Fantasy Football Week 2 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: Ben Roethlisberger ready for a big bounceback


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The excitement level from NFL Week 1  was dampened by injuries and the absence of Le’Veon Bell due to his contract dispute. And even though it’s only Week 2, many Fantasy owners are already in survival mode trying to field their best lineups.

We had some major injuries in Week 1, including two top 10 tight ends going on injured reserve — Delanie Walker (ankle) and Greg Olsen (foot). Aaron Rodgers (knee) also got hurt, and we don’t know his status for Week 2.

Leonard Fournette (hamstring) could also be out in Week 2, as well as Devonta Freeman (knee). And Doug Baldwin (knee) is also out for several weeks, along with Marquise Goodwin (thigh) and Davante Adams (shoulder) battling nagging injuries.

Now, the good news is there are quality replacement options you hopefully added off the waiver wire. James Conner was already a standout fill-in for Bell, and you should have picked up T.J. Yeldon in case Fournette is out.

Tyrod Taylor and Case Keenum can help you if Rodgers can’t play, and Quincy Enunwa, Chris Godwin and Kenny Golladay are fantastic options at receiver to replace Baldwin, as well as Brandon Marshall and Tyler Lockett. At tight end, Jared Cook and Eric Ebron could ease the blow of losing Walker and Olsen, although that might be a stretch.

We hope you’ll find success in Week 2 if Week 1 didn’t go your way, but just remember this is a long season. You can rebound from an 0-1 start and still make the Fantasy playoffs.

Just be smart with your lineup decisions, and we’ll help you as best we can. There are plenty of good players with great matchups this week, and we’ll help you find the best players to give you a chance at victory.

Editor’s Note: Projections are provided by CBS Sports and not Jamey Eisenberg.

Start of the Week

If, as the cliche goes, home is where the heart is then Pittsburgh is where Fantasy players love Ben Roethlisberger. And they love him a lot at Heinz Field.

In his past 19 home games over the past three seasons, he’s failed to score at least 20 Fantasy points just twice. He’s averaging 27.9 Fantasy points over that span, and he has nine games with at least 30 points.

Let’s hope those gaudy numbers continue this week.

Roethlisberger should rebound from his Week 1 dud at Cleveland when he completed just 56.1 percent of his passes for 335 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, as well as two lost fumbles. On top of being at home, he has a fantastic matchup against the Chiefs.

Kansas City was just abused by Philip Rivers for 424 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and the Chiefs defense should struggle against good passing attacks all season. While the Steelers could lean on Conner this week, I still expect a big performance from Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

You’ll have to keep an eye on Roethlisberger with his bruised elbow, which appears to be minor, and obviously if his status is cloudy heading into Sunday, you should find another Fantasy quarterback. We’ll also have to find another Start of the Week.

But I’m confident in Roethlisberger playing at home. He should have the chance for a big day in Week 2 against the Chiefs.

I’m starting Roethlisberger over: Aaron Rodgers (vs. MIN), Tom Brady (at JAC), Russell Wilson (at CHI), Kirk Cousins (at GB) and Cam Newton (at ATL)

Quarterbacks

Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.com.  

Sleepers

  • Tyrod Taylor (at NO): The Saints just allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to score 49 Fantasy points, and Taylor had 24 points against Pittsburgh, mostly with 77 rushing yards and a touchdown. In a situation where the Browns could be chasing points on the road, I like Taylor as a great streaming option this week.
  • Case Keenum (vs. OAK): Keenum had a solid Fantasy debut with the Broncos in Week 1 against Seattle with 25 Fantasy points, and he should build on that performance this week against the Raiders. Oakland has to travel on a short week after playing on Monday night, and Jared Goff just had 21 Fantasy points against this defense. There’s a lot to like about Keenum this week.
  • Nick Foles (at TB): Before you start laughing, consider just how bad this secondary could be with Brent Grimes (groin) hurt. While Drew Brees beat them up for 439 passing yards and three touchdowns, we could see Foles come away with decent production in what could be his final start if Carson Wentz (knee) is healthy next week. In two-quarterback leagues, Foles is a Hail Mary play if you need help at quarterback.

Bust Alert

I know, you’re likely not sitting Brady in the majority of leagues, even in this tough matchup. And he just faced this defense in the AFC Championship Game last year and passed for 290 yards and two touchdowns. But Jacksonville’s pass rush will test this revamped offensive line, even more than Houston did last week when he passed for 277 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and was sacked just twice. He’s on the road, and the Jaguars believe they should have won that game last year to advance to the Super Bowl. This will be a fun matchup to watch, but Brady should struggle to have a dominant performance. If you can afford to sit him, it might be the right move to make.

Running backs

Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.com.  

