So, Week 3 is upon us and if you read my post last week, then surely you won your league already, right? That’s how it works but maybe you need another healthy dose of fantasy football information and that’s what this will provide you. Currently, the NFL is going through an injury epidemic right now with Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson, Tony Romo, Andre Ellington, Tevin Coleman, Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Lacy, DeAndre Hopkins, Dwayne Allen, Lamar Miller, Drew Brees, Brandin Cooks, Eric Decker, Chris Ivory, DeMarco Murray, Ladarius Green, and Delanie Walker all dealing with injuries right now that either have them missing games or potentially missing games/limiting them. And we just started Week 3… This is where having the right handcuffs is most important and who to have on your bench could be the difference between a win and a loss on any given week.
We will delve into those situations with injuries and start from there. Andre Ellington is not expected to play this weekend and is questionable at best for week 4. Currently, Chris Johnson and David Johnson have handled the ball-carrying/pass-catching duties in Ellington’s absence. David Johnson (you know, the younger, more talented, and bullet-hole less Johnson) is someone that, regardless of when Ellington comes back, that needs to be on a bench in every league. He has a ton of upside in not only the run game as a big bodied running back better suited for running in between the tackles than Ellington, but also as a fluid route runner in the pass game with good hands. He has weekly RB3/FLEX appeal and should only grow from there in terms of his role & touches for Arizona. Chris Johnson isn’t a bad running back to have on your bench while Ellington is out but has a low ceiling and will become worthless after Ellington returns, so be sure to drop CJ0K when Ellington returns.
Tevin Coleman broke a rib last weekend just as he started to get featured in the Falcons’ offense and will miss most likely 1-2 weeks but also be somewhat limited as he recovers. A lot of people dropped Devonta Freeman when Coleman started to be featured so if Freeman is available in any leagues, he should be on your bench as a FLEX option due to his receiving ability as well, despite less upside than Coleman.
Moving onto another running back who was off to a hot start before injuries derailing him is Chris Ivory. Ivory may not play this weekend due to a combination of his groin & quad injuries. If that is the case, Bilal Powell is an interesting play this week who has gotten some snaps in this season as a passing down back and has a decent amount of upside to him with his receiving ability. Ivory will be limited if he does play, but Powell may be a guy to snag especially for Ivory owners as he is dealing with multiple injuries and just suffered this quad injury this week.
DeAndre Hopkins suffered a concussion at some point this week, and as of this writing, has not been cleared yet and does not look likely to play this weekend. That is a huge blow to an offense with no other exceptional pass catchers and a non-existent run game as well. Nate Washington although, has 19 targets through two games and could be in line as the number one wide receiver this weekend if Hopkins can’t play. He would be someone worthy of FLEX consideration in deep PPR leagues. Not to say he will come in and replace Hopkins, but he could have a decent game by default considering the other options in Cecil Shorts III (who does have 20 targets but only 10 receptions so far, not worthy of consideration) & an underachieving Jaelen Strong. But when Hopkins does come back and Arian Foster does make his return, Washington won’t be worthy of a roster spot in most leagues.
Speaking of Arian Foster, the Texans’ running back situation is a mess without Foster back there. Alfred Blue has fallen on his face so far as the de facto starting running back and can be dropped from most leagues at this point considering both Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk are playing better than him. In fact, all three of these running backs can be dropped for the most part as Arian Foster is projected to be back next week in near full strength. Jonathan Grimes may be an interesting option in deep PPR leagues as he had six receptions last week for 40 yards. Chris Polk also received 14 carries last week and is facing a weak Buccaneers’ defense, so he could be a decent FLEX option this week in leagues for those who are suffering. But again, all three of these running backs can be dropped most likely after this weekend when Foster comes back.
Someone to grab while you still can is Chargers’ tight end Antonio Gates. He is only owned in 45% of Yahoo! leagues right now and will be ready to go once he comes off suspension in week five. Ladarius Green suffered his second concussion in a matter of two weeks and may not play this weekend or even next weekend given the severity of the situation. But in two games, Green has seen 12 targets for 10 receptions, 121 yards receiving, and a receiving touchdown. While it is a small sample size, that is on average six targets, five receptions, 60.5 receiving yards and 0.5 touchdowns. That is just a tad under 14 points per game in PPR leagues and 9 points in standard leagues. Green is the TE9 in PPR right now and Gates could easily replicate these numbers if not improve on them. The Chargers offense seems to be firing on all cylinders and having Gates back will only help improve the offense. Gates needs to be stashed right away for when he becomes eligible to play as he could easily have top-eight tight end numbers for the rest of the season and be a solid tight end in fantasy football for those who missed on an elite option.
A bit of surprise is formulating in Oakland as there is actually a wide receiver that has seen more targets so far this season than Amari Cooper. In fact, this wide receiver is in the top-five in the NFL in targets. His name is Michael Crabtree, and yes, the same Michael Crabtree who flamed out after one good season in San Francisco. And to add more on top of this, Crabtree is currently WR16 in PPR leagues so far and that is good enough for high-end WR3/FLEX numbers. Crabtree has seen 42.8% of the market share of targets for Oakland wide receivers (56 targets to wide receivers so far, so 24/56 = 42.8%) and should continue to dominate targets with Amari Cooper (20 targets, closest wide receiver after Cooper is Seth Roberts with seven targets) and operate as their #2 wide receiver. He should be owned in every league going forward and deserves weekly FLEX consideration.
Because I’m contractually obligated to bring up at least one quarterback per article (not really), it’s time to bring attention to a favorite of one of my colleagues, Tyrod Taylor (you’re welcome Tehol). Taylor so far through two weeks has thrown four touchdowns and rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown. He is currently the QB5 right now and still somehow only owned in 1/3 of Yahoo! leagues. Yes, he has faced two rather soft secondaries so far in the Colts and Patriots, but he clearly has a strange-hold on the starting job and because of his rushing ability, and warrants to be owned in most if not all leagues. Not saying he is worth starting every week, but there are much worse options for a backup quarterback in fantasy football. He will be a threat with his legs and give you a chance with his arm considering who he is throwing to (Watkins, McCoy, Clay). Grab him as your QB2 before someone else does.
Here are some quick notes on a few players who have made some noise in Fantasy Football but their situations have changed. Austin Seferian-Jenkins suffered a shoulder injury this week and has been projected to be out for four-to-six weeks. He is someone who can be dropped in 12-team leagues, as there are other tight end options that make holding onto ASJ not worth it. Also, while he has been one of the best running backs in fantasy football so far, DeAngelo Williams is not worth owning in most leagues going forward with the return of LeVeon Bell from suspension. The best advice and course of action before dropping him is trying to sell high to someone in your league who may not realize the situation and try and cash in on Williams while he still has some value to those who do not pay much attention to football.
That’ll do it for this week. So go say your prayers, eat your vitamins, and give thanks to Doug for his stellar Fantasy Football knowledge. Or just eat your vitamins.
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