FANTASY PLAYS: Taking stock of hurt tight ends, others in W3
Week 2 was tough on tight ends in fantasy football as five big names suffered injuries — none bigger than Greg Olsen of the Panthers breaking his right foot.
Olsen is expected to miss about six to eight weeks after having surgery on Monday. Rob Gronkowski (groin), Jordan Reed (chest), Jimmy Graham (ankle) and Tyler Eifert (back/knee) are all questionable to play this week.
After a disappointing Week 1, Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle caught all eight of his targets for 79 yards. With Andrew Luck already ruled out of Week 3, look for quarterback Jacoby Brissett and Doyle to build on their quick chemistry as the Colts play Cleveland in Week 3, a team that has struggled to cover the tight end for years. Jesse James and Benjamin Watson were able to do damage against the Browns over the first two weeks.
Charles Clay, Jared Cook and Julius Thomas will all see their ownerships rise, but with all the injuries in Chicago, Zach Miller may be the one to pick up in deeper formats. His nine targets in Week 2 were tied for the sixth most at the position and his 15 on the season are tied for the fifth most. The Bears are already without Cam Meredith and Kevin White for the season.
Taking stock of other tidbits around the fantasy landscape:
— Who saw this coming: Trevor Siemian, Alex Smith and Carson Wentz are your top three fantasy football quarterbacks two weeks into the season. If you have Andy Dalton or Eli Manning on your roster, it’s time to make the switch to either Siemian or Wentz. Siemian threw four touchdowns in Week 2 to give him seven total scores on the season, which leads the NFL. Wentz is fourth in passing yards (640) and fourth in rushing yards (61).
— Doug Baldwin has only managed 10 receptions and 107 yards in his first two games. That’s not awful, but it’s not quite good enough for a WR1, which Baldwin is. Those two games were great matchups and because he failed to do much, he’s an instant buy-low candidate. Let’s not forget, Baldwin has 21 touchdowns in his last 28 games.
— Someone you shouldn’t buy is Brandon Marshall. The Giants wide receiver has only two catches for 27 yards in his first two games with Eli Manning. A healthy Odell Beckham Jr. will most likely help Marshall in the long run, but until the offensive line gets better and the Giants start showing us something, Marshall should be on your bench, not in your starting lineup. He should consider himself lucky he’s still on your roster.
— Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee have seen their stocks rise this week with Allen Robinson sidelined. Hurns caught six balls for 82 yards and found pay dirt. He’s only two years removed from a 10 TD season. Lee led the way with 12 targets (the third most among wide receivers for the week) and seven catches for 76 yards. Both are worthy of roster spots. Lee more so in point-per-reception leagues.
— If you didn’t believe in the five catches, 43 yards and touchdown from J.J. Nelson in Week 1, he may have done enough in Week 2 to change your mind. Nelson reeled in another five catches for 120 yards and found the end zone yet again. This without John Brown in the lineup, who is expected to miss this week’s game as well.
— Jermaine Kearse also has two touchdowns in two games and his 11 catches are tied for the eighth most among wide receivers. Kearse was owned in fewer than six percent of Yahoo leagues heading into Week 2.
— Rishard Higgins entered the week owned in 0 percent of leagues across Yahoo and ESPN. Someone in the Cleveland Browns offense will have to step up with Corey Coleman sidelined for six to eight weeks with a broken hand. On Sunday, it was Higgins. The 6-foot-1 wide receiver out of Colorado State had a 17 touchdown season in his second year with CSU. In his second season with the Browns, and first game in 2017, Higgins saw 11 targets and caught seven balls for 95 yards. Higgins will likely see his stock rise more than any other wide receiver as we head into Week 3.
— LeSean McCoy and Ezekiel Elliott had awful showings in Week 2, but they and Le’Veon Bell will be fine going forward. The same can’t be said for DeMarco Murray and Jordan Howard. Both backs have had slow starts to the season and both are dealing with injuries. Howard was seen with his right shoulder in a sling and the injury could keep him sidelined or limited for a couple games. As for Murray, the Titans are listing him as day-to-day due to a hamstring injury. It’s the same injury which kept him sidelined for most of the preseason. Both teams have capable backups as well. Tarik Cohen and Derrick Henry are already starting to get some buzz and will only continue to get better as the weeks go on.
— Isaiah Crowell only has 70 rushing yards through his first two games, and although he seems like a great buy-low candidate, he isn’t. If Crowell can get things going this week against the Indianapolis Colts, owners should part ways. Rookie QB DeShone Kizer already took one rushing touchdown away from Crowell this season and the Browns offense is having a hard time moving the ball. Cleveland also lost its number one wideout in Coleman and Duke Johnson Jr. is starting to get more play.
— Chris Thompson had 77 of his 81 rushing yards in Week 2, and a bulk of those yards came on one 52 yard score. It’s his role in the passing game that has him moving up the ranks. Thompson has seven grabs on 12 targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. He’s third on the team in targets, catches, yards and leads Washington in total touchdowns with three.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com