Matchups are the most important factor when it comes to choosing who to start this week in fantasy football. The only exceptions are the superstars in the league like the Patrick Mahomes and Christian McCaffrey level players. So which players should be started or benched this week due to matchups?
Start: Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, San Francisco)
The New York Jets have a horrible defense in nearly every way possible, but their run defense is still better than people think. They only allowed 41 yards between the Bill's two running backs, and another 57 yards to Josh Allen. Jimmy Garoppolo isn't nearly as mobile as Allen, but their running backs are much better than Buffalo's. The Jets should be able to slow the run game down, which means Jimmy G is going to have to throw.
After a disappointing performance in week one, the 49ers are out for blood and could very easily run up the score on this poor New York team. Garoppolo made some horrible throws in crunch time and will be looking to recover from that in week two. Outside of Marcus Maye, this secondary looks awful. Brian Poole is an alright cornerback, but excels mainly in the slot. Outside of those two, the passing game should be solid. Kittle's injury is a little concerning, but the 49ers will still have Brandon Aiyuk, Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne, and Jordan Reed. Not to mention the three headed monster in the backfield consisting of Coleman, Mostert, and McKinnon (all of which are good receiving backs). Jimmy Garoppolo could have well over 300 yards and at least two touchdowns on this Jets team.
Sit: Ryan Tannehill (QB, Tennessee)
The Titans had an impressive passing attack in week one against the Denver Broncos. Tannehill threw for 250 yards on the most attempts he's had in his career in Tennessee yet. People may look at this as a reason to start him, but this matchup is much different than the one against Denver. Derrick Henry was held to just 3.7 yards per carry which is unusually low for him as the Broncos found a way to slow him down. Henry still finished with 116 yards on 31 attempts, but the Jaguar's defensive front is nowhere near the level of Denver's. The Titans will look to get back to their run heavy offense and control the pace of the game with Derrick Henry.
On the other side of the ball, Minshew looked great last week and the Jaguars upset the Colts in a great performance. The Colt's defense isn't as good as the Titan's defense is though. Minshew will see much more pressure and will be playing against better cornerbacks. If they can't put points on the board in order to keep up with the Titans, Tennessee will be in a very positive game script and will run the clock out as fast as they can. Derrick Henry will definitely have over 100 yards and two touchdowns is not out of question for him.
Start: Leonard Fournette (RB, Tampa Bay)
The Buccaneers are coming off a disappointing loss to the New Orleans Saints in Tom Brady's debut in Tampa Bay. In week two, the Bucs face off against the Carolina Panthers who are also coming off a loss. Brady definitely struggled a bit in week one against the Saint's near elite defense, but the Panthers do not have even an average defense. They allowed 34 points to the Raiders, with three touchdowns coming from Josh Jacobs near the goal line. Leonard Fournette will be used in that same role (goal line attempts) for the Bucs and will find his way into the end zone.
Tampa Bay also has a solid defense and can hold the Panthers under 20 points without question. The Buccaneers should get a sizable lead early on in the game and put them in a positive game script to run the ball. Ronald Jones II will not get every carry in this offense and LeSean McCoy appears to be a non-factor early on in this season. Fournette will get the more valuable carries inside the 10 and should find his way into the end zone at least once. The yardage might not be there, but Fournette should make a good flex start this week.
Sit: Malcolm Brown (RB, Los Angeles)
The Rams have entered the 2020 season using a running back committee approach as no one really stood out at camp over the others. This is good for an actual football team, but horrible for fantasy. In week one, most of the carries were split between Malcolm Brown (18) and Cam Akers (14). Brown definitely looked the best of the two averaging 4.4 yards per carry while Akers only had 2.8 YPC. He also had two touchdowns against the Cowboys. These stats all seem great, but Malcolm Brown should be benched against the Eagles.
The Eagles have consistently had one of the best run defenses over the past couple of years and so far, this season doesn't look any different. They allowed a total of 63 total rushing yards to the running backs (and 17 to Dwayne Haskins), which is about 2.2 YPC. The Rams will likely be looking to pass against this team as the linebackers and secondary (outside of Darius Slay) are average at best. They will also ride the hot hand for running backs so if Brown doesn't look great, his work load could very easily take a dip from last week. Big touchdown performances are also difficult to repeat, especially in a committee. This is a tough matchup for running backs and there's no guarantee in Malcolm Brown's workload.
Start: Diontae Johnson (WR, Pittsburg)
Diontae Johnson let some people down in week one if they were expecting a big game from him. He only had 6 receptions for 57 yards, but had 10 targets in this crowded receiver room. Big Ben obviously wants to look his way, but couldn't connect with him. In week two, the Steelers play against the Denver Broncos who would normally be risky for a wide receiver start. However, staring cornerback A.J. Bouye is out for a couple weeks which would leave the Bronco's CB3 or CB4 on Diontae Johnson.
