Observer Fantasy Football Corner — Week 3
Week 2 of the NFL was filled with great comebacks, questionable play calls and unfortunately, a vast amount of injuries. In just Week 2 alone, there was a record-setting seven ACL tears in one day and a vast amount of other injuries. These injuries affected the likes of star running backs Christian McCaffery and Saquon Barkley, as well as last year’s defensive rookie of the year Nick Bosa. While Bosa is not a standalone fantasy player like CMC and Barkley, these injuries are significant for fantasy owners, as everyone who was injured during Week 2 had a significant impact on the field in terms of production. Today at Fantasy Corner, we will give you a player to sit and a player to start, as well as who to pick up with the number of injuries that have plagued the league.
Must Play — Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts
Jonathan Taylor had an amazing showing against the Minnesota Vikings in his first career start, in which he rushed for 101 yards on 26 attempts and a touchdown. After Marlon Mack went down with an Achilles tear in Week 1, many were interested to see how the rookie out of Wisconsin would perform, and let me just say he did not disappoint. Now Taylor is set to face one of the worst run defenses in the league against the New York Jets. Last week, The New York Jets let Raheem Mosert rush for 92 yards on 8 attempts and a touchdown before he would be sidelined with an ankle injury. The injuries did not stop there, as later on the 49ers number two back Tevin Coleman would also be injured. Even though the 49ers lost their number one and two backs, Jerrick McKinnon came right in and picked up the slack by rushing 3 times for 77 yards and a touchdown. The Jets seem to have no identity and look lost on the field, which gives me hope for Taylor this Sunday.
Must Sit — Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans
Ever since Bill O’Brien decided to trade one of the best wide receivers in the league, DeAndre Hopkins, for an aging running back and a couple of picks, it feels that the Texans have little to no offense. Yes, the Texans do have Deshaun Watson, who many consider being a top 10 quarterback in the league, but Coach O’Brien has done nothing to help him. Last week against the Ravens, Watson got eaten alive for five sacks and had little to no time to throw. The Texans’ offensive line has been notorious for being terrible, but has always been bailed out by Watson — a magician in the pocket. However, I just cannot see it going anywhere this year, and that is mainly due to the weapons Watson has around him. DeAndre Hopkins demands attention on the field which opens up space for the likes of Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills, but do you honestly think Brandon Cooks, the Texans’ “replacement” for DeAndre Hopkins, does the same? The Texans are set to face the Steelers’ defense who have been on a tear these last two weeks. In both weeks alone, the Steelers have the most pressures on the quarterback and have been racking up sacks left and right. This Sunday is not going to look good for Watson, and I would avoid him at all costs.
Who to pick up?
Devonta Freeman, RB, FA
Mike Brown, RB, Panthers
Must play — Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills
Stefon Diggs was traded to the Bills in the offseason and seemed to slide on many draft boards due to questions about how this would affect his productivity. Just two weeks into the season and Diggs has blown these reservations out of the water. He has caught eight passes in both of the Bills first two contests, and was targeted a whopping 13 times in Week 2. Diggs has become the favorite target of QB Josh Allen, who is the leader in passing yards through two weeks. With the Bills offense clicking, scoring 27 and 31 points in Weeks 1 and 2, Diggs is a surefire starter at this point in the fantasy season. They face another high-flying offense in the Rams on Sunday, so make sure Diggs is in your lineup as this should be a high scoring contest.
Must sit — T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Hilton has been a disappointment thus far this season, especially with the Colts offseason addition of QB Philip Rivers. Rivers and Hilton have not developed any chemistry yet, connecting just seven times in the first two weeks of the season. This was even more frustrating for Hilton owners this past week as the Colts put on a solid offensive showing against a good Vikings defense, but Hilton was relatively absent from the box score. The Colts play the Jets this week, and since New York is a sorry excuse for a football team, this game likely won’t be close. That will mean a lot of rushing attempts for Colts’ RBs Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, and even less targets for Hilton.
Who to pick up?
Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers
Russell Gage, WR, Falcons
Must Play — Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz filled the shoes of TE Blake Jarwin, who suffered an ACL tear in Week 1, incredibly well this past Sunday’s comeback win over the Falcons. Schultz had a career high nine catches with one TD for 88 yards for the Cowboys, and isn’t going to stop any time soon. Jarwin’s injury, while sadly season-ending, will provide TE 1 Schultz with the opportunity to more targets from Dak Prescott. Schultz has already stepped up his game only one week after Jarwin’s injury, so he could really settle into his role in Prescott’s offense and become a huge asset for the Cowboys in the weeks to come.
Must Sit — Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
To start the season, Saints QB Drew Brees has just been pretty average in comparison to his typical outstanding performances.
Brees has had two middle of the road performances for the first two weeks of the season, falling short of his projected points for both of those games, and landing him at a QB ranking of 23rd. Brees did complete 312 pass yards this week, his sole touchdown and soft interception held his fantasy point totals back immensely. After Monday’s loss to the Raiders, Brees himself even admitted that his offense isn’t remotely close to being in sync, and I wouldn’t bet that they can turn it around so quickly against the 2-0 Packers this week. If his success in seasons past has proven anything, it’s that Drew Brees is definitely a player to keep an eye on, but until the Saints offense can really click, there are much better options at QB.
Who to pick up?
Mike Davis, RB, Carolina Panthers
Must Play — James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Take advice from the guy who sat Tyler Higbee for his three touchdown performance last week with a grain of salt (even if I did still win by 25 points), but everything seems to be working in Robinson’s favor this week. He’s got a four-star matchup with Miami and has figured into Jacksonville’s passing game while contributing over 160 yards on the ground over his first two games, including his first touchdown of the year last week. Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said he would be a “big part” of their gameplan in Week 2, and after a strong performance, there’s little reason to expect that would change against the Dolphins.
Must Sit — Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
With Stefon Diggs traded to Buffalo over the offseason, there was a chance for Jefferson to hit the ground running in Minnesota’s offense, potentially emerging as a number two threat at receiver behind Adam Theilen. But Jefferson has only been targeted six times in Minnesota’s first two games, and though he led the Vikings in receiving yards last week, he did so with just a paltry 44 yards, actually nearly doubling his Week 1 total. In spite of that improvement, Jefferson just hasn’t proven to be a big enough focal point in Minnesota’s offense to justify a start this week.
Who to pick up?
TE Logan Thomas, Washington
Must Play — David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
David Montgomery has so far staked his claim as the top RB in a Bears offense that will want to rely heavily on runs with their shaky QB situation. He is so far the 17th ranked RB in fantasy football, and that should continue to go up if he continues to take more of Tarik Cohen’s share of the carries. He goes up against the Atlanta Falcons this week, who are a team in complete disarray after blowing a 20 point first-half lead against the Dallas Cowboys in embarrassing fashion. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons are unable to mentally overcome what happened last Sunday, and Montgomery should be the primary beneficiary of that weakness.
Must Sit — JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Quite frankly, Smith-Schuster’s first couple of weeks has me worried about his fantasy prospects going forward this season. Although he currently ranks 14th at the WR position through two weeks, those points primarily come from two red-zone touchdowns off of three targets in the area. His yards per reception is a measly 9.0, miles behind teammates Dionte Johnson and Chase Claypool, and he’s currently not getting the targets to make up for this lack of distance. This could just be an early-season anomaly that will even out as the season goes on, but for now, I’d be keeping a close eye on how the offense uses him going forward.
Who to pick up?
Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins
Must Play — Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson is playing lights out, and against a questionable Cowboys secondary, Tyler Lockett will have a great opportunity to keep up his momentum, with back to back weeks of 7+ catches and 17+ fantasy points. Lockett has been quietly one of the most efficient players in the league, catching 15 of 16 targets in two weeks.
Must Sit — Emmanuel Sanders, WR, New Orleans Saints
With Michael Thomas out last week, some thought Emmanuel Sanders could step into that role; however, the 33-year-old receiver just did not click with Drew Brees, catching one pass on only three targets. He cannot be trusted in your fantasy lineups, regardless of the health of Michael Thomas.
Who to pick up?
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.