Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Week 2 lineup advice, best matchups, DFS picks

By | September 17, 2021

Most fantasy football owners have more questions than answers after a wild opening week of games. Some have already lost key players to injuries, while others have already cut some of their favorite preseason sleepers. Still others think they have discovered new breakouts who can they ride all season long. Other than the big injuries, we still don’t know anything for certain yet, which is why start ’em, sit ’em decisions in Week 2 are some of the most difficult of the season. Fortunately, Vinnie Iyer is here with lineup advice and matchup tips to help you figure out who to start (even if you just play NFL DFS!).

The good news (or bad, depending how you look at it) is ever team is in action, and aside from Raheem Mostert (knee), Jerry Jeudy (ankle), Michael Gallup (calf), and Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip), there weren’t too many notable injuries last week (that we know of). Most fantasy squad will have their full complement of players at their disposals, so it’s important to evaluate usage and matchups.

Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker

Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

QB must-starts

  1. Kyler Murray, Cardinals (vs. MIN)
  2. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (at BAL)
  3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (vs. TEN)
  4. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (vs. DET)
  5. Tom Brady, Buccaneers (vs. ATL)
  6. Lamar Jackson, Ravens (vs. KC)
  7. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (at LAC)
  8. Jalen Hurts, Eagles (vs. SF)

Stronger starts

Justin Herbert, Chargers (vs. DAL). Herbert got it together late against Washington when his new-look offensive line responded better. The Cowboys are a much more manageable opponent at home.

Matthew Stafford, Rams (at IND). Stafford will have another strong game against a Colts’ pass defense that struggled with a similar Seahawks offense.

Joe Burrow, Bengals (at CHI). The Rams exposed the big holes in the Bears’ pass defense, and Burrow also has receivers who can give them fits short to deep, outside to inside.

Baker Mayfield, Browns (vs HOU). Mayfield played well in Kansas City — until that final interception — with a 300-yard, no-TD anomaly. Here he gets the scores working off play-action early to get enough big plays to put the game away.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs. LV). The Steelers struggled to run the ball on the Bills and should want to throw more on the Raiders, who lack the coverage personnel to handle his talented top-three wideouts.

DFS bargains

Matt Ryan, Falcons (at TB, $5,600 on DraftKings, $6,700 on FanDuel). Ryan was terrible against the much-improved Eagles’ defense, but he put up nice numbers on Tampa’s D twice last season. Atlanta won’t be running much on the Bucs, and their secondary issues give his key targets some room to produce in the projected negative game script.

Andy Dalton, Bears (vs. CIN, $5,200 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel). Dalton gets his ultimate revenge game on the Bengals back in his favorite 1 p.m. ET window in his new home. He will be extra motivated, knowing Justin Fields is looming, and he has much better matchups for his wide receivers vs. what he saw against the Rams.

Streamer special

Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos (at JAX). Bridgewater dropped 264 yard sand two TDs on a tough Giants defense on the road and will find it easier to connect with his versatile targets on the road again (minus Jerry Jeudy). Denver will be run-heavy, but he’s a good bet for multiple scores around the same yardage total.

Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker

Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Weaker starts

Ryan Tannehill, Titans (at SEA). Is the Tanne-thrill gone? That may be a stretch, but the play-action usage drop and Julio Jones’ bizarre early role make you want to avoid him until he shows some of last season’s form. The Seahawks’ defense also can overachieve again at home.

Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at ARI). The Vikings’ offensive line let them down in key moments in Cincinnati and now face Chandler Jones and a red-hot Cards pass rush. Look for a pretty good garbage-yardage day opposite Kyler Murray, but there will be multiple turnovers to cut into his production.

Jameis Winston, Saints (at CAR). Don’t go chasing his weird TD-dependent box score in Week 1. The Saints are still a run-first team and have limited weapons going up against an inspired young Panthers’ defense.

Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (vs. BUF). Tua is getting too much attention as a fantasy-relevant QB in general, He scratched out so-so numbers against the Patriots’ defense, and the Bills did show up well on that side of the ball vs. Big Ben.

