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START/BENCH: Week 2

Welcome, one and all, to overreaction theater.

It’s an annual rite in fantasy football — and on some level an understandable one. After months of preparation and speculation in equal measure, fantasy managers get their first look at live game action in Week 1.

And everything goes nuts.

That isn’t to say that nothing went according to script in the first week of the 2020 season. Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had a big game. So did Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams.

But New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley carried the ball 15 times — for 6 yards. New Orleans wideout Michael Thomas reeled in all of three passes for 17 yards. The two were outscored (substantially) by Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown and New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton.

Does that mean that Brown and Slayton are now weekly must-starts and Barkley and Thomas should be stapled to fantasy benches? Of course not — the latter pair are on the “studs” list for good reason.

But there will be all sorts of hyperventilating — for better or worse — after Week 1. There always is.

Are there things to be learned from Week 1? You bet. Brown appears to be the lead back in Los Angeles. Slayton led Giants wideouts in targets Monday night. But given that there was no preseason, we shouldn’t be at all surprised that there were surprises. Relax. Take a breath. Your fantasy team is 0-1, not 0-5. Knee-jerk moves are very rarely good ones. And as a wise colleague once told me, water finds its level. Players like Thomas and Barkley will be fine.

Now, in true Darth Hoodie fashion, we are on to Week 2.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at Los Angeles Chargers)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Houston)

Dak Prescott, Dallas (vs. Atlanta)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (vs. New England)

Deshaun Watson, Houston (vs. Baltimore)

SPOT-START OF THE WEEK

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago (vs. New York Giants)

Trubisky caught fire in the fourth quarter of last week’s comeback win over Detroit, throwing three touchdown passes to lead Chicago the victory. As the Associated Press reported, Trubisky’s late heroics made quite an impression on one of his newer teammates.

“He made some huge, huge throws, had some great moments,” veteran tight end Jimmy Graham said. “The kid wants it. The kid believes.”

It wasn’t that long ago that the prevailing wisdom in Chicago was that Nick Foles (and not Trubisky) would be the Week 1 starter for Chicago. But Trubisky held Foles off, and after throwing for 242 yards and three touchdowns against Detroit. Trubisky is fantasy’s eighth-ranked quarterback in Sharks League scoring heading into a home tilt with a New York Giants team that was third in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks in 2019.

ROLL THEM OUT

Josh Allen, Buffalo (at Miami)

One week into the 2020 season, Allen is fantasy’s top quarterback — he topped 300 passing yards and 50 rushing yards last week against the New York Jets with three total touchdowns. Miami had problems defending a mobile quarterback last week in Cam Newton, and had issues defending quarterbacks at all in 2019.

Philip Rivers, Indianapolis (vs. Minnesota)

Rivers’ debut in Indianapolis admittedly did not go well — he was intercepted twice in an upset loss to Jacksonville. But redemption is coming Sunday at home. If Week 1 was any indication, the secondary for Minnesota is in absolute shambles — Aaron Rodgers shredded Minnesota for 364 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs, Detroit)

Rodgers looked like his old MVP self last week in torching Minnesota. His last tilt at Lambeau Field against Detroit wasn’t quite as impressive, but he did throw for 283 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That stat line feels like a reasonable fantasy floor in a Top 10 matchup for quarterbacks.

SIT THEM DOWN

Daniel Jones, New York Giants (at Chicago)

Jones showed flashes of the promise that so intrigues fantasy managers in Monday night’s loss to Pittsburgh, and his stat line for the game wasn’t terrible. However, it wasn’t great either — and for the second time in as many weeks Jones and the Giants draw a tough defensive matchup Sunday in Chicago.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit (at Green Bay)

Stafford’s Week 1 numbers were somewhat underwhelming — he threw for 297 yards but managed just a single touchdown pass while finishing the week outside the Top 15 at his position in fantasy points. In his lone matchup with Green Bay a year ago, Stafford had 265 passing yards but didn’t find the end zone through the air.

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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 nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. 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.