Workin’ the Wire for Week 2

12 Sep 2017 - 4:26pm | Roto Coach | Updated: 12 Sep 2017 - 4:30pm
Workin’ the Wire for Week 2

Week 1 is in the books, and the prevailing theme seems to be ugly backfield situations. Some quarterbacks surprised us to open the year, while some promising young wideouts joined the growing list of fantasy assets lost for the season. Let’s take a look at the names to know heading into waivers this week.

As always, this list is made up of players that are 30% owned or less in Yahoo leagues, and if you happen to be looking at a guy that falls in between, or can’t figure out why I left a player off the list, feel free to ping me on Twitter @rotocoach or through the site.

Quarterback

Alex Smith-QB-Kansas City: It took 12 NFL seasons and the threat of Pat Mahomes taking his job, but Alex Smith finally started going downfield. In all seriousness though, the veteran quarterback looked outstanding against the Patriots in the season opener. Kareem Hunt was far better than anyone could have imagined, his receiving ability and the added dimension it brings to this offense can’t go overlooked. The same can be said of Tyreek Hill’s development, as he’s quickly becoming more than just a speed guy. Perhaps the most impressive part of Smith’s nice Thursday night statline was that he did it without a big night from Travis Kelce, who New England did a solid job of defending. Smith isn’t going to suddenly morph into a fantasy starter this late in his career, but if he can build upon Thursday night he makes for a nice addition for bye weeks and injury depth.

Jacoby Brissett-QB-Indianapolis Colts: At this point the Colts are just trying to survive until they can get Andrew Luck back on the field. Despite seeing the field out of desperation at the beginning of his rookie season, the path to playing time in New England was never really there for Brissett. But by torching the Giants in the final week of the preseason, he at least caught the eye of the Indy brass, to the extent that they were willing to part with Phillip Dorsett just before final roster cuts. Brissett is still a work in progress, but the 23 year old is 6’4” 235lbs, and has a good arm and some serious wheels. Frankly, his fantasy upside is far more tied to his rushing ability at this point in his career. And after the trainwreck that was Scott Tolzien, it’s hard to imagine the Colts not giving Brissett a shot at the starting job this week. If named the starter, Brissett would get back to back home games. Facing off against an Arizona team that just got torched by Matthew Stafford and will be without the services of David Johnson, followed by the Cleveland Browns. Barring disaster (completely possible), he looks like the best option for Indy until we have some more clarity on Andrew Luck’s timeline.

Previously Mentioned

Sam Bradford-QB-Minnesota Vikings: While Monday night’s performance was impressive, we do need to temper our expectations a bit. The Saints secondary is going to be one of, if not the worst pass defenses in the league. But there’s definitely some room for optimism, as this offense is young and improving in nearly every facet.

Running Back

Kerwynn Williams-RB-Arizona Cardinals: Monday’s big news was the lengthy 2-3 month timetable provided for David Johnson after the wrist injury he suffered at Detroit on Sunday. That means Williams needs to be owned in all formats until we get a better sense of how this Arizona running back situation shakes out. Williams won the number two job coming out of camp after improving in pass protection and showing some ability as a rusher. Still, he’s somewhat undersized to be considered an every down back and has less than a hundred total carries carries after four seasons in the league. More than likely Arizona will take a committee approach, as they still have Andre Ellington on the roster and added pass-catching specialist D.J. Foster off New England’s practice squad on Monday. Williams is the one to own here at the moment, but it’s a situation to monitor.

Buck Allen-RB-Baltimore Ravens: Danny Woodhead goes back on the shelf with another hamstring injury, and it may be that the wheels are finally coming off the veteran running back. At any rate, his injury opened the door for Buck Allen to see 21 carries, but don’t read too much into the number, as gamescript had a lot to do with the heavy rushing load. Up 17-0 at the half, and with the Bengals unable to get anything going against Baltimore’s stifling defense, Terrance West and Allen combined for 40 carries. Still, the Ravens are down to essentially Allen and plodding starter, West and get to face the Cleveland Browns this week. If the defense can do its thing against rookie quarterback Deshone Kizer there should once again be plenty of carries to go around. Taking a longer term view, Allen is probably in line for about half of the running back snaps, as West is merely an unexciting early down option, while Allen has always excelled as a pass catcher. He’ll retain value for as long as he can hold off recently signed Jeremy Langford, who the Ravens should inevitably start kicking the tires on.  

Chris Carson-RB-Seattle Seahawks: A preseason performer, Carson is an “add and wait” player, as the Seattle running back situation is a hot mess right now. We should see Thomas Rawls return this week, which just adds more confusion to a backfield that already includes Carson, Eddie Lacy, and C.J. Prosise. Carson was the most impressive ball carrier in Week 1’s defeat at Green Bay, but it’s pretty clear that Prosise is going to be the passing downs and change of pace back so even if one of the remaining three takes control of the starting running back job, usage is going to top out at 60%-65% of the touches. Right now Carson looks like he could be that guy, but when healthy Rawls has been extremely good. The challenge is that more often than not he’s banged up. If Carson can be consistently productive with his touches the Seahawks aren’t going to hesitate to make him their starter.

Alvin Kamara-RB-New Orleans Saints: Kamara looked like the third man up for the Saints for most of the preseason, but he closed Week 1 as the leader in snaps among the running backs as the Saints fell at Minnesota. You’d love to think that this was all a matter of gamescript, with the Saints trailing by double digits for most of the night. But Kamara played early on and seemed like a much bigger part of the running game than many anticipated. Right now this is a jumbled mess, but of Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson and Kamara, the rookie is most likely to be floating around on the waiver wire. For a team that involves their backs in as many facets of the offense as New Orleans does, anyone seeing a big chunk of the snaps at the position needs to be rostered. Much like Carson’s, this is a bit of a wait and see scenario.

Previously Mentioned

Tarik Cohen-RB-Chicago Bears: You can see last week’s writeup here, and the injury to Kevin White only enhances his value. The closet is bare in Chicago when it comes to offensive weapons, and the kid is electric. They need to keep him on the field.

Wide Receivers

Kooper Cupp-WR-Los Angeles Rams: Yes, Cupp tore up a dreadful Colts defense on Sunday, but his 4-76-1 statline on six targets is impressive nonetheless. Despite the presence of Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins, Cupp’s heavy involvement in a game that the Rams dominated from the outset is a telling sign. Goff clearly feels comfortable with the rookie, and he certainly looks like a safe outlet for the young quarterback running out of the slot. All this said we need to remember this was against an Andrew Luck-less Colts team with a porous defense. Fortunately, a Redskins team that just got shredded by Carson Wentz comes to town, followed by a matchup with the 49ers. There’s some running room here for Cupp and these Rams.  

Allen Hurns-WR-Jacksonville Jaguars: Hurns is probably the best bet to assume the bulk of the Jacksonville targets with Allen Robinson lost for the season to a torn ACL. Still, this is now a run-first offense that is going to be far more content to give the ball back and let their talented defense go to work, than take shots down field with the same abandon that marked the first three years of the Blake Bortles era. With just a week in the books it’s unclear whether the Jags have improved drastically as a defense or if the Texans offense is just that bad (probably a little of both). Either way someone is going to have to catch passes from Bortles, at least the ones that are on target, and that someone is likely Hurns. He’s not the same threat that Robinson presents, but he should see enough volume to be fantasy relevant from here on out.

Kenny Golladay-WR-Detroit Lions: The preseason hype train was all over Golladay, who delivered two touchdowns and 69 yards on seven targets in Week 1. But let’s not anoint the rookie just yet. With the Lions struggling to run the ball (shocker), Stafford was slinging it all day. It’s hard to envision that Marvin Jones’ targets continue to be so limited, but Golladay’s size advantage in the red zone shouldn’t be overlooked. After all, one of the big questions surrounding Detroit coming into the season was who would take over the red zone role vacated by Anquan Boldin’s departure this offseason. It was only Week 1, but we may just have our answer. In other news that loud sighing sound you heard was the collective realization by fantasy owners that Eric Ebron is never going to be that guy.

Nelson Agholor-WR-Philadelphia Eagles: Splitting time between the slot and the outside, Agholor saw eight targets in Week 1, with the big 58-yard touchdown putting him on fantasy radars early in the afternoon. Ostensibly, this is the reason the Eagles dealt Jordan Matthews in the preseason, and it certainly looks like Agholor could wind up being a bigger piece of this offense than anyone predicted. Still, he’s going to have to leapfrog Torrey Smith in the pecking order at some point, and Alshon Jeffery isn’t going to see top tier cover corners like Josh Norman every week. Agholor is a decent addition if you’re thin at receiver already. But recognize he’s one of the dicier adds at receiver this early in the season.

Previously Mentioned

Kendall Wright-WR-Chicago Bears: The proverbial “last man standing” at this point, Wright didn’t see as many targets as we thought he would in Week 1, but he’s the best of the bad options with Kevin White now lost for the year.

Paul Richardson-WR-Seattle Seahawks: The Seattle offense looked atrocious to open the season, but Richardson played nearly every snap and tied Jimmy Graham for the team lead in targets with seven. As Tyler Lockett gets healthier this is a situation to monitor, but for the moment it appears as if the Seahawks are going to ride with Richardson as their WR2.

Tight End

Jared Cook-TE-Oakland Raiders: He always feels like a trap, but here we are again staring down an early season Jared Cook performance that makes us at least take notice. His 5 catches for 56 yards isn’t a lot, but plenty of tight ends we think more highly of fell flat in Week 1 so he’s at least worth considering. The Oakland red zone offense could prove particularly frustrating for fantasy owners, as the addition of Cook along with Marshawn Lynch is probably going to ultimately hurt both Cooper and Crabtree. But this is going to be a pick your poison situation for opposing defenses, as Derek Carr looks like he’s well on his way to becoming one of the better quarterbacks in the league.

Zach Miller-TE-Chicago Bears: There’s nothing sexy about adding Zach Miller to your fantasy roster, but someone has to catch passes in Chicago. This largely comes down to Miller being a capable veteran receiver on a team that is frequently going to find itself playing from behind. It’s not unlike the case for Kendall Wright, although somehow, despite Miller’s viability as a fantasy option, it’s actually less exciting.

Previously Mentioned

Charles Clay-TE-Buffalo Bills: As we suspected, Clay saw the most targets (9) among the Buffalo receivers, and managed to turn them into 4 catches for 53 yards and a score. He had a bad drop that led to a pick in the first half, but Taylor kept going back to him. Other than Clay and Shady, he only has rookie Zay Jones and recently acquired Jordan Matthews, who had barely practiced ahead of this week.

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