Week 2 of the 2021 NFL season is already here, and that means fantasy football start and sit decisions are once again a top-of-mind priority.
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My goal in this weekly piece will be to feature fringe, underrated or overrated players across all positions in traditional 10- and 12-team leagues, along with deeper formats.
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Herbert’s Week 1 box score showcases a massively disappointing outing. He put up just 16.4 total fantasy points — a mark that awarded him a QB25 finish for the week. However, the final stat line hardly depicts Herbert’s actual performance.
The second-year player finished the week ranked fourth in PFF passing grade (83.8) and expected fantasy points. Herbert should have thrown 3.9 touchdowns as opposed to the lone score he did connect on.
The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year also saw elite protection from his revamped offensive line. Despite him facing the fearsome Washington Football Team front four, Herbert was pressured less than every other quarterback in Week 1 (12.2%).
With a matchup against a Carolina Panthers defense that just allowed 258 passing yards and two touchdown passes to a rookie quarterback in his NFL debut, Winston is plug-and-play off the waiver wire ahead of Week 2.
The Falcons started off their 2021 season in ugly fashion at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. Ryan threw for a measly 164 passing yards and scored just 7.4 fantasy points — 8.3 points under expectation.
The offseason concerns for Ryan without Julio Jones were on full display, as the Falcons quarterback struggled immensely to produce and push the ball downfield. His average depth of target ranked 30th on the week (5.2).
lowest % of pass attempts to WRs – Week 1
Matt Ryan – 28%
Jameis Winston – 29%
Carson Wentz – 33%
Baker Mayfield – 38%
Jared Goff – 42%
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) September 13, 2021
But there’s reason to believe Ryan can piece together a solid fantasy performance versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They are the quintessential “pass funnel” defense that forces offenses to throw. That was exhibited last Thursday night when Dak Prescott attempted 58 passes and scored 28.4 fantasy points against the unit.
Ryan has also enjoyed past success against this same Buccaneers defense even without Jones in the lineup. In those two such games last season, the Falcons signal-caller averaged over 300 passing yards, 2.5 passing touchdowns and 26.3 fantasy points per game.
If you missed out on Jameis Winston off the waiver wire, turn to Ryan.