BY DUSTIN BREWER
An injury plagued Week 2 means a lot of fantasy managers are going to have to scramble to find replacements for some big names. We’re here to try and help make that pain just a little bit easier.
It feels like basically everyone got hurt last weekend. In total there were 9 players who went down with torn ACLs, even though somehow it seemed like way more as other players were forced out from their games with injuries like sprained ankles (Jimmy Garoppolo, Christian McCaffrey) and running into TV carts on Monday Night Football. It’s hard to look at everything from a fantasy lens as these are very serious injuries and nobody wants to see anyone go down with a season, no matter what team you cheer for.
So, this is in no way meant to make light of any injuries or anything like that, we just want to win some fantasy football games. In the meantime, we hope for speedy, full recoveries for all the players hurt.
– Joe Burrow – In a losing effort last Thursday, Burrow still flashed all the upside in the world as he tried to lead another 4th quarter comeback vs. the Browns. This week he’ll face an Eagles defense that isn’t quite as good on the pass rush as they don’t have Myles Garrett. Burrow also attempted 61 passes. In his second pro game. He may have lost a fumble but 61 attempts with 0 INT means the volume will almost definitely be there for him to score points.
– Mitch Trubisky – You wanna get risky? Let’s throw Mitch Trubisky into the lineup and see if this is the weekend that the carriage finally turns back into a pumpkin. The Falcons defense just let the Cowboys complete one of the most incredible comebacks we’ve ever seen and their defense has looked severely overmatched so far. If Trubisky can continue to extend plays with his feet and keep himself from making stupid decisions and costly turnovers, he has all the upside for a big game.
– Philip Rivers – This may already be a season where you just play whoever is playing the Jets and let it roll. This week it’s Phil Rivers and a Colts team that looked much, much better last week against the Vikings.
– Derek Carr – Carr and, by extension, the Raiders offense has looked a lot more explosive than you would’ve imagined before the season started. He’s been throwing more downfield while still avoiding turnovers with his usual smart decision making. This week though the Raiders will face a stiff Patriots defense that just got torched by Russell Wilson & the Seahawks. Off losses, the Patriots usually respond pretty strong and Carr will likely be forced to return to a more conservative offensive approach that focuses heavier on the run game.
– Drew Brees – In a sport filled with notable overreactions, through two weeks nothing has been talked about more than Drew Brees and the signs of decline in his arm strength and accuracy. That said, he has looked every bit his age and without Michael Thomas, the Saints offense didn’t quite have the same timing they’ve become known for. The Packers defense has been creating general chaos through their first two weeks, falling behind early but then stifling teams in the second half. This could likely mean another long, fantasy-disappointing day for the Saints’ QB.
– Kirk Cousins– If anyone is still starting Kirk, bench him and look elsewhere. Captain Kirk has struggled mightily through two weeks, the Vikings are 0-2, they’re not feeding Dalvin Cook like they should, the team is just in a general disarray and now go up against a Titans team known for stiff defense. Cousins should be banished to waiver wires unless the rash of injuries continue and he’s suddenly the only healthy starting QB as everyone else is replaced with their backups or 3rd string. Titans’ QB Ryan Tannehill, Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew, and others are much more trustworthy options that might still be available.
– James Robinson– Through two games he has dominated touches in the Jaguars backfield and goes up against a stout but tired Dolphins defense on a short week for their Thursday matchup. Robinson is an even better option in PPR leagues as he’s likely to continue to see his role in the passing game continue to expand.
– Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt – The Browns have hopefully finally realized that to succeed offensively, they need to establish their run game behind two legit #1 options in Chubb & Hunt. They both broke out for over 100yds a piece last week vs. the Bengals and will likely see similar attempts against a game but still young defense. Running head first into Chase Young doesn’t sound like a great time but if the Browns stay committed to running, they’re both talented enough to find success.
– Josh Kelley – As he continues to get more touches, Kelley has made the most of his opportunities and this week will take on a Panthers team that is just straight up not having a good time. With Justin Herbert under center, the Chargers offensive was more explosive which will almost certainly open running lanes for Austin Ekeler & Kelley alike.
– Malcolm Brown – Brown is expected to play despite breaking his finger last week, but will face a stiff Bills defense that is likely going to be trying everything they can to make the Rams a one-dimensional team. There’s a chance this is a defensive battle and yards will be hard to come by. Consider Brown a touchdown dependent risk if you throw him in your lineup.
– David Johnson – The Steelers have the best defense in the league and their front is terrifying. DJ might be a fair PPR option as Deshaun Watson will have to check it down endlessly but yards/TDs are going to be hard to come by.
– Frank Gore – Frank Gore Positive: Le’Veon Bell will miss 2 more weeks at least with a hamstring injury. Frank Gore Negative: He follows up a hard matchup vs. the 49ers with another stout defense in the Colts.
– Tyler Boyd – AJ Green may be the number one WR on the depth chart, but in the fans’ hearts it’s probably Boyd. The Eagles’ secondary can be stingy and might be able to pressure Joe Burrow given his porous offensive line but with Bengals TE CJ Uzomah out for the year, there’s going to be even more targets to go around.
– Keenan Allen – If you have Keenan you’re probably always starting him anyways but with Herbert under center against the Panthers, his upside is so much better. He’s a very good option for DFS lineups as well this weekend.
– DK Metcalf – I would’ve been hesitant last week but then he absolutely abused Stephon Gilmore and has developed such chemistry with Russell Wilson that he’s absolutely a must-start almost every week.
– Emmanuel Sanders – It was not a good start for the No Michael Thomas Saints as Emmanuel Sanders disappointed his team and fantasy managers alike with drops and miscommunications. This week he’ll go against a tough Packers defense that is going to make it tough for Brees to stay on time yet again.
– Tyreke Hill/Hollywood Brown – This is tough because they’re both just so fast that they’re basically a mismatch against anyone. But with the Chiefs & Ravens facing each other on Monday Night Football, it’s going to be risky as both defenses will likely be built around making sure they can’t take the top off and go for a big gain.
– Drew Sample – TE is a terribly thin position and it got worse as George Kittle went down with injury. Bengals’ TE CJ Uzomah enjoyed a breakout game vs. the Browns until he was lost for the year as well. His backup, Drew Sample, will likely see a similar high volume of targets to try and boasts some upside in such a pass-first offense.
– Dalton Schultz – He caught a tudder last week during Dallas’ furious comeback against the Falcons and will likely continue to have a role in the offense despite their vast options.
– Jordan Reed – It’s probably just me but I’ll never trust Jordan Reed in a lineup ever again. Even on the 49ers.
– Zach Ertz – It’s still never a good look when your top TE is publicly questioning if the team wants to keep him during contract negotiations leading up to this weekend.
– Chargers – The Panthers have been terrible and they had Christian McCaffrey, now they don’t have CMC and they’re likely going to be just as bad if not worse, opening up plenty of options for Joey Bosa and the Chargers defense, fresh off a surprisingly strong showing vs. the Chiefs.
– Packers – The Saints are such an explosive offense but the Packers have just been crushing teams in the second half with their adjustments. Brees is probably going to struggle again and this team is more than capable of generating turnovers.
Buccaneers – Going up against a depleted Broncos team, if the Bucs can’t take advantage and force turnovers vs. a Jeff Driskel-led offense, then they’re in more trouble than we thought.
– Ravens & Chiefs – Two strong defenses that then have to play each other. Patrick Mahomes & Lamar Jackson are just about the last two QBs you want to start a defense against. There’s definitely better streaming options to be had.
– Cowboys – Before their massive comeback, they did allow like 39 points to the Falcons offense and will now go up against a flaming hot Russell Wilson who will carve them up while DK Metcalf crushes all of their puny bodies.
Week 3 is going to be wild as we try to see who will step up after all of the injuries from Week 2. Good luck out there, if you have a sleeper, drop ’em in the comments or let us know on Twitter.