Welcome to Week 3, folks. Things are starting to take shape and all of our teams fit into three scenarios. You have the undefeated teams, the winless and the 1-1 crew. In today’s column, my primary concern is for the winless. The reasons for this are many, but mostly I want to make sure that we don’t make any decisions while we’re on tilt. Tilting is a real thing. Oftentimes, when our teams go south, our decision-making ability goes south with them. Just ask a poker player who’s been getting cold cards. It’s tough to hold on to one’s confidence in lean times. Being aware of this is step one in avoiding some major blunders.
So please consider this to be not so much a pep talk, but a reality check. maybe David Johnson is ruining your good time. Maybe Leonard Fournette is the source of your angst or perhaps it’s Le’Veon Bell. No matter the cause, we need to keep our heads clean and make good well-reasoned decisions. Rather than helping others by “shaking up” your team, it’s probably best to just keep grinding. Listen to trade offers, sure, but resist the urge to take wild swings out of desperation. More often, patience in combination with some grit and determination is the better course.
If you are a David Johnson owner, find some solace in what the head coach said yesterday. Johnson is supposedly getting more involved in the passing game going forward and will also be used in the slot at times, which is very good news, assuming it holds true. In Fournette’s case, the hamstring should be healed soon enough. In the meantime, go get Corey Grant or T.J. Yeldon and hope for the best. Fournette is a talented bruiser of a back and we all saw how good his team is on Sunday. So, the same guy who put you in this hole can get you out. For the Bell teams, just pray that Le’Veon wakes up and realizes that he’s leaving way too much money on the table, and reports. Don’t go selling him for fifty cents on the dollar when your team is built around him. Finally, if you are going to move a guy like Bell, you market him to every team in your league and get some bidding going. Make sure you make the market work for you. Leave a message board post so every team knows he’s on the block. And, if you are not being offered a true impact player in return, then sit tight.
I want to address Josh Gordon here at the top. In most leagues, he’s already rostered. But just in case, you’ll want to check your wire, because some people cut him on Saturday when the news broke that he was being released.
If you are in one of these leagues, I’d sell out and empty the bank for Gordon—especially if you are one of the 0-2 teams we’ve talked about. This would be a chance for a free shot in the arm, so go for it.
If you have specific questions about your moves this week, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @Rotobahn. I’ll be online tonight and will do my best to get to as many of your questions as I can.
Important Week 3 Injury situations:
- Joe Mixon (knee)
- LeSean McCoy (ribs)
- Mike Wallace (ankle/leg)
- Dalvin Cook (hamstring)
- Doug Baldwin (knee)
- Leonard Fournette (hamstring)
- Marcus Mariota (elbow)
- Aaron Rodgers (knee)
- Devonta Freeman (knee)
- Marquise Goodwin (quad)
Mixon had a minor procedure to “clean up some loose particles” in his knee. He will be out for a few weeks. McCoy has a rib injury that could cause him to miss some time. It sounds like a pain tolerance issue. Wallace’s injury is significant and should keep him out for about two months and perhaps the season. Cook’s hamstring sounds like it could be minor, but it underscores the importance of rostering Latavius Murray as a handcuff in any league that gives you adequate roster space. Minnesota will be near the goal line a lot this year. Having the lead RB is a definite plus. Baldwin is out another week or so. Fournette could start practicing this week and could make his return in Week 3. Mariota was active last week as the emergency quarterback so his return should be imminent. Rodgers looked very good though obviously limited in terms of mobility. He should continue to play through the injury and could shed that bulky brace in a week or two. Freeman will miss at least one more week, but perhaps more as this is an aggravation of the same injury that limited him down the stretch in 2017. Goodwin is a decent bet to return this week, but keep an eye on the 49ers’ practice reports. If he comes back, he will be rewarded with a sweet matchup in Kansas City.
