Tony Romo owners, New York Giants fans and Survivor pool players all agree Week 2 was a freaking bloodbath. That is unless you own Larry Fitzgerald, somehow started Crockett Gillmore or root for a certain burgundy and gold team. Either way, it's on to Week 3. That means it's time for some Waiver Wire talk.
- Let's start with the quarterbacks especially since Romo (broken clavicle), Drew Brees (shoulder) and Jay Cutler could be out multiple weeks.
- Andy Dalton's numbers after two weeks: 483 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions. The Week 3 matchup against Baltimore is playable as is Dalton most weeks even if he'll drive you mad at times.
- Oakland's Derek Carr was one of my favorite QB2 targets in drafts this year - yes, over Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston - because of the enormous potential flashed during his rookie season. Then the Raiders added Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. That's a legitimate passing game trio as we saw in the stunning win over Baltimore. Be judicious when using your Raiders, especially on the road the two next weeks. At home, they should be fine, but even falling behind has upside for a team capable of slinging the pigskin.
- Deeper leagues: Nick Foles looked rather blah against the Redskins in Week 2, but he'll likely have to throw plenty in catch-up mode against a beatable Steelers defense in Week 3. Colin Kaepernick finished with 335 yards and two touchdowns in last week's blowout loss in Pittsburgh. For Week 3, I'd rank Foles over Carr, Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and...Kirk Cousins, who has played counterpuncher to the running game, but now faces a Giants pass defense that ranks last in pass defense after two weeks.
- The folks at FantasyPros.com asked me and a few other fantasy football writers to rank 21 (non-quarterback) potential and pre-selected free agents this week. For the sake of space, here's my top 12:
(Don't get caught up in the overall order when comparing say a running back with a wide receiver. In one league I lost Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson for a while, which meant starting Rueben Randle this week. Yikes. Seeing as my backs aren't horrible, adding a receiver is a greater priority. That's regardless of the rankings in most cases. Also, 0-2 teams need to consider if they need immediate help over those with greater upside.)
- Dion Lewis, Patriots, RB
- David Johnson, Cardinals, RB
- Matt Jones, Redskins, RB
- James Starks, Packers, RB
- Devonta Freeman, Falcons, RB
- Duke Johnson, Browns, RB
- Michael Crabtree, Raiders, RB
- Eric Ebron, Lions, TE
- Crockett Gillmore, Ravens, TE
- Karlos Williams, Bills, RB
- Allen Hurns, Jaguars, WR
- Rishard Matthews, Dolphins, WR
- In addition to ranking the players, I was asked to answer questions, including what % of FAAB budget would you recommend fatntsy owners spend on your #1 rated target? My response:
The definition of insanity is attempting to predict how Bill Belichick plans on deploying his running backs week to week. Various Patriot insiders* talked about the end of Dion Lewis’ run as the starter and viable option heading into Sunday’s game at Buffalo. They were wrong. Anyone thinking LeGarrette Blount is stuck on the bench won’t be right either. Those weak at RB can consider spending 20-25% of FAAB budgets for Lewis, a potential starting RB whose floor is the 2015 version of Shane Vereen.
- Both JP Finlay and I liked Lewis much, much more than the aforementioned Patriot Insiders and said as much during last week's Fantasy Football show (Friday's, 6:00 p.m.). Score one for the fantasy guys, though I doubt either of us projected Blount's complete nothingness. I'm also not ready to assume this is the pecking order going forward. Don't cut Blount, but do add Lewis.
- James Starks was originally my top selection, but a report surfaced just as I submitted by order that Packers RB Eddie Lacy (ankle) might not miss much time. The Green Bay starter is no less than an RB2 each week and Starks looked the part with over 90 yards against the Seahawks. Lacy owners, who clearly didn't listen to my handcuff advice, should do whatever is needed to grab Starks if their guy is ruled for any length of time. If that means spending 25-30% of the FAAB, so be it. Non-Lacy owners, especially those at 0-2 who can't stand their current RB crop, can make an aggressive move for a little less.
- Both Lewis and Starks are ultimately more shot-term plays. Matt Jones, Devonta Freeman and the two Johnson's are the lottery tickets.
My assumption is most reading this article are Redskins fans and therefore have already ordered their Jones 31 jersey after what they witnessed in Sunday's win over the Rams. The power, speed and pass catching combination was on full display as the rookie wowed with 123 yards and two touchdowns. The timeshare with Alfred Morris is here; Jones only played a handful of fewer snaps in the victory. He's also a true three-down back unlike Morris, a notorious non-factor in the passing game. Morris will remain the higher ranked option until further notice. That might mean the entire regular season and it might not be by much. If the Redskins remain committed to and effective with the run, both backs have weekly appeal even if the presence of the other limits upside.
Arizona's David Johnson continued his explosive start with a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown. Now, that doesn't help in most fantasy leagues, but his 13-yard rushing score does. Chris Johnson had more touches (20-6), but didn't much with the extra opportunities. Expect David Johnson's role to expand when Andre Ellington returns. Don't force him into your lineup, but patience should ultimately pay off. I ranked him over Jones simply because I think he has a better chance of being his team's starter by Week 8. Owners can spend 20-25% of their FAAB budget on Jones or David Johnson.
Cleveland's Duke Johnson gained 43 yards on 12 carries in Week 2. The dual threat must wait for Isaiah Crowell to vacate the starting job before owners use in weekly lineups. That's not exactly mission impossible.
Devonta Freeman didn't take advantage of Tevin Coleman's exit via a cart due to his rib injury. Freeman certainly has the goods to take over for good or at least force a true timeshare -- and he might get the chance if Coleman misses time.
- If you forgot Michael Crabtree was a thing, the ex-49er did some reminding in Week 2 against the Ravens. The new Raider caught nine passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. We know Crabtree can play. He's definitely worth the add and of WR consideration. ...Wide receivers not shown on the aforementioned list but are also worthy of consideration include Marvin Jones, Travis Benjamin and, wait for it, Leonard Hankerson. The ex-Redskin finished 6-77-1 on 11 targets in Week 2. Roddy White might not be finished, but he's not looking like a stud either.
- As for the tight ends, Eric Ebron bombed as a rookie, but let's not forget he was the 10th overall pick in 2014. He's now starting to live up the hype. Ebron scored touchdowns in each game this season for the 0-2 Lions. There was no hype at all over Crockett Gillmore, but that's changing after the 6-foot-6 target went 5-88-2 in Week 2 against the Raiders. Gillmore is a matchup problem for defenders, but looking like Joe Flacco's No. 2 target behind Steve Smith.