Another week in the NFL means there is a fresh set of injuries that create roster problems for fantasy owners. So let's jump right into the injuries, and their fantasy replacements.
Greg Olson broke his foot on Sunday, putting him out roughly 6-8 weeks. Since tight end is a thin position in fantasy football to begin with, finding a replacement for him won't be easy. Some names that might be on your waiver wire to consider are Jason Witten, Hunter Henry, Coby Fleener, and Eric Ebron. All these guys clearly have their issues to consider, but so does every TE once you get past the top 4-5 guys.
Browns WR Corey Coleman suffered a broken hand, again, and is also likely to miss about 6 (ish) weeks. At WR, the guy I want to grab is actually on the Browns, Rashard Higgins. Cleveland is desperately thin at WR already, with Kenny Britt and RB Duke Johnson filling the other two WR spots behind Coleman. Higgins should step in and be a fine WR3 filler in PPR formats, considering he was peppered with 11 targets on Sunday, catching 7 of them for 95 yards. Head Coach Hue Jackson has been known to abandon the run, which can only help Higgins' numbers going forward.
If you don't trust a Browns WR, perhaps you could look at Cardinals WR J.J. Nelson instead. Nelson filled in nicely for John Brown (quad), hauling in 5 of 7 targets for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Colts. The Cardinals were reportedly already growing weary of Brown's injury problems, and this could be just the game Nelson needed to overtake him for good on the depth chart.
Last, but not least, Chris Thompson looks like the best bet for those RB-needy teams out there after Rob Kelley was forced from Week 2 with a rib cartilage injury. The Redskins are calling Kelley day-to-day, making Thompson an interesting Week 3 waiver wire addition. Rookie Samaje Perine might be the starter, but Thompson is going be the guy to own after his performance on Sunday (see below).
- Don't sleep on Chris Carson from Seattle; he is clearly the best RB on their roster right now.
Trevor Siemian – Broncos: The Broncos sure did a number on the Cowboys Sunday evening, both on offense and on defense. Siemian looked like a must-own stud QB, finishing with 231 yards passing and 4 touchdowns.
Siemian wasn't as amazing as the touchdowns would suggest, however he clearly isn't the Siemian from 2016 either. He is going through his progressions faster and putting the ball where his WRs can make plays, something the Broncos are surely excited to see out of the young QB.
The Broncos hit the road to take on the Bills in Week 3, putting Siemian on the streaming radar for QBs. The matchup is in his favor, but his value hinges on how many TDs he can throw since he is unlikely to hit the 300-yard mark many times in his career.
Carson Wentz – Eagles: The great thing about owning Wentz is the Eagles are passing as much as any team in the NFL through two weeks, with Wentz tied for 3rd in the NFL with 85 passing attempts. This week Wentz threw the ball 46 times, completing 25 of them for 333 yards and 2 touchdowns. As an added bonus, he also chipped in 55 rushing yards thanks to his 4 carries.
Wentz now has 640 passing yards, 4 TDs, and 2 INTs this season, and is sporting a #3 QB fantasy ranking because of it. He'll have a tougher matchup in Week 3 when he takes on the Giants, but at least he gets them at home. Continue starting him and ride this bandwagon until the wheels fall off.
C.J. Anderson – Broncos: As good of a game as Siemian had, Anderson had just as good of one from a fantasy standpoint, finishing with 154 total yards and 2 touchdowns. Some leagues count rushing attempts (25) and receptions (3), which added enough points to Anderson's total to actually give him more points than Siemian in those leagues.
With 199 rushing yards, 43 receiving yards, and 2 TDs through the first two weeks of the season, Anderson is providing owners a top-5 RB early in the 2017 season. When you consider that Anderson was taken near the end of the 7th round in most formats, you can see why his owners are smiling ear-to-ear!
