Welcome to Week 2's fantasy advice for which quarterbacks (and defense/special teams) to start and which to leave on your bench. But first I know you’re really interested to see how I did last week, so let’s take a look shall we?
Start Matthew Stafford (26.1 fantasy points) - Stafford sure looks good in that new up-tempo Lions offense.
Start Derek Carr (22.36 FP) - If only Carr could have thrown at least one more touchdown pass, he would have finished in the top 3.
Sit Philip Rivers (14.62 FP) - Rivers and the whole Chargers' offense was humming along until Keenan Allen got hurt and then Rivers started to sputter.
Sit Andy Dalton (17.34 FP) - Dalton threw for 366 yards and would have had an ever bigger day if he threw more than one touchdown.
I said it might be worth the risk to start Tyrod Taylor. Hopefully you didn’t listen because he and the whole Bills' offense were terrible, as Taylor scored a meager 5.54 fantasy points.
START THESE QBS...
Eli Manning, NYG (vs. NO)
This one is easy. Manning is playing at home against a Saints team that always makes opposing quarterbacks top-five fantasy players. Manning put up a solid 18.28 fantasy points last week in Dallas and now gets to face a Saints defense that gave up 7.6 yards per play in Week 1. Even if you drafted Manning as your QB2, don’t overthink this, start him.
Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. TEN)
Stafford looked great last week, shredding the Colts for 340 yards on 31-of-39 passing and three touchdowns. Now, Stafford and the Lions welcome the Titans to town. Since Jim Bob Cooter took over as the Lions’ offensive coordinator, Stafford has averaged 20.76 fantasy points per game. That includes 23 touchdown passes and a mere four interceptions. Stafford should once again score 20-plus fantasy points this week.
Derek Carr, OAK (vs. ATL)
Carr had an excellent start to his 2016 season, scoring 22.36 fantasy points against the Saints. And this happened on the road where Carr has struggled. This week Carr and the Raiders return home, where he has thrown 15 touchdowns in his last seven games. The Falcons come to town after surrendering four touchdowns and 25.5 fantasy points to Jameis Winston last week.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Jameis Winston, TB (at ARI)
Most people would probably sit Winston this week against the Cardinals, one of the best defenses in the NFL. But don’t forget that last week Jimmy Garoppolo managed to throw for 264 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start and without the assistance of Rob Gronkowski and a couple of offensive linemen. Winston looked amazing in week 1 (281 yards, 4 TDs) and he's an underdog in a game that is projected to be a potential shootout (over/under: 50). This means he should see another high volume of pass attempts. Another top-five showing may be difficult to achieve, but I expect Winston to put up QB1 numbers in
SIT THESE QBs...
Russell Wilson, SEA (at LA)
A mobile QB with a potential ankle sprain? No thanks. Even if Wilson plays, and throws the ball a ton (43 pass attempts vs. Miami), it’s just not worth having him in your lineup just in case something happens. Plus, Wilson is playing in the Rams' home opener as the NFL finally returns to LA and the Rams always play the Seahawks tough.
Matt Ryan, ATL (at OAK)
Ryan played great last week against the Buccaneers. He scored 24.36 fantasy points, but he was at home and has a history of dominating the Bucs. This week you should return Ryan to the bench as he has averaged a mere 14.87 fantasy points in his last nine road contests. Plus, look for the Raiders’ defense to be a whole lot better this week at home than the unit fared last week in New Orleans.
Andy Dalton, CIN (at PIT)
Dalton played well in Week 1, and his stat line of 23-of-30 for 366 yards, one touchdown and one interception is probably what he is going to average every week. That might sound good, but it’s only 18 fantasy points. The last time Dalton faced the Steelers in Week 8 of the 2015 season, he had just 231 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for 11 fantasy points. He has just one game with more than 20 fantasy points in his past five trips to the Steel City. He should have another tough game at Heinz Field on Sunday and is QB2 material at best.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Andrew Luck, IND (at DEN)
Luck reminded us of just how good he can be after scoring 43 fantasy points (standard scoring) thanks to 385 yards passing and four touchdowns (and 21 yards rushing). But Detroit at home is different than Denver on the road, and Luck could be in store for a big letdown this week. The Broncos just held Cam Newton to 22 fantasy points, which is more than respectable, but now what we are used to seeing Cam doing. Luck did play well last year against the Broncos (25 fantasy points), but that was at home, not in Denver. You should definitely still start Luck, but temper your expectation against the Broncos' dominating defense.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Baltimore Ravens (at CLE)
Remember when the Ravens' defense was among the elite units in fantasy football? Well, owners should have faith in the purple and black this week against the Browns and backup quarterback Josh McCown. Maybe he's an upgrade of Robert Griffin III, maybe he's not... but the Browns remain a matchup and streaming option among DSTs.
Philadelphia Eagles (at CHI, Mon.)
The Eagles put up an impressive 11 fantasy points in last week's win over the Browns, and another favorable matchup awaits against turnover-prone quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears. Philadelphia's DST is still a free agent in more than 70 percent of NFL.com leagues, so fantasy fans who like to stream are in business.
SIT THESE DSTs...
New York Giants (vs. NO)
The Giants spent a mint on defensive additions in the offseason, but this unit still scored a total of one fantasy point last week against Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. Next on the schedule is Drew Brees and the Saints, which are coming off an impressive Week 1 showing. Keep the G-Men on the bench this week.
Miami Dolphins (at NE)
In what was a shock to some (including me), that the Dolphins DST put up 11 fantasy points on the road against the Seahawks. And while Miami’s upcoming matchup against the Patriots features Jimmy Garoppolo and not Tom Brady at quarterback; New England is not a team that turns the ball over often. Keep these fish in the waiver wire pool.
— 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.