Wide Receiver Start or Sit – Week 2
Week one is in the books. Right now your fantasy team is either tied for first place at 1-0 or last at 0-1. If you’re lucky enough to already have that first win, congratulations but there’s still a long ways to go so don’t get too comfortable just yet. For all you 0-1ers, don’t panic it’s just one week. You still have time to get things right, and to paraphrase Bill Belichick: We’re on to week two.
Every week I will provide you with my recommended Start or Sit advice at the wide receiver position for that given week’s slate of games. I will not be discussing obvious must-starts like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, etc. Instead I will be assisting in the tough lineup decisions such as Michael Floyd or John Brown? Or Jordan Matthews or Donte Moncrief? You get the idea. It is important to note that these are just recommendations and I always believe following your gut is the way to go when making a final start or sit call.
My suggestions will be based on numerous factors such as matchups, opportunities within the offense, and past performances, to name a few. All statistics provided are based on standard scoring (non PPR).
For more start or sit advice and any other fantasy football questions you may have, visit our forums where myself and all of our wonderful writers will be more than happy to help you out. You can also follow FTA on Twitter @FanTeamAdvice or myself @ajohnsonFTA. Finally, be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of the page and I will reply back.
Start of the Week: Victor Cruz (vs NO)
I have a feeling a theme is beginning here. Last week the “start of the week” featured a pair of Raiders teammates going up against this dreadful Saints secondary. Once again, we will be picking on a defense that gave up nearly 500 yards of offense in the opener and got torched by Amari Cooper for 6 catches and 137 yards. Before we dig into this week’s matchup between the Giants and Saints, let’s reflect back on week eight 2015. In that game, Eli Manning had his way with the New Orleans secondary. He picked them apart for 350 yards passing and six (not a typo) touchdown passes. The Saints won the game 52-49 on a last second field goal. I expect similar success for the Giants offense this time around. Unlike last year’s shootout, Manning will have Victor Cruz to throw to. Cruz returned last week against the Cowboys for his first regular season game action since 2014. Cruz was on the field for 89 percent of the Giants offensive snaps and caught all four of his targets for 34 yards and one salsa-dancing touchdown. With the rust now shaken off, I would expect the opportunities to increase for Cruz and would not be surprised to see him find the end zone for a second straight week.
Bottom Line: Cruz will be a solid flex play vs Saints. Start him and all of your Giants receivers this week.
Mohamed Sanu (at OAK)
Mohamed Sanu makes his second straight appearance in the start section. Last week vs Tampa Bay he tallied 5 catches for 80 yards with 1 touchdown. He also found pay-dirt on a two-point conversion attempt. He led the team in targets with eight (tied with Julio Jones and Jacob Tamme). The Falcons will head to Oakland in week two to take on the 1-0 Raiders. Against the Saints in week one, Oakland’s defense had no answer for Drew Brees as he shredded them for 423 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air. I project the Falcons, with Sanu and Julio Jones leading the way, to continue the onslaught of yards and touchdowns versus Oakland this weekend.
Bottom Line: Add Sanu off your waiver wire and start him as a WR3/Flex. Also note Sanu was seen limping after Sunday’s game so be sure to monitor the practice reports throughout the week.
Amari Cooper (vs ATL)
Like Sanu, Amari Cooper makes a return to the start section after being featured as the “start of the week” for the season opener. And, like Sanu, if you had him in your lineup you were not disappointed. Cooper hauled in six Derek Carr passes for 137 yards and a two-point conversion. Cooper will be looking to take advantage of a pass defense that allowed Jameis Winston and the Bucs to throw for 281 yards and four touchdowns. I expect Cooper’s hot start to the season to continue in the Raiders’ home debut.
Bottom Line: Start Cooper as a WR 1.
Jordan Matthews (at CHI)
Jordan Matthews kicked off the 2016 season with an impressive performance in a win over the Cleveland Browns. He notched 7 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown. It was all a part of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz’s terrific debut. Wentz and Matthews clearly had a good rapport from the start. The rookie targeted Matthews 14 times over the course of the afternoon, double the amount of the tight end Zach Ertz who was second with 7. The opponent in week two will be the Chicago Bears. In their first game, the Bears allowed two Texans receivers to reach double digit fantasy points. It would be no surprise for Matthews to match, or even top, his week one numbers.
Bottom Line: Jordan Matthews can be started as a WR 2.
Others with favorable matchups: Vincent Jackson (at ARZ), Sterling Shepard (vs NO), Willie Snead (at NYG)
Sit of the Week: Tavon Austin (vs SEA)
In five career games against the Seattle Seahawks Tavon Austin’s average stat line: 2.2 receptions, 9 yards 0 touchdowns, 8.6 rushing yards. Do you really need any more convincing? His highest receiving yardage total is 16 yards. He even finished the 2015 season opener with -2 yards. That’s right, negative. Still need more? How about the Legion of Boom. The Seattle secondary held Ryan Tannehill to just 186 yards through the air last week with no touchdowns, while no Miami receiver had more than 60 yards. More? Okay two words: Case Keenum. The Rams quarterback threw for a mere 103 yards in week 16 of 2015 in Seattle. On Monday night against the Niners, Keenum was dreadful, completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes, for just 130 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions. That’s some 7-9 bulls–t if you ask me. Well, I think that’s enough. If you still have Tavon Austin in your lineup, shame on you. Or maybe good for you, you certainly have a lot of courage.
Bottom Line: Keep Austin on your bench at all costs.
T.Y. Hilton (at DEN)
T.Y. Hilton and the 0-1 Colts will head to Denver to take on “the no fly zone” and the defending champion Broncos Sunday. In four career games versus the Broncos, Hilton has never topped more than 5 catches or 82 yards. He’s also failed to find the end zone in any of those contests. Denver once again played good pass defense in the NFL kickoff game, holding Cam Newton to under 200 yards with only one touchdown. With Hilton attracting the coverage of top cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., and many other viable targets for Andrew Luck to throw to, I would expect a quiet afternoon on the stat sheet for Indy’s number one receiver.
Bottom Line: Hilton is just a WR 3 vs DEN.
Tyler Lockett (at LA)
Tyler Lockett and the Seahawks will take on the Rams this week in what will be the first game in Los Angeles in 20 years. They may be doing so without their star quarterback Russell Wilson who suffered an apparent ankle injury against the Dolphins. If Wilson misses time I would suggest sitting all of your Seahawks wideouts. Assuming Wilson plays, however, I would still suggest keeping 2016 fantasy breakout candidate Lockett on your bench if you can. In two career games against the Rams (both in 2015), Lockett collected a combined 7 catches for 67 yards with no touchdowns. Unimpressive, to say the least. Look elsewhere for fantasy production this week.
Bottom Line: Lockett is no better than a WR 4/5 vs
St. Louis Los Angeles.
Randall Cobb (at MIN)
I understand it can be difficult to sit a guy as talented as Randall Cobb so this is more of a “buyer beware” than a must sit. In eight previous games (including playoffs) versus the Minnesota Vikings, Cobb has never topped more than 62 yards receiving. Last week against the Jaguars, Cobb hauled in 6 catches on 8 targets for just 57 yards. With Jordy Nelson rejoining the offense after missing all of last season, it was expected that Cobb would begin to find more of the success that made him a 1,200 yard receiver two years ago. His week one stat line, however, is more reminiscent of his disappointing 2015 campaign. Hopefully he’ll get back on track soon, but I don’t expect it to happen in week two.
Bottom Line: Cautiously start Cobb as a WR 3.
Others with difficult matchups: Doug Baldwin (at LA), Will Fuller (vs KC), Dez Bryant (at WAS)