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ZB’s Start Em’ Sit Em’ for Week 2

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season has come and passed. Major stars are now facing ailments and injury, while some consistent contributors have had their season come to an end. Some studs you had faith in before kickoff last week are now on your trading block. Whether you came out victorious in your first matchup or lost a nail-biter, that is just the opener. You aren't out of the race, it has merely begun.

Don’t sell out on your squad after one bad performance, one bad gut call or coin flip that didn't turn out in your favor. Week 1 of the NFL season is almost like preseason to me. None of the starters have faced full-contact for 60 minutes on the turf since at least February. These guys are rusty. They aren't in peak shape. New coaches, new schemes, new depth charts, new rivalries. Be smart. Get excited. Football is back.

Now that the first waiver wire is behind us, it’s time to focus on Week 2.

QBs that need to be in your lineup in Week 2:

Alex Smith, Washington Redskins:

Matchup: vs. Colts

I wasn't a supporter of the trade and extension for the former number one pick out of Utah, but I saw a glimmer of hope in what many expected to be another mediocre season for the burgundy and gold. Although the Cardinals’ defense isn't what it used to be and their offense was a non-factor for the first three quarters of the game, Smith’s rapport with oft-injured tight end Jordan Reed, his confidence in Adrian Peterson and third-down back Chris Thompson and his continued success with his old friend from San Francisco, Vernon Davis, position the new signal caller in the nation’s capital for quite a year. In fact, he just might finally be ready to wipe the title “game manager” off of his resume.

Washington Redskins v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams:

Matchup: vs. Cardinals

After dicing up the Raiders on Monday Night Football, Jared Goff shouldn't have too much trouble figuring out a Cardinals defense that gave up 429 all-purpose yards to a visiting Redskins offense tomorrow afternoon. If you have him, you’re starting him.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

QBs I like in Week 2:

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions:

Matchup: at 49ers

The Lions’ overall performance on Monday Night Football shocked the world. After picking off rookie-quarterback Sam Darnold for a score on the first play of the game, a blowout was expected. Then the tables turned and after sustaining several blows, the game was out of reach. A rested Stafford should look to rebound on last week’s poor outing and potentially put Jimmy G down 0-2.

NFL: New York Jets at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers:

Matchup: vs. Chiefs

Mike Tomlin was not impressed with his club’s performance in Cleveland or his starting signal caller’s horrid outing in their Week 1 tie. Luckily for Tomlin, and for the city of Pittsburgh, Big Ben plays exceptionally better at Heinz Field than he does anywhere else. Over the past four seasons, Big Ben has averaged 23.26 PTS in the Steel City, compared to an average of 13.97 on the road. It’s looking like sunny skies and a few clouds around game time, so Roethlisberger should be ready to air it out against a susceptible Kansas City secondary.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

QBs to keep an eye on in Week 2:

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans:

Matchup: at Titans

A major storyline this weekend will be the performance of Bill O’Brien’s offense, more specifically, the play of his second-year sensation: Deshaun Watson. Watson may have caused some doubt about his ability in his first game back from last season’s devastating ACL injury. He should remind fantasy owners why they took him so high this year with an outstanding outing in Tennessee.

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs:

Matchup: at Steelers

After trading reliable veteran quarterback Alex Smith to the nation’s capital early in 2018, the Chiefs gave the keys to the offense to second-year signal caller Patrick Mahomes after just one career start. In what most expected to be a domination by a revamped Chargers offense in Week 1, Mahomes changed the narrative and was absolutely electric. His rapport with speedster Tyreek Hill is apparent, and as soon as he can mobilize Travis Kelce and get the run-game going with second-year standout Kareem Hunt, the NFL may have a new title contender in the Midwest.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

QBs I’m hesitant about in Week 2:

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks:

Matchup: at Bears

This one isn't going to be easy for Pete Carroll. With an injured Doug Baldwin, Russell Wilson is going to need to elevate his aerial attack with what he has left on the outside. Tyler Lockett should see an increased target share, and longtime veteran journeyman Brandon Marshall could make the best of the situation and assume WR1 duties. This is assuming that Seattle’s offensive line can withstand the pressure of Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith and Leonard Floyd, who terrorized Aaron Rodgers on Sunday Night Football. This one is a real toss up. If it was back in Seattle, I’d have more confidence in Wilson, but the Bears are home and that pass rush looks ready to cause mayhem.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers:

Matchup: vs. Vikings

No question, the biggest storyline of the week. America saw the Packers on prime time. We saw the hit, the cringing, the cart, the exit, the spirited return and the game winning drive with hope all but lost. Aaron Rodgers, while clearly hobbled and on one leg, put up a historical, must-watch performance in his first game since receiving his contract extension. The difference this week is that Rodgers has not practiced, the Vikings have improved what was already a top three defense, and the game is in Minnesota. If he’s playing, you’re starting him. If he’s out, I’d assume it will be longer than for just one game.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers Appleton Post-Crescent-USA TODAY NETWORK

QB that I'm avoiding in Week 2:

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans:

Matchup: vs. Texans

After being limited in practice this week after sustaining an elbow injury late in a loss to the Dolphins, owners should pay careful attention to any relevant updates regarding the former Oregon Duck. The season-ending ankle injury to his favorite target Delanie Walker creates a void in the target share, so hopefully in the coming weeks second-year wideout Corey Davis makes a leap.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

RBs that need to be in your lineup in Week 2:

James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers:

Matchup: vs. Chiefs

Currently the second highest scoring running back in PPR formats, Mike Tomlin may have found a diamond in the rough in second-year power back James Conner. As long as Le’Veon Bell’s contract dispute and holdout remains, Conner will be a top 10 RB.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams:

Matchup: vs. Cardinals

Todd Gurley made easy work of the Raiders defense on Monday Night Football. Back in Los Angeles against an inferior Cardinals defense that made Adrian Peterson look ten years younger last Sunday, Gurley is the best option at running back this week.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

RBs I like in Week 2:

Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears:

Matchup: vs. Seahawks

Guess what Jordan Howard learned how to do over the summer? Catch! The only hindrance in his game is no more, and with his capability to be a multi-dimensional three-down back for new coach Matt Nagy, the Bears’ offense is ready to put the league on notice.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals:

Matchup: at Rams

In his first game back in a year after sitting out Weeks 2-17 of the 2017 campaign due to a wrist surgery, Johnson put up a decent showing against Washington. Less than 48 hours after receiving a huge $39-million contract extension, Johnson wasn't his usual self in the first half of the season opener, yet managed a garbage-time TD in the waning moments of the second half. He should be ready to rebound this week even with a tough matchup against the Rams.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

RBs to keep an eye on in Week 2:

Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos:

Matchup: vs. Raiders

The third-round pick out of the University of Oregon was primed and hyped up to be this year’s Kareem Hunt. Royce Freeman’s fantasy draft stock went sky high. In his first career game, he was more of a question mark than a disappointment. Denver has a new signal-caller, and isn't a one-man-band like Hunt has in Kansas City. That being said, Freeman may have lost a fair number of supporters after giving the spotlight to his fellow rookie backfield-mate Phillip Lindsay. A matchup with the disheveled Raiders should allow Freeman to show the country all that he has to offer.

Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Carlos Hyde, Cleveland Browns:

Matchup: at Saints

In what many expected to be a minimal showing from the former Buckeye, Carlos Hyde established himself as a potential bell-cow for the Browns’ arsenal. He should be in for a strong showing against New Orleans to further solidify his place amongst the best running backs in the AFC.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

RBs I’m hesitant about in Week 2:

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Matchup: vs. Texans

In the longest recorded game in NFL history last Sunday, the former Heisman trophy winner couldn't deliver. He lost out on significant touches to multi-dimensional running back in the Titans main offseason acquisition Dion Lewis, and put up a dud in what many expected to be a big year. A tough matchup against Houston could turn the tables and give fantasy owners hope again to roll him out into their starting lineups.

