Start or Sit: Week 2

Is the Bears offense ready to break free?

Did you start Philip Rivers over Tom Brady last week? Julian Edelman over Calvin Johnson? How about Fred Jackson over teammate C.J. Spiller?

No? Good. That just means you’re logical, and sometimes, that’s a win in and of itself. Even if your lineup had Stevan Ridley, Lamar Miller and Dez Bryant last week, remember that it’s only Week 1. There’s plenty of football to be played, and plenty of decisions to be made.

Go tell your bragging first place fantasy owner to settle down. But before you do that, take a look at the guys you should be starting and sitting in Week 2.

Start ‘Em

Like a Computer Mouse: Plug and Play (Obvious Starts)

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

If we use the “don’t draft Adrian Peterson first overall logic”, we’d bench Peyton Manning because he’s not going to throw seven touchdowns in Week 2 against his brother. Clearly, from here on out, Peyton is a plug-and-play quarterback starter with as much upside as anyone in the league.

Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

The Saints signal-caller finished Week 1 with the third-highest passing net expected points total, meaning he contributed more points for his squad through the air than all but two passers (Kaepernick, Manning). This week, Brees has a Buccaneers defense that allowed 256 passing yards to rookie Geno Smith. Though Revis is in the secondary, the Bucs still have some holes.

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It wasn’t a great day on the ground for the Muscle Hamster against the Jets last week, but fortunately Dougie’s got a juicy matchup against division rival New Orleans this week. We’ve got him ranked as our third-best fantasy option for Week 2, so don’t go thinking last week was any sort of trend.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears

B-Marsh was targeted just 10 times on Sunday, which seems like a lot, but it was actually lower than his average of 12 per game in 2012. The difference? Marc Trestman. Expect the Bears to continue to spread the ball around, but have no doubts: Brandon Marshall will be Brandon Marshall in that offense. He’s an obvious must start as our top receiver in Week 2.

Casper the Friendly Ghost: Don’t Be Scared (Solid Starts)

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders

Hopefully you took our daily fantasy football advice from last week and started Pryor, because boy oh boy was he a bargain. Pryor’s slowly becoming a fantasy favorite, rushing for well over 100 yards against the Colts on Sunday. But the biggest surprise? Pryor finished ninth in passing NEP, meaning he was more valuable to his team than over two-thirds of starting NFL quarterbacks. The guy just learned how to hold a football in June!

If you picked him off the wire this week, start him against Oakland. He’s our 13th-best option at quarterback, just behind Michael Vick.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys

When he’s healthy, Murray’s weekly floor is on par with some of the elite running backs in fantasy. He had 20 carries against the Giants, and added another eight receptions through the air. And although his Week 2 opponent, Kansas City, was great against the run on Sunday, they were also great against the Jaguars running game; a team led by one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league.

We have Murray as our number nine running back this week.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers

Yeah, yeah, I know I talked bad on DeAngelo in my 15 Transaction for Week 2 article. Much of that was in reference to long-term value though. He’s got a great matchup against the Bills this week – so good that we, haters of his game, see him as a great flex play.

Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

We shouldn’t expect another multi-touchdown game on Thursday night, but with Danny Amendola looking unlikely to suit up, Julian Edelman becomes a must start, especially in PPR leagues. Though he may get Cromartie treatment, he’s a WR2 (17th-ranked wideout) according to our projections. Start him.

Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins

Our projections warned you about Mike Wallace last week, and Joe Haden didn’t disappoint. He covered the speedster all day, and held the pricy receiver to just one catch for 15 yards. Don’t expect that to happen again this week, as Wallace gets a Colts defense that ranked 27th efficiency-wise against the pass last week.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Volume. DeSean Jackson gets volume. He doesn’t even have to be a highly-targeted receiver in terms of percentage of team targets to produce fantasy points because Chip Kelly’s going to run 452 plays per game. As Jeff Miller pointed out, Jackson could see upwards of 300 more snaps this season in that offense. Unless you’ve only got stud wideouts, D-Jax needs to be in your lineup this week.

Bungee Jumping: Here Goes Nothing (Risky Starts)

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

Smoking Jay actually had a nice game against a solid Bengals defense last week, completing 21 of his 33 passes for 242 yards and two scores. As I noted with Brandon Marshall, Cutler should be spreading the ball out a little more than he had last season, which is good for his fantasy outlook. Against Minnesota, a team who couldn’t stop a thing against the Lions, Cutler looks to be like a nice streaming quarterback option.

Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Here we go again. If you’re desperate and in a deep league, you could take a chance on the born again Steeler running back this week on Monday Night Football. The Bengals have a great defensive line and Dwyer’s listed behind running back Isaac Redman, but the Steelers need help. Bad. Perhaps a rejuvenated Dwyer enters Paul Brown Stadium with a chip on his shoulder, showing the Steelers that they made a mistake by cutting him in the first place. Take a chance on him if you’ve got a questionable starter (very questionable) in your lineup.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears

Sensing a theme? The second-year Bears wideout turned in a nice five-reception, 42-yard performance during Week 1, and again, the Bears have the Vikings this week. Like his teammates, we like the matchup. In fact, Alshon Jeffery is our 33rd-ranked receiver for Week 2. If you have unsure options, go with Jeffery.

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

The Steelers lost linebacker Larry Foote for the season (among others) on Sunday, paving a path for Kion Wilson and rookie Vince Williams to fill his role. That inexperience in the middle of the field could open things up for Bengal tight ends. You could gamble with Tyler Eifert this week, too, but we’re going with Gresham because he’s the veteran in a young season.

Defense to Start: Houston Texans (vs. Tennessee)

Sit ‘Em

Boyz II Men: It’s the End of the Road (Questionable Sits)

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

That offensive line, man. No Maurkice Pouncey and a bad matchup against a division rival? James Harrison may get Big Ben on the ground 13 times on Monday. Until we see this offense get it together, don’t plug Ben into your lineup.

Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams

The Rams offense looked good against Arizona during Week 1, but they’ve got an away game against a talented Falcons team who started the season with a loss. Bradford’s going to have his moments throughout 2013, I’m sure, but there are better options at quarterback this week.

Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams

The post-Steven Jackson era in St. Louis started with a 20 carry, 63-yard performance by Daryl Richardson. It wasn’t dreadful – Arizona’s defense is a good bunch – but not incredibly noteworthy. He did add five catches through the air, so he was certainly a PPR asset.

According to our metrics, the Falcons, Richardson’s opponent this week, were seventh-best against the run during Week 1. And before you start screaming, “But they played the Saints!”, understand that this is adjusted for strength of schedule.

Richardson is a flex play to us this week. Adjust your lineups accordingly.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Hopkins almost looks like a mini Roddy White, doesn’t he? The Texans receiver has a bright future ahead, but he’ll go through the typical rookie wide receiver roller coaster. This week against the Titans, we’re passing. There’s a chance the Texans get ahead early (man, didn’t we say that last week, too?), forcing them to rely on the run game in the second half. No late-game heroics in this one.

Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Three receptions for 33 yards isn’t the kind of way to begin a fresh start, but that’s exactly what Jennings did against the Lions in Week 1. Jerome Simpson, an athletic wide receiver who has consistently underwhelmed, was quarterback Christian Ponder’s favorite target on Sunday – not Jennings. Against the Bears defense, there are better options.

Enron in 2001: Shut it Down (Obvious Sits)

Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns

Don’t be silly. Brandon Weeden’s not going to be worthwhile until Josh Gordon comes back Week 3. Feel free to drop him while you’re at it.

Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets

Ivory’s stats from last weekend are vomit-worthy: 10 carries, 15 yards, nothing else. Bilal Powell had 12 carries of his own, and did a little bit more with them, rushing for 29 yards. All in all, the Jets ground game was miserable against the Bucs, and we shouldn’t expect that to be much different against the Pats on Thursday.

Jerome Simpson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Does your league award points for every forehead square inch? Then why is Jerome Simpson in your lineup?

Seriously, if you had him in your lineup in Week 1, I’m not sure if I should congratulate you or call you an idiot. Simpson isn’t doing that again – at least not in Week 2. He shouldn’t be on any teams, but if he’s on yours, bench him this week.

Zach Sudfeld, TE, New England Patriots

If you missed my 15 Transactions for Week 2 article, one of the notes was to drop Zach Sudfeld. He saw just one target against the Bills, and although there’s no one significant for Brady to pass to on Thursday night, Sudfeld – questionable with a hamstring injury – is way too risky to slot in your lineup this week.

Defense to Sit: San Francisco 49ers (vs. Seattle)

For any other start or sit questions, visit numberFire’s Questions section and take a look at our weekly rankings.