Last Chance Options:
- Kenny Golladay, Lions
- Josh Gordon, Patriots
- Matt Breida, 49ers
- Aaron Jones, Packers
- Quincy Enunwa, Jets
- DeSean Jackson, Bucs
- Phillip Lindsay, Broncos
The window is almost shut on these guys, but they are all available in enough leagues where you need to at least check their status. It’s doubtful that any of these folks are available later on down the road. Golladay is looking like a potential WR1 if things keep going on the current track. Gordon has a huge ceiling, but obviously he’s also got an abyss for a floor. Breida may have taken the lead role in a Kyle Shanahan backfield. In the words of Kent Dorfman, “hell-o.” Jones will return from suspension this week, and he could end up in the lead role by the time we get to Week 4. If that happens, he’s a potential league-winning waiver pick up. He’s a nice trade target too. Enunwa is locked in to a very substantial role with the Jets and is still a highly underrated talent. Only injury will get him out of your lineup. He’s that good. Lindsay is this year’s rookie from out of nowhere. There’s no way to tell how long they will toy with him as a co-lead back, but he’s got to be owned in all leagues right now. His talent is a real thing.
Top Five Options:
- Keelan Cole, Jaguars
- John Brown, Ravens
- Chris Godwin, Bucs
- Gio Bernard, Bengals
- Marlon Mack, Colts
Unlike the last chance options, these guys are available in a lot of leagues, so they should be your focal point. Cole obviously looked great against the Patriots last week—making the eye-popping catch of the year to date. That being said, he’s more than just a highlight. Cole is a legit baller, and he has the look of the Jaguars number one receiver. I’d sell out to get this guy in all leagues if you still have a chance. The injury to Marqise Lee has opened the door, and Cole is the receiver who has walked through it. John Brown is always a health concern, but as of now he’s the Ravens’ lead receiver, and he’s producing. Godwin has some role concerns but he’s a young emerging talent and his team knows it. I don’t think he’s going to lose snaps. In fact, I think he’ll probably gain some. He played 50 percent of the team’s snaps in Week 2. Bernard may be the guy to go after this week if you are a Le’Veon Bell owner. Gio could buy you 2-3 weeks time and that’s huge given the Bell situation. Mack got his feet wet in Week 2 after missing significant time to a hamstring injury. He looked pretty good and his role should grow going forward. With Andrew Luck slowly rounding into shape, Mack could end up in a pretty good spot in a few weeks. Go get him now if you can. He can be a flex play for you right now.
The Stash Options:
- James Washington, Steelers
- Anthony Miller, Bears
- D.J. Moore, Panthers
- Mike Williams, Chargers
- Calvin Ridley, Falcons
- Nick Chubb, Browns
- Ronald Jones, Bucs
- Hayden Hurst, Ravens
- Dante Pettis, 49ers
- Courtland Sutton, Broncos
- Dez Bryant, free agent
- John Ross, Bengals
- Ian Thomas, Panthers
- Jonnu Smith, Titans
- D’Onta Foreman, Texans
- Baker Mayfield, Browns
- Josh Rosen, Cardinals
- Dallas Goedert, Eagles
I’m a big believer in stashing the really talented players before they go off. I don’t like having to bid and pray when it comes to landing difference-makers. I‘d rather try to act in advance and save my money for emergency situations. The 18 options above are almost all young players who have a chance at major playing time in the coming weeks. The other trait they share is top shelf talent. I’ll get into each one of these players in my free waiver wire podcast over at Rotobahn. I recommend listening if you play in a format with 12 or more teams.
Andy Dalton, Bengals
He’s a QB1 when the matchup is good, so he should be owned in most leagues and certainly all 12-team leagues.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars
He’s off to a good start which is huge. He’s got enough weapons, the support of a strong ground game, and a defense that erases his mistakes. I was probably too low on him this summer.
Joe Flacco, Ravens
Looking solid so far and has weapons that fit his game. If John Brown can stay healthy and if Crabtree can continue to play reasonably well, Flacco could keep up a good pace. If Hayden Hurst returns healthy, that would help too.
Sam Darnold, Jets
I have to say. I’m impressed with Darnold. Sure he’s going to turn the ball over too much early in his career, but man oh man can he play. I was high on him coming in, but he’s already made substantive structural changes to his footwork and throwing motion. It’s very impressive and so are some of the throws he’s made in just two games. This guy can feed a receiver for sure. I’d avoid selling low of the Jets receivers. Enunwa and Anderson are legit fantasy weapons with this guy at QB. And Darnold can be your guy in deep formats, if you have a need.
Tyrod Taylor, Browns
He has some short term appeal. He’ a good bet to play well against the Jets, who tend to give up plenty of rushing yards to mobile quarterbacks. I see a touchdown in Tyrod’s immediate future.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bucs
Ride the hot hand. I really doubt he’ll hold on to this thing for all that long but that’s no reason to not ride a QB when he’s on a heater.
Baker Mayfield, Browns
I think he’ll be the starter within a month. From that point forward, he will kick ass and take names.
Case Keenum, Broncos
He gets the Chiefs twice over the next six games with a few other good matchups mixed in, so he has some appeal. It’s about the weapons and the matchups. Kennum’s just a guy.
Josh Rosen, Cardinals
If anybody is going to turn the Cardinals season around, it’s probably this guy, who has some serious arm talent. The corpse of Sam Bradford is past its expiration date. In deep formats Rosen makes a decent stash.
Gio Bernard, Bengals
He’s going to have very dependable value for 2-4 weeks while Mixon is out. After that, he goes back to the role he’s had with Mixon healthy—or maybe just a bit more because he’ll be in a groove.
Marlon Mack, Colts
Looked good last week and should look a lot better after a full week of practice. based on what I saw, Mack is the lead guy if he stays healthy. He brings the most to the table as a lead runner at this time.
Corey Clement, Eagles
The news on Ajayi’s back injury obviously moves Clement up. Ajayi may return soon—maybe even this week, but until he does, Clement will get to play behind Carson Wentz and enjoy the spoils of the gig. He’s a must-add for Ajayi owners and a high priority for all.
Nick Chubb, Browns
At some point, the browns have to unleash this guy. He’s just too good to be on the bench all game. In his limited action, he’s made some nice runs. I think he’s the starter by year’s end, so he could be a nice asset when it counts most.
Latavius Murray, Vikings
Few teams will offer their back more goal line opportunities than the Vikings. Dalvin cook is the clear guy, but he’s also got a thick injury history, so Murray is a must-own play in all leagues. If you are a Cook owner, I would consider dealing for him.
Nyheim Hines, Colts
Looked good in limited time last week but the Colts jumped out to a lead so that may have limited his part of the playbook. The fact that he got a goal line carry was positive and the way he spun away from tacklers into the end zone was even better. The guy is a player.
Ronald Jones, Bucs
Stash city. His long speed could be a huge asset for the current Tampa offense. They are really stressing because they have players who get open along with players like Mike Evans who is always open. With OJ Hoard making big plays now, the Tampa receiving group is a wrecking crew. Let other people talk about him being a bust while you stash him on the end of your bench. In smaller leagues, you be so stacked that a guy like Jones doesn’t matter. That’s great, but he’s still a guy to keep close tabs on.
Austin Ekeler, Chargers
He’s not on the filed that much, but through two weeks, he is getting a lot of usage when he’s in there. It’s tough to see him sustaining it, but he’s the clear cut guy to own behind Gordon, and he’s got some stand alone value in deeper formats. He’s got more stand alone value than Ronald Jones, so depending on your situation, you may want him more.
Corey Grant, Jaguars
His value is dependent on Fournette’s status, so bid with some caution if help this week is what you need. For the long haul, I like Grant as a upside stash in case Fournette gets hurt for a longer period of time.
Javorius Allen, Ravens
He’s got some weekly appeal in deeper PPR leagues and even in standard since he gets some goal line love. And who knows, maybe Collins keeps fumbling and you get lucky. Allen is a savvy add for Collins owners.
Theo Riddick, Lions
He could start to lose some time to Johnson, who NEEDS to play, but still, in the back of my mind, I remember saying similar things about Ameer Abdullah before his foot injury. Detroit gonna Detroit sometimes. For now, Riddick has value on a losing team as a the pass catching specialist.
Ito Smith, Falcons
There seems to be some doubt about just how hurt Devonta Freeman is, but what we do now know is that Ito Smith will be a part of the rotation if either Freeman or Coleman misses time. They like to rotate backs.
Jordan Wilkins, Colts
He’s got value in deeper leagues and perhaps in smaller ones if he wins the three man scrum in the Colts backfield. That said, I like the other two guys better and am fading Wilkins some. He’s not a dog, but he lacks juju and the other two backs both have some.
Chris Ivory, Bills
Should get some volume this week if McCoy is out, but how much is volume worth in this offense, and how long will they be able to run?
Marcus Murphy, Bills
Could end up having some value if McCoy is hurt or suspended. I think he probably has more value than Ivory because he has a broader skill set and a better chance at staying healthy.
Keelan Cole, Jaguars
He’s a weekly fantasy option now. He must be owned in all leagues.
John Brown, Ravens
For as long as he stays healthy, Brown will be a weekly WR3 option.
Chris Godwin, Bucs
He has a high ceiling if he ever gets legit full time snaps, but he’s shown that he’s a viable flex play in PPR leagues even if he’s a part time option. I think he unseats Adam Humphries from the rotation soon.
D.J. Moore, Panthers
He’s not playing enough snaps to consider in your lineup just yet, but once he does, it will be too late to add him, so just stash him now if you can. This guy can be a star and it could happen fast under the right circumstances. He’s a must own talent in 12-team leagues. He could be the Panther’s number one receiver by midseason if things break right.
Anthony Miller, Bears
I think he’s going to be the best receiver in Chicago along with Allen Robinson. He’s that good. He’s not getting enough love to trust in your lineup just yet, but that time is fast approaching. Moore has the higher ceiling because he has a veteran QB and no true alpha receiver on his team to compete with.
James Washington, Steelers
He’s arrived. I really like this kid and he found the end zone in his first NFL game. He should continue to play a big role and get better as he and Big Ben continue to mesh. Go get him now. He’s got a better floor than Moore or Miller, but he has no chance at being his team’s lead dog because of AB and Juju.
Calvin Ridley, Falcons
He’s still being broken in but you can see how good he’s going to be. I expect that he’ll be a near full time guy in a few weeks. Stash him and do it now.
Geronimo Allison, Packers
He has plenty of upside because he’s an Aaron Rodgers receiver and because he’s good in the red zone. He can be your WR3 if need be and he’s a Cobb injury away from being a serious fantasy asset.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
If Seattle’s line wasn’t such a dumpster fir, Lockett would be lighting it up, but he has to fight for scraps because Wilson is running for his life back there—often unable to even complete his drop. It’s as bad as the Giants. Still, he’s looking like the lead guy with Baldwin out and he’s playable as a WR3 for the time being. He made a ridiculous touchdown grab last night—his second TD in two weeks.
Mike Williams, Chargers
He’s really flashing now and his snaps are on the rise. He should be playing starter’s snaps pretty soon if things hold true and he stays healthy. They need a big playmaker to balance out Keenan Allen, and Williams looks like he’s that guy. Stash now, or just play him in deeper formats.
Courtland Sutton, Broncos
He’s playing a lot more than I anticipated this early in the season and he’s a touchdown scorer, so fantasy value isn’t far behind. He just missed a few big plays in Week 2—including a near TD. He must be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Antonio Callaway, Browns
There’s officially a target vacuum in Cleveland. With both Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman gone, the Brown will turn to Callaway and Rashard Higgins along with lead dog Jarvis Landry. Callaway is the guy to target because he has a big ceiling due to his immense talent. Of course, he’s also had loads of off field issues, so buckle up. A suspension at some point this season can’t be ruled out.
John Ross, Bengals
Huge talent and he’s much more involved these days. He’s more stash than flex right now, but once he gets it, it’s going to happen for him. He’s close, but AJ Green takes up a lot of oxygen and Tyler Boyd is finally healthy so Ross has to fight for his chances.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals
Love how healthy he’s looked so far. This is the guy we loved at PITT, and hopefully his knee concerns are history. Boyd’s got value in 12-team leagues and maybe in 10-team PPR leagues soon. He cored last week on TNF, just in case you forgot.
Dede Westbrook, Jaguars
He’s got value in 12-team PPR leagues.
Brandon Marshall, Seahawks
For now, he has some value, but he’s clearly on the other side of his career. He can help you now if you need something in a tough league.
Kelvin Benjamin, Bills
Dysfunction is running rampant in Buffalo, but once things calm down some, Benjamin could provide some stats. I’d say the same for Zay Jones in PPR leagues.
Ryan Grant, Colts
I think he continues to get better with Luck. Should be owned in 12-team leagues and larger.
Ted Ginn, Saints
He’s a weekly flex play in large leagues.
Dez Bryant, Free Agent
Stash him and when he signs, you should have something worthwhile. he’s Dez freaking Bryant.
Dante Pettis, 49ers
Played a ton of snaps last week and should gain value as the year wears on. Really like the way this kid plays.
Jordan Matthews, Eagles?
It sounds like he may sign, which means his hamstring has healed up. This is a potentially great move for the Eagles as Matthews has a great relationship with Wentz and obviously knows the system well. He could make a significant impact if he stays healthy, with Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins both done and with Jeffery still out.
Rashad Higgins, Browns
He’s a polished receiver who could really excel playing with Baker Mayfield. He’s worth a roster spot in super deep leagues and I think he has value once Mayfield is in there, unless Callaway is crushing it.
Phillip Dorsett, Patriots
He’ll have value this week if Gordon is not playing but his fantasy appeal will likely dwindle once and if Gordon becomes a staple in the offense.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars
He’s been a red zone factor in both games, and he scored versus the Patriots after having a score called back in Week 1. ASJ can be your starter if you have a need. Maybe even a good one depending on how things break. This team will spend a fair amount of time near the stripe.
Austin Hooper, Falcons
He’s under the radar but he can be a breakout player if his team can get hot. The Falcons need red zone weapons and Hooper has taken hold of the tight end job—playing more snaps than Julio or any other ATL skill player in both weeks one and two.
Eric Ebron, Colts
He’s made big plays in very limited playing time. The only way he can sustain it is if they start playing him more as a big slot. I’d add him now and hope for the best. He’s a red zone weapon for a QBB who really needs one.
Hayden Hurst, Ravens
He should miss another week or so, but I think he could be a featured part of the offense when he returns.
Ian Thomas, Panthers
He’s a stash for now, but could explode at any time.
Jonnu Smith, Titans
He could have big value at some point, but before that happens, they need a functioning quarterback, and that may not happen this week. Stash him and be patient.
Will Dissly, Seahawks
He’s looked freakish at points and sluggish at others, but it’s clear they like him. The thing is, they also like Nick Vannett, so we have as light dilemma. I’d roster Dissly in 12-team leagues and above as a TE2 with some upside.
Jesse James & Vance McDonald, Steelers
Tough call here. My gut says roster James because McDonald can’t seem to stay healthy and James is improving as a player. He had a great game last week and was active in Week 1. Both players have value and are good pickups in deep formats.
Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals
He could make a real splash if they just get the QB situation settled and get the offense functioning. Doesn’t seem like that much to ask. For now his value is a bit theoretical.
Jake Butt, Broncos
I like the way he’s playing and once he passes Jeff Heuerman, he might be a weekly fantasy option. Stash him in deep formats.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles
He’s a huge talent and he could develop into a weekly red zone threat with all of their injuries at receiver. He’s also a great way to handcuff Zach Ertz.
Ben Watson, Saints
Not a ton of ceiling here, but he’s the guy and he’s playing plenty of snaps. Some TDs should happen at some point soon.
Chris Herndon, Jets
Herndon could be a decent option in super deep formats this week as he’s the only viable tight end they have who is also healthy. He’s a catch-first guy, so he could have some real value. Sam Darnold seems to look for him. I have him rostered on a few dynasty teams.
Rico Gathers, Cowboys
He hasn’t dome anything just yet but you can tell he’s starting to get involved. He could have scored against the Giants and I expect his opportunities to increase as we move ahead. He’s a nice add in all dynasty leagues and in some super deep seasonal formats, especially if they use TE-premium scoring.
Antonio Gates, Chargers
He should score some touchdowns but clearly not the guy we’ve known over the years.