The Fantasy Football Wizard: Week 2
We’re only two weeks in and it’s already been a wild ride in the National Football League.
Surprise teams like the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers are 2-0, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers are 0-2.
And then there’s the slew of quarterback injuries: Ben Roethlisberger is out for the year, Drew Brees is going to miss at least six weeks and Cam Newton is limping around in a walking boot. Oh, and Sam Darnold apparently thought he was back in high school and contracted mononucleosis, aka the kissing disease. Not sure if that’s ever been on an NFL injury report before…
Like the Bills and 49ers, my team is 2-0 thanks to great performances from Mark Andrews and Chris Godwin, who made up for duds put up by Alvin Kamara and Devonta Freeman.
Speaking of which, the first trade in my Monday Mornings Tears league went through earlier today, and it of course involved me and our league commissioner Jeff aka Bird. I traded Freeman to Bird (who was in desperate need of RB depth with the uncertainty of James Conner and the no-show of Duke Johnson Jr. so far this year), and he shipped Julian Edelman to me in return.
I was hesitant at first, because I’m still not sure how Antonio Brown will affect Edelman’s production, but I ultimately decided that 33 year old wide receiver will find a way to put up points like he always does. Besides, who knows how long Brown and/or Josh Gordon will stay on the field.
The downfall is I’m left with very little RB depth, with Raheem Mostert as my sole backup running back. Derrius Guice was supposed to be my primary backup, but he’s going to miss half the season.
If you read my Week 1 column, you already know I have faith in Colonel Mostert for the rest of the year, so I feel comfortable having him fill in on bye weeks or in the case of injury.
Side note, I also said in my column last week that I was optimistic about Freeman’s future, but the trade proposal notification popped up on my phone and I just couldn’t resist 😁.
Top three pickups of the week
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
Also in my column last week, I listed Allen as my surprise player of the week, and he delivered with 20-plus fantasy points.
If you are one of the owners who lost a quarterback to injury, scoop up Allen ASAP. I think he is not only a great play this week, but I’m comfortable starting him week in and week out.
I am starting Allen against the Cincinnati Bengals this week over Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson and even Aaron Rodgers.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Agholor has shown glimpses of fantasy relevance in the past, but has been overshadowed recently by Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and the return of DeSean Jackson.
Well Jeffery and Jackson will miss this week, and possibly more time, making Agholor a viable plug and play option for at least this week.
If you need WR help immediately, Agholor could be your guy. Jeffery and Jackson have also been injury-prone in the past, so Agholor makes for a great stash as well.
Demarcus Robinson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Like Agholor, Robinson is an opportunity play with Tyreek Hill sidelined. Hill will likely miss more time than Jeffery and Jackson, making Robinson a potential weekly play.
Robinson didn’t disappoint last week as the No. 2 wideout for KC, catching 6-of-6 targets for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s unfair to expect that kind of production from him every week, but with Hill out for at least a few more weeks, Robinson is a worthy gamble playing on a Patrick Mahomes led offense.
Sleeper pickup of the week
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
This is more of a long-term gut call, because Mattison is definitely not playable this week. Dalvin Cook has been running like a machine, but he’s had injury concerns before and it feels like the Vikings are running him into the ground.
If you are the Cook owner in your league, pick up Mattison as a security blanket. If you’re like me, who doesn’t have Cook, I’m still picking up Mattison because I’d rather underspend now and hold him then overspend down the road.
We don’t know if it’s going to be this week, in four weeks, or maybe it doesn’t happen at all (I never wish for a player to get injured, that’s just cold-blooded), but Cook could potentially go down, and that would open the door to Mattison becoming a weekly RB2 with RB1 upside.
Week 2 surprise player
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers can put up points, as evidenced by the 72 they scored combined in their first two contests.
Dante Pettis has been nonexistent, Marquise Goodwin is the No. 1 wide receiver but only has six targets through the first two games, and George Kittle hasn’t looked like himself.
Enter Samuel, who caught 5-of-7 targets for 86 yards and a touchdown last week. The rookie was an early second-round pick in the NFL Draft for a reason, and the 49ers are going to try to get him the ball early and often.
I like Samuel this week, and I like him as a season-long player who will only improve the rest of the way.
Projected stats: Seven receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown.
Week 2 letdown player
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
If you read my column last week, you saw I believed Allen Robinson would be the letdown player of the week, projecting him to have three catches for 38 yards. Well, he had four catches for 41 yards so I was pretty spot on.
I’m predicting the same for Thielen this week, not because he isn’t a top-15 WR play every week, but because I believe it will be a run-heavy script against the Oakland Raiders. I also think Kirk Cousins will look to get Stefon Diggs more involved, seeing how he has only three catches on nine targets so far this year.
You are starting Thielen no matter what, I’m just saying temper expectations.
Projected stats: Four receptions for 62 yards.
If you have any questions or concerns about your lineup, or disagree vehemently with me and want to air your grievances, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the tab on the home page.
Good luck in Week 3 y'all!