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2021 NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Quarterbacks

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'em

Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams LA · QB
Indianapolis Colts
2021 · 0-1-0

I don’t know if you stayed up for the Rams and Bears game on Sunday night. It was weird. Stafford was good. But he didn’t do a whole lot. I mean his first touchdown happened because the Bears defense forgot that basic rules of football. They refused to cover Cooper Kupp for some reason. It was odd. But I loved that the Rams wanted to open it up. Stafford was great on long-yardage. He was 7-9 for 212 yards with three touchdowns and a passer rating of 158.3 on downfield passes (10+ air yards). He was also 8-8 for 155 yards and two touchdowns on play-action passes. The Colts defense looked vulnerable on Sunday. You might have been iffy on Stafford when you picked him up this year. Don’t be now.

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles PHI · QB
San Francisco 49ers
2021 · 1-0-0

I was puzzled when people wanted the Eagles to take another quarterback during the draft last year. Maybe those people don’t play enough fantasy. Hurts picked up right where he left off last season. He was most impressive against the blitz going 9-11 for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the blitz on Sunday. He had four touchdowns against the blitz last year. Hurts wasn’t the downfield thrower he was last season, but still highly effective. I mean, he was still 7-8 with two touchdowns on passes of 10+ air yards. But He averaged just 3.7 air yards per attempt. No matter, you’re starting him regardless of the matchup. And it’s not like Jared Goff didn’t put up points (garbage time still counts).

Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans TEN · QB
Seattle Seahawks
2021 · 1-0-0

Tannehill wasn’t great against the Birds on Sunday. The Cardinals. I know it annoys Eagles fans if I refer to the Cardinals as the Birds. And since I’m still not over the double-doink, I’m going to keep annoying them. Hey look, Tannehill has another Bird mascot this week. But he wasn’t great, but he wasn’t Aaron Rodgers bad, either. Thanks to a rushing touchdown. How weird will it be if Tannehill becomes the defacto goal-line back because Derrick Henry is washed according to Twitter. Carson Wentz exposed a few vulnerabilities for the Seahawks defense that still remain from the last few years of the Legion of Boom becoming like the nWo B-team from back in the day. Feel comfortable with Tannehill. Although the offensive line needs to play better. Tannehill was sacked six times, that can’t happen again.

Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons ATL · QB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2021 · 1-0-0

My favorite part of all of this is the Falcons traded Julio which meant they were thinking of rebuilding. Why wouldn’t you start Arthur Smith’s coaching tenure with a quarterback he could grow with? Like what the Jets did with Sam Darnold and Zach Wilson? Because the Falcons could have easily drafted Justin Fields. And as a Bears fan, I’m happy they didn’t. But that’s going to linger for a while. All that being said, I’m going back to Ryan this week against the Bucs. I know you think it’s a tough matchup. Ryan threw for 616 and five touchdowns in two games against the Bucs last year. And at the end of the year when the Bucs were marching towards the Super Bowl.

Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns CLE · QB
Houston Texans
2021 · 1-0-0

Everybody was pulling for the Browns on Sunday. And when they went up for nine, it really seemed like Cleveland was destined to dethrone the Chiefs in the AFC this season. And then the unpleasantness happened. The Browns are a good football team. Very talented. They need to find a way to close games. It’s cool to beat the Steelers in the playoffs. You need to develop that winner’s mentality. That starts with this week with the Texans. Surprise winners over the Jaguars on Sunday. But let’s not give into that too much. The Browns are going to bounce back this week with a huge performance. And those of you in deeper leagues who need to scramble for a quarterback, Baker could be a great option.

*Sleeper Alert*
Mac Jones
New England Patriots NE · QB
New York Jets
2021 · 0-1-0

Jones is the fourth player since at least 1950 with at least 275 passing yards, one touchdown pass, no picks and a completion percentage over 70 percent in his first career start. The other three guys won their games, but that’s just being mean. But I thought Mac was really good in his first start and showed some incredible touch. There really is an opportunity for him to have a big game against the Jets who looked vulnerable in Week 1. I know that seems like a bit of a slight towards Darnold. I’m not saying that at all. There was no shade intended. And if you didn’t take it that way, you do now. So I probably shouldn’t have said anything.

