With week one in the books, we've got a better feel for the league looking ahead to week two's fantasy rosters and who you need to start and sit.
Always active and interested in the lives of you, our fine and flawless readers, this week Playboy.com premieres the newest addition to our sporting family, our “Start ’Em, Sit ’Em” Fantasy Football guide. Each week, we’ll sort through the rubble of waiver wires and underappreciated players to find sneaky good players to start (or in some cases sit) to help you win your fantasy week. Please keep in mind that we’re not going after the big fish here; you should start Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Arian Foster all the time. These are the guys you might be on the fence about or find rotting on the wire. You can thank us later.
Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay): Bear with us: under new OC Mike Sullivan, Freeman will be more of a game manager than a free-throwing gunslinger, but with the Giants’ corner situation precarious at best, the Bucs will likely want to use their new toy, Vincent Jackson, to pick this defense apart. Better still is that they’ll have to in order to keep up with Brother Eli’s offense. Sneaky good start here.
Stevan Ridley (New England): Ridley is starting to look like an every-down, cowbell-type back; he straight wrestled the starting job away in training camp, put up 125 yards on 21 carries in week one against the Titans and is featured in an offense that has surprisingly put up the most rushing touchdowns of any team over the last three seasons. This week he gets Arizona, who will likely be down and out early, meaning lots of yards for New England’s new workhorse.
Nate Washington (Tennessee): As you’ll see on the “Sit” side of this week’s picks, we’ve got more than one Tennessee Titan on the bench, but their offense has to come from somewhere. With Britt likely the subject of close corner examination and working back from a knee injury and Chris Johnson’s poor showing in week one compounded by a Chargers D that can stop the run, Washington might be a de facto good play this week.
Lance Moore (New Orleans): Moore, a perennially undervalued receiver in an explosive offense, caught six catches for 120 yards and a touchdown last week. With Colston and Henderson still dealing with lingering injuries, Moore should again be a primary target for Drew Brees and a Saints team looking to get back on track after dropping their opener to the rookie-run Redskins.
Dennis Pitta (Baltimore): New year, new look. The Ravens’ offense finally looks like it has caught up to its notorious defense, and Dennis Pitta might be one of the biggest beneficiaries. Last week he caught five catches for 73 yards and a “put-it-up” touchdown. His size and ability to go up for 50/50 balls make him a valuable weapon in the new no-huddle offense in Baltimore; we could see him becoming a short-yardage security blanket, not to mention red-zone candidate, for Joe Flacco.
Cincinnati Bengals: A lot of people will probably be scared off the Bengals after they surrendered 41 points to a once-pedestrian Ravens offense, but that really has more to do with the new style no-huddle in Baltimore than with the Bengals. These guys were a top-ten defense last season going up against the Browns and Brandon Weeden, who gave up four interceptions in week one.
Check out who we’ve got on the bench this week on Page 2.
Michael Vick (Philadelphia): In throwing a career-high 58 times last Sunday, Vick foisted up four picks against the woeful Browns and barely managed to sneak away with the win. Up against the revered Ravens D, not only will Vick’s highly touted mobility be limited (diminishing his Fantasy upside) but Andy Reid will likely want to limit Vick’s potential for errors by limiting his throws.
Chris Johnson (Tennessee): Johnson’s dismal performance in week one (11 carries for four yards, six catches for 47) isn’t necessarily a sign of things to come, but week two might not be any better against a San Diego team that held Darren McFadden and the Raiders to 45 rushing yards. That said, proceed with caution here; Johnson probably went top 10 in your draft for a reason.
Kevin Smith (Detroit): Smith surprised a lot of people out of the gate with four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown on top of 13 carries for 62 yards and another score, but his value is limited against a San Francisco team that proved last week they can stop the run while almost daring a good QB to throw the ball.
Kenny Britt (Tennessee): Coming off suspension (a phrase that often precedes Britt’s name), the Titans wideout not only has to shake off the rust but get a bum knee up to speed. Chargers corners will probably pay him his due, but that might be the problem. If you’ve got options you might want to use them and sit on Britt to see what he’s capable of.
Laurent Robinson (Jacksonville): Robinson’s coming off a 10-TD season in Dallas and five catches for 66 yards last week. But now the real test begins. He’s no longer an under-the-radar threat and doesn’t have someone as seasoned as Tony Romo throwing to him. Until Justin Blackmon gets up to speed, Robinson is public enemy number one in Jacksonville and defenses will treat him as such. Whether he can outplay them is yet to be seen, but don’t count on it against the Texans.
Brent Celek (Philadelphia): Celek caught four passes on eight targets last week for 65 yards, which would be fine if Vick hadn’t thrown 58, making that ratio look paltry. Adding insult to injury is his competition, TE Clay Harbor, who had six targets and a game-winning TD catch in the dying minutes. Whether the Eagles decide to spread their receivers or tone the passing game down, Celek’s upside is limited, especially against the Ravens.
Seattle Seahawks: One of Seattle’s strengths heading into the season was supposed to be their defense, which fared beyond poorly against an Arizona team with no run game and minimal talent through the air. This week they get both with DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo and the Dallas receiving corps coming to town.