Happy Week 2, everyone. Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes.
Start of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger vs. Chiefs: Big Ben is coming off an awful showing last week in Cleveland. He turned the ball over five times in the tie, tossing three picks and losing two fumbles, but didn’t deserve the blame on a number of those. The Steelers now head home to face a Chiefs defense that was absolutely torched by Philip Rivers in Week 1 for the overall QB3 finish after he managed 424 yards and three touchdowns. The day should have been even bigger for the Chargers’ offense, but Tyrell Williams dropped a 34-yard touchdown, Rivers missed him on a would-be 31-yard score earlier, and Travis Benjamin had a 50-plus-yard pass go through his hands, as well as a potential 20-some-odd-yard touchdown later in the fourth quarter. Kansas City overhauled its secondary in the offseason and has yet to see Eric Berry come back from Achilles’/heel issues. (Berry sat out practice again Wednesday.) Without Berry, the Chiefs were getting totally flamed over the top. New CBs Kendall Fuller and Orlando Scandrick had atrocious afternoons in L.A. and now get to deal with Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Chiefs-Steelers has the highest total on the board at 52.5 points. The Steelers’ implied team total of 28.25 points is the third-highest of Week 2.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Lions: Garoppolo lost his first career game as a starter last week in Minnesota, tossing three interceptions in the process. He left some throws on the field, but was dealt an early blow with the loss of Marquise Goodwin to a bruised thigh in the second quarter. Garoppolo showed a strong rapport with George Kittle thereafter, targeting his tight end nine times and hooking up on five of those for 90 yards. The two could have easily had a bigger afternoon. Kittle dropped what might have been an 80-yard touchdown with nobody within five yards of him, and Garoppolo immediately threw a pick-six on the very next play. Garoppolo also missed Kittle over the top of the defense on a potential lengthy touchdown and later threw way too high to his tight end in the end zone on what should have been a four-yard score. The Niners now come home for a much easier matchup against a Lions defense that laid down to the Jets in Week 1. Detroit is now on a short week and gets to travel to the West Coast. This game has the third-highest total at 48 points, and San Francisco’s implied team total of 27.25 is the fourth-highest of Week 2. There’s rumors already swirling that the Lions are fed up with new coach Matt Patricia, with some players quitting on him this past Monday night. The Niners are in a prime bounce-back spot.
DeShaun Watson at Titans: It was a really disappointing opener for Watson, who finished as the overall QB21 last week after completing just 50% of his passes for 176 yards with one score and one pick. He added 40 rushing yards but also lost a fumble. Watson held the ball too long at times but was playing shorthanded without Will Fuller (hamstring), who is expected back this week. The good news is Watson played aggressive coming off his ACL tear, took shots downfield, and had no real glaring concerns to his game. In the Titans, Watson gets a defense that allowed Ryan Tannehill to complete over 71% of his passes against them in Week 1, while hooking up with Kenny Stills for a pair of touchdowns. Tennessee sacked Tannehill just once and showed very few signs of life in the pass rush department. Watson threw four touchdowns against the Titans last Week 4.
Alex Smith vs. Colts: Smith played about as good a Week 1 against the Cardinals as the Redskins could have hoped for; he didn’t turn the ball over and took what the defense gave him, methodically working the ball down the field. Washington had 30 first downs last week, second-most in the league behind the Chargers. They were sixth-best on third down. Smith completed 70% of his passes at an 8.5 YPA clip, surgically getting the ball to his top playmakers in Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson, who looked completely healthy after season-ending injuries last year. The two combined for 10 catches for 111 yards and a pair of scores. It was easy to see they’re going to be Smith’s favorite targets. The Skins get a try-hard Colts defense that is going to have to rely on hard work to get by this season. Indy is undermanned at all three levels and really had no answers for A.J. Green and Joe Mixon last week. Andy Dalton completed 75% of his throws and was the QB16. Smith brings an added element of rushing ability to help raise his floor. The Redskins also have arguably the best offensive line in the sport, while the Colts boast one of the weakest pass-rush groups. A week after posting the QB11 finish, Smith is very much stream-worthy with the Redskins’ implied team total of 26.5 points as the fifth-highest on the board.
