Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 3 fantasy moves to make now

Week 2 is in the books, and high-profile injuries dominate the headlines as Jamaal Charles, A.J. Green, Robert Griffin III, DeSean Jackson, Ryan Mathews and Knowshon Moreno all leave Week 2, and now Mark Ingram is also going to be out for some time. It's time to take stock as when one door closes, another ones opens and some players will have more opportunity for playing time. 

Here are some potential free agent pickups to focus on for your league waivers this week. 

Robert Griffin III has fallen yet again, and it appears we won't be seeing him again anytime soon. Griffin's dislocated his ankle early against the Jaguars and it was not a pretty site. Kirk Cousins once again showed well in relief of RGIII, leading Washington to an easy win. Cousins completed his first 12 passes and he went 14-of-15 through the 1st half, ultimately finishing with 250 passing yards and 2 TDs. Cousins won't get to play Jacksonville every week, but he should be a serviceable QB as BYE weeks start and in two-QB leagues.

After finally getting through a season unscathed last year and putting up strong numbers, Ryan Mathews reverted to his injury-prone ways this week. Mathews was carted off due to a knee injury (MCL sprain). Donald Brown should be a high priority add and the Chargers have a very favorable schedule over next month-plus. 

DeSean Jackson left this game with a bruised AC joint and did not return while Jordan Reed (hamstring) was unable to go, giving former Nebraska wide receiver Niles Paul (converted to tight end) significant opportunity. Paul has made the most of it with 12 receptions and 185 yards to start the season - Paul is 7th in the NFL after two weeks with 185 receiving yards. Paul has played well enough that he should be part of the game plan even with Jordan Reed returns. 

Bobby Rainey had an impressive outing this week with 144 yards on 22 carries, and added another 30 yards on 3 receptions (and he had two 100-plus yard games last year in relief as well). Doug Martin should be back for Week 3 but Rainey needs to be added and should continue to get work given his performance. 

Jamaal Charles sprained his ankle in the first quarter and did not return to the game, leaving Knile Davis to pick up the slack (Davis was the 2nd-best fantasy running back this week). Reports are that Charles' sprain is minor so he should be back soon. Charles owners that don't own Knile Davis may want to make a plan to try to obtain Davis to handcuff Charles (although I wouldn't overpay and that might be hard after last week's game so perhaps wait a week or two). 

After missing Week 1, Kenny Stills made his 2014 debut this week and quietly had three receptions for 25 yards. Make sure Stills isn't on the waiver wire. Stills has a ton of upside and he (easily) led all receivers in the NFL in yards per target last year at 12.8. Stills played just 29 of 72 snaps this past week but that should grow as he rounds into game shape.

Losing Mark Ingram (broken hand) for what should be a solid month is a major blow to those who scored Ingram on the cheap in drafts this year. If you have Ingram on your roster you will need to ride this one out and wait for him to return. If Khiry Robinson is on the waiver wire he is arguably the #1 priority add for this week. 

The injuries to Marvin Jones (broken foot suffered in the preseason) and now A.J. Green (strained toe ligament) make Mohamed Sanu the most experienced wide receiver on the active roster. Cincinnati has a week four BYE, and most expect Green and Jones to return after the BYE so Sanu may be more of a one-week filler so don't overpay, but Sanu should hold some value as Cincinnati’s third WR regardless and Jones might not be able to step into a major role anytime soon. Sanu draws a nice match-up this week at home against Tennessee

Week 1 darling Knowshon Moreno left with a dislocated elbow on his first carry. Moreno reportedly has a 4-8 week timetable for this injury. We'll see if Lamar Miller can actually take the reigns but I am not overly optimistic. Miller might be a good sell candidate, especially after this week if he can deliver at home against Kansas City. If you are in deep leagues, rookie running back Damien Williams is suddenly the next man up and should get mixed in with Miller. 

Other fantasy notes 
Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers attacked the vaunted Seahawks' defense and not only managed to win the game, but also turn back the clocks five years. Gates looked fantastic, skying over defenders and making highlight grabs en route to a 3-TD day. He led all players in scoring in standard leagues. Gates might be a good sell-high option if you have him as your second tight end. 

Jeremy Hill played the "thunder" to Giovani Bernard's "lightning" for the Bengals, with the duo combining for 265 total yards. Hill finished with 74 rushing and a touchdown. Hill will make for a nice flex start again this week at home against the Titans. The Bengals will again lean on the run with A.J. Green out. 

Last week I talked about the 2014 rookie wide receiver class potentially being the best in "Fantasy History" and it could end up being one of the best in NFL history. Week 1 saw Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin deliver big fantasy results, this week Sammy Watkins got into the mix. Watkins had a huge day for the 2-0 Buffalo Bills, racking up 8 catches for 118 yards and a TD.