Trying to figure out who to start and who to sit for Week 2 of the 2014 NFL fantasy football season? Check out our tip sheet to find out which players will lead you to victory this week and which players should be avoided.
Who to Start
QB: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: The Red Rifle looked great in Week 1, throwing for 300 yards and a touchdown against a typically strong Baltimore Ravens defense. Look for Dalton to play even better in Week 2 against an Atlanta Falcons defense that just allowed 333 yards through the air against the New Orleans Saints.
RB: Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens: The little-known scatback filled in admirably for presumed starter Bernard Pierce last week, rushing for 70 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Given the Pittsburgh Steelers’ struggles to contain the Cleveland Browns’ middling running game in Week 1 -- and Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s propensity to check down to his running backs -- Forsett could be active in both the running and passing games this week.
RB: Terrance West, Cleveland Browns: It didn’t take long for West to make his presence felt in Cleveland. The rookie running back rushed for 100 yards on just 16 carries against the Steelers in Week 1, and he's expected to take over as starter this week in the wake of veteran Ben Tate’s knee injury. The Browns will try to control the clock in Week 2 against the Saints’ otherworldly offense, so West could be in for 20-25 carries.
WR: Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals: Floyd is on the verge of supplanting aging running mate Larry Fitzgerald as the Cardinals’ No. 1 wide receiver; he gashed the San Diego Chargers secondary for 119 yards in Week 1. Floyd will shine again this week against a New York Giants secondary that allowed an obscene 346 yards last week.
WR: Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger loves to spread the ball around, and Wheaton appears to have established himself as “Big Ben’s” new favorite target. Wheaton caught six passes for 97 yards in Week 1 and will be a big-play threat against the Ravens this week.
WR: Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens: Old Man Smith just won’t go away. The Ravens’ aging wide receiver looked great all preseason and continued that success in Week 1, showcasing his growing rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco to the tune of seven catches for 118 yards. If Smith really is Flacco’s new safety valve, he could replicate that type of success all year.
TE: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: Ertz came on strong at the end of the 2013 season and seems ready to take his game to the next level this year. The second-year tight end recorded 77 receiving yards and a touchdown in Week 1, and the Eagles’ Week 2 matchup against the high-powered Indianapolis Colts could turn into a shootout.
Defense/Special Teams: Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville shocked everyone by containing Chip Kelly’s Eagles offense in Week 1, and the Washington Redskins’ offense looks rough so far this season. Look for the Jaguars to force a few turnovers.
Who to Sit
QB: Eli Manning, New York Giants: Manning struggled mightily during his first game at the helm of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense, completing 18 of 33 passes for just 163 yards and a pair of interceptions against a mediocre Detroit Lions' defense. It’s best to avoid the two-time Super Bowl champion in Week 2, when he will face off against a stalwart Arizona Cardinals defense that includes ballhawking cornerback Patrick Peterson.
RB: Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars: On average, fantasy team owners selected Gerhart in the fourth or fifth round of their drafts this preseason, but the Jaguars starter did little to reward their confidence in Week 1; he rushed for just 42 yards on 18 carries and suffered an ankle injury to boot. He does have a favorable matchup against the Redskins in Week 2, but there are better options available at this point.
RB: Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions: Bush has been a fantasy football darling for years, but the Lions’ running-back-by-committee isn’t doing him any favors. At this point, Bush’s main value lies in his role in Detroit’s passing game, but the Carolina Panthers’ defense is notoriously stingy against opposing running backs. Avoid playing Bush in Week 2.
WR: Golden Tate, Detroit Lions: Tate was a perfect complement to Calvin Johnson in Week 1, snagging six catches for 93 yards against a struggling New York Giants secondary. But the Carolina Panthers defense is fast, athletic and has held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ top receivers to less than 100 yards receiving in Week 1.
WR: Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars: A relative unknown, Hurns and Jaguars quarterback, Chad Henne, connected for a pair of touchdown strikes in Week 1. Still, he had just four total catches last week, and the Jaguars’ passing game is anything but a lock to produce on a weekly basis.
WR: Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins: Wallace looked good against the Patriots last week, but he can be a feast-or-famine target under even the best of circumstances. Given his nagging hamstring injury and a Week 2 matchup against a Buffalo Bills defense that contained a prolific Chicago Bears offense to just 20 points in Week 1, Wallace owners could be in for a slow performance.
TE: Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears: The 6-foot-6 tight end had a stellar debut against the Bills in Week 1, catching eight passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. However, he faces a much tougher matchup in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers, who are notoriously stingy to opposing tight ends.
Defense/Special Teams: Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota dominated a depleted St. Louis Rams offense in Week 1, but the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots’ offense is loaded with weapons and still smarting from their recent struggles against the Miami Dolphins. It seems unlikely that Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the rest of the Patriots will struggle for a second consecutive week.