You can throw all the stats you can at a fantasy football line-up but, at the end of the week, you’re still playing with potential. Potential doesn’t qualify Dez Bryant getting knocked out for possibly the season, or T.Y. Hilton leaving the game at the cusp of 100 yards, or Peyton Manning getting sacked four times. These things happen.
The stats for “Start, Sit, & Spin” so far:
Please note: there are certain players that can be considered “set ’em and forget ’em.” We don’t include them in our “Start” segment because it usually goes without saying that if you drafted someone in the first two rounds, you’re sticking with them unless they are injured or on a bye.
Quarterback: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
Let me be clear: I am not on the Marcus Mariota bandwagon. I am on the “Bucs are going for their second #1 draft pick in a row” bandwagon. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked horrible, and Marcus Mariota was able to take advantage of that with 209 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. I don’t expect him to be that good in this game against the Cleveland Browns, but I do expect him to play for the whole game this time, and possibly run a bit more.
I would start Marcus Mariota over: Matthew Stafford (DET), Philip Rivers (SD), Ryan Tannehill (MIA)
Running Back: Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions
Abdullah may not have broken the bank with only 50 yards rushing, but he made it count with a touchdown and was a constant fixture in the passing game with 4 receptions for 44 yards. After Carlos Hyde ran over the Vikings’ defensive line last week, I expect Abdullah to continue the trend.
I would start Ameer Abdullah over: LeSean McCoy (BUF), Alfred Morris (WAS), Joseph Randle (DAL)
Wide Receiver: Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
I saw the same game you all did. The Denver Broncos looked horrible at every offensive position against the Baltimore Ravens. Peyton Manning looked old and out-of-sync in a Gary Kubiak offense. The offensive line couldn’t pick up a blitz. C.J. Anderson was only able to run into a wall.
But when Manning needed to, he launched the ball Sanders’ way. It may have been long at times, but if one of those connected, it would have been fantasy points galore. Look for that connection to happen against the Kansas City Chiefs.
I would start Emmanuel Sanders over: Colts receivers (IND), Pierre Garcon (WAS), Keenan Allen (SD)
Tight End: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Whether or not Mike Evans is good to go, ASJ is going to get his like he did last week against the Tennessee Titans. Jameis Winston was better when he put the training wheels on, even if it was junk-time when he was throwing to ASJ. The Bucs are playing the Saints in New Orleans. Look for more junk-time scoring and soft coverage for the Bucs’ offense.
I would start Austin Seferian-Jenkins over: Tyler Eifert (CIN), Jordan Reed (WAS), Heath Miller (PIT)
DST: Houston Texans
When the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense is able to make a game competitive while their offense is allowing pick-sixes, you have to believe the fears we had about the Panthers’ offense are real. Now Cam Newton goes up against J.J. Watt and company, who allowed 27 points to the Chiefs but have the potential to feast on lower-tier, run-first teams.
I would start the Houston DST over: Panthers (CAR), Seahawks (SEA), Rams (STL)
Kicker: Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams have the look of a team that can move the ball down the field after defeating the Seattle Seahawks. At the same time, the Washington Redskins looked relatively adept on defense. I’d expect a “bend, don’t break” showing for the Redskins, which means Zuerlein will have a busy day.
I would start Greg Zuerlein over: Adam Vinatieri (IND), Stephen Gostkowski (NE), Brandon McManus (DEN)
Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
I’m not saying Peyton Manning is done yet, but he and the whole Denver Broncos offense looked horrible last week. I expect Manning to be given back a bit more play-calling power against the Chiefs but, with a short week and too many issues, I would not gamble on it if there was a better option on your bench.
Replacements: Carson Palmer (ARI), Sam Bradford (PHI), Andy Dalton (CIN)
Running Back: Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders
This has less to do with the talent of Latavius Murray and more to do with the Baltimore Ravens. While Terrell Suggs may be out for the year, this was a defense that suffocated Peyton Manning and the Denver run game at the same time last week. Murray gained 44 yards on 11 carries against the Bengals. Yes, it was a game that the Raiders were playing catch-up in, but I would find someone else for the week.
Replacements: Chris Johnson (ARI), Bishop Sankey (TEN), T.J. Yeldon (JAC)
Wide Receiver: T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Whether or not T.Y. Hilton suits up monday night due to a knee bruise, I would go forward as if he wasn’t playing. I would even be tempted to sit him if he was 100% healthy. Why? Revis Island.
I know it’s awful to play the matchup when T.Y. Hilton could be your #1 receiver, and in a different world, in a different dimension, with a different postseason last year, I’d probably be pro-Hilton. But let me leave you with a stat-line:
6 targets/ 1 reception/ 36 yards
That is what Revis did to a healthy T.Y. Hilton last year in the AFC Championship. Do yourself a favor. Sit Hilton.
Replacements: Donte Moncrief (IND), Stevie Johnson (SD), Roddy White (ATL)
Tight End: Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
The San Diego Chargers took away just about every weapon they could from the Detroit Lions last week, leaving tight end Eric Ebron to eke out one 18-yard catch and an accidental touchdown. Considering the Eifert hype, I’d expect expectations for him to be softened after this week.
Replacements: Jordan Reed (WAS), Kyle Rudolph (MIN), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TB)
DST: Tennessee Titans
Don’t expect Johnny Manziel to throw a pick-6 on his first throw like Jameis Winston did. Manziel may have done that last year, but this year he has some NFL snaps under his belt. The titans defense is not as good as week 1 showed.
Replacements: Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens
Kicker: Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals
Any kicker who complains that the new extra-point spot was set so that kickers would fail should be off his team. It’s not about making kickers fail. It’s about making the kick mean something. Nugent missed.
Replacements: Blair Walsh (MIN), Matt Prater (DET), Chandler Catanzaro (ARI)
Quarterback: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Did Winston turn things around as the game against the Tennessee Titans progressed, or was it junk time? either way, he’s an interesting thought in two-quarterback leagues.
Running Back: Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Mark Ingram became more pass-catching back than running back over Khiry Robinson. C.J. Spiller is coming back. Is the Saints backfield becoming this year’s Cleveland Browns backfield? We’ll see after week 2.
Wide Receiver: Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts
If T.Y. Hilton sits out, who goes to Revis Island? Andre Johnson, or Donte Moncrief? It’s the sort of question that can make you question replacing Hilton with Moncrief in your lineup.
Tight End: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
How long can Jordan Reed last? And did you already miss your window to trade him?
DST: San Francisco 49ers
With all the turnover the 49ers had in the offseason, the defense looked good against the Vikings. Was it the match-up, or the talent?
Kicker: Cody Parkey, Philadelphia Eagles
Will Chip Kelly lean more on two-point conversions and 4th-down plays over letting Cody Parkey kick? This is the question that surfaces when a kicker misses a late, lead-changing field goal.
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