix is not a good combination. Gostkowski should get plenty of opportunities to put the ball through the uprights.
QB Kyler Murray vs. Baltimore Ravens
The first overall draft pick ended up with a good looking stat line last week after posting 308 passing yards and two touchdowns. However, most of that came in the Cardinals’ comeback attempt near the end, and Murray looked like a bit of a dud for the first three quarters. Against a drastically better defense, you shouldn’t expect to see Murray repeat that fourth quarter performance.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Maybe all of the preseason doubt around Garoppolo was justified. While Jimmy G completed 66% of his passes and led his team to victory last week, he threw a pick six and had a paltry 5.22 adjusted yards per attempt. Going up against a Bengals defense that limited Russell Wilson to under 200 yards and sacked him four times, Garoppolo should see a similar stat line to last week’s performance, which is to say average at best.
QB Mitchell Trubisky vs. Denver Broncos
I’m not ready to push the panic button on Trubisky and call him a bust (though he was far from the best QB in his draft class) but it’s clear that there’s still some growing pains for the third-year passer. Going into Denver against two great pass rushers and a head coach who’s known Trubisky longer than even Bears head coach Matt Nagy does not seem to present an ideal scenario for him. This could be another rough outing for the Bears offense.
RB Devonta Freeman vs. Philadelphia Eagles
If there was anyone doubting that Freeman wouldn’t continue to split carries with Ito Smith this year, there aren’t anymore. Freeman carried the ball eight times and saw four targets against the Vikings. Even worse, he managed just 31 yards total between the ground and air. He’ll almost definitely rebound from that performance, but there are much better options at the position out there in fantasy leagues.
WR Emmanuel Sanders vs. Chicago Bears
Lost in the overreaction to the Bears’ Week 1 loss was just how dominant their defense looked. They limited Aaron Rodgers to just 203 yards and sacked him five times. Against Joe Flacco and his porous offensive line? It could be a field day for Khalil Mack and company, which means Denver’s top receiver, Emmanuel Sanders, probably won’t have much to do either.
WR Robby Anderson vs. Cleveland Browns
Robby Anderson was a borderline start in fantasy leagues last week, mostly because of his rapport with Sam Darnold. But after catching less than half of his targets for under 25 yards, his stock dropped. Now that Darnold won’t even be playing, there’s no reason to start Anderson, and it might be better to look for replacements on the waiver wire.
TE Tyler Eifert vs. San Francisco 49ers
So far, Eifert has yet to really return to his former glory. Against the Seahawks, Eifert caught all five of his targets, but they were all short passes. CJ Uzomah, the Bengals’ other tight end, saw just as many targets but was used as a downfield threat more frequently. It doesn’t seem like Eifert will be getting much of a chance to break out this week either.
Jacksonville Jaguars DEF vs. Houston Texans
This Jaguars defense looks so good on paper, boasting playmakers at every level, but they got shredded by Patrick Mahomes and Sammy Watkins, of all people, last week. Against Houston, they’ll probably sack Deshaun Watson a lot, but there’s also a high probability the Texans star quarterback will do to their secondary what Mahomes did last week.
K Adam Vinatieri vs. Tennesee Titans
Was it a bad day or the beginning of the end? Vinatieri was dreadful last week, missing two field goals and an extra point. At 46-years-old, could this be the year he finally starts to decline? It’s possible Vinatieri bounces back, likely even, but either way the Colts could struggle to get in field goal range against a scary good Titans defense.