Fantasy

NFL Fantasy Football Notebook: Week Two

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With all but one Week 2 game in the books, here’s a list of players to target on the waiver wire, some observations through two weeks and a look at how this week’s major injuries may impact your fantasy team moving forward.

Who to Grab Off the Waiver Wire

Travis Benjamin, WR, Cleveland Browns

Benjamin only had four targets on Sunday, but he turned those into three catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns.  He also added a third touchdown on a punt return. Now, those numbers obviously aren’t sustainable, but keep in mind that Benjamin had 89 yards and a long touchdown from Johnny Manziel in Week 1 too. The chemistry is obviously there between Benjamin and Manziel. Johnny Football throws a good deep ball, and it seems possible that these two can continue to connect for some long bombs throughout the season. To stay fantasy relevant at wide receiver, you just need one deep catch for a touchdown each game.  Benjamin will have his fair share of deep shots, especially if Manziel is under center, giving him a chance to be flex worthy if he can keep this up.  

Dion Lewis, RB, New England Patriots

Many people thought Lewis was a one-week wonder since LeGarrette Blount was coming back in Week 2. However, Blount barely played on Sunday while Lewis continued to shine. Mike Reiss reports that Lewis was on the field for 70 snaps compared to just seven snaps for Blount.  You don’t have to be an expert to see who is getting more opportunities in the potent Patriots offense.  Lewis had seven rushes for 40 yards and one touchdown.  He also had six receptions on nine targets for 98 yards. The Patriots obviously want to use Lewis in their offense, meaning he’s becoming an interesting fantasy play. Facing the Jacksonville Jaguars next week, Lewis is a flex consideration and he could even slide into RB2 territory. Unless someone in your league grabbed him after Week 1, he is most likely available and you should change that. The one thing to keep an eye on is his fumbles, as he has now lost the ball in consecutive weeks and Bill Belichick is known to go away from running backs who turn it over.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills

For those of you who had Tony Romo in your league (like myself), consider grabbing Tyrod Taylor.  He is on an offense with a lot of weapons and he’s an athletic QB who can use his legs to get you points on the ground too. On Sunday, he had five rushes for 43 yards and a touchdown.  Taylor also threw the ball 30 times, connecting on 23 of them. He logged 242 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, finishing in the top 10 in QB scoring this week.  If you had an injury like I did, or you’re in a deep league and in need of a QB, Taylor is a good option to take a chance on as he has a high ceiling.  

Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins

Remember last week, when Alfred Morris had a solid Week 1 and no one was talking about Matt Jones?  Yeah, then Week 2 happened. On Sunday, Jones got one more carry than Morris (19 to 18), and had more than twice the yards with 123 versus Morris’ 59.  Throw in two touchdowns to Morris’ zero, and it’s clear Jones could have a significant role moving forward.  Keep in mind that it’s just one game. Jones had a long run for a touchdown in the first quarter, and it looked like they just fed the hot hand in Washington this week.  But, it’s apparent that Jones can play and it does seem that he is going to cut into Morris’ workload, and push him for more playing time.  He is barely owned, and I advise all Alfred Morris owners to go pick Jones up.  If your worst enemy in the league owns Morris, snag Matt Jones off waivers.  

Crockett Gillmore, TE, Baltimore Ravens

Gillmore went off in Week 2 and he’s owned in just 1.5 percent of ESPN leagues. If you’re in need of a tight end or are in a deep league and lacking a flex option, take a look at Gillmore, who seems to have Joe Flacco’s trust. Gillmore finished Baltimore’s loss to Oakland with five catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns. He had the third-most targets on the team (six) and made the most of them. In Week 1, he had just two catches for 23 yards (on four targets), so you may want to wait at least one more game to see if this week’s success was just a fluke. But if you’re in a deep league, you may want to take a flier on him to see if he ends up being a key part of the Ravens’ passing attack going forward.

Fantasy Observations

DeMarco Murray Should Not Have Been A First-Round Pick

Two games in is still early, but that statement certainly seems accurate for now. Murray and that Eagles offensive line don’t look good. The Eagles are 0-2 as a team, and it’s possible that it’s taking time for the new players to learn Chip Kelly’s offense. However, many people are wondering if this proves Murray was a product of Dallas’ system – with a great offensive line and plenty of weapons surrounding him. As most of us are well aware, Murray was a fantasy stud last year and led all running backs in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and fantasy points. That is not going to be the case this year.  He may still be the same player, and he may even have a good overall season,  but for right now he’s not living up to expectations. It’s safe to say he may be regretting his decision to leave Dallas, and for now he is nowhere near the fantasy producer he was last year.  Murray was a first-round pick in most drafts, and someone that I selected with the 11th overall pick in a 12-team league. This will go down as one of the worst picks of the year if this type of output continues.  Through two games, he has 21 rushes for 11 yards.  And if you had to go back and re-read that, I completely understand.  I drafted Murray in the first round, with high hopes. If I had a time machine, Murray wouldn’t be on my team (and neither would Dez Bryant, obviously). But I don’t have a time machine, so what can us Murray owners do?  If you have Murray and can find a trade you like, go for it.  But just know that you aren’t going to get great offers with his stock so low, so your best bet is likely to hold on to him and be patient.  There’s a lot of time left for Philly to get things going. And getting things right may involve funneling their offense through Murray at some point. Us owners can only hope.  

