Sat Sep 26 1:12pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Week 2 proved the injuries in Week 1 were not a fluke. I’m not sure how much non contact in training camps or lack of preseason games play into it, but the loss of top players again was staggering. Top running backs again went down. Some players are down for weeks or for the season. The number of first-round picks gone make Zeke Elliott and Alvin Kamara look like great picks!
So who do you get to replace the studs? My first choice is 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon. Longterm, he might not be the top pick because Raheem Mostert will be back in a few weeks, but for the next three games, his matchups are good and the 49ers are decimated by injuries. Jimmy Garoppolo is out this week, making Nick Mullens the starter. The wide receiving group is thin, and star tight end George Kittle might not play again. McKinnon is a good receiving back and I anticipate 10-plus receptions on play action passes.
My next choice is not replacing an injured running back, but one who is getting more shares of carries than I originally thought, which is Chargers running back Joshua Kelley. He’s not replacing Austin Ekeler, but they complement each other well and both are 15 to 20 point guys every week on a run-heavy Chargers offense. Speaking of the Chargers offense, I also think Justin Herbert can be a top-15 quarterback. With Tyrod Taylor out with a punctured lung from a pain shot before last Sunday’s game, Herbert has the chance to take over the quarterback job and do well enough to keep it (even though his coach says otherwise).
My next choice is the obvious, Mike Davis in Carolina. He has opportunity and the skill to do some damage, but his play load is going to be shared among multiple players. I am not recommending anyone to replace Saquon Barkley right now. Newly signed running back Devonta Freeman will take two to three weeks to be ready to play, but with the Giants poor offensive line, I’m not sure Freeman is very productive.
Here’s some observations from the Week 2 games:
Quarterbacks, the good, the bad and the ugly! I’ll start with the bad and ugly. It looks like father time has caught up with Drew Brees. With playmaker Mike Thomas out, Brees is struggling to complete passes over five yards or to the sidelines. All he is doing to get passing yards is dump offs to Alvin Kamara. There are a lot of better options. One of them is not Kirk Cousins, who looks as bad as the Vikings secondary. Perhaps that’s part of problem, he looks great in practice going against them. Other than Adam Thielen, his receiving corps is weak.
The good starts with Cam Newton who looks like a top ten QB again, and could rival Lamar Jackson for most rushing quarterback TD’s this year, and probably lead the Patriots too! The Cardinals Kyler Murray looks like the real deal also, and his running game elevates him to top five status. Dak Prescott is going to make the Cowboys wish they signed him to a new contract before the season, as each game the cost goes up. Buffalo’s Josh Allen has moved into that top tier of QB’s also. Big Ben is still a great start at home, Gardner Minshew will put up good numbers every week and Ryan Tannehill can be counted on again this year.
Running Backs, the good, the bad and the ugly. The ugly starts with Jordan Howard. He makes Myles Gaskin look good. The bad is it only took two weeks and a dropped ball for Leonard Fournette to replace Ron Jones. The undecided is the three-headed Ravens backfield.
The good is Seattle’s Chris Carson. Washington’s Antonio Gibson has taken over the lead and prominent role, making Payton Barber expendable. The same appears to be the case in Arizona where Kenyan Drake has made Chase Edmonds a forgotten player. David Montgomery, Miles Sanders and Jonathan Taylor are no doubt starters every week. The same is not true for Todd Gurley. It would be if the Falcons defense could stop someone, but game script has Matt Ryan playing catch-up with 40 to 60 passes per game, and Gurley doesn’t fit a top priority catching the football.
Wide Receivers, the good, the bad and the ugly. Once again Texans Will Fuller has shown he is not a trustworthy fantasy option.
The good in the desert is DeAndre Hopkins, who has made the other two receivers the bad and the ugly, Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald. What was talked about as three wideouts each getting 1,000-receiving yards looks like 2,000 for Big D, and 1,000 shared by the other two.
More ugly is Julio Jones, who says he’s not 100 percent, making Calvin Ridley that much better. More good is reliable start em every week guys like Terry McLaurin, Julian Edelman and DK Metcalf. With AJ Brown out, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries become good plays with Humphries being the more reliable of the two because he’ll be getting more targets and receptions. The same is true in Denver with rookie Jerry Jeudy showing why he was a No. 1 pick, picking up the slack from Courtland Sutton’s season-ending injury.
Tight End, sad to say, but the bad and ugly appear to be Rob Gronkowski. Head Coach Bruce Ariens thinks tight ends are for blocking and you don’t get fantasy points for blocking. Raiders Darren Waller is showing he’s in the same conversation as Travis Kelce and George Kittle. Jonnu Smith is a good play as long as AJ Brown is out. And Evan Engram should be more involved with all the Giants injuries. Mike Gesicki is a top three passing option for the Dolphins.
The top tight end waiver pickups are Mo Alie-Cox and Dalton Schultz, getting chance to start for injured tight ends.
Good luck with your waiver picks and have a good Week 3. It does seem interesting that no one has tested positive for the bat virus yet.
Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 6
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross III has asked the team for a trade. The speedy former ninth overall pick had been inactive for three straight weeks before returning to action in Week 6, but he played just one snap against the Colts. Ross' agent said that his client is frustrated with his lack of playing time and they've had talks with the team about a trade, but those talks didn't go very far. The 25-year-old had a couple 100-yard games early last season, but then he got hurt and never quite established a firm role in the offense. Now he's behind Tyler Boyd, A.J. Green and rookie Tee Higgins on the receiver depth chart and has just two catches for 17 yards in three games this year. A change of scenery would be for the best, but it wouldn't guarantee that he resurfaces to fantasy relevance.
The Miami Dolphins are naming rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa their starting quarterback heading into their Week 7 bye week, according to a source. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will now serve as the backup after Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in the blowout win over the Jets in Week 6. The rookie from Alabama completed both of his pass attempts for nine yards against New York. The biggest takeaway on Sunday was that he looked fully healthy, and the Dolphins are obviously confident that he's ready for the NFL stage as their starter. That'll come in Week 8 against a tough Rams Defense looking to bounce back after a loss to the division-rival 49ers. Tagovailoa has plenty of upside as a poised and accurate QB that can also use his legs, but he'll be a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues for his first career NFL start in two weeks.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella has dropped off significantly after his two-touchdown performance in Week 3. This week, in the team's 38-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys, he was held without a catch and received just two targets. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray struggled in the game, completing just nine of his 24 passes for 188 yards. Christian Kirk, meanwhile, reeled in the team's only two receiving touchdowns in the game and has continued to be Murray's preferred target over Isabella. There's no need to hold on to Isabella in any fantasy leagues as long as the Cardinals are fully healthy at receiver.
The Cardinals Defense had their best outing of the year so far in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. They held the Cowboys to just 10 points in the game and came up with two Andy Dalton interceptions as well as two fumble recoveries, both as a result of Ezekiel Elliott fumbles. The Cardinals also sacked Dalton three times in the game. While it was certainly an encouraging outing from the Cardinals Defense, don't expect a similar result in Week 7 when they face the Seattle Seahawks, who have topped 30 points in four of their five games this year.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald wasn't heavily utilized in the team's 38-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. Fitzgerald was targeted four times in the game and came down with three catches for 22 yards. It's been an extremely slow start to the year for Fitzgerald, who is yet to top 50 receiving yards in a game and also yet to score a touchdown this year. Kyler Murray had a rough day throwing the ball in this game, completing just nine of his 24 passes for 188 yards. Fitzgerald shouldn't be trusted as a starting option for now and can be left on waivers in most leagues at this point.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk had only two catches in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys, but luckily they were both big ones. Kirk had a six-yard touchdown reception and an 80-yard touchdown reception, leading to his final stat line of two catches for 86 yards on three targets. The Cardinals dominated the Cowboys, winning 38-10, but their passing game struggled a bit, regardless. Kyler Murray only completed nine passes all game and totaled just 188 yards. That's three-straight solid fantasy outings now for Kirk, who should be considered a decent WR3 or flex option in most formats going forward.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a 60-yard reception in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. It was his longest gain of the season. However, he wasn't able to do much else in the game. He was targeted eight times on Monday night and came down with just two catches for 73 yards. It was a rough game from a passing standpoint for the Cardinals as quarterback Kyler Murray completed just nine of his 24 passes for 188 yards. Christian Kirk had the team's only two touchdown receptions in the game. It was the first game this year in which Hopkins was held under six receptions. Look for him to bounce back strong when the team faces the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7.