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Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Eagles: Fitzpatrick had a magical Week 1, finishing as fantasy’s overall top scorer and No. 1 quarterback, nearly 11 full points ahead of Drew Brees, his counterpart last week. He was surely a hot pickup among point-chasing fantasy owners after throwing for 417 yards and four touchdowns, adding a fifth touchdown as a runner. This Bucs offense is beaming with talent, sporting one of the league’s better offensive lines with gobs of upside among its pass catchers, but it’s hard to get behind journeyman Fitzpatrick at home against the Super Bowl champs in a prime letdown spot after such a spirited divisional road win last Sunday. The Eagles shut down Matt Ryan in their opener and will have had 10 days of rest by Sunday. Ryan averaged 5.84 YPA and threw zero touchdowns last Thursday night. Philly is dripping with pass rushers, so much so that they had to let DE Vinny Curry go, and he’s now one of Tampa Bay’s top ends. Fitzpatrick may also be without deep threat DeSean Jackson after he was concussed in the opener. Jackson caught five balls for 146 yards and two scores before getting hurt. Fitzpatrick is a full-on Week 2 fade for me.
Kirk Cousins at Packers: Cousins was fine last week against the Niners, finishing as the QB9 for the week after throwing for 244 yards and a pair of scores. With the Vikings up by three scores at one point in the second half, they didn’t have to throw the ball much, capping Cousins’ upside some. He’ll now get his first divisional road test in the NFC North. Green Bay held Mitchell Trubisky to 4.9 YPA last week and didn’t allow a passing touchdown. The secondary is much better this year after the additions of veteran Tramon Williams and first- and second-round rookies Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson at cornerback to go along with sophomore Kevin King and veteran FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The pass rush is still a bit of a concern, but Nick Perry is back healthy and Muhammad Wilkerson was added up front. Cousins isn’t a bad option by any means; I just think there are better plays in one-QB leagues than Cousins on the road in a game with a middling 46.5-point total.
Russell Wilson at Bears: Wilson wasn’t bad last week in Denver, finishing tied with Kirk Cousins as the overall QB9, but he was sacked six times, tossed a pair of interceptions, and lost Doug Baldwin to a second knee injury that is expected to sideline him for a couple games. Wilson was already working with a pretty barren cupboard and had to lean on rookie TE Will Dissly and veteran WR Brandon Marshall after Baldwin’s injury. The Seattle offensive line remains a total disaster and LT Duane Brown had to leave the opener for some reason. (Seattle won’t have an injury report out until Thursday afternoon.) Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Leonard Floyd are going to be problems in Chicago. All that teamed with Brian Schottenheimer being Wilson’s play-caller has me off the perennial MVP candidate this week. Schottenheimer’s preferred style just caps Wilson’s upside. The 43.5-point over-under for Seattle-Chicago is the third-lowest of the week.
Start of the Week: James White at Jaguars: White’s teammate Rex Burkhead was initially in this space, but he popped up on the injury report late Wednesday afternoon with a concussion. That potentially leaves just White and newcomer Kenjon Barner as the Patriots’ healthy backs, and Barner was just signed on Tuesday. White led the Patriots with nine targets in the opener, catching four for 38 yards and a score where he was left wide open from 12 yards out. White was also the only Patriots running back to get a red-zone carry, though he was out-carried 18-5 by Burkhead overall. Jeremy Hill tore his ACL in the win and is obviously done for the season. Jacksonville poses a serious test, but White and Rob Gronkowski figure to be the path to success for New England on offense if Burkhead is forced to sit. Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye should lock down most everything on the perimeter. The Jaguars did bottle up Saquon Barkley for most of his NFL debut last week, but Barkley was able to pop one for a 68-yard score and finish 18-106-1 with two catches for 22 yards on six targets. In last year’s matchup with Jacksonville, then-lead RB Dion Lewis drew eight targets, good for second on the team. Look for White to potentially be featured even more in that area Sunday.
