Fantasy: Start, Sit, Stash, Quit - Week 2
SSSQ is a weekly look at under-the-radar fantasy players to consider starting and potential busts you should leave on your bench. We also identify breakout candidates to stash on your roster and players you can safely cut.
Justin Herbert, Chargers
Herbert was a top-10 fantasy quarterback in my preseason draft rankings, but we recommended sitting him in Week 1 due to a difficult matchup with Washington.
Chase Young and company held Herbert to 13.4 fantasy points in the game and he ended the week as the QB26 overall.
Fortunately, his outlook for Week 2 is the exact opposite. The Cowboys' defense was shredded by Tom Brady for 379 yards and four touchdowns in the opener - and that was with star pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence in the lineup.
Lawrence is now sidelined with a broken foot, meaning Herbert should face little resistance en route to putting up big numbers in a contest with the highest projected point total of the week at 55.5.
Boone's projection: 341 passing yards, 3 passing TDs, 19 rushing yards
Other QBs to start
- Matthew Stafford at Colts
- Baker Mayfield vs. Texans
Najee Harris, Steelers
The Steelers' first-round pick had a bit of a letdown performance in his debut last week. Despite playing every offensive snap against the Bills, Harris was held to just 49 yards on 17 touches with no trips to the end zone.
Volume is a big part of what we're searching for in fantasy backs and it's clear Harris has Pittsburgh's backfield locked down.
This week's opponent should be much kinder to him. The Raiders are six-point underdogs playing on a short week after an overtime win against the Ravens. Vegas allowed Ty'Son Williams and Latavius Murray to combine for 22 touches, 122 yards from scrimmage, and two touchdowns in that outing.
Don't worry about Harris, his breakout will begin in Week 2.
Boone's projection: 87 rushing yards, 21 receiving yards, TD
Other RBs to start
- Chris Carson vs. Titans
- Kareem Hunt vs. Texans
- Javonte Williams/Melvin Gordon at Jaguars
D.J. Moore, Panthers
Moore saw eight targets in the Panthers' opener, turning them into six catches and 80 yards - a great start for someone who's hoping to post his third straight season with over 1,100 receiving yards.
As the clear lead wideout in Carolina, the 24-year-old has feasted on the Saints in recent years. His last three meetings with New Orleans have resulted in stat lines of 5-101-0, 4-93-2, and 6-126-2. The Saints might also be without star cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who had surgery this week to repair a chipped bone in his thumb.
Moore should be viewed as a strong top-20 fantasy receiver this week and most weeks moving forward.
Boone's projection: 96 receiving yards, TD
Other WRs to start
- Antonio Brown vs. Falcons
- Mike Williams vs. Cowboys
- Jarvis Landry vs. Texans
Tyler Higbee, Rams
We highlighted Higbee as a start last week and we're doing it once again to make sure people realize the opportunity in front of him.
With Gerald Everett finally out of the picture on the Rams' depth chart, Higbee has a chance to be an every-down player in Sean McVay's offense. And that's exactly what happened in Week 1.
Higbee never left the field when the Rams had the ball, pulling down five passes for 68 yards versus the Bears. That kind of usage is hard to come by at tight end, so take note.
His next matchup pits him against the Colts, who just allowed Everett and his new Seahawks' teammate Will Dissly to come away with five receptions, 57 yards, and a score last Sunday.
If you missed out on the elite fantasy options and you're looking for a quality TE1, Higbee will have as good a shot as anyone to finish behind the top four or five players at the position.
Boone's projection: 71 receiving yards, TD
Other TEs to start
- Robert Tonyan vs. Lions
- Jared Cook vs. Cowboys
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins
Tagovailoa was among this year's breakout candidates at quarterback, but he's opening the season with two difficult tests against the Patriots and Bills.
New England limited him to 202 passing yards, a passing touchdown, an interception, and a rushing score in Week 1.
Now he has to take on Buffalo's defense that caused problems for Ben Roethlisberger during a 188-yard, one-touchdown afternoon. That's the same unit that picked Tua off three times in their Week 17 battle last season.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins are still waiting for their full offense to take the field together. Will Fuller, who was available to come back now that his suspension is over, has been ruled out this week due to a personal matter.
Once Miami's full arsenal is out there, the Dolphins will have a dangerous set of playmakers. However, given the matchup, it's best to wait another week before trying to get Tagovailoa into your lineup.
