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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints

Commissioner’s Corner: Week 2 Fantasy Football Start ‘em or Sit ‘em

Brady, Gronk, and Miller make the list

Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski during the week 1 game against the New Orleans Saints
| Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Hey fantasy owners, it’s your Commish again and I’m back with another edition of the Commissioner’s Corner. Hopefully last week’s edition helped steer you in the right direction to consider, or even reconsider, your week 1 lineups.

Week 2 starts getting heated up. “Pre season” is over (snicker)! With no training camp this year, week 1 had all the feels of a pre season game. Now it’s time for a quick diagnostic, get gears lubed up and get the engine purring. Week 1 can be forgiven at this point, but teams don’t have any more time to screw around.

Make sure you also check out the Bucs week 2 injury report posted on Bucs Nation.

Let’s start off with a recap from week 1.

Starter Recap

I had Deshaun Watson starting at QB. He ended the week with a 17 PRK following a mediocre performance which he completed 62.5 PCT of his throws for 258 yards and 1 TD. He ended the first game with 18 FPTS, but they were playing the Super Bowl champs so I’d say this wasn’t too bad. I know he can do better, so don’t get discouraged, he’s a continued must-start.

At running back, I started Chris Carson. Even though this may have been a no-brainer, he proved how valuable he is to fantasy owners this season, especially those in PPR leagues. He killed it with 24 FPTS with a 6 PRK (tied with Raheem Mostert). He only carried 6 times for 21 yards, but where he does the most damage is in the receiving game. He caught 6 catches for 45 yards, 2 of those being touchdowns. He’s obviously an end zone target for Wilson. PPR league owners need to keep him in if you have him and he’s healthy.

Damn it’s nice to be a Davante Adams fantasy owner right now. He and Rodgers killed it, raising them both to the top of the board. Just had to give props where props were due. I went with Chris Godwin as my starter. Godwin actually did well from a fantasy perspective despite the loss in New Orleans. He caught 6/7 for 79 yards and 0 TDs. In a full point PPR league he ended with 13 FPTS resulting in a 27 PRK. He kept it in the double digits, and Brady is only going to get more gelled with his receivers. Godwin is a little banged up this week, so I would just temper expectations especially as Arians and Leftwich start getting Gronk and Evans a lot more involved.

I had Darren Waller starting at tight end. This seemed to be a favorable match up against a weak Carolina Panthers defense, but it didn’t seem the Raiders capitalized on it. He’s a great blocker which gives Josh Jacobs owners a lot more to look forward to. Waller ended the week with 10 FPTS in full point PPR leagues resulting in a 15 PRK. He caught 6/8 for 45 yards and 0 TDs. Waller is one of the last full-time tight ends in the league, so he’ll see his touches as the season progresses.

The Steelers DST ended with a No. 5 PRK with 14 FPTS after their Monday Night debut. Huge plays from Tuitt and even an interception from TJ Watt helped this defensive unit capitalize on their opportunities. They ended with 2 INTs, 0 FR, 3 Sacks and only 16 PA. If you have the Steelers, keep them in. Don’t bother streaming, they are the real deal.

My starting kicker was Greg Zuerlein. The leg out of Dallas trends much more toward reliable versus unreliable, but when the offense doesn’t give you the right opportunities, there’s no chance to score. Kicker is where you have to look at the match up and see how well the offense can march down the field to at least end up in the red zone. This starter pick ended up being a blemish in the picks category. Zuerlein went 1 for 2 in field goals, of which included a 53 yard miss. He went 2/2 in XP resulting in 4 FPTS giving him a 22 PRK.

Now let’s take a look at week 2 picks.

Quarterback

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Bucs QB Tom brady throws a pass against the Saints in week 1.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Tom Brady (QB14), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

Downgraded to QB14 status from last week’s QB11 ranking, Brady is set up for a nice rebound in week 2. In week 1 he completed 63.9 PCT of his passes for 239 yards and had 3 TOT TDs. The hurt factor was the 2 interceptions. Brady only committed 8 INTs all season in 2019, so there is no doubt he’ll rebound as expected. Week 2 is a favorable match up against a Carolina defense that was torched by the Raiders allowing 34 points. Raiders QB, Derek Carr, completed for 239 passing yards and 1 TD.

ESPN has Brady projected at 23 FPTS with 295 passing yards and 2 TDs. I’ll give him one more touchdown and 25 extra yards in the air. This is likely the game we’ll see those running back and tight end rooms come alive.

Sit: Cam Newton (QB10), New England Patriots (@ Seattle Seahawks)

Ok, so “Superman” is back and badder than ever, right? Hold up on the glorification statements for the moment. He’ll go right back to Clark Kent status as soon as defenses figure out how to shut down the option. ESPN’s Matthew Berry says Newton is the Patriots best running back. He had 15 carries for 75 yards and 2 TDs. He only passed for 155 yards.

