BY MITCHELL WESTALL
What we learned:
- Le’veon Bell is very valuable. Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers running back hasn’t played a single down, his stock has improved since the preseason for two reasons. First, he only has to serve one more game on his suspension so his owners only have to suffer a little while longer. Second, DeAngelo Williams, another Pittsburgh running back, is wreaking havoc on opposing defenses and his skill set is nothing compared to what Bell has to offer. This scenario is similar to what played out last year, and history will tell us that Williams won’t be taking very many touches away from Bell, regardless of his performance in the first few games.
- Solid running backs are once again a commodity. Through two games, there are only eight running backs averaging more than 15 points per game. Coming into this season, it was thought there was solid depth at running back throughout the league, but that has not been the case. Furthermore, several of the top running backs drafted are leaving fantasy owners a bit worried about their production. Don’t you miss the days of being able to draft a LaDanian Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson and knowing you were going to get consistent production?
- Seattle misses their Skittles. Through the first two games, players in the Seattle Seahawks offense have been a disappointment. Russell Wilson was the third ranked quarterback coming into this season, but he is yet to score more than 12 points in a single game. Running back Thomas Rawls, the guy who many thought would fit in easily, has not impressed so far, with 6.6 points that are hardly serviceable for a starting running back. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin had a promising week 1 in which he scored 15.2 points, but in week 2, he scored all of two points. Seattle has never been a team riddled with immense fantasy talent beyond Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch, but this coming into this season there was a lot of hope for this bunch that, so far, has been dashed.
- Antonio Brown (wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers): after opening the season with a bang in Washington, Brown managed only 39 yards on four catches. He saw eleven targets come his way so this outing is simply an outlier for the best wide receiver in football. Look for him to bounce back in a big way next week when Pittsburgh travels to Philadelphia.
- AJ Green (wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals): at the opposite end of the duality of top receivers, Green also regressed from a huge week one with a modest 38 yards. Green owners should also keep an eye on his status for this week as he is prepared to miss a game to be with his wife for the birth of his child. If he does play, it won’t be easy for him against Denver, but Green is a must start from week to week, no matter the
- Mark Ingram (running back, New Orleans Saints): through two games, Ingram has put up modest numbers. After not finding the end zone at all so far, Ingram has scored 13.4 points which is not satisfactory for a high RB2, low RB1. This week, he has a favorable matchup against Atlanta who gives up the fourth most points to opposing running backs.
- Isaiah Crowell (running back, Cleveland Browns): after losing Robert Griffin III, a lot of people believed the Browns would actually be better off. They weren’t wrong. Unfortunately, Josh McCown is now injured and will be out for a while with a shoulder injury that the team believes to be serious. Through all that, Crowell has had one of the best starts to the season of any player in fantasy land. Last week he exploded for 20.8 points. But the future seems cloudy for Crowell because teams are likely going to stack the box against a rookie quarterback in Cody Kessler. His matchup against Miami is favorable, and he is worth a start as an RB2 or flex option, especially if you’re thin at the position.
- Melvin Gordon (running back, San Diego Chargers): his rookie season was less than stellar, but so far his sophomore campaign has been impressive. In week 1, he scored 17.7 points, but that was fueled by two touchdowns. This week, he proved that he may not be completely touchdown-dependent by gaining 120 total yards and adding a touchdown on top of it. Gordon has been a pleasant surprise so far this season to some, and if you took a flyer on him late, you’re probably thrilled.
- Travis Benjamin (wide receiver, San Diego Chargers): After showing signs of brilliance last season in Cleveland, San Diego signed Benjamin this offseason to shore up a shallow receiving core behind Keenan Allen. But after Allen’s season ended with a torn ACL, Benjamin has stepped into the role of WR1. He finally has an elite-level quarterback throwing him the ball, and in his first week as the main target, he delivered. Benjamin caught all six of his targets for 115 yards and two touchdowns, good enough for 23.4 points. San Diego lost another top receiver this week to a season-ending knee injury in Danny Woodhead. This will force Phillip Rivers to get the ball downfield, resulting in more targets for Benjamin. He’s worth a start in your lineup, and if you need help at receiver, he’s worth a look as a viable trade option.
Picks to Click:
This is a new section of players at each position (excluding defense/special teams and kickers) who may have solid games next week. This section is meant to be a quick glance with no analysis or any of that.
- Quarterback: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
- Running back: Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts
- Wide receiver: Sterling Sheppard, New York Giants
- Tight end: Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins
Picks to Sit:
The opposite of Picks to Click.
- Quarterback: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
- Running back: LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
- Wide receiver: Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
- Tight end: Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars