Week Two of the NFL season left fantasy football owners shaking their heads. A rash of injuries and disappointing performances from early round draft picks caused frustration across the fantasy world. Owners who invested in Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin, Thomas Rawls, or Danny Woodhead will now be scouring the waiver wire and aggressively setting tomorrow night’s priority list.
In addition, there were poor performances from big name stars. Can Allen Robinson start producing? Should I drop Coby Fleener? Where is Randall Cobb? Week Three always answers the question: Were the first two weeks of the season an outlier or a trend?
Here is our weekly look around the league through the fantasy football lens.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Rapid Reaction
Skinny: Big win for the Jets in a game they really needed. Fitzpatrick had his best overall game in a Jets uniform (24 of 34, 374 yard, 1 touchdown). Decker may be the most consistent wide receiver in the NFL (126 yard, 1 touchdown), and Enunwa (92 yards) is becoming a viable WR3 option. An unfortunate casualty of this game was Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman. This combined with Watkins obvious injury, should help jumpstart McCoy again. He’s getting the touches, the production will soon come. If Watkins is out, Taylor should be severely downgraded. He’s averaging almost eight less fantasy points per game without Watkins in the lineup.
Skinny: Pittsburgh wins a rain soaked all school AFC North game. Bernard erupted as the best receiver for Dalton with nine catches on 11 targets for 100 yards. Coates gave quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a nice second weapon with 97 receiving yards, albeit on only two catches. Jesse James looks better each week and grabbed his first career touchdown as a starting tight end. Williams continues to shine as the lead running back in Pittsburgh’s backfield. His total of 32 carries may be the season long high for 2016. Try and steal Jeremy Hill from the frustrated fantasy owner, better days are coming. Starting at Jets and at Pittsburgh is a tough slate for any running back. Hill is a huge buy low candidate. Dalton has been efficient, but lacks offensive weapons. Only two touchdowns in two games, and the cold weather hasn’t even started yet. Waiver wire options like Brock Osweiler and Ryan Fitzpatrick are substantially more appealing.
Skinny: Impressive win for Tennessee against a Detroit team that won in Indianapolis in Week One. Walker recovered with a six target, six reception for 83 yards and a touchdown game. Jones has established himself as the clear number one receiver in Detroit, exploding for eight catches (11 targets) for 118 yards. Mariota led the Titans to 13 fourth quarter points, and finished with two passing touchdowns after being pressured all game. If Murray keeps catching passes at this rate (seven catches), the presence of Derrick Henry is a non-issue. Stafford had several touchdowns called back for penalties, the volume (40 pass attempts) in the no-huddle will always be there. Everyone wanted to know how Anquan Boldin would affect this offense. It improved the overall offense but has hurt Tate’s production severely. He should be benched in all formats for Week Three.
Cleveland vs. Baltimore: Baltimore wins 25-20
Fantasy Stock up: Joe Flacco, Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace, Isaiah Crowell, Corey Coleman, Dennis Pitta
Relax about: Duke Johnson
Be concerned about: Gary Barnidge
Skinny: Baltimore goes to 2-0 with a road win at Cleveland. Flacco seems recovered from his torn ACL/MCL last season, and the volume (45 attempts) will be there in a Marc Trestman offense. Steve Smith made some nice plays, and Wallace (two touchdowns) gives Flacco a great deep weapon. Crowell looks like a viable RB2 the rest of the season, and broke an 85 yard touchdown run in route to 133 rushing yards. Coleman connected with McCown right away, and the rookie went over 100 yards and had two touchdowns in the win. In a down year for tight ends, Pitta (9 catches for 102 yards) looks like a top ten play as long as his health prevails. In a Hue Jackson offense, Duke Johnson will improve moving forward. As the primary pass-catching running back he will see massive targets. In Cincinnati last season, Tyler Eifert had 13 touchdowns but only 72 targets. It is possible he just doesn’t use tight ends that much. The concern about Gary Barnidge is real.
