Week 2 is almost in the books with only a Monday Night Football tilt between the Browns and Jets remaining. A couple of star running backs had scares over the weekend, and few week 1 handcuffs produced. Don’t get caught with your pants down and avoid the risk of a league-mate snagging up a starting backup. Let’s jump right in to this week’s handcuff report.
Snap counts, target share, player news, and other data sourced from www.fantasydata.com
Week 2 Offenders
Darwin Thompson / Darrel Williams
Kansas City Chiefs
Damien Williams left Sundays tilt against Oakland with an apparent right knee injury. Unfortunately, neither LeSean McCoy nor Damien Williams were able to get anything going on the ground against a run defense that might deserve more respect after limiting Denver in week 1 and the Chiefs on Sunday. But the Chiefs didn’t need to rely on the ground game with Patty Mahomes picking up where he left off from is 2018 MVP campaign. If Damien’s injury knocks him out for at least a game, McCoy will assume lead duties after leading this backfield with 45% snap share in week 2. Keep an eye out for the injury/practice report in KC this week, because McCoy suffered a minor ankle injury towards the end of the game. McCoys injury is not considered serious, but pre-season hype guy Darwin Thompson will be a hot add on Waiver Wednesday. Before McCoy was acquired in KC, Darwin Thompson had jumped Carlos Hyde on the depth chart during the preseason and was receiving reps with the ‘ones’. Darrel Williams is a name to add to your watch list if Williams injury is longer than a couple of games and McCoy’s ankle injury is more serious than reported. Kansas City’s next two games are against tough run defenses, vs BAL – @DET. Fade KC’s backfield during this stretch. Meaning if Damien and McCoy injuries are less than 2 weeks then don’t waste a waiver claim if you don’t own either back. Damien and McCoy owners, snag your handcuff now.
Jaylen Samuels / Benny Snell Jr.
James Conner exited Sundays contest against the Seahawks, and is undergoing further evaluation on his knee. Luckily for fantasy owners he was able to score a ‘tuddy’ before leaving. If Conner’s knee knocks him out a couple of weeks, Jaylen Samuels will be the preferred add in PPR leagues. Last season when Jaylen was called upon, with Conner sidelined (3 games), he posted a healthy 223 yards, 5.3 yards per carry, and averaged 4 receptions per game. Jaylen is fully capable of running behind this offensive line. Benny Snell Jr. would be a speculative add if Conners injury is long term. He took 1 carry on Sunday for 23 yards. Ben Roethlisberger elbow is a serious concern, but Mason Rudolph actually finished the game with a better QBR and passer rating than Big Ben. PIT scored more points in the 2nd half of the game with Rudolph in, than they did with Ben under center. If Rudolph regresses in week 2 and Ben’s injury is long term this whole offense gets a negative bump for fantasy value.
Frank Gore / TJ Yeldon
Age-less wonder, Frank Gore, is the lead back in Buffalo after owning 59.2% of the snaps, to Singletary’s 32.9%. Granted, Singletary is the more dynamic/explosive back, and should be owned as long term end-of-season asset as Buffalo’s rushing schedule lightens and 36-year old Gore wears down. Singletary left Sundays game against the Giants with a hamstring scare. Regardless of Singletary’s availability, Gore should be rostered in 12-team and larger leagues, he tied for 6th most redzone touches in week 2 and found pay-dirt. Head Coach, Sean McDermott, stated in a presser last week that Frank Gore is the starting back. If Singletary’s injury is long term, then T.J. Yeldon is a name to consider in deeper formats and PPR leagues.
Gus Edwards / Justice Hill
Mark Ingram remains the starting back in Baltimore after receiving 58% of the RB snaps in week 2. Justice Hill and Gus Edwards both received a 20% snap share, with Hill receiving the largest target share (12.5%). Right now is the window for Ingram owners to secure their insurance policy. Mark Ingram did leave the game, collapsed on the sidelined, and was surrounded by doctors but was able to return to the game. He also popped up on the injury report with a should injury and was limited in practice last week. It is unclear if Sundays exit was just from a hard tackle and lost his wind, but Ingram will turn 30 this season and has a history of missing a couple of games dating back to his time in New Orleans. Playing a full season in 4 out of his 8 years in the Big Easy. Gus Edwards is the handcuff for early down/goal line work, and Justice Hill could turn into a premium handcuff as the season progresses and his passing usage increases. Grab your insurance now before it’s too late.
New York Jets
Le’Veon Bell dominated snaps in week 1 (100%), but had to receive a MRI on his shoulder last week. Avoiding any serious injury, it’s not a surprise to see Bell banged/bruised up after taking off a whole NFL season in 2018. The MRI news caused a scare across the twitter fantasy world, bringing attention to backup RB TY Montgomery. Yes, if Bell misses time, Ty is the undisputed RB1 in this backfield. BUT with Sam Darnold out at least 3-7 weeks, I’m not interested in owning any piece of this offense until we can see Trevor Siemian prove that he can move the chains. The Jets have a brutal upcoming schedule against tough run defenses, their next 6 opponents: NE, PHI, DAL, NE, JAX. With Bells injury not a concern, don’t waste a waiver claim on a backup RB on a team being led by a backup QB with a horrible schedule. If you’re a Bell owner, you might want to grab Ty for any end of season scares. Darnold is expected to return and the Jets schedule softens up down the back half of the season.
Raheem Mostert is a must add in all leagues, for as long as Tevin Coleman is sidelined. Mostert led this backfield in snaps share (47.2%), target share (11.8%), and touches (16). He took a screen pass from Jimmy G for a 39-yard touchdown, and rushed for 83 yards. Both Matt Brieda and Mostert hold RB 2/3 value with RB1 upside in Shanahan’s offense. Both backs finished in the top 10 of RB scoring in week2 (pending MNF). Jeff Wilson Jr. is a deeper league add, he fell in the end zone with 2 touchdowns but was only on the field for only 20% of the offensive snaps.
Malcolm Brown should continue to be rostered as a premium handcuff in most formats. Gurley owners, check your leagues transaction report on Wednesday to see if Brown gets dropped after his disappointing week 2 fantasy output. Brown still received 36% of the snaps, looked impressive on a couple of runs and will continue to be utilized in this backfield. Should Gurley miss anytime, Brown will immediately jump to RB2 value.
Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones remained at an almost 40-60% split again in week 2, and Williams was able to find the end zone on a receiving play. Jones is the clear #1, but Williams usage in this offense warrants roster consideration in PPR formats. Williams remains a low end flex play on a week-to-week basis for as long as Jones is healthy. Williams is a premium handcuff for Jones owners.
If Washington continues to play “catch up,” Chris Thompson is a must own in PPR leagues. Thompson owned Washingtons RB snap share against DAL, with 45.2% to Petersons 29%. Adrian Peterson did find the end zone and should be considered a low end RB2/3 until Guice returns. Peterson is primed for a juicy matchup in week 6 against the tanking Miami Dolphins.
With Austin Ekeler dominating snaps and touches in week 2 (73%), Justin Jackson (27%) remains a traditional handcuff and his value is dependent on Ekeler’s weekly availability. Jackson is efficient with his touches, averaging 8.9 yards per carry, but does not touch the ball enough to warrant a spot in a starting fantasy lineup. Keep Jackson on your bench, but once Gordon returns he can be released to waivers.
Giovani Bernard is a low-end handcuff and can be delegated to waivers until we see his usage increase. After being promised a more involved role in this offense, by the coaching staff over the preseason, Bernard is averaging an un-inspiring 8 touches a game. 6.5 carries per game and 1.5 catches per game. Unless you own Joe Mixon, I rather spend my waiver priority and bench capital elsewhere. The CIN running game is atrocious with poor offensive line play, and the new coaching regime passing the ball more than 40 times in each game.
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