By: Joe Griffitt
Week 2 proved to be a very strange and unforgiving week for most fantasy players. We saw injuries to Tony Romo, Drew Brees and a handful of other players. How this will affect us moving forward? Well let’s take a glance. The Dallas Cowboys will be without Romo and Dez Bryant, all reports show up to eight weeks for both players. This leaves them with backup quarterback Brandon Weeden, who will get the start Sunday versus the Atlanta Falcons. Weeden has experience both with the Cowboys and as a former starter for the Browns. He is a turnover machine, and in my opinion is not at all a viable fantasy option. The overall value for wideouts Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and tight end Jason Witten should all drop considerably. The Cowboys could stay afloat with Weeden, and you could potentially see a couple of contests where all the above put up decent numbers but on a week to week basis, I would steer clear. As far as the back field, throw a dart. Who knows which one of the three desperadoes will hang up a few points on Sunday’s. Joseph Randle hasn’t been terrible, but I think you can find better value elsewhere (Enter a Giovani Bernard or Devonte Freeman type). Darren McFadden has never been good, yet always finds himself on people’s roster.. Just Don’t. Lance Dunbar to me if the most interesting of the three, he has shown great pass catching ability and if Weeden has trouble connecting down the field, I think Dunbar could play an interesting role for this team. Nothing better than the three-yard dump off passes to get your confidence up right? Well, I can see Weeden completing a boat load of these and if they are to Dunbar he could quickly rack up points in a PPR format. Keep a watchful eye for that.
Drew Brees has been a huge disappointment to start out this year for the New Orleans Saints and came out of Week 2 with a bruised rotator cuff. Brees claimed today that he intends to suit up come Sunday, if not backup Luke McCown would get the nod. If Brees does play come Sunday we still need to take a clear look and see how to approach this lack luster Saints offense. The days of Jimmy Graham and Brees are gone, and so are the punishing numbers this offense is so used to hanging up. Number one receiver Brandin Cooks has been a ghost compared to the brilliance he flashed before injured last season. Cooks has 8 receptions for 111 yards and no touchdowns so far this season. While this still isn’t terrible this isn’t close to what his is capable of. The Saints lack exciting talent at the other wideout spots. Marques Colston who has always been spotty is getting past his prime. Brandon Coleman and Willie Snead have shown glimpses of promise, but are still far from being considered as fantasy threats. The Saints lack the pass catching ability at the tight end position with Ben Watson and Josh Hill. I really thought one of these guys (especially Hill) would pick up the void left in Drew’s arsenal after Graham departed for Seattle, but this doesn’t look like the case at all. The backfield will be dominated by a finally healthy Mark Ingram. When Ingram is right he can punish a defense, he is by far the most useful weapon on this team, he is a must start. When approaching this team both Cooks and Brees should remain solid options for the upcoming weeks with Ingram being your best bet.
The above are the two teams that you should particularly be leery of moving forward. Here are some other guys who you may consider putting in your lineup and come Monday morning, possibly regretting doing so.
Lamar Miller- RB Miami Dolphins This guy is the king of a 50-yard rushing game. So far this season Lamar has amassed 67-yards on 23 carries and zero touchdowns. He lacks the power on goal line stands, and is honestly a bigger threat as a pass catcher for this Dolphins offense. They lean heavy on the middle/deep ball threat with Ryan Tannehill and this leaves Miller out in the cold on any chance of becoming a more premier running back.
New England Patriot Backfield- Well, who will get the carries this week? Dion Lewis, LaGarrette Blount, Brandon Boldin? Or will they bring back Corey Dillon off the couch to take over the duties. This is one of the most frustrating facets of fantasy for the past couple seasons. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Remember last season when Jonas Gray had his “break-out” game for over 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns? Everyone was in a waiver wire war to pick this guy up, the next week he was gone as fast as he was there. Insert former Patriot, turned current Patriot LaGarrette Blount who was buried behind Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh. He “complained” his way back to New England and blew up at the end of the season, dominating the super bowl. Blount was coming off a suspension Week 2, and racked up two carries for four yards, while Dion Lewis saw the bulk of the action. Lewis has been impressive thus far, but that never seems to hold fast for the hooded genius Bill Belichick. If I had to guess Dion Lewis and Blount should split duties, with Lewis being a far better and more reliable pass catcher. Come Sunday, no telling who will be the guy, if you can be lucky enough to nail down the right one…congrats.
Sam Bradford- QB Philadelphia Eagles I could put down the whole Eagles offense, but that might be a little too harsh. Jordan Matthews has looked very good thus far, and rookie Nelson Agholor seems to be getting more polished as Bradford’s number two target. Chip Kelly’s high paced offense has been nothing short of painful. I mean did you watch the Eagles last game? Demarco Murray has 11, I repeat, 11 rushing yards this season. Bradford looked about as off kilter/out of sorts as you can look in an NFL game. I know the guy was going to come out rusty after being out all last season with another ACL surgery, but look out west at Carson Palmer who has somewhat been dealt the same hand. Week 1 can be forgiven but we continue to miss targets as bad as Bradford has been, you need to be scared of him. If he continues to be shaky, the Eagles will throw the ball enough for both Matthews and Agholor to maintain their respected values in all formats.
Mike Wallace/Charles Johnson- WR Minnesota Vikings I have just accepted that trusting a Vikings wide receiver is like trusting a cheating ex-girlfriend. It’s never a good idea to go back to that girl, just like it is a bad idea to play these two. In the first two contest they have combined for 138 yards receiving with no scores. Lets get one thing straight Adrian Peterson looks like the old AP, and that means one thing he is the guy to have in Minnesota. Second year Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a medium risk play in a deeper fantasy league, and will have some decently successful weeks upcoming. He just will not provide the volume of passing yards/pass attempts to warrant playing a Vikings wideout on a consistent basis. His last two starts he is averaging 192 yards per game, with one touchdown score and that came via his tight end Kyle Rudolph. And with the exception of Peterson is the only Viking that needs to be played. Rudolph is a big bodied guy and a very good mid range target for Bridgewater.
Ameer Abdullah/Joique Bell- RB Detroit Tigers Sigh. Abdullah came out blazing hot his first week rushing for 50 yards on seven carries and tallying his first career touchdown, then laid a goose egg his second week. Six carries for nine yards will not cut it at any level of the fantasy world. Joique Bell has 10 carries for 16 yards on the season. I hope nothing here gets you excited, I am not saying Abdullah will not bounce back this Sunday versus the Broncos, but I am not counting on anything eye-popping for either of these two with the upcoming schedule. After Denver they get to tangle with the Seahawks and the Cardinals. Both will catch passes out of the backfield, but I foresee the Lions getting behind teams early and having to play catch up. This means Matthew Stafford will be airing it out downfield, and he has ample targets in Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. If in desperation mode plug one of these two running backs in your lineup and pray for a miracle (or a touchdown).
Hopefully these clues can help iron out your upcoming weeks! My next article will include the good side of things, and clue you in on some guys that will be successful the whole season. Good Luck! Be sure to follow me on Twitter @joeg_12.
(Photo credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)