Before looking ahead to another week of fantasy football prophecy, we at LAFB Network love to admit when we’re right and brave to admit when we’re not as right. Here is a look back on the calls made for Week 1 and where we were right. And wrong-ish.
Big Ben’s Big Splash
Ben Roethlisberger is one of those quarterbacks that has football so deep in his DNA that age and injuries are not enough to be considered obstacles for the veteran QB. Completing 21 of 32 passes, throwing three TDs, and finishing his Week 1 meeting with the New York Giants on a 117.8 QB rating is a point we could have been more on the head with when we put him on the SIT list.
T.Y. Hilton’s Uplifted Outlook
Despite facing a bare secondary against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the predicted rise in stock for T.Y. was on the nose when looking at the upgrade at QB. Philip River’s 363 yards through the air was a welcoming sign to the Indianapolis offense when compared to last year’s water pistol offense led by Jacoby Brissett. While only catching for 53 yards, T.Y. Hilton is a player with low-end WR1 potential as long as Rivers can still sling it.
David Johnson Sees An Open Lane
People really slept on DJ. Reaching 77 rushing yards on 11 carries against the solid Kansas City defense, David Johnson can be a potential comeback player of the year candidate behind Deshaun Watson’s elusive potential at the quarterback position. His 19-yard TD showcased some 2016 David Johnson footwork and it looks like the snaps missed out in favor of Kenyan Drake last year allowed DJ to reload and recharge after a series of injuries since his breakout campaign. Expect him to be a mid-to-high-end RB2 for the remainder of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles D/ST Are Worst Bet of the Weekend
Either Philadelphia is looking to regress further from their Super Bowl-winning season two years ago, or Ron Rivera is that good. Giving up 27 points to a Washington team that no one is expecting to make the playoffs this year, the Eagles showed no bite to keep the Washington offense out of the endzone. With only three sacks and zero interceptions, this defense will need to find its salt after facing arguably the worst team in the worst division in football.
Now, this article may have missed the Thursday Night Battle for Cleveland, but you’ll be glad we did not recommend anyone outside of the Browns backfield. No more pondering. New week means a new set of chips and we’re here to go all in. Let’s get to the Start, Sit, and Sleepers for Week 2 of the NFL season.
Start – Jared Goff vs. Philadelphia Eagles
This matchup is not just predicated on the Rams’ efficient offensive performance versus the Cowboys, but the aforementioned disappearing act by the Eagles defense against the Washington Football Team gives the Jared Goff-led offense a glowing opportunity to flex some muscle. Along with a welcomed performance by the Rams’ backfield led by Malcolm Brown, Sean McVay should have little issue getting Goff down the field and letting the three-headed monster at receiver for the Rams eat what Goff is dishing.
Another start — Josh Allen vs. Miami Dolphins
Sit – Tyrod Taylor vs. Kansas City Chiefs
To the five Chargers fans that truly believe Tyrod is a better starter for the team over rookie Justin Herbert, it’s time to pull your money on this stock while there’s still any. Tyrod’s abysmal 53% completion percentage and 208 total yards wipes away any fantasy potential for the quarterback outside of any yards he can get rushing out of a collapsing pocket. With its effect most notable through Keenan Allen’s lack of stats on Sunday, the entire Chargers offense is one to look away from, until Herbert can take the reigns.
Another sit — Mitchell Trubisky vs. New York Giants
Sleeper Start — Derek Carr vs. New Orleans Saints
Derek Carr’s smooth performance against the Carolina Panthers has been the sign of life all Raiders fans have been waiting on since his 2016 near-MVP season. Completing 73.3% of his passes and benefiting from the downhill running attack from Josh Jacobs, Carr can have a sneaky good season to the tune of 25+ touchdowns and less than a dozen INTs if he can build upon his opening day performance. Facing the Saints may seem like a daunting matchup, but with the loss of wide receiver Michael Thomas, Drew Brees and the offense won’t be able to run away with the game as expected.
