Kickoff: Sunday, September 19th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Betting Odds: IND +4, 47.5 Total on Oddshark
Carson Wentz (Sit)
Granted, it’s an extremely low bar to step over, but Carson Wentz was nowhere near as abysmal last week as he was as the Philadelphia Eagles’ field general in 2020. He threw no interceptions, which was a big step in the right direction. However, Wentz took several sacks and fumbled the ball away, bad habits he carried over from his days in a midnight green uniform. Wentz will have a tougher assignment against a formidable Los Angeles Rams defense; we rank him among the bottom five starting NFL quarterbacks this week and therefore expect significant regression. We want no part of him in any of our Week 2 lineups.
Jonathan Taylor (Start, RB2), Nyhiem Hines (Flex), Marlon Mack (Sit)
Head coach Frank Reich wants to run the football more than most teams. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to do that when playing from behind. We doubt that Jonathan Taylor will find much of a rhythm this week, as the game script should favor Nyheim Hines instead in PPR formats. We’d need our heads examined if we recommend benching Taylor; we expect him to put up RB2 production, but those starting him as an RB1 will be disappointed. Hines is a serviceable flex this week as the prime beneficiary of a negative game script. Marlon Mack should be rostered in only the deepest 12 team fantasy football leagues; even in those, he has no business sniffing a starting lineup against the Rams.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Michael Pittman (Sit), Parris Campbell (Sit), Zach Pascal (Sit), Mo Alie Cox (Sit), Jack Doyle (Sit)
The first reason to sit every Colts wide receiver and tight end: Wentz distributes the football to many different receivers, making it difficult to predict who, if anyone, will see enough volume to be fantasy relevant in any given week. Last week was Zach Pascal‘s turn, and he finished as the overall WR16 in PPR formats. However, odds are high that he won’t duplicate that success against a much tougher secondary, led by All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
With a low degree of confidence, we think Michael Pittman will lead all Colts receivers in targets and receptions this week, but we don’t think he’s likely to offer much value, even as a flex option; he’s likely to see as much of Ramsey as anyone. The always promising Parris Campbell is a tantalizing thought, given his talents and newfound health, but this isn’t the week to get cute with so many better matchups likely available on your waiver wire this week.
Mo Alie Cox offers a fairly impressive physical profile, but he and Jack Doyle arguably draw Week 2’s toughest matchup in terms of TE/LB coverage assignments, the Rams’ Kenny Young turned in one of Week 1’s most impressive performances, averaging a paltry 0.1 yards per route run last week. Look elsewhere for help if you’re searching for a tight end to stream.
Los Angeles Rams
Matthew Stafford (Start)
Matthew Stafford was impressive in his first game as a member of the Los Angeles Rams. As long as he stays healthy and upright, we’ll consider sitting him in only the toughest of matchups. This is not one of those weeks. With a full complement of dangerous weapons at his disposal, we expect Stafford to pick apart a mediocre Colts pass defense and finish as a Top 10 quarterback this week.
Darrell Henderson (Start, RB2), Sony Michel (Sit)
Sure, Darrell Henderson won his starting gig by default after Cam Akers went down. And yes, he was less than impressive outside of a few flash games before that. However, with a new sheriff under center, the rules of the game have changed: we want pieces of this offense in our lineup wherever possible. Henderson finished as the RB16 last week in PPR formats, and we expect a similar finish in Week 2. Sony Michel is just starting to learn the offense, and will therefore be eased in slowly; start Henderson as your RB2 with confidence.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
Cooper Kupp (Start, WR2), Robert Woods (Start, WR2), Van Jefferson (Sit), Tyler Higbee (Start)
Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp should take advantage of plus matchups against the Colts’ outside cornerback duo of Rock Ya Sin and T.J. Carrie. Kupp finished as the WR10 last week in PPR, and the instant, impressive rapport he has developed with his new quarterback caught our eye. A second straight WR1 finish is not out of the question, as we safely project him as a high-end WR2 this week. Woods, a must-start in all fantasy leagues, is a solid WR2 in his own right.
Van Jefferson finished as the WR27 overall last week, outpacing Woods; we don’t expect that to happen this week, but it was great to see the former Florida Gator take a step forward in his second season. We don’t expect Jefferson to finish as a Top 36 wide receiver this week, but as the third or fourth option in a high-octane passing game, he’s worthy of flex consideration on teams that are paper thin at wide receiver.
Tyler Higbee should be in the lineup in just about every 12 team fantasy league this week. The Indianapolis Colts were one of the NFL’s three toughest teams against fantasy tight ends in 2020, but allowed Will Dissly and Gerald Everett to catch all five of their combined targets, including a nine-yard touchdown to Everett. As respected as Darius Leonard is, he allowed the second-worst total of yards per route run among all coverage linebackers last week (0.72 ), according to Pro Fantasy Focus. We expect Higbee to haul in four or five passes and find paydirt at least once this week.