C.J. Anderson May Be Losing His Job

The above statement should really scare owners who drafted him early. Going into this year, Anderson looked like your typical Peyton Manning running back: used a good amount on the ground and involved in the passing game. I had Knowshon Moreno a few years back, and had Anderson last year.  When the Broncos’ offense is playing well, Manning’s starting running back has good fantasy output. Well, in 2015, Anderson looks like he is on the verge of losing his job to Ronnie Hillman. For that to happen this early is terrifying relative to where he was drafted. Once you lose the work-horse role, it’s hard to come back from that. After two weeks, Anderson has had 24 carries for 56 yards while Hillman has had 21 carries for 75 yards. Hillman has the higher yards per carry, while Anderson has seen more targets in the passing game. What am I doing if I have Anderson? Well, I’m picking up Hillman if I can – through the waiver wire or even trade. That’s first and foremost. If he’s not available, I’m not trading Anderson unless the person offering me the trade hasn’t seen any football so far this year.  I’m going to give you the same advice I did to DeMarco Murray owners: you have to be patient for now.  Wait it out, and hope he shows he’s the best option in their backfield going forward.  A running back in Denver will have a good year. We don’t know which one yet, but it does seem like it’s still Anderson’s job to lose. It’s just scary to see Hillman right there knocking on the door.  

Jeremy Hill Had Two Fumbles, Giovani Bernard Takes Over

Jeremy Hill had a ton of hype coming into this year, and rightfully so since he was coming off a huge season in 2014 that made him a top 10 RB.  Fast forward to this week and Hill loses two fumbles, gets benched and Giovani Bernard rushes for 123 yards on twice the attempts as Hill.  That’s never what you want to happen in Week 2 to your stud running back. Now, this has owners wondering what to do.  I have Hill in a league, so this is exactly what I’m going to do: First, I drafted Bernard later in that draft to ensure even if this type of scenario were to happen, I’d be in a manageable situation.  So, hopefully you were the guy who didn’t just draft Hill, but also snagged Bernard.  You aren’t that guy?  Well, that sucks, and you are in a pickle. You can try to acquire Bernard, but that won’t be easy after his huge week. As far as Hill goes, he won’t get what he is worth on the trade market.  And that leaves you with your only option: Wait it out. It’s one week. You have to hope he receives another chance as the lead guy and doesn’t fumble. I believe Hill has more than enough talent to be a star, and he’s on an offense that wants to feed their backs the ball.  My advice to non-Hill owners?  Buy low!  If you have an owner in your league super scared that Hill is about to lose all value, bring up the conversation of “taking Hill off their hands.”  See if you can get a good deal.

The Impact of Injuries

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Romo fractured his clavicle during Sunday’s game against the Eagles.  Since he’s not having surgery, he will be out eight weeks, which is more horrible news for fantasy owners of Cowboy players.  First, the obvious advice: drop Romo.  Second, the value goes down for all Cowboy fantasy options such as Joseph Randle, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley.  I still see Witten having a solid year being Brandon Weeden’s main option, but Witten reportedly has two sprained ankles and sprained knee (although he says he’ll play through the injuries). Williams is still a good player to have since Bryant is out for almost as long as Romo. But temper expectations, as I can’t see them having a huge fantasy impact anymore.

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

Cutler hurt his hamstring while attempting a tackle after an interception.  If he has to miss an extended amount of time, all the options in Chicago become less valuable as well.  If anything, Chicago could run the ball a higher percentage.  But I don’t expect Matt Forte to perform better with Jimmy Clausen as his QB instead of Cutler.  Cutler receives more than his fair share of disdain, but his options in Chicago are better off in fantasy with him behind center.  

Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
Lacy left in the first quarter against the Seahawks and did not return. X-rays done on site returned back negative. Closely monitor Lacy during the week as more information about the extent of the injury becomes available.  In the meantime, James Starks will be the back used in Green Bay.  If you need an option at RB while Lacy is out, look to Stark, who had 20 rushes for 95 yards in Lacy’s absence (or, as previously mentioned, pick up a waiver-wire stud like Dion Lewis or Matt Jones).


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