Chris Thompson – Redskins: Thompson put together an impressive performance this week, finishing with 77 rushing yards, 29 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns against the Rams' stout defense. Thompson only carried the ball 3 times this week, as he did in Week 1, but if Rob Kelley does indeed miss Week 3, that number is sure to increase, and the Redskins might just pass even more with Perine averaging just 3.2 YPC in the regular season, and an anemic 2.8 YPC in the preseason.
With Kelley being listed as day-to-day, Thompson isn't likely to become the Redskins' go-to guy at RB, so temper your expectations if/when picking him up. He is worth an add for a 1-2 week run, but don't expect him to be a savior for RB-needy teams. I'd ignore Perine unless you are absolutely desperate.
Michael Crabtree – Raiders: There is a strong case to be made for the Raiders having the best WR tandem in the NFL with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Derek Carr targeted Crabtree 6 times on Sunday, with the WR catching all 6 passes for 80 yards and 3 touchdowns. Six catches for 80 yards is normally nothing to get excited about, but touchdowns are king in fantasy football, and Crabtree was certainly sitting on the touchdown throne for WRs this week!
Crabtree is owned in virtually all formats, so don't go to the waiver wire hoping to find him. He still has to compete with Cooper for targets every week, so expect a little roller coaster activity in his stats from week to week. Nevertheless, he is someone that should be in your lineup every week because of his upside.
J.J. Nelson – Cardinals: Nelson had himself a game on Sunday, finishing with 5 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Colts' helpless secondary. With John Brown already unlikely to play in Week 3, and an injury history that is extensive, Nelson is looking more and more like the WR2 the Cardinals are looking for.
Nelson is going to be a hot waiver wire add this week, so make sure you get him if you have a WR need. Consider him a WR3 with upside, but games like this aren't likely to happen much as it came at the expense of Larry Fitzgerald (see below).
Jason Witten – Cowboys: Not much went right for the Cowboys on Sunday as they were blown out, 42-17 in Denver. Witten, however, shined as the safety net for Dak Prescott and finished with 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. Last week Witten put up a 7/59/1 line against the Giants, and because of these two games he is now the #1 TE in fantasy football.
Witten is still available in a good chunk of leagues, so those in need of a TE should give him a look. He's played in 16 games for 13 straight seasons in the NFL, making him one of the most durable players in the league. You know he will be out there, but he is largely a TD-dependent TE most weeks. I know, they all are. But Witten doesn't normally see 9 and 13 targets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense: The Bucs got a bye in Week 1 thanks to Hurricane Irma, and it looked more like it helped them than it hurt them as they destroyed the Bears 29-7 at home on Sunday. LB Lavonte David accounted for 8 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle, while Noah Spence chipped in 2 tackles, 1.0 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. All told, the Bucs defense allowed 7 points but took away 2 INTs, recovered 2 fumbles, recorded 1 sack, and scored on a 47-yard Robert McClain pick-6.
If Sam Bradford is out for Week 3, the Bucs defense becomes another strong streaming option. Even if he plays, savvy fantasy owners might want to give them a run as they boast a strong D-Line and LB corps that will put pressure on him and force him to move around on his bad knee.
Andy Dalton – Bengals: Not much has gone right for the Bengals early into the 2017 season, with the team failing to score a touchdown through the first two games. In a game that many thought they would win against the Texans this week, Dalton managed to complete just 20 of 35 passes for 224 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions.
The Bengals quickly moved and fired OC Ken Zampese, while promoting QB Coach Bill Lazor to OC on Friday. The Bengals promoting Lazor is a boost for Dalton and A.J. Green, so I wouldn't give up on them just yet. They are clearly on the fantasy hot seat though, and fantasy owners are getting an itchy trigger finger with both of them.
Cam Newton – Panthers: I'll be the first to admit that I am not the biggest Cam Newton fantasy fan, with 2015 looking like the high point of his career. This week Newton managed to complete just 20 of 32 passes for 228 yards and no touchdowns. He did add 27 rushing yards, but the lack of end zone visits killed any chance of fantasy success.
Newton gets a tasty matchup in Week 3 with the Saints' Swiss cheese defense coming to Carolina. If he can't get it done against them, it may be the smart move to try and trade him on name recognition alone. He'll be a strong Week 3 streaming option to see if he can indeed turn his season around.
Ezekiel Elliot – Cowboys: Every player has a bad game, so this week's numbers (9 carries, 8 yards, 14 receiving yards, and 0 touchdowns) are ones that I can live with from Elliot. The problem that I have with Elliot this week is how he quit on his team, and he clearly did quit on them if you remember one play.
Dak Prescott threw an INT to Chris Harris, and Elliot was within a yard or two of the play. Instead of chasing down Harris or even attempting to make a play, he just stood there with his hands on his hips and slowly walked towards the sideline as the play continued on. Elliot not chasing down Harris was as bad as a baseball player not running out a ground ball.
Elliot isn't going to have games like this often, so chalk this up as a bad game and keep him plugged in as a RB1 for the rest of the year.
LeGarrette Blount – Eagles: Blount's fall from fantasy grace following his departure from New England hit rock bottom this week as he logged just 6 snaps on Sunday, totaling 0 carries, 1 reception, but 0 receiving yards. All told, Blount accounted for 0.50 fantasy points for those in PPR formats.
Darren Sproles was in the game for 50 snaps, while Wendell Smallwood was on the field for 14 snaps, making the backfield pecking order pretty clear. If Sproles ever went down, my guess is the Eagles would use a committee of Smallwood and Blount, but neither would have must-add appeal. For now, Blount looks a lot like a cut candidate if there is a sexy FA on your waiver wire.
Corey Davis – Titans: Davis had a tough matchup with the Jaguars' stout defense on Sunday, but a hamstring aggravation derailed his chances of any success for Week 2. Davis managed just 3 targets, with 1 reception for 4 yards and no touchdowns.
With Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Aaron Colvin, Tashaun Gibson, and Barry Church in the secondary, and Myles Jack, Telvin Smith, and Paul Polsuszny at LB, Davis' chips were stacked against him from the start. Davis is questionable to play in Week 3, so keep an eye on the Titans injury report this week if you own him.
Larry Fitzgerald – Cardinals: Fitzgerald is 34 years old, which is almost ancient when it comes to NFL position players. Even with his age, Fitzgerald had a solid showing in Week 1 when he racked up 13 targets, reeling in 6 of them for 74 yards. This week he managed just 6 targets however, catching 3 of them for 21 empty yards.
With Brown out, David Johnson out, and Carson Palmer possibly on his final run, I wouldn't get too worried about Fitzgerald just yet. He still holds WR2 value, and would certainly be someone I'd target as a buy-low candidate.
Jimmy Graham – Seahawks: Graham put up another fantasy stinker in Week 2, finishing with 1 catch for 1 yard. Graham managed just 3 catches for 8 yards in Week 1, putting his season total thus far at 4 receptions, 9 yards, and 0 touchdowns.
The Seahawks passing game is the 4th-worst in the NFL through two weeks, averaging 158.0 YPG passing with just 1 touchdown. Until Seattle gets things figured out on offense, I'd seriously consider going with someone else at TE. Some guys to consider are Witten, Fleener, Ebron, or even Jesse James in deeper formats.
Minnesota Vikings defense: The Vikings looked lost without Sam Bradford at QB, and that wasn't limited to just the offense as the defense gave up 26 points on the road. The Steelers are one of the tougher teams to face in their home stadium, but the Vikings are also one of the top defenses in the NFL with guys like Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, and Harrison Smith on the job.
The Vikings did manage to get 2 sacks of Ben Roethlisberger, but didn't register any other fantasy numbers with no INTs, no recovered fumbles, and no defensive touchdowns. The Vikings are at home against the Bucs and Lions the next two weeks, putting them on the streaming radar for both games. Just know, if Bradford is again out, the offense will struggle to move the ball. The less they move the ball, the more the defense is on the field. And a tired defense is a beatable defense.