Perhaps it is because I am partial to the stoics like Marcus Aurelius or Seneca, but the common theme of this article will often be preaching “perspective.” Last week I tried to prepare you all for the inevitable letdowns that can come with Week 1, or any week for that matter, in this beautiful game of fake football that we play.
I should have prepared myself.
For a little perspective, transparency, and because apparently, I am a masochist, let us take a look at how my plays and fades performed last week:
Strong week 1 showing for your boy: ????♂️ pic.twitter.com/KUSMDx9W47
— Big Travy TFW (@bigtravyTFW) September 14, 2022
As you can see: I went 5-7. Woof. Eli Manning(50%) and Matt Hasselbeck (53%) posted a better career-winning percentage than I did in Week 1. Nevertheless, we persist because, as the great Bruce Lee said, we must be like water.
????Be water, My Friend pic.twitter.com/4kW7trP7r2
— Bruce Lee (@brucelee) November 3, 2020
As I will do every week for this article, I am using the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings to bring you, players, in ranges where the start/sit conundrums exist. Your RB2, WR3, and FLEX positions. Here are the ranges in which I will try to live when writing this column each week:
QB ECR: 10-20 | RB ECR: 20-40 | WR ECR: 20-40 | TE ECR: 10-20
With that, I will bring you my confidence plays and fades for this week. Again, my goal here is to give you plays and fades beyond just your obvious studs & duds. Good luck!
Week 2 Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em
QB Kirk Cousins ECR QB13, @PHI
Raise your hand if Kirk Cousins has let you and your fantasy squad down before. That is a lot of hands. I know there is a narrative that Cousins fails in big-time spots, especially since his career record is 8-17 in those primetime games. Something feels different about these Vikings, though, doesn’t it? I am high on Cousins this week against the Eagles on MNF. He is coming off a QB11 performance against a Packers defense that has a talented secondary. Also, he posted those numbers in a game where the Vikings led and never gave up from the nine-minute mark in the first quarter. This Vikings/Eagles tilt is one of only three games with an over/under above 50 points.
RB Darrell Henderson ECR RB24, vs ATL
I think what isn’t getting talked about enough in all the Cam Akers panic (or hate) is that Darrell Henderson has been quite good at football when healthy:
Darrell Henderson(43rd RB, 121 Overall)
-As a pass blocker? 79.1 grade was the 6th best among RBs per PFF
-As a rusher? In 2021 was #18 in PFF Rushing Grade with 77.5. Better than Derrick Henry????
-As a fill-in? 7 top-20 PPR finishes, avg 17 tch, 82 tot. yds & scored 8 TD
— TheFantasyWhisperers (@TFWhisperers) August 10, 2022
I mean, you wanna talk about pass protection?
Maybe this is why Cam Akers barely played last night pic.twitter.com/WqMhjgyykZ
— Jacob Nierob (@jnierob7) September 9, 2022
Last week wasn’t pretty in the box score, but Henderson saw 82% of the Rams snaps, 81% of the rushing attempts, and participated on 78% of the passing routes. The Rams are the biggest favorites on the Week 2 docket, favored by 10.5 at home against the Falcons. Therefore, I trust Henderson this week.
RB Chase Edmonds ECR RB26, @BAL
Edmonds is a popular “buy-low” target in fantasy football circles. Despite barely eclipsing 10 points in PPR formats, he led all of the Dolphins’ running backs in route participation, rushing market share, and target market share. In addition, he is an explosive pass-catching specialist who will face a Ravens defense that just surrendered 18 targets and 13 receptions to the Jets running backs in week one.
WR Christian Kirk ECR WR26, vs IND
Everyone had a good laugh at the Jaguars when they gave Christian Kirk a four-year, $72 million deal that could be worth up to $84 million with $37 million fully guaranteed this offseason. But who’s laughing now? Still everyone. However, I would argue that Christian Kirk drafters are giggling a bit, too, because Kirk seems ingrained as this team’s target leader and big-play slot option. Last week he saw 28% of the targets, participated on 92% of the routes, and posted a 2.85 YPRR, all while running 90% of his routes from the slot. I think he is a good bet for high production this week against Indy after Brandin Cooks saw 12 targets just last week.
WR Allen Robinson ECR WR26, vs ATL
Start Allen Robinson? Allen “two targets, one catch” Robinson? Yes. Why? “For the night is dark and full of terrors.” If it doesn’t happen this week, it may not happen, but I Iike A-Rob’s odds here against the Falcons, who were the ninth-friendliest defense against wide receivers last season. Last Sunday, they gave up the third most points to the position. I also like some of what the advanced metrics showed us with Robinson last week, specifically his ADOT of 17.5 and the fact that he was in on 96% of the passing routes last week. I trust McVay and the Rams’ track record of bringing in WRs from other teams (Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, O.B.J.) and then producing for our fantasy lineups. So I am willing to dance in the flames with Robinson this week.
