Upgrades

Recent news and/or performance has made us more optimistic about these particular players for fantasy purposes.

Quarterbacks

Carson Palmer (Ari) – Palmer’s preseason struggles seem like a thing of the past. The veteran absolutely carved up the Bucs’ defense in Week 2, completing 18/31 passes for 308 yards and 3 TDs, before the game was so far out of reach that Bruce Arians removed him for Drew Stanton in the fourth quarter. Palmer was completely under control – he averaged 9.93 YPA and a ridiculous 17.1 YPC, and keep in mind he did this without either Michael Floyd or John Brown converting a big play on the day. So far in 2016, Palmer has relied on Larry Fitzgerald, which seems like a decent strategy (it’s worked for QBs for close to 15 years), but Floyd and Brown have been more on the fringes. In other words, this receiving corps can actually improve, which is scary. The matchups will get tougher for Palmer, but he still plays in one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses.

Upgrades from the Waiver Wire:

  • Joe Flacco (Bal)
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick (NYJ)
  • Sam Bradford (Min)

 

Running Backs

C.J. Anderson (Den) – The fact that Anderson’s line in Week 2 against Indianapolis can actually be considered a little disappointing shows how well he has played dating back to the second half of the 2015 season. In a good matchup against the Colts, Anderson posted 20/74/1 rushing and 5/19 receiving, while playing 66.2% of the Broncos’ offensive snaps. The Bronco offensive line didn’t seem to clear as much room for Anderson is Week 2 as it did in a tougher matchup with Carolina in Week 1, but Anderson still made the most of it, bouncing through tackles and making some nifty catches, as well. Bronco coach Gary Kubiak mixed in rookie Devontae Booker to keep Anderson fresh, but it is clear that Anderson is the Broncos’ most trustworthy offensive weapon at this point. He now has 20 carries in each of his first two games, and he’s become the rare RB in this day and age who is start-worthy no matter the matchup. It’s early, but CJA is looking like a league-winning third-round pick.

Melvin Gordon (SD) – Gordon has arguably played the best two games of his NFL career in the first two games of this season, and that’s good news for the Chargers, because they will be without star Danny Woodhead for the year. Against the Jaguars in an easy win, Gordon posted 24/102/1 rushing and 3/18 receiving, while playing 75% of the Chargers’ offensive snaps (Woodhead played just 5 snaps before being injured). In Week 1, Gordon scored the first 2 TDs of his young career, and then in Week 2, he reached his first 100-yard milestone. could barely put any pressure on his leg and was eventually carted to the locker room, and a torn ACL for Woodhead was confirmed on Monday. With Woodhead done for the year, Gordon will look to build on the strong momentum he’s established over the first two weeks of the season.

Matt Forte (NYJ) – The Jets have a one-man backfield right now, with Forte dominating snaps ahead of Bilal Powell – 81% of the snaps to 23%. He posted 30/100/3 rushing and 2/9 receiving on 3 targets in Week 2 against the Bills. He’s never been a great goal-line runner, but he did poke in two goal-line attempts as well as a 12-yard run. He averaged only 3.3 YPC, but he did make some good runs to wear down this Bills defense. Forte is on pace for 472 touches this season, a pace he simply won’t be able to maintain going forward. We expect that Powell will become more involved eventually to keep their 30-year-old RB from breaking down, but he does have 10 days to get ready for the Chiefs in Week 3.

Isaiah Crowell (Cle) – The Browns may have lost their second QB in as many weeks, with Josh McCown suffering a potentially serious non-throwing shoulder injury. That means that Crowell will likely stay quite active going forward with rookie Cody Kessler starting, as they won’t want to expose him too much. Crow is eating in the early going, ripping off an 85-yard TD run in Week 2 against the Ravens on his way to posting 18/133/1 rushing and 1/15 receiving. He also played on 52% of the snaps compared to Duke Johnson’s 50%. It could be tougher for Crow to run the ball going forward if teams are going to stack the box against Kessler, but he should at least see a healthy number of carries each week until they are trailing in the second half of most games.

Theo Riddick (Det) – It looks like Ameer Abdullah escaped Week 2 without a major foot injury after X-rays came back negative. Still, Abdullah had a noticeable limp after the game and had a boot on, so it looks like it will be a reach for him to play in Week 3 with a foot sprain. That means that Riddick will be the primary back with rookie Dwayne Washington also factoring in against the Packers this week. Riddick saw a huge uptick in playing time (65%) in Week 2 against the Titans, carrying 11 times for 37 yards and adding 4/28 receiving on 5 targets. It’s looking like Riddick will be the top back for as long as Abdullah is out of the lineup, and he’s locked in as a RB2 for PPR formats during that time.

Matt Jones (Was) – Ideally, you’d expect Jones to put up a better line than he did in Week 2 against Dallas, but the fact that he showed actual signs of life is reason enough for an upgrade. Playing 58.2% of the offensive snaps (to Chris Thompson’s 41.8%), Jones posted 13/61/1 rushing and 1/4 receiving against the Cowboys. His TD was a nifty 14-yard run on which he bounced outside, made a violent cut back inside, then outraced defenders to the sideline and dove for the pylon before going down. The question now is if Washington will lean more on Jones going forward; the club has been extremely pass-heavy through two weeks, and QB Kirk Cousins’ play has not been up to par. Jones has given coach Jay Gruden little reason to trust him with a bigger workload, but Gruden may have no choice but to try given how badly Cousins has struggled. Jones is still a flex play until we see more consistency, but now we’ve at least seen some decent runs on tape.

Christine Michael (Sea) – The Seahawks tried to get Thomas Rawls going against the Rams in Week 2, but even prior to Rawls leaving with what coach Pete Carroll called a “leg contusion,” Michael was the better player for the second week in a row. In Seattle’s ugly loss in LA, Michael was arguably their best offensive player, posting 10/60 rushing and 3/26 receiving on 4 targets, while playing 71.6% of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps. Unfortunately, Michael’s overall positive day came to a screeching halt when he fumbled away the Seahawks’ chances of winning with under a minute left to go. That won’t make Carroll happy, but we have to look at the facts. On the year, Michael is now averaging 5.0 YPC on 25 carries, while Rawls is averaging a putrid 1.3 YPC on 19 carries. We’ll see how much time, if any, Rawls misses, but at this stage the Seahawks’ most consistent offensive weapon has been Michael. Will the fact the he’s still making some mistakes take away from that?

Upgrades from the Waiver Wire:

  • Tevin Coleman (Atl) 
  • Charles Sims (TB)
  • Fozzy Whittaker (Car) 
  • Christine Michael (Sea) 
  • Jerick McKinnon (Min) 
  • Dwayne Washington (Det) 
  • Matt Asiata (Min)
  • Kenyan Drake (Mia) 

 

Wide Receivers

Jordan Matthews (WR, Phi) – Matthews’ big night in Chicago – 6 catches for 71 yards on 9 targets – could have been much bigger if he hauled in a near-perfect throw from Carson Wentz at the end of the first half, which would have resulted in a long TD and made Wentz’s impressive game look even better. Drops have been an issue for Matthews throughout his career, but it’s very evident that he has the trust of Wentz as the young QB’s #1 receiver. With 22 targets through the first two games of the season, Matthews is tied for 4th among all WRs. He’s a couple of drops away from being one of the top fantasy scorers too – he’s already 13th in total points, but would be top-5 had he hauled in that long catch. At this point, Wentz has been better than could have reasonably been expected, and Matthews is taking to Philly’s new offense very well – he’s lining up both inside and outside, and is winning. He’s a weekly start until further notice, especially in PPR.

Stefon Diggs (Min) – We’re not throwing this around lightly, but Diggs looks like a WR on the verge of stardom, if he’s not there already. We see glimpses of a young Antonio Brown every time we watch Diggs because of his quickness and explosiveness, which helps him create space as a route runner and helps him create big plays after the catch. He put on a show on national TV in Week 2, posting 9/182/1 receiving against the Packers. He hauled in two 40+ yard passes and scored on a 25-yard pass from new QB Sam Bradford, who certainly impressed in his first start. Diggs is the far-and-away #1 receiver for Bradford going forward, and the offense could be running through him this season with RB Adrian Peterson dealing with a torn meniscus. Diggs is looking like a high-end WR2 for now, with the potential to be a WR1 depending on the AP injury.

Eric Decker (NYJ) – The emergence of #3 WR Quincy Enunwa is a bit scary for Decker owners, but the 29-year-old WR doesn’t leave the field (97% of the snaps in Week 2) and he has a knack for finding the end zone just about every week. He finished with 6/126/1 receiving on 8 targets in Week 2 against the Bills, scoring on a goal-line look from Ryan Fitzpatrick. He even had a 53-yard catch wiped out by an offensive holding call at the line of scrimmage. He is dealing with a sore shoulder this week, but it doesn’t sound too serious. Decker now has a TD and/or 80+ yards in his 17 games with the Jets, so he’s an automatic WR2 every week, even with Enunwa posing a threat to some of his targets.

Jarvis Landry (Mia) – It didn’t take long Arian Foster to get hurt. He left Week 2 with a groin injury that could keep him out a minimum of one game, according to the Miami Herald. This backfield is going to be a complete mess with Foster out of the lineup with unproven players like Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake trying to keep them afloat. It’s setting up for Landry to essentially become the running back for this offense, taking short passes from Ryan Tannehill to move the chains. Landry moved the Dolphins offense in Week 2, finishing with 10/137 receiving on 13 targets against the Patriots. He doesn’t have a ton of upside most weeks, but Landry should be locked in as a WR2 in PPR formats for as long as Foster is out.

Marvin Jones (Det) – Jones cleaned up his act with Matthew Stafford in Week 2, after 75% of the QB’s incompletions went in Jones’ direction in the season opener. Marvin is emerging as the top WR in Detroit, as he posted 8/118 receiving on 11 targets against the Titans. He played on 92% of the snaps and well outperformed Golden Tate (2/13 receiving) in this game. Jones is making plays in all areas of the field for Stafford, whereas Tate does most of his work in the underneath areas. We had Jones as a WR3 all summer long, and it looks like he might actually become a WR2 if he can keep it going against the Packers in Week 3.

DeVante Parker (Mia) – Parker made his debut in Week 2, and he carried over his last season success as a rookie into 2016. He posted 8/106 receiving on 12 targets against the Patriots, doing much of his damage late in the game with Dolphins in come-back mode. A hamstring injury kept him out of the season opener, but he looked healthy playing on 92% of the snaps with the Dolphins playing almost exclusively in 3-WR sets. Arian Foster left Week 2 with a groin injury that could keep him out a minimum of one game, according to the Miami Herald. This backfield is going to be a complete mess with Foster out of the lineup, and Ryan Tannehill could be forced to sustain this offense through the air. Parker is looking like an upside WR3 going forward, and he has a lot of potential going the terrible Browns secondary in Week 3.

Dez Bryant (Dal) – It stinks that we actually have to upgrade Dez after a pretty common line for him – 7/102 receiving on 12 targets. But considering he caught only 1 pass in Dak Prescott’s first career start in Week 1, we’re just excited that we have a relatively big Dez game to talk about. Prescott played far better and more efficiently this week against Washington than he did against Pittsburgh last week, and the Cowboys also clearly put more Dez targets into their gameplan, making sure he was involved early and often. Again, there’s nothing spectacular to say about this performance, other than it’s good to know last week’s overreactions may have been a little bit unjustified. We’d still feel better if it were Tony Romo out there, but Prescott has handled himself pretty well overall, and Dez remains by far his best option for pushing the ball down the field.

Travis Benjamin (SD) – While Waiver Wire superstar Tyrell Williams had himself a nice showing against the Jaguars in Week 2, the Occam’s razor answer for “which receiver will step up in Keenan Allen’s absence” was always the gifted Benjamin. Against the Jags, he posted 6/115/2 receiving on 6 targets, looking on the same page as QB Philip Rivers at all times. Surprisingly, Benjamin played only 64.7% of the Chargers’ offensive snaps, actually fewer than Williams (73.5%) and Dontrelle Inman (86.8%). Of course, we must take into account the fact that the Chargers were barely given an ounce of competition from the Jags, and after losing Allen last week and Danny Woodhead this week, coach Mike McCoy was probably wise to hold Benjamin back late in the game. Moreover, Antonio Gates looks slow, which means Benjamin might well be the #1 target for one of the game’s elite QBs for the rest of the season. He has WR2 upside, and because of his speed, he has a massive ceiling every week.

Kelvin Benjamin (Car) - No one could have seen this coming. Benjamin has seen 28.8% of Panthers’ targets through two games after owning a 26.9% target share in 2014 as a rookie. In his first two games back from a 2015 ACL-tear, Benjamin has ripped Denver (6/91/1) and San Francisco (7/108/2). It’s fair to say we were too low on him coming into the season, but in fairness, this type of production could not have been predicted. Benjamin is a WR1 (top-12) until further notice. He has a reasonably tough matchup with the Vikings next, but then faces the terrible secondaries of the NFC South in his next three contests (at Falcons, vs. Buccaneers, at Saints).