The Broncos also held Derrick Henry to just 3.7 YPC and he's much better than Benny Snell Jr. or James Conner. Running the ball isn't entirely out of question, but this matchup favors the passing attack. Denver should keep this game competitive so the Steeler's will likely have to throw until the end of the game to stay ahead. Diontae Johnson will see near the same targets, if not more, and Big Ben has hopefully shaken most of the rust off by now. One big play going for a touchdown will be enough for Johnson to at least be a flex start.
Sit: DeVante Parker (WR, Miami)
The Dolphins lost to the Patriots in week one after a let down performance by DeVante Parker. He finished the game with just four receptions for 47 yards. The Patriots do have an elite secondary, but the rest of their defense looks a little weak after a few opt outs. Heading into week two, the Dolphins are going against an even better defense in the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins don't have really any advantage over the Bills in this matchup and will probably struggle to get much of anything going.
Aside from Jamison Crowder's 69 yards touchdown in week one, the Bill's held every receiving option on the Jets to under 50 yards. DeVante Parker is a much better receiver than anything the Jets have, but the offensive line and quarterback situations aren't an improvement. The defense looks slightly better than the Jet's so that should keep them in competition to some extent, but the Bills should have control over this game. Tre'Davious White should lock Parker up all game and hold him to a similar stat line as he had in week one.
Start: Jonnu Smith (TE, Tennessee)
Although Ryan Tannehill won't have a big game, his tight end could have a great week two. As stated earlier, the Titans face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in what should be a relatively easy victory for them. The Titans have a great defense and an above average offense going against a below average team on both sides of the ball. Now that A.J. Brown is out, Tannehill only has two main targets in Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. In week one against the Broncos (a much better defense), Smith had four receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown.
Week two poses an interesting matchup as C.J. Henderson could definitely lock up Corey Davis after an impressive performance against T.Y. Hilton. Outside of Henderson, this Jacksonville defense looks really weak. The Titans offense will run through Derrick Henry as it normally does, but Jonnu Smith could see the most targets of any receiver on this team in week two. Six receptions on eight targets for 70 yards and a touchdown is a likely stat line for this game for Jonnu Smith. He won't have a league winning week, but he should be in your starting lineup.
Sit: Evan Engram (TE, New York)
In week one, the Giants faced off against the Pittsburg Steelers who made Engram a total non-factor in this game. Engram finished the game with two receptions for nine yards and anyone who started him was more than disappointed. The Giants go up against the Bears in week two and this isn't any better of a matchup.
The Bears are coming off a win over the Lions, and they looked hot in the fourth quarter of that game. The Lions led the entire game, but the Bears had a very impressive fourth quarter comeback thanks to Mitch Trubisky and their defense. If Chicago can continue playing at this level, Engram could be held to very few points once again. This Bears defense let up five receptions for 56 yards to Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, whose week was saved by a touchdown. The Lion's offense is definitely better than the Giant's offense, so they may struggle to move the ball much at all. Evan Engram will have another weak performance and he's not worth starting.
Start: Cardinal's Defense
Arizona upset San Francisco in week one and, although their offense struggled in the first half, their defense looked much improved from last year. The Cardinals came away with three sacks and had two dropped interceptions. This won't show up on the stat sheet, but Arizona also had a goal line stop for four straight downs. They held George Kittle to just four receptions for 44 yards and every receiver under 35 yards. Outside of a couple of chunk plays from Mostert and Juszczyk, this defense held nearly everybody in check.
The 49ers were dealing with some injuries on offense, but the Washington Football Team doesn't have those weapons to begin with. The offensive line is also much weaker in Washington than it is in San Francisco. The Cardinals could easily finish with five (or more) sacks against Dwayne Haskins, especially after the loss of Trent Williams. Not to mention, Haskins is a worse quarterback than Jimmy Garoppolo so at least one interception is not out of question for this defense, especially if there is constant pressure on him.
Sit: Cowboy's Defense
Dallas goes against the Atlanta Falcons in week two of the NFL season. This game is going to be a shoot out and neither team will really be able to stop the other. The Cowboy's defense already didn't look all that great in week one when they faced the Rams. They came away with just one sack and one interception and didn't really have much control over Los Angeles. They could generate some pressure and force some incompletions, but those don't count for fantasy football.
The Falcons on the other hand, have one of the best offenses in the league. Matt Ryan had three receivers put up over 100 yards in week one while throwing for 450 yards himself. Atlanta is coming off a loss to Seattle so they should be looking to put up even more points this week as Dan Quinn is on the hot seat in 2020. The Cowboys will not be able to stop this offense and could easily allow over 30 points with just a few sacks and maybe one or two turnovers. The yards and points scored will be enough to make this defense not startable.