SSSQ is a weekly look at under-the-radar fantasy players to consider starting and potential busts you should leave on your bench. We also identify breakout candidates to stash on your roster and players you can safely cut.
Rodgers kicked off the season with a throwback performance, tossing for 364 yards and four touchdowns during an easy win in Minnesota. It's possible the Packers' franchise passer has some added motivation this year after the front office elected to draft his eventual replacement in the first round, but don't underestimate just how bad the Vikings' cornerback situation is in 2020.
Fortunately for the 36-year-old, he gets another favorable opponent in Week 2 as the Lions travel to Green Bay fresh off allowing Mitch Trubisky to save his starting job with a three-TD outing.
Part of Rodgers' success in the opener was a more pass-happy approach that featured 44 passing attempts. He only topped 40 attempts on three occasions last year, with one of them coming against Detroit in Week 17.
In a game with the fourth-highest projected point total on the slate at 49, you can feel confident with Rodgers in your lineup this week.
Boone's projection: 311 passing yards, 3 passing TDs, 7 rushing yards
Other QBs to start
Leonard Fournette's role in the Buccaneers' backfield will only grow as his understanding of the playbook improves. However, you can't ignore that Jones appeared to be the better back in last week's loss to the Saints, who boast a top-notch run defense.
Jones amassed 82 yards from scrimmage on 19 touches, while Fournette contributed a Peyton Barber-esque 5 yards on five carries with another 14 yards on his lone reception.
That keeps Jones in the driver's seat for at least another week, and Tampa's rushing attack should find much more room to work with versus a Panthers defense in the middle of a rebuild. Carolina gave up 133 rushing yards, 84 receiving yards, and three touchdowns to Raiders running backs in Week 1.
With Tom Brady and Co. looking to rebound, the Bucs should roll as 8.5-point favorites, meaning plenty of positive game script for Jones to finish as a top-20 fantasy back.
Boone's projection: 76 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, TD
Other RBs to start
After playing through his rookie year at less than 100 percent, Brown entered his sophomore season healthy and ready to show why the Ravens used a first-round pick on him.
If the early results are any indication, fantasy managers who took him around his sixth-round ADP are going to be very pleased. With defenses focusing on slowing down Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' run game at the line of scrimmage, Brown is there to make them pay downfield.
As long as Brown stays healthy, you can treat him a strong WR2 who shouldn't leave your starting lineup.
Boone's projection: 87 receiving yards, TD
Other WRs to start
We still don't know how long Michael Thomas will be sidelined with his high ankle sprain. Some reports suggest he'll miss several weeks and others maintain hope that he can play through the pain.
Even with Thomas in the lineup over Cook's last 10 games, the veteran tight end has been a major factor in the Saints' offense, averaging 67.1 yards per contest and scoring seven times. His stats during that stretch would put him on pace for 1,074 yards and 11 touchdowns over a full 16-game season. With Thomas banged up, Cook's target share is even more secure.
His 5-80-0 line in the opener is just a sign of things to come as Cook re-establishes himself as a top-six fantasy tight end. The Raiders' defenders didn't have much to contend with in terms of tight end play last week, but they'll have their hands full in this one.
Boone's projection: 91 receiving yards, TD
Other TEs to start
Wentz didn't play poorly in the opener, he was just limited by the unchecked onslaught of Washington pass-rushers breaking into the pocket at will.
Sean McVay's crew held Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' loaded receiving corps to 266 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. It's hard to imagine Wentz topping those numbers without a significant improvement to his blocking.
Even after being upset in Week 1, we can take away plenty of positive signs for the Eagles' pass offense, including their aggressiveness pushing the ball downfield. Now they just need to create enough time and space to allow Wentz to make those throws.
Find a temporary fantasy replacement for Wentz while knowing better days will come when the line gets settled. He'll be safe to start next Sunday in a get-right game against the Bengals.
Boone's projection: 245 passing yards, TD, 2 INTs, FUM
Other QBs to sit
Phillip Lindsay hasn't officially been ruled out for Week 2, but initial reports suggested his toe injury will shelve him for a few weeks.
That might lead some fantasy managers to get excited about Melvin Gordon having the Broncos' backfield to himself, but not so fast. In the event that Lindsay does miss time, Royce Freeman would likely step up and assume the majority of his touches. So, Gordon will stay in the 15-18 touch range.
Even more concerning is the scary matchup with the Steelers, which should give you pause about playing any Broncos this week, especially their running backs. Pittsburgh held Saquon Barkley to six rushing yards on 15 carries.
For Gordon to deliver in this one, he'll need to excel as a pass-catcher or find the end zone, and those aren't outcomes you should be banking on against this stout front.
Boone's projection - 29 rushing yards, 16 receiving yards
Other RBs to sit
Is it possible that Jones is more effective when playing alongside Kenny Golladay?
That's a question we have to ask after Jones only came away with four catches and 55 yards on eight targets in the loss to the Bears. When the Lions' No. 1 wideout is inactive, Jones sees tougher coverage that he's not as well-equipped to overcome.
Golladay continues to be a question mark heading into Week 2.
Even with volume on his side, Jones will be a risky WR3 versus the Packers, whom he's struggled to produce against in recent years. In his last two dates with Green Bay, Jones has managed three catches total.
Hopefully, you have a better option to pivot to this week.
Boone's projection: 41 receiving yards
Other WRs to sit
In his first game since ending his retirement, the 31-year-old Gronkowski caught just two passes for 11 yards. And it wasn't due to a lack of playing time like some theorized before the season.
Gronk took the field on 54 of Tampa's 70 offensive plays, leading the team's tight ends in that category, but he was outproduced by teammate O.J. Howard who finished with four receptions, 36 yards, and a touchdown.
The Panthers employ exactly the type of defense that could help Gronk knock off the rust and put up numbers more reminiscent of his Patriots days. However, it's safe to wonder whether his role in this offense will involve more blocking while other younger pass-catchers make more of an impact downfield.
In a year filled with quality fantasy tight ends and several intriguing options who may still break out, Gronk is a touchdown-dependent play who's best left on your bench.
Boone's projection: 31 receiving yards
Other TEs to sit
Most high-upside running backs are rostered in at least half of fantasy leagues. However, Williams has somehow only been scooped up in 19% despite being the No. 2 back on the best offense in football. If rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire were to miss time for any reason, Williams would be an instant RB2 with RB1 upside.
With Thomas injured, it's surprising that more fantasy managers haven't taken a chance on Smith yet. While veteran Emmanuel Sanders is rostered in the majority of formats, Smith is still available in 93% of fantasy leagues and could emerge as a sneaky WR3 or flex play until Thomas returns.
We knew Johnson's fantasy stock had taken a hit when D'Andre Swift was drafted. What we didn't know is the Lions would add a future Hall of Famer in Adrian Peterson, forcing Johnson into a diminished role as the third runner in a backfield he once led. In Week 1, he saw the field on 20 snaps and turned his seven carries into just 14 yards. With Peterson and Swift playing more snaps and producing more yards, Johnson will need an injury (or two) ahead of him on the depth chart to become fantasy relevant again.
Jefferson spent a portion of training camp on the Reserve/COVID-19 list - a less-than-ideal start for a rookie at a time when practice reps are extremely valuable. It's possible we see the first-rounder push for a bigger target share as the season moves along, but for now, he's well down the pecking order in the Vikings' low-volume passing attack. Don't hesitate to cut him loose in re-draft leagues.