Fantasy Football Week 2 Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em: Ben Roethlisberger ready for a big bounceback

Need Fantasy Football lineup advice? Talk to CBS Sports on your Google Assistant to get insights on the best sleepers and to help decide between players. Just start with, “Hey Google, talk to CBS Sports.”  

The excitement level from NFL Week 1  was dampened by injuries and the absence of Le’Veon Bell due to his contract dispute. And even though it’s only Week 2, many Fantasy owners are already in survival mode trying to field their best lineups.

We had some major injuries in Week 1, including two top 10 tight ends going on injured reserve — Delanie Walker (ankle) and Greg Olsen (foot). Aaron Rodgers (knee) also got hurt, and we don’t know his status for Week 2.

Leonard Fournette (hamstring) could also be out in Week 2, as well as Devonta Freeman (knee). And Doug Baldwin (knee) is also out for several weeks, along with Marquise Goodwin (thigh) and Davante Adams (shoulder) battling nagging injuries.

Now, the good news is there are quality replacement options you hopefully added off the waiver wire. James Conner was already a standout fill-in for Bell, and you should have picked up T.J. Yeldon in case Fournette is out.

Tyrod Taylor and Case Keenum can help you if Rodgers can’t play, and Quincy Enunwa, Chris Godwin and Kenny Golladay are fantastic options at receiver to replace Baldwin, as well as Brandon Marshall and Tyler Lockett. At tight end, Jared Cook and Eric Ebron could ease the blow of losing Walker and Olsen, although that might be a stretch.

We hope you’ll find success in Week 2 if Week 1 didn’t go your way, but just remember this is a long season. You can rebound from an 0-1 start and still make the Fantasy playoffs.

Just be smart with your lineup decisions, and we’ll help you as best we can. There are plenty of good players with great matchups this week, and we’ll help you find the best players to give you a chance at victory.

Editor’s Note: Projections are provided by CBS Sports and not Jamey Eisenberg.

Start of the Week



team logo

View Profile

If, as the cliche goes, home is where the heart is then Pittsburgh is where Fantasy players love Ben Roethlisberger. And they love him a lot at Heinz Field.

In his past 19 home games over the past three seasons, he’s failed to score at least 20 Fantasy points just twice. He’s averaging 27.9 Fantasy points over that span, and he has nine games with at least 30 points.

Let’s hope those gaudy numbers continue this week.

Roethlisberger should rebound from his Week 1 dud at Cleveland when he completed just 56.1 percent of his passes for 335 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, as well as two lost fumbles. On top of being at home, he has a fantastic matchup against the Chiefs.

Kansas City was just abused by Philip Rivers for 424 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and the Chiefs defense should struggle against good passing attacks all season. While the Steelers could lean on Conner this week, I still expect a big performance from Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

You’ll have to keep an eye on Roethlisberger with his bruised elbow, which appears to be minor, and obviously if his status is cloudy heading into Sunday, you should find another Fantasy quarterback. We’ll also have to find another Start of the Week.

But I’m confident in Roethlisberger playing at home. He should have the chance for a big day in Week 2 against the Chiefs.

I’m starting Roethlisberger over: Aaron Rodgers (vs. MIN), Tom Brady (at JAC), Russell Wilson (at CHI), Kirk Cousins (at GB) and Cam Newton (at ATL)

Quarterbacks

Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.com.  

19.2 projected points


I don’t typically love Rivers going to the East Coast for a 1 p.m. start, but I’ll make the exception here against the Bills. He faced this defense at home last year and passed for 251 yards and two touchdowns, and he could have similar success in the rematch. Buffalo just allowed Joe Flacco to pass for 236 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1, and the Chargers should do what they want to in this matchup, including Rivers having a big outing on the road. 22.6 projected points


Washington’s offense was impressive in Week 1 at Arizona, including Smith with 255 passing yards and two touchdowns. He added eight carries for 14 yards and scored 23 Fantasy points, and he should score 20-plus points for the second game in a row this week against the Colts. I was surprised Andy Dalton only scored 19 Fantasy points against Indianapolis last week, but I expect Smith to have more success in his first home game in Washington. He’s a top 10 quarterback in Week 2. 20.0 projected points


Stefon Diggs has scored in three games in a row against the Packers, and Adam Thielen has 23 catches for 322 yards and two touchdowns in his past three against Green Bay. If those two guys continue their recent track record against this defense, along with Kyle Rudolph always being a threat to score, Cousins should post quality stats by default. This game could also turn into a shootout if Aaron Rodgers (knee) is healthy, and I expect Cousins to build off his first game with the Vikings in Week 1 when he had 244 passing yards and two touchdowns. He’s a safe No. 1 quarterback in this matchup. 19.8 projected points


It would be nice if Garoppolo had a healthy Marquise Goodwin (thigh) this week, but that might not be the case, even if Goodwin plays. Still, look for Garoppolo to lean on George Kittle, Pierre Garcon and Dante Pettis if Goodwin is out or limited, and this Detroit defense looked bad against the Jets in Week 1. Garoppolo also struggled last week against the Vikings on the road, but in two home games last season against the Titans and Jaguars, he had at least 22 Fantasy points in each outing. He’s worth trusting as a low-end No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this week. 19.8 projected points


I’m hoping this game becomes a shootout and that Roethlisberger and Mahomes go back and forth in putting up plenty of points. Mahomes had a solid first game in Week 1 at the Chargers with 256 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, as well as 21 rushing yards, and he did that with Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins all having mediocre performances. When those guys start playing at a high level along with Tyreek Hill, this offense should be fun to watch, with Mahomes leading the way. Given the potential of this high-scoring affair, consider Mahomes a low-end starting option this week.

Sleepers

  • Tyrod Taylor (at NO): The Saints just allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick to score 49 Fantasy points, and Taylor had 24 points against Pittsburgh, mostly with 77 rushing yards and a touchdown. In a situation where the Browns could be chasing points on the road, I like Taylor as a great streaming option this week.
  • Case Keenum (vs. OAK): Keenum had a solid Fantasy debut with the Broncos in Week 1 against Seattle with 25 Fantasy points, and he should build on that performance this week against the Raiders. Oakland has to travel on a short week after playing on Monday night, and Jared Goff just had 21 Fantasy points against this defense. There’s a lot to like about Keenum this week.
  • Nick Foles (at TB): Before you start laughing, consider just how bad this secondary could be with Brent Grimes (groin) hurt. While Drew Brees beat them up for 439 passing yards and three touchdowns, we could see Foles come away with decent production in what could be his final start if Carson Wentz (knee) is healthy next week. In two-quarterback leagues, Foles is a Hail Mary play if you need help at quarterback.

18.4 projected points


Newton is always a potential starter because of his rushing prowess, and that again saved him in Week 1 against Dallas. He only passed for 161 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, but he added 58 rushing yards and a touchdown, which gave him 17 Fantasy points. For this week, it could be hard to trust Newton with his offensive line falling apart, Greg Olsen (foot) out, and he has a bad track record playing in Atlanta. In his past three trips to Atlanta, Newton has scored fewer than 17 Fantasy points in each outing, and he’s averaging just 14.0 Fantasy points over that span. While the Falcons defense is hurting with Keanu Neal (knee) and Deion Jones (foot), this pass rush should still harass Newton. He’s a low-end starting option at best in Week 2. 13.4 projected points


Flacco is like Roethlisberger where he’s better at home than on the road. And in his past five trips to Cincinnati, Flacco has two touchdowns and seven interceptions, and he’s averaging just 161.8 passing yards over that span. He looked great in Week 1 against Buffalo at home with 27 Fantasy points, and I’m excited about his outlook with a rebuilt receiving corps. But on a short week on the road, he’s just a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback at best. 16.2 projected points


Fitzpatrick was the star of Week 1 when he led the Buccaneers into New Orleans and scored 49 Fantasy points. He had 417 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, and he ran for 36 yards and a touchdown. It was exceptional and a huge surprise, but he should turn back into a pumpkin this week. The Eagles defense, which should be fresh after last playing on Thursday night in Week 1, won’t be surprised by Fitzpatrick, and Philadelphia’s pass rush should make him uncomfortable. It was great if anyone bought into Fitzpatrick in Week 1, but you’re chasing points if you plan on starting him in Week 2. 12.6 projected points


In six career games on Thursday night, Dalton has five touchdowns, six interceptions and he’s averaged just 217.5 passing yards per game. He’s 3-3 in those outings, but he’s 5-13 overall in prime-time games. And he has a bad track record against the Ravens with one touchdown or less in three of his past five meetings with Baltimore. Dalton was OK in Week 1 at the Colts with 19 Fantasy points, and he could finish in that range this week. But on a short week, even at home, it’s easy to avoid Dalton when he’s playing in prime time. 16.6 projected points


Prescott was a disaster in Week 1 against Carolina when he passed for just 170 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, and he only had 19 rushing yards. He was sacked six times, and it’s clear he missed center Travis Frederick (illness), who remains out. The Cowboys receiving corps is terrible, and Prescott has a bad track record against the Giants. In four career meetings with New York, Prescott has one game with more than 20 Fantasy points, and he’s averaging just 17.0 Fantasy points over that span. He’s only worth using in two-quarterback leagues.

Bust Alert



team logo

View Profile

I know, you’re likely not sitting Brady in the majority of leagues, even in this tough matchup. And he just faced this defense in the AFC Championship Game last year and passed for 290 yards and two touchdowns. But Jacksonville’s pass rush will test this revamped offensive line, even more than Houston did last week when he passed for 277 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and was sacked just twice. He’s on the road, and the Jaguars believe they should have won that game last year to advance to the Super Bowl. This will be a fun matchup to watch, but Brady should struggle to have a dominant performance. If you can afford to sit him, it might be the right move to make.

Running backs

Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.com.  

16.6 projected points


I’m taking the free space here by saying to start him because who knows how much longer this will last. We should see Le’Veon Bell back before the end of the month, according to various reports, but until then it will be the Conner show. And he was awesome in Week 1 at Cleveland with 31 carries for 135 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and two touchdowns and five catches for 57 yards. He gets to face a Chiefs defense that just allowed 104 rushing yards and 14 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown to the Chargers running backs. Conner is a top three running back in Week 2. 11.9 projected points


If Peterson was facing any other opponent this week, I’d be skeptical of recommending people to start him. But this matchup against the Colts is too good. Hopefully, Peterson, 33, can get ramped up again for a full workload after he just had 26 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 70 yards at Arizona. It wasn’t quite vintage Peterson, but it was still fun to watch him dominate the Cardinals. And he should do the same against Indianapolis, which just allowed 149 total yards and a touchdown to Joe Mixon in Week 1. For one more week, Peterson should defeat Father Time. 11.8 projected points


There could be an update to the column prior to Sunday if Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is active against the Patriots, but if he’s out, Yeldon is a recommended starting Fantasy option in all leagues. Yeldon would get the majority of touches for the Jaguars, and he had 69 total yards and a touchdown at the Giants in Week 1, with most of that production coming after Fournette got hurt. The Patriots just allowed 134 rushing yards and a touchdown to Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue in Week 1, and Yeldon will hopefully run well behind this upgraded offensive line. Keep an eye on Fournette’s status, but Yeldon has plenty of upside if he’s featured in this game. 10.8 projected points


Freeman had a good NFL debut in Week 1 against Seattle, but he was overshadowed by Phillip Lindsay. Both running backs had 15 carries for 71 yards, but Lindsay added two catches for 31 yards and a touchdown. I like Lindsay as a sleeper this week, but I expect Freeman to go off. He’s facing a Raiders defense that is going on the road after playing on Monday night, and that group should be tired playing in the altitude. Oakland also just allowed Todd Gurley to gain 147 total yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Freeman isn’t Gurley, but he should have a big game this week. 10.2 projected points


Ajayi was impressive in Week 1 against Atlanta with 15 carries for 62 yards and two touchdowns, and he should build off that performance this week. It would be nice if he was more involved in the passing game, but coach Doug Pederson already said Ajayi would handle more touches in future outings. He’ll continue to rotate with Corey Clement and Darren Sproles, with the latter the primary option on passing downs, but Ajayi should again carry the offense with Carson Wentz (knee) and Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) out. Tampa Bay only allowed 38 rushing yards on 12 carries to Alvin Kamara and Mike Gillislee last week, but Kamara scored two rushing touchdowns. And he added nine catches for 112 yards and a touchdown through the air. Ajayi won’t do that, but he should have the chance to score again in Week 2. 9.3 projected points


