Saturday, September 15, 2018

Week 2 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Patrick Mahomes is listed below as a "start" for Week 2. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 2 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Drew Brees and Mahomes, you should start Brees -- and in turn, bench Mahomes.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

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Week 2 Fantasy Football QB Start'em


QB - Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (at PIT)

A breakout candidate heading into 2018, the strong-armed Mahomes takes over for Alex Smith, who had a career-best 2017 season when he finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback. In his first start of the season (and second of his career), Mahomes was one of three quarterbacks to throw four touchdowns. The second-year quarterback completed 15-of-27 pass attempts for 256 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions and scored 28.34 fantasy points, the fourth-most in Week 1.

Even though the Chiefs are road underdogs in Pittsburgh this week, the Chiefs are projected to be a top-10 scoring offense based on implied totals from Vegas odds. With a talented group of weapons and a defense that should surrender plenty of points to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, Mahomes should have another highly productive week.

[Big Ben is also a start as my second-ranked quarterback this week.]

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns (at NO)

The great thing about a mobile quarterback like Taylor is that he can throw for less than 200 yards and still have a productive fantasy outing. Rushing for 77 yards and a score, Taylor scored 13.7 fantasy points from his rushing stats alone. His 23.58 fantasy points were sixth-most in Week 1.

During fantasy draft season, I wrote that Taylor could be a top-12 fantasy quarterback on a per-game basis for as long as he's the starter. While the Browns have a late-season bye (Week 11) and a transition to Baker Mayfield may make sense following it, it's also possible that the team has some success and sticks with Taylor longer than that.

Either way, the Browns will head to New Orleans to take on the high-powered Drew Brees-led offense in Week 2. It's certainly possible that Taylor and the Browns will be forced to play catchup early. Not that anyone should expect a similar game to what Ryan Fitzpatrick just had against the Saints, a top-12 fantasy outcome is certainly within the realm of possibilities for Taylor this week.

QB - Alex Smith, Washington Redskins (vs. IND)

Over the past five seasons, Jay Gruden has coached a top-eight full-season fantasy quarterback with Kirk Cousins (three times in Washington) and Andy Dalton (2013 in Cincinnati). Coming off a top-three season with the Chiefs last year, Smith is consistently an underrated option.

Finishing as a top-11 fantasy quarterback in Week 1, Smith threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns in a blowout win over the Cardinals. While he only rushed for 14 yards, Smith is one of the league's more mobile quarterbacks and that part of his game boosts his weekly floor and ceiling. Getting a favorable matchup against the Colts, Washington has a top-five implied total for the week.

QB - Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (vs. DET)

Coming up short against the Vikings on the road, things should be better for Jimmy G. and the 49ers this week as they host the Lions at home. Garoppolo completed less than half of his pass attempts (15-of-33) for 261 yards and threw more interceptions (three) than touchdowns (one) last week. That said, George Kittle dropped a would-be touchdown and the Lions just got shredded by the Jets offense and rookie quarterback Sam Darnold on Monday Night Football. Only the Steelers, Saints and Rams have higher implied totals than the 49ers this week.

Week 2 Fantasy Football QB Sit'em


QB - Tom Brady, New England Patriots (at JAX)

Benching Brady isn't something that fantasy owners should typically do. In fact, it's reasonable to assume that most fantasy owners have just one quarterback on their rosters when Brady is their starter. Ranked just outside my top-12 (QB13), it may not make sense to add a quarterback like Taylor, who I have ranked just one spot ahead of Brady, if it means dropping a running back stash that you could potentially use later in the season.

With all that said, this is the worst possible matchup for any fantasy quarterback. In the AFC Championship Game last season, Brady threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns. Over their 20 games (counting playoffs) in 2017 and 2018, the Jaguars have allowed just three games of 250-plus passing yards and multiple touchdowns. It wouldn't be a surprise if Brady has his worst game of the season in Week 2.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at SF)

Week 1 was a week to forget for Stafford. The Lions quarterback threw four interceptions, including one returned for a score, and only one touchdown against the Jets. Sustaining a shin injury on MNF, Stafford is practicing fully ahead of the Week 2 matchup so he'll be on the field. Even so, he's better left on your bench this week.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. PHI)

Drew Brees threw for 439 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 as the Saints put up 40 points, but it was Fitzpatrick that outdueled the future HOFer. In fact, it wasn't even close as Fitzpatrick scored more than 10 fantasy points more than Brees. Not only did Fitzpatrick throw for 417 yards and four touchdowns, but he rushed for 36 yards and another score.

In a matchup against the Eagles, things likely will go much worse for Fitzpatrick this week. Historically, Fitzpatrick has followed up big performances (e.g., 358 yards and six TDs in 2014) with duds (135 yards and no TDs the following week).

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 2

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