Mike Evans (TB) - Since it looks like Vincent Jackson has lost a step at 33-years-old through two games (2-18; 4-44 on 16 total targets), Evans is going to be peppered with targets this season. After seeing 17 targets in Week 2 vs. the Cardinals (6-70-1), Evans has a good shot to finish the season top-10 in total targets. Since Jackson simply isn’t performing, Jameis Winston will be forced to funnel passing looks to Evans. The Bucs’ don’t have a steady tight end, either. Evans has three brutal matchups coming up (vs. Rams, vs. Broncos, at Panthers) -- but then his schedule opens up beautifully.

Will Fuller (Hou) - As it turns out, Fuller isn’t just a deep threat. His sub-4.4 wheels certainly makes him a very talented receiver on deep targets, but after opening up his opening two games with two 100-yard performances (5-107; 4-104), we’re upgrading Fuller into the every-week fantasy WR3 level. Sure, he won’t have a 40-yard catch in nearly every game, but his targets (11 and 7) through two games are locked in. Keep in mind, outside of DeAndre Hopkins and slot-man Braxton Miller, Houston’s pass-game usage is very skinny. Fuller will be in the top-24 conversation again in the next two weeks (at Patriots, vs. Titans).

Sterling Shepard (NYG) – The Giants/Saints projected fantasy bonanza was a huge disappointment for almost everyone involved, but a guy you can’t be upset about playing is Shepard. Shepard saw 8 targets against perhaps the NFL’s worst defense. He turned those 8 targets into 8 receptions for 117 yards. So he scored a TD in Week 1 against Dallas, and then added a 100-yard game to his ledger in Week 2. And for the second straight week, he was second to Odell Beckham in snaps among Giant WRs, though the Giants go almost exclusively 3-WR, so it’s not like Victor Cruz isn’t getting a healthy share of the work either. Shepard is a rock-solid WR3 with some upside. He clearly has juice with QB Eli Manning.

Upgrades from the Waiver Wire:

  • Tyrell Williams (SD)
  • Phillip Dorsett (Ind) 
  • Victor Cruz (NYG)
  • Mike Wallace (Bal)
  • Quincy Enunwa (NYJ) 
  • Cole Beasley (Dal) 

 

Tight Ends

Greg Olsen (Car) - After a solid, but not fantastic opening week vs. Denver (7-73 on 9 targets), Olsen torched the 49ers porous defense for 5-122-1 (on 8 targets) in Week 2. Kelvin Benjamin’s re-addition to the lineup made people avoid Olsen this offseason, but it’s clear the two can work in conjunction moving forward. Benjamin is the clear lead-dog (21 targets), but Olsen is not too far behind (17 targets) through two games. To boot, Olsen’s next four matchups are glorious: vs. Vikings, at Falcons, vs. Buccaneers, at Saints.

Upgrades from the Waiver Wire

  • Dennis Pitta (Bal) 
  • Kyle Rudolph (Min) 
  • Jacob Tamme (Atl) 
  • Jesse James (Pit) 

 

Downgrades

Recent news and/or performance has made us less optimistic about these particular players for fantasy purposes.

Quarterbacks

Jay Cutler (QB, Chi) – A bad start to the season for the Bears is about to get worse. Cutler left the Week 2 loss to Philadelphia with a right thumb injury, and every indication now is that it’s an injury that will cost Cutler some time, perhaps significant time. In the event Cutler is out, the starting QB will be Brian Hoyer, and while Hoyer is totally capable of filling in decently, the Bear offense will absolutely take a hit without him. We’ll keep our ears to the ground, but initial reports – the Chicago Sun-Times suggested ligament damage – are not good.

Aaron Rodgers (GB) – It’s only two weeks, but this Packers offense still looks stuck in 2015 when they really struggled to move the ball consistently without Jordy Nelson. Rodgers had one of the worst performances of his career in Week 2, and the usually clean-playing Rodgers was flat out careless with the ball. He fumbled three times, losing one of them, and he tossed the game-ending INT in the final two minutes – although Davante Adams ran a half-assed route. Rodgers completed 20/36 passes for 213 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT against a great Vikings defense. He does have rushing TDs in both games this year, which is hiding some of his fantasy deficiencies, as he’s now failed to hit even 215+ passing yards in both of his starts. The Packers still have major issues on offense right now, and Nelson has yet to get this offense going vertically, with Rodgers averaging a pitiful 5.9 YPA. If the Packers don’t get on track this week against a shaky Lions defense, they could be headed for another up-and-down offensive year.

Kirk Cousins (Was) – For the second straight week, Cousins actually put up solid numbers – against the Cowboys, Cousins went 28/46 for 364 yards with a TD and a pick. But his play was far worse in reality. He continually missed throws, including multiple intended for Pierre Garcon. Garcon was the intended receiver on Cousins’ awful red-zone interception, and the veteran WR threw a tantrum on the field he was so fed up. According to ProFootballTalk, Cousins is beginning to lose the locker room, obviously because a team with so many weapons coming off a division title is now 0-2 and is struggling to score points. Cousins was especially terrible near the goal line, where he threw INTs at worst and was inaccurate at best. He also really struggled to make deep throws – he missed both Jamison Crowder and DeSean Jackson for potential long TDs. There’s plenty of time to Cousins to rebound, but starting 0-2 at home, including one against a hated rival, when making $20 million is no way to endear a QB to his team.

Russell Wilson (Sea) – Wilson’s 2016 start seems eerily similar to his 2015 start. So far through two games, the Seahawks have scored 15 points, and have recorded just 1 TD – against the Rams in Week 2, Wilson went 22/35 for 254 yards with no TDs and picks. He also lost a fumble. Wilson was playing on a bum ankle behind an offensive line that has been bad at best, and the Seahawks’ run game has been nonexistent when Thomas Rawls has been in the game (Christine Michael has been pretty effective). He’s also dealt with banged-up players in his receiving corps, with Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin in and out of the lineup during the day. We can’t deny that the Seahawks always seem to go through these funks and, as of yet, have never failed to pull out of them. Indeed, they went through a similar funk like this last year, and during the second half Wilson played the best football he’s ever played. But for now, it’s impossible to not downgrade him for fantasy.

 

Running Backs

Jeremy Langford (RB, Chi) – Langford had a massive snap share in Week 1 – 96.4%. Apparently he didn’t impress the Bears enough with that share, because he was down to 59.6% in Week 2, and may have played even fewer snaps if Ka’Deem Carey (who actually started the game) didn’t get hurt. He posted 11/28/1 rushing and 1/6 receiving, while losing a fumble. His TD was of the one-yard variety, as Langford managed to simply fall forward at the point of attack. Otherwise, he was mediocre at best and downright negative value to his team at worst (the fumble). The Bear backfield doesn’t have a lot of talent, but we have to wonder if Carey or rookie Jordan Howard will get more snaps going forward. It has not been a good start to the year for Langford.

