Last week was a weird fantasy football week, but that happens from time to time. Drew Brees only threw one touchdown. Eight running backs got injured. Antonio Brown was held to 39 yards. Travis Kelce only went for 34 yards after dominating the Texans last year. The key to remember here is that it’s only one week and you’re going to get some peaks and valleys over the course of the season. Hopefully your running back situation wasn’t blown out and you’re ready to take on Week 3.
Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. They’re especially important in daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues like DraftKings. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR. You can always ask about trades as well.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Matt Ryan (QB – Atlanta)
You’re not the only one surprised at how well Ryan has played this season. Whether it’s upgrade of Mohamed Sanu from the aging Roddy White or a duo of productive running backs or another year of being in the team’s offense, Ryan has exceeded all our expectations. He’s put up at least 330 yards and two touchdowns in both games and seems slated for another great Sunday. New Orleans pass defense continues to be awful and you shouldn’t be thrown off by the fact the Giants didn’t have any passing touchdowns last year. Eli Manning still threw for over 300+ yards and the Giants are known for red zone inefficiency finishing 29th in the league last year in red zone touchdown percentage. Don’t worry about Julio Jones’ bruised quad. Ryan is going to eat well in New Orleans and celebrate with some jambalaya.
Isaiah Crowell (RB – Cleveland)
Cody Kessler is jumping behind center this weekend for Cleveland and star receiver Corey Coleman just broke his hand. Those are not positive omens for the Browns, but they’re great reasons to lean on Crowell this week. Cleveland’s still going to run 50-70 plays and they’re going to need to find a way to shield their rookie quarterback. Look at how successful LeGarette Blount was last week against the Dolphins in the second half with Jacoby Brisett at QB for New England. He went off for 92 yards for 15 carries. That’s the type of workload Crowell should be looking at each half if the Browns don’t want to get Kessler killed. Heavy usage should mean positive things for Crowell, who’s looked good so far this season.
Frank Gore (RB – Indianapolis)
There’s always a disappointment with Frank Gore if your expectations are too high. Gore will never be the guy anymore who puts up 150 yards and three touchdowns, but he certainly can be productive. This weekend’s game for Gore against San Diego should bring positive marks. San Diego’s defensive strength is their secondary, so the Colts should focus on the running game to be their most productive. The home spot also means Indianapolis should be reasonably productive on the offense end and should create some goal line opportunities for Gore. That’s all you can ask for and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get the double touchdown game.
Golden Tate (WR – Detroit)
It’s been a little curious why Golden Tate hasn’t taken off this year in Calvin Johnson’s absence considering how well he played when Johnson missed games last year. There were rumors of Marvin Jones being the go-to guy in Detroit during training camp and pre-season, but there was a worry that this was all smoke and mirrors. It turns out it was true as Matthew Stafford’s relationship with Jones has really taken off into a successful beginning of the season. Tate, however, still has plenty of talent and all talent needs to shine is opportunity. Green Bay’s best cover corner, Sam Shields, is still in concussion protocol, which means the Lions receivers are in a really good spot this weekend. The game shapes up as a shootout with one of the highest Vegas totals of the week. This looks like it’s Tate’s week to finally break out.
Tajae Sharpe (WR – Tennessee)
I’ll be honest: I have no idea what’s going on with the Raiders passing defense. Their defense was supposed to take a leap into a top five defense this year and it’s gotten cut up on back to back weeks by New Orleans and Atlanta. Tennessee’s not exactly the second coming of the run and shoot, but Sharpe should see success as the highest targeted wide receiver in the Titans offense. He’s impressed over the last couple weeks, making teams mad who passed on him in the draft. He’s still more of a possession receiver, so this may work out best as a PPR play (Hello DraftKings!), but Sharpe will score some touchdowns this year and this game presents the opening he needs to do it.
Dwayne Allen (TE – Indianapolis)
The Chargers have some of the best corners in the league, but they’re not great at covering tight ends. They’ve given up 94 and 88 yards respectively in the first two games of the season. They faced reasonably talented TEs in both games and while he’s no Rob Gronkowski, Allen is reasonably talented as well. He’s also the primary target in the red zone now that Donte Moncrief is injured because the other Colts receivers are smaller guys. He’s a nice streamer for this week if you need one.
Other guys you should start: Philip Rivers (QB – San Diego), Ryan Tannehill (RB – Miami), Marcus Mariota (QB – Tennessee), Dak Prescott (QB – Dallas), Mark Ingram (RB – New Orleans), Charles Sims (RB – Tampa Bay), Tevin Coleman (RB – Atlanta), Michael Floyd (WR – Arizona), Eric Decker (WR – N.Y. Jets), Marvin Jones (WR – Detroit), Jarvis Landry (WR – Miami), Mike Wallace (WR – Baltimore), Mohamed Sanu (WR – Atlanta), Quincy Enunwa (WR – N.Y. Jets), Coby Fleener (TE – New Orleans), Zach Miller (TE – Chicago), Jimmy Graham (TE – Seattle)
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Tyrod Taylor (QB – Buffalo)
There were some who were high on Taylor going into the season who came off their perch after a bad Week 1. Taylor bounced back in Week 2, but anyone seems to be able to do that against the Jets secondary this year. This week he hosts Arizona and the Cardinals showed last week that they can wreak havoc on a young QB. Taylor would be in even rougher shape if Sammy Watkins doesn’t dress this week. Watkins is already running at less than 100%, which isn’t good for Taylor in the long run. The change in offensive coordinator won’t mean too much for Taylor because the pieces around him aren’t changing. There’s talk of a more pass heavy offense, but I’m not sure that’s going to work against Arizona. I was worried about Brandon Williams in coverage for Arizona last week, but it seems as if Arizona has increased newly acquired Marcus Cooper’s role to alleviate that concern. You’re better off leaving Tyrod on the bench this week and finding business elsewhere.
Carlos Hyde (RB – San Francisco)
Home games and game flow definitely influence a running back’s output. That doesn’t bode well for Hyde this weekend as he goes against one of the best run defenses in the league in Seattle. Seattle locked down Toddy Gurley last week after holding down Arian Foster’s rushing work the week before. Foster did his damage in the receiving game, which isn’t a strength for Hyde. There’s still some question as to whether or not Seattle can get that far out ahead of with as bad as their offense has played so far. Thankfully San Francisco’s secondary is the cure for all offensive woes, which doesn’t bode well for Hyde
Jeremy Langford (RB – Chicago)
I was big on Langford coming into the year, not because he was good, but because heavy usage usually yields some results. Those heavy usage barriers were breached last week as Kadeem Carey saw 10 of the 25 first half running back touches against the Eagles and Jordan Howard saw plenty of work in the second half after Carey got hurt. Dallas is generally ok at holding down RBs, which would’ve made Langford usable if he saw all the work, but a decrease just doesn’t make him as appetizing for now.
Julian Edelman (WR – New England)
When your wide receiver is also shaping up to be the backup QB then that doesn’t reflect too well on the QB who’s ahead of him. That situation only happens when there are injuries to the better QBs on the roster because if the teams are only concerned about the backup knowing the offense that well when the starting QB is at risk. Edelman is a sharp guy who has been playing in the offense for years, so that’s why he’s the backup this week. You don’t, however, want to see Edelman lineup under center because that’s not why he’s in the league. The guy playing ahead of him, Brissett, will be handing off the ball a lot and might not be able to do much when he’s not because the Texans have one of the better defenses in the league. You drafted Edelman in a WR2 or WR3 spot and if you’ve set your team up well, you’ll have a better alternative to start on Thursday night.
Phillip Dorsett (WR – Indianapolis)
Dorsett’s owners were giddy when Donte Moncrief was announced out for the next 4-6 weeks. They were ready for the talent receiver of the U to take off to the next level. They should dial back their excitement this week as Dorsett goes head to head with Jason Verrett. Some of you may not know who Verrett is, but you should. He’s risen to the top of the list of shutdown corners to start this year, which is no surprise given how he ended last year. T.Y. Hilton operates out of the slot a lot, so Verrett won’t be shadowing him. That leaves Dorsett to match up against Verrett and I’ll pass on that opportunity for this week.
Julius Thomas (TE – Jacksonville)
Thomas has definitely been more of a focal point in Jacksonville’s offense now that he came into the season healthy. The Jaguars, however, would be smarter to avoid Thomas this week because of how Baltimore neutralizes TEs. The Ravens have only given up six catches in two games so far this season to that position and have plenty of other defensive flaws in the secondary for Blake Bortles to chase after. With Thomas generally being on the starting bubble coming into this season, a tight end streamer might be in your best interest if you have roster room.
Other guys you should sit: Andy Dalton (QB – Cincinnati), Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB – Kansas City), Spencer Ware (RB – Kansas City), Jeremy Hill (RB – Cincinnati), Sammy Watkins (WR – Buffalo), Emmanuel Sanders (WR – Denver), Desean Jackson (WR – Washington), Jacob Tamme (TE – Atlanta), Jesse James (TE – Pittsburgh)