Week 2 Startability Index (Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em)
All I can say is thank goodness I’m Jewish and get to atone for my Week 1 sins in two weeks. (RG3 will be an intricate part of my internal cleansing.) With a new week brings a new crop of fantasy hopes and dreams – well, maybe except for Jay Cutler owners at this point.
Below is my Week 2 Startability Index. A quick reminder on how it works. I pick a bunch of guys, either by request or that I think could be conundrums. They are assigned a number from 1-10. 10 means they are a must-start. 7 means they have potential for a huge week but no guarantees. 4 means they may do ok but most likely won’t be productive. And so on.
If you want a player covered not listed please ask in the comments section.
Joe Flacco at Philadelphia (7): Flacco looked great last week, really spreading the ball around nicely – and accurately. He had 299 yards and 2 TDs, normally a great stat line but perhaps a little disappointing considering the team put up 44 points. Even against one of the best secondaries in the league, I still think Flacco puts up big numbers. He just playing at such a high level, particularly when it comes to surveying the field.
Robert Griffin III at St. Louis (9): I’m now drinking the Kool-Aid too as there are a million and one reasons to gush about this guy. From a fantasy perspective I like how RG3 spread the ball to eight different receivers last week. And he has a sensational matchup against the Rams who gave up more passing yards than any other team in the league last week. MUST START. Updated 9-16: Reports are coming in this morning that Pierre Garcon will be out of today’s game with a foot injury. Given how essential Garcon was to the offense last week, I’m going to knock RG3 down to a (7). Still a good start but not as confident in spectacular numbers.
Philip Rivers vs. Tennessee (6): Rivers is one of those QBs that can put up Top 3 fantasy numbers any week or be a middle of the pack guy. I think this week may be more of the latter. Rivers had decent chemistry with Malcolm Floyd last week but is clearly missed the big-play threat of a Vincent Jackson. Antonio Gates has sore ribs and is questionable. And the Chargers may focus their efforts on the ground, considering Ryan Matthews may be back and the Titans gave up 125 rushing yards to Stevan Ridley last week.
Alex Smith vs. Detroit (5): As great as Smith played last week and found all his weapons, he still only put up 211 yards (with 2 touchdowns, mind you). Until the 49ers establish Randy Moss (or anyone) as a deep threat and go to Vernon Davis on the seam route (or a bevy of other plays) on a more consistent basis, Smith’s numbers will never be spectacular.
Donald Brown vs. Minnesota (7): I really liked Brown’s performance (9 carries, 48 yards, 1 TD) last week in a limited role. The Colts likely won’t be playing from behind as long as they were last week, so Brown’s carries should substantially increase. The Vikings gave up over 100 yards to Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings last week, and I wouldn’t be surprise is Brown nears that mark all by himself.
Frank Gore vs. Detroit (6): Gore looked tremendous last week putting up stellar fantasy numbers (112 yards and a touchdown) as he ran well both inside and outside. Detroit is going to be a bigger test defensively. They held Steven Jackson to 53 yards last week, and while I think Gore will have better numbers than that, I’d still use a little caution.
Trent Richardson at Cincinnati (5): Richardson had quite the lackluster debut with 19 rushes on 39 yards. Cleveland may have more offensive line issues than we thought, but Richardson should be given another chance to break out.
Stevan Ridley vs. Arizona (9): One of my favorite starts this week, Ridley has the chance to put up another big number against a Cardinals defense that gave 85 yards to Marshawn Lynch. While that was on the same 21 carries that Ridley had last week, I see his workload increasing, especially if the Patriots are killing clock in the second half. (By the way, 21 carries for Patriots running back? What planet are we on?)
Kevin Smith at San Francisco (4): Let me repeat my mantra: Never start a running back against the 49ers. Look at Cedric Benson. Last week against the Niners he rushed for 18 yards and had a 2 yards-per-carry average. This week he ran for 81 yards with a 4 yards-per-carry average. The Niners run defense is arguably the best in the league and takes pride in keeping opposing running backs out of the end zone and holding them to under 100 yards. Smith’s ability as a receiver gives him a higher number than most in this situation.
Michael Turner vs. Denver (4): Turner was virtually invisible last week with 32 yards on 11 carries, with 9 touches going to Jacquizz Rodgers. Expect better numbers since the Broncos have a more balanced defensive look. But I would be nervous starting Turner since he’s been thrust into a running back by committee situation, and the Broncos tough front seven only gave up 75 yards on the ground last week.
Victor Cruz vs. Tampa Bay (7): Despite a terrible case of the dropsies last week, Cruz still managed to finish with 6 catches and 58 yards. There is no doubt he’ll will continue to see ample targets and could have a big redemption game against a Bucs defense that gave up over 300 yards in the air last week.
Stephen Hill at Pittsburgh (5): When a rookie (or any previously unknown player) comes from nowhere to put up 89 yards and 2 TDs as Hill did, you have to decide whether it was an anomaly performance. With Hill it’s hard to say because Mark Sanchez has been so inconsistent, and has never had much as a go-to receiver. But Hill has the size and speed to really make an impact so it’s hard to imagine him not getting frequent targets. The Steelers are getting safety Ryan Clark back this week, and Hill is dealing with a little calf injury, but I’d still start in deeper leagues.
Vincent Jackson at New York Giants (7): Most of Jackson’s numbers were so-so last week except this one – 10 targets. The Giants have a lot of secondary issues and Jackson could have a nice week, especially as he has had more time to get acclimated to Josh Freeman.
Brandon LaFell vs. New Orleans (5): RG3 was special last week but the Saints secondary was also putrid. Even if Steve Smith wasn’t dealing with a knee injury (questionable for Sunday), I expect LaFell to improve on the 3 catches he had last week. He can make plays and Cam Newton is comfortable throwing it his way.
Robert Meachem vs. Tennessee (4): Meachem owners were disappointed by his 2 targets and 49 yards. At this point, Rivers doesn’t seem fully comfortable going to Meachem on the deep ball, but it could just be a matter of developing a rapport. That could happen against the Titans or not for several weeks.
Kevin Ogletree at Seattle (6): Will Ogletree pull down 2 TDs and 114 yards again against the Seahawks? No. But one of Tony Romo’s best skills is getting the ball to his second and third options, which keep’s Ogletree’s value high. That’s the reason Laurent Robinson had a productive season.
Jared Cook at San Diego (4): Cook owners have to be happy with his 64 yards against the Patriots last week. While he may do well yardage-wise against another weak secondary, Cook is not a guy Locker looks to in the end zone, unlike other tight ends of his skill set. Plus the Titans will probably try to focus on getting Chris Johnson going.
Fred Davis at St. Louis (6): Davis’ Week 1 numbers (2 catches, 38 yards) certainly disappointed owners. I was one of the many who thought RG3 would need Davis much more as a security blanket. The Saints are a terrible defense but St. Louis may be worse, giving up 350 yards to Matt Stafford last week. In theory the Redskins should have depth in their passing game this week, but Davis’ sliver of the pie is unclear.
Brandon Pettigrew at San Francisco (7): Pettigrew could be a major factor on Sunday. First off, based on the 49ers rush defense, Stafford will undoubtedly have a huge pass attempt number. Pettigrew had ten targets last week, and in last year’s Handshake game, he pulled down a touchdown. One of the few weak spots with the Niners defense is an inability to shutdown dynamic tight ends like Pettigrew.