Week 2 of the NFL Season was fun but featured its fair share of surprises. Some players we hoped would do well fell flat. Others broke out and broke big. We’re continuing to learn and adapt, as is the pattern in Fantasy Football. That means looking back at the prior week and assessing what we got right and what we got wrong. Below I’ll have my suggestions for who I’m starting and who I’m sitting in Week 3, but first, a review of my Week 2 suggestions.
For transparency purposes, we’ll measure quarterbacks and tight ends against Top 12 finishes (QB1 and TE1), and we’ll measure running backs and wide receivers against Top 24 finishes (RB1-2, WR1-2). All finishes come from Fantasy Pros PPR scoring leaders lists found here.
Week 2 Review
QB: Aaron Rodgers QB5, Hit. I thought Rodgers would be in for a big Week 2 against Detroit, and he was.
RB: Elijah Mitchell RB36, Miss. I thought Mitchell would lead the 49ers backfield committee, and he did, but there were plenty of injuries, and he didn’t have the big day I’d hoped.
WR: Deebo Samuel WR26, Miss. Samuel was good but not great, falling just short of the Top 24.
TE: Juwan Johnson TE34, Miss. Johnson got some targets, but no touchdowns and the entire Saints’ offense was terrible.
Start Record Week 2: 1-3
QB: Matt Ryan QB16, Hit. I thought Ryan would struggle again against the Buccaneers. He was better than I thought but still not a Top 12 option.
RB: Zack Moss RB 14, Miss. Ah, Moss. He was active and only had eight carries for 26 yards. But he got two TDs, which was enough to vault him inside the Top 24. I’m not thrilled with the usage, but if you gambled on him in a down week for RBs, you were happy.
WR: Brandon Aiyuk WR108, Hit. Aiyuk continues to struggle to start the season. He’s on my bench for the time being.
TE: Kyle Pitts TE8, Miss. Pitts keeps getting targets, and in Week 2, that was enough to vault him up the tight end ranks. Atlanta still doesn’t look great, but it’s a low bar at tight end.
Miss Record Week 2: 2-2
Let’s see if I can strike more gold in Week 3.
Start: Daniel Jones, New York Giants
About: Jones has been great to start the season. He was QB14 in Week 1 against a tough Denver team and QB4 in Washington in Week 2. Now he gets Atlanta, which allowed Jalen Hurts to throw for 264 yards and three TDs in Week 1, and saw Tom Brady toss five touchdown passes in Week 2. Jones has moved inside my Top 12 for Week 3, and I suspect he’s in for a big week.
Sit: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
About: I was bullish on Mayfield this season, but the first two weeks have been quiet. In Week 2, while the Browns won, Mayfield went 19-for-21 as a passer with 213 yards, a TD, and an interception. He’s been solid as an NFL quarterback but just OK for fantasy purposes. With Jarvis Landry on IR and Odell Beckham, Jr., still working his way back from injury, Baker is a decent low-end QB2 but not a Top 12 option.
Start: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
About: Barkley has gotten off to a slow start, but that was expected. Barkley had 13 carries for 57 yards and three targets in Week 2. Among that was a 41-yard scamper that showed some of his burst returning. He has had ten days off and now faces the Atlanta Falcons, a less robust defensive front than what he saw with Denver and Washington in Week 2. On his road to recovery, I think this is Barkley’s first 100-yard game as he rounds into form for the season.
Sit: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
About: CEH was a top draft pick for many in 2020, particularly in dynasty. The hope was that he would be a three-down back part of a robust offense. While that’s still potentially true, it didn’t materialize in 2020, and things have been even worse in 2021. CEH is currently RB46 through two weeks. In Week 2, CEH didn’t get a single target and carried just 13 times for 46 yards, tallying a crucial fumble. Right now, he’s not enough of a factor to feel good relying on him as a starting RB in fantasy.
Start: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
About: Kupp has developed an amazing connection with Matthew Stafford so far. He seems to be the go-to receiver in a potent passing offense, coming in as WR2 through two games. The Rams face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3, and while the Bucs have a decent defense, I have no doubt that Kupp will again pave the way for the Rams in the passing game. He’s a must-start.
Sit: Odell Beckham, Jr., Cleveland Browns
About: I like OBJ as a player, and I like his talent. I think he’s going to have a decent season. However, he is still recovering from a knee injury that ended his 2020 season in mid-October. He hasn’t been able to go the first two weeks, and while he seems on track to make his 2021 debut on Sunday, I’m cautious. The Browns have been thriving with the running game, and that figures to continue. I don’t think OBJ will do enough to crack the Top 25 in his first week back.
Start: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
About: There was a time with the Patriots where Gronk was THE best tight end in football. After a year away, he got off to a bit of a slow start in his return in 2020. But Gronk saved his best for the post-season and the Super Bowl and has carried that over to 2021. Through two games, Gronk has four touchdowns. He’s TE1 on the season and has amazing chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady in a high-octane offense. Antonio Brown is likely to miss this week, meaning even more potential targets for Gronk. In the TE landscape, he’s a player that should be in your lineup every week.
Sit: Hunter Henry, New England Patriots
About: A lot was made of the Patriots signing Henry and fellow tight end Jonnu Smith this off-season. The thought was the Patriots’ offense would flow through the tight ends. Through two weeks, that hasn’t been the case. Henry is sitting as TE25 on the season. He’s splitting targets with Smith, who feels like a better Red Zone option. The Patriots’ passing game isn’t particularly robust, so for the time being, Henry feels like a low-end TE2 option at best.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.