Skinny: Washington starts the season losing their second consecutive home game. Cousins hasn’t put up the touchdown numbers, and has struggled mightily in the Red Zone. His volume and contract year status should comfort owners. Chris Thompson is a great waiver wire pickup for a team that may be trailing a lot this season. Bryant (12 targets, 102 yards) eased the minds of fantasy owners. Starting to think Beasley has relevance in PPR leagues. Prescott will continue to target, and Witten often stays on the offensive line to block. Terrence Williams failed to be targeted once after last week’s mental blunder to end the game. There are much better WR3 candidates on the waiver wire.
Skinny: The high scoring game that wasn’t. Shepard has become a solid WR2 and should be started in all formats. Great to see Cruz fully recovered, and being targeted 8 times. Snead solidified his Week One output with a nice road touchdown. Thomas was second on the team with yards (56), and is the main reason Fleener owners should hit the waiver wire. Between Brandin Cooks, Snead, and Thomas, there just aren’t enough opportunities for Fleener. Many Teams are shying away from the tight end and just going to three wide receiver sets (New York Jets, Indianapolis). The Saints seem to be headed that way. Ingram is still the main RB in New Orleans, his production will return. Inquire to frustrated owners about a trade.
Skinny: San Francisco performed well off a short week flying to the East Coast. McDonald only caught one pass, but it was a 75 yard touchdown. In a shaky tight end year, he can be started each week. Benjamin is off to a fantasy start, having seen 28.8% of all Carolina pass attempts. Whittaker looks to be the Jonathan Stewart replacement, and should post RB2 numbers in that time. Funchess is a great athlete, and will gain more isolation opportunities with Benjamin’s weekly performances. Hyde underwhelmed this week, and will continue to do so when San Francisco is trailing. As a Las Vegas underdog the rest of the season, that may be quite often.
New England vs. Miami: New England wins 31-24
Fantasy Stock up: Jarvis Landry, Kenyan Drake, LeGarrette Blount, DeVante Parker, Martellus Bennett
Relax about: Julian Edelman
Be concerned about: Arian Foster
Skinny: New England opened up a 21-0 lead only to see Jimmy Garoppolo get injured and the momentum shift. Landry (13 targets, 10 catches for 137 yards) and Parker (13 targets, 8 catches for 106 yards) were strong fantasy performers. Be careful moving forward with Parker however, it may have been a result of game script. For the first time in a long time, the Patriots running back carries seem very clear. Blount has been fantastic as New England tries a ball control offense until Tom Brady returns in Week 5. Bennett caught his first touchdown, and Edelman’s will come very soon. Foster’s injury was inevitable, and Jay Ajayi‘s fumble may push Kenyan Drake to a bigger role. The Alabama standout scored his first career touchdown on Sunday.
Skinny: Defensive battle in Houston. Not much from a fantasy perspective. Miller continues to get carries and a few passing game targets. The scoring will come shortly. Fuller is a major contributor on offense and is now a WR3 in all formats. Hopkins will draw coverage and Fuller is talented enough to take advantage. Kelce hasn’t produced yet, but still should finish as a top 10 fantasy tight end in 2016. He still received seven targets, and is the clear second option behind Maclin (15 targets). The Spencer Ware honeymoon is over, as Jamaal Charles should return next week. Without the goal line carries, his fantasy production takes a huge hit moving forward.
Skinny: More of a baseball score than football score here. The Rams win their new home opener, yet without Gurley scoring a touchdown. Similar to Lamar Miller, the workload is there, and the points will soon follow. Somebody has to be the primary receiver in Los Angeles, and for now it looks like Britt (10 targets, six catches for 97 yards). The injury to Doug Baldwin has two ramifications. First, Lockett should see a huge uptick in targets and production (99 receiving yards). Second, it hurts Wilson, who already has to contend with protection issues. The Seahawks always figure it out by playoff time, but owners should look to the waiver wire until the consistency returns.
