By: Justin Lynch
Jared Goff is just good enough to take some pressure off Gurley. And Gurley’s receiving abilities mean he can put up points even when the Rams are playing from behind. The most important thing for running backs is opportunity, and no one is sniffing carries in that backfield other than Gurley. If Melvin Gordon can consistently perform, Gurley should have no trouble reintroducing himself to the top of the running back ranks.
Whenever I think I’m out, Anderson pulls me right back in. The enigma that it CJ Anderson might finally, once again, have a starting job. With Ronnie Hillman gone, Anderson has the reins in the running game, and he’s taking advantage of it. Throw out his injury-riddled 2016 campaign, and Anderson has a career 4.8 yards per carry. The surprise isn’t his 4.4 yards per carry through two games, it’s his nearly 25 touches per game through two weeks.
When Anderson gets enough touches, he performs. And remember, he had an eight game stretch where he was the best player in fantasy football in 2014. Anderson is a risk. He has never performed over a 16-game season. But the Broncos are really good, and he’s being used in the passing game as well as receiving 20+ carries. When the Broncos get up, they will pound Anderson to run clock, and when it’s too early to tell, they will pound Anderson to take pressure off of Simien. Anderson may be one of the least predictable players in fantasy football, but if he gets consistent touches, he will perform. And those touches don’t look like they’re going anywhere.
With over 300 yards passing in each of his first two games, Wentz is sneaking up on more well established quarterbacks. He is mobile enough to get you a few points on the ground, and will keep putting up big passing numbers, mainly due to the Eagles lack of a rushing attack. Wentz will have to throw 40-50 times per game, and will make 300-2 a weekly affair. If he stops turning it over, and can consistently rush for 40 yards per game, he will be looking at 20+ points every week. The Eagles won’t blow anyone out, and they will play from behind. With real weapons in Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Zach Ertz, Wentz will have plenty of options to go to, regardless of who their playing.
Landry had some question marks after Jay Cutler, a noted gunslinger who likes the deep ball, came to town. But Landry’s 13 catches on 15 targets should put an end to that. Simply put, Landry is one of the most consistent wideouts in PPR leagues. He an almost guaranteed 15 points, and almost never has duds. Keep rolling with him as a WR2 and sleep well at night, knowing he likely won’t ruin your day with a one catch performance.
Murray has just 21 carries for 69 yards (3.3 ypc) through two weeks, and they sat him down in the third quarter with a tight hamstring. Murray’s receiving production has all but disappeared, and Derrick Henry will keep taking carries if he keeps performing like he did Sunday. Murray will turn 30 a week after the Super Bowl, and has nearly 1500 carries under his belt. Henry wasn’t drafted to sit on the bench, and if Murray has a nagging hamstring injury, he could see his starting job melt away into a 50-50 split with Henry.
Fitzgerald will still receive more targets than anyone else in Arizona, but the Cardinals are awful. Carson Palmer is done, and Fitzgerald can’t afford to play with a quarterback who can’t quite put the ball where it needs to be. He’ll still put out double digits in PPR scoring, and the occasional big game, but he won’t be a viable weekly fantasy starter until he gets a new quarterback. Maybe I’m pulling the plug too early, but bad teams don’t produce a lot of fantasy studs. The Cardinals are bad, Carson Palmer is bad, the run game is bad, and that means all defenses have to do is stop Fitzgerald.
Howard was banged up all week and then put out 7-9-0 line. Yes, seven carries for nine yards and no scores. He catch zero passes on one target. Cohen is the receiving back for the Bears, a wildly beneficial position given the Bears struggles in, you know, winning games. With the Bears likely falling behind other teams, Cohen will be on the field to play catch-up. Howard is a good runner, who was hurt this week. But that doesn’t mean defenses won’t stack the box on him and force Mike Glennon to beat them. Howard’s status seems worse now than it did a week ago, and he was one of the big losers of week one as well.
2 Things to Think About
Elliot had a bad week. Nine carries, eight yards. But Denver’s defense is a real problem. The issue here is the suspension. If you drafted him, you were likely okay with the suspension, but now that suspension may end up being weeks 3-9 or 4-10. That’s a different story. You could try to unload him, and hope your league members think he won’t be suspended. Or you can hold onto him, and fight through the missed time. I’m holding on to him, but I also believe he will be suspended. Either way, don’t make this week the reason for your decision. He’ll be okay if he’s in the lineup.
Witten will be the highest scoring tight end through two weeks, and Dak is looking to him often. But Witten is old, and hasn’t had sustained success over the course of the season in a couple years. He won’t be putting up 25 per game, and he will certainly have some weeks where he catches one pass, but he’s playing well now at a position most teams need. Now is a really good time to trade him, but you also may be having tight end troubles. I think you sell high on him, but you shouldn’t go wrong keeping him, at least for another week or two.
1 Concluding Thought
I know it’s early but this season may be mayhem for wide receivers. The top 15 receivers from week one totaled 307 PPR points in week one. That same group (so far) has totaled 71 in week two. Now, this isn’t totally fair. Amendola didn’t play. Golladay and Tate haven’t played yet, and Jordy and Cobb are yet to finish in Atlanta. But even if the rest of those guys score another 70 points, the top 15 receivers will have less than half their week one output.
Of the receivers drafted at the top of the board (Julio, Green, Brown, Odell, Evans, Cooper, Jordy, Dez, Thomas, Baldwin) only Antonio Brown has cracked 40 points through two weeks. Again, unfair due to Odell’s injury and Evans unexpected bye, but it’s still concerning.
Search through your league. What receivers do you feel great about? What receivers do you know will score 20+ points most weeks? Which guys are you willing to stake your season on? Probably Antonio Brown, but we’re a little iffy with Roethlisberger’s shaky road record. Maybe Julio, but we’re worried about his foot. And Odell, but hasn’t even stepped on the field yet. Brown and Jones already have flopped, AJ Green doesn’t have a quarterback, and Dez can’t produce if he doesn’t score. Nelson hurt his quad on Sunday night, and Baldwin and Michael Thomas have no claim to be in this category. Amari Cooper can’t even catch the ball.
Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins may be the most consistent receivers this season after the big three of Odell, Julio, and Brown, assuming they figure it out. But the state of receivers is worse than ever. Quarterbacks spread it around, teams have a wealth of options, and running backs are becoming better and better receivers. Receiver may be a deep position, but there is a dearth of consistent talent. You may have to play matchups and hope for the best as this season may be the worst in a while from an individual wide receiver standpoint. And maybe it’s too early to tell, but be weary, and hold onto your good receivers.