Wide Receiver Starts
The 49ers will face the worst passing defense in the league in the Kansas City Chiefs. Jimmy Garoppolo has struggles so far this year, perhaps due to the absence of Marquis Goodwin and Garcon should benefit because of that on Sunday. The 49ers spread the ball around to 9 different receivers against the Lions but relied heavily on the run game to get the win. That will change Sunday against the Chiefs.
Tampa Bay has given up the second most yards in the league at 753 and the highest completion percentage at 77.4%. Big Ben is coming off a game against the Chiefs in which he threw 60 passes for 452 yards and 3 touchdowns. Juju Smith-Schuster saw 19 targets while Antonio Brown saw 17. Washington still saw 5 targets but only managed 1 catch. That should change this week against a defense just as bad against the pass. Nick Foles managed to put up 334 yards on them last week and in week one Drew Brees threw for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. You’re always going to start Juju and AB but Washington is in the flex conversation this week.
The Bengals have flown under the radar as the 3rd worst passing defense in the league so far in terms of yards given up but are the 3rd stingiest when it comes to running the ball, very much in the same way the Buccaneers are. The Panthers have a league leading 5.4 YPC but that probably won’t be the case on Sunday. They are still bringing D.J. Moore along slowly for no logical reason which puts Funchess directly in the spotlight. They’ll continue to rely heavily on Christian McCaffrey in the short passing game but Funchess will still see 7-10 targets and have red zone opportunities as well.
Wide Receiver Sits
Case Keenum tried everything to not get Sanders involved on Sunday but he still managed to put up 4 catches for 93 yards. While Sanders success rate was 100%(4 for 4 on catches), Courtland Sutton and Demaryius Thomas combined for just 6 catches on 17 targets. Keenum should quickly figure out that Sanders is his best wide receiver but this week is a week you should sit him if possible. The Ravens are allowing just a 46.7% completion percentage and Keenum is a good but not great quarterback who should see the same limited success as the Bills and Bengals saw. The Ravens are also at home where crowd noise could be a factor.
Cobb remains a sit for me against a Redskins team that has solid defensive backs and is giving up just 161 yards in the air. The Packers are getting Aaron Jones back this week and Aaron Rodgers will still be limited by a knee injury. That’s not to say Rodgers won’t be throwing (he has 42 attempts in week 2), but he took only 4 shots over 20 yards downfield for just 1 completion. Cobb has been his short field security blanket but if he can’t be accurate down the field the routes run by Davante Adams should get shorter as well. You can already see it between week 1 and 2 where Adams ran 3 routes of 20 yards or more and in week 2 he ran zero:
Adams is the clear WR1 on the Packers and against the Redskins defense is the one I trust to make plays this week.
Running Back Starts
Kenyan Drake & Frank Gore
This backfield is still seeing a split of carries, roughly 60/40 in Drake’s favor with Drake seeing 8 of the 9 running back targets but this Oakland defense is atrocious against the run with the loss of Kahlil Mack giving up 154 YPG. If the Dolphins can keep it close and actually want to win both of these guys should put up great numbers this week. In week one 4 of Todd Gurley’s 6 rushes that went for more than 5 yards occurred on rushes up the middle while 5 of Phillip Lindsay’s 6 over 5 yards were up the middle. Gore has been used solely up the middle so far, making him an excellent play against the Raiders this week.
If you want to beat the Lions you run and you run often to the tune of 64 carries for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Patriots will use rEX Burkhead, Sony Michel and James White to attack the Lions but Michel’s early usage in week 2 stuck out to me. With Burkhead nursing the worse of the 2 knee injuries plus a concussion, Michel could be in for a large workload with the possibility of ripping off large chunks of yardage plus the goal line work.
The Jaguars continue to struggle the most against pass catching backs where James White collected 7 catches for 73 yards. Lewis and Derrick Henry are seeing a near even split on carries but Lewis has seen all but one of the running back targets. The Titans figure to be behind and behind early against the Jaguars making Lewis the better play of the two Titans backs.
Running Back Sits
Until something changes with the Cardinals play calling it’s going to be extremely hard to trust Johnson. As previously noted they are driving him to the middle of the line when his strengths are clearly to the outside and in the receiving game so god only knows what they are doing in the meeting room each week. Against the Bears with one of the lowest implied totals of the week I’m passing
For the same reasons James Washington and the Steelers pass catchers are starts, James Conner is a sit. The Bucs are great against the run and Conner struggles against the Chiefs last week rushing only 8 times for 17 yards while Ben Roethlisberger and company aired it out. Sit Conner for better options if you can.