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.
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.
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.
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:
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)
Sam Bradford, Vikings (286 yards, 2 TDs)
Fantasy owners already know who their must-start players are, but everyone has a few decisions to make when it comes to setting a lineup. We’re here to help with those tough decisions.
Each week this space will be dedicated to whom you should start or sit in your upcoming fantasy matchups.
Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks — Seahawks-Rams likely will be a low-scoring affair as neither offense has looked great. The Seahawks will try to control the clock with their running game, especially with Russell Wilson dealing with an ankle injury. Rawls had nearly as many touches as Christine Michael last week and was named the starter for Week 2.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants — He had 19 touches last weekend in the win over the Cowboys and finished with 78 total yards. This week, he gets to face a Saints defense that is second worst in points allowed to running backs. I bet he gets into the end zone.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles — The play of Carson Wentz last week against the Browns made Matthews a top-six receiver in fantasy scoring. They’ll face the Bears, who are 23rd in points allowed to receivers.
Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers — Melvin Gordon scored twice last week? Well, Woodhead had more touches and more yards from scrimmage in addition to one score. Last year without Keenan Allen, Woodhead led the Chargers in receptions.
Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns — He had a breakout season last year, but his dismal start last week might have you ready to cut ties. Don’t be so hasty, though. He had Robert Griffin III at the helm in the opener, but with Josh McCown now starting, Barnidge may have new life. They have a solid rapport going back to last year.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers — The “slimmed-down” talk ended after it appeared that he had trouble getting a lot going against the Jaguars last week. He had just 15 touches and will face a Vikings defense that allowed only 45 yards rushing in the opener.
Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers — Last year, he killed the Vikings to open the season. This year, he scored twice against what was thought to be a solid Rams defense. I’m not a believer yet, and he faces a Panthers defense that looks to bounce back after giving up a great game to C.J. Anderson.
Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs — I wouldn’t count on him having 363 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Texans, who are eighth best in points allowed to quarterbacks.
Gio Bernard, RB, Bengals — He faces a good Steelers run defense and hasn’t fared well against it in the past. Jeremy Hill probably has more of an opportunity to score should the Bengals get into a goal-line situation.
Any receiver facing the Ravens, Seahawks or Panthers — Got a Browns wideout? Leave him on the bench. Tavon Austin owner? Maybe next time, pal. Hopeful for points from Torrey Smith? Give it up.
No man’s land
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams — There’s no way you can sit Gurley, but you really wish you could, given that his team’s one-dimensional offense has to face the Seahawks. If the passing attack doesn’t take the pressure off of him, it could be a long day.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys — You probably used a first or early second-round pick on him and, as a result, have to start him. Dak Prescott makes no bones about hitting the check-down receiver instead of taking chances on his biggest playmaker so you’ll just have to cross your fingers.
The fantasy football season opened up the throttle on Sunday, and there were definitely some high-octane performances.
Andrew Luck started his attempt at a bounce-back year with a stellar performance; he threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns without committing a turnover. Drew Brees might have been the top scorer of the week had he not lost a fumble. He threw for 423 yards and four touchdowns, including a 98-yard score to Brandin Cooks. And A.J. Green had a brilliant start, catching 12 of his 13 targets for 180 yards and a 54-yard touchdown.
The best performance by a running back came from the waiver wire pickup of the week, Spencer Ware. Once word got out that Jamaal Charles wasn’t quite ready, owners rushed to pick up his main backup before the season kicked off.
Ware didn’t disappoint as he rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown while catching seven passes for an additional 129 yards.
At the tight end spot, both of the Colts’ ends found paydirt. Dwayne Allen caught four passes for 53 yards and a touchdown while Jack Doyle had three catches for 35 yards and two scores.
The top defense of the week started slow but turned it on in the second half. Minnesota allowed 16 points to the Titans but forced three turnovers and added two sacks in addition to scoring two touchdowns.
It wasn’t all positive in the fantasy world. Quite a few players had some games to forget:
At the top of that list has to be Dez Bryant, who caught just one pass for 8 yards in the Cowboys’ loss to the Giants. He had a touchdown called back when it was reviewed and determined that he didn’t control the ball before touching out of bounds in the end zone.
Brandon Marshall, the top option for the Jets, had just three catches for 32 yards despite being targeted eight times.
Sammy Watkins also disappointed as he caught four passes for 43 yards. Additionally, Tyler Lockett, who was expected to break out for the Seahawks, had just three catches for 17 yards.
At running back, we saw Devonta Freeman produce just 40 total yards as Tevin Coleman gained 117 yards on 13 touches for the Falcons.
In Tennessee, Adrian Peterson rushed for just 31 yards as the Titans were able to key on the run with Shaun Hill starting at quarterback for the Vikings.
A striking theme from Sunday was the great performances from second-year players. Jameis Winston, David Johnson, Melvin Gordon, Donte Moncrief and Stefon Diggs all produced well to start their sophomore seasons.
Cooks, also in his second season, had 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately we saw Keenan Allen go down with a torn ACL after catching six passes for 63 yards. And word broke on Monday that Robert Griffin III could be done for the season with a shoulder fracture. Russell Wilson also has a sprained ankle to be monitored.
With that, look to the waiver wire:
Alex Smith, Chiefs (363 passing yards, 3 total TDs)
Carson Wentz, Eagles (278, TD)
Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots (264, TD)
Dak Prescott, Cowboys (227, 0 turnovers)
Will Fuller, Texans (5 catches, 107 yards, TD)
Mike Wallace, Ravens (6-91, TD)
Chris Hogan, Patriots (60, TD)
Nelson Agholor, Eagles (57, TD)
Sterling Shepard, Giants (43, TD)
Victor Cruz, Giants (34, TD)
Tajae Sharpe, Titans (7-76)
Michael Thomas, Saints (6-58)
There’s not much time left before millions of football fans are huddled in a room with a few of their friends (and enemies) drafting the 2016 edition of their fantasy football team. No matter what kind of league you’re in, a just-for-fun league or a serious money league, you’ll need a cheat sheet. Here’s what we’re offering up at the Statesman. So without further ado, here are the top 100 fantasy football players in standard leagues for 2016.
Top 100 overall
1. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
2. David Johnson, RB, Cardinals
3. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants
4. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams–You may be surprised to see he’s not the first running back on this list. The offense of Los Angeles just can’t be trusted at this point. What saves Gurley from dropping further for me is the fact that his defense should keep the Rams in games, thus not abandoning the running game.
17. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers–Missing the first four games of the season drops him to the middle of the second round. If you take him here, don’t try to take DeAngelo Williams until the seventh round at the earliest.
34. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs–He doesn’t have an elite quarterback, but he had at least five catches in nine games last season. His consistency could be useful if you have a higher upside player as his counterpart.
35. C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos
36. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
37. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks
38. Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers
39. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
40. Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins
41. Matt Forte, RB, Jets
42. Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
43. Eric Decker, WR, Jets
44. Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
45. DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans–I have him a little higher than most, but you might be able to get away with picking him in the sixth or seventh round. He’s the no. 1 back in Tennessee, despite the presence of rookie Derrick Henry.
46. Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
47. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
48. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers
49. Golden Tate, WR, Lions
50. Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals
51. Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins
52. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
53. Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots
54. Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts–If you can snag this receiver as your WR3, you should be excited about his potential. He’ll likely be the second receiving option behind Hilton and he’s entering his third year playing with Luck.
55. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
56. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks
57. John Brown, WR, Cardinals
58. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers
59. Matt Jones, RB, Redskins
60. Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles
61. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
62. Frank Gore, RB, Colts
63. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
64. Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
65. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
66. Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals–Age and health are the biggest concerns for Palmer, but all the weapons available to him could make him a quality pick this late in the draft.
73. Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars–Did you know Bortles ended last season as a top-5 fantasy quarterback? Well, if he could clean up his turnovers he could do it again. He has great talent and wide receiver and tight end.
74. Devante Parker, WR, Dolphins
75. DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins
76. Duke Johnson, RB, Browns
77. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions
78. Coby Fleener, TE, Saints
79. Arian Foster, RB, Dolphins
80. Eli Manning, QB, Giants
81. Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants
82. Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders
83. Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers
84. Marvin Jones, WR, Lions–Calvin Johnson isn’t suiting up for the Lions anymore and I don’t think Golden Tate will be able to fill that role alone. Jones played with A.J. Green last season but still managed to catch at least five passes in seven games.
85. Chris Ivory, RB, Jaguars
86. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
87. Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals
88. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
89. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars
90. Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns
91. Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
92. Josh Gordon, WR, Browns
93. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Steelers
94. Kevin White, WR, Bears
95. Julius Thomas, TE, Jaguars
96. Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles
97. Corey Coleman, WR, Browns
98. Willie Snead, WR, Saints
99. Charles Sims, RB, Buccaneers
100. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers–At 45 years old, Gates is still nearly a top-10 tight end. He had 630 yards and five touchdowns last season, despite missing five games overall. (Just kidding, he’s actually 36.)