By Anthony Stampone
Position by position Start’em, Sit’em, and Sleeper look at fantasy Hashtag Style
Matt Ryan: The connection between “Matty Ice” and Julio Jones have the Falcons off to a surprising 2-0 start and are taking on a very banged up Dallas Cowboys squad this week. The Cowboys are missing their top corner back for the entire season and that is going to make for a long day for the Cowboys secondary with Roddy White and Julio Jones coming to town. Expect Ryan to have a big day and put the Cowboys in position to play in a shootout that they aren’t equipped to do right now.
Russel Wilson: Off to a slow start as a team, the Seahawks couldn’t be happier to be back home facing the sad and struggling Chicago Bears. Expect Wilson to pick this secondary apart and find plenty of running lanes as the Bears are still struggling to adjust to their new 3-4 base defense. Wilson could conceivably be the highest scoring QB this week in fantasy!
Josh McCown: This could also be in the literal sense. What Cleveland sees in the veteran is baffling, and with Johnny Manziel showing some flashes in his start last week, I think it’s time the Browns give the young QB a chance to prove he belongs. McCown isn’t even a game manager anymore, leave him on your bench or drop him for a free agent that may be available in your league like Tyrod Taylor that has a lot of promise.
Sam Bradford: Now that all the preseason narratives are over and done with, and all the hype over Bradford looking effective and efficient in the Chip Kelly’s offense, it is pretty clear to see he is not going to be the fantasy machine people thought he was going to be. Often over drafted due to unsubstantiated hype, this is not the week to play Bradford. He has been a liability so far this season for the Eagles. Mix that with that fact that the Eagles will have the limping DeMarco Murray playing this week and facing a vastly improved and downright scary defense the Jets are running these days, play your other QB and you should do better than if you start Bradford.
Sleepers: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Blake Bortles, Peyton Manning
Jeremy Hill: Yes, the Bengals have a tough defense they will play this week in the Ravens, but in the first two games this year the Bengals have been flat out dominate! The Ravens will do their best to make a game of it with their defense, but the Bengals are a complete team. As long as Dalton can reframe from costly turnovers, expect the Bengals to get up early and look to pound the rock and ride out their lead to a win as the Ravens are short on weapons to keep up even in a mid-range scoring game.
Latavius Murray: Oakland is coming to Cleveland after and impressive win over the Baltimore Ravens. Cleveland still has the NFL’s worst rush defense, even with the offseason additions they made to bolster the unit. Look for Murray to have a big day carving up the Browns’ front seven and if Cleveland decides to load the box to sell out and stop the run, Murray can still get you plenty of points especially in PPR leagues catching passes out of the back field on swing passes or as a check down on play action.
DeMarco Murray: Yes, it has been confirmed that despite a recent hamstring injury, Murray will play this week for the NY Jets. So far this season, Murray looks lost in Kelly’s offense and has been very ineffective. Add in that he has a hobbling injury, one that can hinder a running backs ability to cut and push to take off running in openings, do not expect to see Murray to do much of anything this week.
Carlos Hyde: Hyde has shown this season that he may be able to live up to the hype he had coming out of college and be a dominate three down back. The problem Hyde has is he plays for a team whose offense is predicated on him being extremely successful early and late in games. Facing the Cardinals this week, who have a very aggressive and strong defense, and a high power, high octane offense, do not expect Hyde to see the ball much as the 49ers will have to pass much more than they want to if they want to hang with the high flying Cardinals. It’s not Hyde’s fault he won’t perform as well as he could this week, he just plays for a team that won’t be able to hang with what might be the best team and most complete team in the NFC.
Sleepers: LeSean McCoy, Bishop Shanky, James Starks
Larry Fitzgerald: Last week Fitzgerald proved he is far from being “old and washed up” as he caught three touchdown passes to help the Cardinals cruise to a victory over the Chicago Bears. What might be more impressive than the three TD catches was the connections Fitzgerald and QB Carson Palmer showed with each other. Look for the two veterans to work together for another win and for Fitzgerald to be a big part of that in the passing game.
Allen Robinson: After a big game in which Robinson reeled in two TDs to help Jacksonville upset the Miami Dolphins, expect him to continue to rack up fantasy points this week. Robinson and QB Blake Bortles seem to be picking back up where they left off at the end of last season and there could finally be a try QB & WO connection in Jacksonville. The Jaguars do have to travel to Gillette Stadium this week to face the Patriots whose offense is absolutely on fire right now. Look for the Jags to fall behind early and have to rely on the tandem to Bortles and Allen to have even a slight chance to make it a game this weekend up in NE.
