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I'm an introspective type of fellow, so in preparation for this season's first edition of Heroes and Zeroes (don't look for Week 1, it's in the clouds somewhere along with the missing episode of South Park), I decided to look back at some of last season's articles when I stumbled across this intro to a recommendation for Chris Godwin as a Week 10 streamer:
"You know, Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't terrible...  *ducks under desk
Disgruntled Jets fans have cast him aside long ago, but for a backup QB he's got a lot more upside than most."

Why didn't I reflect on my own thought process before last week and pick up Fitzmagic everywhere? Because logic. The Saints had one of the most improved defenses in the league in 2017 and Fitz was only starting because of Jameis Winston being... himself. It's hard to predict the future, which is why the once-thriving fortune teller business is in decline. At least that's what sources tell me. I won't claim to know who will go off unexpectedly or which stud you should bench for no good reason, but after 25 years of playing fantasy football and the last couple of years working with some of the smartest people in this business, I feel pretty good about these picks. That's all we can ask for when facing the unknown, after all, because if we feel good, then we look good. If we look good, then we are ultimately successful in life. Wait, no that's wrong. That's not what I mean at all. Look, just go with your gut, say a prayer, and hope for the best.

Now, here are my fantasy "heroes" and "zeroes" at each position for Week 2 of the NFL season. For a full set of rankings, look no further than our very own RotoBaller consensus weekly rankings.

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Week 2 Lineup Heroes

QUARTERBACK

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
I'll start by saying I was a complete skeptic of Luck until I saw him physically move around the pocket and throw the ball down the field in a regular season game. No amount of "good news" or exhibition stats would convince me he was a QB1 again until he actually did something in Week 1. And he did. Luck went for 319 yards and two touchdowns against a decent Bengals defense despite no running game to help out. Marlon Mack won't be anyone's savior, least of all Luck, but he now has multiple adequate options in the backfield, including Nyheim Hines as an outlet receiver.

Luck is not a player who performs worse on the road historically and Washington isn't the most hostile of environments, at least not inside the stadium itself. The Skins shut down the Cards completely last week, but it seemed more like the Cards shutting themselves down with inept offensive schemes. If there is any hesitation left about starting Luck, even in 10-team leagues, there shouldn't be. He seems almost certain to throw for 300+ yards and a pair of scores once again.

RUNNING BACKS

Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons
Devonta Freeman has been held out of practice late in the week, so it could be the Coleman show on Sunday. This itself makes him worth starting everywhere, but he might be a bigger threat in standard leagues than people expect. In two games last year that Freeman missed, Coleman totaled 58 yards and a touchdown at Seattle, while he ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns against Tampa Bay. Given the inexplicable ineffectiveness of Atlanta's red zone offense, a running back who can find his way through the crowd is usually the best solution. If Coleman outscores Kareem Hunt this week, I wouldn't be shocked. But maybe that says more about Hunt than anything.

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
I've already called Ekeler this year's Duke Johnson, so that tells you how much confidence I have in him as a weekly flex play in PPR leagues. Focusing on this game alone, he will face the Buffalo Bills. End of analysis.

Actually, you should know that despite playing behind one of the few bell cow backs in the league, Ekeler is both efficient and active in the passing game. In Week 1, he was fourth on the team in targets and had the same number of red zone targets (one) as Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon. He's averaging 5.8 yards per carry in his career thus far, so he doesn't need high volume to make a splash. He could see more carries than usual, however, in mop-up duty against the Bills. I'm starting him over the likes of Tarik Cohen, Nyheim Hines or Duke Johnson this week in PPR leagues.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Emmanuel Sanders hogged the fantasy spotlight in Week 1, but this could be Thomas' turn to shine. Mind you, he had a decent showing himself by catching six of 10 targets for 63 yards and a TD, but his matchup in Week 2 outshines his teammate. Thomas could face Rashaan Melvin much of the day, who graded out poorly against the Broncos. While PFF graded him fairly well at 77.9 last season, he has historically graded much lower in the past and can't be forgiven completely for being part of the Colts defense that was one of the worst against opposing WRs. The Raiders could prove to be a choice matchup for both quarterbacks and receivers all year long now that Khalil Mack is gone.

Mike Wallace, Philadelphia Eagles
You might have forgotten Wallace is an Eagle now since he didn't announce his presence in the season opener, catching none of his three targets. Those passes came on deep balls where he didn't have much of a chance, but at least it shows he still has potential for big-play explosiveness. This week, he faces a Tampa team that gave up 40 points in the opener, is without both starting cornerbacks, Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves, and allowed the most fantasy points to WR last season. Nelson Agholor is the obvious play, but Wallace is barely owned and could easily produce one of his signature monster games. Oh, the Eagles face Indy next week so this might be a great time to add him anyway.

TIGHT END

Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals
Talk about keeping the faith. Against the Redskins last week, Cardinals QB Sam Bradford looked as lost as he did in his first game back from injury in Week 5 of last season. Although he's supposedly healthy, the long layoff from regular season action didn't do him any favors. RSJ will be at his mercy once again and this time on the road against the juggernaut Rams and their revamped defense. This seems like a no-brain sit, but those streaming at TE shouldn't gloss over the former receiver. Seals-Jones only registered 19 yards with no score last week, but he was targeted six times and accounted for 26.5% of the team's Targeted Air Yards. The Rams are considered a "funnel defense" and as such will shut down the wideouts while allowing short-to-intermediate passes across the middle. Enter RSJ. He should be good for a few catches, even if the yardage is somewhat low, but honestly you're hoping for a red zone score in the fourth quarter in this situation. I'd still take him over Cameron Brate, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, or Will Dissly.

Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints
Aside from getting a wicked senior discount at the local Denny's, Watson brings something else to the table on Sunday morning. Watson caught all four of his targets in Week 1 and will bring a reliable presence that the Saints receiving corps hasn't established outside of its top two players. Cam Meredith was inactive last Sunday because he still hasn't learned the playbook and rookie Tre'Quan Smith was on the field for just 11 snaps. Unless you believe Austin Carr is going to step up as big-time threat, you should trust that Watson will get a steady diet of targets and have a good chance of reaching the end zone in another unbelievably tasty matchup. I must be hungry or something. Do they still serve that Grand Slam thing at 1 pm?

 

Week 2 Lineup Zeroes

QUARTERBACKS

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
First, the good: Jimmy G kept his team within striking distance of a very tough Vikings team depite losing Marquise Goodwin early and having to hand the ball off to Old Man Morris near the goal-line, only to see him get stuffed repeatedly before fumbling. Now the very bad: Garoppolo was picked off three times, completed less than half his passes (45.5%) and his passer rating of 45.1 was lower than every QB other than Marcus Mariota and Nathan Peterman. Ouch.

We could chalk this up to a very tough matchup combined with some tough injuries on the offensive side of the ball and move on. We could also look at how laughable the Lions looked on defense in Week 1 and think that Garoppolo could surprise in a good way. Personally, I have no clear opinion either way about the state of Detroit's defense just yet, but I do about Garoppolo. Jerick McKinnon ain't comin' back and Goodwin is still questionable. Garoppolo was overly aggressive in his first start of the year, posting the fifth-highest Aggressiveness rating of all QBs at 24.2% This is defined by NextGen Stats as "a % of attempts into tight windows over all passing attempts." Here's the list of players atop that chart:

If you're Tom Brady, you are fully excused because you can get away with it. The rest of that list isn't what you'd call "good company." Keenum and Peterman combined for five interceptions, you may recall.

I'm not down on Garoppolo's prospects the rest of the year, but he's too risky to be considered a bounce back candidate in Week 2 unless we're sure he has his full complement of receivers and the team can find some semblance of reliable running game.

RUNNING BACKS

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
My disdain for Henry this particular week isn't about him or my belief that he will continue to play second-fiddle to Dion Lewis or that he's a touchdown/big play-dependent option that shouldn't be counted on in PPR leagues. No, this is more about his supporting cast. If Marcus Mariota is out for any chunk of the game and Blaine Gabbert is forced into action again, that's bad for the whole Titans offense. For his brief career, Henry totals almost four times more yardage in the second and four quarter of games as the first quarter. He averages over five Y/A toward the end of either half, as opposed to 2.2 Y/A in the first and 3.8 in the third quarter. Oh, and almost half his career yards have come on big-chunk plays near the end of games where Tennessee was winning.

All this points to the fact he is one of the most game script-dependent running backs in the league. Last week should have been a positive for him but things soured unexpectedly for the Titans. This week, they face a Texans team with JJ Watt, Jadveon Clowney and a tough linebacker group. Unless Deshaun Watson lays an egg and puts his team in a hole early, Henry can't be counted on. It'll take a missed tackle or a fluky goal-line score for him to give you anything.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets
This isn't homerism, I swear! While the Dolphins have a long way to go before they can be qualified in any way as "good," they do have an underrated secondary led by Reshad Jones. As the slot man and TE-hybrid, Enunwa should be covered by first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has a solid debut. Both Jones and Kiko Alonso will help out in coverage as well. Sam Darnold seems to have a special rapport with Enunwa, posting the 17th-highest share of his team's Targeted Air Yards, but he might find it easier to look to the outside receivers this week, in addition to the fact that the Jets should be able to run inside fairly well against a depleted Dolphins D-line. There's also a good chance the Jets don't get away with stealing their opponent's hand signals again now that they've given away the secret to their success.

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
Out of the numerous start/sit questions I've answered so far this week, a large number of those have included Lockett as a flex option. He's not a strict avoid for me this week, but the "next man up" theory doesn't necessarily work if that player is in a different role. Doug Baldwin's targets have to go somewhere, but Lockett's role as the slot receiver won't change. I expect more Brandon Marshall and more screens to the RBs, but not a big bump to Lockett, who averages under three receptions per game for his career. Add an angry Bears defense to the mix and I'm not counting on much from any Seahawk this week, Russ included.

TIGHT END

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
We outlined the reasons to be concerned about Rudolph in our TE Start/Sit video already, but for those who prefer the written word, here's a brief summary. Although he was on the field for 83% of offensive snaps and remains the clear TE1, he was targeted just twice in Kirk Cousins' first game as a Viking. The other two tight ends, David Morgan and Ty Conklin, combined for an equal share of targets. One game is a small sample, but we can't assume Cousins will love throwing to the tight end as much as he did in Washington. After all, he's got legit receivers now. The Packers were also the fifth-stingiest defense against tight ends last year, so the matchup does him no favors.

Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers
On the flip side, I'm even more pessimistic about Graham. He was on the field all game long, but caught two of four targets for eight yards only. The emergence of Geronimo Allison (eight targets) and re-appearance of Randall Cobb (10 targets, went HAM) may relegate Graham to a red zone specialist. That's not a bad thing in standard leagues if you stream tight ends, but if you have a better option this week than Graham vs. Vikings, go for it.

 

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