Arian Foster (Mia) – Who out there had Foster at 1.5 games for when he would suffer his first injury of the season? Foster left Week 2 after just 10 snaps, suffering a groin injury that could keep him out a minimum of one game, according to the Miami Herald. We hope you listened to us when we told you to avoid Foster at all costs in your drafts. This backfield is going to be a complete mess with Foster out of the lineup with unproven players like Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake trying to keep them afloat. Foster will clearly be the main man once he gets back, but he’ll likely just get injured again once he’s back on the field.

Adrian Peterson (Min) – We can’t imagine a worst start AP’s season than what has played out in the first two weeks. He posted just 19/31 rushing in Week 1, and he’s now been diagnosed with a torn meniscus after his injury in Week 2. It wasn’t like AP was any good before his injury against the Packers, posting just 12/19 rushing behind a shaky Vikings offensive line. HC Mike Zimmer didn’t rule him out for Week 3 at his Monday press conference, but this sounds like at least a multi-week injury. Thankfully for Peterson owners, it sounds like he’ll be back at some point, but he’s certainly not guaranteed to make a huge impact after what we saw from him in the first game and a half.

Danny Woodhead (SD) – The Chargers’ most-used and most trustworthy running back becomes the team’s second season-ending injury in as many weeks. Just 5 snaps into his Week 2 game with the Jaguars, Woodhead was folded over by Telvin Smith, and on Monday was diagnosed with a torn ACL. This is yet another massive blow to the Chargers, who lost Keenan Allen to the same injury a week ago. The Chargers are almost certain to increase the role of Melvin Gordon to a huge degree, especially since they lost #3 RB Branden Oliver to an Achilles injury in the preseason. The Chargers have Kenneth Farrow on the roster, but will need to add a veteran too.

Todd Gurley (LA) – The problem for Gurley is not him, it’s literally everything else. Los Angeles is sitting at 1-1, but has not scored a TD to this point, which is the most Jeff Fisher thing we could possibly imagine. Against the Seahawks on Sunday, Gurley got 19 carries but managed just 51 yards behind one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines. Gurley played 71% of the Rams’ offensive snaps, which is a massive share for a RB in this day and age, but he currently has only 2 receptions on the year, and has just 98 total rushing yards despite 36 carries. Aside from the line, which will continue to be an issue, Gurley needs competent QB play to at least help get him some room. Case Keenum has been on the outer levels of competent, if you’re being kind, but unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be much help on the way. Gurley’s lack of involvement in the passing game is also a huge killer; even though LA isn’t using Benny Cunningham much either, Tavon Austin is the surrogate for the “RB passing game work.” The entire hope is that the Rams manage to keep games close enough to get Gurley carries, and Gurley is able to create on his own. He has the talent to do that, but he has no help. You drafted him as your foundation player, but you just have to adjust your personal depth chart at this point. Chances are, though, you’re still in a position where you have to suck it up and start him.

Jonathan Stewart (Car) - If early reports are any indication, it seems as if Jonathan Stewart will miss a “week or two” after leaving the Panthers’ Week 2 game early with a strained hamstring. Stewart had five carries for 9 yards before leaving the game. This means that 2nd-year man -- who has been a healthy scratch in each of the Panthers first two games -- Cameron Artis-Payne and change-of-pace back Fozzy Whittaker will share Carolina’s running back duties until Stewart can return. Artis-Payne averaged 11 rush attempts per game in the three contests Stewart missed in 2015. Whittaker will carry the ball a few times and dominate the passing game work. Stewart is simply a bench stash until he returns.

Doug Martin (TB) - While Doug Martin’s hamstring injury that he sustained vs. the Cardinals immediately caused him to be ruled out from the game, it may not be as bad as it seems. Apparently, his hamstring strain was just a “slight tweak”. At press time, we do not know if or when Martin will miss time. He is, at best, questionable for Week 3 vs. the Rams. We’ll know more about Martin’s injury as the week wears on, but for now, Charles Sims can be safely inserted as a RB2 in Week 3. He’ll have top-15 weekly upside based on his passing game usage for as long as Martin is sidelined.

Thomas Rawls (Sea) – Rawls has not been good so far this year. He got the “start” against the Rams in Week 2, ahead of Christine Michael, but he managed just 7 carries for minus-7 yards before leaving with what coach Pete Carroll called a “leg contusion.” Meanwhile, Michael was by far the more effective back yet again. So far this year, Michael is averaging 5.0 YPC to Rawls’ 1.3. Yes, Rawls is working his way back from a nasty injury, and needs to be given the benefit of the doubt in that regard, but the Seahawks also need to win football games. At this point, Michael looks like their best player in the backfield if they want to do that.

Rashad Jennings (NYG) – Most everyone in that awful Giants/Saints game laid an egg, but none laid a bigger one than Jennings, who managed just 13/27 rushing and 2/13 receiving while playing 43% of the offensive snaps. Jennings may well have lost a lot of work because of an injury – coach Ben McAdoo told reporters on Monday that Jennings has a left hand injury and will be limited in practice this week. But also keep in mind that Shane Vereen was the Giants’ hurry-up back, and seems to be the guy they default to in a closer game. We haven’t seen the Giants playing with a real lead yet this year, and that could be their ideal role for Jennings. But it’s also clear that this is a team with a far more effective passing game than run game, behind a line that isn’t opening a ton of holes. We’ll keep an eye on his status this week for a game with Washington.

Justin Forsett (Bal) – Forsett is pretty unusable at this point, even though he led this backfield in Week 2. He finished with just 14/37 rushing and 3/9 receiving on 5 targets against the Browns, but he did play 55% of the snaps compared to Terrance West’s 28%, likely because the Ravens were in come-back mode most of the day. Forsett couldn’t come through in a great matchup against the lowly Browns, so Forsett isn’t even a flex option until bye weeks begin to hit in Week 4.

 

Wide Receivers

John Brown (Ari) – Through two games, Brown has just 2 catches. He had just 1 catch for 14 yards against the Bucs, while playing fewer than 50% of the offensive snaps, actually fewer than he did a week ago. Again, he missed almost all of the preseason with a concussion and is still likely working his way back into action, but he’s now converted just 2 of his 7 targets on the year into receptions, and he’s been outproduced in the passing game by the likes of Jaron Brown, Jermaine Gresham, and Darren Fells. Look, Larry Fitzgerald told us himself at the beginning of last year how important Brown was to this offense, and that was before Brown truly broke out. We’re giving Brown time, and we’re absolutely not dropping him, because Carson Palmer looks very sharp. But Brown is currently not startable, and that’s a bummer because he’s an explosive talent in an explosive offense.

