What a fun ride the NFL season is… Depending on how your year has gone to this point that wasn’t meant literally, but if you drafted Pat Mahomes or Lamar Jackson along with Dalvin Cook things look great.
Each week you have to deal with injuries and poor performances, while also working to make sure you don’t overreact and make a move you are sure to regret. The idea of churning the bulk of your roster on a weekly basis is appealing, but then you end up just chasing points. At the same time you don’t want to let a productive contributor slip through the cracks and end up on a competing team.
I’m going to try and not repeat names here multiple weeks, and in reality I shouldn’t have to as these players will ultimately find their way onto rosters, and this also isn’t meant to be an all encompassing list. Instead, these are some players that I feel either are worth a closer look, or that have some buzz surrounding them.
Without further ado, here you go:
Teddy Bridgewater – QB – New Orleans Saints
At this point the word is that Drew Brees will be out for at least a few weeks, but it’s going to be quite hard for the quarterback to return if he can’t grip the football. That leaves us with Bridgewater under center for the Saints, and it’s not completely fair to judge him based on the results this past Sunday. It was a game plan designed for Brees, the Rams certainly are a tough opponent and the Saints were on the road. With Alvin Kamara gaining just 45 yards on the ground the rushing game wasn’t much help, as Bridgewater went 17-for-30 and threw for 165 yards.
Given the prolific nature of the Saints’ offensive there is going to be attention focused on Bridgewater this week, but in leagues that start just one quarterback I would likely keep going. The Seahawks don’t have the defense they once did, but facing them in Seattle isn’t an easy endeavor.
Mason Rudolph – QB – Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger’s season is over, so that brings us to Rudolph. Pittsburgh travels to San Francisco in Week 3 as they look to pick up their first victory of the season, but they will have to face a 49ers team that is surprisingly tough on both sides of the ball. After entering the game Rudolph was 12 for 19 with 112 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and he showed that he could be a serviceable option. For next week I like him slightly better than Bridgewater, but it’s also possible you can find a better option either on the waiver wire or your bench. In most leagues, again two quarterback or super-flex leagues are different, you don’t need to replace your injured starter with his replacement.
Derek Carr – QB – Oakland Raiders
We covered the injury replacements first because they are going to be fresh in your mind, but Carr is one option that has been kicking around the waiver wire and makes more sense for your fantasy team. It was a losing effort for Carr this week against the Chiefs and he only threw for 198 yards and a touchdown. This is after he was an efficient 22 for 26 in the season opener with 259 passing yards and a touchdown. He likely won’t blow up and throw for four touchdowns next week in Minnesota but the possibility is there, and at the very least there is consistency within the Oakland offense.
Josh Allen – QB – Buffalo Bills
After drafting Allen as a backup, I actually started him (wisely so over Jameis Winston) this week. I’m going to try to avoid repeat mentions in back to back weeks here, but with Allen still owned in just 36.4% of ESPN leagues (as of Sunday night) I can’t help myself. This is also under the backdrop of the injuries to Brees and Roethlisberger. Allen isn’t going to set the world afire, but he passed for a very solid 253 yards with a touchdown while not turning the ball over. What puts him squarely on my radar is the fact that he gained 21 yards on the ground (seven carries) while finding the end zone.
Carlos Hyde – RB – Houston Texans
After two weeks how long it lasts might be a different story, but it is clear that Hyde still has something left in the tank. What is also clear is that the Texans acquired Hyde to use as their featured running back. After carrying the ball 10 times for 83 yards to start the season, Hyde got the ball for 20 carries this week and he turned that into 90 yards. It’s hard to argue with a solid 4.5 yards per carry, and Houston has also made it clear that Hyde will not have a role in the passing game. We can appreciate the fact that, at least for two weeks, the division of work in their backfield is clear. If the workload continues, Hyde should find the end zone before long.
Raheem Mostert – RB – San Francisco 49ers
With the offensive firepower the 49ers are showing through two weeks there is room for two running backs. Given Matt Brieda’s injury history San Francisco is going to make sure not to overload him, and on Sunday he carried the ball just 12 times; although he did gain 121 yards. That still left more than enough of an opportunity for Mostert as he picked up 13 carries. He too found plenty of room to run, 83 yards, but Mostert also made an impact in the passing game with three receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown on four targets. Don’t let him sit on the waiver wire for another week.
Kallen Ballage – RB – Miami Dolphins
Game flow certainly isn’t going to work to the advantage of any Miami running backs, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore the position either. It seems odd to be advocating for any member of Miami’s offense, but depending on your roster situation it’s better to be a week early than a week too late. With trade speculation potentially surrounding Kenyon Drake and the fact that Ballage might be the more talented running back, he is worth a look. Drake gained 19 yards on six carries this week while Ballage picked up six yards on four carries so I wouldn’t bid much in the way of FAAB, but if you find yourself with an extra roster spot maybe throw a dart?
Jaylen Samuels – RB – Pittsburgh Steelers
Amidst the carnage that was Week 2 James Conner emerged relatively unscathed. Well health wise at least as Pittsburgh’s offense will take a hit with Roethlisberger sidelined. Conner dealt with a knee injury last week, but all indications are that all systems are a go for this week. With five carries for 22 yards and two receptions for 15 yards Samuels hasn’t exactly been a factor yet this season, but last year when Conner was sidelined he showed what is capable of. If you have the roster space and are a Conner owner, Samuels might be worth a stash on your bench in case his status does change. It is always better to be a week early rather than a week late, but I wouldn’t go too far out of my way to do so.
Deebo Samuel – WR – San Francisco 49ers
I guess the 49ers were serious about their assessment of Dante Pettis in training camp. If we needed any proof of that, Pettis didn’t even catch a pass on Sunday. This comes after he caught just one pass for seven yards in the season opener, so it was as much of a trend as two games can be. What this means that there is opportunity somewhere else in the San Francisco offense. On Sunday that was Samuel. After catching all three of his targets for 17 yards last week he was targeted seven times this week. Samuel was able to translate that into five receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown, and as San Francisco’s most targeted receiving option I would expect this continue into next week as well.
Demarcus Robinson/Mecole Hardman – WR – Kansas City Chiefs
I know that they are two different players, and with Tyreke Hill sidelined and the Chiefs offense being what it is both wide receivers need to be targeted. The chances of acquiring both are unlikely and probably not a prudent strategy either as you wouldn’t start the two receivers together, so of the two Robinson is who I would target. Hardman, who received more attention both in the preseason and entering last week, is a solid consolation prize.
They went from being targeted three times in week one, Robinson caught one pass for zero yards, to being targeted six times each last week. Robinson caught all six of his targets for 172 yards and two touchdowns while Hardman added four receptions for 61 yards, which included a 41 yard touchdown catch. We know the Kansas City offense is going to support multiple receivers, and I don’t want to see either below my 50% ownership threshold next week.
Randall Cobb – WR – Dallas Cowboys
Cobb turned into an afterthought last season, but through two weeks the Dallas offense appears to be agreeing with him. Let’s be honest, it has been quite impressive and the Cowboys don’t show any signs of slowing down (especially facing the Dolphins next week). Even with a healthy Michael Gallup, Cobb was targeted five and six times respectively to begin the season, and he has nine receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. Gallup will now be sidelined for at least the next two weeks, and that means Cobb’s role should only stand to increase.
Will Dissly – TE – Seattle Seahawks
Tight ends are touchdown dependent. Aside from the top few options at the position, that is a mantra we need to keep on repeating. After being targeted twice to open the season, catching one pass for 12 yards, things went differently for Dissly last week as he caught all five of his targets for 50 yards. That stat line is likely something you can bank on going forward, but what truly caught our attention was his two touchdown receptions. Dissly is the starter in Seattle, and if you find yourself streaming a tight end he might be worth a closer look. Remember, we are just two weeks into the season and all it takes is one touchdown catch to change your mind about a tight end.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings: