Monday, September 17, 2018

2018 Fantasy Football TE Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 3

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

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With that said, here are some tight end waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 3 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

1. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons (17 percent)

Hooper caught all five of his targets in Week 2 for 59 yards and a touchdown. Like most/all of the options on this list, Hooper is a TD-dependent option. The good news is that the Saints-Falcons Week 3 matchup could turn into a shootout (54-point over-under) that leads to plenty of streaming appeal.

2. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars (32 percent)

Seferian-Jenkins has exactly three receptions and five targets in back-to-back games with 25 yards or less. The difference between Week 2 (from Week 1) is that his touchdown wasn't called back. There are not many inspiring options in the under-50% ownership category, but ASJ remains a TD-dependent streamer.

3. Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals (27 percent)

The Cardinals offense has been terrible. Absolutely terrible. After all, starting quarterback Sam Bradford has 243 passing yards ... through two games. Larry Fitzgerald (15) leads the team in targets, but Seals-Jones (12) currently ranks second in that category. Averaging 6.0 targets per game is equivalent to a 96-target pace, something only seven tight ends had in 2017. Perhaps that volume will lead to more than 18.0 yards per game at some point in the season.

4. Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers (10 percent)

Going into Monday Night Football, no tight end has scored more fantasy points (standard-scoring) than James (TE2 in PPR). Even with Vance McDonald returning in Week 2, James hauled in five receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown. Considering I expect McDonald to score more fantasy points than James going forward, I have James ranked relatively low on this list of mediocre options.

5. Jake Butt, Denver Broncos (three percent)

Butt had four catches for 48 yards on six targets in Week 2 and now has 10 targets through the team's first two games. If Butt continues to average five-plus targets per game, he'll have the chance to perform as a high-end TE2. For now, he's worth a look in deeper leagues.

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2018 Fantasy Football WR Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 3

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).




With that said, here are some wide receiver waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 3 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

1. Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars (49 percent)

With the catch of the year (so far), Cole was a big part of Jacksonville's win over New England as he finished with 7/116/1 on eight targets. Going back to last season, Cole has at least 99 yards in four of his past six regular-season games and eight-plus targets in four of the past five. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect 100-plus yards and a score every week, but I expect his number of useful outings to exceed the number of disappointing outings for the talented second-year receiver.

2. John Brown, Baltimore Ravens (25 percent)

A few years removed from a 1,000-yard season (2015), Brown appears poised to have his best season since his breakout campaign. Averaging a career-high 19.4 yards per reception in his first season with the Ravens, Brown has a total of seven catches for a team-high 136 yards and two touchdowns on 14 targets. While newcomers Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead also have 14-plus targets so far, Brown should be owned in way more than one-quarter of Yahoo! leagues.

3(a). DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (50 percent)

Apparently the best thing to happen to Jackson was the three-game suspension of Jameis Winston. With Winston out and Ryan Fitzpatrick going 400/4 in back-to-back games, D-Jax has reached the 100-yard mark with scores each week. On the year, he has caught all nine targets for 275 yards and three touchdowns and is currently a top-three receiver in both PPR and standard-scoring formats. Sure to disappoint at some point as a boom-or-bust option, he may have a couple more good outings with Fitzpatrick under center for at least one more week.

3(b). Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (35 percent)

When given the opportunity, Godwin has been productive. As a rookie, he closed the season with a 26/442/1 (17.0 Y/R) second-half line including 68-plus yards in three of his final four games. Making "a lot of plays everyday" in the offseason, the second-year wide receiver was a sleeper that entered 2018 as a breakout candidate. Off to a good start in 2018, Godwin had 3/41/1 and 5/56/1 in the first two games.

In terms of Week 3 outlook, I'd prefer Jackson over Godwin. In terms of rest-of-season outlook, I'd prefer Godwin over Jackson.

5. Antonio Callaway, Cleveland Browns (seven percent)

With Josh Gordon traded to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick, that elevates Callaway to the No. 2 wide receiver role next to Jarvis Landry. After a catch-less one-target Week 1, Callaway had three second-half receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Saints in Week 2. As is typical with all rookie receivers, there will be some inconsistency on a weekly basis, but Callaway has the talent to have a few big games.

6. Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers (31 percent)

Even with Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and tight end Jimmy Graham ahead of him for targets most weeks, Allison now has 11 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. Assuming that Aaron Rodgers stays healthy (or at least healthy enough to play), Allison will have fantasy value.

7. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (two percent)

While A.J. Green scored a trio of touchdowns on Thursday night, Boyd had six catches on nine targets for 91 yards, all of which were team highs, and a touchdown. At a minimum, I'd prefer Boyd over second-year receiver John Ross and he's at least someone to watch, especially for PPR owners.

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2018 Fantasy Football RB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 3

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

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With that said, here are some running back waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 3 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

1. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (27 percent)

Through the first two games, Joe Mixon had exactly 22 touches each week as he racked up 179 rushing yards and 57 receiving yards. A knee injury sustained in Thursday night's win over the Ravens required a cleanup knee procedure that will sideline Mixon for two to four weeks.

Bernard (12) has been a distant second for touches behind Mixon (44), but he has been productive when given more of an opportunity. Over a five-game stretch last December when Mixon missed two games, Bernard totalled 507 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns as he averaged 4.75 yards per carry and hauled in 24 receptions.

2. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (44 percent)

Of course, Melvin Gordon is the clear "1" in the team's 1-2 rushing attack, but Ekeler has been highly involved in both of the team's games so far. In Week 2, Ekeler had 11 carries for 77 yards and three catches for 21 more after racking up 126 YFS and a touchdown in Week 1.

Effective on a per-touch basis (7.3 YPC and 13.5 Y/R this year and 5.5/10.3 last year), Ekeler would be a legit RB1 type if MG3 were to miss time. Either way, he has a chance to produce flex value especially when we move into the bye weeks in a couple of weeks.

3. Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (eight percent)

After two games of the 2018 season, Alex Collins and Allen both have exactly 20 touches and Kenneth Dixon (knee) has been placed on IR. While I'd still prefer Collins over Allen, Allen should be owned in all PPR formats.

The fourth-year back has scored a touchdown and caught exactly five passes in each of the team's first two games. In his first three seasons, Allen had at least 45 catches twice and it wouldn't be a surprise if he finished with 50-plus this season.

4. Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles (22 percent)

With Jay Ajayi (back) missing almost two quarters and Darren Sproles (hamstring) out in Week 2, Clement had six carries for 30 yards and a touchdown with five receptions for 55 yards. It's certainly possible that Clement's role expands during the season either way, but he would clearly benefit if either Ajayi or Sproles were to miss time at future points in the season.

5. Jordan Wilkins, Indianapolis Colts (31 percent)

Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines are also considerations in this spot, but then again, maybe none of them should be as part of a committee backfield. Mack returned from his hamstring injury and had 10 carries and one reception for a total of 36 yards. It was Wilkins, however, that led the team's backfield in touches (12) and was the most effective (64 YFS) of the bunch. The return of Robert Turbin in a couple of weeks from a PED suspension could make this three-headed committee more complicated.

6. Chris Ivory, Buffalo Bills (five percent)

At the moment, there's still a chance that LeSean McCoy (ribs) could play against the Vikings on Sunday and ESPN's Adam Schefter tweets that McCoy "should not miss more than one game, if that." Even if he does, the matchup isn't great for McCoy (or Ivory). If McCoy doesn't play, however, Ivory gets a boost in workload -- although the matchup combined with the state of the Bills offense overall leaves lots to be desired for his Week 3 outlook either way.

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2018 Fantasy Football QB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 3

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

Embed from Getty Images

With that said, here are some quarterback waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 3 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (23 percent)

Things could not have gone any better for Fitzpatrick and the Bucs to start the season. Not only are they 2-0 as a team, but Fitzpatrick has thrown for 400-plus yards and four touchdowns in back-to-back games against the Saints and Eagles. Expecting another 400/4 game in Week 3 would be unrealistic, but he's now just one of three quarterbacks (Dan Marino and Billy Volek are the others) to do so in consecutive games.

In Week 3, the Bucs will host the Steelers. Losing in a 42-37 shootout against the Chiefs, the Steelers just allowed Patrick Mahomes to throw six touchdowns in his third-ever start. While Jameis Winston returns from suspension after next week's game, the Bucs have said it's not a given that he immediately returns as the team's starter. Given how well Fitzpatrick has played and considering the Bucs have a Week 5 bye, it would make sense that he starts (at least) in Week 4 as well.

2. Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns (31 percent)

Expected to be a higher-scoring game, the Saints edged the Browns 21-18 on Sunday and there wasn't a ton of fantasy success for Cleveland's players including Taylor. That said, Taylor is typically a high-end streaming option as his rushing ability raises both his floor and ceiling. Taylor rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, when he finished as the QB6 despite throwing for less than 200 yards. If you stream quarterbacks, going back to the well with Taylor on Thursday Night Football against the Jets could make sense.

3. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (27 percent)

Since entering the league in 2011, Dalton has never finished any worse than that of a high-end QB2 in 12-team leagues. In other words, his worst season was QB18 (multiple seasons). Granted, his last top-12 finish was in 2013, but he's off to a decent start through two games -- QB9 going into Monday Night Football. In those two games, Dalton has thrown six touchdowns and only one interception to go with 508 passing yards.

4. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (28 percent)

Outdueling Tom Brady in the team's home win over the Patriots, Bortles threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns and added 25 rushing yards. Over the past three seasons, Bortles has finished as fantasy's QB4, QB10 and QB13, respectively. (One of my bold predictions for 2018 was that Bortles would finish the season as a top-10 fantasy quarterback.) While I wouldn't expect too many more games of 377/4 passing, Bortles is one of the league's more mobile quarterbacks and his rushing stats boost his fantasy outlook in most weeks.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Week 2 Fantasy Football: Wide Receivers Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Nelson Agholor is listed below as a "start" for Week 2. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 2 with him as one of my starting wide receivers.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill and Agholor and only start two receivers, you should start Jones and Hill -- and in turn, bench Agholor.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

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Week 2 Fantasy Football WR Start'em

 

WR - Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)

Poor quarterback play coupled with injuries (four missed games) led Sanders to fall short of the 1,000-yard milestone in 2017 after reaching the mark in each of the previous three seasons. With their steadiest quarterback situation since Peyton Manning, Case Keenum and Sanders showed good preseason rapport and that carried over into the regular season.

In the team's Week 1 victory, Sanders led the team in receiving with 10 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 11 targets. With a favorable matchup against the Raiders, the Broncos are projected to score the sixth-most points this week based on implied totals from Week 2 odds. Both Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are strong WR2 options heading into Week 2.

WR - JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. KC)

If Smith-Schuster could play the Cleveland Browns every week, he may break single-season receiving records. All kidding aside, the second-year receiver picked up where he left off in 2017 -- with a 100-yard performance against the Browns. Counting Week 1, Smith-Schuster has 46/805/4 over his past eight games. Against a weak Chiefs secondary, the Steelers offense is poised to put up big numbers.

WR - Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles (at TB)

With Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) sidelined in Week 1, Agholor was peppered with targets (10) that he converted to eight receptions. That's the good news. The bad news is that the wideout finished with just 33 yards (4.1 Y/R). Not only is Jeffery sidelined again this week, but Darren Sproles (hamstring, seven Week 1 targets) has been ruled out as well. Agholor could see 12 to 15 targets this week and he gets a favorable matchup against the Bucs, who will be without cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves.

WR - Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins (at NYJ)

A top-30 fantasy receiver in each of the previous two seasons (with Jarvis Landry on the roster), Stills picked up where he left off in Week 1. It was a highly unusual game given the lengthy in-game weather delays, but Stills finished with four receptions with 106 yards and two touchdowns. More targets (five in Week 1) would help him take the next step forward as Jakeem Grant (seven) and Danny Amendola (six) both had more. Based on comments from head coach Adam Gase, that appears to be the plan.

“There’s [going to be] more underneath and there’s [going to be] more as far as receptions per game go, to where maybe instead of four catches for 100 yards, it might end up being like seven or eight catches, where there might be a couple of shorter throws in there.”

 

Week 2 Fantasy Football WR Sit'em

 

WR - Chris Hogan, New England Patriots (at JAX)

7-Eleven closed early as it was about as disappointing of a performance as one could have expected from Hogan. Targeted only five times by Tom Brady, Hogan finished the day with one catch for 11 yards. Hogan was fourth in line for targets with Rob Gronkowski (eight), Phillip Dorsett (seven) and James White (nine) all getting more targets than Hogan. Most weeks, I wouldn't expect Dorsett to get more targets than Hogan, but this week's matchup against the elite Jaguars secondary (and defense overall) downgrades much of the outlook for the passing game overall.

WR - Robby Anderson, New York Jets (vs. MIA)

The good news: Anderson caught Sam Darnold's first touchdown pass on Monday Night Football. The bad news: It was his only target. The rookie seemed to have more rapport with Quincy Enunwa, who had a team-high 10 targets (47.62% target share). I don't expect such inequity this week or future weeks, but I have Enunwa ranked just ahead of Anderson in Week 2 with Anderson just outside my top-30 fantasy wide receivers for the week.

WR - DeSean Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. PHI)

The boom-or-bust wideout was all "boom" in Week 1 against the Saints as he scored the second-most wide receiver fantasy points with a 5/146/2 stat line. Cleared from the concussion protocol and ready to go for Week 2, D-Jax gets a matchup against his former team. Despite the revenge narrative, it's possible that Jackson has a much less-productive performance against a better overall defense especially if he sees similar opportunities -- just five targets in Week 1.

WR - Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)

In the team's season debut, Cooper had one catch for nine yards and one carry (jet sweep) for nine yards. Of course, virtually every wide receiver is prone to duds, but the biggest concern is the lack of opportunities. Cooper had just three targets despite Derek Carr throwing 40 pass attempts. If you own Cooper, you will most likely start him in three-WR leagues, but you likely won't feel great about it. With a less-than-ideal matchup against the Broncos, Cooper is not a must-start, especially if you're in a league that starts two wide receivers.

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Week 2 Fantasy Football: Tight End Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, George Kittle is listed below as a "start" for Week 2. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 2 with him as my starting tight end.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Travis Kelce and Kittle, you should start Kelce -- and in turn, bench Kittle.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

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Week 2 Fantasy Football TE Start'em

 

TE - George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (vs. DET)

Things could have gone better (i.e., he dropped a wide-open would-be touchdown), but Kittle exceeded expectations in a difficult matchup on the road against the Vikings. While the Vikings allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2017, Kittle had five catches for 90 yards to finish as a top-six performer last week.

Not only is the matchup more favorable this week, but the 49ers will be without top wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Of course, that boosts the outlook for Pierre Garcon and the team's other receivers, but it also could lead to an extra target or two for Kittle. Either way, I have Kittle ranked inside my top-five fantasy tight ends for Week 2.

TE - Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders (at DEN)

While Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree both had disappointing 2017 seasons for the Raiders, Cook led the team in both receiving yards (688) and 20-yard receptions (10) last season. The (second) Gruden era didn't get off to a great start with the team's 20-point home loss, but Cook was one of the bright spots. The historically up-and-down performer led the team with nine catches for 180 yards. In fact, his 180 yards is tied with Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas for the league lead heading into the weekend. At a minimum, Cook is a viable start for Week 2 even if he doesn't have another 100-yard game.

TE - Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (vs. IND)

When healthy, there is no denying the talent. Of course, he's often not healthy as Reed has missed four-plus games in four-of-five NFL seasons. That said, he's healthy now and the Washington tight end finished Week 1 with four catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. In a favorable matchup against the Colts, the Redskins are projected to be a top-five scoring offense based on implied totals from Week 2 Vegas odds.

 

Week 2 Fantasy Football TE Sit'em

 

TE - Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. PHI)

With the injuries to Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen and the relative weakness at the position in general, there aren't many notable names to include on the sit'em side at the position. Going into the season, however, I expected Brate to have an opportunity to be a high-end TE2. Following his Week 1 dud where Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns (and Brate had an 0-for), he currently sits at TE29 in my rankings. Even though I have teammate O.J. Howard outside my top-12 tight ends, I'd prefer the second-year tight end over Brate for Week 2.

TE - Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (vs. LAC)

Like Brate, Clay is a player that could have flirted with high-end TE2 production and that still may happen. Given the state of the Buffalo offense, however, it's hard to trust any of the skill-position players outside of LeSean McCoy. Like Brate, Clay finished with a 0/0/0 stat line on two targets in Week 1. If you lost Walker or Olsen, there may still be better options available on your league's waiver wire than Clay in terms of Week 2 outlook.

TE - Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks (at CHI)

It was a great NFL debut for the fourth-round rookie. In their loss to the Broncos, Dissly had three catches for 105 yards and a touchdown on five targets. As typically happens, that led Dissly's one-percent Yahoo! ownership (before waivers cleared) to increase to 29-percent ownership as of Saturday morning. If you're one of the owners that contributed to that +28% ownership increase, you should keep Dissly on your bench. Based on implied totals, the Seahawks are projected to be one of seven teams to score fewer than 20 points this week.

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Week 2 Fantasy Football: Running Backs Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Dion Lewis is listed below as a "start" for Week 2. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 2 with him as one of my starting running backs.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Todd Gurley, Dalvin Cook and Lewis, you should start Gurley and Cook -- and in turn, bench Lewis.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

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Week 2 Fantasy Football RB Start'em

 

RB - Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins (vs. IND)

Turning back the clock, Peterson rushed 26 times for 96 yards and a touchdown and added two receptions for 70 yards in the team's Week 1 victory over the Cardinals. Handling two-thirds of the team's running back touches (42) in Week 1, favorable game script could set up Peterson for lots of work in Week 2 as well. Favored by nearly a touchdown at home, Washington is projected to be a top-five scoring team in Week 2 based on implied totals from Vegas odds.

RB - James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. KC)

Fantasy owners that handcuffed Le'Veon Bell with Conner didn't miss a beat in Week 1. Handling 100 percent of the team's running back touches (36), Conner nearly racked up 200 yards from scrimmage (192) and a pair of touchdowns. With Bell still unsigned, Conner's in line for another massive workload and big day.

It would be unrealistic to expect 200 yards from Conner again, but the Chiefs allowed the duo of Melvin Gordon (166) and Austin Ekeler (126) to rack up 292 YFS last week. In addition, this game has the week's highest over-under and the Steelers are projected to score the most points based in Week 2 Vegas odds.

RB - Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons (vs. CAR)

With Devonta Freeman (knee) ruled out for Week 2, Coleman will assume the lead-back role against the Panthers. In the three games that he has played with Freeman sidelined, Coleman has a total of 57 carries for 250 yards and three touchdowns plus a 15-yard reception. The matchup isn't great as the Panthers ranked third in rushing defense in 2017, but Coleman should approach 20 touches, which makes him a borderline RB1/RB2.

RB - Dion Lewis, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)

The duo of Lewis and Derrick Henry handled 100 percent of the team's running back touches in Week 1 and that will be the case most/all weeks. How the opportunities will be allocated to the two backs is less clear, but there could certainly be a hot-hand approach many weeks.

Last week's game against the Dolphins was a little unusual given multiple lengthy in-game delays, but the Titans tried to establish Henry as he handled the first eight opportunities. After that point, however, it was (almost) all Lewis as he handled 21 of the final 24 touches. Lewis finished the game with 110 YFS and a touchdown. This week, I have Lewis ranked as a back-end RB2 and ...

Week 2 Fantasy Football RB Sit'em

 

RB - Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU)

... Henry ranked more as a flex option against the Texans. As noted above, Henry managed just 11 touches -- 10 carries for 26 yards and one reception for five yards. It's certainly possible that the Titans try to establish their running game with Henry again, but the team will be without both starting tackles (Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin). As home underdogs against a tough Texans defense, the Titans are projected to be one of the lowest-scoring teams on this week's slate.

RB - Royce Freeman, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)

Going into the season, there was some expectation of a committee backfield with Devontae Booker. After Week 1, the committee has grown. Granted, Booker had just four touches, but Phillip Lindsay's workload (a team-high 17 touches) is a concern. Freeman had 15 carries and will likely lead the backfield in touches most weeks, but the team is high on Lindsay and Booker will likely see more than four touches each week. As my RB25 for the week, you can do worse than Freeman, but he's more of a flex option than a must-start this week.

RB - Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks (at CHI)

On a per-touch basis, Carson had a productive Week 1 -- 7.3 YPC and 9.3 Y/R. That said, Carson got only 10 opportunities -- seven carries for 51 yards and three catches for 28 yards. Even though Pete Carroll said that Carson "really took the lead at that position," first-round rookie Rashaad Penny had more touches (11) than Carson (10). If Carson continues to be more effective than Penny, it's very possible that he is rewarded with a (much) larger workload. But for now, I view Carson more as a flex option heading into Week 2 against the Bears.

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Week 2 Fantasy Football: Quarterbacks Start'em, Sit'em

Ultimately, the decision of which player to start is largely determined by the composition of your roster (as well as your league's settings).

As an example, Patrick Mahomes is listed below as a "start" for Week 2. And I'd feel comfortable going into Week 2 with him as my starting quarterback.

That said, he may be a sit for your team.

In other words, if you owned both Drew Brees and Mahomes, you should start Brees -- and in turn, bench Mahomes.

So while you won't find absolute start-sit recommendations below (use my Week 2 Fantasy Football Rankings for that instead), the goal here is to highlight some players that I like (and would feel comfortable starting) as well as some players that I dislike for this week (and would prefer to keep on my bench).

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Week 2 Fantasy Football QB Start'em

 

QB - Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (at PIT)

A breakout candidate heading into 2018, the strong-armed Mahomes takes over for Alex Smith, who had a career-best 2017 season when he finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback. In his first start of the season (and second of his career), Mahomes was one of three quarterbacks to throw four touchdowns. The second-year quarterback completed 15-of-27 pass attempts for 256 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions and scored 28.34 fantasy points, the fourth-most in Week 1.

Even though the Chiefs are road underdogs in Pittsburgh this week, the Chiefs are projected to be a top-10 scoring offense based on implied totals from Vegas odds. With a talented group of weapons and a defense that should surrender plenty of points to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, Mahomes should have another highly productive week.

[Big Ben is also a start as my second-ranked quarterback this week.]

QB - Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns (at NO)

The great thing about a mobile quarterback like Taylor is that he can throw for less than 200 yards and still have a productive fantasy outing. Rushing for 77 yards and a score, Taylor scored 13.7 fantasy points from his rushing stats alone. His 23.58 fantasy points were sixth-most in Week 1.

During fantasy draft season, I wrote that Taylor could be a top-12 fantasy quarterback on a per-game basis for as long as he's the starter. While the Browns have a late-season bye (Week 11) and a transition to Baker Mayfield may make sense following it, it's also possible that the team has some success and sticks with Taylor longer than that.

Either way, the Browns will head to New Orleans to take on the high-powered Drew Brees-led offense in Week 2. It's certainly possible that Taylor and the Browns will be forced to play catchup early. Not that anyone should expect a similar game to what Ryan Fitzpatrick just had against the Saints, a top-12 fantasy outcome is certainly within the realm of possibilities for Taylor this week.

QB - Alex Smith, Washington Redskins (vs. IND)

Over the past five seasons, Jay Gruden has coached a top-eight full-season fantasy quarterback with Kirk Cousins (three times in Washington) and Andy Dalton (2013 in Cincinnati). Coming off a top-three season with the Chiefs last year, Smith is consistently an underrated option.

