Raiders quarterback Derek Carr

Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Thomason: Hot/Cold Fantasy Picks For Week 2

Alex Smith has a quality matchup, while Derek Carr has trouble on the horizon.

Jack Thomason
September 13, 2018 - 9:39 am

(670 The Score) "Sit ‘Em, Start ‘Em" is a breakdown of some of the best and worst fantasy football matchups to help you navigate setting your lineups for the week.

My goal with this article is to provide you with a player to start who may not be the most obvious of starts and to share a player to sit who you normally wouldn't consider shying away from regardless of the matchup.


START – Alex Smith, Redskins (vs. Colts) Smith gave us a typical 250-yard, two- touchdown performance last week, and it was good for just under 20 fantasy points and QB11. Smith was uber-efficient in the Redskins' blowout win by completing 70 percent of his passes on only 30 attempts while continuing to push the ball downfield with a yards per attempt of 8.5. In addition, he's always a threat to add fantasy points via his legs, and he takes on a Colts defense this week that ranks 20th in 4for4's adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) and 24th in Football Outsiders' pass defense DVOA. Smith has plenty of offensive weapons and picked up where he left off last year as a solid QB1. Washington is sporting a solid team total of 26.5 points as well.

SIT – Derek Carr, Raiders (at Broncos) The Raiders looked awful in their season opener. Carr managed to throw for more than 300 yards against a stingy Rams defense but tossed three interceptions and no touchdowns. Oakland now travels to Denver, where the matchup isn't much easier. The Raiders currently sit as a six-point underdog with an implied team total of 19.5. I'd avoid Carr going up against the Broncos, who are 15th in pass defense in DVOA and the ninth-ranked defense in aFPA.

Running back

START – Matt Breida, 49ers (vs. Lions) I'm digging a little deeper here with the 49ers boasting the fourth-highest team total sitting at 27.5 points. Breida played 45 percent of the snaps last week, tallying the same amount of touches (12) as Alfred Morris did. Breida outproduced Morris as well with 51 yards to 38 yards. Neither were world beaters in a tough matchup in Minnesota, but the outlook should loosen up against the Lions, who just got ripped by the Jets' duo of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. Another potential benefit for Breida was Morris fumbling at the 3-yard line of the Vikings last week. He's worth a flex play in Week 2, as the Lions rank dead last in aFPA to running backs.

SIT – Derrick Henry, Titans (vs. Texans) Henry saw just 29 percent of the offensive snaps last week. A lot of that had to do with game script, but the Titans played the Dolphins, so if they're in negative game script for Henry in that spot, we shouldn't have a ton of confidence going forward. Dion Lewis worked as the clear bellcow after the Titans fell behind early, which will continue to be a problem for Henry. It was evident all preseason that the Titans planned on using a committee. Some books have the Texans as 2.5- point road favorites and while the game should be close, which should bode well for Henry, you're banking on a touchdown given the lack of receiving work and the split workload. I'd rather look elsewhere. 


START – Kenny Golladay, Lions (at 49ers) Before the Lions-Jets game got out of hand Monday, Golladay at one point was leading the team with eight targets. Matthew Stafford has an eye for the 6-foot 4, 213-pound Golladay and targeted him 12 times total in Week 1. Golladay did his part in catching seven balls and posting 114 yards. The 49ers rank 19th in aFPA to receivers and with the Lions seven-point underdogs on the road, there should be plenty of opportunities for Golladay to produce fantasy points this week.

SIT – Amari Cooper, Raiders (vs. Broncos) When do we stop making excuses for Cooper? Every year is the breakout year, and every year is a frustrating one. This season has begun no differently. Cooper drew just three targets last week, catching one ball for nine yards. We knew the Rams' top cornerbacks posed a threat to the Raider receivers, but three targets and one reception is abysmal. It's rare top NFL receivers are completely shut down by top cornerbacks, but maybe that's the problem -- maybe we need to move on from this thought that Cooper will eventually be a top receiver.  Nonetheless, the Broncos pose a similar threat with Chris Harris Jr. likely to shadow Cooper wherever he goes. More tough sledding is ahead for Cooper, and I'll be shying away this week again.

Tight end

START – Tyler Eifert, Bengals (vs. Ravens) The volume is a little concerning as Eifert saw just three targets last week, but he did catch them all, posting 44 yards receiving. That being said, he only played 31 percent of the snaps, a number I'd expect to rise weekly as the Bengals look to increase his workload in a divisional game they'll want to win. The Ravens are sitting at 30th in aFPA to tight ends, and that's one of the few areas they're vulnerable on defense. The Bengals are home in a pick 'em with a 21.5-point team total.

SIT – Ian Thomas, Panthers (vs. Falcons) The Falcons continue to be a stingy team when it comes to opposing tight ends, but the loss of safety Keanu Neal may impact that status. Rookie Ian Thomas will be taking over for an injured Greg Olsen at tight end for the Panthers. As the Panthers have more weapons than ever before, I'd hesitate to insert Thomas in fantasy lineups under the notion that he'll fill Olsen's role. Cam Newton can talk up Thomas all he'd like, but rookie tight ends are rarely fantasy producers, and the Panthers have a measly 19.5-point team total while traveling to Atlanta.

Other starts: Jared Goff (vs. Cardinals), Kerryon Johnson (at 49ers), Tyler Lockett (at Bears) and Vance McDonald (vs. Chiefs)

Other sits: Joe Flacco (at Bengals), Peyton Barber (vs. Eagles), T.Y. Hilton (at Redskins) and Jimmy Graham (vs. Vikings)

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.​