Sleepers

  • Alfred Morris (vs. DET): The Lions run defense was abysmal in Week 1 against the Jets, who had 188 total yards and two rushing touchdowns in Week 1 from their backfield. Morris had more carries than Matt Breida in Week 1 at Minnesota and, more importantly, more red-zone chances. I like both 49ers running backs given the matchup against Detroit, but give Morris the edge over Breida this week.
  • Austin Ekeler (at BUF): Ekeler was great in tandem with Melvin Gordon in Week 1 against the Chiefs, and he finished the game with five carries for 39 yards and five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. He likely won’t be that productive against the Bills, although the Ravens just got three rushing touchdowns against Buffalo in Week 1. Ekeler is a solid flex play in all leagues this week.
  • James White (at JAC): As expected, White played well in Week 1 against Houston with five carries for 18 yards, along with four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown on a team-best nine targets. He should be heavily involved in the passing game again with Julian Edelman (suspension) out, and in last year’s AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville, the Patriots had 10 catches for 54 yards from Lewis and White, with White also scoring a rushing touchdown. White is a must-start PPR running back in Week 2 and a solid flex in non-PPR leagues.
  • Bilal Powell (vs. MIA): Isaiah Crowell was the star of the Jets backfield in Week 1 at Detroit with 10 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yard scoring run. Powell had more touches with 12 carries for 60 yards and one catch for 5 yards, and he’s still the better play of this running back duo. I like both as flex options this week against Miami, but I would lean toward Powell given his expected role in the passing game. If the Jets fall behind this week, Powell will see plenty of work.
  • Tevin Coleman (vs. CAR): We’ll see what happens with Devonta Freeman (knee) this week, but if he can’t go or suffers a setback during the game, Coleman would be a standout Fantasy option. He scored in Week 1 at Philadelphia after Freeman got hurt, and he typically thrives when Freeman misses time. Now, if Freeman is fine, we don’t recommend playing Coleman, so just keep an eye on his status prior to game time.

Bust Alert

Freeman is expected to play this week against the Panthers despite dealing with a knee injury, but we don’t know if he’ll be at 100 percent in a tough matchup. The Panthers gave up a touchdown to Ezekiel Elliott in Week 1, but he managed just 15 carries for 69 yards, along with three catches for 17 yards, which is a low stat line compared to how Elliott typically performs. Freeman had nine catches for 85 yards and a touchdown against Carolina in Week 17 last year, but he’s had fewer than 60 rushing yards in four games in a row against the Panthers over the past two seasons. If Freeman were 100 percent healthy then you should start him without hesitation. But playing at less than full strength in a tough matchup makes him just a flex play in Week 2.

Wide receivers

Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.com.  

Sleepers

  • Kenny Golladay (at SF): The Lions definitely featured Golladay in Week 1 against the Jets with seven catches for 114 yards on 12 targets, which were second on the team behind Golden Tate (15). I like Tate as the No. 1 Detroit receiver this week, but I would play Golladay over Marvin Jones.
  • Chris Godwin (vs. PHI): I was excited about Godwin prior to the season, and he had a good Week 1 against New Orleans with three catches for 41 yards and a touchdown on four targets. He was overshadowed by DeSean Jackson, who had five catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns on five targets, but Jackson (concussion) could be out this week. If that happens, Godwin is a potential starter in all leagues. 
  • Tyler Lockett (at CHI): Lockett has a slight edge on Brandon Marshall this week, although both are sleepers with Doug Baldwin (knee) out. The Bears were abused by Randall Cobb out of the slot in Week 1, and Lockett should have success there as well. He also just had three catches for 59 yards and a touchdown on three targets at Denver. 
  • Ted Ginn (vs. CLE): Ginn just had 19 PPR points in Week 1 against Tampa Bay and has now scored at least 14 PPR points in five of eight home games with the Saints. He gets a boost with Cameron Meredith still not a factor in the offense, and New Orleans should have the chance for plenty of points in this matchup at home.
  • Cooper Kupp (vs. ARI): Kupp was tied for the team lead in targets in Week 1 at Oakland with nine, and he was once again featured in the red zone on his 8-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. He finished with five catches for 52 yards and the score, and he should do well this week since he will avoid Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson lining up in the slot. Brandin Cooks is also in play this week as a starting Fantasy receiver, and Robert Woods is a No. 3 option.

Bust Alert

Cobb was amazing in Week 1 against Chicago with nine catches for 142 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets, and hopefully he’s poised for a bounce-back campaign in 2018. But this could be a rough week for him given his history against Minnesota. In his past five games against the Vikings, Cobb has just 20 catches for 153 yards and one touchdown, and his best game over that span is 10 PPR points back in 2015. Over 10 career meetings with Minnesota, Cobb is averaging just 3.7 catches, 35 yards and 0.2 touchdowns. We also have Rodgers either out or playing at less than 100 percent with his knee injury. It’s going to be tough to trust Cobb in the majority of leagues this week.