Alfred Morris vs. Lions: Morris got the start against the Vikings last week and looked good on his first handful of carries, picking up chunk gains with relative ease. The Niners then got inside the 10-yard line in the first half and gave Morris the rock four times inside the six-yard line. Morris was unable to convert any of the four for touchdowns, losing a fumble on his final one. He and Adrian Peterson received a league-high three carries inside the five last week. That’s a good sign for Morris’ touchdown potential, but he obviously needs to score on them. Even after the fumble, coach Kyle Shanahan wasn’t afraid to go back to Morris. The game just got out of the Niners’ grips in the second half, trailing by 18 at one point, so it was mostly Matt Breida in pass-game, catchup-mode situations. The 49ers head home and are 6.5-point favorites with the fourth-highest team total of Week 2 at 27.25 points. This sets up perfectly on paper for Morris to get some volume. The Lions were abused by the run last week against the Jets, allowing 10.2 YPC and two touchdowns to Isaiah Crowell. Detroit allowed 6.32 YPC overall to Jets running backs. Even if we take away Crowell’s 62-yard score late in the fourth quarter, that number is still a healthy 4.2 YPC. 2017 first-round MLB Jarrad Davis has not been good at the pro level, and 32-year-old Ricky Jean-Francois led all Lions DTs in snaps last Monday night. Stopping the run is going to be a problem all year for Detroit.
Phillip Lindsay vs. Raiders: The Broncos used a true three-back rotation in the opener against the Seahawks. Royce Freeman played 29 snaps to Lindsay’s 26 and Devontae Booker’s 19. Freeman and Lindsay had identical 15-71-0 rushing lines, but Lindsay caught 2-of-3 targets for 31 yards and a touchdown while Freeman wasn’t targeted in the pass game. Watching the two, Lindsay just looks more explosive and agile. Freeman didn’t appear to have a whole lot of wiggle to his game, opting to try to run through defenders rather than avoid them. Lindsay’s knock is his size, but he has all the speed to burn and isn’t just straight-line fast. Booker is clearly the worst of the three yet still manages to find a way to hang around. He should be phased out by the play of Lindsay and Freeman shortly. The Raiders offered no match for Todd Gurley in the opener and employ big, slow linebackers in 35-year-old Derrick Johnson and Tahir Whitehead. Oakland also lost two of their top three DTs Justin Ellis and P.J. Hall to foot injuries Week 1. Lindsay presents a mismatch speed-wise and fits well with Case Keenum, who likes to dump the ball off in the short areas. Lindsay didn’t feel like a fluke, especially after he got a lot of work with the ones in the preseason.
Chris Thompson vs. Colts: This may seem rather obvious after Thompson’s big game as the overall RB5 last week against the Cardinals, but there are people out there who are internally debating Thompson for lineups. Thompson turned his 11 touches into 128 yards and a touchdown last Sunday in the desert, looking all the way back from his 2017 broken leg. His two red-zone targets tied Jordan Reed for the team lead, and it’s crystal clear Alex Smith is going to love Thompson as a pass-catcher like he did previously with Kareem Hunt and Jamaal Charles in Kansas City. The Colts were abused by dual-threat Joe Mixon in Week 1, allowing 149 yards and a touchdown to him on 22 touches. Mixon was killing them as a receiver, turning in big gains on screens. Thompson has league-winning upside as a mid-to-late round fantasy pick this summer. He has legitimate RB1 upside in PPR leagues and should be treated as an RB2 in all formats moving forward. Teammate Adrian Peterson is also in the RB2 mix at home this week with the Redskins as six-point favorites.
