Fantasy football is a delicate dance blending the wonders of football statistical analysis and predictive intuition. If you get it right, then glory and prizes and money can all be yours for the taking.
Get it wrong, and it tends to lead to embarrassment, ridicule and the occasional bad haircut or funny tattoo.
For those looking for some help, I’ve compiled my own list of players who you should consider starting, sitting and sleepers who just might help you get more of the first and less of the second.
START: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs Kansas City Chiefs)
Coming off a tie with the Cleveland Browns should give everyone a more inspired performance from the Steelers crew.
Better weather (forecasted 77 degrees and cloudy), means players like Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster will have a better track to run on.
Mike Tomlin looked angry following Week 1 and his anger should translate to better play accross the board.
The Chiefs surrendered 424-yards and three touchdowns to Philip Rivers last week, and should be open for business again in this match-up.
SIT: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (vs New York Giants)
If you ask me, the 2018 Dallas Cowboys have disaster written all over them, and Dez Bryant is going to love every minute of it.
Dak Prescott looked like a quarterback who could’ve certainly benefited from the presence of a true number one receiver, and the Panthers defense looked great because of it.
The Giants are going to lean on Saquon Barkley some more, and considering Dallas gave up five-yard averages to both Christian McCaffrey and C.J. Anderson, I think he’ll find room to run.
Bleeding the clock will leave Prescott less time to rely on Elliott, and if the Giants can get a few three-and-outs strung together with drives led by Barkley’s ball carrying, the Cowboys are going to get one-dimensional real quick.
Something in the air just feels like it’s about time for Cowboys drama and controversy to start up.
Going 0-2 with a divisional loss at home seems to be just the right amount of coal to get this train moving.
SLEEPER: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Philadelphia Eagles)
I can already hear the chants of ‘you’re just a homer’ echoing in the background.
Listen, there’s are several reasons Fitzpatrick should be on your radar as a sleeper option this weekend.
For one, he’s facing Philly’s defense. Before you get all pitch-forky about me dogging on the Eagles defense, go back and watch their Week 1 game against the Falcons.
Ok, welcome back. Did you see the inaccurate noodle-armed Matt Ryan playing in that game? Do you realize despite all of that nonsense he still threw for 251-yards and only had one interception?
Granted, he threw zero touchdowns, but despite everything he still scored ten fantasy points. Tell me you watched that game and thought Ryan hit double-digits in fantasy scoring. You can’t.
On the other hand, Fitzpatrick in Week 1 looked sharp, calm, and accurate as all get-out. I’m not predicting he’ll finish atop the leader board, but halfway between his 42 point outburst and Ryan’s ten point flop is 26 points, which would still land Fitzpatrick somewhere around QB5.
START: Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears (vs Seattle Seahawks)
The Legion of Boom they aint, and while the Seahawks defense was always known more for their secondary, their defensive front seven was always a pretty big beast to deal with themselves.
Not so much anymore. In Week 1, two rookies - Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay combined for 142-yards rushing on 30 combined carries. In fact, they had the exact same amount of carries for the same yards. Freeman’s long of the day was for seventeen while Lindsay’s came in at fourteen.
Consistency against defenses is a good thing, and the Broncos got plenty of it. Jordan Howard is splitting carries with nobody, unless you count a 3:1 ration with Tarik Cohen a split, so he’ll get plenty of opportunities to exploit a defense geared up to surrender a lot of fantasy points this weekend.
SIT: LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills (vs Los Angeles Chargers)
Let’s be honest, you should have already cut McCoy. Ok, let’s be really honest, you shouldn’t have drafted anyone or thing related to the Buffalo Bills this year anyway.
McCoy touched the ball ten times in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens. He totaled just 21-yards with those touches and was one of six Bills players to rush the ball, including two quarterbacks!
This week, they draw the Los Angeles Chargers who - even without Joey Bosa - have a better defense than the Ravens do.
SLEEPER: Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (at Buffalo Bills)
The Baltimore Ravens ran the ball 34 times last week against the Bills. Know why? Because they were winning. By a lot. Against the Bills.
I fully expect the Chargers to do the same, and you know this benefits the most? The back-ups!
Austin Ekeler was active on two of my own fantasy rosters last weekend and had I not been on the road for work I’d have written something like this to tell you to do the same. You’d have listened, and you’d have been happy.
