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Week 2 Fantasy Football: Last-Minute Lineup Advice

For important game-time decisions, here are exclusive timely thoughts on all things fantasy football. Make informed choices about all your last-minute start and sit lineup options.

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For important game-time decisions, here are exclusive timely thoughts on all things fantasy football. Make informed choices about all your last-minute start and sit lineup options.

Andre Ellington (foot) said he’s “good to go” for Arizona’s game in New York. The Giants ranked 14th against the run last season, but held Detroit to just 76 yards on the ground in week one. The Lions did manage two rushing touchdowns in the game, however. The second-year back was able to create 80 all-purpose yards last week, playing through the injury on limited snaps. The leash should continue to grow slowly as Ellington works his way to full health. Carson Palmer has been working through a shoulder injury, but that didn’t stop him from tossing 27 of 32 complete for 269 yards and a score. Palmer looked impressive in a big win, and should be able to manage the pain en route to more big performances. UPDATE: 11:26 a.m. Palmer has been ruled out of today’s game.

Roddy White suited up with a sore knee last week, and caught five of six target for 72 yards and a trip to pay dirt. He’s listed as probable for the Falcons’ trip to Cincinnati, and should stay locked in all lineups. Before last season’s derailment, no player had been more consistent over a six-year span of fantasy seasons. White remained a top 20 receiver in all six seasons, and top 10 for five of those years, both unmatched. His position ranks from 2007 to 2012 finished at 14, 5, 6, 3, 8, and 8. Also remember that last year was the only time White ever missed a start in his professional career. Cincinnati ranked fifth against the pass in 2013, but allowed Joe Flacco to produce 329 yards a week ago.

Sammy Watkins (ribs) is probable to start against the Dolphins defense who ranked 21st last year, and 25th in scoring. Unproven rookie receivers are usually best stowed with your fantasy reserves until they can prove it. In his professional debut, the fourth-overall pick from Clemson turned four targets into three catches for 31 yards.

It’s that time again, for everyone’s favorite segment, “DeAng and J-Stew.” DeAngelo Williams (thigh) is questionable and unlikely to play Sunday against Detroit. That means Jonathan Stewart will get (another) shot to start alone, without Williams in the backfield. When playing together, Stewart has averaged 11.5 touches for 57.5 total yards and 0.4 scores. In his 12 career games without Williams, those numbers skyrocket to 18.4 touches, 96.8 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game. Unless you auto-picked, the real reason you drafted them was for days like these. Give Stewart the green light; you got this! Cam Newton will make his first start of 2014, after nursing a ribs injury last week. Newton was so excited in week one, he ran into the huddle in plain clothes to give his teammates a tip. The former Heisman winner is no doubt thrilled to begin his on-field partnership with Kelvin Benjamin, who looked like an absolute beast in his NFL debut. Benjamin stands at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds; if you haven’t seen last week’s highlight, pull it up. The rookie made a touchdown grab while wrapping his arms around the back of corner Mike Jenkins, who had him absolutely blanketed in coverage.

Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) are both still unknowns in the Bears’ lineup for Sunday Night Football in San Francisco. Speaking about Marshall, head coach Marc Trestman said, “He just walked through. At best, it was a light jog.” Jeffery gave the same level of dreadful uncertainty, “We’ll see. A game and practice is different.” They’ll both be game-time decisions. But with the penultimate start of the week, fantasy owners will need to look elsewhere to ensure some points on the field. Monitor closely.

Ben Tate (sprained knee) injured his knee in his Browns debut in Pittsburgh, and expects to miss two to four weeks. Terrance West played in relief, rushing 16 times for 100 yards. Third-stringer Isaiah Crowell stepped up as well, carrying the ball five times for 32 yards and two touchdowns. Three of his five touches came inside the red zone, which certainly clouds the fantasy value for West moving forward. There is a pending agreement between the NFL and NFLPA, which will affect drug policies and player suspensions. Josh Gordon has been notified that his suspension will be reduced to ten games, instead of a full calendar year. If you have space on your bench to sweat it out, Gordon could become that piece to push you through the playoffs. Jordan Cameron re-aggravated his sprained shoulder Sunday, but an MRI showed no structural damage. The tight end has been battling the injury to his right AC joint since August 2nd. “Yeah, it’s all good,” said Cameron. “Right now, it’s just a day-by-day thing. Just seeing how it feels when I wake up, and we’ll go from there.” The tight end added, “It’s going to get hit, so you’ve got to be able to take a hit.” Head coach Mike Pettine is hopeful Cameron can suit up, but owners will need to prepare for other options.

