Welcome back for another edition of Sink or Swim where the goal is to suggest players who should return plus value and mention some players to avoid if possible. Last week was basically hit or miss, with Sam Bradford, Jonathan Stewart, Todd Gurley, Theo Riddick, Adam Thielen, Zach Ertz and Coby Fleener having very productive weeks. There were also some big misses in Carson Palmer, Leonard Fournette, Jamison Crowder and Martavis Bryant, but some week one mystery is to be expected.
Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers): Rivers actually played quite well Monday night all things considered. This week is a much easier test, against a Dolphins defense that allowed plenty of big plays in the passing game last season. Rivers should be able to spread the ball around this weekend and has a high floor as well as ceiling.
Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Winston torched the Bears last season, and is now entering the season with a much bigger assortment of offensive weapons at his disposal. The Bears secondary should be in for a long day.
Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals): It pains me a little to put him on this side of the list after last week’s debacle, but the matchup is still just too juicy to pass up. That combined with the loss of David Johnson should put Palmer in a position to be able to throw the ball all over the field on Sunday. He’s worth giving another chance.
Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys): Perhaps he is slowly becoming a matchup proof QB1 option, but I’m still sitting him this week if I have better options. It’s really hard to be confident in any QB on the road in Denver.
Marcus Mariota (Tennessee Titans): No last week wasn’t just a fluke, the Jaguars defense is actually very legit. The Titans had an easier matchup at home vs. Oakland last week and Mariota struggled. This will be a tougher test, and Mariota will have a hard time putting up QB1 numbers this weekend.
Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles): It’s tough to like any QB playing on the road in Arrowhead, and Wentz should have a hard time moving the ball downfield even after the Chiefs lost Eric Berry. I still like Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor this week, but I still can’t picture Wentz putting QB1 numbers with his perimeter weapons being tested.
Ty Montgomery (Green Bay Packers): Fantasy owners who drafted Montgomery have to be ecstatic after he played essentially every snap of last week’s game, only coming out when tweaking his ankle. He has a pretty juicy matchup here as well, against a Falcons team that isn’t particularly great against RB’s, especially those used in the passing game (see Tarik Cohen).
Marshawn Lynch (Oakland Raiders): Beast Mode is back. Well, halfway back. He may only play on 50% of the snaps again this weekend but that should be enough for him to do damage against this Jets defense. He should be a lock for a touchdown and 60+ yards in his first home game in Oakland.
Mark Ingram (New Orleans Saints): Adrian Peterson may already be working his way out of New Orleans, so look for Sean Payton to continue to ride Ingram and Alvin Kamara. I think Ingram is a solid bet to score this week and his pass catching usage gives him particular appeal in PPR formats.
Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers): There’s reason to think he can’t replicate last week’s performance in a game that should follow a similar pattern. Christian McCaffrey out-snapped him, but Stewart received more carries and got the goal-line work. Ron Rivera also stated this week that they do not want to wear out McCaffrey out so Stewart could very well see even more snaps/touches this Sunday.
Kerwynn Williams (Arizona Cardinals): Even with the team re-signing Chris Johnson, Williams should still be the favorite and I’d imagine he out touches him at least 4 or 5 to 1. Williams has shown some signs of being a productive back before and has possibly the best matchup possible Sunday in Indy. He should at least provide RB2 this week.
Deep Dives (PPR specials)–Alvin Kamara, Buck Allen, Rex Burkhead: Look for Drew Brees to throw it a bunch this week, with Alvin Kamara being a prime target. The Patriots are really thin at LB right now, as Kareem Hunt exposed last Thursday. I’m really high on Buck Allen, not just this week, but for the next half of the season. Joe Flacco loves to utilize his RB’s in the passing game, making Allen a solid RB2/Flex in PPR leagues. Rex Burkhead is more of a desperation/deep league dart throw, but if Amendola sits, he should see more work in the passing game. He got some looks last week, including an end zone target.
Isaiah Crowell (Cleveland Browns): People have been sleeping on the Ravens defense for some time now, but after this week I’d expect for that to stop. Crowell will have his days, but this match up is just too risky to make him a trustworthy play. Look for Baltimore to try to control clock and run the ball 40 plus times, limiting all Browns offensive options.
Jacquizz Rogers (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): The Bears defense proved in week 1 they can still do a great job of limiting the opponents running game and I’d expect that to continue here. Charles Sim’s will likely play a part in the offensive game plan as well, so Rodgers is looking like a TD dependent option this week.
Legarrette Blount (Philadelphia Eagles): Blount somehow managed a receiving TD last week, just his second of his career, but still wasn’t used enough to be considered a must start player. Darren Sproles figures to have a bigger role this week against a team that is good against the run. Blount’s a TD or bust option just about every week.
Any RB on Monday Night Football: Both team defenses look to be solid against the run, while both teams starting RB’s have yet to look like anything more than replacement level so far in their careers. Paul Perkins just isn’t good, and while Ameer Abdullah does have some untapped talent perhaps, he just won’t be used enough to be startable. Both pass catching backs are underwhelming in this one too, but Theo Riddick is certainly the best option of this foursome. He at least has a steady floor in PPR settings.
