Workin’ the Wire for Week 2

11 Sep 2018 - 1:19pm | Roto Coach | Updated: 11 Sep 2018 - 5:14pm | Likes: 17 Like 
Workin’ the Wire for Week 2

Quarterbacks

Case Keenum-Denver Broncos: Keenum piled up 329 passing yards and three scores in Week 1 against a hapless Seahawks defense that is just a shell of the old “Legion of Boom.” But Keenum also threw three picks in this one and almost cost Denver the ballgame. Unlike in Minnesota last season, where the Vikings coaching staff largely asked him to manage ball games, it looks like the Broncos are going to turn him loose. Despite having success with the ground game Keenum attempted 39 passes in Week 1, a number he topped just twice all of last season. It’s pretty clear that the Broncos have no intention of wasting what, if any, remains of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders’ years as productive wide receivers so expect the Broncos to let Keenum be more of a gunslinger this season, as he is after all a former Houston Cougar quarterback. In good matchups, like the game against the Raiders porous secondary this week, he’s a sound streaming option.

Mitchell Trubisky-Chicago Bears: Trubisky is a buy and hold option, as he looked better in the Sunday night loss at Green Bay than he did at any point in his rookie season. Still, it remains to be seen if this offense is going to be productive enough overall to support a weekly fantasy starter at the quarterback position. Matt Nagy is a huge upgrade over John Fox in that department, but this is still a work in progress. Lauded as a breakout candidate for much of the summer, Trubisky showed flashes against the Packers, and more importantly for fantasy purposes, it’s clear that Nagy and company are going to utilize his rushing ability more. His 7 carries for 32 yards were both career highs. We should learn a lot from this week’s matchup against Arizona, who looks like they could be one of the worst teams in football after getting dismantled by a pretty unimpressive Redskins offense.

Running Backs

Austin Ekeler-Los Angeles Chargers: For those who paid attention to the Chargers last season, Ekeler’s performance on Sunday wasn’t all that surprising. Last year he was utilized by Los Angeles in the passing game, spelling workhorse Melvin Gordon and offering a change of pace option. The issue with Ekeler is that his big weeks are hard to predict. Game flow certainly was a big factor in his Week 1 statline, as Kansas City jumped all over this team early and the Chargers were playing from behind all afternoon. Still, if the lack of defense from the Chargers in Week 1 is any indication, this is certainly a scenario we could see play out more than a few times this season. And with a matchup against Buffalo on the horizon in Week 2, his role as both a complementary back and as Gordon’s backup could see him post another fantasy worthy line this week.

T.J. Yeldon-Jacksonville Jaguars: With the injury to Leonard Fournette’s hamstring costing him the entire second half of Week 1’s game at New York, Yeldon filled in well enough, posting 51 yards on 14 carries on the ground and adding 3 catches for 18 yards and a touchdown through the air. He’s the direct handcuff to Fournette and should earn as much work as he can handle if Fournette does miss extended time. That said, temper your expectations with Yeldon, as the former second round pick is almost the opposite of what you’d expect from a 6’1” 225 pound back in that he tends to wear down before the defense does. In other words, he’s the anti-Fournette. While he’s an excellent receiver out of the backfield, he’s struggled to stay productive with a heavy workload between the tackles since coming into the league so his PPR value is probably slightly higher. Yeldon needs to be added in all formats for now.

Frank Gore-Miami Dolphins: Kenyan Drake is the lead back in Miami, but it’s difficult to overlook how much more productive Frank Gore was in Week 1, rumbling to 61 rushing yards on 9 carries while Drake logged 48 rushing yards on 14 totes. Drake was also targeted four times in the passing game and that sort of two-thirds to one third split in the running back touches seems about right for now. The issue of concern for Drake owners though is what happens if Gore continues to look like the better runner, which on top of concerns about Drake durability as a primary back, make Gore a logical pick-up in most leagues.

Phillip Lindsay-Denver Broncos: A standout performer from day one of Broncos training camp, Lindsay’s big Week 1 isn’t a total surprise. With fellow rookie Royce Freeman locked into the starters role, the more diminutive Lindsay provides a nice change of pace, but likely garnered some extra touches due to his early productivity. While it’s unlikely the Broncos are going to give him 15 carries every week, his ability to churn out 71 yards on the ground and add a couple catches for 31 yards and a score through the air, is a tribute to his versatility. And for those in leagues that award special teams points, he’s likely to return plenty of kicks this season as well. The biggest takeaway here is that Lindsay needs to be owned in deeper leagues, as he already looks to have moved ahead of Devontae Booker on the depth chart. Denver seems to be a true committee backfield, with head coach Vance Joseph admitting post-game that he was riding the hot hand here with Lindsay. Still, he seems to offer far more in the way of explosiveness than we’ve ever seen from Booker so here’s to hoping.  

Wide Receivers

Chris Godwin-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: While DeSean Jackson went off against the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday for 146 yards and a couple of scores, he did leave the game with just 7:22 to go in the fourth quarter with a concussion so we’ll need to wait until Wednesday for a status update. With that in mind, Godwin makes the far safer addition from the wire this week, as he saw 4 targets of his own on Sunday, turning them into 3 catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. Locked in a battle throughout camp for the WR2 role behind Mike Evans, Jackson and Godwin opened the season in a timeshare. On Sunday the veteran did what he’s done since coming into the league-make splash plays, but his performance was just the second time he’s topped 100 yards receiving since signing with Tampa Bay ahead of the 2017 season. While Sunday’s explosion drew the headlines, Jackson is in his age 32 season with his best years behind him and Godwin is a 22-year old in his second season, and arguably the more versatile of the two, as he can win at every level. Odds are Jackson doesn’t get cleared in time for this week since the concussion is his third since coming into the league. If that’s the case, it’s just another opportunity for Godwin to show what he can do. He’ll face an Eagles defense that had trouble slowing down Atlanta on opening night, but looked better than they were as the Falcons shot themselves in the foot repeatedly throughout the game.

Brandon Marshall-Seattle Seahawks: With Doug Baldwin suffering a knee injury early on in Week 1, Marshall led the Seahawks with 6 targets on Sunday. His final stat line of 3-46-1 doesn’t jump off the page, but he could very well be Seattle’s number one wideout for this week’s tilt at Chicago on Monday night. While now past his prime, Marshall will take on a Bears team with whom he had some of his best years in the NFL, posting fifteen 100+ yard receiving games and 31 touchdown receptions in 45 contests between 2012-2014. He’s not the same player anymore, but the wide receiver cupboard is pretty bare in Seattle and Russell Wilson can’t throw to himself. Tyler Lockett will figure into the mix as well, but he’s not as polished or physical as Marshall and could struggle against the Bears underrated secondary. For now, expect Wilson to lean on Marshall in the passing game for as long as long as Baldwin’s injury keeps him out.   

Quincy Enunwa-New York Jets: After a very promising 2016 season (58-857-4), Enunwa was slated to be the Jets number one receiver last season. But lost early on in the 2017 preseason to a back injury, he missed the entire year and saw guys like Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson pass him on the depth chart. That might actually work to Enunwa’s advantage, as the Jets ran him mostly out a slot on Monday night, an area of the field where he excelled when healthy in 2015 and 2016. And he looked just like the pre-injury version of himself, punishing would-be tacklers and dragging defenders into the end zone on his touchdown reception. But the real story here are the targets (10), as Enunwa saw almost half of rookie Sam Darnold’s 21 pass attempts. With the Jets absent a real tight end threat, Enunwa could see a massive target share this season as Darnold’s safety blanket in the middle of the field.  

Phillip Dorsett-New England Patriots: Dorsett is a merely a short-term option until we see Julian Edelman return from his suspension, but his career best game in Week 1 (7-66-1) came while seeing the field on 76% of the Patriots offensive snaps. Next up is a tough Jags defense on the road so temper your expectations. Still, we have to assume Jacksonville sells out to stop Gronk, and Chris Hogan probably sees the bulk of the Patrick Ramsey treatment so Dorsett might once again eak out some fantasy value as the path of least resistance.

Tight End

Jonnu Smith-Tennessee Titans: With Delanie Walker lost for the season, the Titans will turn to second year pro Jonnu Smith at the tight end position. As a rookie last year Smith totaled 18 catches for 157 yards and two scores, displaying the type of unique athleticism that puts him on the fantasy radar immediately. As the most talented receiving tight end on the roster, Smith should immediately slide into the role occupied by Walker, who has been an absolute target monster with Marcus Mariota under center. Walker has perennially been a top five fantasy tight end in recent seasons, and while that type of production is a little unrealistic for Smith, he could certainly threaten the back end of the top ten with the lack of established receiving options in Tennessee.

While Smith is a solid add, plenty of tight ends are floating around out there, as Ben Watson is available in more than 60% of leagues, and Jared Cook can still be found in nearly half. Speaking of which, Cook faces the Broncos this week and I’ll urge you not to chase Will Dissly’s Week 1 performance, as it’s far more a function of Denver’s struggles versus the tight end than Dissly himself.   

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 above that threshold or can’t figure out why I left a player off the list, feel free to ping me on Twitter @rotocoach with any questions.

 
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