Last week I spent quite a bit of time talking about the importance of patience and the temptation to overreact to week #1 performance. Let’s be honest, the pre-season does very little to prepare key players for the season. They don’t get enough reps in to be in game shape, it can take a few quarters to get back to what you do best. After week #2 and #3 you can really start to assess what you have and start making changes for the future.
As I expected a number of players came back from the dead in week #2, the biggest name being Peyton Manning. He threw for 256 yds, 3 TD’s and 1 INT in a crazy win against the Chiefs. I hate to say I told you so; Peyton is going to be ok. He isn’t going to be Peyton of old but he is still going to get you points. With that being said I would seriously consider trading Manning now! His arm strength is fading, his balls are floating and they still want to run. Their defense is going to keep them in games and Manning is going to be ok, but there are a lot of QB’s who are going to be ok and you might be able to get some value for Manning. Even if he performs above average it still won’t be much higher than some of the guys that are still available. Get yourself a starting WR or RB and move on.
Week #2 also raised a few red flags. We know now that Drew Brees has an injured shoulder and the Saints are just not that good. I know a lot of experts were high on Brees but I think it’s time to get someone else in there. Again you should be looking for a trade, you can’t drop the guy. No one beats father time and Brees is starting to get up there, he is injured, and he has fewer weapons. There is much reason for concern. Also not sure what is happening in Indy. I have full confidence that Luck will get it together, he is to good not to. But Gore and Johnson need to play better. This was an offense that was supposed to rival the greatest in terms of pts and yards and they are mediocre at best. I would look at finding some help for Luck, until you know he can be started again. If you have offensive players for the Eagles be afraid, be very afraid. That offensive line needs to do it job or Kelly and Co. are in for a long season. Brady has more rushing yards than Murray, 21 rushes for 11 yards. Not sure what you can do at this point. If the offense ever gets moving it will all pan out but for fantasy it might be too little too late. Don’t even get me started on Hill, guess we will watch week #3
Let us not forget injuries. I guess I am just a fountain of good news this week. Romo is out, Dez is out, Witten is hurt, Hyde is hurt, Lacy went down, Coleman went down. These are not small players, these are starter in all leagues. But I don’t need to tell you that, it’s most likely why you are here. Lets take a look and see who is available this week.
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals – 68% Owned
I try to keep the list at 60% owned or below but truth be told Palmer should be at 100%. 32% of ESPN leagues still have Palmer in the waiver. IF YOU ARE NOT STARTING TOM BRADY, BEN ROTHLISBERGER, OR AARON RODGERS, YOU NEED TO START CARSON PALMER. Until he gets hurt he is going to be a yards and TD machine. He has been doing it for 2 years and doesn’t look to be slowing down. He is going to be a top 5 QB all season. Get with the program.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills – 20% Owned
Remember how I said that there are going to be a lot of ok QB’s out there, well he isn’t one of them. There is something special about this kid. Sure they got lit up by the Pats but he still manages 3 TD’s and 3 INT’s. He runs a little as well, 84 yards and score in his first two games as a starter. Rex cant say enough about this guy and neither can I. The Bills defense is going to keep the offense on the field and Taylor is going to get plenty of chances to shine. He is a risk that everyone should consider taking.
Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots – 24% Owned
Going once, going twice, sold to the man bold enough to trust the Patriots running game. Belichick is hard to predict as Brady and Gronk are your only sure things but he does know how to get the most out of his players. Many expected Blount to get the ball when he returned from his suspension but that didn’t happen. Was that a ploy to throw off Rex Ryan’s Bills or is Lewis the real deal? That is a question that you have to ask. As long as he does his job and protects the ball he will be on the field. If you play with Brady you are always a threat and Lewis has shown that in the first 2 weeks. Unfortunately for me my league is part of that 24% and I don’t have a chance to get him.
Matt Jones, RB Washington Redskins – 16% Owned
Here is your money pick of the week and if you are not 1st on your waiver wire and you still get him go buy a Powerball ticket because it’s your lucky day. If you watched him in preseason you would have seen this coming. As good as Morris is, this guy is going to find a way onto the field. I am not sure if I would start him in week #3 but I would grab him and stash him. He got over 20 touches and made the most of his opportunity. All experts are high him, you should be as well. Running backs are few and far between and this might be an opportunity to score a high RB 2 for next to nothing.
Karlos Williams, RB, Buffalo Bills – 20% Owned
I know all the hype is around McCoy but you cannot deny that Williams has made the most of his opportunities. Maybe this is more of a handcuff pick up and Shaddy is a little banged up lately. It’s week #3 so are you really looking for a starter or someone to fill in when bye weeks start popping up? He has played in 2 games and has found the end zone in both of them. If you have McCoy you should have Williams, it’s as simple as that.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals – 46% Owned
You can’t ignore talent in the NFL and this guy has it. It isn’t a matter of if he will break out but when. 3 scores on 9 touches already this season. The majority of his rushes so far have been for double digits. The only real issue at this point is that he isn’t the starter. That job still belongs to Johnson and Ellinton when he returns. But this sophomore is special going back to last season. He averaged double digit fantasy points over the final 8 games as a backup. How long do you think this guy is going to wait before he is RB #1 material?
Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta falcons – 70% Owned
An injury to Tevin Coleman puts this guy on the radar. In a 12 team league he is border line must own at this point. He has not looked to impressive in the running game but now it’s time to put up or shut up. He is going to get the bulk of the carries and he has value in the passing game. This is a high powered offense that is going to be in shoot outs as long as the defense struggles against the passing attack. Freeman is a nice compliment and will be used quite a bit in the next few weeks. Solid flex or low RB2 going forward.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Atlanta Falcons – 3.8% Owned
It is not secret that Roddy White is on the down side of his career and just doesn’t look like he is going to sustain being the #2 receiver much longer. As great as Julio Jones is, he can’t catch them all. Hankerson has caught 8 of 15 passed thrown in his direction with the majority of that coming against the Giants in weeks #2. Going forward expect to see him continue to get looks as Matty Ice flirts with 300+ yards every week.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks – 35.7% Owned
Russell Wilson has averaged just over 26 attempts in his first 3 season in the NFL but has thrown 30 or more in the first games of this season. Is it the offensive line? Will it change when “Beast Mode” finally shows up? I don’t have answers to that, but I do know that out of his 71 attempts this season 24% have gone to Doug Baldwin. When we look at the 51 completions that went along with those attempts we see the Baldwin is responsible for over 27%. As of right now he has caught over 80% of the passes thrown his way and in PPR leagues he has WR3 value for sure. He has only found the Endzone once but I am sure that will change. Baldwin is still Wilson’s most reliable receiver and if Wilson’s stats to start the season continue Baldwin is going to benefit.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders- 32% Owned
We all know that Crabtree can play when healthy. He put up decent numbers in San Francisco and looked good coming out of camp and the pre-season. He was huge against the Ravens with 111 yards on 9 catches and TD. I would grab him now as we the next several weeks will tell us what the Raiders are going to offer as far as fantasy value. A flex or WR3 at minimum in all formats.
I have to admit I am a little surprised to see him on the list again this week. He is averaging double digit fantasy points this season on a team where he is their best target. TE’s are always a threat in the red zone so I am not sure why he isn’t owned in all leagues. He is probably as close to a sure thing, a top 10 TE with top 5 abilities. He is going to have high value as long as Jackson is out, but I would guess it will be there all season.
Crockett Gillmore. TE, Baltimore Ravens – 11%
Who? Exactly what I was thinking as I watched the Ravens game this weekend. This virtual no-name stepped out against the Raiders to the tune of 5 of 6 for 88 yards and TD. Those are impressive numbers and if they continue we could be looking at a force to be reckoned with. I don’t want to get too excited, it was only one game. Keep an eye on this guy over the next 2 weeks and we will see just how real he going to be. Must add at least for a little while.
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions – 34%
The biggest value here comes at the expense of the injury to Brandon Pettigrew. When he returns or if Stafford has to miss any time is value drops tremendously. TE is such a hard position to fill out the top 5 or 6 options so probably need to take a look at Ebron. He is the #3 option in a passing offense where defenses have to account for Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson. That is not a bad place to be as we have seen with his 2 TD’s this season. He is a start in 12 team leagues, not a bad option if you need to fill a spot.
Other players to keep an eye on –
Rishard Matthews, WR, Dolphins
Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals
Mike Davis, RB, 49ers
Duke Johnson, RB, Browns
Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers
James Starks, RB, Packers