Back again? I’m not surprised. Let’s be honest, who else was touting Joey Slye?! Nobody but your boy, that’s who.
Last week, the bonus section alone of Joey Slye and Patriots D/ST paid off to a total of 57pts. Congratulations, because your win probability was about 99% if you started that combo. If you still managed to lose, well, that’s either a really bad beat worthy of a SVP shoutout, or I’ve got some bad news for the rest of your season. That’s ok though, don’t give up, we can always attempt to fix it. Including those bonus plays, a lot of the featured players from last week went off and had playable, if not standout games:
– Terry McLaurin, 5 catches/62 yards/1 TD
– John Ross III, 4/112/1
– Mecole Hardman, 4/61/1
– Hollywood Brown, 8/86 on 13 targets. UNLEASHED!
– DJ Chark, 7/55/1
– John Brown, 7/72
– Carlos Hyde, 20 carries/90 yards
– Adrian Peterson, 32 total yards, 2 catches and a TD
– Mark Andrews, 8/112/1
– Darren Waller, 6/63
– Josh Allen, 253 passing and a TD, 21 rushing and a TD
Not. Bad. The only real disappointment was my favorite pick up of them all, TJ Hockenson, but don’t worry there, he’ll be fine.
Enough about last week though, what’s on the menu for this week? Well, for starters, the war of attrition has officially begun. Injury SZN has returned… *’Hate Me Now’ plays*…
– TWO HoF QBs (Big Ben, elbow/season and my guy Drew Breesy, thumb/6 weeks)
– An emerging young star WR (Michael Gallup, knee/2-4 weeks)
– A promising rookie RB (Devin Singletary, hamstring, 1-4 weeks)
And that’s just some of the stuff we know for sure. James Conner got banged up, Trevor Siemian’s ankle went in a way I’ve never seen one go before, brittle LeSean McCoy had an MRI on his knee already (update: no damage found), his running mate Damien Williams left the action early himself, and half the Eagles went in the tent at one point on SNF, never to return. Add to all of the injuries, the guys who simply stepped up or continued to play well in their roles, and we’ve got plenty of candidates to look at this week.
Let’s get to it…
The Running Backs:
Raheem Mostert, Niners (17% owned in Y! leagues) – I was hesitant to add Mostert to this list after Tevin Coleman went down last week, but that was a mistake. I was all aboard Matt Breida’s hype train, and that wasn’t a mistake, but it turns out there was extra seats on the train. This is a team schemed to run the ball, and they love their committee, so there will be some disappointing weeks when the offense struggles and you pick the wrong guy, but in the right situations (like the Bengals) they can all have productive days, as we saw this week.
Mostert, who has 4.34 speed (!) and averaged 7.7ypc in limited touches last season, busted out for 83 yards on 13 carries and added 68 more and a TD on 3 catches. All that despite Breida’s big day (132 total yards), and Jeff Wilson Jr. swooping in for 2 TDs and 10 touches of his own. Wilson is definitely a guy you can look at as well in deeper situations, but Mostert is the guy you want right now. He was on the field for 47% of the teams snaps, leading the trio by a good margin. (Breida 29%/Wilson 21%)
Frank Gore, Bills (8%) – The Indestructible One rides again. With rookie Devin Singletary going down due to a hamstring injury (after looking great, btw), the ageless Gore stepped in and picked up 21 touches, turning it into 83 total yards and a TD. Nothing spectacular, but it’ll do for as long as Singletary is out.
Don’t turn your nose up at the Bills offense here. Josh Allen keeps getting better and he can get this team into the redzone. Get Frank Gore into the redzone, and he finds the endzone. They’ve also got a defense capable of keeping the run game in play, by keeping them in most games.
Players featured last week that are still available:
Carlos Hyde, Texans (43%) – Hyde did what we thought he would do. After putting up a nice total on 10 carries in Week 1, his carries doubled to 20 this week as he becomes more comfortable with his new team.
On the field for 61% of the snaps and the clear early down favorite, Hyde won’t see much (if anything) in the passing game, as that job belongs to Duke Johnson. But they complement each other well, and 20 carries + redzone touches with Deshaun Watson as your QB is plenty of reason to add him. Especially since he’s averaging nearly 6ypc.
Chris Thompson, Redskins (48%) – PPR SPECIALIST – I talked about him last week after Darius Guice’s injury, and I also talked about his teammate Adrian Peterson. People went out and scooped up AP and took him off this list by raising his ownership well above 50%, but Thompson didn’t get as much love. That’s ok, better for you.
Thompson played 45% of the snaps compared to Peterson’s 29%, and that’s a trend I’d expect to continue on a team that will play from behind and in garbage time, often. CT is giving you averages of 6 catches and 58 yards so far, a PPR baseline of 11.8. You could do much worse, and if he does that and finds the endzone? FLEX Jackpot.
Justin Jackson, Chargers (33%) – The touches aren’t there to make him someone you can even think about playing right now, but I’m staying on this guy because the production on those few touches has been outstanding. And despite being held to just 10 points by Detroit, I like this offense.
Jackson has 116 yards on just 13 carries, not including a 30 yard TD that was called back this week. He’d have to find a small window, because Ekeler is gobbling up touches, and Melly Gordon says he will be back, but if he did find himself in a situation to lead that backfield, he’s shown us what he can do.
Jaylen Samuels, Steelers (35%) – Adding Samuels would be based on James Conner’s status. Conner himself doesn’t think his injury is anything serious and he “expects to play” against the Niners, but if it turns out he doesn’t play next week (or any week), Samuels proved himself a capable replacement last season.
In the 3 weeks without Conner, Samuel averaged 17.9 points per game in PPR leagues, meaning he would be a must add RB2 in that format with Conner out. He doesn’t have as much value in standard scoring leagues, since he only produced one TD in that span (along with 12 catches), but he’d still have value.
Gio Bernard, Bengals (41%) – He was listed here last week with Joe Mixon’s status uncertain, and while Mixon ended up playing, he’s clearly already banged up. That doesn’t bode well for his chances of making it through a 16 game NFL season without missing time. Bernard isn’t playable with Mixon on the field, but he’s one of the best bench stashes around.
Ty Montgomery, Jets (19%) – LeVeon had an MRI on his shoulder this week, and then proceeded to get 31 touches on MNF. He’ll be in line to see that many touches for the foreseeable future too, with Darnold and now Siemian out. Those high volume games add up, and he’s never played 16 games. If you’ve got space, TyMont could payoff at some point, especially in PPR. If you spent a 1st on Bell, and don’t have him, what are you doing?
Darwin Thompson, Chiefs (18%) – As I mentioned in the opener, LeSean McCoy had an MRI on his knee, and Damien Williams left with a 4Q knee injury of his own. Darrell Williams saw more of the snaps sans those 2 in Week 2, but if the Chiefs go into a game knowing they’re without Damien and Shady: enter preseason draft sleeper darling Darwin Thompson. Thompson’s explosiveness was well noted and speculated about, leading to him being drafted deep in a lot of leagues, only to have those hopes crushed by the McCoy signing. With them out, he’d probably get his chance. If he gets his chance, and matches his hype, he might not give it back. But, if they’re both trending towards playing by the end of today, leave him on the wire.
Ish Smith, Falcons (19%) – Lets face it, Devonta Freeman has not looked good. Ish didn’t do much when he got his chance last year, but he’s looked much better this year and has looked better than Freeman both weeks, outproducing him on fewer touches. Between the poor play, and the risk that comes with coming back from an injury like Freeman’s, you could do worse than Smith as the last guy on a deep bench.
The Wide Receivers:
Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs (7%) – “Hello, world” – DRob, probably, after he brought down the 2nd of his 2TDs against Oakland on Sunday. It was a “You Got Moss’d” special on a deep bomb down the sideline, showcasing all of his capabilities. He finished with 6 for 172, the 2TDs, and the top fantasy performance of the week.
I mentioned Hardman as my guy to grab here last week with Tyreek out, and that worked, but Robinson saw plenty of action himself and just kept producing. I don’t favor one guy over the other, for now. I think they should see a similar amount of targets going forward, but if you missed out on Hardman, don’t miss out on Robinson and a chance to own a piece of the Chiefs offense.
Deebo Samuel, Niners (14%) – The Bengals “got knocked the fuck out, mannn”, to the tune of 41-17, and outside of the running game, it was Deebo who led the way. After a slow start in Week 1 that saw just 3 catches for 17 yards and a fumble (but also a 2pt conversion), he came out swinging with a 5/83/1 line.
They’re gonna run first, but I see no reason Samuel doesn’t, and hasn’t already taken over as the WR1 in The Bay. With a 4.48 40 and a 39″ vert, he has the explosiveness to make big plays, and the tape shows his team recognizes it. Unlike Week 1, they forced touches for him on short routes and even handed off to him twice. I think he has season long value (like Ross, Hollywood, Terry, and the TEs last week). 7 targets and 2 carries in a game they won easily, if that trend continues, he’s gonna have a nice year.
Nelson Agholor, Eagles (15%) – Last week I was telling a friend (shoutout D-Ice) that he could probably drop Agholor in a league where the next best WR available was Trey Quinn (whoops). This week, I’m telling y’all that if Desean and Alshon end up missing time, especially if it’s both of them, you NEED to pick him up… that’s the NFL.
Last week, Agholor was behind 2 former Pro Bowl receivers, a Pro Bowl TE, that Pro Bowl TE’s backup, and 2 different RBs when it comes to targets in that offense. No thanks… Next week he might be their WR1… So, I don’t regret saying what I said (sorry dude), because you can’t foresee half of a team going down in one week, but it happens. Despite dropping the game winning TD, he was huge: 8/107/1 on 11 targets. If those guys are healthy, he’s not a play for me, but he’s still probably worth a stash considering the game he had, Jackson and Jeffrey’s injury histories, and the fact they’re already adding to them.
Devin Smith, Cowboys (0%) – The former Buckeye standout burst back onto the NFL scene this week after having missed years suffering from 2 ACL injuries and the ensuing rehabs. They were so bad that, despite being a 2nd Round pick of the Jets in 2015, he hadn’t played in a game since early in the 2016 season, and hadn’t caught a TD since he was a rookie in 2015. Finally getting his chance to revive his career, Smith answered the call with a 3/74/1 line, and smoked Josh Norman on a deep TD.
With rising star Michael Gallup down for at least a few weeks, the Cowboys have already said they plan to get Smith more playing time and more looks. At 6’1, he clocked a 4.42 at the combine and didn’t look like he’s lost much of it to the injuries as he burned past Norman. Add a 39″ vert and you get the picture of how explosive of a playmaker he can be. Dallas’ offense looks elite, Dak is playing at an MVP level, and Da Boys (yea, they’re back) get Miami in Week 3. There’s risk here, but there’s also huge upside.
Players featured last week that are still available:
DJ Chark, Jaguars (13%) – Last week I threw both of the Jags receivers in the ‘other guys’ pile and said I wasn’t really sure which one, but “give me Chark’s upside”. Another nice game, 7 for 55 and a TD on 9 targets, and that looks like the right call.
His teammate Conley is still worth a look himself, 4/73 on 5 targets. Both guys are crushing preseason favorite to lead this receiving core, Dede Westbrook’s production as of now. RIP to all the “Foles loves the slot truthers” out there (me), that narrative died with Foles. Still think Dede can have a decent year, but he’s just in the pack with these guys, and not above it.
Mecole Hardman, Chiefs (40%) – Hardman came out and did exactly what I had hoped he would do when I included him last week. Coming off a 1 target, 0 catch Week 1, it was no sure thing, but it paid off with a 4/61/1 game that could have been even bigger had a 73yd TD not been called back.
He’ll continue competing with Robinson for those Tyreek Hill targets while he’s out, and likely continue to split them pretty evenly. In any other offense, that sharing between 3rd and 4th options might be a problem, but this isn’t any other offense. As I pointed out when hyping him last week, this is Patrick Mahomes’ offense (coached by Andy Reid). I’ll take anybody they put on the field with him. I shouldn’t have to write about him again next week.
Preston Williams, Dolphins (2%) – This is a deep play, but I mentioned him as an ‘other guy’ last week, and I’ll mention him again here after 4/63 on 6 targets. Look, I get it. I don’t want any Dolphins either, but if there’s ONE guy that proves worthy, it’ll be him. They’re gonna play from behind in literally every game. He’s gonna see 6-7+ targets, and he has the talent to do something with them every now and then. If he keeps producing on the targets he’s getting, that number will go up, too.
Of note, teammate Devonte Parker went catchless on 7 targets Sunday.
Terry McLaurin, Redskins (52%*) – He’s at the end here because he’s over the 50% threshold, but I’ve gotta mention him one last time because we’ve gotta bump those numbers up. Scary Terry is the real deal, folks. He’s averaging 20 PPR points per game thru his first 2 NFL games, and he’s gonna stay locked in as the #1 on that team all year as they play from behind.
Speculative deep adds:
James Washington, Steelers (29%) – After a huge preseason and a lot of predraft hype that had Washington overtaking Donte Moncrief as the #2 in Pittsburgh, it hasn’t played out at all in the regular season so far, even despite Moncrief’s struggles. That could all change soon, however.
