START: Jay Cutler $8100 – The price may seem a bit steep for Cutler, but he’s coming off of a huge game against the Niners, and has a favorable matchup this week. He’s heading to New York to take on the Jets who have been struggling against the pass this season. The Jets have allowed five passing touchdowns, which is tied for the most in the NFL. Cutler is having a nice season with six touchdowns, 525 passing yards, and just two picks in two games this season. He currently leads the league in touchdowns and there’s no reason to believe he’ll slow down this week. If you’re thinking of stacking, Cutler would be one of the cheapest options to stack with. Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers are both great options to stack this week, but are more expensive. Ride the hot hand and start Cutler, as he should find success in Week 3 against a poor secondary.
I’d start him over: Peyton Manning $8800, Nick Foles $8500, Cam Newton $7400
SIT: Peyton Manning $8800 – His salary is currently the third most expensive for quarterbacks and his matchup is by far the hardest of all quarterbacks. Manning is heading into Seattle for a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl. The Seahawks were exploited last week against the Chargers, but they were not at home. In Week 1, the Seahawks defense held Aaron Rodgers to 189 yards and one touchdown. Manning struggled in the Super Bowl against this defense. He threw for 280 yards on 40 attempts, one touchdown, and two interceptions. I’m not expecting for Manning to be a complete dud, but I’m not willing to pay the big bucks for him this week either. There are better options and better values this week. I’ll take advantage of those and skip on Manning.
I’d rather start: Aaron Rodgers $9200, Drew Brees $8900, and Matthew Stafford $8800.
START: Russell Wilson ($6800) – This is one of the better values of the week if you ask me. Wilson has thrown two touchdowns in each of his first two games and is playing the Broncos, a team he played well against in the Super Bowl. The Broncos are allowing the third most passing yards per game this season (301). At home Wilson has thrown 33 of his 56 career passing touchdowns. He also gets you rushing yards and could sneak in for a rushing touchdown, which is six points on Draft Kings. In addition, Wilson doesn’t make many mistakes; he has yet to throw an interception this year. He doesn’t sling the ball much, but is an effective and consistent quarterback. If you’re looking for a mid-level quarterback with some upside, he’s your guy.
I’d start him over: Ben Roethlisberger $6800, Andy Dalton $6600, and Tony Romo $6500
SIT: Ben Roethlisberger ($6800) – Big Ben struggled tremendously in Week 2 against the Ravens. This week’s matchup doesn’t get any easier. He’s taking on the Panthers, who did quite the job at containing a very explosive Lions offense to one score last week. The Panthers secondary is not one that most are concerned about; it’s their front seven that’s very good. They pressure the quarterback and find ways to interrupt their timing. They’ve recorded seven sacks in two games. Big Ben threw for 217 yards and no touchdowns in Week 2. He will likely continue his struggles this week against a stingy defense. He has thrown 33 touchdowns and 22 interceptions on the road in the last three season, compared to 42 touchdowns and 14 interceptions at him. It’s pretty clear he plays better at home and commits few mistakes.
I’d rather start: Kirk Cousins $7300, Tom Brady $6900, and Colin Kaepernick $6600
SNEAKY START: Ryan Tannehill ($6300) – If you’re looking through the cheaper quarterbacks this week, Tannehill would be the best risk/reward option. While he did struggle in Week 2, Tannehill threw two touchdowns in the Dolphins season opener against the Patriots. He could have easily posted better numbers, but there were several drop passes and missed opportunities. There’s pressure on Tannehill to play better, and what better matchup than at home vs. one of the NFL’s worse pass defenses. The Chiefs are allowing opposing quarterbacks the highest pass rating (124.4) and have allowed the most passing touchdowns (5). You’re paying a low price for a good situation.
START: Giovani Bernard ($7300) – Bernard had a monster game against the Falcons in Week 2. He totaled 169 yard, scored a touchdown, and caught five passes. A.J. Green left the game early with a toe injury, and it was all Bernard the rest of the day. The Bengals will host the Titans who just got completely shredded by DeMarco Murray. He ran for 167 yards and a touchdown against the Titans defense. There’s a possibility that Green will sit out this week with the toe injury, so I’m expecting the Bengals to heavily rely on Bernard again. If you’re looking at a high-level running back, but don’t want to pay for the most expansive backs this weekend, Bernard is someone worth adding in your lineups this week.