TE Robert Tonyan ECR TE14 vs CHI
I am probably a week or two early on this one, given that Tonyan only played on 22 of Green Bay’s snaps as he works his way back from last year’s ACL injury. Nevertheless, I liked what I saw from Tonyan on a day when the Packers were deprived of big plays:
Robert Tonyan received five targets despite playing 36% of the snaps as he was being eased back in. He was targeted on 28% of his routes ran (elite rate).
He looked great, and Aaron Rodgers loved having him on the field. Expect his snaps to increase this week. pic.twitter.com/Sdwwsf68DW
— Zareh Kantzabedian (@ZKantzFF) September 15, 2022
First of all, follow Zareh on Twitter. Secondly, that 28% target rate on the routes he ran that Z speaks of led all Packers not named A.J. Dillon. At the very least, Tonyan is a stash, but if you drafted Njoku or Irv Smith Jr. as your late TE, I am more than ok pivoting to Tonyan this week.
If you have more Start Sit questions, join us tomorrow at 11 AM EST on Start Sit, Different Day. We spend an hour doing nothing but answering your most pressing lineup questions!
QB Trey Lance ECR QB14, vs SEA
I have come a long way on Trey Lance. He was a guy I was “stanning” for hard this offseason, but I would be lying if I said the new Jimmy G. contract gave me the warm and fuzzies. The same could be said for Trey Lance’s Week 1 performance. Lance’s yards per attempt was an abysmal 5.9, and his adjusted completion percentage was only 62%. I understand this was the “monsoon game,” and I would be willing to look the other way if Justin Fields hadn’t made some plays and gotten home. I am taking a “wait and see” approach with Lance, who is facing a Seattle defense that impressed on Monday night against Russ and the Broncos.
RB Travis Etienne ECR RB28, vs IND
I think we should practice patience with Travis Etienne, especially this week, as he faces a Colts defense that allowed just the fourth-fewest touchdowns to running backs last year. It also doesn’t help Etienne’s case that James Robinson reminded us never to doubt the man, ever. Also, Etienne’s 20% rushing market share from Week 1 is the feather in the cap that Etienne’s better days are likely coming later this season, if not next year.
RB Damien Harris ECR R#31 @PIT
Last week was exactly what we should have expected from the Patriots backfield: a mess. No running back saw more than 45% of the rushing market share, and I literally watched Matt Patricia call the same play three times in a row. A running back flat route, check down. Additionally, Harris played on less than 40% of New England’s snaps. I am optimistic about the season-long outlook for Rhamondre Stevenson, especially with Ty Montgomery going on the IR this week. However, I would not be in a hurry to start either Patriot back against the Steelers’ defense that just held Joe Mixon to three yards per carry.
WR Darnell Mooney ECR WR28 @GB
It was not a great start to the season for Darnell Mooney, who saw just three targets and caught only one of them. Even if you want to chalk last week up to the torrential downpour, there are some dark clouds hanging over Mooney’s outlook this week as well. The Green Bay Packers boast a stout secondary that includes lockdown corner Jaire Alexander, who should be all over Mooney on SNF. Also, the last time Mooney played these Packers in Lambeau, with Fields at quarterback, he caught just one ball and gained 19 scoreless yards. Therefore, I am ok benching Mooney in Week 2.
WR D.K. Metcalf ECR WR24 @SF
I am not in full panic, but I am slightly worried about D.K. Metcalf. He was able to garner 26% of Seattle’s targets on Monday Night, but he caught all seven of his targets for only 36 yards. This now marks 11 straight games going back to last year in which Metcalf has failed to eclipse 75 yards receiving. He only has four touchdowns in that span to boot. Maybe that means Metcalf is due, but I am starting to really worry about Metcalf in this offense and low-volume passing attack.
TE Dawson Knox ECR TE10 vs TEN
Knox is shaping up to be an even more boom or bust tight end than we had initially expected coming into this season. Last Thursday, he only participated on 66% of the Bills’ routes against the Rams. That is not ideal utilization, especially when you share the field with Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, and Jamison Crowder. Therefore, I am ok benching or letting Knox head to waivers.
Good luck this week. If you need additional help, we have Ryan’s Streams of the Week to help you get that Week 2 win!