Skinny: The Cardinals responded to a disappointing Week One home loss to the Patriots with a thrashing of the Buccaneers. Palmer regained the form that made him the fifth fantasy quarterback from 2015, with 308 yards and three touchdowns. Fitzgerald continues to produce at age 33, with 11 targets (81 yards and a touchdown) to lead Arizona. The injury to Doug Martin could provide a huge opportunity for running back Charles Sims. Sims was already a major factor in the passing game. Two bad games in a row for John Brown has opened the door for fellow wide receiver Jaron Brown (78 yards, one touchdown). It is possible the effects of his preseason concussion are lingering. Floyd started slow last year, and was a major fantasy force at season’s end. As defenses adjust to Fitzgerald, Palmer will find the 26 year old for big downfield gains.
Skinny: Big home opener for San Diego in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score indicates. Rivers was tremendous with 220 yards and four passing touchdowns. Gordon also starred with 120 total yards and a touchdown. Tyrell Williams looks like the most likely candidate to to improve as a result of Keenan Allen‘s injury. The second year wide receiver had 61 yards and a touchdown on six targets. Thomas continues to provide steady tight end yardage on high targets (seven). The Allen Robinson (three catches for 54 yards) concern is growing, as Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett blanketed him all game. The Jaguars first two opponents have simply been bad matchups. He gets a Ravens defense this week that struggled with deep passes in Week Two. Yeldon’s rushing struggles aren’t as concerning as his receiving struggles. He caught eight passes, but only gained 10 yards. A 1.3 yards per reception average is always a cause for alarm, and his role will decrease when Chris Ivory returns.
Skinny: Great afternoon game in California between two high powered offenses. Ryan followed up a seventh best fantasy quarterback Week One, with a second best Week Two. Coleman continues to produce, and is actually catching more passes than Devonta Freeman. Murray is ceding more touches this season, but was ultra efficient (57 rushing yards, 44 receiving yards, one touchdown) this week. Cooper, as usual, led Oakland in targets (nine) and receiving yards (71). Those owners who were patient with Walford (six catches for 50 yards and one touchdown) were rewarded. Crabtree only had 31 yards, but still is a Red Zone target with Cooper drawing coverage. Freeman’s fantasy output is still productive (93 rushing yards), but not what was expected from his top three draft average draft position.
Skinny: Anderson continues producing in both the rushing and passing game. He is currently the third best fantasy running back in the league. Booker should be stashed in all leagues, there may be enough carries to go around with a first year starting quarterback. Gore has suffered through two tough matchups and gutted out 11 tough fantasy points on the road. With Moncrief’s status unknown for Sunday, Dorsett could get a chance to shine at home vs. San Diego. Luck has only played one good fantasy half of football this year, but he will start to produce consistently as the year develops. Allen wasn’t a high volume tight end to begin with, but with Jack Doyle stealing targets he is now droppable in all formats.
Skinny: Diggs is tied for second among all fantasy wide receivers in standard scoring leagues with 34 points. He looks the absolute part of a WR1 this season. Many coaches said that Bradford was not a good fit for a Chip Kelly offense, could the switch to Minnesota prove that to be true? His first game was a huge positive: 286 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Rudolph has always been underutilized, and sometimes a quarterback switch can make a huge difference. With Peterson’s torn miniscus injury, McKinnon becomes a definite start, especially in PPR formats. Cobb has underwhelmed so far, but with Jordy on the field his production is inevitable. At some point, the coaches will turn away from Lacy. James Starks played well last season, and is waiting patiently in the wings.
Skinny: Quarterback Carson Wentz showed a ton of poise in leading the Eagles to a nice road win on Monday Night Football. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to win his teams first two games without a turnover. Mathews didn’t accumulate a lot of rushing yards (32), but his two rushing touchdowns more than made up for it. As long as Jeffery stays healthy, he will be a borderline WR1 every week. Even if Cutler is out and Brian Hoyer starts next week. Many thought Brent Celek was in for a great game when Zach Ertz got hurt, but Burton played and scored a touchdown. Jordan Matthews had a disappointing game, which was exacerbated by a dropped 35 yard touchdown catch. Langford played poorly (2.5 yards per carry, one fumble) and Jordan Howard impressed in limited work. Definitely something to monitor moving forward.