by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just hours before the start of Week 2 I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears – Running Back
Battling a shoulder injury Howard has been limited in practice this past week and that has led to speculation that he could face a decline in playing time. Considering the emergence of Tarik Cohen in Week 1, as well as what could be a tough Tampa Bay front to run against (they added DT Chris Baker in the offseason), and the game flow could easily help to limit Howard though if you were concerned about him sitting all together don’t be:
Bears’ RB Jordan Howard, listed as questionable for today due to shoulder injury, is expected to play vs Bucs, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2017
The Bears could utilize both Howard and Cohen, considering the questionable receiving corps, but that only further adds to the rise of value in Cohen. Given the injury and potentially limited usage, Howard is trending down towards more of a low-end RB2/FLEX option (while Cohen is looking like the better play).
Verdict – Consider him more of a FLEX if possible
Odell Beckham – New York Giants – Wide Receiver
For the second straight week the Giants will play in prime time, and that’s going to again make this a little bit of a tricky situation with the lack of potentially alternatives if there’s a late change in status. That said things are pointing in the right direction, as Jordan Raanan recently tweeted:
Don’t be surprised to see Odell Beckham play Monday night. Everything seems to be trending in that direction barring a setback, per source.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) September 15, 2017
If Beckham is on the field he’s an obvious must play, even if he is limited in what he can do. Given the way the Giants’ offense looked in Week 1, you know he’s going to be the focus and 50-75% of Beckham is still better than most receivers in the league. You are going to want to try and protect yourself, if possible, but unless you are loaded at WR he’s going to be worth using in all formats.
Verdict – A gamble, but one worth taking
Thomas Rawls – Seattle Seahawks – Running Back
He’s been removed from the injury report and is going to make his 2017 debut, but does that mean he’s a trustworthy option? The Seattle backfield was already muddy, at best, as they will rotate between Rawls, Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise and Chris Carson. That’s a lot of mouths to feed, and unless someone really gets going and forces the issue there simply may not be enough touches (and especially enough productive touches behind a shaky offensive line) for any of them to be worth utilizing. Until we get some clarity, this is going to be a situation to avoid unless you are desperate.
Verdict – Best left on the bench
Jaron Brown – Arizona Cardinals – Wide Receiver
John Brown has been ruled out with a quad injury and we already knew that David Johnson has been lost for the foreseeable future. That leaves a gaping hole in the offense, and Jaron Brown is a logical candidate to step up and play a significant role as there should be enough opportunity for him, Larry Fitzgerald (who is a WR1) and J.J. Nelson (who had 5 receptions for 43 yards and 1 TD in Week 1).
Brown didn’t have a target in Week 1, but that was with John Brown and Johnson on the field and taking up 18 targets. The Colts struggled with opposing wide receivers in Week 1 (13 receptions, 194 yards, 1 TD) and the opportunities will be there. Consider him a high risk, high reward WR3 for those in the deepest of formats.
Verdict – Potential WR3 in deep formats
Hunter Henry – San Diego Chargers – Tight End
There were only five teams who allowed more than 8 TD to opposing tight ends last season, and the Miami Dolphins were among them (10). While he struggled in Week 1 (he wasn’t targeted at all) does anyone really think that Henry’s not going to make an impact moving forward? The Chargers need him to be a part of the offense and look for that to be a focus this week. While he’s not a must play, depending on your alternatives he’s a worthwhile low-end TE1.
Verdict – Low-end TE1
Jarvis Landry – Miami Dolphins – Wide Receiver
He’s expected to play and according to Ian Rapoport (via Twitter) it will be “without limitation”. That said there is a little bit of risk, so it makes sense to drop him down a few spots on the rankings though not far enough to remove him from WR3 status. Especially in PPR formats he’s well worth using.
Verdict – Still a viable WR3
Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings – Quarterback
The news isn’t about Diggs or Thielen, but their quarterback. According to Adam Schefter (via Twitter):
Vikings believe Sam Bradford, listed as Q for Sunday, will be gametime decision, per source. They plan to work him out pregame, then decide.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 17, 2017
The fact that the Vikings promoted QB Kyle Sloter off the practice squad shows that there is real concern. If Bradford can’t play it will be Case Keenum under center, and that would lead to both Diggs and Thielen taking a hit in potential value. While they’d both be usable, they are going to drop down closer to WR3 (Diggs)/WR4 (Thielen) alternatives. Monitor the news and proceed with caution.
Verdict – Drop them each down 1 level if Bradford sits
Rex Burkhead – New England Patriots – Running Back
The Patriots are extremely thin at wide receiver, with the recently acquired Philip Dorsett suddenly assuming the third receiver role. In other words there are going to be opportunities for others to step up, like Burkhead (who could see time in the slot) or Dwayne Allen. It’s hard to trust many Patriots even when we do have an idea of their role (i.e. Mike Gillislee), so trying to speculate and hope that any of them get significant opportunities would be misguided. Outside of the obvious (like Rob Gronkowski or Brandin Cooks), the risk is far too high.
Verdict – If you are desperate he’s a dart throw FLEX
Terrance Williams – Dallas Cowboys – Wide Receiver
With their being questions surrounding Dez Bryant, taking on a tough Denver secondary, you may want to push Williams up on your rankings a little bit. While he’s expected to play (as per Adam Schefter via twitter), he is banged up and the Broncos’ secondary is among the best in the league and can stifle multiple receivers. If you are in need of a back end option, look elsewhere.
Verdict – Don’t trust
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 2 rankings: