Start' EM Sit' EM Week 2
The first week of the season is in the books, and it was a doozy! What a way to kick off the NFL season! With every week in fantasy football, there were some highs and some lows. If you had the misfortune of running into a Tua Tagoviloa/Tyreek Hill stack... ouch! Both Tua and Tyreek had number-one fantasy performances in Week 1. Calvin Ridley returned to the NFL in his first game with his new team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. He established himself as a high-end wide receiver, dropping 24 fantasy points against the Indianapolis Colts and 101 yards on 11 targets. As for some of the lows, J.K. Dobbins left the Baltimore Ravens game with an Achilles injury, ending his season. Such a tough break for a player as young as Dobbins who was looking to get a new contract. But that's another story for another time. We also had a host of quarterbacks that didn't play well such as Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Dak Prescott (this one stung a bit because this is one of my Week 1 starts), and Deshaun Watson.
There were a couple of surprises too. Rams may have found the next "Cooper Kupp" in Puka Nacua who saw 15 targets in his first game as a fifth-round rookie selection. Bears running back Roschon Johnson looked the part when he got to play too, seeing seven targets and 17.5 fantasy points putting him inside the top 15 among fantasy running backs. There is so much more to talk about but we have to get ready for Week 2, so let's see what players you need to have in your lineups for the new fantasy week.
Week 2 Start' EM
*Start Stat Percentage via ESPN
Daniel Jones vs. AZ (21.9% Start)
Daniel Jones got utterly smoked during Week 1's Sunday night game against the Dallas Cowboys where he took seven sacks behind an offensive line that seemed clueless on how to stop the Cowboys defensive onslaught. Jones had just 104 yards passing and whether you want to charge it to the rain or the fact that Jones was laying on his back all night, Week 2's game against the Arizona Cardinals presents a solid bounce-back matchup. The Cardinals gave up 15 fantasy points to Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell. Jones should be able to present a bigger threat as he's more of a threat with his legs.
Geno Smith vs. DET (26.7% Start)
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is another QB looking for a mini redemption arc after posting just 112 passing yards in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams gave up just over nine fantasy points to Smith, locking him in as the QB22 for the first week of NFL games. Smith will also be looking to bounce back against a vulnerable Lions game that still managed to give up the seventh-most fantasy points heading into Week 2 to a Kansas City Chiefs-led Patrick Mahomes without star tight end Travis Kelce. Geno Smith looks like a solid go for fantasy managers this week.
James Cook vs. LVR (47.4% Start)
I loved what I saw from second-year running back James Cook even though the Buffalo Bills didn't get the win at the end. Cook's usage was overall great. Cook saw 18 total touches in the game, getting 63 yards from scrimmage. Cook should be in line to get more work against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 2. The Raiders did manage to bottle up Broncos running back Javonte Williams but Samaje Perine was able to average five yards per carry against them. With Cook's involvement in the passing game in concert with his rushing ability, Cook's role in the offense should continue to be relied on.
Tyler Allgeier vs. GB (1.3% Start)
Head coach Alex Smith really doesn't care about your fantasy teams as he ran the ball a combined 26 times between both Allegeier and Bijan Robinson. Allegeier actually saw five more carries than Bijan in Week 1 but I expect that number to flip-flop throughout the season. The takeaway from all this is that Alex Smith will use both backs instead of just running through one for everything and that means Tyler Allegeier will have more opportunities for fantasy managers to put up some points. The Packers allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to Rams backs Cam Akers and Kyren Williams and now face another good running back tandem from the Falcons.
Mike Williams vs. TEN (53.8% Start)
Williams definitely gave fantasy managers a bit of a scare when he went down with an injury in Week 1 as he had to be checked out after taking a hit to the head. But Williams returned back into the game though he didn't have the greatest of games gaining just 45 receiving yards as the Chargers kept the game on the ground. They get a Tennessee Titans defense that gave up the second-most fantasy points to the Saints receivers in Week 1 and with the way the Chargers have thrown the ball as well as Kellen Moore's propensity for passing, Williams should be able to get back on track.
Puka Nacua vs. SF (0.2% Start)
I would put any amount of money on the books that this start percentage number will shoot up by the weekend games, but for now, Puka Nacua needs to be in lineups. If you're worried about his first performance being a fluke, that's understandable. But those 15 targets aren't a figment of your imagination. Nacua finished as a top-10 fantasy wide receiver in his first game on the field in his professional career. With Cooper Kupp on IR, the targets have to go somewhere and Van Jefferson may have landed in the doghouse after dropping that wide-open deep ball. Get Nacua on your fantasy teams and plug him in. SF did allow 37.5 fantasy points last week.
Jake Ferguson vs. NYJ (2.2% Start)
Jake Ferguson had a bad game in the rain against the Giants in Week 1 but there were some good takeaways from the game for him. First, Ferguson led all Cowboys tight ends in snap percentage at 72.8% and saw seven targets in the game. He'll have to tighten up and bring down more than two receptions in a game but Dak Prescott has faith in Ferguson and considering what was going on in the game with the weather, we haven't really seen what the passing attack for the Cowboys can do. The Jets have a tough defense but they allowed the 10th most fantasy points to the position against the Bills in Week 1 so there's an angle to play if you need to.
Week 2 Sit' EM
Justin Fields vs. TB (84% Start)
Justin Fields had a rough opening game against the division rival Green Bay Packers. Fields had just 216 passing yards and averaged 5.8 yards per attempt against the Packers. The Bucs did give up just over 16 fantasy points to Minnesota's Kirk Cousins but it took him 44 attempts to do it. The Bucs gave up just 41 rushing yards in Week 1 too, the lowest out of all the defenses for Week 1.
Alexander Mattison vs. PHI (73.8% Start)
Speaking of the Vikings running backs, Alexander Mattison managed to have a decent output against the aforementioned Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, gaining just over 13 fantasy points on the day. However, Mattison and the Vikings struggled to run the ball as Mattison averaged just 3.1 yards per attempt for 34 rushing yards. Unless Mattison starts to see more targets out of the backfield, you might want to find options elsewhere this week based on the matchup.
Brian Robinson vs. DEN (22.9% Start)
Brian Robinson was on the start side of this article last week and he had a decent outing too as he led the Washington Commanders backfield with 19 attempts and even caught a touchdown to help his production out. However, the Denver defense was able to hold the 2022 league leading rusher to just 48 yards on the ground (2.5 y/a) and under 10 fantasy points to start the season. Maybe it was because it was a division game, maybe it wasn't but Robinson might be a desperation play simply because of volume if you can't find a better option. If you can, you might want to pivot.
Garrett Wilson vs. DAL (96.8% Start)
This one hurts me the most because Garrett Wilson was supposed to have a real breakout season with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers went down in the first series between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills with a torn Achilles that will rob him of the entire 2023 season. Zach Wilson looks to be the starter for now but did not look great during that game. Wilson made the circus touchdown catch that saved his fantasy night but overall, Wilson is going to go from every week starter to matchup starter at best until the Jets make a move to improve their quarterback situation (better call Carson Wentz). The Cowboys locked down the Giants secondary with no receiver having more than 4.5 fantasy points and put Daniel Jones under duress all night. If we're expecting the same with Zach Wilson under center, this will hurt Garrett Wilson's fantasy production too.
Zach Ertz vs. NYG (5.1% Start)
Zach Ertz is certainly missing Kyler Murray right about now. Ertz was heavily targeted in Week 1 by Cardinals quarterback Josh Dobbs seeing 10 targets. However, Ertz only accounted for just 21 receiving yards. The Giants defense were able to slow down the Cowboys tight ends and allowed just 3.1 fantasy points to the opposition in Week 1. Ertz will be a tricky one to decide to play because of the volume and the lack of viable pass catchers on the team behind Marquise Brown but it looks like Dobbs is going to continue to hold the team back as the quarterback.
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