Tight ends

Sleepers

  • Jared Cook (at DEN): Cook is more of a must-start guy than a sleeper, but I’m putting him here based on the format of the column. He was great in Week 1 against the Rams with nine catches for 180 yards on 12 targets, and he should be heavily involved again in this matchup with Denver. The Broncos also just allowed Seattle tight end Will Dissly to catch three passes for 105 yards and a touchdown on five targets, so Cook should hope to find similar success this week.
  • Benjamin Watson (vs. CLE): Watson didn’t have a dominant game in Week 1 against Tampa Bay with four catches for 44 yards on four targets, but he saw the fourth-most amount of passes from Drew Brees behind Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Ginn. This is a favorable matchup against the Browns, and Watson is a good streaming option in Week 2.
  • Jonnu Smith (vs. HOU): Smith replaces the injured Delanie Walker (ankle), and he should get the chance for a prominent role. Walker was a focal point of Tennessee’s offense, and Smith profiles as a quality pass catcher now that he’s expected to start. If you just lost Walker or Olsen, give Smith a nod as a starter in deeper leagues.

Bust Alert

Njoku is coming off a down game in Week 1 against the Steelers with just three catches for 13 yards on seven targets. He was second on the team in targets behind Landry, which was great, but Gordon should take on a bigger role in Week 2 at New Orleans. I’m still hopeful for Njoku to have a breakout season, but we need to see how he operates with Landry and Gordon dominating targets, as well as Duke Johnson being mixed in out of the backfield. Njoku is just a low-end starting option this week on the road.Defense/Special teams

Defenses/Special Teams

Start ‘Em

Bears (vs. SEA) – 14.3 projected points

The Khalil Mack era got off to a promising start in Week 1 at Green Bay. While the Packers won the game 24-23, the Bears still had four sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. This week, the Bears get to face the Seahawks, and Russell Wilson was just sacked six times at Denver, as well as throwing two interceptions. Seattle is also playing consecutive road games, and this will be Mack’s debut in the Windy City. I like the Bears as not just a streaming option this week, but as a starting unit moving forward in the majority of leagues.

Sleepers

  • Patriots (at JAC): The Patriots forced Deshaun Watson into two turnovers and sacked him three times, and they should have similar success against Blake Bortles this week, even on the road.
  • Panthers (at ATL): Matt Ryan had no touchdowns, one interception and was sacked four times last week at Philadelphia. The Panthers had six sacks in Week 1 against Dallas, and they forced Prescott into one turnover.
  • Giants (at DAL): The Cowboys offense struggled in Week 1 at Carolina, and this Giants defense could put pressure on Prescott. He might not get sacked six times this week, but aside from Ezekiel Elliott, this is an offense lacking in talent, which bodes well for the Giants as a streaming option.

Sit ‘Em

Jets (vs. MIA) – 11.8 projected points    

The Jets DST was amazing in Week 1 at Detroit with two DST touchdowns and five interceptions, but I’m not expecting a repeat performance against the Dolphins. While Miami’s offense is far from dominant, I don’t expect Ryan Tannehill to implode like Matthew Stafford did on Monday night. Along with that, the Jets had no sacks on Stafford, even though they hit him quite a bit. Still, this pass rush isn’t something to fear, and you could be chasing points if you expect another quality outing from the Jets DST in Week 2.

Kicker

Start ‘Em

Gould was better than expected in Week 1 at Minnesota with three field goals and one extra point, and he picked up where last season ended. Gould closed last year with double digits in Fantasy points in four of his final five games, and he made 18 field goals and 12 extra points over that span. The Lions also just allowed two field goals and six extra points against the Jets in Week 1.

Sleepers

  • Dustin Hopkins (vs. IND): Hopkins only had one field goal and three extra points in Week 1 at Arizona, but I expect Washington to do well offensively in this home matchup with the Colts. And Indianapolis just allowed Randy Bullock to score 10 Fantasy points in Week 1 with two field goals and four extra points.
  • Brandon McManus (vs. OAK): McManus made two field goals, including one from 53 yards, and three extra points in Week 1 against Seattle. Last year at home against Oakland, McManus made 3-of-4 field goals and one extra point, and the Raiders just allowed Greg Zuerlein to make four field goals and three extra points in Week 1.
  • Cody Parkey (vs. SEA): Parkey just made three field goals in Week 1 at Green Bay, and Seattle allowed McManus to score nine Fantasy points. I like the Bears offense this week, and Parkey is a terrific streaming option.

Sit ‘Em

If Rodgers is out for this week, you have to find a new kicker to replace Crosby because the Packers offense would be in trouble against Minnesota, even at home. Crosby had a quiet game in Week 1 against Chicago with just one field goal and three extra points, and he only has one game with multiple field goals against Minnesota in his past five meetings.

So who should you sit and start this week? And where does every player stack up? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 2 Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB is going to finish in the top five, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.  

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