I’d start him over: Le’Veon Bell $7300, Monte Ball $5900, and Eddie Lacy $5900
SIT: Le’Veon Bell ($7300) – Bell is having a great season, and in seasonal league’s I won’t consider benching him. However, we’re talking about daily leagues, and he’s not someone I’m rolling with. Giovani Bernard who I just mentioned above is the same price and has a much better matchup. Bell is heading to Carolina to take on the Panthers. Despite being the only bright spot of the offense last week against the Ravens, this week’s matchup is much tougher. No to mention he’s only $300 cheaper than he was last week. The Panthers were top three against the run last season and allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns (4). As for this season, well, they have yet allowed a rushing touchdown. In fact, no running back has run for more than 54 yards against the Panthers defense this season. It’ll be hard to contain a talent like Bell, but for the price is not appealing to me, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere.
I’d rather start: Arian Foster $7500, Alfred Morris $6100, and Zac Stacy $5600
START: Joique Bell ($5400) – The Lions offense struggled in Week 2 on the road against the Panthers, but will be back at home this week where they found much success in Week 1. Bell has clearly been the Lions main back the first two weeks, and that’s not expected to change this week. The Lions will host the Packers which have allowed the second most rushing touchdowns this season (4) and are giving up 176.5 rushing yards per game throughout the first two games. This is expected to be a high scoring game, as the over/under on this game is 53 points. Bell has 153 total yards, six receptions, and one touchdown this season. You’re paying mid-level price for a back that can produce at a high level. For those ROI players out there, this is how you increase you ROI, investments like this one.
I’d start him over: Terrence West $5600, Rashad Jennings $5200, and Reggie Bush $5000
SIT: Monte Ball ($5900) – Ball has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game this season, and that streak will likely continue this week. In fact he hasn’t totaled 100 yards in a game this season. This week’s matchup is a tough one for Ball. The Seahawks are allowing 90.5 rushing yards per game and have yielded one touchdown on the ground so far this season. Last year this defense allowed just four rushing touchdowns. This is the same defense that shut down the Broncos offense in the Super Bowl, and that was at a neutral location. This week they will be at home and have the “12th man” on their side. Ball’s price appears to be great value because he’s $900 cheaper than last week, but that can be deceiving. Several backs have a similar or higher ceiling, with the same floor, but are priced much cheaper this week.
I’d rather start: Joique Bell $5400, Darren Sproles $5200, and Shane Vereen $5100
SNEAKY START: Ahmad Bradshaw ($4800) – For those who are familiar with poker lingo, this is what you call value town. $4800 for a back that is coming off a 26.5 point performance and has an amazing matchup, where do I sign up? Bradshaw has been a reliable back this season for fantasy owners. He’s totaled 181 yards, two touchdowns, and has caught 10 passes. This week he faces the Jaguars defense that is allowing 168 rushing yards per game and has given up four touchdowns on the ground this season. If you’re looking for a back that you can trust at a good price, Bradshaw is your guy.
START: Calvin Johnson ($8900) – After a monster season opener, Johnson took a step back in Week 2. He recorded six catches for 83 yards, which isn’t bad, but it’s not what fantasy owners expect from Johnson. However, that was against a tough Carolina Panthers defense. This week he takes on the Packers who have allowed three receiving touchdowns and 367 receiving yards in two games. Johnson also has a good history against the Packers. In the last five meetings, he’s caught 36 passes for 655 yards and four touchdowns. As mentioned above, the over/under on this game is 53 points. He’s the most expensive receiver this week, but he’ll be worth every penny. If there’s any position I will pay top dollar for this week, it’ll be the receiver position, and Johnson would be my choice.
I’d start him over: all receivers
SIT: Dez Bryant ($7700) – Bryant is coming off a big game against the Titans in Week 2. He caught 10 passes for 103 yards and one touchdown. This week he’ll play the Rams who have allowed the fewest receiving yards so far this season. Maybe it’s because teams are running all over them, they’ve allowed the fourth most rushing yards. The fact of the matter is that the Cowboys will likely feed Demarco Murray for most of the game. Romo has attempted 66 passes this season, which is 25 less attempts than Joe Flacco, who currently leads in attempts. The Cowboys identity this year is running the ball. You also have to consider that Bryant is not 100% healthy as he deals with a shoulder injury. He had a shaky Week 1 and has a tough matchup this week. I wouldn’t sit a player like Bryant in a yearly league, but when I have options such as the ones I’ve listed below, I’d rather stay away from Bryant this week.
I’d rather start: Brandon Marshall $8300, Randall Cobb $7500, and Jeremy Maclin $6400
START: Julian Edelman ($6000) – Edelman is clearly Tom Brady’s go-to guy. At $6000, $200 cheaper than last week, I’m all over Edelman. He’s caught 12 passes for 176 yards and has one touchdown in two games this season. He’s caught six passes in each game and has been targeted 15 times in the first two games. He has good hands, runs great routes, and most importantly has the quarterback’s trust. This week the Patriots will be at home for the first time this season, taking on the Raiders. The Raiders have allowed three receiving touchdowns this season and aren’t that good against the pass. If there’s a player to trust on the Patriots offense it would be Edelman. He should get plenty of looks this week once again. If you’re looking for consistency and upside at a mid-level price, Edelman is your guy.
I’d start him over: Demaryius Thomas $6600, James Jones $5700, and Wes Welker $5600
SIT: Mohamed Sanu ($5300) – Sanu had three catches for 84 yards in Week 2, including a 76 yards touchdown catch. His price went up $1900 this week. There’s a chance A.J. Green sits out this week with a toe injury. If that’s the case, Sanu will be the team’s No. 1 receiver. With that said, he is too much of a hit or miss. If you take away the 76 yard touchdown catch he has two catches for eight yards. Sanu is talented and has tremendous upside, but paying $5300 for a potential long touchdown catch is too deep for my pocket. The Titans pass defense has also played pretty well this season. They’ve allowed just two receiving touchdowns and 378 receiving yards in two games. The Bengals are more than likely going to keep the ball in Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill’s hands on Sunday. The risk in this case is not worth the reward.
I’d rather start: Percy Harvin $5400, Sammy Watkins $5300, and Golden Tate $5000
SNEAKY START: Allen Robinson ($3700) – Here’s a guy that is in a perfect situation. The Jaguars are dealing with a ton of injuries to their receivers, they are playing the Colts that will likely take an early lead in the game, and that will force the Jaguars offense to throw the ball. Robinson is a perfect example on the importance of volume. Last week he caught four passes for 75 yards. The Colts defense is allowing 300 receiving yards per game and has allowed four receiving yards. If you’re looking for a cheap player that should have plenty of opportunities this week, Robinson is your guy.
START: Rob Gronkowski ($5900) – As mentioned above, the Patriots are kicking off the home opener this weekend and hosting the Raiders. Tom Brady hasn’t been the Brady we’re used to this season. The long ball hasn’t been the same, he doesn’t appear to be as comfortable in the pocket, and the offense isn’t running as smooth as in years past. This week is the perfect week to get the offense back on track. It’s their first home game of the season and they are facing a weak defense. Gronk has been targeted 17 times in two games. He has eight catches for 72 yards and a touchdown in two games. The Patriots have been easing him back in slowly, but it’s only a matter of time before a blow up game. This could be that game, and the price you’re paying is worth the risk.
I’d start him over: Julius Thomas $6600, Antonio Gates $6100, and Delanie Walker $5700
SIT: Delanie Walker ($5700) – Talk about inflation at its finest. Just two weeks ago, Walker was $3300. Then in Week 2 his price went up to $3700, and now his price tag is $5700. No, thank you. The Bengals defense did a good job containing the Falcons offense in Week 2. Walker is having a great season so far. He’s caught 13 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He’s scored in each game this season. He also set a career high in yards in a game (142). Walker is Jake Locker’s go-to player, as he’s been targeted 18 times. You’re paying the premium price for Walker this week. However, the price and matchup is not appealing. At least if the matchup was good I’d consider it, but on the road against a stingy defense, I’d rather pay less for similar talent and better matchup.
I’d rather start: Martellus Bennett $5200, Zach Ertz $5200, and Dennis Pitta $4400
SNEAKY START: Jared Cook ($3400) – The Rams are hosting the Cowboys in Week 3. The Cowboys defense has allowed three receiving touchdowns this season. All three have been by a tight end. Week 1, Vernon Davis scored two touchdowns against the Dallas defense and in Week 2, Delanie Walker found the end zone. Cook has eight receptions for 102 yards in two games. If you’re thinking of going cheap on tight end this week, Cook is a great value with big upside this week.
I’m providing you with low-risk, high-reward players for each position. If you’re drafting a lineup that’s top heavy in salaries and need to find some inexpensive players to plug in, then my sneaky starts can be useful.