Tennessee Titans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

Matchup: vs. Chargers

LeSean McCoy put up a dud in the Bills season opener against Baltimore. The offense isn't working, which was clearly stated by their inability to get a single first down in the first half of Sunday’s matchup. The Bills have now inserted rookie quarterback Josh Allen into the starting role, which could impact McCoy’s productivity. It’s just coming to fruition that he isn't the same every-down back he once was in Philadelphia.

Buffalo Bills v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

RB that I’m avoiding in Week 2:

Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders:

Matchup: at Denver

Beast Mode isn’t the same every-down back that he used to be in Seattle. With major questions concerning the Oakland offense after a disastrous opener on Monday Night Football, Lynch is staying on the back-burner in Week 2 up in Denver. He is touchdown-dependent on a weekly basis and albeit the Broncos defense isn’t what is used to be, the addition of Bradley Chubb to what was already a stout front-seven should wreak havoc on Derek Carr and the rest of Jon Gruden’s remaining personnel.

Los Angeles Rams v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

WRs that need to be in your lineup in Week 2:

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

Matchup: vs. Browns

Denzel Ward gets his second tough cover in a row this weekend against Michael Thomas and the Saints after swiping two interceptions from Big Ben in Week 1. Thomas will finish no lower than WR-5 in Week 2.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Matchup: vs. Eagles

Despite the suspension of Jameis Winston, Mike Evans came to play in their league-shocking upset of New Orleans on Sunday afternoon. Even with a backup quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick) in the pocket and one of the best young cover corners (Marshon Lattimore) locked on to him for the contest, the former Aggie went berserk for seven receptions, 147 yards, and a score. With Jalen Mills expected to be lined up against him at home this week at Raymond James Stadium, Evans is a lock to make some headlines.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

WRs I like in Week 2:

Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles:

Matchup: at Buccaneers

Despite a disappointing Philadelphia aerial attack in the NFL season opener, there was one silver lining; Nelson Agholor. With Alshon Jeffery sidelined for the first few weeks as he rehabs from off-season rotator cuff surgery, and while Carson Wentz remains sidelined, Agholor looks to be the top recipient of Nick Foles’ targets. Zach Ertz wasn't as fluid in the opener and had quite a few dropped passes. That being said, this weekend's matchup with a depleted Tampa Bay secondary, who will have to adjust on the fly with the injury to Vernon Hargreaves III, should allow for a great outing from the aforementioned Agholor.

Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions:

Matchup: at 49ers

Potentially one of 2018’s biggest risers, Kenny Golladay showed out in the season opener on Monday Night Football despite the thrashing that his club received from the youngest starting signal caller in the NFL. The 6’ 4’ second year wideout has all of the tools to be a top-25 wide receiver in PPR. As he continues to emerge on a national stage, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him supplant Golden Tate as the number one option in Matt Stafford’s arsenal.

New York Jets v Detroit Lions Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

WRs to keep an eye on in Week 2:

Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins:

Matchup: at Jets

With the departure of former number-one wideout Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills has been thrust into the top slot on Adam Gase’s depth chart and he performed just as well as advertised in Week 1. The Dolphins matchup tomorrow at the Meadowlands should build on the Kenny Stills hype train.

Tennessee Titans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers:

Matchup: at Falcons

I’m always “Rollin’ with the Funchess.” Albeit a disappointing performance last week against a poor Dallas secondary in his first full season as the number one option in Carolina, I’m riding with the former Michigan Wolverine this week in Atlanta. With the loss of Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess’ target share should rapidly increase. Exceptional flex option this week.

Dallas Cowboys v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

WRs I’m hesitant about in Week 2:

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals:

Matchup: at Rams

As much as I admire the Cardinals’ star-receiver, there’s no chance I’d start Larry Fitzgerald in Week 2 against a stout secondary in Los Angeles that features the duo of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib that held the Raiders’ Amari Cooper to a single reception in the opener. With all of the questions regarding Sam Bradford and the Arizona offensive line, the future Hall-of-Famer has close to an unwinnable matchup on Sunday afternoon.