Another sleeper — Philip Rivers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Start — Aaron Jones vs. Detroit Lions
Lock in Aaron Jones for an elite performance against the Detroit Lions, who allowed David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen to both rush an average of 4.9+ yards per carry. The Packers’ 43-point win over the Vikings feels like the justification fans needed to believe in the sophomore experiment at head coach, with the offensive prowess of Matt LaFleur beginning to become known by opponents. Aaron Rodgers had a DAY by completing 32 of 44 passes and throwing four TDs. Once the ball finds its success through the air for the Packers, the focus on stopping Rodgers makes way for Jones to run through a timorous middle of the field and even get in on the action through receiving yards.
Another start – Todd Gurley vs. Dallas Cowboys
Sit – Miles Sanders vs. Los Angeles Rams
Giving up 96 yards to Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t sound like a confident foundation on which one could recommend the Rams defense but looking at that performance closely may be firmer ground than you’d think. 2019’s top offense heavily relying on Elliott to produce and give Dak Prescott a defense to throw against may have allowed the running back to have a 100+ yard day against any other defense that’s below elite level of play. Aaron Donald and the defense surrendered only 17 points and above all, kept Elliott contained in the grand scheme of the offense. Miles Sanders is receiving some attention as a potential low-end RB1, but with the fresh hamstring injury and blockade of a Rams D-Line, it would be best to let Sanders sit this one out.
Another sit – James Conner vs. Denver Broncos
Sleeper Start – Ronald Jones II vs. Carolina Panthers
Admittedly, some of us expected Leonard Fournette to run from the start of the season with the lead back role for the renewed Buccaneers. However, the surprising 5 carries and 5 yards by Fournette against the 17 carries for 66 yards is forcing us to give Ronald Jones II a second look. The former USC running back had a ceiling as high as RB2 for the season before the Bucs decided to sign Fournette. It looks like he is still in line to get lead back carries and shifting Fournette to more of a red zone running back. Boasting swift cuts through defenses and an occasional presence through the air, Jones can add to his stock with a favorable matchup against a Panthers team that saw sub-par play calling from rookie coach Matt Rhule in Week 1. Consider him a mid-to-low RB2.
Another sleeper – J.K. Dobbins vs. Houston Texans
Start – Mike Evans vs. Carolina Panthers
Some people may be shy to start Mike Evans solely on his targets from Tom Brady in Week 1 and a limited snap count due to injury, but the Tampa Bay receiver appears to be near full health and is still the top target even with the rise of stud No. 2 receiver Chris Godwin. With an array of weapons, including an involved tight end squad, there will be times when it feels like there are too many mouths to feed. Once Arians and Brady can mesh after spending nearly two decades with Bill Belichick, Evans will return to WR1 status and it can be as early as Week 2. Also, Chris Godwin currently remains in the Concussion Protocol and has not been cleared to play.
Another start — JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. Denver Broncos
Sit – Sterling Shepard vs. Chicago Bears
Once Odell Beckham Jr. left the Giants, the new core of the receiving unit appeared to fall on Sterling Shepard. With a second contract of 4 years/$41M in 2019, the receiver played 10 games and posted career-worst stats in every category. Daniel Jones may seem like an upgrade over the aged Eli Manning, but Jones is off to a strong relationship with wide receiver Darius Slayton that is giving more credence to the sophomore receiver over Shepard. In addition, Golden Tate, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley are also picking up targets from Jones, taking away Shepard’s opportunities at getting the ball. Darius Slayton is the only bet on this receiving corps, with tentative approval of Engram at the tight end position.
Another sit – D.J. Moore vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sleeper Start – Will Fuller V vs. Baltimore Ravens
If Mahomes vs. Jackson is considered the modern-day Manning vs. Brady, consider Watson vs. Jackson the modern-day Brees vs. Brady. For the top-billed matchup of the weekend, expect plenty of points with two high-flying offenses led by elite quarterbacks and big-play receivers like Will Fuller V. When it comes to needing the long play to get in the groove or recover from trailing against the explosive Lamar Jackson to Hollywood Brown connection (similar to Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill), expect Fuller to be the spark of life for this offense. His 8 catches, 112 yards against the Chiefs is a good start to taking over a receiving corps no longer led by DeAndre Hopkins. Perhaps another solid performance, this time with a touchdown on the stat sheet.
