6 Fantasy Players To Start or Sit in Week 2
Just when you thought you had a system down, the NFL just had to throw a wrench in the scenario and make a weekly Thursday night game. You might not have all the decisions about your fantasy lineup down, but as always, we're here to help. Some of the big names in tonight's match-up (Aaron Rodgers anyone?) shouldn't be benched under any circumstances. Others (like the "running" of Cedric Benson) should be stayed away from if at all possible. But then there's those few players in the middle who you could take a chance on tonight or wait to have a Sunday player. That's where we come in.
After poring through the numbers, we here at numberFire have identified a few players currently on the bubble and whether they would make solid fantasy starters this week. A couple of these players are in tonight's game, so you will want to make a decision on them quickly. But there's a common theme for those guys who aren't sure thing plays... don't trust them quite yet based on only one good game.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Start/Sit (Thursday Edition)
Jay Cutler - Chicago Bears
Week 2: 10.15 Projected Points (#28 Ranked QB)
Percent Started: 17.6%
Verdict: Sit Him
At least 17.6% of people are curious about Jay Cutler after his week 1 where he went for 333 yards and 2 TDs against the Colts. At least 17.6% of people see the Packers defense as vulnerable after they gave up 17 fantasy points and forced no interceptions against the Niners' Alex Smith. At least 17.6% of people are severely overthinking their quarterback position. Jay Cutler is one of the bottom five QBs on our projections this week, just below Kevin Kolb and right above Brandon Weeden. A big reason is his past record against Green Bay - only seven TDs and 12 picks against the Pack in seven career games. But an even bigger reason is simply an expected fall back down to his average play. Cutler's week 1 was solid, but not exceptional; his +0.31 Net Expected Points (NEP) per pass average ranked 12th among all starting QBs last week. However, in the 2011 season, Cutler averaged +0.10 NEP per pass, and for the year only had two games (out of ten) where he went for 300 yards and 2 TDs as he did on Sunday. Expect Matt Forte and Michael Bush to receive most of the action in the red zone as well: Cutler is only one of six starting QBs that our projections say will throw less than one TD this week (his projection average is at 0.98 TDs). Those 17.6% of people better change up their lineup, and fast.
Randall Cobb - Green Bay Packers
Week 2: 5.08 Projected Points (#54 Ranked WR)
Percent Started: 7.8%
Verdict: Sit Him
James Jones - Green Bay Packers
Week 2: 5.68 Projected Points (#49 Ranked WR)
Percent Started: 6.1%
Verdict: Sit Him
I know they look like sneaky good plays with Greg Jennings doubtful for the game, but I highly doubt you're going to be hearing many highlights from Chris Berman about Randall "Corn on the" Cobb or James "JJ" Jones tonight. (And if you don't think that will be Cobb's Berman nickname, if it's not already, I don't know what to tell you. I'm blanking on Jones.) The fact remains, as long as both are in the picture, neither one is a solid fantasy play. Last week, Jermichael Finley received over one-quarter of Aaron Rodgers' targets, with his 11 being the most on the team. Cobb and Greg Jennings tied for second with 9, followed by Jordy Nelson with 7, then James Jones with 6. But despite the targets, Jones was the one with the most receiving yards and one of two TDs. Then looking at the receptions, Cobb had more than anybody else, even Finley who had the most targets. Confused yet? Good. Because that's what happens with the Packers passing game - no single receiver had more than 18% of Rodgers targets in 2011. He loves to spread the ball around. Although Cobb had the most receptions this past week and seems to have a connection with Rodgers, I wouldn't bank on him to go off again. Same deal with Jones - don't necessarily trust him to break one deep as he did against San Fran, especially against numberFire's #3 defense. Both are boom-or-bust fantasy candidates that numberFire tends to see more as busts than booms.