Washington Redskins v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders:

Matchup: at Broncos

Where do I begin. I expected BIG things from Amari Cooper in Oakland after the arrival of Jon Gruden and the departure of Michael Crabtree. Apparently those factors didn’t translate into production for Cooper in Week 1 against the Rams. Cooper didn't take advantage of the opportunity in front of him, finishing with a single reception and a rush to round out at less than 4 points in PPR scoring and disappointing every owner that made the decision to swing for the fences and give him the benefit of the doubt. If being matched up with terrific cornerbacks is Cooper’s kryptonite, then he will be on my bench in Week 2 against Chris Harris Jr. and the Denver Broncos.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

WR that I’m avoiding in Week 2:

Chris Hogan, New England Patriots:

Matchup: at Jaguars

In what was supposed to be a shoe-in for Chris Hogan in his Week 1 matchup with Houston, he struggled mightily, leading to Phillip Dorsett’s big day. If Hogan can't live up to being the top option for Tom Brady against a sub-par Texans secondary, then Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars are going to eat him for lunch.

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

TE that needs to be in your lineup in Week 2:

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots:

Matchup: at Jaguars

Rob Gronkowski is a man among boys. No defense will contain him, he's a freak of nature. His only deficiency is his durability. He looked healthy and was ready to dominate the Texans in the season opener, and while the Jaguars have as good of a chance as anyone to try and shut him down, there is no way you can keep him out of your lineup.

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

TEs I like in Week 2:

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs:

Matchup: at Steelers

In a very interesting outing in his season opener against the Chargers, Kelce was not a relevant fantasy option at the start of the Patrick Mahomes Era for Kansas City. While Mahomes may just be getting accustomed to the weapons that Andy Reid has supplied him with, the lack of depth at the tight end position requires Kelce to be at the forefront of every PPR lineup he's in. He should be in for a major bounce-back outing against the Steelers.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins:

Matchup: vs. Colts

Having Jordan Reed fully healthy is a phenomenon. It rarely occurs, but in the brief windows that it does, he’s a matchup nightmare and is a top-five tight end. His terrific season opener in Arizona created this magnificent photo captured below, and there shall be another just like it in the Redskins’ home opener tomorrow against the Colts.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

TEs to keep an eye on in Week 2:

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns:

Matchup: at Saints

Although he wasn't the focal point of Hue Jackson’s attack in their season opener against the Steelers, David Njoku remains a high upside player this week against the Saints who look to rebound after giving up 48 points to Tampa Bay in their first loss of 2018.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Matchup: vs. Eagles

Despite the fact that Tampa Bay shocked everyone by being able to keep up with the onslaught of the Saints offensive prowess, O.J. Howard wasn't as heavily utilized as you’d expect. The main drawback to Howard is that he’s not the standalone tight end in the Buccaneers offense with the presence of Cameron Brate. After Brate’s performance in the opener (0 receptions, 0 yards, 0 TD, 0 PTS), the door for Howard to exude his athletic gifts may be ajar. If his target share increases while Brate’s declines, get ready.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

TE I’m hesitant about in Week 2:

Jimmy Graham, Packers:

Matchup: vs. Vikings

The former Miami Hurricane led all tight ends in TD receptions in 2017 as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. While Jimmy Graham’s upside drastically increases with Aaron Rodgers in the pocket, this week shouldn’t be his coming out party with the matchup against a stellar Vikings secondary and an ailing signal caller that hasn't practiced all week.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

TE that I’m avoiding in Week 2:

Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts:

Matchup: at Redskins

Please, please, please, do not start Eric Ebron this weekend in the nation’s capital. He is not the tight end you want to roster on this offense. He is touchdown-dependent second option at best, and Jack Doyle will be on the receiving end of the majority of Andrew Luck’s targets. Ebron flamed out in Detroit after they wasted a top selection on him, and with the 2018 season having just begun, you don’t want to make the same mistake in your lineup.

Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images