Lewis was the best Titans running back in Week 1 at Miami, and it wasn’t exactly close. He had 16 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown, along with five catches for 35 yards. Derrick Henry, meanwhile, finished with just 10 carries for 26 yards, along with one catch for 5 yards. Now, Henry did have a 61-yard touchdown run called back by a penalty, and he’s a candidate to score every game. But this could be a game where Lewis dominates touches again, and the Patriots just had James White catch a touchdown against this Texans defense last week. We’ll see if offensive linemen Taylor Lewan (concussion) and Jack Conklin (knee) are able to play this week, as well as quarterback Marcus Mariota (elbow), but either way Lewis is a low-end starting option in non-PPR leagues and a must-start option in PPR.

Sleepers

  • Alfred Morris (vs. DET): The Lions run defense was abysmal in Week 1 against the Jets, who had 188 total yards and two rushing touchdowns in Week 1 from their backfield. Morris had more carries than Matt Breida in Week 1 at Minnesota and, more importantly, more red-zone chances. I like both 49ers running backs given the matchup against Detroit, but give Morris the edge over Breida this week.
  • Austin Ekeler (at BUF): Ekeler was great in tandem with Melvin Gordon in Week 1 against the Chiefs, and he finished the game with five carries for 39 yards and five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. He likely won’t be that productive against the Bills, although the Ravens just got three rushing touchdowns against Buffalo in Week 1. Ekeler is a solid flex play in all leagues this week.
  • James White (at JAC): As expected, White played well in Week 1 against Houston with five carries for 18 yards, along with four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown on a team-best nine targets. He should be heavily involved in the passing game again with Julian Edelman (suspension) out, and in last year’s AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville, the Patriots had 10 catches for 54 yards from Lewis and White, with White also scoring a rushing touchdown. White is a must-start PPR running back in Week 2 and a solid flex in non-PPR leagues.
  • Bilal Powell (vs. MIA): Isaiah Crowell was the star of the Jets backfield in Week 1 at Detroit with 10 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yard scoring run. Powell had more touches with 12 carries for 60 yards and one catch for 5 yards, and he’s still the better play of this running back duo. I like both as flex options this week against Miami, but I would lean toward Powell given his expected role in the passing game. If the Jets fall behind this week, Powell will see plenty of work.
  • Tevin Coleman (vs. CAR): We’ll see what happens with Devonta Freeman (knee) this week, but if he can’t go or suffers a setback during the game, Coleman would be a standout Fantasy option. He scored in Week 1 at Philadelphia after Freeman got hurt, and he typically thrives when Freeman misses time. Now, if Freeman is fine, we don’t recommend playing Coleman, so just keep an eye on his status prior to game time.

9.4 projected points


Williams quickly went from the penthouse to the outhouse after he was the Start of the Week in Week 1 to the Sit list in Week 2, but let’s be real. Even if he dominated the Bears in the season opener, he was likely in this spot against the Vikings. Unfortunately, Williams did not dominate Chicago last week, and the game script wasn’t in his favor once the Bears took an early lead followed by Aaron Rodgers (knee) getting hurt. He finished with just 15 carries for 47 yards and no catches on two targets. Minnesota held Morris and Breida to a combined 89 total yards last week, with neither running back scoring more than five PPR points, and that’s about what I expect from Williams in Week 2. 8.5 projected points


If you weren’t checking your live scoring in Week 1 and saw Tampa Bay scored 48 points at New Orleans, you would have expected a big outing from Barber. Not so much. While he established himself as the clear-cut No. 1 running back for the Buccaneers, especially with Ronald Jones as a healthy scratch, Barber managed just 19 carries for 69 yards and no catches. He should see more involvement in the passing game when Tampa Bay is chasing points — he had no targets against the Saints — but it’s hard to start him in PPR. In non-PPR leagues, he’s a flex option against the Eagles, who allowed just 95 total yards to Coleman and Freeman last week, although Coleman scored. Linebacker Nigel Bradham returns from his one-game suspension, which make Philadelphia’s defense even tougher, and I’m skeptical of Barber having a big game in this matchup. 6.6 projected points


Lynch is expected to play