Fantasy football’s winners and losers on Halloween

Halloween was a big day in the NFL with lots of fantasy football implications. You had last minute trades that went through, and one that didn’t. And you had a big suspension upheld. Kelvin Benjamin was sent to Buffalo, Jay Ajayi is now a member of the Eagles and Jimmy Garoppolo is now a 49er. Here’s a look at Tuesday’s winners and losers.

RELATED: Fantasy football Week 9 rankings.

Winners

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills: The quarterback has been a solid streaming option all season and now he may end up catapulting into QB1 status with the addition of Kelvin Benjamin as a receiving option. The Bills needed help at the wideout position and they got it.

Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills attempts to hand the ball off during the fourth quarter of an NFL game against the Oakland Raiders on October 29, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles: Being traded to the Eagles is probably the best thing that could have happened to the running back. He goes from a struggling offense to one that’s clicking, with a very good offensive line. I think he’ll have to be eased into the role as the lead back, with a tough matchup against the Broncos this week. But the sky is the limit for the newest Eagle.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks: He gets Duane Brown from the Texans to help protect him. Wilson has been on fire recently and the added protection will just make him better.

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers: Funchess will be the new No. 1 wideout in Carolina. Whether or not he makes the most of it is a question, but the opportunity is good.

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess (17) is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves during the second quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack)

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers: He’ll finally get his shot to start in the NFL. He won’t be a QB1, but he enters the conversation as a streaming option after this week of acclimation.

Pierre Garcon, WR, 49ers: Garcon is talented enough to give you decent production, but playing with Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard hasn’t been good. Garoppolo joining the team gives Garcon hope to be a consistent WR2.

Losers

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys: It’s starting to look like Elliott will have to serve out his six-game suspension after all as his appeal opportunities are running out. He’s definitely out this week, and it looks like the suspension will stick this time.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Eagles: It’s obvious that Blount’s value takes a serious hit with the addition of Ajayi. He can still be a goal line option, but Ajayi can serve that role as well.

LeGarrette Blount #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles is tackled by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: He loses his best passing target and he was already having a hot and cold season. He’s down to Funchess as his best target at the wideout position.

Browns: They thought they got a quarterback with a future in A.J. McCarron from the Bengals. Turned out they were late filing the paper work and weren’t granted the trade. Ouch. Some might argue that they were better off not having the trade go through since they were giving up high draft picks. Given their history, I’m now expecting McCarron to become a hall of famer, however.

Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles: He might be relegated to an irrelevant role with the addition of Ajayi. Any backfield that has three viable options is not ideal. When two of them have resumes like Blount and Ajayi, it’s even worse for backs like Smallwood.

Push

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers: It’s somewhat a lateral move for Benjamin. He remains the top receiver with the team he’s with, but Taylor isn’t leaps and bounds better than Cam Newton.

Fantasy football Week 2 recap and waiver wire suggestions

The early fantasy football season continues to offer up surprises to go along with some depressing news for fantasy owners.

Here’s a look at Week 2’s notable developments.

If you thought Travis Benjamin, Stefon Diggs and Corey Coleman would be the top fantasy receivers in Week 2 then you deserve to be congratulated. Benjamin filled the void left by Keenan Allen, catching six passes for 115 yards and two scores for the Chargers. Diggs continued to solidify himself as the no. 1 receiver in Minnesota as he hauled in nine passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. The rookie Coleman caught five balls for 104 yards and two touchdowns for the Browns.

Minnesota Vikings Stefon Diggs catches a touchdown pass from Sam Bradford in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. (Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
Minnesota Vikings Stefon Diggs catches a touchdown pass from Sam Bradford in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. (Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

In addition to those somewhat surprising results, there were quite a few bounce-back performances in Week 2.

Dez Bryant caught seven passes for 102 yards to make up for a terrible start to the season. Brandon Marshall also eclipsed 100 yards receiving on Thursday night after a bad first week.

Though Cam Newton did fine in Week 1, his performance in Week 2 reminded us of how great he was last year. He threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns while adding 37 rushing yards.

Another quarterback who flashed some signs from last season was Tyrod Taylor, who had 297 yards passing, three touchdowns and 25 yards rushing.

There were a few surprising performances in the first week of the season, but Week 2 proved that a few of those players were no frauds.

Will Fuller continues to impress for the Texans as he’s the first first-round pick to have 100 yards receiving in each of his first two NFL games. Another rookie that continued to put up good numbers was the Giants’ Sterling Shepard who caught 8 passes on 8 targets for 117 yards.

Will Fuller #15 of the Houston Texans runs with the ball in the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Will Fuller #15 of the Houston Texans runs with the ball in the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

On the running back front, doubters of Matt Forte and DeMarco Murray were shut up for the second week in a row. Forte scored three touchdowns and gained 100 yards on Thursday for the Jets while Murray gained 145 total yards for the Titans. Melvin Gordon paid off again as he rushed for 102 yards and scored a touchdown.

I was high on Derek Carr as the season started and he’s proving to be a top-8 quarterback so far this season. He had 299 yards passing and 3 touchdowns in Week 2.

Despite the continued success of some Week 1 heroes, Week 2 was a nightmare for a lot of fantasy owners. If you got through the weekend unscathed consider yourself lucky.

Seven fantasy running back starters were injured in Week 2. The biggest of them all was Adrian Peterson, who left the Sunday night contest with an apparent knee injury. He left the game having rushed for just 19 yards on 12 carries.

Another big blow came earlier in the day when Danny Woodhead was carted off the field in the Chargers game against the Jaguars in the first quarter. He’d already gained 27 yards on three carries as he was expected to play a bigger role in the passing game with top wideout Allen out for an extended period.

San Diego Chargers' Danny Woodhead is helped off the field by Mike McCoy and James Collins in the first quarter after getting injured on a play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 in San Diego, Calif. (K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
San Diego Chargers’ Danny Woodhead is helped off the field by Mike McCoy and James Collins in the first quarter after getting injured on a play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016 in San Diego, Calif. (K.C. Alfred/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)

Thomas Rawls, Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin, Ameer Abdullah and (big surprise) Arian Foster all went out with injuries on Sunday.

Here’s a look to the waiver wire for some help:

Running backs
Dwayne Washington, Lions (4 touches-31 yards)
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings (3-1)
Charles Sims, Tampa Bay (12-28)
Fozzy Whittaker, Panthers (19-131)
Chris Johnson, Cardinals (16-54, TD)
Kenyon Drake, Dolphins (4-18, TD)

Quarterbacks
Sam Bradford, Vikings (286 yards, 2 TDs)

Wide receivers
Greg Salas, Bills (4 catches-89 yards, TD)
Mike Wallace, Ravens (4-41, 2TDs)
Jaron Brown, Cardinals (2-78, TD)
Tyrell Williams, Chargers (3-61, TD)

Fantasy football Week 1 preview

It’s finally here.

The NFL season starts Thursday night as the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos in a Super Bowl rematch. With that kickoff, another fantasy football season gets underway.

Even if you’re not a fan of either team, it’s likely you’ll still be watching closely as a fantasy football owner.

If you drafted Cam Newton, you’ll be a Panthers fan for at least this season. And you’ll be rooting for the Broncos if you picked up Demaryius Thomas, Denver’s top wideout.

The opener represents a tough matchup for both of those players. Newton will have to withstand solid pressure from the Broncos’ pass rush while Thomas will have to help break in a new quarterback while also getting over last year’s case of the drops.

Regardless, both players have to be considered must-starts, alongside Greg Olsen and both defenses.

Moving on to Sunday’s action, one of the best matchups will pit Derek Carr against the Saints pass defense. The game is indoors, and Carr has Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Latavius Murray at his disposal. The third-year quarterback finished just outside the top-12 in standard leagues last season, and I expect him to enter that QB1 status this season.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Another great situation this week could be the Chiefs’ Spencer Ware facing the San Diego run defense. The Chargers were 29th in points allowed to running backs last season, and Ware is getting the start for Jamaal Charles, who continues to recover from a torn ACL.

Switching to wide receivers, there’s no doubt that Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins will be must-starts all season, but don’t forget about Dez Bryant just because his starting quarterback is sidelined. Bryant is a proud competitor and desperately wants to show the NFL that he’s still a top-tier wideout.

He faces a Giants pass defense that was 26th in points allowed to wide receivers last season. And rookie quarterbacks like Dak Prescott tend to rely on their star players whereas veterans like Tony Romo will try to get the ball to the open receiver. Prescott may do well to just give Bryant chances to make plays.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) warms up before taking on the Houston Texans in a preseason NFL football game, Thursday Sept. 1, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) warms up before taking on the Houston Texans in a preseason NFL football game, Thursday Sept. 1, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

On the other side of the coin, Alshon Jeffery will face a tough defense this week. I’m not sold on him returning to previous form after an injury-plagued 2015 season. The Texans were fifth best in slowing receivers in fantasy scoring last year.

One running back I’d avoid starting this week would be Jeremy Hill. He’ll definitely split time with Gio Bernard and he’s facing the Jets, who were third best in points allowed to running backs last season. I do expect him to deliver more even output this season, not just one reliant on goal-line plays, but this is a bad matchup for him.

Finally, you may have to sit a typically solid fantasy quarterback if you’re a Philip Rivers owner. He’s not projected to do well against a good Chiefs defense that was fifth best in points allowed to quarterbacks last season. The Chiefs will be without Justin Houston, who is out with a knee injury, but if you have another QB with a better matchup, make that play instead.

Fantasy football position rankings heading into final weekend of drafts

It’s the final weekend before the fantasy football season kicks off. Here’s a look at my position rankings for the upcoming season. For quarterbacks I’ve listed two deep for a 12-team league. I’ve listed three deep for running backs and four deep for wide receivers. I’ve also listed the top 12 tight ends and defense/special teams.

Quarterbacks

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2. Cam Newton, Panthers—I don’t think he’ll be quite as productive as he was last year, which is why I have him behind Aaron Rodgers.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks to pass during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks to pass during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
4. Andrew Luck, Colts
5. Drew Brees, Saints
6. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
7. Tom Brady, Patriots
8. Blake Bortles, Jaguars
9. Carson Palmer, Cardinals—I’ve dropped him a couple of spots from the last time out because he hasn’t looked great in preseason. Plus there’s always the fear of him getting hurt. If he stays healthy, he’s got the weapons to end up as a top-5 quarterback.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws prior to an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

10. Eli Manning, Giants
11. Philip Rivers, Chargers
12. Derek Carr, Raiders
13. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets
14. Tyrod Taylor, Bills
15. Kirk Cousins, Redskins
16. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
17. Matthew Stafford, Lions
18. Andy Dalton, Bengals
19. Marcus Mariota, Titans
20. Matt Ryan, Falcons
21. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
22. Alex Smith, Chiefs
23. Jay Cutler, Bears
24. Brock Osweiler, Texans

Running backs

1. David Johnson, Cardinals—I think he has the potential to be the best back in the league. That said, he will probably not be the first running back taken in your draft. If not, make sure you don’t pass him up.

David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball against the Houston Texans in the first quarter of a preseason NFL game at NRG Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball against the Houston Texans in the first quarter of a preseason NFL game at NRG Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

2. Todd Gurley, Rams
3. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
4. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
5. Lamar Miller, Texans
6. Le’Veon Bell, Steelers
7. Eddie Lacy, Packers
8. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
9. Mark Ingram, Saints
10. LeSean McCoy, Bills
11. Devonta Freeman, Falcons
12. Doug Martin, Buccaneers
13. C.J. Anderson, Broncos
14. Latavius Murray, Raiders
15. Thomas Rawls, Seahawks
16. Jeremy Hill, Bengals
17. Matt Forte, Jets
18. DeMarco Murray, Titans
19. Carlos Hyde, 49ers
20. Jeremy Langford, Bears
21. Melvin Gordon, Chargers
22. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
23. Ryan Mathews, Eagles
24. Frank Gore, Colts
25. DeAngelo Williams, Steelers
26. Arian Foster, Dolphins
27. Matt Jones, Redskins
28. Chris Ivory, Jaguars
29. Gio Bernard, Bengals
30. Derrick Henry, Titans
31. Rashad Jennings, Giants
32. Duke Johnson, Browns
33. Danny Woodhead, Chargers
34. Ameer Abdullah, Lions
35. Isaiah Crowell, Browns
36. Christine Michael, Seahawks

Wide receivers

1. Antonio Brown, Steelers
2. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
3. Julio Jones, Falcons
4. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans—Really excited to see what he can do with Will Fuller, Jaelen Strong and Braxton Miller spreading the defense thin.

DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans looks for room after a reception against the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter of a preseason NFL game at NRG Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans looks for room after a reception against the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter of a preseason NFL game at NRG Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

5. A.J. Green, Bengals
6. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
7. Allen Robinson, Jaguars
8. Brandon Marshall, Jets
9. Jordy Nelson, Packers
10. Mike Evans, Buccaneers
11. Keenan Allen, Chargers
12. Amari Cooper, Raiders
13. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
14. Sammy Watkins, Bills
15. Brandin Cooks, Saints
16. T.Y. Hilton, Colts
17. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
18. Randall Cobb, Packers
19. Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs
20. Donte Moncrief, Colts
21. Eric Decker, Jets
22. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins
23. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers
24. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
25. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
26. Julian Edelman, Patriots
27. Josh Gordon, Browns
28. Marvin Jones, Lions
29. Golden Tate, Lions
30. Allen Hurns, Jaguars
31. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
32. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
33. John Brown, Cardinals
34. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos
35. Jordan Matthews, Eagles
36. DeSean Jackson, Redskins
37. Sterling Shepard, Giants
38. Michael Crabtree, Raiders
39. Kevin White, Bears
40. Willie Snead, Saints
41. Corey Coleman, Browns
42. Stefon Diggs, Vikings
43. Torrey Smith, 49ers
44. Tavon Austin, Rams
45. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
46. Travis Benjamin, Chargers
47. Laquon Treadwell, Vikings
48. Michael Thomas, Saints

Tight ends

1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
2. Jordan Reed, Redskins
3. Greg Olsen, Panthers
4. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
5. Delanie Walker, Titans
6. Coby Fleener, Saints
7. Gary Barnidge, Browns—He may not duplicate last year’s numbers, but Robert Griffin III could use him as a security blanket.

Tight end Gary Barnidge #82 of the Cleveland Browns catches a touchdown pass during the first half of the preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Tight end Gary Barnidge #82 of the Cleveland Browns catches a touchdown pass during the first half of the preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

8. Tyler Eifert, Bengals
9. Julius Thomas, Jaguars
10. Antonio Gates, Chargers
11. Zach Ertz, Eagles
12. Jimmy Graham, Seahawks

Defense/special teams

1. Broncos
2. Seahawks
3. Cardinals
4. Panthers
5. Texans—They’ve got a Week 1 matchup against a hurting Bears offense and J.J. Watt may be healthy enough to play by then.

Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints is sacked by Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans, John Simon #51 and Whitney Mercilus #59 in the first quarter durting a preseason NFL game at NRG Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints is sacked by Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans, John Simon #51 and Whitney Mercilus #59 in the first quarter durting a preseason NFL game at NRG Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

6. Vikings
7. Rams
8. Chiefs
9. Patriots
10. Bengals
11. Jets
12. Raiders