Travis Benjamin: Yes, I am telling you to sit a young man who has been tearing up the fantasy boards for an otherwise sad Cleveland Browns team. With Johnny Manziel given his seat back on the bench, don’t expect much magic between McCown and Benjamin as you would see if Manziel was throwing the passes to Benjamin. As I said earlier, I do not know what the Browns see that McCown offers them that Manzieldoesn’t, but it appears to me one thing is for sure; he does not offer the big play passing game Manziel does.
Mike Evans: Off to a much slower start than many may have expected, Evans hasn’t even caught a pass yet this season as the team is adjusting to their new #1 overall pick Winston. Winston and Evans have yet to show any chemistry and with having to travel o Houston to face an always strong and aggressive defense, do not expect the Winston & Evans connection to start this week.
Sleepers: AJ Green, Brandon Marshal, Donte Moncrief
Rob Gronkowski: Need I say more? Already being considered one of the best of his position in the history of them game, “Gronk” is also arguably the biggest passing game match up on a week by week basis in the entire NFL. With Jacksonville coming to town, I expect the Patriots to air it out early and often, and Gronkowski will be one of the beneficiaries of poor match ups and coverages being rolled his way and he will still get his catches, yards, and TD(s).
Delanie Walker: While he may be off to a slow start this season having only caught three passes so far this year, expect that to chance this week as the Titans face a very weak pass defense in Indy. Both teams are struggling early this year, but this game has the potential to be a shoot-out, and Walker could see a lot of favorable match ups against LBs and safeties that should leave him open for some big catches and plays.
Jordan Cameron: Already banged up just two weeks into the season, Cameron is off to a bad start in his first season in Teal and Orange. IF Cameron plays, he is banged up and will be facing a nasty tough defense against the Bills that will be looking to put their stamp back on their defense as one of the best units in the entire NFL. With Buffalo’s front four and ability to hold up in coverage when needed (expect when the play Tom Brady), expect the Bills to send extra rushers at Tannehill early and often, which means if Cameron does play, he will have to help out in protection more than I am sure he wants to, to keep from Tannehill being looking up at the sky from his back most of the game.
Heath Miller: The Steelers offense has been as advertised this year, and they get back Le’Veon Bell back this week which is just going to make them even better. The problem the Steelers to run into this week is arguably the best defensive front in the NFL. I still expect the Steelers put up points in this game but Miller is going to spend a lot of time on the line helping protect Big Ben so he can hit his skill players down field.
Sleepers: Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, Jared Cook
Buffalo Bills: The Bills go to Miami with a major chip on their shoulders after they were pick apart of the Patriots in a game the Bills hyped up and truly felt they were ready to win. Well not only did they not win, but they were torched for over 500 yards of total offense. The good news for the Bills; the Dolphins are not the Patriots, not even close. The Bills have owned the Dolphins over the last three seasons, racking up 23 sacks in six games, which translates to just shy of four sacks per game. The Dolphins interior has struggles especially the guards, and add in the fact that starting LT Brandon Albert may miss this game due to injury, and it should equate to another long day for Ryan Tannehill.
Denver Broncos: Through two weeks into the season, the Broncos defense has been downright nasty. If not for the defense the Broncos could easily be 0-2 right now. The Broncos travel to Detroit this weekend to play the Lions on SNF. Expect the Broncos to attack, batter and bruise an already banged up Matt Stafford. I expect the Broncos to leave this game victorious, and again I expect this to happen because of their high powered defense, not their slowly but surely getting better offense.
Jacksonville: The Jaguars have to travel and play the Patriots this week, whom seem hell bent on “showing everyone up”. Unfortunately, they inflated or deflated balls Tom Brady is well, let’s admit it; still one of the very best in the game, and so far this season he is playing like it. The Jags are next on his radar, and they do not have the tools to slow Brady and that high octane offense.
San Diego: With no pass rush, a questionable front seven, and having to face Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings this week, this is not the week to play them. Yes, the Chargers still have one of the best in the league in Eric Weddle and he is a manic all over the field but he can only do some much. Expect the Vikings to move the ball and score some points against this defense. The Charges do have the offense to still win this game, but it won’t be won because of their defense.
Sleepers: Atlanta, Carolina, Green Bay
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