Fantasy football Week 2 preview

Fantasy owners already know who their must-start players are, but everyone has a few decisions to make when it comes to setting a lineup. We’re here to help with those tough decisions.

Each week this space will be dedicated to whom you should start or sit in your upcoming fantasy matchups.

Starts

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks — Seahawks-Rams likely will be a low-scoring affair as neither offense has looked great. The Seahawks will try to control the clock with their running game, especially with Russell Wilson dealing with an ankle injury. Rawls had nearly as many touches as Christine Michael last week and was named the starter for Week 2.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants — He had 19 touches last weekend in the win over the Cowboys and finished with 78 total yards. This week, he gets to face a Saints defense that is second worst in points allowed to running backs. I bet he gets into the end zone.

New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) breaks a tackle attempt by Dallas Cowboys' Sean Lee (50) to gain extra yardage on a run as defensive tackle Terrell McClain (97) gives chase in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) breaks a tackle attempt by Dallas Cowboys’ Sean Lee (50) to gain extra yardage on a run as defensive tackle Terrell McClain (97) gives chase in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday Sept. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles — The play of Carson Wentz last week against the Browns made Matthews a top-six receiver in fantasy scoring. They’ll face the Bears, who are 23rd in points allowed to receivers.

Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers — Melvin Gordon scored twice last week? Well, Woodhead had more touches and more yards from scrimmage in addition to one score. Last year without Keenan Allen, Woodhead led the Chargers in receptions.

San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) runs under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Steven Nelson (20) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) runs under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Steven Nelson (20) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns — He had a breakout season last year, but his dismal start last week might have you ready to cut ties. Don’t be so hasty, though. He had Robert Griffin III at the helm in the opener, but with Josh McCown now starting, Barnidge may have new life. They have a solid rapport going back to last year.

Sits

Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers — The “slimmed-down” talk ended after it appeared that he had trouble getting a lot going against the Jaguars last week. He had just 15 touches and will face a Vikings defense that allowed only 45 yards rushing in the opener.

Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers — Last year, he killed the Vikings to open the season. This year, he scored twice against what was thought to be a solid Rams defense. I’m not a believer yet, and he faces a Panthers defense that looks to bounce back after giving up a great game to C.J. Anderson.

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Dominique Easley, top, and defensive tackle Cam Thomas (92) tackle San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde (28) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Dominique Easley, top, and defensive tackle Cam Thomas (92) tackle San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde (28) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs — I wouldn’t count on him having 363 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Texans, who are eighth best in points allowed to quarterbacks.

Gio Bernard, RB, Bengals — He faces a good Steelers run defense and hasn’t fared well against it in the past. Jeremy Hill probably has more of an opportunity to score should the Bengals get into a goal-line situation.

Any receiver facing the Ravens, Seahawks or Panthers — Got a Browns wideout? Leave him on the bench. Tavon Austin owner? Maybe next time, pal. Hopeful for points from Torrey Smith? Give it up.

No man’s land

Todd Gurley, RB, Rams — There’s no way you can sit Gurley, but you really wish you could, given that his team’s one-dimensional offense has to face the Seahawks. If the passing attack doesn’t take the pressure off of him, it could be a long day.

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Mike Purcell (64) and safety Eric Reid (35) during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Mike Purcell (64) and safety Eric Reid (35) during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys — You probably used a first or early second-round pick on him and, as a result, have to start him. Dak Prescott makes no bones about hitting the check-down receiver instead of taking chances on his biggest playmaker so you’ll just have to cross your fingers.

More fantasy football mock draft notes and trends

With NFL training camps in full swing, I decided to take another stab at a mock draft to help prepare for the upcoming fantasy football season. This time I entered a standard league, 12-team draft on ESPN’s website. Last time out, I drafted in a 10-team standard league on NFL.com. Here’s a look at the team I selected this time around.

  • Round (overall pick) Player, Pos., Team
  • 1st (4) Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
  • 2nd (21) Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets
  • 3rd (28) Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders
  • 4th (45) Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs
  • 5th (52) Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
  • 6th (69) Drew Brees, QB, Saints
  • 7th (76) Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles
  • 8th (93) Ladarius Green, TE, Steelers
  • 9th (100) Willie Snead, WR, Saints
  • 10th (117) Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons
  • 11th (124) Markus Wheaton, WR, Steelers
  • 12th (141) Texans defense
  • 13th (148) Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
  • 14th (165) Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings
  • 15th (172) Matt Prater, K, Lions
  • 16th (189) Jordan Cameron, TE, Dolphins

With 12 teams in this mock league I decided to make sure I went with running backs in two of my first three picks. Interesting to note is that before I selected Adrian Peterson with the fourth pick, three receivers were already off the board (Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr., in that order). Also of note, the next three running backs selected were Todd Gurley (5th), Ezekiel Elliott (6th) and David Johnson (8th). Dez Bryant went 7th overall, which is a bit high in my estimation, since he went ahead of DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Jamaal Charles.

Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at TCFBank Stadium on January 10, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at TCFBank Stadium on January 10, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

It was a little surprising that the suspended Le’Veon Bell, who’s set to miss the first four games of the season, managed to sneak into the first round at no. 12 overall. That seems a little high for a player that will miss a quarter of the season. I’d look for him early in the second round of a 12-team league. He can put you over the top, but not if you’re using your first pick on him.

My WR1 is Brandon Marshall, and I see no reason he’d  drop off, especially now that he has Ryan Fitzpatrick back behind the center. Fitzpatrick knows how to get the ball to his big receivers and Marshall going at 21 overall went right about where he probably should. I selected Jeremy Maclin as my WR2 and if he’s targeted 124 times, like he was last season, he could prove to be a solid pick at 45th overall.

Jeremy Maclin #19 of the Kansas City Chiefs bobbles the ball at Arrowhead Stadium during the third quarter of the game agains the Cleveland Browns on December 27, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jeremy Maclin #19 of the Kansas City Chiefs bobbles the ball at Arrowhead Stadium during the third quarter of the game agains the Cleveland Browns on December 27, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

I was able to grab an aging Drew Brees with the 69th overall pick, so I have to hope he stays healthy and that his young receivers come along. Derek Carr, who I picked in the 13th round, is my backup and we’ll see if he makes a big jump with weapons like Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray. Murray, who I selected in the 3rd round is expected to be a do-everything back for the Raiders if he doesn’t let rookie DeAndre Washington take away touches.

That leaves me with Jeremy Hill and Jordan Matthews as my flex options. I feel good about both, hoping Hill has a bounce-back season, though he did score 11 rushing touchdowns last year. Matthews has scored eight touchdowns in each of his first two seasons and looks to go over 1,000 yards for the first time. If he’s around in the seventh, you’d be lucky.

Jeremy Hill #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball during the fourth quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Baltimore 24-16. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Jeremy Hill #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals carries the ball during the fourth quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Baltimore 24-16. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Ladarius Green, the tight end who I selected at 93 overall, should excite some owners as he joins a prolific Steelers offense.

Other notes from this mock draft:

  • Seven wide receivers were selected in the first round, including Allen Robinson.
  • Jamaal Charles was taken in the second round, he should go higher.
  • Jordy Nelson went 14th overall and I’d be nervous about that if I made that selection early in the second. I’m in the minority.
  • Lamar Miller, who the Texans will let loose on the field, went 16th. Wouldn’t be surprised if he goes higher in most drafts.
  • There are options at RB in the third round, with Eddie Lacy, Matt Forte, Murray and Carlos Hyde all going in that round.
  • T.Y. Hilton, who went 39th overall, might be undervalued if Andrew Luck returns to previous form.
  • The Cardinals defense was the first to go at 89, followed by the Broncos at 95 and the Seahawks at 113.