Week 1 is in the books and it provided many surprises for fantasy owners as well as unbelievable frustration as well. Who would have guessed that guys like Marcus Mariota, Andy Dalton and Alex Smith would outscore supposed studs like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson?
Who would have thought that Brandon McManus (he’s a kicker), would score 18 fantasy points? That’s more than Eddie Lacy scored. Or that Carolina’s D would score 21 fantasy points?
That’s just part of fantasy football. Each week you need to look deep into the crystal ball and figure out who to start and who to sit. It sure isn’t easy. Luckily for you here’s some amazing start/sit advice that will no doubt help you win week 2.
START THESE QBs...
Carson Palmer, ARI (at CHI)
Palmer had an amazing Week 1, throwing for 307 yards and three touchdowns. He basically picked up right where he left off last year when he was undefeated as a starter (going 6-0). Wide receiver Michael Floyd should be good to go for this game, giving Palmer an awesome triple threat to throw the ball too. Even though he lost Andre Ellington to a PCL injury, Chris Johnson and especially David Johnson are going to step in, so there shouldn’t be any drop off there. Oh and Palmer is going up against the Bears' defense, which did play well against the Packers, but still won’t be able to stop the Cardinals.
Drew Brees, NO (vs. TB)
Brees didn’t look so great last week in Arizona, but that’s okay. Arizona has an excellent defense and Brees is still getting used to his retooled supporting cast. A Week 2 matchup at home against Tampa Bay is exactly what Brees needs to get back to elite status and throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. He is going to have a monster game.
Colin Kaepernick, SF (at PIT)
There’s no doubt that Kaepernick has regressed since becoming a starter in 2012, but there is hope. No, Kaepernick isn’t going to throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns in this game, but he is playing a Steelers defense that was crushed by the Patriots on national TV in the first game of the season. The 49ers are coming off a short week and do have to travel east, but what makes Kaepernick’s breakout potential so huge is his running ability. Between him and Carlos Hyde, the 49ers could run all over the Steelers and if you start Kaepernick and he gets 50 rushing yards and a TD to go with his passing stats, you’re in for a good week.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Tyrod Taylor, BUF (vs. NE)
Taylor exploded onto the scene in Week 1, posting 15 fantasy points where he threw for 195 yards and a touchdown and added 41 yards on the ground. However, this against a Colts defense which would probably make Jameis Winston look like Brett Favre right now. This week Taylor is up against Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. But this might not be a bad thing. Ben Roethlisberger just torched the Patriots' secondary for 18 fantasy points and while Taylor isn’t Roethlisberger, just remember that Taylor has an elite defense backing him up, LeSean McCoy in the backfield and last year in Buffalo the Patriots gave up 17 fantasy points to Bills QBs.
SIT THESE QBs...
Cam Newton, CAR (vs. HOU)
It’s true that Newton wasn’t terrible in Week 1, he managed to complete 18 of 31 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown with a pick, and he did rush for 35 yards. You better get used to those pedestrian numbers as they are going to be what Newton averages throughout the entire year. Much has been made about how Newton has no one to throw the ball to, which is true and now he goes up against J.J. Watt and company who will pressure Newton all game. At the best of times Newton isn’t very accurate and under intense pressure he is going to throw multiple picks and when he tries to do too much with his feet, he will get sacked multiple times for big losses.
Eli Manning, NYG (vs. ATL)
No one had a worse start to the season than Manning (okay, other than players that got hurt). In year two of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense, Manning was supposed to take a huge step forward and be a true elite quarterback. Well, it may have only been one game, but Eli is still Eli. Now the Giants go up against a Falcons defense that, thanks to new head coach Dan Quinn (the former defensive coordinator of the Seahawks), was able to hold Chip Kelly’s dynamic Eagles offense in check for most of the game. The Falcons will put corner Desmond Trufant on Odell Beckham Jr. and make Manning beat them by throwing to Rueben Randle and Larry Donnell. Not a recipe for success for Manning's owners.
Tom Brady, NE (at BUF)
This is perhaps the toughest call of the week, but it will really be made easy if you only have Brady on your roster because you grabbed him late in your fantasy draft after already nabbing a decent starting QB because no one at the time knew about Brady’s suspension. So if you have another viable option, start them this week instead. Why? While Brady crushed the Steelers with 4 TDs, three of them were to Rob Gronkowski, the Bills defense is a different animal. With new head coach Rex Ryan, you know they are going to slow down Gronk and that will slow down Brady.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Aaron Rodgers, GB (vs. SEA)
This may seem crazy because, well this Rodgers, the reigning league MVP we are talking about here. And let's be honest, if you are fortunate enough to have Rodgers on your roster, not only are you not starting him, you also may not even have a backup to replace him. With that said – beware! Rodgers has struggled against the Seahawks in the past and while this game is thankfully in Green Bay, this time he doesn’t have Jordy Nelson at his disposal, meaning Seattle only really has to worry about a banged-up Randall Cobb, James Jones and Davante Adams. What makes things worse is that the “Legion of Boom” will be out for blood because of last week's loss to the Rams. One has to figure the Seahawks will do everything possible to not start the season 0-2.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
START THESE DSTs...
New Orleans (vs. TB)
It looks like at least to start the season any DST that is playing the Buccaneers are going to be the defense of choice for those who like the stream this position. This week it’s the Saints that are the lucky DST that gets to play Jameis Winston and company. Even if Mike Evans plays, right now Winston looks like a deer caught in the headlights and until he proves he can sustain drives and make accurate throws, start any DST that is going against him.
Baltimore Ravens (at OAK)
Yes the Ravens lost star edge rusher Terrell Suggs to a season-ending Achilles injury, but they thrives on the “next man up” mentality and lucky for them they get to play the Raiders in Week 2. It looks like Derek Carr is going to play, but he probably won’t be 100 percent, and all he did in Week 1 was force feed the ball to Amari Cooper. The Ravens managed to shut down the great Peyton Manning and Gary Kubiak’s zone-running scheme in Week 1. They will have no problem bottling up the Raiders' offense.
SIT THESE DSTs...
New York Jets (at IND, Mon.)
The Jets actually do have a great D, and will more than likely be a great option for most weeks, just not this week. They are traveling to Indy to play the Colts on Monday night a week after Andrew Luck and company got embarrassed by the Buffalo Bills. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie might not play, which only makes things worse because Darrelle Revis can’t cover everyone. This is the week that Luck gets back on track and throws for over 300 yards and has at least two touchdowns.
Seattle Seahawks (at GB)
If this game was in Seattle, starting the Seahawks' D would be a no-brainer. However this game is in Green Bay and is the Packers' home opener. Green Bay might not have Jordy Nelson, but it looks like Aaron Rodgers will be okay. Seattle doesn’t have safety Kam Chancellor, and it looks like Seattle isn’t the same without him. After all, Nick Foles and the Rams were able to put up 34 points on the “Legion of Boom” in Week 1. Kind of makes you wonder what Rodgers might do.
START THESE KICKERS...
Dan Bailey, DAL (at PHI)
The Cowboys just lost their best red-zone threat in Dez Bryant and they no longer have DeMarco Murray to score on the goal line. Until someone on the Cowboys (Terrance Williams? Joseph Randle?) steps up, there are going to be lots of opportunities for Bailey to kick field goals.
Adam Vinatieri, IND (vs. NYJ, Mon.)
While Andrew Luck is going to be Andrew Luck again, that does not mean that he is going to be able to throw for lots of touchdowns. The Jets' D, led by new head coach Todd Bowles, is going to bend and not break, which might keep them in the game, but it also could mean lots of scoring opportunities for Vinatieri.
SIT THESE KICKERS...
Josh Scobee, PIT (vs. SF)
Only because Scobee might get cut before the game starts, or if not, he might miss another eight field goals.
Matt Prater, DET (at MIN)
Matthew Stafford has to throw the ball to Calvin Johnson more than four times this week right? With Johnson finally getting on track and rookie star-in-the-making Ameer Abdullah, there might not be many field goal chances for Prater this week.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.