Do you like the title? You better!
Everyone in the world (yes, the world) is talking about how long Tony Romo will be out, Tom Brady's million-yard assault and Rob Gronkowski's sex appeal, along with Deangelo Williams' short-term fantasy relevance. Those people are much better at that than me, so let's take a look at the guys who put you in dilemma when deciding your waiver pick-ups, streaming options, and patience, along with how injuries affect other players in the fantasy landscape.
Eddie Lacy rolled his ankle and did not return
Not practicing this week does not necesarily mean he will not play Week 3, but playing Week 3 does not necessarily mean he will not be in a timeshare with James Starks (20/95/0), let alone any good. Sprained ankles, even the low-grade tears, are very unpredictable and highly susceptible to regression. X-rays were negative, but that only tells us that the bone is fine; an MRI will reveal the extent of the tear. Starks should be owned in all formats by Wednesday morning, as the only widely-unowned player on whom I would use waiver priority, if using it means falling to the bottom of the order, as Yahoo! standard leagues do.
C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman are in a full-blown timeshare
Anderson out-carried Hillman 12 to nine on Thursday against a strong Chiefs run D. Neither did much with the ball, but it should be noted that Anderson disappeared from the gameplan in high-leverage spots. Denver's schedule gets very juicy for the two through their bye, facing the Lions, Vikings, Raiders, then Browns, so gambling on both in our lineups should return value. If you only own one of the two, and can sell either for a top-15 WR, go for it, though, as neither will enter that territory unless one gets injured.
Larry Fitzgerald is back, baby!
Eight catches for 166 yards and three TDs (8/166/3) is a ridiculous stat line that was totally foreseeable against a disease like the Bears. To that extent, maybe not, but Fitzgerald has always been a strong fantasy player with Carson Palmer at the helm.
In 24 games with Palmer, Fitzgerald is averaging over five catches and 67 yards per game with 15 total TDs, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Over 16 games, that's a slash line better than 85/1076/10 for 167.6 total fantasy points in standard and almost 253 in PPR. That's about 10.5 and 15.8 per week in those formats. That production would've been top-20 for legit WR2 value. As long as Palmer is upright, Fitz is awesome.
Target Jeremy Hill in trades... but not right now
A very underrated Chargers defense shut down Hill (10/39/0) and the Ravens won't make life any better next week. Then, the Bengals get the Chiefs, Seahawks, and Bills. The price still may be too high right now, but owners may get scared in the coming weeks, especially as Giovani Bernard (20/123/0) continues to play very well. The Bengals passing game is too limited to prematurely give up on Hill between the tackles and they will get the Steelers and Browns twice each after their Week 7 bye.
Buy Emmanuel Sanders
Hope that the Sanders owners are looking to sell high and don't be worried to pay a little bit. Sanders tied Demaryius Thomas with 14 targets, but dominated the volume in the first three quarters. He's a low-end WR1 with a very nice schedule ahead and the trust of Peyton Manning all over the field. Five of Thomas' targets were deep balls, which keep him ahead of Sanders, but Manning noticeably wants to play short with Sanders.
Jimmy Graham is a decoy
The Seahawks have no idea how to implement an offensive weapon. And neither does Russell Wilson. They will not just feed the big man and this is scary. Only two targets against a Packers defense he should have overpowered. Graham avoided the media after the game. Neither USA Today or Getty Images even took a picture of him on Sunday night in an NFC Championship rematch, so he doesn't exist.
Demarco Murray was bad again and it won't get better soon
Murray had two yards on 13 carries. I didn't stutter. The volume was low for the offense, but it wasn't for lack of trying to get Murray the ball. This just isn't working right now and the matchups don't get better against the Jets and Washington over the next two weeks.
Buy Washington's run game
Kirk Cousins is a bum, but the Washington offensive line is fantastic, as Mark Bullock notes at WaPo, and generating fantasy value for Matt Jones (19/123/2) who was also active in the pass game. Alfred Morris had a pedestrian game where a TD makes him look better. He's still an RB2 for the plod value, but Jones is relevant, too, especially in PPR. Pierre Garcon is barely rosterable, so the RBs, Desean Jackson, and Jordan Reed are the fantasy options in this offense to have.
Avoid Cowboys receiving options until further notice
Brandon Weeden cannot be depended upon to deliver Terrance Williams to the promised land of fantasy relevance and Jason Witten just has no upside. Expect Tony Romo out at least eight weeks with a broken clavicle, so dropping all of them seems fine in 12-team leagues.
Joseph Randle is still an RB2 for volume
Randle only rushed for 51 yards in Week 2, but had a 14-yard reception. Moreover, he out-touched McFadden 19 to 12. Lance Dunbar is still the passing downs back, but Randle dominated the volume again and that should not diminish.
The RB position is getting anemic before October
After Lacy's injury, the Denver timeshare, RB Cowboys being swingy, the Bengals' schedule, and Murray regressing like my father's libido, Marshawn Lynch (15/41/0), Matt Forte (15/61/0), Lamar Miller (10/14/0), the Lions guys, Jonathan Stewart (17/62/0), Carlos Hyde (14/43/0) were all shaky. So if you had T.J. Yeldon (25/70/0) or Latavius Murray's 87 total yards and a TD in a bad matchup or Justin Forsett's 80 total yards or Doug Martin's 98 total yards, feel OK about the week.
Randall Cobb and James Jones are the only startable Packers WRs
Davante Adams just isn't being used and slips into WR3 territory until further notice. Jones is the TD-dependent red zone guy and is Cobb is the volume. The rest is filler. Starks is strong enough to not abandon the run for 45 pass attempts to spread around, should Lacy miss time or be limited.
Considering the Raiders offense Kool-Aid
Not totally, but they have more fantasy options in Murray and Amari Cooper (7/109/1) than other shaky offenses. Michael Crabtree (9/111/1) is coming through on the offseason hype out of Oakland's camp before. We've all been burned by Crab Man before, but he's worth a stash to see if he remains a large part of the offense. But that the Raiders could be involved in a shootout is an upgrade of which to take notice. Only one INT for Derek Carr in a tight game where he threw 46 times against a defense which was gunning for his mistakes.
Don't quit on QB Eagles just yet
Sam Bradford had a bad fantasy day. Only 224 yds, one TD, and another two INTs, but he only passed 37 times. The Eagles only ran the ball 15 times, so the pass game still dominated the volume. The Cowboys are just very tough to accumulate plays against. Remember that Bradford doesn't have to be good to put up top-8 production; he just has to be out there.
Sell high on Cam Newton where we can
Cam was fantastic for 195/1/1 and a 10/76/1 run slash against a very strong defense. But this is the point: Cam will have great weeks and bad weeks; good luck predicting them. Where our teams are strong, just plug him, take the bad with the good and don't think about it. Where have a hole in our lineup, packaging him to fill that hole may be more valuable.
Jordan Matthews is a WR1
Despite low volume for the offense as a whole, Matthews received the bulk of the targets--nine--for a 6/80/1 slash. If he can do this when Philly can't get the ball, he's officially in stud territory. Nelson Agholor did nothing (3/31/0), but six targets in a low-volume Week 2 is better than being nullified in Week 1. Better days are ahead. Just not yet, as this offense has to lean on Matthews. Sorry.
Hard to not overreact to Mike Evans' goose egg
Jameis Winston only threw 21 times and five of those targets were up the middle. This is consistent with 10 of his 33 attempts in Week 1. Unless Evans (0/0/0, 3 targets) gets in the slot more, this can continue to hurt through next week against the Texans. The Bucs have the Panthers and Jaguars in Weeks 4 and 5, so he can recover, but be patient
Alshon Jeffery can't be trusted yet
He was a late scratch with an injury sustained in the preseason. With Jay Cutler likely to miss time due to his own hamstring injury, the Bears are a great team to target when streaming DSTs. Trust Forte and no one else in this offense against the Seahawks in Week 3. You could do worse than the Raiders as a Week 4 DST, if Cutler is out.
Not sure what Ryan Mallett means for the Texans
But you're not benching DeAndre Hopkins in 12-team leagues, anyway, and you should have dropped Alfred Blue last week anyway. Chris Polk (14/38/0) is the primary in Houston now, but you shouldn't care. Jonathan Grimes had six catches for 40 yards, so he can be a desperation PPR flex.
Drew Brees hurt his shoulder
He took a big hit in Week 2 and said that it hurt his ability to get the ball downfield, so be cautious, Brandon Coleman owners. "Brees' longest pass went for 24 yards, a short pass over the middle to Marques Colston that actually traveled only 10 yards through the air," Katherine Terrell reported at the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "The Saints didn't attempt many passes downfield, but those that did failed to connect." (h/t: PFT)
Outside of PPR, be cautious with Dion Lewis
The 30-carry week for LeGarrette Blount is looming around the corner and that will mark the time that Bill Belichick is pounding forward with the run game. It could be November or it could be next week. Lewis rushed for 7/40/1, but the volume was mostly in the pass game where he caught 6/98/0 in nine targets. Firmly standing that he is beyond the Shane Vereen role and has entered the higher-volume Danny Woodhead role. This was not a running game and Gronk is still the man near the end zone, so Lewis is no more than a low-flex in standard, but legit RB2 in PPR, where he is much less TD-dependent.
Jonathan Stewart's ceiling is falling
Being the primary back with no more Deangelo Williams and in an offense with no WRs brought high upside for Stewart, but the fears that Cam is still the goal line back are real. Volume was there again, but the 17/62/0 production is so replacement level, when it translates to fantasy points. He's a TD-dependent RB who has negative-one yard in six red zone carries--only one carry within the ten--over the first two weeks.
Allen Robinson still a high-end WR3
He got WR1 volume with 12 targets for a 6/155/2 line, but that so many targets are required and a passing game still in an identity crisis, it is difficult to see him as more than a flex for now. Next week can be a nice WR2 week in PPR against the Patriots.
Backing up the truck on C.J. Spiller
Spiller was not involved. Caught his only target for 19 yards. We should fear that he is being eased into battle and may have to bench him until we see it. Was really banking on it being this week, but I was very, very wrong, as Mark Ingram is dominating the backfield volume for the time being.
Stream Vereen against bad Ds
Don't expect 8/76 in the passing game every week, but he should be a great bumslayer in PPR. The Falcons gave Darren Sproles an all-world week in the receiving game, too, so they're a nice target for PPR flex options. Dunbar gets them in Week 3, Jones in Week 5, Spiller in Week 6, Dexter McCluster in Week 7.
Don't worry about your Lions
Bad week for their run game as Mike Zimmer whipped the Vikings D into shape after Carlos Hyde bent them over in Week 1. The Lions abandoned the run because it was way too difficult. Worse, Ameer Abdullah and Joique Bell only totaled three targets. On the other hand, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate dominated the volume with 17 and ten targets, respectively for strong games. Tate didn't get a TD, but you're still treating him as a top-25 WR. The Broncos have only allowed six RBs to run for 60+ yards, dating back to last season, including the playoffs, so taking a week off from Abdullah and Bell isn't so bad for Week 3.
Jeremy Maclin is not startable in this offense
Alex Smith just can't get the ball downfield. Maclin's 4/57/0 is pretty much what we can expect a vast majority of weeks. Smith is just compelled to risk aversion by dinking and dunking to Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce. Sorry, Ray.
Tevin Coleman has a broken rib
Depending on how much pain Coleman feels and how much Atlanta is willing to gamble on the rookie, Devonta Freeman can have short-term "he's a starting running back" value", but it's a tough run over the next three weeks against the Cowboys, Texans, and Washington.
Adrian Peterson is the only startable Viking
There is no reason to believe your 12-team fantasy lineups should include Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Kyle Rudolph, or Teddy Bridgewater. The Chargers shut down Calvin Johnson in Week 1 and A.J. Green in Week 2, as no WR has caught for more than 48 yards against them yet. In a win over the Lions, AP dominated the ball with a 29/134/0 slash and added 58 receiving yards on two catches. This is the Vikings offense; it's all AP all day.
Don't take much away from the Bills offense
They were getting crushed and gambling hard. Sammy Watkins is still a dangerous play in standard leagues and Percy Harvin is basically Maclin. LeSean McCoy's 15/89/0 slash and being active in the receiving game is refreshing. He is becoming great value for where we were picking him, outside of the top-20.
Rishard Matthews is a better option than Kenny Stills
Behind--obviously--Jarvis Landry, Ryan Tannehill's #2 target was Matthews' (6/115/0) seven. He is clearly the best streaming option in the receiving game, especially in PPR. Here's one that I actually got right!
Here's the thing with Crockett Gillmore....
Tyler Eifert had a 9/104/2 slash against the Raiders in Week 1. Maybe Gillmore's 5/88/2 says more about the Raiders than Gillmore.
Ignore the Browns-Titans game, too
Johnny Manziel and Marcus Mariota are legit QB2s and decent bye week replacements as the season rolls along, but you cannot trust them or any of their options. Especially none of their tempting RBs.
Bench all Rams until Todd Gurley debuts
Please don't ask me to type out the details as to why. There just isn't anyone on whom to depend, even when the matchup is great for them. These names make it burn when I pee.
Bench all 49ers
Hyde exited Week 2 with a head injury that looked very concussiony and none of the WRs can be trusted. Mike Davis would likely start Week 3 in Hyde's absence, but there is not anything to trust there. Torrey Smith (6/120/1) had a nice fantasy, but the whole game was garbage time, so you would have to predict another blowout like this.
If you had Week 2 in your office Jordan Cameron Injury Pool, congrats!
He pulled his groin. We don't know much else. Just as he was becoming a strong part of the offense. Who could've seen this coming?
If there's a Broncos TE to own, it's Virgil Green
And he isn't worth rostering, either. He and Owen Daniels are just surprisingly not in the gameplans. When one has a good week, let someone else overreact. Those weeks will be there, but good luck predicting them.