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (at PHI). Jimmy lit up the Lions, but the Eagles’ defense flexed a bit vs. Atlanta .This is a much trickier road matchup, and keep in mind the Trey Lance wrinkle that steals points.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (vs. DEN). He could scratch out Daniel Jones-like stats on Von Miller’s crew, but the Jags plan to go run-heavier and the turnovers will still come.

Derek Carr, Raiders (at PIT). He was a Maserati in the second half against the Ravens. He goes back to being a lemon as the Steelers’ D makes us sour on him.

Deep traps

Jared Goff, Lions (at GB), Tyrod Taylor, Texans (at CLE)

WEEK 2 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Running backs

RB must-starts

  1. Alvin Kamara, Saints (at CAR)
  2. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (vs. NO)
  3. Aaron Jones, Packers (vs. DET)
  4. Nick Chubb, Browns (vs. HOU)
  5. Dalvin Cook, Vikings (at ARI)
  6. Derrick Henry, Titans (at SEA)
  7. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (at DAL)
  8. Najee Harris, Steelers (vs. LV)
  9. Antonio Gibson, Washington (vs. NYG)
  10. Joe Mixon, Bengals (at CHI)
  11. David Montgomery, Bears (vs. CIN)
  12. Austin Ekeler, Chargers (vs. DAL)
  13. Chris Carson, Seahwks (vs. TEN)
  14. Jonathan Taylor, Colts (vs. LAR)
  15. D’Andre Swift, Lions (at GB)
  16. Damien Harris, Patriots (vs. NYJ)
  17. Melvin Gordon III, Broncos (at JAX)
  18. Miles Sanders, Eagles (vs. SF)
  19. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs (at BAL)
  20. Saquon Barkley, Giants (at WAS)

Stronger starts

James Robinson, Jaguars (vs. DEN). Don’t worry too much yet about Carlos Hyde because Jacksonville should use Robinson more as a runner and receiver early in the game this week. Expect Jacksonville to also show up to play a more competitive game, which helps all-around.

Ty’Son Williams, Ravens (vs. KC). He did have those pass-protection issues, but he’s also their best receiver out of the backfield for now. This always was set to be a remixed committee, and the matchup is good enough to deploy the dynamic youngster one more week with Latavius Murray and Le’Veon Bell looming.

Chase Edmonds, Cardinals (vs. MIN). Edmonds will be a reliable RB2 most weeks in his offense, and the Vikings struggled much with Joe Mixon in Week 1. James Conner isn’t cutting into Edmonds’ key touches.

Elijah Mitchell, 49ers (at PHI). Could it be fellow rookie Trey Sermon taking over this backfield after not being inactive in Week 1? Don’t rule out anything with coach Kyle Shanahan after the Mitchell-JaMycal Hasty curveball and Raheem Mostert knee injury in Week 1. Still, Mitchell makes sense as the short-term man, at least after pounding out 104 yards on the Lions in his debut.

Devin Singletary, Bills (at MIA). The Dolphins had a lot of holes in run defense and coverage last week, which bodes well for him coming through for a good yardage day after a good start against the Steelers.

Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers (vs. ATL). Ronald Jones is “starting” again despite the fumble doghouse, and for some reason, some still think Giovani Bernard will be a big factor. Fournette is still their most talented all-around back, and the game script will help put up pleasing flex stats with a good chance for a TD.

Jamaal Williams, Lions (at GB). The former Packer gets a “revenge game” on Monday night, and he’s emerged as Detroit’s third-best offensive cog after D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson. The Packers’ defense is most vulnerable against the run, and pass-catching backs so look for him stay busy to complement Swift.

AJ Dillon, Packers (vs. DET). He’s the new Williams, and Dillon should dent Detroit for some good cleanup work in the second half to supplement Jones to give you some flex appeal.

DFS bargains

Melvin Gordon, Broncos (at JAX, $5,900 on DraftKings, $5,900 on FanDuel). MGIII is doing it again. Just when you think he’s about to fall flat, he produces with his typical power runs and the occasional home run. He’s disappointing Javonte Williams managers, but Gordon has the veteran trust factor on his side early. This matchup says he will have a shot at another productive performance and good return on investment.

