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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 2

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We look at 49ers and Panthers for Week 2, as well as other options around the league.

The San Francisco 49ers face the Carolina Panthers Sunday morning in an early game to get Week 2 going. If you have any issues with 49ers or Panthers on your fantasy football rosters, you’ll get your answers quickly. We have one week under our belt, which gives us a small sample of information from which to try and project patterns. I thought we’d look at each major position today, focusing on the 49ers and Panthers, but offering some additional options of note.


49ers-Panthers: Well, this is a little different than the Gabbert-Keenum matchup of last week. You always start Cam Newton. On the other hand, while Blaine Gabbert showed some things with his legs last week, and did make some good passes at times, he has still not shown himself to be even a bye week replacement yet. That could change, so let’s keep an eye on him. Start: Cam Newton; Sit: Blaine Gabbert

Other starts: The Detroit Lions got off to a strong start last week, and I think we’re going to see a lot of volume from Matthew Stafford this season ... Derek Carr faces an awful Falcons defense, and this Raiders offense looks legit, even if it was facing the Saints awful defense last week ... Andrew Luck faces a tough Denver defense, but for now I don’t think you overthink him. I’ve seen a lot of questions about whether or not to start him. Stick with Luck.

Other sits: Jameis Winston gets a tough test in Arizona. I think Winston’s legs will help, but the Cardinals are going to give him a tough time ... I was high on Philip Rivers in 2016, but losing Keenan Allen again is a brutal loss. Rivers should still be a decent fantasy option, but he takes a hit facing a tough Jaguars team in Week 2.

Running Backs

49ers-Panthers: Another week, another fun running back comparison. Carlos Hyde had to grind last week, but two touchdowns more than made up for it. Jonathan Stewart had 64 yards on 15 carries. He’ll potentially be looking at a chance to run out the clock if the Panthers win like most people are expecting. Even if the game is close, Stewart figures to be plenty active. Start: Both; Maybe start: Shaun Draughn in PPR leagues; Sit: Everybody else

Other starts: The Chiefs will likely be without Jamaal Charles once again. People are high on the Texans, but I think the Chiefs can win this one with the help of Spencer Ware ... People are already overreacting to Todd Gurley’s tough Week 1 game. He was contained by a 49ers defense that played almost perfectly against the run. I’m not yet ready to sit him, even against a tough Seahawks defense.

Other sits: Ameer Abdullah faces a tough Titans defense, and if I had to choose one of Detroit’s backs, Theo Riddick might be the safer play right now ... Ravens running backs remain a committee graveyard ... Once again, stay away from Dolphins running backs, as they could be non-factors against the Patriots.

Wide Receivers

49ers-Panthers: It was a quiet week for Torrey Smith, with two catches for 13 yards. On the other hand, Jeremy Kerley was the leading receiver with seven receptions for 61 yards, on 11 targets. Additionally, Quinton Patton had five receptions for 60 yards. Kerley likely has strong PPR value, and modest flex standard value. Smith and Patton are going to have some good games, but it’s hard to say how consistent that will be. For Carolina, Kelvin Benjamin was back in a big way last week, catching six passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. He’s going to be one of Cam’s go to guys. Start: Kelvin Benjamin in all leagues, Jeremy Kerley in PPR leagues; Sit: Everybody else for the time being.

Other starts: Marvin Jones is the Lions wide receiver that intrigues me the most. He was the leading target for Stafford, with four catches for 85 yards on ten targets ... Travis Benjamin is not going to become Keenan Allen, but from a pure volume perspective, there’s some upside there ... While Larry Fitzgerald led the Cardinals last week, he made an appearance on the injury report this week. Michael Floyd could be a solid target in Week 2 ... Sterling Shepard is a guy to keep an eye on in the Giants Week 2 home game against the Saints. I’m a fan of facing the Saints defense.

Other sits: Kamar Aiken was a popular “sleeper” in drafts this year, but he got off to a bad start in Week 1. He faces a Browns defense that is bad, but I don’t think it’s enough to get much fantasy value for now ... People are high on Willie Snead after a huge Week 1 performance. But the Saints head on the road where that offense is not the same. I think Snead is a start at home, but sit, or “maybe start” at best on the road.

Tight Ends

49ers-Panthers: Vance McDonald got on the board with a touchdown after a quiet open to the game. He had a solid preseason, but it took some time to translate in Week 1. Garrett Celek also had one catch for 15 yards. For the Panthers, Greg Olsen has been Cam Newton’s go-to guy, and will continue to fill that role. The return of Kelvin Benjamin could benefit him tremendously. Start: Greg Olsen; Sit: Everybody else

Other starts: Dwayne Allen got off to a strong start in Week 1, catching four passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. Look for Luck to continue looking his way ... Clive Walford did not get off to a big start, catching three passes for 25 yards. Getting a poor Falcons defense at home, I’m not ready to give up on him as a sleeper option

Other sits: I like Coby Fleener for the most part this season, but after a poor Week 1, I’m going to hold off on him until the Saints are back in the Superdome for Week 3 ... Zach Miller is another guy who could do some good things this year, but needs to prove he can be a consistent thread.