Greg Jennings - Green Bay Packers
Week 2: 0.36 Projected Points (#132 Ranked WR)
Percent Started: 71.9%
Verdict: Sit Him
OK, so this one doesn't count, it's just a friendly reminder to sit Jennings if you haven't already. The fact that he's currently being started in over 70% of ESPN leagues scares me a little. Even if he does play, he won't be as effective and still runs into the same targets problem I talked about above. Just don't.
Shonn Greene - New York Jets
Week 2: 12.44 Projected Points (#13 Ranked RB)
Percent Started: 57.6%
Verdict: Start Him
It's been way too negative in this article so far, all this sitting and benching and general "Don't do it!"-ness. As I transition from tonight's game into Sunday, I want to start with somebody that will make me jump for joy. And now that I'm being faced with Shonn Greene, I'm... sitting down with moderate enthusiasm. I do like Shonn Greene this week, don't get me wrong. I mostly like him because any semblance of a timeshare in New York/New Jersey seems to have gone out the window: Greene received 75% of the carries in week 1, even with the Jets trying to get Tebow (5 carries) involved. Greene scored once, which allowed him to barely crack the top dozen in running backs last week with 15 fantasy points. However, it took him the second-most carries in the league (27) to get to that spot, for an average 3.5 yards per carry. His NEP per rush was also an average -0.07 in week 1. But it's really his success rate that worries me: only 18.52% of his 27 rushes last Sunday could be considered "successful", meaning that the Jets had a higher expected point value after the rush than before it. That was the fifth-lowest success rate of any starter with at least 10 carries last week, ahead of only Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Turner, Trent Richardson, and Chris Johnson's fun 0% rate. I'm starting him this week because he'll get his carries, but I'm not expecting him to win me my league.
Malcom Floyd - San Diego Chargers
Week 2: 10.04 Projected Points (#11 Ranked WR)
Percent Started: 13.4%
Verdict: Start Him
How was that for optimistic? OK, maybe I'm not so good at this, let's try again. I just need somebody that I actually love this week. And now, Malcom Floyd has given me the opportunity. Perhaps you didn't see most of the Chargers-Raiders game on Monday night since it ended later than most (read: older than 25) East Coast human beings should be up on a Monday night. But if so, you missed Floyd developing into Philip Rivers' number one receiver. Floyd had the second-most targets on the Chargers Monday night with six, only behind Antonio Gates's eight passes from Rivers. Floyd converted those throws with a 66% catch rate, about in line with his slightly above-average 61.6% catch rate from last season. Perhaps even more encouraging for Floyd owners, though, is what supposed #1 WR Robert Meachem didn't do: only two targets from Rivers on the night. Floyd is especially most dangerous in the red zone; numberFire has him with the third-highest projected TD total (0.64) behind only Victor Cruz and Marques Colston this week. With the Chargers facing an easier match-up in Tennessee (who allowed three different Patriots with five catches on Sunday), Floyd is a relatively safe fantasy play this week. Hooray optimism!
Jacob Tamme - Denver Broncos
Week 2: 10.04 Projected Points (#9 Ranked TE)
Percent Started: 45.0%
Verdict: Start Him
You know, I kind of like this looking at the bright side thing, so I'll end this article with another guy you should start this week: Jacob Tamme. Don't sit Gronkowski or Graham for him by any means, but Tamme did look strong in week 1. 19% of Peyton Manning's passes went his way against the Steelers in week 1, and Tamme was third behind the two starting receivers (Thomas and Decker) in total targets. Even more impressive, Tamme was one of only four tight ends with at least five catches and a perfect 100% catch rate in week 1, along with Brent Celek, Marcedes Lewis, and the Party, Rob Gronkowski. Tamme's 2011 catch rate (61.6%) wasn't great for a tight end, but that can partially be attributed to a weaker QB in Curtis Painter getting him the ball. With Manning in 2010, Tamme's catch rate was a much better 72.0%. The Falcons are not the best match-up, but they did allow a receiving touchdown to the Chiefs' Kevin Boss in week 1. All aboard the Manning receivers' bandwagon!