Disclaimer: Starts and Sits are relative to where a player is ranked on the aggregate. In other words, a "Start" is someone I like more than most, and a "Sit" is the opposite. So if I say to start Carson Wentz and sit Aaron Rodgers, that doesn't mean I'd start Wentz over Rodgers, it just means I think Wentz will exceed his expectations while Rodgers will underperform his. Cool? Cool. Let's get it. -Seltz
Ben Roethlisberger (vs. MIN) – You: Isn't Minnesota's defense one of the best in the league?
You: So ... why are you recommending Big Ben in a tough matchup when there are so many other quarterbacks to choose from?
Me: Take a knee son, and let me tell you the tale of Ben Roethlisberger's famed home/road splits. *I guess "you" are my son in this scenario. I don't have a son btw, but roll with me here.* The tale goes like this: Ben is awesome at home and he sucks – SO HARD – on the road. That's it. That's the whole tale. But just for fun, here are Ben's numbers at home vs. on the road over the last 3 seasons (2014-2016).
Home: 68.0 Cmp% – 339.0 YPG – 59 TD's and 16 INT's in 20 games played.
Road: 63.8 Cmp% – 269.4 YPG – 21 TD's and 18 INT's in 22 games played.
So yeah, it's a thing. I'm starting Ben when he's at home this season, tough matchup or not.
Sam Bradford (@ PIT) – I clearly didn't look at any other game this week and just chose these two guys cause they're facing each other. Right? I mean, what other possible explanation could there be for me telling you to start Sammy Sleeves. What the hell is wrong with me?! Ugh. I feel gross. Let's get this out of the way quickly: Bradford was terrific in Week 1, he has some quality weapons at his disposal, and he faces a Steelers defense that made DeShone Kizer look decent. Done. Let's move on.
Russell Wilson (vs. SF) – What? You thought I was just going say obvious stuff. Nah. Homie don't play that. Who is homie? I have no idea. Let's forget that ever happened. Seriously though, I'm nervous about Russell. More appropriately, I'm nervous for Russell. He's playing behind an offensive line that couldn't block you, me, and BLG. Well, they could probably block you, but BLG and I would eat, as BLG likes to say. And while the Niners aren't very good, their d-line is aight; it's certainly good enough to control the line of scrimmage against Seattle's train wreck of an o-line. Wilson is the consensus #5 QB heading into Week 2 and that's just too high, imo. So while you likely don't have a better option in seasonal leagues, I would steer away from him in daily formats.
Jameis Winston (vs. CHI) – I don't hate Jameis this week. I just think he's being overvalued. Winston is the consensus #7 QB, which is crazy to me. I know he has new weapons and all that, but Jameis was the 17th highest scoring fantasy QB last season and is essentially coming off an unexpected bye week to start the season. Not to mention the reason for said bye week was a hurricane that ravaged the Tampa Bay area and had to have interfered with the team's schedule. Lastly, Chicago's defense was actually pretty solid against the pass last season and held Matt Ryan to 220 yards and no TD's, outside of an 88-yard WTF Austin Hooper score.
Ty Montgomery (@ ATL) – Ty Montgomery looked good in Week 1. Against a staunch Seattle defense no less. Atlanta's defense looked a lot less staunch last week, allowing Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen to run wild all over them on the way to yielding the 2nd most fantasy points to RB's of any team in the league. Unlike Howard, Montgomery doesn't have to worry about anyone as talented as Cohen stealing his touches – cut to every Jamaal Williams owner nodding sadly. I'm expecting a shootout in this one, making Montgomery one of my favorite plays of the week.
Tarik Cohen (@TB) – Speaking of the talented Cohen, he's really good at football. And he's super fun to watch. But that's neither here nor there, what's important is that he's going to be a massive part of Chicago's offense this season, as evidenced by his 12 targets in the first NFL game of his life. He has a legitimate chance to be the Bears' #1 receiver this season. His consensus ranking (#30 RB) and pricing in daily formats have yet to catch up to how good he is and will continue to be. Take advantage and get Cohen in your lineups this week.
Le'Veon Bell (vs. MIN) – OK, this is probably a good time to remind you to read the disclaimer at the top of this page. I'm not saying I'd start Tarik Cohen over Bell, or most other guys for that matter, I'm just saying I don't think Bell is going to be LEV BELL this week. Minnesota's run defense is legit. They only allowed nine touchdowns on the ground last season (3rd best in NFL) and also shut down an admittedly mediocre Saints run game last week. More importantly, I'm a believer in the whole "running backs who hold out and miss the entire preseason usually start slow" thing, and even the great Lev Bell is no exception.
Carlos Hyde (@ SEA)/Isaiah Crowell (@ BAL) – I'm grouping these two together because they're examples of RB's I like in general, but I'm out on this week due to brutal matchups. According to Fantasypros.com, Hyde is the consensus #21 RB for Week 2 with Crowell right behind at #22. I have both outside my top 30. Quick bonus piece of advice, you should absolutely try and trade for either (both?) after this week. Each will be coming off two straight bad performances and you may be able to take advantage of an impatient owner. Alright, let's pick up the pace, even I'm starting to hate the sound of my (written) voice.
Keenan Allen (vs. MIA) – I love Keenan Allen so much I want to carry him around in my pocket. Allen (10 targets in Week 1) is clearly Rivers' go-to option, which is basically the case whenever Allen is healthy. And guess what, he's healthy now. Also, he faces a secondary that starts Byron Maxwell and Nate Allen. Yes, THAT Nate Allen. I rest my case.
Adam Thielen (@ PIT) – More Vikings love. Gross. But what can I do? Thielen was a beast last week, catching 9 of his 10 targets for a robust 157 yards receiving. I love Stefon Diggs too. Hopefully you started Diggs last week like I told you to (#HumbleBrag), but this week too many people are on the Diggs bandwagon, while everyone's ignoring the Thielen bandwagon. Not me. No chance. Start Thielen and you'll be...wait for it...Feelin pretty good. Again, I apologize. Moving on...
Michael Thomas (vs. NE) – Boom! I'm coming with the fire. Or the stupidity. One or the other. Regardless, I think Thomas is being overrated this week going against Bill Belichick (with extra time to prepare). BB takes away what the other team does best, usually. Michael Thomas is what the Saints do best. Add in a pissed off Pats team plus the potential for a lot Malcolm Butler coverage, and I'm avoiding Thomas in daily formats this week.
Golden Tate (@ NYG) – The Giants pass defense is the truth. Throw in a finger injury for Tate and I'm happy staying away from the Golden one in what could be an ugly Monday night affair.
Coby Fleener (vs. NE) – Remember when I said Bill Belichick takes away what a team does best? Yeah, that's why I like Fleener this week. If we imagine Hoodie looks at each game with a pick-his-poison attitude, you gotta believe he's drinking the Coby Fleener poison every single time. Having said that, Fleener actually had a solid Week 1 (5 catches for 54 yards and a TD) and New England's defense was awful against the Chiefs. A-W-F-U-L. So, yeah.
Charles Clay (@ CAR) – What do Jason Witten, Delanie Walker, and Charles Clay have in common? Well, besides all being tight ends in the NFL (and a bunch of other stuff I'm sure), they were three most targeted tight ends in Week 1 with nine apiece. Clay converted those targets into 54 yards and a tuddy, and he's one of the few receivers Tyrod Taylor feels confident throwing the ball to. As if that weren't enough, Carolina allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any team in the league last season. *This last stat is only true if you don't consider the Browns to have been a "team in the league" last season. Technically, a team named the Browns may have allowed more points to tight ends than the Panthers.*
Greg Olsen (vs. BUF) – This is another example of disclaimer territory. I wouldn't start Fleener or Clay over Olsen in a seasonal league, but I certainly would in daily formats. Not only did Olsen struggle against Niners last week, but he faces a Buffalo team that did a great job defending tight ends last season and now has a head coach who knows the opposition intimately. More importantly, they have a head coach who isn't Rex Ryan.
Jordan Reed (@ LAR) – Reed also underperformed last week. He looked injured, which makes sense considering he's reportedly playing on a fractured toe. The Rams were a top 5 defense in terms of shutting down fantasy tight ends last season and they looked awesome last week, albeit against a Triple-A Colts team. But still, they're for real. And they get Aaron Donald back. Sit Reed.
Detroit Lions (@ NYG) – This one's for you Lions fans! This needs some explanation, huh? Short story short, I called out the Lions' defense and their fanbase in last week's start/sit column. I rightfully got my words shoved back in my face. My bad, you guys. I admit it. To make it up to you, I'm backing your squad this week. Detroit's defense looked much better than I expected last week (obviously) and the Giants' offense looked much worse. I'm sure the truth is somewhere in between...for the Lions. But not the Giants offense. They stink. That's right, I'm calling out the Giants fans this week! Come @ me bros. I think the Lions shut down your crappy offense this week.
Denver Broncos (vs. DAL) – Denver's defense is great, but Dallas' boring, mistake-free, ball-control, lame offense isn't an ideal matchup from a fantasy perspective. Add in a good (not the greatest of all time) offensive line, and Dallas doesn't really offer much in the way of fantasy point potential for opposing defenses. Even one as good as Denver.
Some guy who's playing in a dome or who's on a team with a good offense.
Any guy who doesn't qualify the above set standard for "Start."