Wes Welker‘s suspension is expected to be lifted as part of the new NFLPA agreement with the NFL. ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen said “there continue to be significant unresolved issues” with the new policy, and that includes situations for players like Welker. This quote was printed by ESPN at 10:49AM on Saturday. Keep an eye as Sunday’s 4:25PM kickoff approaches in Denver. It’s entirely possible that Welker will be able to play. The Broncos may also opt to rest their star as well, especially considering his recent concussion. Emmanuel Sanders will play an increased role should Welker be forced to watch from the sideline. The NFLPA released a press statement on Saturday, “The Board of Player Representatives gave the NFLPA authority to complete new drug policies with the League consistent with detailed term sheets the players reviewed. We hope to have final agreements, including effective date for players with adjusted discipline, very soon.”

Eddie Lacy passed all concussion tests in his ten-day break since week one. He will start Sunday, and said he’ll return to the helmet style he wore last year. Lacy donned the Riddell SpeedFlex concussion-prevention helmet last week, when he suffered his second career concussion. “I’m going to go back to my old helmet. I liked that one better,” the second-year back said. “They say [the SpeedFlex] is supposed to stop concussions. A few of us have them on the team and I tried it out, and I think I’ll go back. When I had my old helmet, I didn’t get a concussion again after the first one.” Sorry, James Starks owners. Lacy and Aaron Rodgers are among the top options for week two.

New helmet, same style Arian Foster (ribs) is listed as probable, and is expected to make the start in Oakland. The Raiders allowed 212 yards rushing from the Jets last week, which ranked the 31st-best defensive performance in the league.

Toby Gerhart (ankle) is probable for week two. He expects to play over backup Denard Robinson. Allen Hurns made an impressive rookie debut last week, catching four passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Head coach Gus Bradley said that when starter Cecil Shorts returns, Hurns has earned the right to play above fellow rookie MarqiseLee, citing comfort level with the playbook.

Knowshon Moreno surprised everyone again, and for the second-straight year. Last time, it was usurping the impressive rookie Montee Ball. And now, the under-appreciated journeyman has leapfrogged another 2013 draftee. Lamar Miller got the start for Miami’s win over New England, but was only trusted with 15 touches for 78 yards. Moreno was handed 24 carries for 134 yards and a touchdown. Miller’s future is murky, and Moreno is a hot pickup yet again.

Adrian Peterson became the story of the week, and it was a long week at that. After Ray Rice news saturated news outlets for days, reports came that All Day was being indicted for child abuse. Much more is yet to be revealed, but at the time, Minnesota is starting Matt Asiata and giving Peterson the week off. Rookie Jerick McKinnon is a stud waiting to shine. If you have the stomach for it, monitor the news closely. The NFL may react as early as Monday. If you’re a fantasy owner, it may be time to move on and start fresh.

Rob Gronkowski will extend his consecutive start streak to two this Sunday. When healthy, there are few better red zone options than the 6-foot-6 Patriots tight end.

Odell Beckham, Jr. (hamstring) has been ruled out for week two’s contest against the Cardinals. Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz were abysmal in week one, combining for four scoreless receptions and 25 yards.

Maurice Jones-Drew underwent hand surgery on Monday, and somehow remains optimistic about playing week two. Any human of pronounced logic would expect Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray to carry the load this week, with Jones-Drew inactive. If you want to believe the “questionable” tag could turn into something positive, then check in before the 4:25PM kickoff against Houston. The Texans were 23rd against the run in 2013, and just lost Jadeveon Clowney in their season debut.

Austin Davis will likely start for the Rams’ lackluster offense this week, while Shaun Hill recovers from a thigh injury. Davis connected on 16 of 23 passes for 192 yards and an interception in last week’s 34-6 loss to the Vikings. It’s going to be a long winter in St. Louis.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been ruled out for week two with a foot injury. The offense will run through Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans. Doug Martin may or may not have been benched for poor performance in week one. The third-year back compiled nine yards on nine carries before coming out of the game. Bobby Rainey may play a part in the running game moving forward. When asked about Martin’s benching, head coach Lovie Smith remained adamant, “[he] hurt his knee, and we took him out.” Smith added, “I’ve talked about how important Doug is to us. Just our running game in general, we were trying to get it going with all of our guys. Doug is our lead guy. We weren’t able to for whatever reason this first game, but we’ll stay committed to it.” Martin was tagged as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com and espn.com.

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