Shutdown the run, you shutdown Cam. Spin is, the Seahawks did allow 522 total yards in week 1 against the Falcons though, so it’s definitely not the “Legion of Boom” of old. There is a possibility for continued fantasy value from Newton, but I’m just opting to not listen to the hype on him. Keep him on your bench for now. Wait and see how the long term game plan unfolds.

Sleeper: Mitch Trubisky (QB5), Chicago Bears (vs. New York Giants)

No love for the 3rd year Chicago Bear. There’s even a #freeallenrobinson movement on Twitter to get Allen Robinson II out of Chicago due to poor quarterback play. I would be the first to agree that the “Biscuit” had mediocre seasons in 2018 and 2019. So, the Bears bring in veteran quarterback, Super Bowl champion, Nick Foles. What was automatically assumed to be Foles’ job, Trubiskey gets awarded the season start again.

Trubisky was solid in week 1 throwing 3 touchdown passes with no turnovers. He completed 20 for 36 attempts made for 242 yards. His fantasy PRK on ESPN has him at No. 5 tied with Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills. Trubisky is only on 8% of fantasy rosters. If you’re considering a backup QB, you might want to take a look. He’s could be a sleeper for the entire season.

Running Back

Tennessee Titans v Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III takes a hand off from QB Drew Lock during week 1 against the Titans
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Start: Melvin Gordon III (RB14), Denver Broncos (@ Pittsburgh Steelers)

This is purely a power play taking advantage of the injury to fellow back Philip Lindsay. What was originally a 50/50 split and a risky fantasy play to start off the season, is now a safe bet to lean on Gordon. Lindsay was taken out of the game after halftime with a foot injury last week. Gordon carried for 78 yards on 15 carries. Not as effective in the passing game, but that could change as the Broncos head into Pittsburgh against a stout defensive line.

His yardage and touchdown netted him 14 FPTS against the Titans last week, but that was primarily in the 2nd half with Lindsay out. He will be the lead back heading into the Steel City, so he should net more points. What could be an unfavorable defensive match up for backs with Tuitt and TJ Watt on the D-line, he should get plenty of passes thrown his way for those in PPR leagues.

Sit: Jordan Howard (RB43), Miami Dolphins (vs. Buffalo Bills)

This is a running back-by-committee if I ever saw one. Barring any major injuries to the multiple set of backs they have, do not anticipate much from Howard all season. Myles Gaskin is apparently the lead back in Miami, followed by an even amount of situational carries between Howard and Brieda. Laird and Cox were also involved in week 1, so there is no set ball carrier in Miami so none should be trusted.

Sleeper: D’Andre Swift (RB29), Detroit Lions (@ Green Bay Packers)

Although Adrian Peterson took the bulk of the carries in week 1, Swift still has upside. He had 3 receptions for 15 yards and scored a touchdown. At this point, it appears Detroit will rotate its running backs in order to try to find the hot hand, leaving them all as very risky fantasy players at this point.

The upside, Swift did find the end zone in his first contest. Although it’s hard to trust him in week 2, he’s worth a watch to see how the game plan progresses in Detroit. He is owned in 86% of the leagues, so there are many fantasy owners that see the upside so he has more sleeper potential. Not worth a start most weeks, but worth keeping an eye on for Flex plays especially during Bye weeks.

Wide Receiver

Buffalo Bills v New York Jets
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown makes a diving catch against the New York Jets during their week 1 contest
Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Start: John Brown (WR12), Buffalo Bills (@ Miami Dolphins)

This was a great week for Brown. He scored an impressive 19 FPTS with 70 yards receiving on 6 catches. He led the team with 10 targets and posted an impressive five first downs in the win over the Jets. I really like how well Allen is managing the ball and he relies on Brown as his top wide out. I think he could confidently be considered a WR2 in most leagues, especially PPR. He heads into week 2 against a Dolphins defense that allowed 140 yards in the air against New England, but they mostly got torched on the ground by Newton’s legs.

Sit: DJ Moore (WR44), Carolina Panthers (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

This is almost solely attributed to how the Bucs literally shut down pro bowler Michael Thomas last week. I guess I could also attribute the benching to an uneventful first outing with new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Moore only finished with 9 FPTS in PPR with 54 yards on 4 receptions. Robby Anderson got two more receptions than he did but for 115 yards and 1 TD. Don’t expect the veteran wide out to be effective against a Tampa Bay defense that only allowed 189 passing yards.

Sleeper: Scotty Miller (WR31), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

I’m hyped up about Scotty Miller this year. He’s anticipated to have a breakout year with Tom Brady. I kinda consider him filling the old Brady partnership Wes Welker, or possibly Danny Amendola from 3 years ago. He’ll get a lot of looks, and he and Brady have been hitting it off really well off the field. Miller is only on 15% of rosters, so he should be considered a high end flex play. In week 1 he caught 5 passes for 75 yards, even carrying the rock once for 6 yards. The time will come where you’ll need him on your roster.

