Week 1 of the Fantasy Football season is in the books and owners are now looking ahead to the rest of Week 2. Last week I had some good calls in starting Tevin Coleman, sitting Steve Smith and the Colts tight ends. I also had some bad calls in starting Eli Manning (sorry Giants fans) and benching Philip Rivers. I also had one call where my logic made sense, stating that Mark Ingram won’t run well or find the endzone against the Cardinals, which he didn’t, but he was still start-worthy, catching eight passes for 98 yards. Now onto this week!
Start: Carson Palmer
Palmer looked great last week, throwing for 307 yards and three scores against the Saints. This week he will go up against a Bears defense that just let Aaron Rodgers throw for 189 yards and three scores. Rodgers certainly could have thrown for more if he had too. In fact, the Bears defense allowed the second most Fantasy points per game to opposing QBs last year, behind only the Redskins. Losing Andre Ellington could hurt, but if Chris Johnson struggles to establish a run game then Palmer could be asked to throw even more. The Cardinals also may elect to have Palmer dump the ball off often to David Johnson. Palmer should be considered a top-12 QB this week.
Sit: Cam Newton
Boy, things did not look good for Cam Newton this past week against the Jaguars. Sure the Panthers won, but what matters in Fantasy is that Cam only threw for 175 yards and one touchdown, along with one interception. He also rushed 14 times, but only for 35 yards. This week he will get the Texans, who did allow Alex Smith to throw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, but Newton doesn’t have the weapons that Smith possesses. It should also be expected that J.J. Watt will be getting at Newton early and often, limiting his rushing attempts. Sit Newton this week.
Start: Carlos Hyde
Perhaps it is possible you missed the late Monday Night Game, or parts of it, I mean it did end at 1 am. Well if you did you missed quite a showing by Carlos Hyde. Hyde rushed 26 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns, one following a very Madden-esque spin move. He also added two catches for 14 yards. Hyde looked to be the focal point of the Niners offense and that should continue this week against a Steelers defense that allowed Dion Lewis to rush for 69 yards (4.6 YPC) and catch four passes for 51 yards. The Niners should look to control the clock and run over the poor Steelers defense. Hyde can be started in all formats with confidence.
Sit: LeGarrette Blount
Speaking of Patriots running backs, owners would be best advised to bench Blount against a tough Bills defense. The Bills possess one of the best front defensive lines in the league and were able to stop Frank Gore and the Colts running game last week without all-pro Marcell Dareus. He returns this week and should make life very difficult on Blount. In fact, if you need to start a Pats running back I would recommend Lewis, who should be a big factor in the Pats backfield. The Bills defense is great at getting to the quarterback and one way to combat that is to dump the ball off to the running back. Blount only has 33 career receptions and 10 all of last season, which should mean a lot of Lewis. Blount should see the bulk of carries, but will struggle to do much with them and should be left on the bench, especially in PPR leagues this week.
Start: Brandon Coleman
I understand it could be difficult for some of you to plug Coleman in as he was likely drafted as your WR5. In one league I have him behind Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Alshon Jeffrey and Keenan Allen, so it will be hard to plug him in this week. However, for those who waited on receivers this is a great week to plug the youngster in. Coleman tied for third in targets on the Saints, with seven. He was behind only Mark Ingram and Brandin Cooks and tied with Marques Colston. However, Coleman played in 58 of the Saints offensive snaps, roughly 78 percent, compared to Colston’s 46 (62 percent). While he and Cooks each saw one red zone target and no other Saints wide receiver did, Coleman was the only one to haul it in and score. He could blossom into their top red zone target and number-two wide receiver. If these trends continue it will pay off in their pass happy offense, beginning this week against an awful Tampa Bay defense that was lit up by rookie Marcus Mariota and the Titans.
Sit: Sammy Watkins
It is hard to see the very talented Watkins be underutilized week in and week out, but talent and potential does not score in Fantasy Football. Watkins, who often saw the Colts best cornerback Vontae Davis and was still double teamed at times, was only targeted three times and went without a catch last week. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has shown that he will not make contested passes and will instead look to a safer option or run the ball, which could mean a lot of games where he looks away from Watkins. He also appeared to have a strong connection with Percy Harvin, which could lead to even less targets for Watkins. It looks like he will be lining up against the Patriots best cornerback, Malcolm Butler this week. Butler may be no Davis, but the Patriots will get creative in finding ways to keep the ball out of the Bills best receiver’s hands this week. Owners are advised to stash Watkins, but bench him until he proves that he can produce in this offense.
Start: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
I expected the Bucs to fall behind in this game against the Saints, which will mean Jameis Winston will have to throw more. That should bode well for ASJ, who was targeted seven times last week. Only Vincent Jackson saw more targets then the big tight end. ASJ caught five of those targets for 110 yards and a touchdown. He showed that he can both be a good option in the red zone, and that he can do damage with his legs when he catches the ball in space. Many Bucs beat reporters raved about Seferian-Jenkins’ size and speed during training camp and he showed why last week. Even if Mike Evans returns expect Seferian-Jenkins to be Winston’s safety blanket and see a lot of targets.
If you have any other questions make sure to follow me on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.
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