Fantasy Football Week 2 reactions and Week 3 early waiver wire
Dave Richard breaks down the key story lines from Week 2, while giving a sneak preview of the waiver wire targets you'll be looking at this week.
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If you love prolific passing, Week 2 was for you. Seven different quarterbacks totaled at least four touchdowns, three more had three touchdowns and the average Fantasy point total for the top-12 passers from Thursday and Sunday afternoon's games was 34.8.
Looks like passing is back in a big, big way.
Except in Arizona.
Sam Bradford has zero touchdowns in two games. He's completed 60.7 percent of his passes for an incredibly sad 3.98 yards per attempt. His longest completion is 27 yards. He's only been sacked three times, but with two interceptions, one fumble lost and a quarterback rating of 55.6, it's evident he's part of the problem.
What a disaster. After Fitzgerald had 76 yards on seven catches last week, he had 28 yards on three grabs via five targets. Five. Ricky Seals-Jones had more targets (and fewer receiving yards), while two other Cardinals matched his five.
Johnson was not one of them. Lining up against a Rams defense that figures to be tough on between-the-tackle runs and easier to work the edges, Johnson had two looks from Bradford, catching one for 3 yards. Instead of utilizing him as a pass-catching back, which has been done in essentially every game of his career including Week 1 (five grabs for 30 yards), the Cardinals deployed him as a ball-carrier all of 13 times for a paltry 48 yards.
Johnson's 48 yards did best his Week 1 total, by the way. So there's that.
Yeah, the matchup was a huge factor. Los Angeles' defense is one of the best in football. But you'd think the Cardinals would come up with a better counter-punch. Instead they were punch-less.
File all this away when the Cardinals play the Rams at home in Week 16, but what do we do with these Cardinals moving forward?
If you're expecting me to tell you to trade them, you're going to be sorely mistaken. In fact, now's the time to trade for them.
The Cardinals' upcoming matchups: home against the Bears, who will have played on Monday night; then the Seahawks at home and at San Francisco before a Week 6 road trip at Minnesota. We'll have a three-week window where the Cardinals duo should put up some nice numbers, and they'll have more favorable matchups after the Vikings game. If you can get Johnson or Fitzgerald for less than fair value, do it. Don't hesitate.
What's fair value? Anything that equates to what would be a second- or third-round pick in a present-day Fantasy draft would be it for Johnson. You'll never be able to trade Carlos Hyde or Kenyan Drake straight up for Johnson, but you might be able to pair one of them with someone else who's useful to get him. Joe Mixon (even with his injury), Kareem Hunt or Mike Evans could also get the deal done in a one-for-one.
Fitzgerald should take significantly less, especially in non-PPR leagues — probably something like a seventh-round value, so a top-80 player.
These trades shouldn't involve players you're heavily invested in and should be done with the intention of "helping your buddy out" by trading him a player who will actually give him Fantasy points.
Give it a shot. We know Johnson and Fitzgerald are better than what they've shown and we know their matchups will get better.
Three Big Questions
Is Phillip Lindsay the best Fantasy running back in Denver?
Thanks to a 53-yard scamper, Lindsay finished Sunday with 107 yards on 14 carries with a four-yard reception. His speed continues to earn him serious playing time over Royce Freeman, who saved his Fantasy bacon with a goal-line touchdown. In what was a competitive game for the Broncos, Lindsay got more work. That means what you think it means, and the Broncos' RB usage through two weeks doesn't lie:
Is Matt Breida the best Fantasy running back in San Francisco?
You're dang right he is. Alfred Morris had three more carries, but Breida had 90 more yards and averaged 7.2 yards per carry without counting his 66-yard touchdown run. The 49ers won't have matchups like this one against the Lions every week (though next week at the Chiefs could be close), but Breida has proven to be the more versatile back. I would expect his workload to increase, but don't expect Morris to fade into a small role either. He could still take goal-line work.