Ekeler gained 126-yards of offense and a touchdown in his pro debut against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Expect more of the same against Buffalo. Only problem here is going to be if the Chargers coaching staff starts looking at Ekeler and Gordon as two starters, in which case Ekeler may see his afternoon cut short. Especially since NFL teams have the advantage of wins and losses meaning more than the fanciness of their victories when it comes to making the playoffs.
START: Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns (at New Orleans Saints)
If you’re in a PPR league, add a little extra cheese to this start. Landry more than doubled-up the Browns’ second leading catch getter in Week 1 in receptions and targets.
It’s clear Tyrod Taylor is looking to lean heavily on Landry and for good reason. He’s got really good hands.
Landry got 15 targets in Week 1, and against the Saints he should get just as many. Playing inside favors Landry and Taylor, and even thought the Browns will lose, Landry will bless the Saints secondary and your fantasy roster.
SIT: O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Philadelphia Eagles)
Shout-out to James Yarcho of Bucs Nation for turning me onto this one. Howard is the more athletically gifted of the two Bucs tight ends, and got on the field almost 20 more snaps than Cameron Brate did in Week 1.
Despite these facts, Howard was targeted just twice. Granted he caught both of them for 54-yards, but unless you’re going to be happy with seven points in one-point PPR, you need to look elsewhere.
In fact, Fitzpatrick targeted Bucs tight ends just four times on forty drop backs. Even with a banged up DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay’s quarterback simply prefers throwing to his wide receivers.
SLEEPER: Ryan Grant, Indianapolis Colts (at Washington Redskins)
With one week under the Colts’ collective belts with Andrew Luck back in the driver’s seat, Ryan Grant looks like a guy he’ll be looking at early and often in 2018.
In Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Grant brought in eight catches on nine targets. Problem is he didn’t find the end zone and only averaged 7.4 yards per catch with his longest being thirteen.
Four times in 2017 Grant had at least four catches. He had at least one of those catches in each game go for at least 24-yards and averaged single-digit yards per catch just once.
As this pair gets more comfortable with each other their averages will go up, as will their explosive plays.
The Redskins on the other hand held the Arizona Cardinals to just 153-yards passing in Week 1, but each receiver targeted by Sam Bradford brought in at least half of their targets during the contest. The problem wasn’t so much Arizona receivers finding space in the defense, it was more on Bradford getting the ball to them consistently.
The Colts won’t have that problem, and Grant should benefit because of it and the fact he plays opposite T.Y. Hilton.
START: Jacksonville Jaguars (vs New England Patriots)
Jeremy Hill was the most effective Patriots running back averaging 6.4 yards per carry when he left with an injury in Week 1.
Julian Edelman is still out serving his suspension.
Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, but against this defense he’s going to need more than just Rob Gronkowski to make things happen here, and I’m just not fully sold on Phillip Dorsett as a consistent producer just yet.
Jacksonville had the Patriots right where they wanted them, and the let them off the hook. It won’t make up for the post-season loss earlier this year, but it’ll be a start when this defensive unit helps to send New England to their first loss of the season.
SIT: Pittsburgh Steelers (vs Kansas City Chiefs)
It’s going to be feast or famine for this defensive unit when they host Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
My bet is on famine. Mahomes fared pretty well against a superior Chargers defense in Week 1, and he did it despite Kareem Hunt netting less than 50-yards rushing on sixteen tries.
Tyreek Hill is a menace to any defense and it wouldn’t shock anyone to see him return another punt for a score in this one.
SLEEPER: Chicago Bears (vs Seattle Seahawks)
Russell Wilson is a pretty solid quarterback, but beyond that the Seahawks are lacking in consistent offensive weapons.
The Bears did pretty well against the Green Bay Packers until Aaron Rodgers unleashed an - well - Aaron Rodgers like fourth quarter.
Chicago’s defense should fare a bit better against the Seattle offense than they did post-Rodgers’ return with Green Bay, and the offense should be able to lean on the running game more, further depleting Seattle’s ability to get creative.
Wilson threw two interceptions last week against the Broncos, and he should throw a couple more against the Bears.
Oh, and then there’s the always dangerous Tarik Cohen returning punts for the special teams unit. Seattle punted six times last week, so Cohen should get some chances to make something happen in Week 2.