Start Michael Thomas vs. Rashid Shaheed vs. George Pickens vs. Elijah Moore | Fantasy Football Week 2 WR Start Decision
The Monday night doubleheader continues to provide the FantasySP “Who Should I Start? tool with plenty of great matchup debates. One of the trending decisions now includes wide receivers from three of the teams in action.
New Orleans Saints’ Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed, Pittsburgh Steelers’ George Pickens and Cleveland Browns’ Elijah Moore will be at the center of this discussion. Have two or more of these players on your roster and can’t decide which one to play? Let me help you make the right choice.
Tough start decision? We have you covered. Find out in depth stats, red zone opportunities, projections, breaking news, and crowdsourcing real fantasy owners faced with the same start/sit decision. Check out our Who Should I Start tool.
Why You Should Start Michael Thomas
Thomas looked solid in his return to the Saints’ lineup in week 1. The wideout had eight targets, catching five for 61 yards.
Thomas played the most snaps (52) of any pass catcher on the roster. The veteran got three of the team’s six red zone targets.
While Thomas finished second on the team in targets and catches to Chris Olave, and behind Olave and Shaheed in receiving yards, it was still a positive return for the fantasy owners that started him.
He’ll now go up against a Carolina Panthers’ defense that allowed just three catches and 31 yards to opposing receivers in week 1. Atlanta passed the ball just 18 times in total, and the Falcons lack the number of offensive weapons that the Saints do, so take those week 1 numbers with a grain of salt.
Thomas is the third-ranked Saints’ receiver in our week 2 projections. He’s projected at six targets, 3.8 catches, 45 yards and 0.1 touchdowns.
Why You Should Start Rashid Shaheed
Shaheed was targeted six times in the team’s opening game, hauling in five passes for 89 yards. He caught the team’s only touchdown and had New Orleans’ only red zone catch. Shaheed did all that damage despite playing 35 snaps, which trailed Thomas, Olave and tight end Juwan Johnson.
Shaheed’s opening game has many fantasy owners labeling him as a breakout star this season. The receiver had 28 catches, 488 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie in 12 games played in 2022.
Shaheed finished with over 89 yards in one contest last year. He played in just one of the team’s two contests against Atlanta, catching three passes on four targets for 95 yards and a score.
The wideout is projected at five targets, 3.2 receptions, 45 yards and 0.3 touchdowns in week 2.
Why You Should Start George Pickens
While the Saints have several options to turn to in the receiver room, the Steelers’ wideout room is a bit banged up heading into Monday’s game. Diontae Johnson has already been ruled out for the game, which opens up the possibility of more work for a guy like Pickens.
Robinson ended up leading the team with eight targets and 64 yards. Calvin Austin was the team’s leader in receptions with six, but those went for just 37 yards. Tight end Pat Freiermuth also was involved, with four targets and the team’s lone touchdown catch.
So even with Johnson out of the picture, Pickens won’t necessarily be the team’s preferred target in the passing game. It’s also worth noting that Pickens was on the injury report with a hamstring injury, but there aren’t any reports out there saying he’ll be limited in any fashion.
Pickens is ranked as the top Pittsburgh wideout, projecting for seven targets, 4.1 catches, 56 yards and 0.3 touchdowns.
Why You Should Start Elijah Moore
Moore probably wouldn’t be a part of this start/sit debate on most weeks, but with Amari Cooper not likely to play, Moore should see an expanded role. In the opener, Moore was targeted seven times, the same as Cooper.
Moore caught three passes for 43 yards and played 51 snaps. He was targeted twice in the red zone, catching both. Moore trailed only Donovan People-Jones (66) and tight end David Njoku (54) in snaps played.
As I mentioned in a start/sit running back debate, I would not be surprised if the Browns make it a point to run the ball a lot against the Steelers. In the passing game, it could be a balanced approach, as it was in week 1.
Moore is the Browns’ second-ranked receiver for week 2, behind Cooper. Moore is being projected at seven targets, 3.2 catches, 42 yards and 0.1 touchdowns.
Final Numbers and the Recommended Start
Pickens is the top-ranked receiver in this four-player discussion. Shaheed is a spot behind him, while Moore is a spot ahead of Thomas a bit down the list.
Owners are starting Pickens over Moore and Shaheed, but Thomas is preferred over Pickens. Thomas is the preferred start over Moore and Shaheed as well. Moore is the preferred start over Shaheed.
This is one of the closer start/sit battles that I’ve looked into, and is the hardest to try and give advice on. I’m a fan of the Saints’ offense over the Steelers and Browns, but that also means there’s more mouths to feed, which could cut into the production of Thomas and Shaheed.
I would still have to agree with the decision of starting Thomas over any of the other receivers in question. Despite an injury-riddled career, he has the best track record and history of performing in primetime games.
I would next go with Pickens, as he likely has the better chance to lead his team in receiving than Shaheed or Moore would. I’d then go against what most people are doing and take Shaheed over Moore, simply because I don’t think the Browns will pass a whole lot tonight if they don’t have to.#michael-thomas #rashid-shaheed #george-pickens #elijah-moore