Sammy Watkins (Buf) – The Bills essentially used Watkins (foot) as a decoy against the Jets in Week 2, as he posted just 2/20 receiving on 5 targets. He didn’t look healthy at all, and he played on just 75% of the snaps, which is a major concern. HC Rex Ryan said the plan at practice this week will be the same for Watkins, with the 23-year-old WR getting limited work in leading up to his matchup with top CB Patrick Peterson. The Bills did can OC Greg Roman over the weekend, and new OC Anthony Lynn will be tasked with getting Watkins more than 11 targets he’s seen through two weeks. Watkins looks like a boom-or-bust WR3 at this point until he starts to get healthier.

Randall Cobb (GB) – It’s only been two weeks, but we can’t see any discernible difference between the 2015 Packers offense and this year’s offense, which obviously has Jordy Nelson back. Cobb finished with just 5/42 receiving on 7 targets in Week 2 against a tough Vikings defense, and he’s yet to hit triple-digits in receiving yards this season (99). The Packers still have major issues on offense right now, and Nelson has yet to get this offense going vertically, with Aaron Rodgers averaging a pitiful 5.9 YPA. If the Packers aren’t going to have anybody to stretch the field once again, Cobb’s job gets that much tougher with defenses able to play their safeties closer to the line of scrimmage. The Packers get a nice matchup against the Lions this week, so they need to show some signs of life quickly.

Corey Coleman (Cle) – Well, it sure didn’t take long for QB Josh McCown to get hurt again playing behind this lousy Browns offensive line. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot reported that McCown’s non-throwing shoulder injury is believed to be serious, which means that the only alternative right now is third-round rookie QB Cody Kessler. The former USC QB was a major reach as many experts had him as a UDFA prospect, and Adam Schefter reported that Kessler is “not close to being ready to play.” It’s a major blow for everyone in this passing game, especially for the rookie Coleman who showed some real juice in Week 2. He finished with 5/104/2 receiving on 8 targets against the Ravens, scoring from 31 and 11 yards out. Coleman has shown plenty of big-play potential, as he’s averaging 24.7 YPC so far, but there is real downside with Kessler at QB because he doesn’t have a big arm and won’t cut it loose downfield.

Vincent Jackson (TB) - In a primo matchup while teammate Mike Evans was largely matched up versus stud CB Patrick Peterson, Vincent Jackson (4-44 on 9 targets) severely underwhelmed in Week 2. Jackson has had two excellent matchups in back-to-back weeks and has only compiled 6-62 (on 16 targets). At 33-years-old, Jackson has likely lost a step at his advanced age. Until we see something definitive, Jackson is a low-WR4 at best, even in good matchups.

Donte Moncrief (Ind) - After a solid Week 1 performance vs. the Lions (6-64-1), Donte Moncrief’s momentum was slowed significantly in Week 2. Moncrief absorbed a massive hit from Bronco safety T.J. Ward and immediately exited the game with a shoulder injury. Moncrief is receiving an MRI on said shoulder on Monday. We’ll know more later in the week, but if Moncrief is forced to miss any time, speedsters Phillip Dorsett and T.Y. Hilton will be in nuclear, green-light spots in Week 3 at home to the Chargers. Hopefully Moncrief’s injury is not serious and he can return for a glorious stretch in the Colts’ schedule (vs. Chargers, at Jaguars, vs. Bears).

 

Tight Ends

Gary Barnidge (Cle) – Well, it sure didn’t take long for QB Josh McCown to get hurt again playing behind this lousy Browns offensive line. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot reported that McCown’s non-throwing shoulder injury is believed to be serious, which means that the only alternative right now is third-round rookie QB Cody Kessler. The former USC QB was a major reach as many experts had him as a UDFA prospect, and Adam Schefter reported that Kessler is “not close to being ready to play.” It’s a major blow for everyone in this passing game, especially for Barnidge, who put up some great numbers with McCown in 2015. In what could be his only game with McCown, Barnidge posted a disappointing 4/37 receiving on 5 targets against the Ravens in Week 2. He’s slipped down the passing-game pecking order with Corey Coleman and Terrelle Pryor becoming major factors. There is real downside with Kessler at QB, but at least he’ll be a conservative thrower who will likely look in the middle of field to move the chains.

 

Holding Steady

These players have been in the news in one way or another, but we think their fantasy stock remains largely unchanged. 

Quarterbacks

Carson Wentz (QB, Phi) – Wentz’s final stat line against the Bears is merely solid – he went 21/34 for 190 yards with a TD, and for the second straight game he didn’t turn the ball over. But Wentz played better than the stat line. He had two bad drops, one on a potential TD to Jordan Matthews, and another by Nelson Agholor on a bomb that was a little underthrown but still hit Agholor right in the hands. Wentz also rushed 6 times for 10 yards, and needs to do a better job of not opening himself to hits. That being said, he has command of the Eagle offense, with the freedom to make audibles and checks at the line of scrimmage, and at times Wentz resembled Philip Rivers or Peyton Manning with how aggressively he was communicating with his offense at the line of scrimmage. Moreover, coach Doug Pederson came out firing the ball in empty sets and no huddle, showing extreme faith in his young QB. For now, Wentz is merely a QB streamer, and it has to be noted he’s taken on a couple of poor secondaries. But if you’re not impressed by what you’ve seen, you’re just hatin’. Wentz looks the part of a top-2 pick.

Philip Rivers (SD) – We’re sick of writing about Rivers here for things that aren’t in his control. What Rivers did have in his control in Week 2 was a dismantling of the Jaguars, as he went 17/24 for 220 yards and 4 TDs. What he didn’t have in his control was, for the second straight week, losing a critical weapon in his offense for the season. Danny Woodhead joins Keenan Allen on the sidelines with a torn ACL, and Rivers has to function without two of his three most reliable targets. And the other, Antonio Gates, certainly doesn’t look like he has a lot of miles left on his tires. Rivers has more talent behind Allen than he did last year, and that can help sustain him for fantasy, especially when he has good matchups. But damn, it seems every year we have to talk about how unlucky Rivers is, and every year he manages to play pretty well despite a lot of factors working against him.

Andy Dalton (Cin) – Despite his good numbers – he threw for 366 yards for the second straight week – Dalton had an absolutely dreadful performance in a divisional showdown with the Steelers. He completed 31/54 passes for 366 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INTs in sloppy conditions at Heinz Field. Dalton couldn’t throw the ball downfield at all, as he checked it down to Giovani Bernard (9/100/1 receiving) and Tyler Boyd (6/78) repeatedly, and he couldn’t get his stud A.J. Green (2/38) or anything going downfield. It was a strange game all the way around, and one to probably disregard, but it won’t get any easier going against the Broncos secondary in Week 3.

Ben Roethlisberger (Pit) – It certainly wasn’t pretty, but Big Ben came through for his fantasy owners in sloppy conditions at Heinz Field. Considering just how bad Andy Dalton looked in the same conditions, Roethlisberger looked impressive, completing 19/37 passes for 259 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. The biggest difference between the two offenses was Big Ben’s two long connections (44 and 53 yards) to Sammie Coates, which quickly set up TDs. He actually had two other opportunities to hit an open Coates down the field, but he badly under threw him on one of them for an INT. Heck, Roethlisberger couldn’t even get it going with Antonio Brown (4/39 receiving), so we’ll take a 3-TD performance from him in tough conditions

 

Running Backs

Ezekiel Elliott (Dal) – Despite some pregame suggestions that the Cowboys were going to get Alfred Morris more work in Week 2 against Washington, the rookie Zeke was overwhelmingly the Cowboys’ lead back. He played 43 snaps and carried 21 times for 83 yards and a TD, with 2/4 receiving. However, he also fumbled twice, and his second somehow was retained by the Cowboys (it would have cost them the game in all likelihood). After the second, he didn’t play a snap, and Morris took it the rest of the way. Nonetheless, Morris played only 10 snaps, with 5/7/1 rushing (the game-winning TD included). We’ll see how the Cowboys treat the fumbles going forward with Zeke, but despite an improvement in his performance from Week 1, he’s got to clean up the mistakes, especially since the Cowboys have a very competent player behind him in Morris.

DeAngelo Williams (Pit) – It was tough sledding for both offenses most of the day in wet conditions, but OC Todd Haley stuck with Williams and this running game with a lead. He plowed ahead for 32/94 rushing and he added 4/38/1 receiving on 5 targets, scoring a late TD on a 4-yard pass when the Bengals forgot to cover him in the flat. Williams needed the TD to come through for fantasy despite playing a hefty 89% of the snaps. DeAngelo will get one last game to run as the workhorse this week against the Eagles before Le’Veon Bell returns off his suspension in Week 4. Williams is a must-start RB1 when he gets to work as the top back.

Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles (RBs, Phi) – It was looking very dicey for Mathews to produce in this game, when the Eagles came out on their opening drive and ran empty sets with no-huddle for nearly the entire series. When doing this, Sproles was the Eagles’ starting RB, and Sproles ended up playing the most snaps in the Eagle backfield for the second straight week. With a 56.9% share, Sproles managed 12/40 rushing and 2/8 receiving. He didn’t really get it done for fantasy, but his usage through two games is a clear sign the Eagles view him as an important part of their offense. Meanwhile, Mathews got just 9 carries for 32 yards and 1 catch for 3 yards, but scored 2 short rushing TDs despite playing just 29.2% of the Eagles’ snaps. This was clearly a game-planned attack for Philadelphia, spreading out the Bears’ defense while avoiding the interior of the defensive line, which gave C Jason Kelce fits. Nonetheless, it’s obvious that Mathews is the Eagles’ best option when they choose to run it between the tackles.

Giovani Bernard (Cin) –Bernard went from being totally disregarded in Week 1 (5/25 rushing, 2/5 receiving) to being the entire offense in Week 2. Playing in sloppy conditions at Heinz Field, QB Andy Dalton consistently checked it down to Bernard in the passing game and Jeremy Hill couldn’t get it going in the running game. Bernard finished with 9/100/1 receiving on 11 targets and he added 5/17 rushing, playing on 62% of the snaps compared to Hill’s 38%. Bernard isn’t the player he showed us in Week 1 and he’s not the focal point of the offense like we saw in Week 2, as he’ll settle somewhere in between these two extremes going forward.

Latavius Murray (Oak) – For the second consecutive week, Murray posted an entirely competent line, with 8/57/1 rushing and 6/44 receiving on 6 targets in the Raiders’ loss. That gives him a TD in back-to-back weeks, though with just 29 “opportunities,” his workload is down by about 25% from last year. Also note that he played just 48% of Oakland’s offensive snaps, while DeAndre Washington handled 20% and Jalen Richard handled 21.3%. Murray has given the Raiders no reason to go away from him as the leader in their committee, but the guys behind him have also given the Raiders plenty of reason to keep the committee going. Murray’s production was entirely volume driven last season (0.67 FP/touch). He’s been more efficient this year – in fact, nearly double – with 1.25 FP/touch thus far, helped along by 2 TDs. Which Murray is the real guy? If it’s the latter, he can succeed with his decreased snap share and opportunities. If it’s the former, or somewhere close to it, he’s going to eventually disappoint. The Raiders’ offense has upgraded around him, which is a major help, so it appears we’re going to need more time to make a definitive call here.

Frank Gore (Ind) - Has there ever been a more of a “hold” type player in fantasy football than Frank Gore? Every single week he’s on the field, he complies his usual 50-90 yards of offense, 2-5 catches and fantasy owners just pray he gets in the end-zone. Even at 33-years-young, Gore is still getting the job done as a fantasy RB2. After rushing for 13-44 (3.38 YPC) against a tough Denver front-7, Gore’s next two matchups (vs. Chargers, at Jaguars) are much more appealing. He’ll be a borderline top-15 option in both of those matchups.

DeMarco Murray (Ind) - Even though DeMarco Murray has handled 64.1% of the Titans carries and has seven targets in back-to-back games, we want to note Derrick Henry’s role increased in Week 2. Murray dominated snaps in Week 1 (75%), but dipped down to 61.2% in Week 2. Henry played on just 31% of snaps in Tennessee's opener, but that increased to 46.3% on the road against Detroit. While Murray will likely remain the receiving back no matter what, it may not be a bad idea for Murray owners to try and “buy” Henry in their leagues. If one of these backs goes down, either will be a foundation piece and log near 70-80% snaps share’s every single week. Murray is the guy to own for now, but Henry may start eating into his usage if Week 2’s snap data is any indication.

Devonta Freeman (Atl) - Unfortunately for fantasy owners, the Falcons running back situation has devolved into a full-blown committee. Through two weeks, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have split Atlanta’s work nearly right down the middle. Freeman has played 54.3% of snaps (Coleman: 48.1%) and has barely led in total opportunities (32:28), but Coleman has out-targeted Freeman (8:4). The two have also split red-zone work, too (Freeman has nine red-zone opportunities; Coleman: 7). Unless one player gets hurt and misses time, both will be low-end RB2’s for the entire season based on this usage. The lone positive here for Freeman owners is his 4.0 YPC average (28-113) over Coleman’s mediocre 3.4 YPC clip (20-68-1).

 

Wide Receivers

Jeremy Maclin (KC) – Maclin opened the year with two tough matchups, drawing the Chargers’ Jason Verrett in Week 1 and then the Texans’ strong defense in Week 2. QB Alex Smith wasn’t particularly good in Houston, and though Maclin saw 15 targets, he was able to haul in just 6 of them for 68 yards. It was overall a completely fine line for Maclin in a pretty crappy week for fantasy overall, but this blurb is just a reminder that he still has to play with Smith, an acceptable QB who has some great games and some bad ones. Maclin’s schedule will also lighten up at times, as it will against Darrelle Revis (who has been toasted two weeks in a row) and the Jets next week. He’s still a pretty easy start on a weekly basis.

Demaryius Thomas (Den) – Despite playing on a sore hip, DT had a solid game against the Colts’ bad defense in Week 2, with 5/90 receiving on 7 targets. Still, he didn’t play the whole game, at 78.9% of the Broncos’ snaps. And he admitted after the game that he didn’t feel like he was running as well as he could, though it sure didn’t look like that to us. The best news is that it appears DT made it through the game unscathed, so he should be ready to go in future weeks. Even with Trevor Siemian average at best, the Broncos throw the ball to DT close enough to the line of scrimmage to allow him to make plays – we think you can make the argument he’s the best receiver on screens in a long time.

A.J. Green (Cin) – QB Andy Dalton threw for 366 yards for the second straight week, but Green’s contributions to those totals were significantly different from Week 1 to Week 2. Green accounted for 49.2% of their passing yards against the Jets in the season opener and just 10.4% in Week 2 against the Steelers. Playing in sloppy conditions at Heinz Field, Green finished with just 2/38 receiving on 8 targets. Dalton couldn’t throw downfield with any accuracy, and he repeatedly check it down to Giovani Bernard and Tyler Boyd. It won’t get any easier for Green this week going against the Broncos this week, but he should be much more productive than he showed in Week 2.

Allen Robinson (Jac) - We haven’t quite come to the conclusion, but Allen Robinson may be the best “buy low” option in recent memory. After two tough opening draws versus the Packers stout secondary (6-72 on 15 targets) and stud Chargers’ CB Jason Verrett (3-54 on 5 targets), Robinson’s schedule opens up considerably in the coming weeks. Over the next six weeks, Robinson faces absolutely cake secondaries mixed in with a bye (vs. Ravens, vs. Colts, bye, at Bears, vs. Raiders, at Titans). Note here that three of these five contests are at home in Jacksonville. Robinson should be fine in the coming weeks with easier matchups and return the WR1 (top-12) value we drafted him at.

Alshon Jeffery (WR, Chi) – Jeffery had 5/96 receiving on 7 targets against the Eagles, including destroying CB Jalen Mills on a 50-yard grab, and also drawing a pass interference penalty in the end zone to set up the Bears’ lone offensive touchdown. However, it looks as if QB Jay Cutler is going to miss some time, perhaps significant time, with a thumb injury. Brian Hoyer is a capable backup, but there’s no doubt Jeffery’s production could take a hit if Cutler is out. Fortunately, he’s the type of receiver who can go get inaccurate throws, and it’s not like he isn’t used to them from Cutler.

Golden Tate (Det) – Tate is off to a worrisome start to say the least. He finished with just 2/13 receiving on a whopping 9 targets in Week 2 against the Titans, and Tate is now averaging an absolutely dreadful 3.4 yards per target (54 yards on 16 targets) through two weeks. Marvin Jones (8/118 receiving in Week 2) is emerging as the top WR in Detroit because he’s making plays in all areas of the field for Matthew Stafford, whereas Tate does most of his work in the underneath areas. Still, despite his dreadful performance, Tate did see 22.5% of Stafford’s targets in Week 2 and only four other receivers saw targets, so Tate will have much better days going forward.

Jordy Nelson (GB) – This Packer offense doesn’t look any different from the offense that we saw sputter without Jordy in 2015. Nelson has still been able to deliver for fantasy with 5/73/1 receiving on 11 targets in Week 2 against the Vikings. His TDs in back-to-back weeks are masking his shaky start in his return from his ACL, as he has 11/105/2 on 20 targets. He appears to be a little bit off with QB Aaron Rodgers at this point, including on a back-shoulder pass that they had perfected from 2011-14. The Packers still have major issues on offense right now, and Nelson has yet to get this offense going vertically, with Rodgers averaging a pitiful 5.9 YPA. At least Nelson played on 96% of the snaps, so he’s back to being an every-down player, but he’s going to be a WR2 until he starts to become a more efficient player.

Julian Edelman (NE) – Edelman’s game didn’t fall off with Jimmy Garoppolo at QB, but it looks like Edelman will now be playing with a rookie QB in Week 3. Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury and won’t play on Thursday night against the Texans, meaning third-round pick Jacoby Brissett will likely get the start the next two weeks until Tom Brady gets back in Week 5. Edelman posted 7/76 receiving on 11 targets against the Dolphins in Week 2, with 6 of those catches coming from Jimmy G. Going from Garoppolo to Brissett is a major downgrade for Edelman, but his owners are just going to have to suck it up for the next two weeks until Touchdown Tommy gets back.

Antonio Brown (Pit) – When Big Ben is in the lineup, it’s an extreme rarity to see a dud from Brown. We got just that in sloppy conditions at Heinz Field, as he finished with just 4/39 receiving on 11 targets. AB did drop a pass for a potential solid gain, but Ben Roethlisberger struggled with accuracy all game long, missing him for a long bomb early in the game. It was a weird game overall, and we shouldn’t put too much stock into it. We’d expect Brown to bounce back in big way, especially if Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) struggles to get back for the Eagles.

 

Tight Ends

None of note.

 

Watch List

Keep an eye on these players and situations. It may be too early to make a call one way or the other on them, but they are situations worth watching.

Quarterbacks

Tyrod Taylor (Buf) – At least Taylor showed some life in Week 2 against the Jets, hitting on a couple deep balls to get this offense moving. He completed 18/30 passes for 297 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT while adding 2/25 rushing, as he connected on TD passes of 84 and 71 yards to propel his performance. The bad news is that Marquise Goodwin and Greg Salas were the ones to do the damage, and they certainly aren’t going to produce most week. Taylor really needs Sammy Watkins to get healthy in a hurry, and new OC Anthony Lynn – the team fired old OC Greg Roman over the weekend – needs to develop a more diverse passing game. If Taylor is going to rely on the deep ball for all of his production every week, he’s going to be a scary proposition with Watkins at less than 100%. He also needs to get it going with his feet to boost his fantasy value, as he has just 7/36 rushing through two weeks.

Matthew Stafford (Det) – We guess Stafford was well overdue for a stinker. Heading into Week 2, the Lions were 7-2 in Stafford’s last nine games, and he had thrown for 22 TDs to just 2 INTs in that stretch. He played real shaky against the Titans, completing 22/40 passes (55%) for 260 yards, 1 TD, and a game-ending INT with the Lions trying to get into field-goal position to win the game. He did add 2/31 rushing, which at least boosted his fantasy value some. Stafford will have much better days going forward, but he’s got a tough draw going against the Packers in Lambeau Field this week.

 

Running Backs

Carlos Hyde (SF) – For the second straight year, Hyde disappointed in Week 2 after a Week 1 blowout. Against the Panthers’ tough defense, Hyde posted 14/34 rushing and 3/18 receiving on 3 targets. He’s playing behind an awful line, and it has to be mentioned that Chip Kelly’s scheme wasn’t particularly kind to the players in it last year (Hyde is currently averaging 3.3 YPC, even with his big Week 1 performance). The good news is he still played 60% of the 49ers’ offensive snaps, and Shaun Draughn didn’t look particularly good either while playing 34% of the 49ers’ offensive snaps. The overall point is that the Niners’ offense is really bad, despite the way it looked in Week 1, and against teams with a pulse, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Hyde struggle more often than not.

Spencer Ware and Jamaal Charles (KC) – Ware didn’t dominate in Week 2 the way he did in Week 1, but despite playing through a toe injury in a game in which the Chief offense was completely stymied in Houston, he was more than acceptable as a start with 10/57 rushing and 2/48 receiving on 58.3% of the offensive snaps. He lost a fumble too, but he’s been such a baller through two games that it’s hard to really knock him for that. That brings us to Charles, who missed the first two games of the season as he tries to work himself back from last year’s ACL tear. We still don’t know when Charles will be ready (coach Andy Reid made no statements in support of either side on Monday about his Week 3 availability), but Ware is a great fill-in in the meantime, with the help of Charcandrick West. In other words, we don’t think the Chiefs have the luxury of taking Ware off the field even when Charles comes back.

Eddie Lacy (GB) – What happened to the skinny Lacy that we saw in the preseason? He’s back to looking large and in charge, and he’s running like it too. He finished with 12/50 rushing against a very good Vikings defense, but he failed to catch his only target and HC Mike McCarthy didn’t show any commitment to the running game. Lacy played 49% of the snaps compared to James Starks’s 42%, which is a bit of a drop from Lacy’s 56% of the snaps last week. Lacy has actually averaged a solid 4.3 YPC through two games, but he hasn’t taken anything more than what’s been blocked for him, and he hasn’t shown much elusiveness after looking nimble in the preseason. McCarthy needs to show more commitment to the running game going forward, especially with Aaron Rodgers and the passing game looking shaky once again, but this is still officially a scary situation once again with Lacy.

Ameer Abdullah (Det) – Abdullah was having himself yet another good day (6/38 rushing, 6.3 YPC) in Week 2 when he went out with a foot injury after playing 22% of the snaps. The good news is that NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the X-rays taken on his injured foot came back negative, so it looks like he escaped without any breaks and just a sprain. Still, Abdullah had a noticeable limp after the game and had a boot on, so it looks like it will be a reach for him to play in Week 3.

 

Wide Receivers

DeSean Jackson (Was) – DJax has always been an up-and-down fantasy asset throughout his career, but his “down” of Week 2 was no fault of his. He went for 3 receptions and 40 yards on 5 targets against the Cowboys, but his two missed targets were awful – he got behind the defense on both, and arguably could have scored on both. That was squarely on the shoulders of QB Kirk Cousins, who has been really bad through the first two games of the season, especially in the red zone and throwing it deep. If Cousins was just a little better in this game, Washington would have won and DJax would have had a huge day. If you are rostering him – and he was an outstanding value on draft day – you just need to live with this, but Cousins needs to be better too. The question is if he can be.

Brandon Marshall (NYJ) – Marshall is one tough son of a gun. He twisted his knee in Week 2 against the Bills after getting rolled up by Stephon Gillmore on a dirty tackle. He missed just a minimal amount of time, still playing on 92% of the snaps and posting 6/101 receiving on 9 targets. Pro Football Talk reported Sunday night that Marshall is dealing with an MCL injury and that he’s not a lock to be ready for Week 3 against the Chiefs, but at least he has a few extra days to get ready for the game. The Jets gave Marshall the day off at practice on Monday, so we’ll need to watch his status later in the week. Marshall owners might be more concerned with the emergence of #3 WR Quincy Enunwa, who is posing a threat to some of his targets going forward.

Tyler Lockett (Sea) – Lockett showed the breakout potential many thought he had for 2016, making 4 catches for 99 yards on 4 targets against the Rams in Week 2, after a very disappointing Week 1 in which he had just 3 catches on 8 targets. He also did this while playing just 40.3% of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps, as he was in-and-out of the lineup with a knee sprain. However, he also made his big play – a 53-yard reception – after suffering the injury, so it appears this whole thing is just going to be a pain tolerance type of deal, and the sprain isn’t likely to be serious. Note that in his absence, however, Paul Richardson saw 6 targets. This offense is a mess overall.

Tajae Sharpe (Ten) - We aren’t really too concerned with Sharpe after Week 2 -- Lion CB Darius Slay is easily a top-5 corner in the league -- but we do want to note Sharpe’s floor as a rookie may be lower than expected. He went for 4-33 (7 targets) versus the Lions, but was on the field for 100% of the Titans’ snaps after dominating snaps (98.5%) in Week 1. Free agent signee Rishard Matthews has played 53 and 52 percent of Titans snaps through two games. Sharpe will be on the WR3 radar once again in Week 3 at home versus a shaky Raiders secondary.

 

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce (KC) – Kelce crushed the Texans twice last year, but was a major fantasy disappointment in Week 2, with just 5/34 receiving on 7 targets. Kelce was the victim of two unfortunate circumstances – Alex Smith was really bad for most of the day, and the Chiefs were missing both of their starting guards, which made their offensive line vulnerable, meaning he needed to stay in to block more often than you’d like (Kelce himself has admitted to us on SiriusXM he prides himself on his blocking and occasionally that will be his most important role in the passing game). So far this year, Kelce has been the exact same guy he was last year, which is a incredibly talented player in an offense that may not help him reach his fantasy upside. It would help if the Chiefs’ line gets healthier.