There is a long-standing practice in fantasy football in which you pair your QB with his No. 1 WR in the hopes of doubling down on your point production when they have a big day. The theory works when times are good, but the reverse is also true in that when times are bad, they are bad.
Times got bad for my good friend Kenyatta Funchess (cousin of Panthers WR Devin Funchess) this weekend when Tony Romo broke his collarbone. One injury a team can handle, but Kenyatta was like many others and paired Romo with Dez Bryant (out anywhere from 4-12 weeks with a broken bone in his foot). When your starting QB and WR1 both go down for half the season, you better hope you have a deep fantasy roster! And since we are in the same league, you can be sure he doesn't.
So where do teams in this same predicament go from here, you ask? Good question! By Week 3 of the NFL season most waiver wires have usually been picked clean of true value, barring injury replacements. Even the elite handcuffs were snatched up, leaving borderline streaming options and waiver wire fodder mostly. There might be a few options out there, but you have to temper your expectations.
Derek Carr: The Raiders had a good weekend, shocking the Ravens with a 37-33 victory. Carr stepped up and found the love with rookie WR Amari Cooper, finishing with 351 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. The Raiders are not THIS good, and the ride this season is going to be a rollercoaster for sure. But Carr has shown his ceiling and Cooper will only get more comfortable as the season goes on.
Tyrod Taylor: The Bills are a running team, but that isn't a bad thing for Taylor because he is a running QB. I saw an article on Sunday saying he was a QB that "fell back to Earth" this weekend. Look, if my QB throws for 242 yards and 3 TDs, and chips in 43 rushing yards and another TD, I'm completely ok with him throwing 3 INTs. In fantasy football we care about the fantasy points, not the weather or not his team wins!
Matt Jones: Jones had a huge game on Sunday, finishing with 146 total yards and 2 TDs against what some consider to be an above average Rams defense. The problem he has is Alfred Morris, who is still the starter for the Redskins. The problem Morris has is Jones, who proved he is more effective. The Redskins are going to use the running game to control the clock as long as DeSean Jackson is out and Kirk Cousins is the QB. Jones is still just a flex play while behind Morris, but someone that should be added in most formats.
Dion Lewis: Lewis has put up back-to-back RB1 games to open the fantasy season, leading many owners to question who the better RB to own in New England is. While I think Lewis is a great RB2/Flex play right now, owners need to also understand the Patriots rotation at running back is going to be game-flow dependent. In Week 2 they spread the defense out to nullify the Bills defensive line, but that is likely to change against the Jaguars in Week 3 when I fully expect them to ground and pound it with LeGarrette Blount. Be aware and beware with the Patriots running game.
David Johnson: While David Johnson was only able to get into the game for 16 snaps and 6 touches, he made the most of them by totaling 45 yards and a TD on offense, then running a kickoff back 108 yards for another TD. I have a feeling that the Arizona backfield is going to be more of a timeshare than anything with Chris Johnson rushing for 72 yards on 20 carries. The rookie could end up being more of a special team factor than a fantasy factor.
Travis Benjamin: This is one guy I would actually avoid adding despite his early success. I mention him because the Browns WR has 204 receiving yards, 164 return yards, and 4 total touchdowns (3 receiving, 1 return) through the first two games. The problems I see are 1) the Browns QB situation; 2) the Browns having a run-heavy offensive scheme; and 3) Benjamin is a situational deep threat who either catches a 50-yard bomb for a TD, or does nothing. I wouldn't put too much faith in the Browns passing attack, or in Benjamin catching a bomb every single game this season.
DeAngelo Williams: A lot of sites are going to tell you it is time to cut Williams now that Le'Veon Bell is coming back, but not me. While I will agree he should not be in your starting lineup, he should be held just in case Bell tweaks a hamstring or the Steelers decide to use Williams in the Jerome Bettis role. For those who remember at the end of his career, Bettis would see 3 carries for 3 yards in a game, but would finish with 3 touchdowns! 3 TDs equals 18 fantasy points, and that is a pretty good day for any RB. The key to winning a league is to find value where others see garbage.
James Starks: When Eddie Lacy went down with an ankle injury, fantasy owners were throwing elbows to get to the waiver wire to add Starks. Word is that Lacy is more likely than not to play in Week 3, making Starks little more than a speculation add in the hopes that Lacy tweaks his ankle and misses weeks instead of days. If you have an open roster spot at the end of your bench, you could do worse. But I wouldn't cut anyone worth keeping for Starks given the news on Lacy right now.
Blake Bortles – Jaguars: The Jaguars shocked a lot of people on Sunday when they beat their in-state rivals, the Miami Dolphins. I've been saying it all offseason long; DON'T sleep on these Jaguars fantasy players! Bortles came through with 273 yards passing, 27 yards rushing, and 2 TDs, which was top-tier streaming numbers for a QB owned in just a fraction of fantasy leagues. Next week the Jaguars take on the Patriots, where Bortles will be on the streaming radar given the holes in the Patriots defense.
Derek Carr – Raiders: I already talked about Carr's numbers, so let's talk about Week 3. A lot of people are going to make the mistake of chasing this week's numbers, and my feeling is he will have a much tougher matchup next week when the Raiders take on an underrated Browns defense. If you started Carr this week, screen shot it and put it as your profile picture to show your glory. If you didn't, don't chase last week's numbers.
DeAngelo Williams – Steelers: Williams finished the week as the #1 RB in fantasy football thanks to his 92 total yards and 3 touchdowns against a stout 49ers defense. Sure, he didn't have the flashy 100-plus yard game, but touchdowns are worth six points in most leagues and his three got him 18 points right off the bat. Add in the yards and he finished with somewhere around 30 fantasy points, depending on your scoring setup. With Bell back in Week 3, Williams heads to fantasy benches.
Matt Jones – Redskins: The little-owned fantasy RB came through in a big way this week when he rumbled his way to 123 yards and 2 TDs, and added 3 catches for 23 yards. On top of that, Jones out-carried Alfred Morris 19-18 and out-shined him on the ground 123-59. My guess is that Morris is going to remain atop the Redskins depth chart, but Jones has carved himself out a role after his performance on Sunday.
Allen Robinson – Jaguars: Robinson opened a lot of eyes in Week 2 with 6 receptions for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. I've said in countless radio interviews and emails that Robinson is a WR2 in any format, and I consider him a WR1 in PPR formats. He has established himself as one of the league's premier deep threats, and Bortles' go-to guy when he needs to move the sticks.
Larry Fitzgerald – Cardinals: Fitzgerald is someone that I personally avoided in fantasy drafts because his name value pushes his fantasy draft stock higher than it should be. But, this weekend at least, those who believed in him were rewarded with an 8/112/3 line. This might be the perfect time to sell high on Fitzgerald, given Carson Palmer's erratic nature and the fact that you can't play the Bears every week.
Crockett Gilmore – Ravens: Fantasy owners had to be asking themselves, "Crockett… like Davey Crockett?" No, Crockett Gilmore! Gilmore has emerged as the No. 2 option behind Steve Smith in the Ravens passing attack, and he proceeded to shred the Raiders defense for 88 yards and 2 TDs. Gilmore is a 6'-6", 270-pound target that deserves to be added by those looking for answers at TE.
Cleveland Browns defense: The Browns showed off their underrated defense in Week 2 as they brought the Titans and rookie QB Marcus Mariota back to Earth by holding them to 14 points while racking up 3 recovered fumbles and a defensive touchdown, if your league counts return TDs for defenses. The Browns get another juicy matchup in Week 3 when the Raiders come to Cleveland.
Jay Cutler – Bears: If you drafted Cutler this year my only question to you would be, why? The decline of Cutler continued in Week 2 when he finished with a less-than-impressive 120 yards passing, 1 TD, and 1 INT. With this performance Cutler now has 345 passing yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs through the first two games of the season. Cutler isn't even on the streaming radar at this point, and fans have to wonder if his hamstring injury on Sunday is just the excuse the Bears need to bench him.
Sam Bradford – Eagles: The Eagles offense has been nothing short of a disaster, leading coach Chip Kelley to say everyone on the offense will be evaluated. This week Bradford managed to throw for 224 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs and a lost fumble. That puts his season total now at 560 passing yards, 2 TDs and 4 INTs. The reality is Bradford has been awful so far, missing throws and making poor defensive reads from the opening whistle. I doubt the Eagles bench him, but I also doubt I will see his name in the winners column anytime soon unless changes are made to the offensive line.
Andrew Luck – Colts: The Jets defense handed Luck one of the worst games of his career on Monday night, holding him to 227 yards passing and 1 TD. As if that wasn't bad enough, they were also able to force 3 INTs and a lost fumble. There is little doubt this will go down as Luck's worst game this season, and fantasy owners just have to chalk it up to a bad game against an underrated defense.
Marshawn Lynch – Seahawks: The Packers figured out a way to tame the beast this week as they limited Lynch to just 41 yards rushing and 21 yards receiving, with no touchdowns. The lack of production put him in the 25-27 range for fantasy RBs this week, nowhere near what owners were expecting when they drafted him in the 1st or 2nd round. Lynch will bounce back next week when he takes on the Bears turnstile defensive line.
DeMarco Murray – Eagles: It seems to be a common theme so far this season for the Eagles to be on the losing end of the fantasy discussion. The Eagles O-line couldn't open a hole to save their life this weekend, leaving Murray with just 2 yards on 13 attempts (0.15 YPC). His only saving grace was the 5 passes he reeled in for 53 yards. Murray is now a borderline RB1/2 with home run ability stifled by an offensive line with sacrifice bunt ability!
Ruben Randle – Giants: Fantasy owners were hoping that Randle would be the new Victor Cruz when they took a gamble on the new No. 2 WR for the Giants. What they got instead through two games is a grand total 4 catches for 28 yards. Regardless how much Eli Manning tries to talk him up in the passing game, Randle is just not worth owning at this point. He can safely be cut in 12-team leagues until his role is more defined.
Keenan Allen – Chargers: Allen looked like a stud WR in Week 1 when he rattled off 15 catches for 166 yards. Week 2 however was a different matter as the Bengals shut him down to the tune of 2 catches for 16 yards. Allen started off the game by fumbling a punt, then failed to break a tackle for the yards after catch. Allen is in no danger of being cut in fantasy leagues based on one game, but he will need to become more consistent for owners to keep him in their starting lineup going forward.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Buccaneers: One week after torching the Titans for 110 yards and 2 TDs, ASJ was held to a meager 29 yards on 3 receptions. The Bucs offense is going to be all over the map with a rookie QB at the helm, and a running game that doesn't exactly inspire confidence. With that said, Seferian-Jenkins is a touchdown-dependent fantasy football TE.
Baltimore Ravens defense: The Ravens didn't just lose in reality on Sunday, their defense lost in fantasy as well! One of the most widely owned defense in fantasy football, the Ravens managed to get their owners just 1 sack and 1 INT, while allowing 37 points to the Raiders. The Ravens have tough back-to-back matchups with the Bengals and Steelers, followed by an easier draw with the Browns at home in Week 5.