Bumps, Bruises and Bowouts
Jimmy Garoppolo – Shoulder
Ameer Abdullah – Foot
Arian Foster – Groin
Jonathan Stewart – Hamstring
Danny Woodhead – Knee
Doug Martin – Hamstring
Thomas Rawls – Leg Bruise
Brandon Marshall – MCL
Josh McCown – Shoulder
Donte Moncrief – Concussion
Virgil Green – Leg
Adrian Peterson – Knee… say it ain’t so, doc…
The NFL is a passing league and that was apparent when ten quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards but only five running backs topped 100 rushing yards. Of those, three belonged to Isaiah Crowell (133), LeGarrette Blount (123) and Fozzy Whitaker (100) who were on most fantasy benches this week. Compare that to the 15 wide receivers that managed to break the century mark.
Injuries and Answers
Week 2 of the NFL season witnessed roughly one in every four teams losing their primary running back to injury. That’s a record pace for changing depth charts and making both NFL and fantasy teams scramble to find replacements.
Ameer Abdullah (Lions) – He only carried six times before injuring his foot and wore a walking boot after the loss to the Titans. Theo Riddick was already the third down back and was part of a 60/40 split in Week 1. Once Abdullah left, Dwayne Washington was given four runs in the second half and gained 31 yards including 28 yards on his first carry. Washington was the seventh round pick in the draft this year and already beat out Zach Zenner to become the primary backup. Riddick would take the primary role but the 6-1, 223 pound back out of Washington would step up in the rotation. Riddick is only 5-9, 201 pounds and the rookie would also take the short yardage and goal line carries as well.
Arian Foster (Dolphins) – Well that didn’t take long. The oft-injured Foster signed with Miami and took over their primary role but already is out with a groin injury that could linger. While Jay Ajayi was inactive in Week 1 purportedly because he was unhappy with being demoted, he’ll be the primary back for as long as Foster remains out. But Ajayi only gained 14 yards on the five carries in the loss to the Patriots. Hosting the Browns this week should be more favorable though this year’s third round rookie in Kenyan Drake will also figure in as he did on Sunday. Drake ran just twice but gained 12 yards and scored on a seven-yard run. The ex-Alabama back was taken earlier than Ajayi was in 2015 and becomes much more notable with Foster potentially missing extended time.
Jonathan Stewart (Panthers) – After only five carries, Stewart left the win over the 49ers in the first quarter and never returned. He was already nursing an ankle injury and strained his hamstring. Stewart has never been a fast healer and could miss at least this week’s matchup with the visiting Vikings. Fozzy Whitaker was effective in relief, gaining 100 yards on 16 carries and adding three catches for 31 yards. Artis Cameron-Payne would become active for games again but Whitaker would remain the replacement. Stewart missed at least three games in each of the last four seasons. His replacement has always been called upon in recent years.
Danny Woodhead (Chargers) – Reuniting with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt already saw Woodhead gained 120 total yards and a score in Week 1. But he was carried from the win over the Jaguars with an apparent serious knee injury. He had more touches than Melvin Gordon but after leaving allowed Gordon a career high 24 carries that gained 102 rushing yards and one touchdown plus three catches for 18 yards – he had no catches in the first game. The loss of Woodhead for any appreciable time would directly pump up Gordon’s workload and he’s proven ready to be a workhorse if needed. Undrafted rookie Kenneth Farrow would figure in as a change of pace back.
Doug Martin (Buccaneers) – Martin suffered a “tweak” to his hamstring and left after only seven carries. Charles Sims is already the receiving half of the backfield and turned in nine carries in the loss to the Cardinals. No other back was used and if Martin remains out, the outlook is only lukewarm for Sims since the schedule hits a nasty streak with the Rams, Broncos and Panthers up next. Jacquizz Rodgers came in for one pass and could see slightly more use but Sims would be the only back to carry fantasy value and mostly because of his role as a receiver.