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake had a much-needed breakout game in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. Drake rushed the ball 20 times for 164 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first game with over 100 yards from scrimmage this year as well as his first time averaging over five yards per carry in a game. Drake had his stat line bolstered significantly by a 69-yard touchdown run with under two minutes left when the game was already decided, but it was a true breakout game for Drake regardless. He's been a frustrating slow-starter for fantasy owners this year, but hopefully his Week 6 breakout will be a sign of things to come.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds wasn't able to contribute much to the team's 38-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. Edmonds had five carries for 23 yards in the game and caught one of his two targets for six yards. The Cardinals dominated the last three quarters of the game and leaned heavily on No. 1 running back Kenyan Drake to seal the victory, giving him a total of 20 carries in the game. Even though Drake has struggled out of the gate this year, the team is still sticking with him as their primary ball-carrier with Edmonds as a pass-catching option and change-of-pace rusher. Edmonds is still worth owning in most leagues and could see an uptick in usage when the Cardinals attempt to keep pace with the high-scoring Seattle Seahawks in Week 7.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray had a rough overall game despite the team's 38-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. Luckily, it still turned out to be a decent fantasy day. Murray completed just nine of his 24 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 74 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. It was his first game of the year without a turnover, which is certainly encouraging, but he's now been held under 200 passing yards in two of his past three games. With 370 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on the year, he's definitely doing enough to remain a no doubt QB1 in all formats, but it's been a shakier start to the season than fantasy owners were hoping to see from the second-year pro.
Cincinnati Bengals WR John Ross approached the team about a trade. Ross is in the last year of his rookie deal and seeking a fresh start.
Updating previous reports, Kansas City Chiefs RB Le'Veon Bell will receive $500,000 for 25 percent playing time in an AFC title win and $500,000 for 25 percent playing time in a Super Bowl win.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald extended his streak with at least one reception to 249 games in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. His streak is the longest of any player with a single team, and the second-longest overall streak in NFL history (Jerry Rice, 274). Fitzgerald's streak started Nov. 7, 2004.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes tossed two touchdowns in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills, and he set a franchise record with at least one scoring strike in 16 straight outings.
Philadelphia Eagles DL Malik Jackson (quadriceps) might miss two weeks due to the a quadriceps injury he suffered in the Week 6 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup posted two catches for 15 yards on six targets in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Fantasy Spin: Gallup definitely wasn't on the same page as new starter Andy Dalton, and he was very far behind Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb for the eye of the quarterback among the wide receivers. He is only worth a look as a WR5 in fantasy leagues of 12 or more teams heading into Week 7 on the road against the Washington Football Team.
Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz posted five receptions for 35 yards in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals on five targets.
Fantasy Spin: Schultz was targeted early on by Andy Dalton, but he was barely used in the second half. He has four or more grabs in four of the past five outings, emerging as a respectable TE2 in most fantasy leagues and a decent bye week replacement. The Cowboys travel to meet the Washington Football Team in Week 7.
The Dallas Cowboys Defense struggled once again in Week 6, allowing 38 points and recording just one sack with no turnovers. They ended up with -3.0 points in standard scoring formats, their third time in six games winding up with negative points. They've totaled seven fantasy points this season. Seven. Even with a seemingly good matchup next week against the struggling Washington Football Team's offense, the Cowboys will not be a recommended fantasy defense.
Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper registered seven receptions for a team-high 79 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets in Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Fantasy Spin: Cooper didn't have a lot of work downfield, as most of his stuff came on the short and intermediate routes with Andy Dalton making his first start of the season for the injured Dak Prescott. Fantasy owners can't be too disappointed about this showing, especially those in PPR leagues. The Cowboys travel to meet the Washington Football Team in Week 7.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz made four catches in a Week 6 loss, gaining 35 yards. He was targeted five times, mostly running short routes in a game where Andy Dalton threw the ball 54 times but struggled seemingly every time he threw. Schultz flashed in his first post-Blake Jarwin start, but he's settled into a decent floor but low-ceiling tight end option. He'll come down with a touchdown now and then, but is more of a high-end TE2 in most matchups.