In “Start or Sit,” we make a call on players who merit strong starting consideration — and players who might be best on the bench. However, owners should tailor their own lineup strategy to their roster constraints, league rules and other relevant factors.
Here’s our Week Two rundown:
49ers WR Michael Crabtree (vs. Detroit) — He was targeted four more times than any other San Francisco player in Week One, and he performed well, catching 7-of-9 passes thrown his way for 76 yards. The Lions’ secondary could be down multiple starters because of injuries and isn’t especially strong vs. the pass when intact. Crabtree’s a solid play in three-WR formats and can be considered in bigger two-WR leagues, too.
Colts TE Coby Fleener (vs. Minnesota) — He was heavily involved in the passing game in Week One, catching six passes for 82 yards (10 targets) at Chicago. In Week Two, he draws a Vikings defense that surrendered 5-52-1 (five targets) to Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis on Sunday. The matchup is good, and his importance to the offense is better.
Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew (vs. Houston)— Jones-Drew got most of the work in Week One after Rashad Jennings left the game with a knee injury, and he probably needed it after a lengthy summer holdout. I don't love Jones-Drew’s matchup this Sunday — the Texans' defense is outstanding — but he's poised to again get most of the work. If healthy, he’s a cinch starter, especially as the holdout gets further and further in the rearview mirror. Consider this a reminder.
Saints WR Lance Moore (at Carolina)— He was targeted 10 times in Week One, the most passes he has had come his way since Week 17 of his breakout 2008 season, when he had four games of double-digit targets. He’s a sure start in three-WR formats, and he’s worth a look in two-WR leagues, too, after catching six passes for 120 yards and a TD in Week One vs. Washington.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers (vs. Tennessee)— I believe Rivers improves off of a solid Week One debut (24-of-33 passing, 231 yards, one TD, no picks, one sack taken in a win at Oakland). The Titans didn’t provide significant resistance to the Patriots’ passing game in Week One, and now they have to deal with Rivers and Co.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco (at Philadelphia) — Yes, he was wonderful in Week One, but he gets a much more difficult matchup on Sunday at Philadelphia. The Eagles’ strong pass rush could give the Ravens’ revamped offensive line fits. Flacco probably has more upside in 2012 than he has at any other point of his career, but that doesn’t mean I would be rushing to play him on the road against a strong defense.
Jets RB Shonn Greene (at Pittsburgh) — I made the case to start him in Week One, and he came through with a productive, workmanlike performance (27-94-1). However, it’s hard to start him with great confidence against a strong Pittsburgh defense. If you have to play him, know that he did rush for 52 yards on just nine carries the last time these clubs met in the 2010 AFC title game.
Browns RB Trent Richardson (at Cleveland) — Two factors place him in this category. For starters, the Bengals’ defense figures to crowd the line and dare the Browns’ passing game to beat them. Secondly, Richardson racked up only 39 yards on 19 carries in Week One vs. Philadelphia in his first game after arthroscopic knee surgery. Richardson very well could show flashes of his best form in Week Two, but I don’t see him having a big day.
Titans WR Titus Young (at San Francisco) — Young’s season opener was a cringe-inducing one for those who believed him to be a big-time sleeper entering 2012 — myself included, thank you. He was targeted just three times, and he caught only one pass for 14 yards. Moreover, he drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty. I’m still high on Young, but the vertical threat is hard to play after a poor Week One with the Lions facing a San Francisco defense with a stout pass rush. My guess is QB Matthew Stafford will be getting rid of the ball quickly more often than not.
- Michael Crabtree