Peyton Barber vs. Eagles: Barber looked good in the first half against the Saints, toting the rock eight times for 50 yards. Things didn’t go as well in the second half with the Bucs trying to salt the clock, as Barber finished with a 19-69-0 line with no pass-game action. The good news is Barber has distanced himself from the rest of his backfield mates. Rookie Ronald Jones was inactive Week 1, and Jacquizz Rodgers touched the ball just three times. Volume shouldn’t be a problem for Barber, but this week’s matchup against the Eagles doesn’t look optimistic. Philly allowed the fewest rushing yards in the league last year and the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs, finishing second in run-defense DVOA. They picked up right where they left off against Atlanta in the opener, surrendering the third-fewest rushing yards of Week 1. Falcons backs averaged just 3.7 YPC. Barber was the RB31 last week. A similar outlook is reasonable, making him a low-upside RB3.
Jamaal Williams vs. Vikings: Williams got the start last week against the Bears, playing 37 snaps to Ty Montgomery’s 23, but Williams really struggled to make anything happen on the ground. He rushed 15 times for 47 scoreless yards and failed to catch either of his two targets. Williams has at least one more week as the clear lead dog before Aaron Jones’ suspension is over, but he unfortunately gets another tough intra-division matchup. Minnesota was No. 1 in fantasy points allowed to running backs last season and kept it moving by stamping out the 49ers’ run game in Week 1. Alfred Morris and Matt Breida combined to average 3.65 YPC, while Minnesota is No. 2 in run-defense DVOA after one game. If for some reason Aaron Rodgers (knee) doesn’t play, that could boost Williams’ potential volume. However, the catch-22 is the Vikings would simply be able to sell out against the run since DeShone Kizer was pitiful in his brief appearance last Sunday night, throwing an interception and losing a fumble on just nine snaps. Williams is in the Peyton Barber RB3 range.
LeSean McCoy vs. Chargers: In theory, McCoy should see heavy workloads week in and week out with the Bills starting inexperienced quarterbacks Nathan Peterman (Week 1) and Josh Allen (Week 2 and beyond), but the complete ineptitude of those two passers has (and figures to) led to opposing defenses selling out to stop McCoy and making the quarterback beat them. Until that happens, I can’t in good faith roll McCoy out there in fantasy. He carried the ball seven times for a measly 22 yards (3.1 YPC) in the opener and saw just three targets, netting one catch for a one-yard loss. The Chargers got torched by Patrick Mahomes in Week 1, but nobody sees Allen this week doing what Mahomes did last. And the Chargers’ run defense wasn’t the problem. They bottled up Kareem Hunt, allowing just 49 yards on 16 carries (3.06 YPC) to last year’s rushing leader. Hunt also didn’t catch a pass. I’m completely off McCoy until this offense shows any signs of life. Even at home, the Bills are touchdown underdogs with the second-lowest total (17.75 points) of Week 2.
Start of the Week: Marvin Jones at 49ers: Jones was a popular upside WR2 pick in summer drafts after he surprisingly put up WR1 numbers in 2017 with 80 yards and/or one touchdown in all but three games after Week 5. His Week 1 against the Jets left a lot to be desired in the box score, but Jones still saw a healthy eight targets, with a couple of those coming on deep balls that ended up as barely-missed connections. One clanked off his hands in the end zone, though it was a very tough catch. I like this entire offense to bounce back Sunday in San Francisco. The Niners had no real answers for Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in the opener, with Richard Sherman getting twisted up in coverage against Diggs a couple times. Jones is the one who figures to see the most of 30-year-old Sherman, who just doesn’t look like his previous self off last year’s Achilles’ tear. Diggs also beat CB Ahkello Witherspoon for a 22-yard TD down the left side last Sunday. The 48-point total for Lions-49ers is currently the third-highest total on the board for Week 2. There’s some sneaky shootout potential. It’ll be Jones and Kenny Golladay mostly on the outside, with Golden Tate manning the slot.
