We once discussed posting this article on Thursday before the TNF game, but then we remembered it’s TNF, so there’s no reason to watch the game, much less start players on your fantasy team. Let’s just hope that Week 1 and tonight’s game are not indicative of the season to come. The NFL will have a crisis on it’s hands if it does. Enough of that depressing thought; on to fantasy starts and sits.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, ATL
I don’t think you need to overthink this one. He was great last year as Tampa’s RB1, the Bears are an improving yet middling defense, and Doug Martin still has three games to watch from Goddell’s naughty bench. If you drafted Quizz, you got him in the 9th-11th round range, meaning you better start him these three weeks in hopes of obtaining value.
Sterling Shepard, WR, NYG
Odell Beckham Thursday pronounced his ankle a 6-8 week injury, and I can’t tell if he’s being honest or a bit dramatic. Videos of him dancing and running at practice show an athlete that is not a month away from health. If it’s true, Eli will need to rely on others for offensive production. Darius Slay, Detroit’s top defensive back, is a boundary corner who will most likely follow Beckham or Marshall on the outside. This should open things up for Shepard, who was easily the most explosive Giant against Dallas.
Alex Smith, QB, KC
We are all Smith fans this week, as the Eagles make their trip to Arrowhead. Smith looked fantastic Week 1, showing up Brady himself in his home stadium. I believe the addition of Patrick Mahomes has lit a fire, and Smith is out to prove he deserves to remain the Chiefs starting QB. He has no shortage of weapons to work with, including the splash of rookie stud RB Kareem Hunt. The Eagles front seven is imposing for sure, but their secondary is very burnable. I like Smith to return low-end QB1 value in 12-team leagues.
Coby Fleener, TE, NO
The good Fleen dog showed up on MNF. The problem is we’re too used to seeing the bad. Fleener had very high hopes last year after moving to the Saints, but mainly disappointed. If Monday was an indication, Fleener is finally ready to bring his toughness level up to match his athleticism. And if that’s the case, he’s a very cheap weekly TE1 option with Drew Brees at the helm.
Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
Homer alert! Even though we took an L, I still liked the look of our defense against the Cowboys. They were just on the field too long. I think the D steps up big on MNF, making Stafford a risky fantasy QB start.
Carlos Hyde, RB, SF
Hyde is a good player. In a vacuum. But the Niners are bad, Brian Hoyer is worse, and the Seahawks defense is good. In reality. No thanks on Hyde playing at the Clink with the Seahawks hungry for a bounceback win.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND
Similar to Hyde, but way better, Hilton should be a no-brainer start every week. Unfortunately, he’s on the Colts, who have the unenviable task of choosing between Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett as their QB1. Couple that with the assumption that Hilton gets the Patrick Peterson treatment, and I think it’s prudent to consider leaving him on your bench this week.
Jesse James, TE, PIT
Everyone got all hot and bothered when James suddenly became Big Ben’s favorite red zone target last week, hauling in two TDs in the process. I don’t envision a sequel. The Vikings appear to have another top-five defense, while the Browns almost revel in the fact that they don’t cover opposing TEs. James was unstartable last week and most likely undrafted, and I think chasing last week’s explosion will prove to be fool’s gold.