Beyond the afore mentioned glaring struggles of Moncrief (4 drops and just 3 catches on 11 targets), Washington now has his old college QB Mason Rudolph in the saddle. If you ever watched Oklahoma State play when those guys were there, I don’t need to tell you anything. The connection is electric. Tomlin HAS to bump his snaps and routes ASAP… but it is Tomlin, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Randall Cobb, Cowboys (24%) – PPR – He’s honestly not somebody I’m picking up, but with the Gallup injury, you’ve gotta mention him. He is what he is at this point in his career. It looks like he’s gonna see 5-6 targets per game. He’ll catch most of them, but it won’t be for much yardage, and you just hope he finds the endzone on one of them. Desperation only for me, but his upside is OK as long as Gallup sits.
Cole Beasley, Bills (6%) – PPR – I won’t go too deep here, but he’s averaging 4.5 catches and 61.5 yards through 2 games, and his looks increased from Week 1 to 2 with his new team. That’s 10.65 PPR points without scoring. Anybody that’s averaging double digits off receptions + yardage alone is worth a mention for when times get desperate.
The Tight Ends:
Jason Witten, Cowboys (15%) – Lt. Dan (he’s got no legs) is out of the booth and back on the field. He heard all of the people making fun of him last year on MNF, and he came back to remind everyone who he REALLY is: a touchdown catching s.o.b… He’s not likely to give you a huge number of targets, or produce a lot of yards when he does touch it, but he’s always been a guy to make the most of the ones he gets. His 7 catches have turned into just 40 yards, but it’s also resulted in 2 TDs.
With the scarcity at TE, a guy that’s a threat to score a TD every week, plays. With Gallup down, that just raises his redzone probability. He’s also 3 TDs away from Dez Bryant’s team record, adding some extra incentive for the team to go to him in those situations, especially in a game with blowout potential like Miami this week.
Will Dissly, Seahawks (4%) – “Walt” had himself a magical day on Sunday. 5 catches on 5 targets for 50 yards and 2 scores. I’ll take that. And so will Russell Wilson, who outside of Tyler Lockett (who’s not a high volume guy) and rookie DK Metcalf, is desperate for targets.
Dissly showed decent signs last year, totaling 152 yards and 2 TDs thru 3 games, before going down with a season ending injury in the 4th game. Underwhelming, and probably lacks the consistency you want, but serviceable in a high need situation, and worth keeping an eye on him if nothing else.
One to watch:
Noah Fant, Broncos (11%) – 2 catches in Week 1, 4 catches in Week 2. I expect Fant’s looks and production to continue to rise as the season goes on. Joe Flacco traditionally loves his TEs, and the Broncos didn’t draft Fant in the 1st Round of this year’s draft for nothing. He’s got tons of talent. He just needs the opportunities to keep increasing.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals (9%) – Uzomah was a popular TE stream last week it seemed for a lot of people replacing Hunter Henry. That didn’t work out so good (0.00 points). For me, I’d rather have Eifert out of that duo, all day.
With his injury history, you can’t count on him long term, nor should you want to, but he’s seen 5 targets in each game so far, and has always thrived in the redzone. Dalton is slinging it in Zac Taylor’s offense, and Eifert has always been a talent when he’s able to stay on the field.
Josh Allen, Bills (41%) – The only QB I mentioned last week, as I don’t like to talk a lot about QBs here (this week is an exception with the injuries to Drew and Big Ben), Allen did what you’d expect him to do to the Giants defense: 20+ fantasy points, a rushing TD, and a W.
His rushing ability gives him a floor that no one else here can match, and is why I said last week that he’s the last guy left I’d feel comfortable about being able to win a championship with. He’s an improved passer, with better weapons (John Brown/Singletary), and if he can keep putting up 200+ and scoring thru the air, while coming close to last year’s rushing numbers (631yds/8TDs in 12 games), then you’ve got a QB1. I love watching him play, too. He gives it 100%.
Andy Dalton, Bengals (19%) – It’ll take longer for most to notice, but Zac Taylor is the new wonderkid offensive guru this year. They’ve got weapons, and they’re using them. Taylor has even opened the packaging on John Ross, and what a fun toy that is in the hands of somebody that knows how to utilize him.
The Red Rifle has thrown for 729 yards and 4 TDs in his first 2 games, and has a chance to get AJ Green back in the not too distant future. This could be a flash in the pan, but until this offense slows down, he looks like a solid replacement for Brees/Ben owners who don’t have many options.
Jacoby Brissett, Colts (13%) – The yardage hasn’t been there, but the quality and the TDs have been. Brissett has this team playing just fine without Andrew Luck, and while he hasn’t reached 200 yards in a game yet, he’s thrown 5 TDs to help make up for it.
The real reason you have to take a look at him is his schedule. If you lost Drew Brees for say, 8 weeks, and want to lock in a guy instead of playing the streaming game, Brissett and the Colts will face Atlanta, Oakland, KC, Houston, Pittsburgh, and Miami in that stretch. All teams you can throw the ball and put up points on, and who will likely force you to score as well (except Miami, lol).
Teddy Bridgewater, Saints (1%) – He didn’t do much to impress once Drew went down, but I’ll let that go and chalk it up to unexpected playing time and the gameplan not being right to suit him. I wanna see how he does with a full week of reps and gameplanning as the starter, so I’m not picking him up right now, but I’ve gotta mention him because people will be talking about him.
Teddy B. has a career completion percentage of 65%, which should be good enough to make that offense run. Sean Payton will scheme him up and give him every opportunity to succeed. He’s shown flashes early in his career, and he’s been patiently waiting for his chance to show what he can do once again. Here it is.
Mason Rudolph, Steelers (2%) – I mentioned him earlier when talking about James Washington as a speculative add. This is a bit of a personal, gut call, but I really like Rudolph. I saw him as Ben’s eventual replacement when they drafted him, and I think on the bright side of things for the Steelers, they’ll get to find out if that’s true or not now.
A 3+ year starter at Oklahoma State, he threw for almost 5K yards his senior season and added 37 TDs to just 9 INTs in route to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nations top senior QB. He’s got great touch and a beautiful deep ball. I honestly think they can be just as good with him as they would have been with Ben. I think the Steelers might think that too, because they just traded out of the 1st Round of a highly anticipated quarterback class to land Minkah Fitzpatrick. Downside: He’s not gonna get you anything on the ground.
Daniel Jones, Giants (3%) – Just announce before submitting this, young Danny Dimes is in, Eli is out. Perhaps doing Eli a favor, since his regular season record is now an even .500 (116-116 in 16 seasons) and this isn’t a winning team, the Giants turn to the #6 pick in the draft. You knew he wouldn’t sit long, and I’m not at all surprised it’s coming this soon.
29/34, 416 yards and 2TDs during the preseason showed that he’s ready enough. The future is now. Am I picking him up? Probably not, but I couldn’t resist dropping a ‘Danny Dimes’ in here with the news hitting. If you lost your QB this week, I can’t hate on taking a fun flyer here. If you’re a Saquon owner, I think you’ve gotta be excited about this.
Matt Stafford, Lions (35%) – The man had 7 straight 4,000 yard seasons (including a 5k season) before a slow year last year under new coach Matt Patricia. But here he is again this year, averaging over 300 per game (with 5 TDs), and with a good crew of weapons: Kenny G and Starvin Marvin outside, Amendola in the slot, Kerryon out of the backfield, and TJ Hockenson-Gronkowski at TE. The Georgia Bulldog may not be the sexy pick, but he might be the most steady pick.
Bonuses: You’ve already got the legend Joey Slye, what else do you want? lol… but seriously, if you don’t have him, and you don’t have a Zuerlein, Tucker, or Gostkowski… get him.
As far as D/ST goes this week, if you followed my Patriots advice last week, stick with it. Jets are on their 3rd QB, on a short week, and the Patriots have given up 3 points total. If you didn’t grab NE last week, go for the Dallas D/ST this week. Once again, it’s the Dolphins, no explanation needed. You can ride this trend all year.
Before you go grab these guys, there’s a couple things that I didn’t address the first week, that I need to:
1. I’m keeping these lists to players who are <50% (that’s “less than” for all the geniuses) owned in Yahoo! leagues.
2. I purposely don’t rank these players in an absolute order. I don’t want to directly make your decision for you, rather provide you with facts that help you in making those decisions. That’s where the fun and satisfaction of fantasy football is anyway when you make those decisions, and find YOUR guy, and he pays off.
Beyond that, different players have different values to different people. Any FFB rankings you’ve ever read are usually just a safe guideline based on someone’s opinion. They’re not fact. Every roster has different needs than the next, as well. So there’s no exact valuations. Now, if there’s a standout above all others, I’ll let you know. I’ll even kind of hint at who I like best in the breakdowns, but I’ll never give a flat out power rankings here.
3. I know this is a lot of reading, and it was a lot of work. I’ll try to keep it shorter in the coming weeks, for your sake and mine.
Thanks for reading, and good luck in Week 3.
- Michael Hogan, PSR/SouthtownUnscripted