by Will Overton
Week 2 of the season is coming to a close tonight and the waiver process is set to begin again. We’re still approaching things with a bit of cautiousness, but you can’t wait forever. We now have two games to work with and at least a bit bigger sample size to consider. We are going to look at the names who should be considered this week and I’ll give my impression on whether you want to buy, if you should take a hard pass or somewhere in between the two:
Jordan Wilkins, RB – Indianapolis Colts
The running back by committee approach is the worst enemy of fantasy football owners, but with so many teams employing the method it’s hard to avoid all of the situations. The Colts seem to have themselves a three way committee that’s going to leave everyone wanting more. That said, I do think Jordan Wilkins is the best pure back of the bunch, and he was clearly the best yesterday when he used his 10 carries for 61 yards.
Wilkins tied for the team lead in carries with the returning Marlon Mack, but he did this while missing some time in the middle of the game with an ankle injury. He came back and looked fine in the fourth quarter and was able to help control the game and run out the clock. One of Mack and Nyheim Hines should ultimately pull ahead as the pass catching back, but Wilkins seems the guy for between the tackles running, and hopefully goal line carries as well. His success may be game script dependent, not getting as many snaps when the Colts are behind, but if I had to pick just one Colts back he’d be the one.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em if you need the RB depth
Marcus Murphy/Chris Ivory, RB – Buffalo Bills
LeSean McCoy had to leave the game yesterday with a rib injury and was not available to speak with media afterwards due to a report that he was having a hard time talking due to the injury. It’s Sunday Night as I am writing this so there isn’t much news, but this doesn’t sound good (at least for the coming week). When McCoy went out the BIlls we’re already well down and out so there wasn’t much to be taken from this one as Murphy carried the ball three times and Ivory carried it twice. We’re told that Murphy is the number two back for the Bills, but if McCoy were out I would assume Chris Ivory would be splitting the workload given Murphy’s smaller size. This is going to be a situation to monitor, because it really depends on the extent of McCoy’s injury on how you should proceed. The Bills play the Vikings and if McCoy isn’t out or just missing this game you might as well ignore things because the Vikings are stout against the run. If the injury is more long term then both guys could be somewhat viable, with a nod towards Murphy based on potential upside.
Verdict: Watch how things unfold, Murphy is an upside add if McCoy is out long term
Aaron Jones, RB – Green Bay Packers
Just under the 50% owned threshold I use for my waiver articles is Jones. He was drafted in most leagues, but has likely been a casualty cut for owners trying to add pieces after Week 1. Now that Week 2 is complete his suspension has officially been served and he is eligible to make his return. Jamaal Williams has been the lead back for Green Bay through two games, and while he hasn’t been bad he hasn’t done enough to seal up this job. Before getting injured in his rookie season Jones was quite impressive running the ball, carrying it 81 times for 448 yards. From a straight run game perspective Jones seems to be the superior back. That said his pass protection left a lot to be desired last season and time will tell if that’s improved, because the Packers won’t be taking chances with Aaron Rodgers health. This may be another running back by committee situation unfolding, but based on the talent we saw last season Jones is someone who should be rostered across the board.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em in all formats
Dede Westbrook, WR – Jacksonville Jaguars
With Leonard Fournette on the shelf Blake Bortles put the Jaguars on his back in a shocking performance and took down the New England Patriots through the air. It was Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook aiding him along the way and putting up big numbers. Now I am not discussing Cole specifically, just because he is over my 50% mark (but if he is available in your league he is the number one wide receiver to grab). If he’s not available in your league Westbrook isn’t a bad consolation prize as he caught four passes yesterday for 83 yards and a TD. We saw the big play ability Westbrook possesses on the 61 yard score, and that’s the name of the game for him. He’s going to have some dud games but he possesses a lot of flash and speed that he’s able to break one at any given time. There are some other good options to be had at WR, but Westbrook is certainly worth a look if you can grab him in your league.
Verdict: Not the top WR option, but worth an add
John Brown, WR – Baltimore Ravens
For the second week in a row Brown was a key part of the Ravens offense and found himself in the end zone. Brown was tied for the team lead in targets last Thursday with 10, catching four passes for 92 yards and the TD score. I have to think that the fact that the Ravens threw 55 times in the game is a result of going down early and it’s an aberration, but the fact remains Brown might not be the number two target, he might be 1B alongside Michael Crabtree and seems to be the guy Flacco looks to in the end zone, as well as the big play threat while Crabtree has been more of a chain mover. Brown has always had the talent, but was limited in Arizona by his sickle cell disease. I believe he is a legitimate Top 35 wide receiver who will be bordering in WR2 territory a lot when bye weeks start.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em in all formats
Antonio Callaway, WR – Cleveland Browns
The big news over the weekend was surrounding Josh Gordo,n who the Browns are now apparently done with. The word is he will be either traded or cut this week and that leaves targets on the table in Cleveland. The guy who got most of the targets yesterday was Rashard Higgins, 7 targets, but Callaway is the guy who is going to be talked about the most this week. He caught three of his four targets against the Saints for 81 yards, including a 47 yard TD grab. This is the reason he is going to get the buzz, and rightly so, as the absence of Gordon leaves a need for a big play threat . I think you’re going to get some inconsistency along the way and it may be hard to predict when the big games come, but Callaway is going to have a few really big games.
Verdict: High upside buy, but expect some disappearing games
Jesse James, TE – Pittsburgh Steelers
Between Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster the Steelers starting WR were targeted 36 times in yesterday’s game, a really astounding total, but even still neither led the team in receiving. It was James who pulled in five catches on five targets for 136 yards and a TD to lead the way. On a couple of occasions he got behind the Chiefs defense and was able to come up with huge plays. It’s something he also did in Week 1, to a lesser exten,t when he had three catches for 60 yards. James is listed as the second TE on the depth chart, but he’s been outplaying Vance McDonald despite getting the same number of targets. This was a massive game, but I do think we need to pump the breaks a bit. James has no history of being a big play option with a career YPC of 8.9 and he’s also a bit down the list of receiving options and the Steelers aren’t going to throw the ball 60 times every game. I think he’s a decent grab in deeper leagues, but I don’t think we’re going regularly see him in the Top 12.
Verdict: Deny ’em except in deeper leagues
Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings: