Don't be surprised if Gronk doesn't live up to his No. 1 billing among tight ends
After the first week of the fantasy football season, some of the preseason hype was met. Others have yet to prove their worth. Some fantasy owners have already dumped half their roster to pick up new players off of the waiver wire. Others are going to wait out at least one more week.
With one week of football behind us, we can now make rankings that are a little more accurate than they were before Week 1. Within these, however, some players still may still exceed their ranking or fall below it.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s always a tough call when someone is ranked so high. Roethlisberger is the third-ranked quarterback for Week 2. After a mediocre Week 1 (335 yards, TD, three INTs), Roethlisberger is nursing an elbow injury. All signs point to him playing this week, and it doesn’t seem like this would be the type of injury to sideline him. Roethlisberger plays markedly better at home and that's where he will get a Kansas City defense that gave up 541 total yards (418 passing) to the Chargers last week.
James White, RB, New England Patriots
In Week 1, White saw nine targets. He caught four of them for 38 yards and a touchdown. Without the touchdown, his Week 1 numbers would be pedestrian as he only had 18 rushing yards. With the tough matchup against Jacksonville looming, White seems like a poor option. However, he’s ranked No. 36 and in PPR leagues, he should be much higher. Rex Burkhead (concussion) and Sony Michel (knee) are both questionable heading into this week. The Patriots just may rely on the short passing game, which is White’s forte.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles need a pass catcher to step up with Alshon Jeffrey out, and Agholor was that guy in Week 1. He had 10 targets which he converted to eight receptions for 33 yards. Clearly, the yardage needs to be higher, but 11.3 points in a PPR format on 33 yards isn’t terrible. Agholor should build on that performance, as Tampa Bay's defense can be beat (see: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints, Week 1). The Eagles last played on Thursday, so Week 1 was shaking off the rust and an extra few days of rest should propel Agholor to WR2 territory.
Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The No. 45 ranking seems low for what will likely be the No. 2 receiver in Tampa Bay. Mike Evans is the clear No. 1, but with DeSean Jackson most likely out (dealing with a concussion and a shoulder injury), Godwin should step up. Granted, the matchup against the Eagles will be tougher than the Saints, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown he can get the ball to Godwin (3-41-1 in Week 1). He’s a WR3 for Week 2.
Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders
Cook was pretty much the lone bright spot for the Raiders in Week 1. He had 12 targets, and he caught nine of those for 180 yards. None of the Raiders' wide receivers could do pretty much anything, so Derek Carr relied on his running backs (Jalen Richard had 11 targets) and Cook. While the Rams' defense is tough, the same can be said for the Broncos. The Raiders also are playing on a short week, which makes it tougher on the running backs. Look for Cook to have a prominent role again, exceeding his No. 11 ranking.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Ranked No. 5, Rodgers has his work cut out for him. The Packers face the Minnesota Vikings, which is one of the toughest defenses in the league. There's also the matter of Rodgers' health. Yes, he did return and orchestrate a miraculous second-half comeback against the Chicago Bears last Sunday night, but in-game adrenaline certainly helps to play through an injury. He won’t have that on Sunday. Fantasy owners with Rodgers are going to start him (assuming he’s active), but he certainly should be avoided in DFS.
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
In Week 1, Miller had 20 carries for 98 yards. He added one reception for 11 yards, putting him over 100 total yards, but running against the Tennessee Titans may be tougher than running against the New England Patriots. Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake barely combined for 100 rushing yards in Week 1 against the Titans. Miller is playing behind a dreadful offensive line, and Deshaun Watson looked lost in Week 1. Miller will be used as an RB2, but he won’t put up RB2 numbers in Week 2.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders just played late Monday night and now travel to Denver to play Sunday afternoon. The short week is tough, especially for the 32-year-old Lynch. He’s ranked No. 26, but he’s merely a flex option. He had 11 carries in Week 1, which he turned into 41 yards and a touchdown. He’s given up the passing down work to Jalen Richard (Lynch only had two receptions), and if the Raiders are playing from behind again (which they will likely be), there's going to be a lot pass plays, and Lynch won’t be on the field.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
While there is only a one-week sample size, the Los Angeles Rams allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in Week 1. They allowed 43 yards to the top three receivers of the Oakland Raiders. Perhaps that is the product of Derek Carr, but Sam Bradford also is off to a rough start. Fitzgerald saw 10 targets in Week 1, and he caught seven of them for 76 yards. He’s clearly the only receiver that Bradford looks for, as the only other receiver to see any targets (two) was rookie Christian Kirk. He has WR2 value but may not exceed his No. 14 ranking.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
While Gronk is usually a solid option, he faces a tough challenge in Week 2. He is still a TE1, especially with the tight end landscape looking how it is. However, having him ranked as the No. 1 tight end is too high. Now, it may seem like a cop-out as someone can only go down from the No. 1 ranking, but Gronk isn’t someone to use in daily leagues. Tom Brady may struggle against Jacksonville and have to rely on short, quick passes. While Gronk is sometimes included in that approach, he’s more of a red zone threat. He still may end up with a touchdown to save his fantasy day, but calling him the No. 1 option is a stretch this week.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.