After months and months of analysis, Week 1 came along and destroyed all our offseason hot takes. This is par for the course for fantasy football veterans, but that doesn’t make it any easier to decide who to start and sit in Week 2. Can out-of-nowhere Week 1 stars like Puka Nacua keep it up, and when can you trust struggling studs like Joe Burrow?
Before we get started, a quick disclaimer: this should go without saying, but if you have Justin Jefferson or Tyreek Hill, you’re going to start them. This article is strictly for flex-caliber players that are not auto-starts on a weekly basis.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em
Start: Anthony Richardson
Last week, Anthony Richardson was on my list of sits in fantasy football. While the raw talent is undeniable, the fourth-overall pick carried too many question marks to justify a start in one-quarterback leagues. Well, that’s changed. While he wasn’t 2011 Cam Newton, Anthony Richardson played well enough to justify a spot in your Week 2 lineups. The quarterback missed a few throws but was a good enough passer to keep the offense afloat and provided plenty of value on the ground. The rookie quarterback faces off against a terrible Houston Texans team and he should have no problem building on his impressive debut.
Sit: Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow is going to be fine in the long run, and anyone who says differently is just overreacting to one bad week. In the short term, however, you probably want to see a little bit more before you actually throw him into your starting lineup. The former first-overall pick is clearly not fully recovered from his training camp injury, and he’ll probably need more than just one week to get back to his old self. He should be locked into your starting lineup in a few weeks, but for right now, you’re better off just streaming the position.
Start: Tyler Allgeier
Arthur Smith does not care about draft capital. Bijan Robinson had a fantastic debut, but it’s clear that Tyler Allgeier is not going anywhere any time soon. The former Day 3 selection upended the superstar rookie, recording 15 carries for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Robinson’s role will likely grow as the season progresses, but Atlanta’s obsession with running the ball ensures that you can start both Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier in fantasy football for the foreseeable future.
Sit: Kyren Williams
Kyren Williams was a smart pickup on waivers that should provide decent fantasy value in the right matchup. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Rams face off against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2. The 49ers are arguably the most dominant team in the league and are fresh off demolishing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. Even if Williams maintains his status as the lead back, he’s going to have a hard time getting yards and touchdowns against this elite unit. You can start Kyren Williams in fantasy football some other time, but for now, he should sit on your bench.
Start: Joshua Kelley*
It should go without saying, but you should only start Joshua Kelley in fantasy football if Austin Ekeler sits out the game. The star running back suffered an ankle injury in Week 1 and didn’t practice on Wednesday so, for the time being, it looks like Joshua Kelley will be the starting running back for the Los Angeles Chargers. Volume is king in fantasy football, and last week proved that Kelley is the clear-cut backup to Ekeler. In Week 1, Kelley recorded 16 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Elijah Dotson only played one snap and former fourth-round pick Isaiah Spiller was a healthy scratch. This usage implies that Kelley will be a three-down workhorse in Week 2, and anyone getting that many touches in an offense this good is bound to carry some fantasy football relevance.
Joshua Kelley vs. Miami:
16 carries for 91 yards + TD
5th in PFF rushing grade in Week 1
9th in yards after contact
Most 1st down conversions amongst RBs (8) pic.twitter.com/QOZOlrrCDK
— Alex Insdorf (@alexinsdorf99) September 13, 2023
Sit: Gus Edwards, Justice Hill
J.K. Dobbins is done for the season, and early signs indicate that Gus Edwards and Justice Hill will split starting duties. Last week, Edwards handled most of the work between the 20’s but Hill took over in goal line and short yardage situations. While this is probably smart for real-life football, it’s terrible for fantasy. Baltimore does not utilize their running backs in the passing game, so the only way for Edwards or Hill to have fantasy football relevance is by dominating carries. If these two are splitting work, then neither one is worthy of a starting spot in your lineup.
Start: Puka Nacua
As mentioned above, the Los Angeles Rams are facing the San Francisco 49ers, and that’s one of the worst matchups you can have. That being said, it’s hard to argue against 15 targets. Puka Nacua is short-term fantasy football gold, as he’s earned the trust of Matthew Stafford and the Rams depth chart isn’t exactly overflowing with talented receivers. He won’t put up another top-12 finish, but he should be a solid flex play.
Sit: Kendrick Bourne
Kendrick Bourne had a phenomenal season debut, recording six receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets. However, the Patriots had to throw the ball 54 times for Bourne to put up those numbers. Chances are, the Patriots aren’t going to put themselves in another 16-point hole in the first quarter, which means that they should play a more balanced, run-oriented game. That’s bad news for Bourne, as he probably won’t have the volume to justify a starting spot in your lineup.
Start: Rashid Shaheed
Chris Olave is the unquestioned top option in the New Orleans Saints passing attack, but Derek Carr is capable of feeding more than one mouth. Second-year wideout Rashid Shaheed finished his night with five receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown on six targets, which is good for a player with his type of skill set. Shaheed excels at stretching the field, so he can have a fantasy-relevant game with just one or two receptions. The Saints face off against a Carolina Panthers team that just lost Jaycee Horn, so Shaheed should have plenty of opportunities to get past the defense and finish with a big night.
Every Rashid Shaheed target vs the #Titans Week 1
— Dynasty Nerds (@DynastyNerds) September 13, 2023
Sit: D.J. Moore
The more things change, the more they stay the same. D.J. Moore has a new team and the Chicago Bears spent the offseason building a competent roster around Justin Fields. It didn’t matter, as Fields looked as lost as ever, missing targets left and right while struggling to read the defense. Moore finished with just two targets, and that’s not nearly enough to start him in fantasy football.
Start: Hayden Hurst
The tight end position is a desolate wasteland in fantasy football, but Hayden Hurst could be 2023’s diamond in the rough. The journeyman tight end finished Week 1 with five receptions for 41 yards and a score on seven targets, which is very good for a tight end. The Carolina Panthers have no talent at wide receiver, so there is a very real chance that Hurst finishes the season with the second-most targets on the team. He won’t singlehandedly win you a league, but you could do a lot worse.
Sit: Chigoziem Okonkwo
Chigoziem Okonkwo was one of the most efficient receiving tight ends in the league last year on a per-touch basis. Unfortunately, that didn’t carry over to 2023. With DeAndre Hopkins in town, Okonkwo only saw two targets and didn’t record a single reception. Chances are, you can find a better tight end on the waiver wire.
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Main Photo: Andrew Nelles – USA Today Sports