I feel like these first two weeks have been a strange start to the season for fantasy purposes. You have the elite running backs underperforming, big name quarterbacks struggling, and top tier receivers putting up mediocre numbers. That’s just the way it goes in fantasy football, unfortunately. Let’s take a look around the league and see if we can pick some winners out this week.
Side note: the values and scoring we use are from Draft Kings. I prefer them for two reasons. They utilize PPR scoring and have an additional flex spot on the roster with no kickers. Everyone hates kickers.
Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders
Value – $6,800
Derek Carr has had a very solid start to the season and is proving why the Raiders whipped out the checkbook in the offseason to acquire his services long term. He’s thrown for at least 230 yards and two touchdowns or more in the first two games, so it’s clear that Carr is completely healed from the broken leg he suffered at the end of last year. I think he’s a strong start against the Redskins heading into week three. Washington has given up at least 20 points in the first two games, with one of those games being against Jared Goff. Carr is the fifth highest priced quarterback this week, but I think he’s well worth the investment.
Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Value – $6,600
I had some mixed feelings adding Cam here, but he’s got to get back on track at some point right? He’s struggled to produce points in the first two games and is constantly running for his life behind a subpar offensive line. He’s only averaging 13 points a game, so there are plenty of reasons to avoid him this week. However, there’s one reason I’d roll the dice. Newton and the Panthers play the Saints at home. The New Orleans secondary as been picked apart in both games this season, so this has to be the week Cam starts looking like the player we saw two seasons ago. Proceed with caution, but the opportunity is there for him to have a big game.
Matt Stafford – Detroit Lions
Value – $6,200
Matt Stafford should’ve had a better game Monday night against the Giants. He looked sharp in the first half throwing two touchdown passes, but Detroit got up early and iced the game with Ameer Abdullah for much of the second half. I can’t remember the last time Stafford threw for less than 125 yards, but I’m willing to bet it’s been quite a while if ever. He has the opportunity to have a much better statistical game this week against a Falcons defense that has been beatable through the air. This game should be a shootout, and you’ll want to have some players from both teams in your lineup. Stafford is $900 less than Matt Ryan, but I think Stafford has just as good of a game. He’s a bargain this week.
Trevor Siemian – Denver Broncos
Value – $5,500
What if I told you before the season that Trevor Siemian would have the fourth highest points per game average after the first two weeks? Probably stop listening to me for starters, and yet here we are. He’s averaging 225 yards and two touchdowns a game and looks much better than he did at the start of last season. It’s not like he’s played untalented teams either. The Broncos edged out the Chargers in the season opener and went on to trounce the Cowboys the next week. I think one of the biggest reasons for Siemian’s early success is the reemergence of CJ Anderson. He’s playing well and putting together strong performances, which takes the pressure off Siemian to carry the team. On paper the matchup this week against the Bills looks intimidating as Buffalo is ranked 9th in the league against quarterbacks. However, they’ve faced Josh McCown and a struggling Cam Newton so far. I like Siemian’s chances to continue his early season success, and he’s incredibly affordable at only $5,500.
Hail Mary play:
DeShone Kizer – Cleveland Browns
Value – $5,000
Kizer had a strong NFL debut against the Steelers to open the season throwing for 222 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, the wheels completely fell off last week when the rookie starting dealing with a migraine during the game. He eventually returned but finished the game with 182 yards and four turnovers against the Ravens. He’ll have a much easier matchup this week when he travels to Indianapolis to face the Colts. As long as there are no migraine flare ups I think Kizer has a chance to put up decent numbers.
Jay Ajayi – Miami Dolphins
Value – $7,700
Jay Ajayi picked up right where he left off in his season debut rushing for 122 yards on a whopping 28 carries. It’s clear that the Dolphins are wanting to lean heavily on their workhouse running back to keep from putting their fate in the hands of Jay Cutler, and I don’t blame them. The only concern with Ajayi’s performance was that he didn’t find the end zone, but touchdowns will come with time. He’ll look to improve on an impressive performance this week against a Jets defense that’s currently second to last in the league against running backs. Another big game is certainly not out of the question.
Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Packers
Value – $6,900
Montgomery has been impressive in his first two games this season. I honestly wasn’t sold on the wide receiver turned running back heading into the year, but I’ve been wrong in the past so no surprise there. Montgomery hasn’t blown me away with his rushing totals so far, but his involvement in the passing game makes him an incredibly valuable asset in Draft Kings since it’s PPR scoring. He only rushed for 35 yards last week against the Falcons but added 75 receiving yards and two total touchdowns.His versatility basically assures he’ll rarely come off the field, and a three down back is rare in the NFL these days. I think he continues his hot streak this week against a Bengals team that has looked terrible to start the year.
Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams
Value – $6,800
Finally, here is the Todd Gurley we all fell in love with his rookie year. Those that drafted him in traditional leagues last season more than likely still have a bitter taste in their mouths. It seems like Gurley just needed a new coach to come in and shake things up a bit. He’s averaging just over 24 fantasy points a game in the first two weeks and is obviously the focal point of this offense. What’s most encouraging is how involved Gurley has been in the passing game. He’s averaging four catches and 52 yards as a receiver out of the backfield, and scored one of his three touchdowns through the air. I’m full speed ahead on Gurley heading into this week’s matchup against 22nd ranked defense against running backs in the San Francisco 49ers.
Tarik Cohen – Chicago Bears
Value – $5,600
It’s taken me a couple of weeks to warm up to Cohen, and I think this is the week I roll him out there. While he’s not your typical NFL running back (think Darren Sproles, not Ezekiel Elliott), it’s clear the Bears want to get this kid the football. I especially like him after Jordan Howard’s abysmal performance last week. It’s clear Howard isn’t fully healthy and reports were he had his arm in a sling after the game. If he’s banged up and misses time, then Cohen is a must start against the Steelers this week. The rookie would automatically become the Bears’ most dynamic player on the field. The Steelers will be a tough test, but $5,600 is dirt cheap for Cohen if Howard is limited.
Hail Mary play:
Amber Abdullah – Detroit Lions
Value – $4,700
Abdullah was my later round value pick in drafts this season. Unfortunately, the first two games have not been encouraging as an owner. He did lay an egg in the season opener, but Detroit used him to close out the game against the Giants Monday night. Abdullah finished the day with 86 yards on 17 rushes with an average of over 5 yards per carry. That’s pretty solid considering he only gained 30 yards on the ground the week before. I’m tentatively optimistic heading into a home game against the Falcons this week. Atlanta has given up some points to running backs in the first two games, and I think this will be a competitive high scoring game. If Abdullah produces decent numbers he’s a steal at only $4,700
Keenan Allen – Los Angeles Chargers
Value – 7,200
I said before the season that I think Keenan Allen has the talent and quarterback to finish as a top ten wide receiver if he can stay healthy. That’s a big if when you look at his injury history, but he’s performed well in the first two games. Phillip Rivers has targeted his favorite receiver 10 times in each game, and Allen caught all but one of them for 100 yards against the Dolphins last week. It’s easy to look at his matchup with the Chiefs this week and shy away due to Kansas City’s defense. I don’t think they shut down Allen and Rivers though. They just gave up 333 passing yards Carson Wentz and allowed Alshon Jeffrey to catch seven passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. Allen is a solid play this week at home.
Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers
Value – $6,700
As I said with Cam Newton, it’s Big Kel or bust this week. I’m giving both of these guys one more shot. If we see another lackluster performance I’m probably out for the foreseeable future. Both Benjamin and his quarterback have improved over the first two games of the season, and the imposing wide receiver hauled in six catches for 77 yards last week. Benjamin is a massive pass catcher and was a force in the red zone as a rookie. I would love to see him get back into that groove this season. The Saints are one of the most vulnerable defenses in the league against both quarterbacks and wide receivers. I’m hoping Kelvin Benjamin can take advantage.
Alshon Jeffrey – Philadelphia Eagles
Value – $5,900
When we learned that Alshon Jeffrey would be taking his talents to Philadelphia I was intrigued. Here we had an elite veteran receiver going to play with an up and coming rookie quarterback that showed he could be a top tier signal caller at times in his rookie year. One thing was certain, Jeffrey was going to be a hell of a lot better off with the Eagles then the Bears. Alshon’s Eagles debut was disappointing to say the least. He was targeted seven times but only had 38 yards. Last week against the Chiefs was much more in line with what we’ve come to expect as the veteran caught 7 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. His rapport with Wentz should only grow moving forward, and they face an underwhelming Giants defense this week. Don’t be surprised if he has another solid game. He’s also affordable at $5,900.
Jermaine Kearse – New York Jets
Value – $4,600
Ok, hear me out on this one. I agree that the Jets are terrible. I’ll also admit that there’s nobody on this team that I feel comfortable playing on a weekly basis. That being said, Kearse has strung together two quality football games with his new team. As bad as they are the Jets still play every week, and somebody on this team as to be a focal point. Through two weeks that appears to be Jermaine Kearse. The former Seahawk has 11 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games and seems to have the trust of Josh McCown. The Jets defense has surrendered 21 points against the Bills and 45 points against the Raiders in the first two weeks, so we know they’ll be playing from behind. Kearse is a risky play but could pay off with a low price tag.
Hail Mary play:
Rashard Higgins – Cleveland Browns
Value – $4,000
Higgins will be a popular dart play this week after catching seven passes for 95 yards on 11 targets last week against the Ravens. It’s clear that the Browns are still a bad football team. However, as I said with the Jets, they still play a game each week. The Browns just put Corey Coleman on injured reserve with a broken hand, and Kenny Britt is not playing like the receiver they paid to replace Terrelle Pryor. With so many question marks on this team it’s hard to endorse any one player, but Higgins has just a good a chance as any of them at putting together a solid stat line. It also helps that he plays a Colts defense that’s currently ranked 24th against the wide receiver position.
Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
Value – $6,000
I’m not sure I’m a Travis Kelce fan. It seems like this guy has morphed into this cocky pain in the ass that’s always mouthing off to officials and getting penalties called on his team. It used to be funny. Now it’s just happening way too often. I’ll say one thing though, this guy is a damn good tight end. Kelce was targeted ten times against the Eagles last week and caught eight of them for 103 yards and a touchdown. He is by far the most consistent pass catcher they have and has the undivided attention of Alex Smith. I like him again this week against the Chargers on the road. Los Angeles is ranked 15th against tight ends after two games, but they’ve only faced Virgil Green and Julius Thomas. Kelce should put up solid numbers.
Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
Value – $5,000
I’m going to keep playing Ertz until he shows that I shouldn’t. He’s averaging over six catches and 95 yards a game over the first two weeks and seems to have great chemistry with Carson Wentz. The only negative is he hasn’t scored a touchdown, but he’s still tied for third with Gronk for most fantasy points in average. He’s still an inexpensive option at $5,000 and faces the Giants this week. New York has given up big games to both Jason Witten and Eric Ebron so far this season, so Ertz should shred this defense. Proceed with confidence.
Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts
Value – $3,600
Jack freaking Doyle. Everyone’s favorite farm boy bounced back from a disappointing season debut to catch eight passes for 79 yards last week against the Cardinals. I attribute some of that to the coaching staff making the switch from Scott Tolzien to Jacoby Brissett. Brissett isn’t going to put up huge numbers, but he isn’t a turnover machine like his counterpart. He also seems to like Doyle as a security blanket and targeted the tight end eight times. This week’s game against the Browns should be an epic matchup of two very subpar teams, but I think it’s clear that Indianapolis should still be the better team. I like Doyle as a high risk/high reward option this week.
Evan Engram – New York Giants
Value – $3,200
Engram was going to be my Hail Mary play this week. Instead I’ll call this a “I don’t think it’ll happen but it might” pick. Engram had almost the exact same stat line on Monday night that he had in his NFL debut. The only difference was five yards and a touchdown. I think he could eventually develop into a special player, and he has the advantage of being used as a wide receiver rather than your prototypical NFL tight end. The biggest difference in two games is targets. Eli Manning looked Engram’s way seven times last week as opposed to five the week prior. The Eagles have given up big games to tight ends in the first two weeks of the season, so 50 yards and a touchdown aren’t crazy numbers to hope for.
Hail Mary play:
David Njoku – Cleveland Browns
Value – $2,800
Njoku is the reason Evan Engram wasn’t in this spot this week. This is a complete fingers crossed, hope for the best selection. There are players that haven’t scored a single point this season priced above him. In a very similar situation to Engram, Njoku has put up nearly identical stat lines in the first two weeks with a touchdown being the only difference. Corey Coleman being put on injured reserve opens up targets in this offense, and I don’t see why the rookie has any less claim to them over anyone else. Like I said with Rishard Higgins, the Colts are simply a bad defense. Play Njoku at your own risk, but thank me if works out.
Who I’m Stacking:
Alex Smith/Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs
Value – $12,500
Tyreek Hill was in the wide receiver section originally, but I thought about it and included him here. Hill is a boom or bust type of player. Anyone who thinks otherwise is blinded by passion. The speedy receiver had a huge game in the first week and a below average one the week after. That’s simply how it’s going to work out if you’re a Tyreek Hill owner. Alex Smith also came back down to earth this week after putting up Brady-like numbers in the opener. He didn’t have a huge game last week against the Eagles, but he still threw for over 250 yards. This is a borderline Hail Mary play, but the Chargers allowed a strong outing to Trevor Siemian in the first game and gave up big points to Jarvis Landry last week. There’s enough value at other positions to make this pairing worth it.
Matt Stafford/Golden Tate – Detroit Lions
Value – $13,100
I think we have a chance to see a shootout in Detroit this week when the Falcons come to town. While I like both quarterbacks in this game, Stafford is priced well below Matt Ryan and should put up similar points. Golden Tate had an off week, but his quarterback only threw 21 passes so I’m not alarmed there. He was targeted 12 times in the first game against the Cardinals and had ten catches for 107 yards. I think both players get back on track this week in what should be a high scoring game.
Hail Mary play:
Mike Glennon/Kendall Wright – Chicago Bears
Value – $9,000
Stay with me on this one. Yes the Bears look like they’ll end up being as one of the worst teams in the league, and there are already calls to bench Glennon for Mitch Trubisky. Considering the talent on the Bears offense, I don’t think a quarterback change helps. Mike Glennon threw for 301 yards and a touchdown last week, but three turnovers killed his point production. Chicago is going to be playing from behind a lot this season, which means they’re going to have to throw the ball. The guy that’s going to be the main beneficiary of that other than the quarterback is Kendall Wright. I have to assume we’ll see the Bears struggle to keep this week’s game against the Steelers competitive for very long. If they fall behind early, then Glennon and Wright have a chance to put up solid numbers.
Steal of the Week:
Buck Allen – Baltimore Ravens
Value – $5,000
It’s still hard for me to believe that Buck Allen has become relevant in fantasy football. I drafted this guy two years ago in a dynasty league. and I ended up dropping him last season after he spent much of the year as a healthy scratch. With both Kenneth Dixon and Danny Woodhead both done for the year the Ravens have deployed both Allen and Terrence West fairly equally in both games this season. However, Allen looks like the guy that will be taking over the pass catching duties, which makes him a value player in PPR formats. In fact, West actually saw six less carries than his counterpart last week. That’s mostly due to an injury, and if he misses time then Buck Allen suddenly emerges as a true three down back. That’s a rarity in the NFL these days. Jacksonville has been respectable against the run on paper, but that’s mostly due to them shutting down a bad Texans offense in the first game of the season. At $5,000 Buck Allen is an absolute steal this week.
I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it each week. I’m truly passionate about fantasy football and love any opportunity to share my opinions with you. As always, hit us up @No_HuddleFFB on Twitter for any questions you might have. Get rich this week!!!