The first week of the 2021 NFL season has come and gone, with fantasy football managers all scrambling for waiver wire scraps right before Week 2. As we approach NFL Sunday, here are the players you’ll want to start and sit this week.
Start ’em: Matthew Stafford
If there were any previous doubts about Matthew Stafford’s ability to get the job done, they were evaporated last weekend. Stafford was fantastic, accounting for 321 yards and three touchdowns with a passer rating of 158.3 when throwing the football more than 10 yards downfield. He is also lined up with an Indianapolis Colts defense that was exposed by Russell Wilson in their last contest.
Sit ’em: Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo has a bunch of things working against him this weekend. For one, the Philadelphia Eagles completely stifled Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons in their first game. Maybe their defense is better than expected. Secondly, Garoppolo will have to deal with them brining a lot of pressure and forcing them to run the football here. He will also have to deal with Trey Lance looming over his shoulder, stealing his fantasy production. Lance came in and threw a touchdown pass in Week 1, one that was supposed to be Jimmy’s. It is hard to trust a quarterback that is somehow in a committee.
Start ’em: Najee Harris
Najee Harris wasn’t the type of explosive runner that everybody was expecting but a lot of that could be his nerves. He was playing his first game in the NFL and still received more volume than a lot of other backs. He played every offensive snap for Pittsburgh and had 17 touches against a solid Buffalo Bills defense. He is now lining up against the Las Vegas Raiders, a team that struggled to contain the Baltimore Raven’s running back Ty’Son Williams last week. Those who bet online should go over a number of Harris’ props.
Sit ’em: Mike Davis
The Falcons struggled mightily against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the rushing department last season when these teams played. There should be no difference this year, despite Davis’ hard running and physicality. Tampa Bay completely shut down Ezekiel Elliott in the season opener and chances are Ryan and the Falcons are going to want to pass the ball a lot to keep up. Davis could get some targes through the passing game to raise his value, but it is just too risky to assume he will be getting a lot of touches.
Start ’em: Ja’Marr Chase
There was so much doubt surrounding Ja’Marr Chase throughout the preseason but he silenced all of it week. He didn’t get many targets but caught the ones that came his way, capping it all off with a 50-yard touchdown over the top. He also just so happens to go up against the Chicago Bears, a team that couldn’t stop Stafford’s deep shots down the field in their season opener. Chase is a good play and the Bengals could be a good option for your NFL predictions as well.
Sit ’em: Michael Pittman Jr.
Michael Pittman had all the makings for a successful season but it just doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case. Carson Wentz looked scared to push the ball downfield and barely even looked towards Pittman. The team was losing most of the game but their running backs saw nearly 30 touches combined while Pittman just had a couple catches for limited yardage. Playing against Jalen Ramsey and the Los Angeles Rams, you can’t expect him to do better than he did in Week 1.
Start ’em: Noah Fant
Noah Fant should be in line for a huge day at the tight end position. Not only does he have a mouthwatering matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Jerry Jeudy will be out this game due to injury. Fant saw a team-high eight targets come his way in the season opener and he hauled in six for 62 yards. The volume and production should both be there for him once again this week.
Sit ’em: Zach Ertz
Dallas Goedert was clearly the Eagles’ go-to tight end last week against the Falcons. Zach Ertz did get some good playing time out there but had little production and even injured his hamstring in the process. He was already losing ground in this competition, but it seems like Goedert has that job on lockdown following this small setback. Ertz shouldn’t be started this weekend whatsoever.
Start ’em: Younghoe Koo
Younghoe Koo didn’t really get the type of chance that you would like in Week 1. The Falcons couldn’t get the ball in scoring position after the first two drives of the game. That should change when they play a Buccaneers team that couldn’t stop their passing attack last year. Atlanta may not throw in a boatload of points but could get in field goal range just enough to give Koo more opportunities.
Sit ’em: Matt Ammendola
The New York Jets’ kicker Matt Ammendola shouldn’t be started because of the opponent. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots always have a ton of success against rookie quarterbacks, and they face Zach Wilson in this game. If Wilson gets locked up offensively, Ammendola isn’t going to have any opportunities to put points on the board. The Patriots are probably the right play for NFL game betting too.
Start ’em: New England Patriots
Speaking of the Patriots, their defense is definitely in a place to be started. Like we just talked about, Belichick always has success against young quarterbacks. Remember back to last season when his defense flustered Justin Herbert in their matchup despite his terrific rookie season. This group played well against the Miami Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa as well. They should clamp up on the young Jets.
Sit ’em: Baltimore Ravens
When healthy, the Ravens have one of the most talented defenses in the league right now. However, they aren’t very healthy. On top of that, they just have not had success against the Kansas City Chiefs lately. They allowed the Raiders to score 33 points in an overtime loss last weekend and now face Patrick Mahomes and company, who are a better offense. In the last three matchups against the Chiefs, the Ravens defense has averaged a measly four fantasy points per game. In their 2019 matchup, their defense had zero points. This just isn’t the game to use Baltimore’s defense.