Kareem Hunt, Browns (vs. HOU, $5,800 on DraftKings, $5,700 on FanDuel). At some point the Browns might rely less on Hunt in the passing game but it’s clear they still want to use him to supplement Nick Chubb in the running game in key situations. HIs versatility makes him game-script independent, and the Texans can’t slow down either him or Chubb.

MORE WEEK 2 DFS: Best values | Best values | Lineup Builder

Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Running backs

Weaker starts

Darrell Henderson, Rams (at IND). He got a TD and was better in the second half against the Bears, but it was a slow process getting there. Don’t be surprised if he has a rather “meh,” Chris Carson-like game.

Myles Gaskin, Dolphins (vs. BUF). Gaskin couldn’t get going against the Patriots, and the Bills’ run defense was sturdy against the Steelers. Pittsburgh also has active linebackers to contain him as a receiver.

Mike Davis, Falcons (at TB). Cordarrelle Patterson looked better, and there’s also Wayne Gallman as an option at some point. Regardless, this matchup is awful against still the league’s nastiest run defense.

Josh Jacobs, Raiders (at PIT). He saved his fantasy owners with scoring in Week 1 but otherwise didn’t run well. He’s been relegated to only power rushing work. You can use Kenyan Drake if desperate in PPR.

Javonte Williams, Broncos (at JAX). His time is coming, but Gordon is the savvy hot hand. Williams could break one against the Jaguars to change things, but you can’t be totally comfortable using him yet.

Ronald Jones, Buccaneers (at ATL). The matchup says yes, but the vibes in this offense with a lot of mouths to feed says no.

Mark Ingram, Texans (at CLE). We do have the heart to tell you that despite his career-high carries on the Jaguars, he’s a game-script dependent power back. The script will not read as well in Cleveland.

All Jets (at NE). Until they realize rookie Michael Carter is their best backfield option to help overcome offensive line issues with his receiving work, we can’t try to force a Tevin Coleman or Ty Johnson thing.

Nyheim Hines, Colts (vs. LAR). He was just “ok” for you in PPR, but Jonathan Taylor owners must be happy the latter is still being deployed as the better backfield option.

MORE WEEK 2: Top waiver pickups | FAAB budget planner | Buy-low, sell-high

Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers

WR must-starts

  1. Davante Adams, Packers (vs. DET)
  2. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (at BAL)
  3. DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (vs. MIN)
  4. Calvin Ridley, Falcons (at TB)
  5. Stefon Diggs, Bills (at MIA)
  6. DK Metcalf, Seahawks (vs. TEN)
  7. Justin Jefferson, Vikings (at ARI)
  8. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (at LAC)
  9. Keenan Allen, Chargers (vs. DAL)
  10. Allen Robinson II, Bears (vs. CIN)
  11. A.J. Brown, Titans (at SEA)
  12. Adam Thielen, Vikings (at ARI)
  13. Cooper Kupp, Rams (at IND)
  14. Amari Cooper, Cowboys (at LAC)
  15. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (vs. TEN)
  16. Terry McLaurin, Washington (vs. NYG)
  17. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (vs. ATL)
  18. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers (vs. ATL)
  19. Robert Woods, Rams (at IND)
  20. Tee Higgins, Bengals (at CHI)
  21. Deebo Samuel, 49ers (at PHI)
  22. D.J. Moore, Panthers (vs. NO)
  23. Odell Beckham Jr., Browns (if he plays, vs. HOU)
  24. Diontae Johnson, Steelers (vs. LV)

Stronger starts

Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (vs. LV). Pittsburgh’s passing game should wake up at home to shred the Raiders, and there’s room for all three to raise their production to pleasing levels.

Antonio Brown, Buccaneers (vs. ATL). Brown will stay hot at home against a secondary that got roasted by the Eagles’ young speed wideouts.

Brandin Cooks, Texans (at CLE). All Cooks does is take advantage of high volume to produce, and the game script should call for a lot of passing from Tyrod Taylor.

Tyler Boyd, Bengals (at CHI). Boyd was the quiet one in their trio, but his slot work should give the Bears fits to also help Joe Burrow.

Mike Williams, Chargers (vs. DAL). He looked good and healthy in Week 1, and the Cowboys’ secondary can be burned away from Trevon Diggs.

Jarvis Landry, Browns (at HOU). Landry will stay heavy in the flow of Cleveland’s passing game, even more so should OBJ (knee) miss another game.

Corey Davis, Jets (at NE). Davis gets a break with no Stephon Gilmore (quad), and although the matchup isn’t the best, garbage-time volume will help again.

Marquise Brown, Ravens (vs. KC). “Hollywood” has a starring role in the receiving corps with some support for now from Sammy Watkins. Look for another solid night with a good chance for a second score.

Nelson Agholor, Patriots (vs. NYJ). You can think about him and Jakobi Meyers if you’re hurting for a flex option because the matchup rocks.

Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore, Cardinals (vs. MIN). Kirk won’t explode again, but he and Moore will get good targets against a still-weak Vikings secondary away from former Cardinal Patrick Peterson.

DFS bargains

DeVonta Smith, Eagles (vs. SF, $5,400 on DraftKings, $5,600 on FanDuel). Smith had a smashing debut in Atlanta and now gets a 49ers’ secondary that just lost Jason Verrett (knee). He also should get nice target volume from Jalen Hurts again.

Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals (at CHI, $5,000 on DraftKings, $5,500 on FanDuel). Speaking of awesome rookie wide receivers, Chase used his superior talent to prove those preseason drops meant nothing. He has great big-play flair, and the Bears’ pass defense can’t handle that.

Tim Patrick, Broncos (at JAX, $4,600 on DraftKings, $54,00 on FanDuel). Patrick will be more like the new Jerry Jeudy (aknle) for Teddy Bridgewater over K.J. Hamler while Courtland Sutton still is working out the connection.

WEEK 2 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts

Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers

Weaker starts

Julio Jones, Titans (at SEA). Julio had a rough Nashville debut with little attention from Ryan Tannehill and displeasure from Mike Vrabel. Let’s see something to believe in before we want to trust him in a slumping offense.

Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (at PHI). Do you want to take a chance that he won’t be hamstrung and a non-factor for Kyle Shanahan again? Here’s another case of needing positive influence.

Robby Anderson, Panthers (vs. NO). Sam Darnold will need to check down a lot more against the Saints’ pass rush and secondary, and the big play to save the day won’t happen this week.

Courtland Sutton, Broncos (at JAX). We weren’t feeling it post knee injury with him with Bridgewater, so it would be nice if he showed some old form first.

Marquez Callaway, Saints (at CAR). Turns out the Saints do have a lot of guys to whom to throw minus Michael Thomas (ankle) and Tre’Quan Smith (hamstring). Expect a run-heavy attack again where Jameis Winston won’t need to force it to him.

Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (vs. BUF). The Bills’ cornerbacks came up aces on the Steelers, so the rookie should struggle right along with veteran DeVante Parker.

All Jaguars (vs. DEN). “The three Juniors” (DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, and Laviska Shenault) looked pretty good with Trevor Lawrence in the opener, but the Broncos are a much tougher pass defense.

All Giants (at WAS). Sterling Shepard is the only viable option here for now with Daniel Jones getting used to his new receivers. This matchup doesn’t inspire at all.

All Colts (vs. LAR). We’re not singing a Pascal symphony from the orchestra Pittman in Parris.

Deep traps

Jalen Reagor, Eagles (vs. SF), Russell Gage, Falcons (at TB), All Raiders (at PIT)

Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Tight ends

TE must-starts

  1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (at BAL)
  2. George Kittle, 49ers (vs. PHI)
  3. Darren Waller, Raiders (at PIT)
  4. Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs KC)
  5. Kyle Pitts, Falcons (vs. PHI). 
  6. Dallas Goedert, Eagles (vs. SF)
  7. T.J. Hockenson, Lions (at GB)
  8. Logan Thomas, Washington (vs. NYG)
  9. Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers (vs. ATL)
  10. Noah Fant, Broncos (at JAX)

Stronger starts

Jonnu Smith, Patriots (vs. NYJ). Smith did some good work without scoring last week and should get his first TD with New England.