Seriously, is Patrick Mahomes going to keep chucking touchdowns every week?
Until the Chiefs run into a deep secondary and a strong pass rush, this will keep happening. Candidates for let-down games from Mahomes? Week 4 at Denver, Week 5 versus Jacksonville, Week 6 at New England, Week 8 versus Denver and Week 11 vs. the Rams in Mexico City. That's really about it. I wouldn't "sell high" on him unless you get an absolute haul in exchange, and that will be hard to come by unless you have an idiotmoron in your league who will overpay for a quarterback. Keep Mahomes. He's not bad.
Early Waiver Wire
- Giovani Bernard (41 percent owned): With Mixon out for at least a couple of games, Bernard will lead the Bengals run game and give Fantasy owners a starting option in the short-term. Problem: Bengals' next two games are at Carolina and at Atlanta. Not easy.
- Corey Clement (61 percent): Jay Ajayi got roughed up in the Eagles' loss at the Bucs and Darren Sproles was inactive. Clement is a lottery ticket.
- Javorius Allen (26 percent): Allen hasn't fumbled in over 170 carries. John Harbaugh loves that. He figures to take third downs and goal line snaps from Alex Collins. A low-end Fantasy option for the upcoming bye weeks.
- Theo Riddick (37 percent): He catches a lot of passes, making him a cheapo starter in PPR.
- Corey Grant (2 percent): He looked great splitting reps with T.J. Yeldon. Too bad Leonard Fournette is working his way back.
- Chris Ivory (8 percent): This is the backup to LeSean McCoy. He scored in Week 2.
- Nyheim Hines (29 percent): This is one of the components in the Colts run game. He scored in Week 2.
- DeSean Jackson (51 percent owned): Normally we'd overlook Jackson's deep touchdown but the guy's done it for two games in a row and has averaged 20.3 yards per catch on the seven receptions he didn't score on! He's going to get more big opportunities against the Steelers in Week 3.
- Chris Godwin (37 percent): Going back to the preseason, Godwin has scored in four straight games. His touchdown production has lifted him to 10-plus Fantasy points in each week this year and he has one more target than Jackson. There's a lot of long-term upside with him.
- John Brown (50 percent): Baltimore's best receiver? Joe Flacco has targeted him 14 times including several deep passes and also hooked up with him for a red-zone touchdown in Week 1.
- Mike Williams (52 percent): A lot of mouths to feed with the Chargers, but Williams has the best size/speed combo. Huge end-zone target for Philip Rivers.
- Tyler Boyd (1 percent): John Ross has six targets in two games. Boyd had nine targets in Week 2 alone (14 on the year). Nice volume-based receiver who can win in favorable slot matchups.
- Antonio Callaway (12 percent): An excellent receiver to speculate on given his super speed and the opportunity to play more now that Josh Gordon is off the roster.
- Dede Westbrook (27 percent): Had an impressive catch-and-run for a touchdown on Sunday but appears to be a safer receiver in PPR formats.
- Taywan Taylor (4 percent): Another speculative receiver with very good speed and an opportunity in a Titans offense that isn't as ugly as it looked on Sunday when everyone's healthy.
- Jesse James (24 percent owned), Austin Hooper (18 percent) and O.J. Howard (39 percent): Tight end-streaming owners will chase these numbers. Of the three, James is the one with five targets and at least six Fantasy points in each of his first two games and takes on the Buccaneers in Week 3. Howard has tons of talent but doesn't get enough opportunities and probably won't get them in an offense that already has three great receivers.
- Andy Dalton (33 percent owned): He's getting good protection and has a deep receiving corps, and Mixon is going to miss some time.
- Blake Bortles (31 percent): Pretty nice schedule ahead for him — he seems to play better without Leonard Fournette, which is weird.
- Conor McGreg ... oops I mean Ryan Fitzpatrick (21 percent): Jameis who? Fitzpatrick takes on the Steelers at home in Week 3. Yum.
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