Thomas Rawls (Seahawks) – He left the loss to the Rams after only seven carries that netted a loss of seven yards with a bruised leg but is not expected to miss Week 3 when the 49ers visit. Christine Michael is already making the backfield a timeshare and rushing more effectively. Barring unforeseen injury, Rawls will return but is less likely to shoulder the same heavy load he had in 2015. The following week in New York to face the Jets will be an even bigger challenge. The fifth-round rookie Alex Collins was used for two carries when Rawls left but Michael will continue to figure in as a significant part of the rotation.
Adrian Peterson (Vikings) – The Vikings already lost their starting quarterback and Peterson’s knee injury will force him to miss at least some time. That will call up both Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata to cover for him in all games necessary. In 2014 when Peterson did not play, McKinnon ran 113 times for 538 yards and added 27 catches for 135 yards. Asiata was the primary back with 164 rushes for 570 yards and nine touchdowns plus 44 receptions for 312 yards and a tenth touchdown. That sort of distribution happened on Sunday night when Asiata was given seven touches to only three for McKinnon.
Don’t have the back-up for your top running backs? Get them now and not later when everyone wants him – but you need him.
Free Agents of the Week
While your waiver wire may already be littered with some gems that others gave up on after just one week, a few new players popped up that need to be considered.
Dennis Pitta (Ravens) –The Ravens already lost Benjamin Watson and second-year tight end Maxx Williams is still slow to make a difference. Enter Dennis Pitta who hasn’t been remotely healthy since 2012 and missed almost the entire last two years. Pitta was as good as 669 yards and seven touchdowns in the past and after catching three passes for 39 yards in Week 1, he turned in nine receptions for 102 yards in the win over the Browns. This offense prefers to use tight ends in the passing scheme and Pitta has become the primary target.
Kyle Rudolph (Vikings) – He’s become less productive in recent years but he was targeted eight times by Sam Bradford on Sunday night. He caught just three passes for 31 yards but scored once. He turned in 65 yards on four catches in Week 1. If he maintains that level of contribution, he’ll merit at least a bye week replacement start.
DeVante Parker (Dolphins) – He received mostly negative press in the preseason and missed Week 1` due to a lingering hamstring injury. But the third overall wideout drafted in 2015 ended his rookie year with three games over 80 yards and his first action of this season saw him snare eight passes for 106 yards against the Patriots. He went undrafted in smaller leagues and was even dropped in a few larger ones when he could not play in Week 1. The Dolphins rushing offense looks even worse this year and the passing game will be heavily relied on.
Fozzy Whitaker (Panthers) – As mentioned, Jonathan Stewart’s lack of durability is already a factor and Whitaker was successful in the defeat of the 49ers.
The next six weeks will provide value from your waiver wire as depth charts and injury situations sort themselves out. There will also be more than a few players released that are merely getting a slow start to the season. By mid-season, the only picks of note will be replacing an injured starter.
BAL 25, CLE 20
The Browns were given up for dead but prematurely it seems. They jumped out to a 20-2 lead in the first quarter before realizing what they were doing. The great news was that the rookie Corey Coleman scored twice on his five catches for 104 yards and Isaiah ran 18 times for 48 yards plus that one extra run for an 85-yard touchdown. Gary Barnidge is still missing. The Ravens won with Mike Wallace scoring two more times this week and Dennis Pitta catching nine passes for 120 yards. This was a surprise since it had about twice the total points expected based off what happed for both in Week 1.
TEN 16, DET 15
This was the sort of game that the Lions were supposed to score big home points. Not so. The same team that won at Indy in a shootout last week Instead they only scored one touchdown and the only Lion with a shred of fantasy success was Marvin Jones (8-118). Marcus Mariota rekindled 2015 and mostly threw to Delanie Walker (6-83, TD). No wideout had more than 40 yards though Andre Johnson’s lone catch was the game winner. DeMarco Murray ended with 89 yards on just 12 carries thanks to a 67-yard run but Derrick Henry took nine runs for 40 yards to split up the backfield more than Week 1.
KC 12, HOU 19
Have to hate any game where no team breaks 20 points though apparently this year we need to just get used to it. These teams do sport good defenses though and the only big game belonged to DeAndre Hopkins (7-113, TD). Will Fuller did not score but logged his second straight 100 yard game when he had four receptions for 104 yards. Lamar Miller was held to 97 total yards and Spencer Ware was much less spectacular with no scores and 105 total yards. He only ran ten times and Charcandrick West had six runs. At least Hopkins still played up to expectations.
MIA 24, NE 31
The Patriots had this won pretty much by half time but they lost Jimmy Garoppolo and the Fins posted 21 unanswered points over the final quarter and a half to make it much more interesting. Ryan Tannehill passed for 389 yards and two scores while they lost Arian Foster and with him any specter of a rushing offense. But Jarvis Landry (10-137) and Devante Parker (8-106) both had monster games even if they did not score. LeGarrette Blount ran for 123 yards and one score while Martellus Bennett defied all the reports by being the most productive receiver for the Pats with 5-114-1 just like you thought he would in Week 1 before you cut him last week.. Danny Amendola scored twice but only had 50 yards on four catches. The question now is what the Pats do for two weeks if Garoppolo cannot play? Besides beating the visiting Texans and Bills?
NO 13, NYG 16
Don’t cry because it happened. Smile because when they met last year they combined for 13 touchdowns and 855 passing yards. No – that’s stupid. I’m just “Hot girl likes your friend instead” bitter. I hope both teams take some time out on Monday to just sit and think about what a great thing they have ruined. YOU OWE ME TWELVE TOUCHDOWNS!
CIN 16, PIT 24
Solid win by the Steelers even though Antonio Brown had a rare off game (4-39) and Eli Rogers all but disappeared. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 259 yards and three scores. Andy Dalton threw for 366 yards and one score to Giovani Bernard (9-100, TD) who was the only real weapon for the Bengals who only rushed for a total of 39 yards. It was more fun last year when the Steelers secondary was so bad but they are playing far better this season. But any game where A.J. Green and Antonio Brown combined for only six catches for 77 is just not a game worth having.
DAL 27, WAS 23
Dak Prescott still hasn’t thrown a touchdown but he made no mistakes, threw for 292 yards and ran in one of the three touchdowns for Dallas. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 83 yards and a touchdown. And Dez Bryant (7-102) is okay again so get down off that ledge. The Cowboys defense held all but Jordan Reed (5-70) to very mediocre numbers. The Redskins fall to 0-2 and both were at home. That’s a problem that has been noticed.
TB 7, ARI 40
Week 1 was fun for the Bucs but Week 2 was more what they are going to be facing in the first half of the season/ They lost Doug Martin and no one rushed for more than 29 yards. Mike Evans (6-70, TD) was the only fantasy relevant player on the entire team. Carson Palmer passed for 308 yards and three scores and David Johnson ended with 142 total yards thanks in part to a 58-yard catch. Larry Fitzgerald (6-81, TD) continues his hot streak like last year before he slowed down at midseason.
SEA 3, LA 9
Yeah, just cry because it happened. All the Seahawks are. Only the Rams can enjoy a win with only nine points of offense. Rams have won their last three games versus the Seahawks.
IND 20, DEN 34
There were only two players of any fantasy note in this entire game. C.J. Anderson with 93 total yards and one score and Demaryius Thomas with five catches for 90 yards despite everything leading up to the game screaming DECOY! DECOY! But he wasn’t. He was the only player on either team with more than 50 receiving yards. Imagine that even a year or two ago! Pitiful.
ATL 35, OAK 28
This was an upset but it was one of the few games that featured points and bad defenses. Matt Ryan threw for 396 yards and three scores with Julio Jones (5-106, TD) and Devonta Freeman (17-93) as the two top players like is supposed to happen. Amari Cooper (5-71) led the Raiders who are splitting up the backfield workload almost evenly between three running backs but at least Latavius Murray scored once and had a combined 101 yards, Both quarterbacks did a great job spreading all the passes around. But at least there were touchdowns and several decent fantasy performances from the usual starters.
JAX 14, SD 38
The Chargers won big despite losing Danny Woodhead. Melvin Gordon totaled 120 yards and a score while Travis Benjamin (6-115, 2 TD) blew up with Keenan Allen out of the picture. More troubling was that while Blake Bortles passed for 329 yards and two scores, he was also the lead rusher with 34 yards. And Allen Robinson only managed 3-54 while his nervous owners are starting to worry. Philip Rivers threw for four touchdowns and once again he’s working with a quickly disintegrating team around him.
GB 14, MIN 17
Well. A good defense matters a lot. The Vikings lost Adrian Peterson but Sam Bradford made a star out of Stefon Diggs (9-182, TD) who is shattering all expectations regardless of which quarterback is under center. No other Vikings player gained more than 41 yards. But the MIN defense held Aaron Rodgers to only 213 yards and one score to Jordy Nelson (5-73). This was just another low scoring, defensive affair. And while the Vikings have now lost their starting quarterback and running back, they still look like the best that the NFC North has to offer.
Huddle Player of the Week
Stefon Diggs – Now onto his third quarterback in the last month, it just doesn’t matter. Diggs opened with 103 yards on seven catches in Tennessee and now just pasted the Packers with nine catches for 182 yards and a score. With Peterson hurt, Diggs stepped up and dominated the game. It is just two games but they were two great games despite tough situations. Diggs stepped up and made the difference for two weeks now.
Drama 101 – Somebody has to Laugh, Somebody has to Cry
|QB||Blaine Gabbert||253||3||QB||Andrew Luck||219||1|
|RB||Fozzy Whitaker||131||0||RB||Doug Martin||23||0|
|RB||Isaiah Crowell||148||1||RB||Danny Woodhead||31||0|
|WR||Danny Amendola||50||2||WR||Allen Robinson||54||0|
|WR||Marquise Goodwin||112||1||WR||A.J. Green||38||0|
|WR||Greg Salas||89||1||WR||Antonio Brown||39||0|
|TE||Dennis Pitta||102||0||TE||Travis Kelce||34||0|
|PK||Nick Folk||3 FG 4 XP||PK||Steven Hauschka||1 FG|
|Huddle Fantasy Points = 132||Huddle Fantasy Points = 36|
Sunday’s Couch Commentary
This is a standard, head-scratching year bent on frustrating in the early stages. The games mostly all went off as defensive wars and when the Saints and Giants clash and it only produces one offensive touchdown, that is just not right. It all begs for some new NFL rules to favor the offenses so we can get the fantasy points up. The quarterbacks are not only doing really well, but almost all of them are doing well. Go look at the fantasy points in your league. Cam Newton has been gold again so far but there’s been a lot of “okay” choices for the position already.
Injuries have already decimated some fantasy rosters after just two weeks and it always seems that the injuries are usually at the first of the game when you get nearly nothing on the day plus lose your guy. There were a few decent games that went off thankfully and the Falcons-Raiders were a strong contender but instead there was one game that was all about goodness, America, Truth and fantasy points. And mostly fantasy points.
San Francisco 27, Carolina 46
On a week where half the teams failed to break 20 points, getting 73 points with anything featuring the 49ers has to be considered as a treat. Cam Newton blew up for 353 yards and four touchdowns and the Panthers featured a rare 100 yard rusher. Granted, it was Fozzy Whitaker but who really expects a big game from Stewart anymore? Greg Olsen (5-122, TD) and Kelvin Benjamin (7-108, 2 TD) had monster games and even Devin Funchess came in for a touchdown catch just to irk those fantasy owners that dumped him last week.
The 49ers got 243 yards and two scores from Blaine Gabbert who scored with Vance McDonald (1-75, TD) and Torrey Smith (3-55, TD) who were almost certainly the only receivers that anyone would give a fantasy start. Carlos Hyde was left out with only 62 total yards but he played in Carolina so the expectations had to be low anyway.
Now onward to assess the damage to my rosters from the weekend’s blood letting with running backs. Hope your rosters were untouched but that would be a minor miracle with so many out. On the plus side, with so many injuries we should all have a shot at acquiring someone this week.
Now get back to work…