Other sleepers: Teddy Bridgewater at Jacksonville Jaguars; Kirk Cousins at Arizona Cardinals; Ben Roethlisberger vs. Las Vegas Raiders.

Sit 'em

Jared Goff
Detroit Lions DET · QB
Green Bay Packers
2021 · 0-1-0

Liz Loza had the best description of Goff’s performance on Sunday when she said, “Detroit pizza is the worst style of pizza, but it’s still pizza so it’s good.” And that’s what it was like for Goff who was brutal on Sunday but still managed to have a great stat line in some serious garbage time. And look, that’s probably a good formula. The Lions getting blown out and Goff gets some serious garbo time to win you a week in fantasy. That’s a difficult way for me to live. I’d rather go with a Rodgers bounce-back instead of hoping for the best with Goff.

Tyrod Taylor
Houston Texans HOU · QB
Cleveland Browns
2021 · 0-1-0

I mean, maybe we put too much faith in the Jacksonville Jaguars. And maybe we underestimated the Texans just a little bit. Let’s not get carried away. We love Tyrod. We want him to be good in the NFL. We all want that. I don’t like this matchup against the Browns. Sure, Patrick Mahomes put up a lot of points against the Browns. But that’s because he’s Patrick Mahomes. He’s the dude who blows the curve. Kind of like me in my high school history class (true story). We can put some respect on Tyrod’s name and think of him as a possible streamer in the future. Not this week. When do they play Jacksonville again?

Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals CIN · QB
Chicago Bears
2021 · 0-1-0

Has it come to this? Are we starting opposing quarterbacks against the Bears? I hate to be this person because it’s just one week. Burrow was also impressive, though. So maybe this is more of an endorsement of Joey and not so much a shot at the Bears. I mean, we knew the secondary was going to be a bit dicey this season ever since Kyle Fuller left for Denver. Joey was great against the Vikings, going 20-27 for 261 yards and two touchdowns. And even though he was eventually out-scored by Trevor Lawrence, that was still a good day. I only bring up that last point because some dude was trolling me hard for most of Sunday, until Trevor hit that third touchdown. Funny how that works. But all that being said, I’m not sure I have Joey as a start this week. Not because he’s not great. Instead, there are 12 quarterbacks I have ranked ahead of him. I mean, if you’re looking between Burrow and, say, Taylor Heinicke, sure. Fire him up. But as a start, I can’t do that.

Jameis Winston
New Orleans Saints NO · QB
Carolina Panthers
2021 · 1-0-0

Are we not going to talk about how great Winston was against the Packers on Sunday? I mean, if you would have told me that one of those quarterbacks was going to light it up and the other was going to throw multiple picks, we would've had this reversed, right? It’s kind of like finding out Dexter Holland has a PhD in molecular biology. You just never saw that coming. One of the things the Saints coaching staff did so well was keeping those throws a little closer to home. Winston averaged 8.7 air yards per attempt, compared to 10.5 in 2019. And Winston still made one of those patented throws where he tried to thread the needle in the end zone and had it picked. Luckily for him, the call was nullified by a (questionable) roughing the passer so let’s not get cocky about it. Winston was pressured just 20 percent of the time on Sunday against the Packers. The Panthers did a great job pressuring Zach Wilson on nearly 40 percent of his drop backs (and holding him ineffective). So we can be happy for Winston. I’m just being a little cautious before I rush him into my lineup. The Saints also have New England and the Giants coming up.

Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers SF · QB
Philadelphia Eagles
2021 · 1-0-0

There are a couple of things working here. The Eagles were very good against Matt Ryan and the Falcons on Sunday. And Jimmy gave up a few plays to Trey Lance against the Lions. I mean, Jimmy still ended up with a pretty good day. But it’s almost like a quarterback by committee and that’s a hard pass for me. No disrespect to the pride of Arlington Heights. But I just can’t do it.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter.

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