Tyler Higbee, Rams (at IND). Higbee played all the snaps against the Bears and should do damage on a defense that struggled with Will Dissly and Gerald Everett last week.

Robert Tonyan, Packers (vs. DET). The entire Packers offense should light it up again at home, and that means Tonyan will find the end zone.

Gerald Everett, Seahawks (vs. TEN). He’s in another good spot to be a complementary third scorer.

Cole Kmet, Bears (vs. CIN). He was working well ahead of Jimmy Graham in the opener, and he should score on a short pass on the Bengals.

David Njoku, Browns (vs. HOU). Austin Hooper is still being ranked ahead of him, but remember Njoku has first-round pedigree coming off a key big first game to help  stretch the field, which Hooper can’t do.

DFS bargain

Jared Cook, Chargers (vs. DAL, $3,900 on DraftKings, $5,400 on FanDuel). Cook had steady involvement from Herbert in his team debut in Washington and the Cowboys have gone back to struggling big time to cover the tight end, Gronk or not. Cook can get you 6-60-1 for that price.

Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends

Weaker starts

Austin Hooper, Browns (vs. HOU). See Njoku, David.

Hunter Henry, Patriots (vs. NYJ). He’ll still keep taking a back seat to Smith.

Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (vs. BUF). His role is diminishing as expected.

Zach Ertz, Eagles (vs. SF). He’s banged up, and Dallas Goedert clicks much better with Jalen Hurts.

Juwan Johnson, Saints (at CAR). Don’t go chasing his two-TD boxscore given the low volume and fewer snaps than Adam Trautman.

Anthony Firkser, Titans (at SEA). He is showing no signs of being the new Jonnu.

James O’Shaughnessy, Jaguars (vs. DEN). More like James No Shaughnessy, amiright? They’re not throwing 51 passes again.

Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em: Defenses

Defense must-starts

  1. Rams (at IND)
  2. Washington (vs. NYG)
  3. Patriots (vs. NYJ)
  4. Broncos (at JAX)
  5. Browns (vs. HOU)
  6. Buccaneers (vs. ATL)
  7. Packers (vs. DET)
  8. Steelers (vs. LV)
  9. Saints (at CAR)

Stronger starts

Bills (at MIA). The Bills’ defense looked solid against the Steelers and will make things tough on Tua.

Giants (at WAS). Cue up the Spider-Man meme for Thursday night opposite WFT with two shaky QBs.

Saints (at CAR). Dennis Allen’s remixed crew looks good and will force a big mistake or two or three from Sam Darnold.

Seahawks (vs. TEN). Seattle looks better than expected early and will keep it up at home against the reeling Titans.

DFS bargain

Cardinals (vs. MIN, $2,900 on DraftKings, $4,400 on FanDuel). Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt get to attack a shaky Vikings’ offensive line and will pressure Kirk Cousins into a bad mistake in the desert.

Fantasy Football Week 2 Sit ‘Em: Defenses

Weaker starts

49ers (at PHI). Jalen Hurts and the Eagles look put together, and San Francisco’s defense was pick-six dependent vs. Detroit.

Panthers (vs. NO). That kind of Jameis Winston play won’t be helping any fantasy defense.

Ravens (vs. KC). You saw them against Derek Carr, right? Are you really going to play them vs. Patrick Mahomes?

Dolphins (vs. BUF). They underwhelmed against the Patriots, and the Bills’ offense will rebound.

Chargers (vs. DAL). They have promise with Brandon Staley but not when attacking Dak.

Bears (vs. CIN). Don’t play them because of the name and perception of the Bengals’ pass protection. Joe Burrow will rip them.

Get more of Vinnie Iyer’s in-depth fantasy football advice for Week 1 by subscribing to the Locked On Fantasy Football podcast.