The people have spoken (via a vote last week). You like this column, or at least the idea of this column being written the way it is. So we’ll keep going with it.
Week 1 can be tricky in Fantasy Football because we’re just projecting what we think usage is going to be for the season. Week 2 can be trickier because we now have a bit of actual evidence how these players are going to be used, but also don’t want to overreact to just one week. However, there are a few indicators and trends we can use to predict usage — mainly playing time and opportunity. So with that, here’s start/sit for Week 2.
One quick note before we really get going: we started an Instagram page: _bigblueview. Go follow it, first of all, and for those who liked the idea of a last minute start/sit session on Sunday mornings, we can maybe do it there if there’s enough interest in it. Let us know.
Williams was a start last week, but only put up 4.7 points in both PPR and non-PPR scoring — sorry. But the process of getting there wasn’t as bad as the point total looked. The Packers didn’t have a a great game script to run the ball since they were down big until the fourth quarter. But on 17 running plays, Williams got the carry on 15 of them. He also added two targets, both of which were on the first drive of the game. Williams played on 62 percent of the offensive snaps on Sunday night. Minnesota is a tough defense to face, but Williams should continue to be a big part of the game plan and the Packers should have a better gauge on how to use the run to protect Aaron Rodgers.
Adrian Peterson was a miss as a “sit” last week, but on Sunday he showed up as a Peterson we’ve literally never seen before. Part of the reason I was down of Peterson was because of his running style that typically needs a fullback and the quarterback under center. BUT, seven of Peterson’s 26 carries against the Cardinals came from shotgun. In 2017, Peterson ran nine times from shotgun all season. In 2016, it was just eight. Being able to run from shotgun opens up more opportunities for Peterson to run against light boxes and opens up the rest of the offense. Peterson also added 70 receiving yards on two catches, just the third time in his career he reached 70 receiving yards in a game. Now we shouldn’t expect that type of output every week, but Peterson adapting to the usage of a more modern day running back could be a huge plus.
Freeman hurt his knee in the opening game against the Philadelphia Eagles and he still hasn’t practiced. Even if Freeman does play, he’s likely to see a significant time share with Tevin Coleman. So take the injury, the split backfield, an add in that the Falcons are facing a Panthers defense that allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs last year and held a fully healthy Ezekiel Elliott to a RB14 finish in Week 1. Freeman should again be a consistent presence in your lineup, but it’s safest to look for another option this week.
Lynch finished as a usable RB2 (RB19), but that was mostly aided by his first quarter touchdown. He received just 11 carries and only played on 34.3 percent of the snaps. Jalen Richard played on 52.9 percent and was the main running back when the Raiders were trailing. Oakland will travel to Denver and play at altitude, which should already put them at a disadvantage. Lynch will also be going against a Denver defense that allowed just 64 yards rushing against the Seahawks in Week 1. It’s also not out of line to expect the Raiders to be trailing often, which would take away from Lynch’s time on the field.
Start: Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles
In Week 1, Agholor received the honorary Jarvis Landry High Volume/No Yards Award. Agholor had eight catches on 10 targets, but just 33 receiving yards with a 5.3 aDOT. The volume is great, the results are awful. But Agholor had a 10.2 aDOT last season and he’s likely to see that number more often than whatever happened in Week 1. The Eagles will also be facing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that allowed the Saints to throw all over them and is already hurt in the secondary. With similar volume and more depth on his targets, Agholor should be a consistent play.
Woods had a disappointing three catches for 37 yards on Monday night, but he had nine targets and an aDOT of 18.2, which was the sixth-highest among receivers with at least five targets in Week 1. Woods the intended target on 50 percent of the Rams’ air yards, which was the seventh-highest rate in the league behind Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Adam Thielen, A.J. Green, Devin Funchess, and Allen Robinson. Air yards is a sticky stat for receivers and can help predict future production. Brandin Cooks was the expected deep threat for the Rams — he still had a 10.2 aDOT — but Woods was the one working downfield more often on Monday night. It’s also likely Cooks draws Patrick Peterson against Arizona, which would leave Woods free against the rest of the secondary.
The Patriots aren’t exactly deep at wide receiver, which could be a problem on most days, but especially so when going up the cornerback duo of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hogan will probably see at least a good portion of his routes come from the slot, which may put him on D.J. Hayden, but that’s not much help. Against a tough matchup like this, the Patriots tend to rely on the running backs and Rob Gronkowski for pass targets — James White led the team with nine targets in Week 1 and Gronk was second with eight. Hogan managed just one catch for 11 yards on five targets.
Sit: Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
Maybe someday we’ll have a real concrete answer to why the Oakland Raiders don’t use Amari Cooper often, but for now we’re just left to wonder. Against the Rams, Derek Carr threw 40 passes. Only three of them went to Cooper and just one was caught. One of the problems is so often Carr wants to get the ball out as quickly as possible — his 2.46 average time to throw was the fourth-quickest among quarterbacks in Week 1 — which makes it hard to develop anything down the field on the outside. Carr will be quick to dump off passes to the running back (Jalen Richard had 11 targets) and the tight end (more on that in a bit). Against the Broncos, Carr is going to feel the pressure and this offense doesn’t allow the receivers to be his safety net. That’s even before we talk about how Cooper is probably be covered by Chris Harris Jr. for most of the game and if he’s not, it’s Bradley Roby who has worked his way into an impressive cornerback himself. For the most part you’re just going to want to fade the Oakland offense…
Start: Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders
…except for Jared Cook. Look, it wasn’t my intention to break down half the Raiders offense here, but here we are. Cook was targeted 12 times on Monday night for nine catches and 180 yards, all of which led the team. When it wasn’t Richard, Cook was Carr’s go-to when trouble arose — or if he felt like trouble might arise. Now Cook is going to be facing a Broncos defense that allowed Will Dissly to go for 105 yards and a touchdown. Denver’s struggles against tight ends aren’t really new, either — they allowed the third most fantasy points per game to tight ends last season.
Ebron came out of his Colts debut with a decent statline — four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown on five targets — but the process to get there isn’t exactly something that’s going to keep him consistent week-to-week in fantasy. First, he only played 45 percent of the Colts’ offensive snaps and he was just fifth on the team in targets. He got the one touchdown, but that’s basically what you’re hoping for if you’re starting him. You’d also hope for the sake of Andrew Luck that the Colts aren’t planning on having him throw 53 times per game, which would cut down on Ebron’s volume.