Tight End

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens
Ravens tight end Mark Andrews catches a touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson in the week 1 win against the Cleveland Browns
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Start: Mark Andrews (TE2), Baltimore Ravens (@ Houston Texans)

Andrews is the unquestionable lead tight end after serving in more of a committee approach last year. The Ravens are facing a weaker Houston back seven that has allowed the most yards per game to tight ends since Week 10 of last year. Jackson knows who his weapons are, and Andrews is finally atop of that list. Kay Adams of NFL Network had Andrews as her No. 3 tight end heading into the season, and this is proving to be highly accurate. He should be considered in most weeks unless he disproves otherwise.

Sit: Evan Engram (TE37), New York Giants (@ Chicago Bears)

The Giants were excited to have their star tight end back after a season ending foot injury. Many were saying he would have 1,000 plus yards easily and should be considered a top tier tight end. Maybe so, but not yet. Just based off of last week’s results, I’m tampering my expectations. He very well could have a fantastic remainder of the year, but only completing 2/7 for 9 yards. Ouch! Even though Chicago is favorable for the G-men, I’m putting Engram in the back seat for now.

Sleeper: Rob Gronkowski (TE?), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

I have high hopes every week we’ll see a huge play from Gronk. Although the tight end played 54 snaps in week 1, he only saw 3 balls come his way but that may have been by design. Howard also started the game, and the Bucs played a 12 personnel most of the game.

Brady will continue to spread the ball around. After those INTs and how the game unfolded for the Bucs offense, Brady will end up putting the game on his shoulders and revert to some old magic sauce that he and Gronk used to produce. Let’s keep an eye on this one, but I think we’ll see a significant Gronk and Evans rebound.

Defense/Special Team (D/ST)

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco’s defense reacts after a sack against the Vikings during the 2019 NFC Divisional playoffs
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Start: San Francisco 49’ers (DST21) (@ New York Jets)

The 49ers struggled a bit against Arizona’s new high flying offense. With all the options the Cardinals have, anyone would have had a tough game. I’m strictly going off of a weaker match up against the Jets. Le’Veon Bell was put on IR, and now the Jets best wide receiver, Jamison Crowder, is dealing with a hamstring injury and is questionable (trending to doubtful) to play. I like this match up strictly from a favorable comparison, especially since the Niner’s defense was the main reason why they made it to the Super Bowl.

Sit: New England Patriots (DST7) (@ Seattle Seahawks)

The Pats only scored 13 FPTS last game against the Dolphins and that was against a running back by committee, no tight end play, and a less prolific pass offense than the Seahawks have. The biggest contributor to their points was the 3 INTs. Can’t see many of those happening against Wilson. Chris Carson (24 FPTS) in the run and short pass yardage, Tyler Lockette (17 FPTS) and DK Metcalf (19 FPTS) lighting things up down field. This is not an offense you want to start any defense against. Bench them if you can afford to and thank me later.

Sleeper: Minnesota Vikings (DST32) (@ Indianapolis Colts)

Ok, so there’s no easy way to say this so I’ll just say it. The Vikings defense was absolutely horrendous last week. They allowed 445 total yards and score -11 FPTS. I think just about any sensible fantasy owner would immediately get rid of them, but all I’m saying with this pick is that they are likely not going to be repeat offenders.

There is a reason why they made it to the playoffs last season, and it didn’t solely rest with Kirk Cousins. Vikings were a top tier defense just one year removed, so let’s not rush to any conclusions with this squad just after one game. The Colts are beat up at running back right now although Rivers was effective in the air with 363 yards, but that was against a suspicious Jags defense.

Kicker

NFL: Super Bowl LIV-San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker during Super Bowl LIV
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Harrison Butker (K6), Kansas City Chiefs (@ LA Chargers)

I think I had Butker as an obvious pick last week, so he wasn’t included in my week 1 picks. He’s the starting kicker in 2 of my leagues. The Chiefs are favorable to rely on the kicker position. Not only is Butker reliable, but their offense will consistently do a good job getting it into the red zone, if not the end zone.

Butker was 2/2 FG and 4/4 XP netting 10 FPTS. He’s a starter no matter the match up and for the 99% of rosters Butker is currently on, he needs to stay on. Even during bye weeks, do not drop him.

Sit: Greg Zuerlein (K22), Dallas Cowboys (vs. Atlanta Falcons)

Completely contradictory from my week 1 pick, you need to bench Zuerlein until further notice. Week 1 definitely proved that he is just not in the Cowboys game plan. No fault of his own though, as the Cowboys just don’t have the consistency factor. Dak and Zeke are getting paid, so that’s what they’ll lean on, and not the supplemental scoring game.

Sleeper: Chris Boswell (K15), Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Denver Broncos)

This sleeper pick is strictly because of how well “Big Ben” looked on Monday. He connected with MacDonald and Juju fairly consistently and drove the ball. Boswell got the chance to score with 5 total kicks. He was 2/2 FG including 1 of those kicks between 40-49. He did miss an extra point though. Keep him on your radar to have opportunities playing against a defense missing Von Miller.

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