Finishing as a top-11 fantasy quarterback in Week 1, Smith threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns in a blowout win over the Cardinals. While he only rushed for 14 yards, Smith is one of the league's more mobile quarterbacks and that part of his game boosts his weekly floor and ceiling. Getting a favorable matchup against the Colts, Washington has a top-five implied total for the week.

QB - Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (vs. DET)

Coming up short against the Vikings on the road, things should be better for Jimmy G. and the 49ers this week as they host the Lions at home. Garoppolo completed less than half of his pass attempts (15-of-33) for 261 yards and threw more interceptions (three) than touchdowns (one) last week. That said, George Kittle dropped a would-be touchdown and the Lions just got shredded by the Jets offense and rookie quarterback Sam Darnold on Monday Night Football. Only the Steelers, Saints and Rams have higher implied totals than the 49ers this week.

Week 2 Fantasy Football QB Sit'em

 

QB - Tom Brady, New England Patriots (at JAX)

Benching Brady isn't something that fantasy owners should typically do. In fact, it's reasonable to assume that most fantasy owners have just one quarterback on their rosters when Brady is their starter. Ranked just outside my top-12 (QB13), it may not make sense to add a quarterback like Taylor, who I have ranked just one spot ahead of Brady, if it means dropping a running back stash that you could potentially use later in the season.

With all that said, this is the worst possible matchup for any fantasy quarterback. In the AFC Championship Game last season, Brady threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns. Over their 20 games (counting playoffs) in 2017 and 2018, the Jaguars have allowed just three games of 250-plus passing yards and multiple touchdowns. It wouldn't be a surprise if Brady has his worst game of the season in Week 2.

QB - Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (at SF)

Week 1 was a week to forget for Stafford. The Lions quarterback threw four interceptions, including one returned for a score, and only one touchdown against the Jets. Sustaining a shin injury on MNF, Stafford is practicing fully ahead of the Week 2 matchup so he'll be on the field. Even so, he's better left on your bench this week.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. PHI)

Drew Brees threw for 439 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 as the Saints put up 40 points, but it was Fitzpatrick that outdueled the future HOFer. In fact, it wasn't even close as Fitzpatrick scored more than 10 fantasy points more than Brees. Not only did Fitzpatrick throw for 417 yards and four touchdowns, but he rushed for 36 yards and another score.

In a matchup against the Eagles, things likely will go much worse for Fitzpatrick this week. Historically, Fitzpatrick has followed up big performances (e.g., 358 yards and six TDs in 2014) with duds (135 yards and no TDs the following week).

- More Fantasy Football Start'em, Sit'em for Week 2

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Fantasy Football Rankings Week 2: Tight Ends

Whether you love him or hate him, one thing is clear -- you know where you stand (in his mind).

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey said this summer, "I don't think Gronk's good. Let me say -- I don't think Gronk is as great as people think he is."

Against the Texans last week, Gronkowski had a 7/123/1 line including a 21-yard touchdown against a double team. Facing Ramsey and the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game last year, however, Gronk had just one catch before exiting the game with a concussion.

The outspoken cornerback attributes much of Gronk's success to having all-time great Tom Brady throwing him passes. Of course, that will raise the game of any pass-catcher.

Either way, Gronk has essentially shrugged off Ramsey's comments.

"I mean if that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels," Gronkowski said. "It’s a big game this Sunday. We’re playing them. I’m sure I’m going to have opportunities to go versus him. I’m sure he’s going to have opportunities to go versus me. So I’m just preparing like I always prepare."

It will be interesting to see how much Ramsey matches up with Gronk and which player gets the better part of the other.