Michael Crabtree (Oakland Raiders): Crabtree had a solid week 1 game against the Titans, and I think a similar line would be his floor this week. He was used a lot in the red zone last year though, so a TD could also be in the cards this weekend. Derek Carr and Amari Cooper (maybe even Jared Cook) are also must plays against the lowly Jets.
Tyrell Williams (San Diego Chargers): The Dolphins are usually a good bet to give up a big deep ball at least once a game so Tyrell Williams makes for an intriguing play this week. While I’d still much prefer Keenan Allen, Williams is a sneaky WR3/Flex play on Sunday.
Chris Hogan (New England Patriots): It seems unlikely that Danny Amendola will be active this weekend, so Chris Hogan should be in for plenty of targets behind Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski. He was always a hit or miss fantasy option last season, and this game seems like prime “hit” territory.
Adam Thielen (Minnesota Vikings): I’d expect to see a lot of Joe Haden on Stefon Diggs this weekend, so Sam Bradford and the Vikings should look to take advantage of Thielens match up in the slot against Mike Hilton or William Gay.
John Brown (Arizona Cardinals): Both Cardinals starting WR’s are in play as great fantasy options this week as the team will now need to lean on Carson Palmer more. Facing a Colt’s secondary battling with the Saints as the most incompetent in the league also helps. This could be one of those massive Smokey Brown games.
Marqise Lee (Jacksonville Jaguars): I’m going with Lee over Allen Hurns just because I believe Lee is more talented, but both are interesting WR3/Flex options in 12 team leagues this week. The Jaguars aren’t going to roll over the Titans like they did Houston a week ago, so Blake Bortles will have to actually throw the ball this week and he only really has these two options.
Deep Dives–Nelson Agholor, Cooper Kupp, Robby Anderson, Kendall Wright: Nelson Agholor has a real good chance to lead the team in targets again this week, and the Chiefs struggled mightily to defend against slot last week (until Amendola went down). Cooper Kupp was a beast last week and very well could lead the Rams in receptions this year. He has a nice matchup again this week against Kendall Fuller. Robby Anderson is going to have a game in the not too distant future where he has two long TD catches. Maybe it’s this week, Kendall Wright’s worth a flier in deep formats because the Bears still need at least one WR to throw the ball to.
T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts): To be honest, it would just be wise to stay away from all Colt’s until Andrew Luck returns. Jacoby Brissett may be a slight upgrade over Scott Tolzien, but not enough so to recommend starting any Colt offensive player, especially in a tough matchup with the Cardinals this week,
Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys): As with Dak, I like the player but hate the match up. If Janoris Jenkins was a tough test for Dez, Chris Harris in Denver will be just as tough if not tougher. You still probably have to roll him out there in most leagues, but it’s worth considering benching him this week if you have any legitimate alternatives.
Devante Parker (Miami Dolphins): After all the preseason hype, I’m taking a wait and see approach on Parker as the match up is too tough for him to be considered a safe play. A lot of bust potential this week against those Chargers corners who limited Demarius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders last week.
Sammy Watkins (Los Angeles Rams): Possibly being shadowed by Josh Norman and following the Rams best offensive output of the season perhaps where Watkins didn’t do much, I can’t recommend starting him this week. In fact, until Watkins starts being utilized on more deep routes, it will be tough to trust him much in most leagues.
Cameron Brate (Tampa Bay Bucaneers): Sure O.J. Howard wasn’t taken in the first round to sit on the bench, and I expect him to have a role this week, but he and Brate are also completely different tight ends. Brate spends most of his time in the slot, and is your prototypical “move” tight end whereas Howard is your more conventional, stay in and block in-line tight end. Brate has a great matchup this week against a team that lost Austin Hooper twice last week that resulted in two huge plays.
Coby Fleener (New Orleans Saints): The Patriots have two premier corners, but are still very much vulnerable in the middle of the field. Fleener should see a lot of targets in this shootout, and expect a few of them to be of the end zone variety.
Julius Thomas (Miami Dolphins): The Chargers let up some big plays to Denver tight ends on Monday night, and Jay Cutler has leaned on his in the past before so I like Thomas a lot this weekend. Expect Cutler to hit a lot of short passes against that Chargers pass rush/CB duo combo.
Charles Clay (Buffalo Bills): Clay is still Tyrod Taylor’s favorite target in the passing game and expect the Bills to be in a situation late in the game Sunday where Taylor will be forced to throw it.
Jack Doyle (Indianapolis Colts): Do not start any Colts…that is all. But seriously, even with a healthy Andrew Luck, the Cardinals are great at limiting opposing tight ends so this is just a stay away match up at all costs.
Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers): I don’t think it’s safe to trust any of Cam Newton’s receivers yet with the offense looking to shield Cam as much as possible in the early goings. The RB’s will be heavily used again this week with a similar game script as last week’s win in San Francisco.
Austin Hooper (Atlanta Falcons): If it weren’t for some broken coverage’s, Hooper likely would have finished week 1 without a catch. He’s worth rostering still, but expectations need to be kept in check as there is a lot of dud potential here.