Boone's projection: 239 passing yards, TD, INT, 14 rushing yards
Other QBs to sit
- Kirk Cousins at Cardinals
- Matt Ryan at Buccaneers
Mike Davis, Falcons
The Eagles' front seven did a decent job of stifling Davis and the Falcons on the ground in Week 1.
The good news is Davis was trusted with 18 touches in that outing - a sign he'll be able to deliver in easier matchups. Sadly, this week isn't one of them.
The Buccaneers have had one of the toughest run defenses in the league for several years now and that was on full display when they shut down Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys' rushing attack in the opener.
If you don't have a better option to start over Davis, you'll have to hope he can get over the goal line because yards will be tough to come by in Tampa.
Boone's projection: 37 rushing yards, 28 receiving yards
Other RBs to sit
- James Robinson vs. Broncos
- Josh Jacobs at Steelers
- Mark Ingram/Phillip Lindsay at Browns
Michael Pittman Jr., Colts
We know the matchup with Jalen Ramsey and the Rams' defense is scary for any receiver. They didn't allow a single Bears pass-catcher to go over 45 yards on Sunday night and that's hardly the first time we've seen a stifling performance like that from them.
However, the bigger issue for Pittman might be the distribution of targets in Indy. Carson Wentz favored Jonathan Taylor (seven targets), Nyheim Hines (eight targets), and Zach Pascal (five targets) over Pittman (four targets) in the first game of the season.
It's a small sample size, but if Wentz continues to spread the ball around, including to Jack Doyle (four targets), Parris Campbell (three targets), and Mike Strachan (two targets) - it'll be tough for Pittman to have weekly value as a fantasy starter.
Until we see his volume rise, Pittman doesn't belong in your lineup, especially against an opponent like the Rams.
Boone's projection: 41 receiving yards
Other WRs to sit
- Robby Anderson vs. Saints
- Tyler Boyd at Bears
- Laviska Shenault vs. Broncos
Gerald Everett, Seahawks
When Everett followed offensive coordinator Shane Waldron to Seattle, it seemed like his familiarity in the system could lead to a full-time role. But if Week 1 was any indication, that's not in the cards.
Everett split snaps evenly with teammate Will Dissly. And while Everett hauled in a touchdown, it was Dissly who led the way in targets, receptions, and yards.
That small sample size is all we have to go with for now and it paints a picture of Everett as a touchdown-dependent TE2. Unless you're desperate at the position, you can probably do better.
Boone's projection: 29 receiving yards
Other TEs to sit
- Mike Gesicki vs. Bills
- Austin Hooper vs. Texans
Alex Collins, Seahawks
Rashaad Penny has flashed his talent multiple times over the years, but his inability to stay healthy is a problem he hasn't been able to overcome. A calf injury is now expected to sideline him for multiple weeks, opening the door for Collins (1% rostered) to take over backup duties behind Chris Carson. This is Collins' second stint with the Seahawks and he's made a positive impression on coaches and teammates, including D.K. Metcalf.
"Alex Collins is going to be a monster when he gets his shot," Metcalf told reporters in August.
That shot might be coming soon as he moves up Seattle's depth chart. And if Carson were also forced to miss time at any point, Collins would have RB2 fantasy upside.
Nico Collins, Texans
Collins (2% rostered) had a relatively quiet debut on the stat sheet, but the underlying metrics show a lot of promise.
The third-round rookie wideout ran a route on 73% of Tyrod Taylor's dropbacks in Week 1.
While he only caught one of his three targets for seven yards, he also had a touchdown negated by a questionable offensive pass interference penalty.
The Texans won't see another game script as positive as they did in their Week 1 win over the Jaguars, so expect them to throw a lot this season.
In that environment, Collins can develop into a fantasy-relevant asset as the season progresses. Pick him up before the breakout game puts him on everyone's radar.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
We warned everyone throughout the offseason that Gesicki (84% rostered) was a risky player to put your faith in given the majority of his big performances came when receivers like Preston Williams and DeVante Parker were injured.
With first-rounder Jaylen Waddle added to the mix, Gesicki posted a zero in Week 1 and only played on 39% of the Dolphins' offensive snaps.
Though spiked weeks will occasionally happen, Gesicki can't be trusted in your lineup and therefore shouldn't be clogging up a spot on your roster.