More tight end notes:
  • Going into the season, the tight end position was top-heavy. Now Delanie Walker is out for the season and Greg Olsen (broken foot) hopes to play again in 2018, but his next game won't be any time soon. One potential waiver-wire replacement is Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron, who had four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Ebron is still available in roughly half of Yahoo! leagues.
  • There weren't many reasons for Raiders fans to get excited on Monday Night Football, but Jared Cook was one of them. The team leader in receiving yards (688) and 20-yard receptions (10) in 2017, Cook paced the position in yardage in Week 1 with a 9/180 line on 12 targets. Surprisingly, Cook has just three touchdowns in 43 combined games since 2015, but Cook is a top-12 fantasy tight end for Week 2.
  • In a difficult matchup against the Vikings, who allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2017, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle had a strong performance (5/90) although he would have had a bigger day if he didn't drop what would have been a wide-open touchdown. While durability could be a concern for his full-season outlook, the weekly matchup gets better as the Niners face the Lions in Week 2.
  • When it comes to durability, Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed has struggled to stay healthy for a full season. But the talented tight end is healthy now and he posted a 4/48/1 line against the Cardinals on Sunday. Based on implied totals from Vegas odds, Washington is projected to be a top-five scoring team in Week 2.
Our 2018 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings from Kevin Hanson:



- Fantasy Football PPR Tight End Rankings

More Fantasy Football Rankings:

Fantasy Football Rankings Week 2: Wide Receivers

No game has a higher over-under than the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs this week. Both teams are projected to rank amongst the top 10 in scoring based on implied totals from Vegas odds -- Steelers (28.50, third) and Chiefs (24.50, ninth).

So, perhaps it's no surprise, but this game has three wide receivers ranked inside my top-12 fantasy wide receivers for Week 2.

There will be some boom or bust to his game, but no wide receiver scored more fantasy points than Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill (35.3 — 42.3 in PPR) in Week 1. The third-year receiver had seven catches for 169 yards (24.1 Y/R) and two touchdowns in addition to a punt return score.

Pittsburgh Steelers second-year wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster picked up where he left off — with a strong performance against the Cleveland Browns. With 9/143/1 in Week 17, Smith-Schuster had 5/119 on Sunday.

While Ben Roethlisberger had a disappointing performance in Week 1, Antonio Brown also had a strong performance (9/93/1 on 16 targets).

At the moment, Brown, Hill and Smith-Schuster rank first, eighth and 12th in my Week 2 rankings, respectively.

More notes heading into Week 2:
  • Coming off a disappointing 2017 season, Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders' preseason rapport with new quarterback Case Keenum carried over into Week 1. Sanders finished with 10 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. Teammate Demaryius Thomas had a good game (6/63/1 on 10 targets) as well. Both get a favorable matchup in Week 2 against the Raiders.
  • With 20 opportunities (19 targets and one rush), Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones began the season with a 10/169 receiving line and 11-yard carry. Jones and the Falcons will take on the Panthers in Week 2. In his last five games against Carolina, Jones has exceeded the 100-yard mark three times including a 12/300/1 line in 2016. Over those five games, he has a total of 36 catches for 736 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Given the magical performance from Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Buccaneers wideouts had big games -- DeSean Jackson (5/146/2), Mike Evans (7/147/1) and Chris Godwin (3/41/1). D-Jax (concussion) was limited at Thursday's practice and if he plays, that limits Godwin's (and Jackson's) upside in Week 2. That said, the matchup against the Eagles isn't favorable either.
  • With Doug Baldwin leaving Sunday's game with an MCL tear, he's expected to miss (at least) a couple of weeks. Already without tight end Jimmy Graham, who scored 10 touchdowns last season, the duo of Tyler Lockett (3/59/1) and Brandon Marshall (3/41/6) had productive weeks. Marshall had a team-high seven targets and is perhaps the most likely to find the end zone on a weekly basis for as long as Baldwin is sidelined and he's still available in nearly three-quarters of Yahoo! leagues.
  • Facing the elite Jacksonville secondary, New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr. had 11 carries for 111 yards on 15 targets. While he didn't score and finished as the weekly WR25, OBJ gets a more favorable matchup in Week 2 against the Cowboys on Sunday night.
  • In turn, it's Tom Brady and the Patriots that get the elite Jacksonville pass defense this week. Surprisingly, Chris Hogan had just one catch for 11 yards on five targets against the Texans last week and Phillip Dorsett had a career-high seven catches that he turned into 66 yards and a score. Will Jalen Ramsey shadow Hogan?
Our Week 2 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings from Kevin Hanson:



- Fantasy Football PPR Wide Receiver Rankings

More Fantasy Football Rankings: