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START/BENCH: Week 2

The first few weeks of the NFL season are a balancing act for fantasy football enthusiasts.

On one hand, it’s foolish to ignore what we see transpire early in the season. Whether it’s good things like an explosion from a second-year quarterback and the emergence of a handful of wide receivers or bad things like a disappointing debut for another second-year signal-caller or a disquieting role for a first-round tailback (looking at you, Todd Gurley), there were a number of events that transpired in Week 1 that not too many expected.

On the other hand, it was just one week. The last thing you want to do is overreact to a limited sample size and shoot yourself in the foot with an ill-advised trade or roster move. The good could be an aberration. The bad could be just a temporary blip — a bump in the road.

It’s enough to drive you to the brink of insanity.

Yeah. Something like that.

So, the best thing you can do is try to balance what we thought we knew before the season with what we saw in Week 1 — at least until that sample size gets a little bigger. Hope that the good keeps rolling. Pray that the bad will soon be forgotten as a temporary setback.

And try as best we can not to freak out if the season didn’t start the way we’d have liked.

If it makes you feel any better, mine very rarely does. My career record in Week 1 is — ungood. I’ve decided that it’s not my fault though and I’m the victim of some sort of ancient fantasy football curse.

It could happen.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at Oakland)

Deshaun Watson, Houston (vs. Jacksonville)

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. Minnesota)

SPOT-START OF THE WEEK

Derek Carr, Oakland (vs. Kansas City)

Oakland had quite the drama-filled offseason. But as Michael Silver reported for NFL.com, Carr said his sterling effort against Denver in Week 1 was less about Antonio Brown and more about atoning for last year’s 4-12 campaign.

“I was a man on a mission,” Carr said. “And that had nothing to do with what went down this past week. That was pent up from last season. I have been ready to go for a while, and I know we have a really good team this year, and I couldn’t wait to get out there. So, not angry, just ready and really focused. I’m on a mission. The job is not done.”

Carr isn’t going to beat Kansas City this week. But after passing for 259 yards and a score against Denver he should have success against a Kansas City defense that was just lit up by rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew.

ROLL THEM OUT

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. New Orleans)

Carolina gave up 30 points to the Rams in Week 1, but Goff managed just 186 passing yards and a single touchdown pass in the win. Los Angeles will need a better day than that from Goff to win this NFC title game rematch at the Coliseum.

Cam Newton, Carolina (vs. Tampa Bay)

Like Goff, Newton didn’t exactly shine through the air in Week 1, posting 239 yards and no touchdowns with an interception. However, there’s a bit of difference between the Los Angeles Rams and what passes for a defense in Tampa Bay most seasons.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (at Atlanta)

Wentz was great in a comeback win over Washington in Week 1, passing for 313 yards and three scores. The good times should keep rolling in prime time Sunday night against an Atlanta defense that gave up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2018.

SIT THEM DOWN

Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. Buffalo)

Hard though it may be to believe, Manning actually looked pretty good against Dallas in Week 1, surpassing 300 yards through the air. That’s not likely to continue against a Buffalo defense that led the league in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks in 2018.

We include two other quarterbacks that should be on your bench this week for our members.

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About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an eight-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last three years. He won the honor in 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.