Start – Jared Cook vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Giving up 30 points to a Panthers offense led by Teddy Bridgewater is forecasting defensive woes for the Raiders. An inability to put pressure on a quarterback and a transparent secondary gives opposing offenses time to allow routes to develop and make the smart play. When you allow Drew Brees these advantages, he will shred a defense like cabbage. As previously mentioned, their matchup against the Saints will not be as one-sided as some expect now that Michael Thomas is likely to sit this week, but Jared Cook’s value is one to keep an eye on as his target count should see an increase. Cook’s 5 catches for 80 yards against a solid Buccaneers defense WITH Thomas on the field is the usage rate we like to see for the journeyman tight end.
Another start – Greg Olsen vs. New England Patriots
Sit – Noah Fant vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Evan Engram has reverted to being on the hot seat for Giants fans after his performance against the Steelers on Monday Night Football. However, this could serve as a better look at what to expect from the Steelers defense this season. Penetrating the offensive line and limiting Saquon Barkley to 0.4 yards per carry, the Steel Curtain days seem to be back this season for the team’s linebackers and defensive line. With the middle of the field plugged by Devin Bush, this may be the requisite bad performance by the rising talent this year. Keep him for the long run, sit him out this week.
Another sit – Chris Herndon vs. San Francisco 49ers
Sleeper Start – T.J. Hockenson vs. Green Bay Packers
Za’Darius Smith is a matchup nightmare for most tight ends in the league and Hockenson can be in line to have a rough day, but his budding chemistry with underrated slinger Matthew Stafford will not only give T.J. Hockenson the touchdown value he began the 2019-2020 season having, yet also fulfilling the needed targets and yards to push him into the second tier of tight ends among the league. Consider this a boom-or-bust play, we’ll bet on the boom.
Another sleeper – Logan Thomas vs. Arizona Cardinals
Start – Indianapolis Colts D/ST vs. Minnesota Vikings
Take Dalvin Cook out of the game plan and the Colts will look to have their way against the Vikings offense. The loss of wide receiver Stefon Diggs is not talked about enough as the biggest blow to a team that has been in the conversation for Super Bowl contention in recent years. With Adam Thielen being the only focus of the offense for opposing defenses, he will have an uphill battle against former teammate Xavier Rhodes or solid CB Rock Ya-Sin. If anyone over the middle can stop Dalvin Cook, Darius Leonard would be in that group. It’s a great matchup for the backfield and linebackers, the rest is in Indianapolis’ favor.
Another start – Arizona Cardinals D/ST vs. Washington Football Team
Sit – Seattle Seahawks D/ST vs. New England Patriots
The Seattle Seahawks’ meh performance against the Atlanta Falcons, but overall dominance on the score and clock reminds us of how Russell Wilson is poised to be an MVP, eventually. With an equally undervalued matchup over the years, the Seahawks face the Cam Newton-led Patriots for the first time. Now … hear us out as we put on our tinfoil hats: Belichick completely held back his offensive scheme in Week 1. Bill Belichick is too much of a Bond villain-level genius to showcase all of Cam’s potential with the offense against the Miami Dolphins.
Miami gets a rep for being the team that always manages to beat New England via a sign from God, but New England looked like the better team going in and came out with the same status. Cam’s comeback campaign started with a Week 1 performance of a 78% completion rating, 75 yards rushing, and two touchdowns (rushing) and can continue against Pete Carroll. Expect Belichick to fire off his secret scheme in a game that could likely be an honorable defeat for New England.
Another sit – Dallas Cowboys D/ST vs. Atlanta Falcons
Sleeper Start – New York Giants D/ST vs. Chicago Bears
Week 2 may be an early call to consider this Giants defense a vastly improved unit compared to last year’s ailing presence on the field, but the pops and stops by newly acquired Blake Martinez, James Bradberry, and Logan Ryan is the upward trend that this defense needed. Martinez’s production of 13 tackles in Game 1 will continue with an assignment to stop the only talent being used by Chicago — being their backfield tandem of David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen — and also stopping the short yard play that gives Mitchell Trubisky his revered status as an absolute monster at quarterback. We’re serious. Chicago’s offense doesn’t appear wise enough to trick this improved Giants defense and Allen Robinson may be staying in New York with a different jersey if the Giants can woo the disgruntled receiver.
Another sleeper — Jacksonville Jaguars D/ST vs. Tennessee Titans