Cooper Kupp vs. Cardinals: We’re going back to the well with Kupp here after he was listed in this exact same space last week. He answered against the Raiders with a 5-52-1 night and finished as the overall WR16 in PPR for Week 1. Kupp and Robert Woods each had nine targets to lead the Rams, and Brandin Cooks wasn’t far behind with eight. Cooks figures to draw a lot of Patrick Peterson on Sunday, while Woods works against new outside CB Jamar Taylor. Kupp ran 87.1% of his routes out of the slot in Week 1, the third-highest clip in the league, and Budda Baker covers the slot for Arizona. Kupp (6’2/208) has a sizable size advantage on Baker (5’10/195) and is Jared Goff’s favorite red-zone target. A year after leading the Rams in targets inside the 20-yard line, Kupp had three on opening night, tied for third in the league, and converted from eight yards out on one. The Rams are the biggest favorites of Week 2, giving Arizona 13 points. Los Angeles’ implied team total of 29 is tied with the Saints for the highest. Kupp is again a WR2 with upside.
Nelson Agholor at Bucs: Agholor and Zach Ertz each saw a team-high 10 targets from Nick Foles in last Thursday night’s opener against the Falcons. Agholor turned his into a hard-to-do eight catches for just 33 yards as Foles was completely incapable of attacking downfield. Foles gets another start this Sunday, and Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) remains sidelined. That leaves Agholor and Ertz again as the two main veins in the pass game. And the matchup against the Bucs should be a bit easier. Tampa’s No. 1 CB Brent Grimes remains out with a groin injury, and top slot CB Vernon Hargreaves was lost to a torn labrum in his shoulder in the season opener. The Bucs are left with a corner trio of 2016 fourth-rounder Ryan Smith and a pair of second-round rookies in Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart. The three combined to play 119 snaps last week against the Saints and allowed an 11-143-2 line on 15 targets, good (bad) for a 142.5 passer rating. Stewart was Hargreaves’ replacement in the slot, and Agholor ran over 52% of his routes there in Week 1. None of these corners should be feared. Tampa surrendered the third-most fantasy points to wideouts last week. Foles just needs to play a bit better. Agholor is very much on the WR2/3 radar.
Allen Robinson vs. Seahawks: Robinson had a quiet summer as he continued his comeback from ACL surgery. But he ended up leading the Bears in targets in Week 1, snagging 4-of-7 for 61 yards. Robinson doesn’t separate all that well, but he’s one of the best at playing the ball in the air and fighting for the rock. Seattle was scorched by Broncos wideouts last week, surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to the position after Week 1, and giving up big lines to both Emmanuel Sanders (10-135-1, WR7) and Demaryius Thomas (6-63-1, WR18). Rookie Courtland Sutton even got involved snagging passes of 25 and 20 yards. The Legion of Boom is no more, and the Seahawks have since stepped down to starting Shaquill Griffin, rookie Tre Flowers, and Patriots castoff Justin Coleman as their cornerback trio. Griffin and Flowers man the outside where Robinson will run his routes. Griffin was Pro Football Focus’ No. 102 cover corner out of 120 qualifiers in Week 1, and Flowers was dead last at No. 120. The two combined to allow 167 yards and a pair of scores to Case Keenum and friends. This is one of the better matchups Robinson will see this season.
Robby Anderson vs. Dolphins: Anderson sure made the most of his lone target in Monday night’s beatdown of the Lions, catching it for a 41-yard touchdown while smoking S Tavon Wilson. Unfortunately, as mentioned, that was the only ball that came his way from rookie Sam Darnold. Darnold threw 21 passes that evening, with 10 of them going to Quincy Enunwa, who is back from a neck injury that cost him all of 2017. Gang Green has one of the deepest receiver groups in the league and will only add to it when Jermaine Kearse (abdomen) returns, which could happen as soon as this week. The good news for Anderson is he played the second-most snaps (35-of-60) behind Enunwa (40), but I can’t in my right conscience recommend playing a guy who saw less than 5% of the targets. Sure, Anderson has massive upside, but if he didn’t catch that touchdown, we’d be looking a goose egg for him from Week 1. Anderson figures to see a lot of Dolphins CB Xavien Howard on Sunday. Howard is viewed as a rising talent and absolutely locked down the Jets in two meetings last year, allowing just one catch for 14 yards on five targets in his coverage. Darnold should throw more than 21 times most days, but it’s pretty evident who his favorite and most-trusted target is right now, and that’s Enunwa. Kearse’s return will only complicate matters.
Chris Hogan at Jaguars: Hogan was one of the biggest Week 1 disappointments, corralling just 1-of-5 targets for 11 scoreless yards against the Texans. His five looks were fourth-most on the team behind Rob Gronkowski, Phillip Dorsett, and James White. Fresh off that, Hogan now gets to do battle with All-Pro Jalen Ramsey. Odell Beckham got “his” last week against Ramsey, but the Patriots don’t have to force-feed any one player unlike the Giants. The Jaguars were No. 1 in almost every pass defense metric last season. In the AFC Championship game, Hogan caught just two balls for 20 yards. Hogan owners need to be prepared for another ugly box score Sunday. Hogan will be a serious buy-low candidate next week when the schedule softens. After Jacksonville, the Patriots’ following four games are @ DET, vs. MIA, vs. IND, and vs. KC. Hogan will be ready for liftoff.
Jordy Nelson at Broncos: Nelson was one of our favorite 9th/10th-round fliers as a WR4 in drafts this summer. Week 1 was a disappointment all around for the Raiders as they got their doors blown off in a 20-point loss to the Rams. Nelson, though, led all Raiders wide receivers with four targets, catching three for 23 yards. Meanwhile, Amari Cooper snared 1-of-3 for nine yards. A lot of the blame goes to Derek Carr, who legitimately looked frightened in the pocket. He was extremely skittish and refused to challenge down the field. Jared Cook made Carr’s line look respectable. The Rams are obviously a tough test, however, and things don’t get much easier this week in Denver. Aqib Talib is gone, but Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, and Adam Jones make for a fine cover trio. Oakland’s implied team total of 20 points is tied for fifth-lowest of Week 2. Cook again looks like the best bet among Raiders pass-catchers, and Cooper might be force-fed the ball to get him going. Martavis Bryant is also back in the picture and further muddles this situation.
Start of the Week: Jordan Reed vs. Colts: Toe and hamstring injuries ruined Reed’s 2017 season to the point he needed offseason surgery. The Redskins understandably took it slow with him at practice, but he looked every bit back to his non-injured self last week against the Cardinals. Reed played 52% of the snaps in the easy win but likely could have played more if not for the blowout. His five targets were third on the team, and Reed made an impressive touchdown grab at the pylon while almost lying on the ground. It was evident new QB Alex Smith loved throwing to the inside and shorts portions of the field to Reed, Chris Thompson, and slot wideout Jamison Crowder. They’re going to be the butter to Smith’s bread all year. Reed and Thompson each saw two red-zone targets. Reed’s 4-48-1 helped him to the overall TE5 finish in Week 1. Owners remain weary of Reed, and it showed when Reed was able to be had in the double-digit rounds of summer drafts. But when he’s healthy and in the lineup, Reed is an upper-echelon TE1. The Colts present a mouthwatering matchup at home with the Redskins’ implied team total of 26.5 points the fifth-highest of Week 2.
Jared Cook at Broncos: I whiffed bad on Cook last week, listing him as a “sit” against the Rams. We’ve just been fooled by Cook too many times, and it’s bound to happen again. Cook posted the top TE1 finish in Week 1 after running roughshod through the middle of the Rams defense for an 8-190 line on a team-high 12 targets. It made sense with Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib locking down the outside, but DC Wade Phillips had no answer for Cook, unless the plan was to let Cook get his and shut down the rest of the offense. The Raiders find themselves in a similar situation this week. Denver’s corner trio of Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, and Adam Jones should handle their business against the wideouts, potentially leaving Cook and RB Jalen Richard to again expose the middle of the field. Seahawks rookie TE Will Dissly hung a 3-105-1 line on the Broncos last week, finishing as the TE2 right behind Cook. We fell for the Cook trap last Week 12 against the Broncos when he went for just one catch for two yards. Cook has a wide range of outcomes every Sunday, but this looks like another good spot to take the plunge, especially for those who just lost Delanie Walker.
George Kittle vs. Lions: Kittle was one of the best tight ends I saw last week after watching all 32 teams over the course of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. An exceptional athlete with great size, Kittle was running free against the Vikings all afternoon. His 5-90 line on nine targets is impressive just in the box score alone, but Kittle easily could/should have had a much bigger day. He dropped what might have gone for an 80-yard touchdown and later beat the safety over the top only to have Jimmy Garoppolo just overshoot him in the end zone. Kittle again was open in the end zone later, but Garoppolo sailed a pass way over his head on what should have have an easy four-yard score. The Lions allowed the seventh-most touchdowns to tight ends last year. The Jets barely use tight ends, but even their rag-tag group caught all four of their targets for 34 yards against the Lions last Monday night. Quincy Enunwa, the Jets’ slot man, who is basically their tight end in some sets, was targeted a team-high 10 times and posted a 6-63-1 line. Kittle is a locked-in TE1 moving forward.
David Njoku at Saints: No tight end presents with more raw upside and ability than Njoku. But drops have been a constant problem and were again a factor for Njoku in Week 1. He dropped back-to-back passes at one point and ended up catching just 3-of-7 targets for 13 yards against the Steelers. There were positives, though, as Njoku was in on 88% of the snaps and saw the second-most targets on the team. Fellow sophomore TE O.J. Howard caught a pair of passes for 54 yards last week against the Saints, busting wide open down the right side for his long gain. Opportunities will be there for Njoku to make plays Sunday; he just has to catch the ball. This game has the second-highest total on the board at 49.5 points and will be played in the fantasy-friendly Superdome.
Kyle Rudolph at Packers: I was a big believer in Rudolph over the summer because of Kirk Cousins’ previous affinity for the position in his Redskins days, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned after the preseason and one game of the regular season. Rudolph was in on 59-of-71 snaps in Week 1 and ran a healthy 33 routes. But he was targeted just two times. Luckily, one of those resulted in an 11-yard touchdown, but Rudolph wasn’t targeted until deep into the third quarter and was targeted just twice on 63 preseason snaps. The Packers swallowed up Try Burton last week and were No. 7 against the position in 2017. Rudolph has very real touchdown potential, but he’s really shaping up as a TD-or-bust play in fantasy with a scary-low floor.
Trey Burton vs. Seahawks: Burton was another miss at tight end last week for me. I bought too much into the preseason hype and ignored the Packers’ success at defending the position. Burton caught just one of his six targets for 16 yards, though the six targets were eighth-most among all tight ends in Week 1. It’s possible Burton easily bounces back this week with better play from Mitchell Trubisky, but Seattle presents another difficult matchup on paper. They allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends last year and surrendered just three scoreless catches to Broncos TEs in Week 1. Earl Thomas is back patrolling the middle of the field, and Bobby Wagner remains an assassin at middle linebacker. S Bradley McDougald also picked off two passes against Denver. I understand Burton owners may not have many other options, but I’m not excited this week.
Charles Clay vs. Chargers: Like the rest of the Bills against the Ravens, Clay did nothing in the box score, catching neither of his two targets. Coach Sean McDermott called Clay and fellow veteran Kelvin Benjamin out on Wednesday, saying the two need to play better. Clay is a 29-year-old with 49-year-old knees and can barely move anymore. The Chargers present a hellish matchup for him. The Bolts allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the position last season and completely stamped out Travis Kelce in Week 1, holding him to one catch for six yards on six targets.