As always, the primary function of this column is to help you secure the bottom half of your starting lineup. Fantasy football is won and lost in WR2/RB2 and FLEX spots. Don’t be the person tweeting screenshots of a 30 point performance sitting on your bench.
Racks: Players that are are in a good position to outperform their typical projections. If they’re on your squad, rack them into your lineup and don’t look back.
Rests: These are players facing tough weeks, whether due to matchup or other circumstances. Rest them for this week.
Flex, rack, rest; welcome to your weekly workout.
Mailbag Questions? Need Rack/Rest advice? Hit me up on Twitter: @DJEN5EN
Eli Manning: Coming off an abysmal showing Week 1 against a suspect Dallas defense, Manning has a big opportunity to right the ship on Monday night versus a Lions team that was league-worst against the pass in 2016. If OBJ plays, then Manning climbs even higher up the ranks.
Russell Wilson: Despite playing behind an offensive line that holds up to less than a “the Earth is flat” argument, Wilson has the benefit of facing a 49ers team that last week looked lost in the secondary. Cam Newton flat-out missed a ton of throws that Russell will not.
Tyrod Taylor: Until he’s respected as a consistent fantasy starter, Taylor will likely find himself in the Flex On ‘Em column weekly. Coming off 22-pt fantasy game after missing the last 2 weeks of preseason, Taylor is primed to at least duplicate that success against an average Carolina secondary.
Terrance West: West churned 19 carries into 80 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, and is now facing the Cleveland defense. Backfield-mate and human white-boi fantasy come true Danny Woodhead could miss the next 6 weeks, per this Ian Rapaport report, so expect the usage to (at minimum) hover around 20 touches.
Kerwynn Williams: Get yourself a pan and roller and paint this dude into your lineup for the next couple of weeks.
James White: I touched on this a little bit in Tuesday’s Sign & Decline, but just in case you’ve never heard, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick off a loss are absolute assassins. White is the pass-catching back, and New Orleans is the defense that lets pass-catching backs run wild.
Tarik Cohen: Disappointed in myself for not having Cohen on this list last week, as the reports out of Chicago were that he was a blazer. If you landed the shiny new toy off the waiver wire, activate that little mighty-mite.
Adrian Peterson: The only chance the Saints have against a stinging Patriots team is to pound the rock. Alvin Kamara was far more involved in Week 1 that I anticipated, but Peterson is the hammer this Saints team needs to keep the Patriots’ offense on the sideline. The Patriots’ defensive coordinator doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to emphasize stopping Brees first and foremost.
Giovani Bernard: Despite being part of a poor man’s Earth, Wind, and Fire (Brandon Jacobs answered the question everyone has always had: what if The Mountain played RB? The answer was, often, a version of this kind of soul destruction.), Bernard has a unique opportunity as a pass-catching back against a Houston team that ranked toward the bottom of the NFL in covering such players.
Mike Gillislee: White will do all the pass-catching, and Gillislee will do all the rushing.
Adam Thielen/Stefon Diggs: Both were Racks in Week 1’s column, and I expect more of the same against a high-scoring Pittsburgh team whose defense will give up yards through the air. Sammy “Sleeves” Bradford looked like a true QB1 in Week 1; let’s hope he can keep it up.
Terrelle Pryor: Pryor is sadly eligible for Rack/Rest, but after a ho-hum Week 1 some may be questioning this guy’s ability. Don’t. Sure, the Rams didn’t give up much to the Tolzien-led Colts, but that’s no feat.
Davante Adams: My Adams hype train steams along. A ton of targets in a pass-first, second, and third offense is #GOALS. As long as Jordy Nelson is healthy to keep the coverage balanced, Adams is startable. He may graduate from this column before long.
Marcus Mariota: This guy is traveling to Jacksonville to face a Jags team that gave up only 110 yards to the Savage/Watson combo. Not to say that’s anything overly remarkable, but after what feels like 10 years of top 5 picks, the Jags need to coalesce into a strong team at some point.
Jared Goff: Shouldn’t be on your roster.
Mark Ingram: See Adrian Peterson. Back-to-back weeks in this spot with no end in sight for Ingram.
Jonathan Stewart: This Bills’ defense is built to stop the run and, despite last year’s embarrassing effort (or lack thereof), they’ll do just that with consistency. McCaffrey is the only Carolina back I want playing for my team.
Dwayne Washington/Ameer Abdullah: These two combined for less than 60 yards against a stout Arizona run defense in Week 1, and they now line up against an equally-talented Giants group. Take your chances elsewhere.
Marshawn Lynch: Lynch’s ‘disdain for the media’ act feels forced at this point, but maybe I’m just not California-enough to get it. Regardless, Oakland is too savvy a passing team to bang Lynch into the Jets’ only strength.
Frank Gore: Marlon Mack looked like the better player and even stole a goal line look. Arizona isn’t afraid of Tolzien or Brissett, so expect an already great run defense to hone in on the aging vet even more.
Sammy Watkins: Coming off a lackluster debut in the opener, now Watkins draws Washington’s Josh Norman in Week 2 . The Rams have a ton of WR talent, and they don’t have a QB to keep them all relevant. Watkins is startable in deep leagues, but I wouldn’t rank him any higher than a WR3.
Marquise Goodwin: Goodwin drew a surprisingly-high target number (6) in Week 1, but still isn’t a consistent-enough player to Rack. The Seattle defense is losing some of its mystique, but don’t bank on the freaking 49ers to take advantage.
Terrance Williams: Don’t get cute thinking a Denver team that gave up chunks of yards (not to mention allowed an all-time backdoor cover of a 3.5-pt spread) is on the decline.
(Future) Fantasy Ghost Of The Week
Each week I’ll highlight a typical fantasy star that will likely under-produce. This doesn’t mean they’re automatic “Rests” – but be prepared to be disappointed.
Cam Newton: Homer Alert! Homer Alert! Seriously, the Bills’ defense was a disciplined force against an admittedly awful Jets squad in Week 1. The key word there is disciplined. Expect McDermott to know Cam’s scrambling tendencies better than anyone else and have his team prepared to shut down that aspect of his game. If Cam is forced to throw, then he’s shown to be a mediocre QB from an accuracy standpoint.
Tweets Of The Week
As always, a pair of tweets to sum up the week that was in the NFL world and out.
Sergio Dipp Immortal:
— Ben Jata (@Ben_Jata) September 12, 2017
*Pick In BOLD
Last Week (2-2) (thanks Broncos)
Texans +3 @ Bengals
Packers +2.5 @ Atlanta
Lions +5 @ New York Giants
Have a good weekend, everybody.