Time to Shine or Ride the Pine: Week 2 Start or Sit

Well dang! Maybe the article should be named Who to Sit?! All of dart throw starts accounted for 4 receptions and only 44 yards combined.

Adversely, only Jamison Crowder blew past projections for the sits. This week can’t be that bad, can it? On to the next week we go with a couple more dicey flex options and name brands who will disappoint. Here is your week 2 start or sit.

Time to Shine

Ronald Jones (Car@TB 1pm est)

Bruce Arians has been known to blow smoke where the sun don’t shine, but he only spoke facts about week 1. With the acquisition of Leonard Fournette, many believed a timeshare would be in store for Bucs RBs.

Arians was adamant however, that Rojo would start and be the lead horse. This he was as he led all RBs with 33 snaps playing 47% of the plays. His 17 carries were 12 more than Fournette, and his 66 yards were most in the game.

His week 2 opponent Carolina allowed an NFL worst 5.2 yds/att and 31 TDs in 2019. They continued to stink In week 1 surrendering 133 yards (4.3 yds/att) and 3 scores to Las Vegas. Carolina knew what was coming too! Now, here come the Bucs with Tom Brady and a supposed high powered passing offense. Tampa chucked the ball 36 times against New Orleans but mostly while trailing.

As a 9 point favorite against Carolina, Chris Godwin possibly sitting, Tampa will lean on Rojo and the rushing attack. He was clearly the most explosive back, and earned the majority of work in a delicious week 2 matchup.

Prediction: 15 car 76 yards 1 td, 2 rec 13 yards: 15.9 pts

Antonio Gibson (Was@Ari 4:05pm est)

Gibson stepped into an immediate role and proved to be the best back on the roster. He outgained hot waiver wire add Peyton Barber 36 to 29 on 8 less carries, adding 2 receptions. He also had more yards after contact (13) to Barbers 11 (again, on 8 less carries).

Gibson got the start, but was into the offense with only 18 (26%) of the team’s 70 snaps. When he was on the field though, the ball found him often and opportunites should increase week 2 against a beatable Arizona defense. 

In week 1, Arizona allowed 15 yards per reception to San Fran while seeing two different RBs catch TDs. In 2019 they allowed the 6th most receiving yards (788), 8th most receptions (93), and T-4th most receiving TD’s to RBs. This in addition to a bottom 10 rushing defense which allowed over 1900 yards on the ground.

Washington will do everything they can to keep the ball away from Arizona. Barber’s 1.7 yds/car just won’t cut it and it is via the air that RBs hurt the Cardinals.

Gibson is clearly the best back on Washington and his abilities will be paramount to keeping the game close. His playing time will increase going forward, as will his production. Be early to the party.

Prediction: 11 car 52 yards, 4 rec 31 yards 1 TD: 16.3 pts

N’Keal Harry (NE@Sea SNF 8:20pm est)

Rostering Patriots offensive players not named Cam might be a Harry situation in 2020 but N’keal for stardom. In week 1, New England ran 61 plays in almost 35 minutes of possession and only 19 passes were attempted.

Harry was targeted on 31% (6) of throws while also playing the most snaps (51, 80%) of legit receivers. His only competition for targets is Julian Edelman but it is N’keal’s game that gives him the edge in Week 2.

He’ll be facing a Seattle team that made wholesale changes in the backend. They added Jamal Adams, and Quinton Dunbar to last season’s addition of Quandre Diggs. This was in hopes of suring up last season’s 6th worst pass D.

In week 1, and although in garbage time, Seattle was still torched for 450 yards by Atlanta. Also allowing 3 different receivers to eclipse 100 receiving yards. If the Patriots have any chance of defeating Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, Cam will have to prove his arm is healthy. 

As good as the Patriots defense is, holding Russ and the Seahawks down will be a challenge. New England will have to run a balanced attack on offense, with Harry being a focal point down the field. Look for Cam to target N’Keal in contested situations, especially when in the Red Zone against an aggressive Seahawks defense. I expect a couple jump balls directed towards him, with it only taking one to shine.

Prediction: 6 rec 82 yards 1 td: 17.2 pts

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Ride the Pine

Melvin Gordon (Den@Pit 1pm est)

I know Philip Lindsay is nursing a turf toe injury and all, but DID YOU SEE WHAT PITTSBURGH DID TO SAQUON?! 15 attempts for 6! YES 6 F’ING YARDS! Now that we’ve established the Steelers as a juggernaut run defense, why would anyone trust a less dynamic runner in Gordon regardless of potential opportunities.

In week 1 he did surpass 75 yards and found the end zone but this is also a guy who has averaged less than 4 yds/att in 4 of his 5 seasons. Pittsburgh ranked 3rd with 3.8 yds/att allowed while defending the 6th most runs (462) in 2019. 

In week 1, Melvin’s production was aided by the Titans inability to put points on the board keeping Denver close. The Broncos will be without A.J. Bouye in week 2 against Big Ben who will undoubtedly pick on their depleted secondary.

A negative game script will force Denver to lean on Drew Lock more and his young plethora of wide receivers. The arrow is pointing up for Gordon, but he’ll be a disappointment to those relying on him in week 2.

Prediction: 14 car 53 yards, 3 rec 22 yards: 9 pts

Malcolm Brown (LAR@Phi 1pm est)

Malcolm entered the season in the middle of a Rams running back carousel. Nobody really knew until gameday who would be the lead dog, and it seems Brown is the man. He diced up an injured Dallas defense for 79 yards and 2 tds on the ground while adding 3 receptions for 31 yards.

All great statistics and definitely warranting the waiver priority people most likely spent. His matchup this week however, isn’t one I’d be picking on with a player riding a hot hand. 

For as bad as Philadelphia’s pass defense is perceived, their rush d might be as good. They’re coming off a game which saw them limit Washington to 2.22 yd/car on 36 attempts. They might be getting Javon Hargrave back, Fletcher Cox is an absolute animal, and the Eagles will no doubt look to put the game on Jared Goff’s arm. Oh, and we’ve seen this movie before with Brown.

Week 1 last year saw Brown reach 53 yards with 2 TDs. He wouldn’t eclipse 40 yards and added only 3 more TDs for the remainder of the year. I’m not saying to cancel the show, but I am saying to skip this week’s episode of Malcolm Brown. 

Prediction: 12 car 35 yards 1 TD, 2 rec 7 yards: 11.2 pts

Will Fuller (Hou@Bal 4:25pm est)

Alright, it’s only one game but Fuller is definitely the no.1 option for the Texans. Sans Nuk Hopkins, Will was the favorite target of DeShaun Watson seeing 31% of the team’s targets (10). He was able to reel in 8 of them for 112 yards while seeing an impressive 11.2 yds/tar. As dynamic as he is however, week 2 will be a different story for Fuller against the Ravens.

This Baltimore defense has been one of the NFL’s best over the last 2 seasons ranking 5th (‘18), 6th (‘19), allowing only 36 passing TDs. They have befuddled the likes of BigBen, Russell Wilson, Brady, and Will’s QB DeShaun Watson.

Last season, as Fuller watched from the sidelines, Baltimore limited DeShaun to only 169 yards and no TDs with DeAndre Hopkins having 7 receptions for 80 yards. Nuk still filled the stat line but let’s be real, Will Fuller IS NOT Nuk. 

Now the Alpha dog for Houston, Will should see Fuller boxscores, but consistency has never been a highlight of Fuller’s career. Only 4 times has he produced 60 or more yards in consecutive games not to mention his well documented fragility. Baltimore just held Odell to 3 receptions for only 22 yards, (yes, I understand Baker is no DeShaun) while letting Jarvis Landry eat the short stuff.

I see a lot more Brandin Cooks, and Randall Cobb then week 1 with Baltimore focussing on keeping Fuller in check. Difficult to bench him after last week, but don’t expect a similar output.

Prediction: 5 rec 62 yards: 8.7 pts

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