With Joe Mixon out 2-4 weeks, Gio becomes the priority add of the week at RB. When Mixon missed 2 full games last year, Gio had 17 touches in each game and was productive. If you count the two games in which Mixon was either out or limited because of the same injury, we have a sample size of four games, where Bernard averaged 15.3 carries, 4.5 catches, and almost 110 yards from scrimmage in each game. Because of Gio’s natural ability in the passing game, he stays relevant in any matchup. If you look at the next two weeks, we just saw Tevin Coleman do just fine against Carolina, and Atlanta is not good against pass-catching RBs. Miami and Pittsburgh doesn’t scare me either if Mixon continues to miss. If you desperately need help at RB over the next couple of weeks, Gio is the add. He’s also worth keeping away from your opponents.
There’s also word from Philadelphia that Jay Ajayi can miss Week 3, and with Darren Sproles also banged up, Corey Clement can see some serious work. He’s a better start than Ajayi because he’ll be involved on early and passing downs. Ajayi needs a TD to be relevant when he plays, but Clement isn’t dependent on just early down carries and TDs. It seems like a one week injury, but when it’s declared this early in the week that he probably won’t play, there might be more to this. For now, Clement is a one or two week rental, but someone who can see work in an offense that is getting their savior back in Carson Wentz. He’s a must pick-up this week if you can use him at RB or if you want to keep him away from your opponent.
In PPR leagues, Allen needs to be owned. He had 6 and 7 targets in the last two games, respectively, and caught 5 in each. On top of that, he’s getting goal line looks and converting. Kenneth Dixon isn’t eligible to return from IR until Week 11, so Allen should continue to see work in the pass game. With the Ravens not looking like the elite defense they were last season, they might have to continue to throw; they’ve had the third most pass attempts over the first two games.
Dalvin Cook says his hamstring injury is fine, but let’s not assume that’s the case. If it wasn’t just because of fatigue and cramping like he says it is, soft tissue injuries can linger. I wouldn’t go super aggressive after Murray, but he should be picked up this week in case Cook can’t go. Murray will be involved in both the run and pass game, and can rack up 20+ touches easily.
Matt Breida/Alfred Morris
Breida is still part of a timeshare in San Francisco, but Breida has outperformed Alfred Morris in two straight games. Morris is still fine and didn’t do too much to lose out on touches, but Breida is worth owning as RB depth, with the upside of him becoming the 1a in this backfield. Morris still has that upside too, and I believe he still has a chance of being the 1a with him keeping his job as the preferred option at the goal line. But if you had to bet on one guy right now in this offense, it would probably be Breida because of the production he’s shown with similar opportunity. Believe it or not, Breida is the NFL’s leading rusher. That’s not an endorsement of Breida, it’s more of a reality check of how badly the first two weeks have been when it comes to running the football.
Lindsay isn’t owned in every league, but he should be. He led the Broncos in snaps in Week 2, and almost doubled Royce Freeman in touches. Devontae Booker is still involved, so this is still a timeshare. Either way, Lindsay has shown that he can be effective without too many touches. He went over 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the first two games, so Lindsay is very startable going forward. Vance Joseph said they will ride the hot hand, and we know who has the hot hand in that backfield right now. Lindsay probably won’t get goal line touches, but he’s still seeing snaps in the red zone.
Austin Ekeler – PPR only
The Chargers are funneling their offense through their RBs in the pass game, so there is plenty of room for both Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. It’s like the opposite of what they’re doing in Arizona. The Chargers are scoring more fantasy points at the RB position than any other team. Gordon got hurt last week, and he’s fine now, but Ekeler would be a priority for someone who has Gordon. Either way, Ekeler is more valuable in PPR leagues, and should be owned. With him getting close to 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the last two games, Ekeler has flex appeal even with Gordon healthy.
Powell’s six targets last week was very encouraging, and if you need RB help, you’ll at least know that Powell can’t be knocked out of the game because of game script. It’s possible Isaiah Crowell out-carries him, but Powell will get more work in the pass game. He caught 5 of those targets for 74 yards and a TD last week, and he’s the preferred back to start in that backfield right now.
Jones is coming off suspension and is eligible to return in Week 3. If he’s available in your league, he should be picked up and stashed just in case he gets opportunity with the potential of winning the early down job on a great offense. Jamaal Williams didn’t do much and didn’t impress at all over the last two games, so the door is wide open for Jones. Williams is the better pass-protector, so it’s possible he keeps the job because of that with Aaron Rodgers’ current injury, but an argument can be made about Jones because of the offense needing more explosiveness while Rodgers is not 100%. He’s worth the stash to find out. It’ll be a fun Sunday when Jones breaks a 65-yard run and he’s sitting on your bench.
James White – PPR only
While we try and figure out who will get more work between Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel moving forward, James White’s role should be a bit more steady as the main pass-catching weapon out of the backfield. White had 9 and 8 targets in the last two games, respectively, and can easily be started in your flex for a safe floor in PPR leagues. His role may reduce as Rex and Michel get healthy, but as of right now, White has a real pass-catching role on this offense.
Stash: Rashaad Penny
Cole showed his playmaking ability this past Sunday with an incredible one-handed catch, but also showed that he can be relied on when given volume. Donte Moncrief led the WRs in targets with 9, but only caught 4. Cole caught 7 of 8 of his targets for 116 yards and a TD, and we saw this upside late last year. Between Weeks 13 and 16, Cole averaged almost 5 receptions for 100 yards and almost a TD per game. The upside is there, and he needs to be owned in all leagues. Not only that, but Blake Bortles actually looked good in this game against the Patriots.
After 2 weeks, Golladay has out-targeted, out-caught, and out-produced Marvin Jones. He seems to be the preferred option and what the Lions like in a more prototypical #1 WR on the outside. Jones should continue be relevant, however, as long as the Lions defense continues to be terrible; they’ll have to throw the ball a ton this year, as Stafford has already thrown 99 times over 2 games. With big play ability, Golladay has the combination of high floor with huge upside, and was a steal for you in drafts if he stays healthy. He’s an example of a good player taking a role when it’s not necessarily present.
Chris Godwin/DeSean Jackson
Winston loved his tight ends, but didn’t show his WRs as much love. His career TD:INT ratio when targeting tight ends is 4.67, but drops to 1.57 when targeting any other position. Yes, the Bucs have talent at the tight end position, but they have serious talent at WR, and Fitzpatrick is making use of that talent. We saw when Fitzpatrick had weapons at WR on the Jets a few years ago, he was able to sustain both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker for fantasy purposes. Yes, Fitzpatrick’s numbers will likely come back to earth, but he should be able to continue to sustain the WRs for fantasy success. Godwin is used rotationally, but he’s still getting it done. He’s an extremely talented WR who just needs a little more opportunity to potentially put up elite production. Godwin is a good flex play right now, but can turn into more as we move further into the league. He’s a stash that you can play right now. As far as D-Jax, if you watched film of Jameis Winston last year, he couldn’t hit D-Jax anytime he tried. D-Jax was getting open, but Winston simply couldn’t hit him. Jackson is continuing to beat defenders; the only difference now is that he has a QB who can hit him in stride. Pick him up and start him for that upside.
After another 11 targets on Sunday, it’s safe to say Sam Darnold has found his guy. The Jets are also clearly trying to get the ball into Enunwa’s hands to take advantage of his ability after the catch. He needs to be in lineups in PPR formats for a solid floor with upside. Robby Anderson, on the other hand, was out-targeted and out-produced by Terrelle Pryor 11-6 over two games. With Anderson not being the clear #1 as many thought, Enunwa can be considered an every-week play in PPR until further notice.
Allison caught all 6 of his targets for 64 yards, and for being the third or fourth option on the team, that’s pretty damn good. Allison is going to continue to have TD, reception count, and yardage upside as long as Aaron Rodgers is his QB. He needs to be owned, and can plug and play into your lineup most weeks.
Williams didn’t get the targets like he did in Week 1, but he did come through with a TD. However he gets it done, he’s getting it done. He’s not as strong a candidate as the guys listed above, but his ceiling is high and he’ll get better as the year goes on, and the snap percentage should increase as well. We saw it go up in Week 2, but Travis Benjamin was also out. His strength is coming down with looks in the end zone, and he did convert his first red zone target for a TD this past week. Expect more of it.
John Brown is the #1 WR for the Ravens. Yes, both him and Michael Crabtree saw 10 targets, but there’s a much higher chance Brown is going to do more with it than Crabtree. Both are getting looks in the red zone, but Brown has home run ability. Another big factor is that Crabtree probably isn’t on the waiver wire 🙂 Either way, let’s hope Brown’s sickle cell trait doesn’t become an issue again, because if it doesn’t, he can finally have his breakout year we’ve all expected because of the talent he’s showcased since he entered the league. With 2 TDs in 2 games, Brown is looking like Flacco’s preferred target in the red zone over Michael Crabtree, which says a lot. Pick him up.
Ginn continues to be the #2 WR for the Saints, who seem to be back to pass-happy mode with their defense not holding up the way they would like. He continues to have big play ability and TD upside, but he also has a possession role as well. Has a relatively safe floor in PPR, but if you start him in standard, you’re hoping for a long TD.
Stash: Antonio Callaway, Dede Westbrook (PPR preferred), Tyler Boyd, Ryan Grant (PPR), James Washington, DJ Moore
Ebron isn’t running nearly the amount of routes Jack Doyle is, but Ebron is outscoring him for fantasy purposes because of the 2 TDs over the first 2 weeks. Luck is looking Ebron’s way in the end zone, and we should be okay with that even though the targets and snap percentages aren’t there for Ebron. The tight end position is so murky that we can’t be nitpicky with how these guys are scoring their points. With how much Luck likes to target tight ends in the end zone, pick Ebron up and start him if you need help at the position.
Howard isn’t seeing the volume, but he’s so athletic and a big playmaker. With Ryan Fitzpatrick focused on his wide receivers, Howard might not get so much love. If Jameis Winston were to ever come back, Howard is a must pick-up. Either way, you can do a lot worse in deeper leagues than Howard, even with Fitzpatrick under center.
We’ve seen this from Hooper before, only to disappear the following week. The Falcons got a lot better in the red zone in Week 2, and if they want to continue doing that, Hooper needs to stay involved. He’s a big body, and is a mismatch for linebackers and safeties. I wouldn’t necessary be comfortable starting Hooper next week unless there are no other options available, but would like to see him stay involved in two games in a row for me to throw him in my lineup.
I can’t do it, honestly. I can’t take this guy seriously. Yes, he had a garbage time TD, but he had less than 10 yards receiving before the Seahawks’ final drive. Don’t want to bank on that.