🛒 4 Must-Add Players For Week 2

The injuries pile up...

Pres by Wexex

In today's Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Webex:

  • 4 injuries we need to monitor

  • QB1s primed to bounce back: Don’t panic on these guys

  • It’s bleak for the Jets

  • Buy, Sell, Hold: Buy the dip…

  • It’s 9/13. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

The Aaron Rodgers injury may steal the headlines, but there are four other dicey situations with big fantasy ramifications that we need to monitor closely this week…

🚑️ Austin Ekeler (ankle) - Timeline: week-to-week

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said Ekeler is dealing with an ankle injury and his practice status for today is “uncertain.”

Specifics are hard to come by right now, but some doctors fear it could be a high ankle sprain.

✍️ Fantasy action

Joshua Kelley (16-91-1) was a priority add even before this news, so it’s worth being extra aggressive if he’s somehow still floating on your waiver wire. You can read more about Kelley in Chris Allen’s Week 2 Waiver Wire column.

LAC RBs

🚑️ Kenneth Gainwell (ribs) - Timeline: ?

Gainwell was one of the biggest surprises in Week 1 after he dominated the Eagles backfield touches (62% of snaps, 61% of rushing attempts & a 4% target share).

But that big workload appears to have done a toll on him and he looks legitimately questionable for Week 2 with the Eagles playing Thursday night on a short week:

✍️ Fantasy action

We’ll obviously know more after today’s practice reports (Gainwell didn’t practice yesterday), but D’Andre Swift, Rashaad Penny, and Boston Scott all need to be rostered (in that order as far as priority).

Swift would likely be the biggest beneficiary if Gainwell were to miss action, especially after Nick Sirianni vowed to get him more involved.

🚑️ Diontae Johnson (hamstring) - Timeline: 4 weeks

The Steelers confirmed yesterday that Johnson will be sidelined “a few weeks” after he suffered a hamstring injury vs. the Niners and reporter Gerry Dulac followed up this morning that the timeline could be closer to a month.

✍️ Fantasy action

Chris highlighted Allen Robinson (tied for team-high in targets in the second half) in his waiver column and I’ll also toss out deeper sleeper Calvin Austin as a name to watch.

The second-year WR is a speedster (4.32 40-yard dash) who earned 6 targets on 54% of the routes for a very intriguing 21% target per route run.

🚑️ Greg Dulcich (hamstring) - Timeline: Multiple weeks

The Dulcich dream was already looking dicey thanks to the Broncos TE-by-committee approach, but now it is really on hold with the 2nd-year TE expected to be sidelined for multiple weeks with a hamstring injury.

✍️ Fantasy action

Like Kelley, Adam Trautman was already firmly on the waiver radar after running 62% of the routes and earning a 16% target share, but he now becomes a priority add in Dulcich’s absence.

If we’ve learned one thing from the Broncos this year, it’s don’t bet against Sean Payton’s guys:

Trautman UR

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Bounce Back QB1s

If you drafted an early-round QB this season, chances are you walked away from your Week 1 matchup confused, disappointed, and betrayed. Should you hit the panic button? Ian Hartitz is here to advise…

It was just one week.

Only 60 minutes of football were played.

No need to panic, plenty of weeks left.

BUT: There were an alarming amount of duds from some of the NFL’s brightest stars under center, both in real life and in fantasy land.

Seriously: Just look at the top-five highest-scoring QBs from Week 1.

  1. Tua Tagovailoa (28.1 fantasy points)

  2. Mac Jones (25.1)

  3. Jordan Love (23)

  4. Anthony Richardson (21.9)

  5. Deshaun Watson (21.7)

Overall, Patrick Mahomes (QB7 finish) was the only top-six signal-caller in preseason ADP to finish higher than QB15 during the first 60 minutes of 2023.

If you drafted a QB early this season, you were not happy on Sunday.

Some notable duds from six different QBs who all finished as top-nine options at the position in fantasy points per game last season:

  • Jalen Hurts: 12.5 fantasy points (QB19)

  • Josh Allen: 12 (QB20)

  • Geno Smith: 9.1 (QB25)

  • Lamar Jackson: 7.6 (QB27)

  • Daniel Jones: 6.5 (QB28)

  • Joe Burrow: 3.2 (QB31)

When comparing vs. weekly fantasy production since the beginning of last season, Allen, Burrow, Jackson and Jones posted their lowest single-game totals, while Hurts and Geno produced their second-lowest marks.

It’s also at least somewhat ironic that pretty much every QB who got a big-money extension with their employer over the offseason REALLY struggled in their first game action since.

More money, more problems, am I right? (Seriously, am I right? Personally, I have no idea).

That said: It really was only one week. Keep your composure people.

Let’s take a closer look at these respective situations to get an idea of what exactly went wrong, and whether or not fantasy managers should expect a bounce back in Week 2 and beyond.

Bounce Back QB1s

🦅 Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

🎭️ The Performance

Hurts threw for just 170 yards with one TD and zero INTs while also chipping in 37 scoreless yards on the ground.

The performance would have looked a bit prettier had A.J. Brown not ever so slightly bobbled this downfield dime, but either way, this was a road game in Foxborough that we’re talking about here.

The Eagles’ franchise QB still posted top-10 marks on the week in PFF passing grade (71.7) and adjusted completion rate (80.7%). The larger issues were:

  1. Lack of a run game to lean on. Philly totaled just 97 yards on the ground on a gross 3.9 yards per carry after ranking fifth in rush yards per game (147.6) last season.

  2. Pressure. The typically dominant Eagles offensive line didn’t do a great job keeping Hurts upright last Sunday, ultimately surrendering three sacks and a 42.1% pressure rate – more than 10% higher than their 13th-place mark from last season (31.6%).

🛠️ Will things be fixed in Week 2?

You would sure like to think so, especially against a Vikings secondary that failed to shut down Baker Mayfield and company in Week 1.

While the unit did limit the Buccaneers to just 169 yards through the air, Minnesota hardly deserves the benefit of the doubt when looking at their pass defense efficiency metrics since the beginning of last season:

  • EPA allowed per pass: +0.049 (26th)

  • Explosive pass play rate allowed: 16.1% (27th)

  • Yards per attempt allowed: 7.6 (29th)

  • Pressure rate: 31.7% (22nd)

Hurts had little trouble with this group in Week 2 of last season, posting high-end 333-1-1 passing and 11-57-2 rushing lines to finish as the week’s overall fantasy QB3.

Don’t be surprised if we get a repeat performance on Thursday night football against the league’s reigning 28th-ranked defense in fantasy points per game allowed to the position.

Panic level: 1/10

Watercooler

🍻 Free drinks if Jets lose! Whoops.

📉 The Jets Super Bowl odds are in a free fall. Woof.

📺 Recapping Week 1 to identify trends for Week 2. One of the best in the biz stops by to chat with Freedman.

🤣 If fantasy managers had to give post-game conferences…”NOT GOOD!”

😡 Week 1 ANGRY RUNS. Fire me up.

📊 Diving into the numbers with a side of “sheesh!”. Week 1 Data you NEED to know.

😅 Silver lining, the Jets don’t have to give up a 1st-Round pick. Discount Double-check applied.

🤦‍♂️ Kyle Pitts is so goodand it doesn’t even matter.

🐬 The QBs throwing it deep down the field. Fins up.

👶 Get your weight up, little boy! Mayfield talking smack.

💕 A new power couple? It could be happening.

Buy Sell Hold

Each week during the season, Cooterdoodle walks us through the fantasy trade market from a buy, hold, sell perspective...

Before we get into player specifics, I want to draw your attention to a few key concepts that are worth remembering when considering who to buy, who to sell, and who to hold on to.

A few for this week:

  • Nothing exists in a vacuum

  • Patterns patterns patterns

  • Always look ahead

We can’t look at every data point void of its context. Did a player do well because the other team’s defense was injured? How did the player actually look, fantasy points aside?

Nothing exists in a vacuum.

One data point is never enough. How did this player look on previous teams/years? How did they perform in the pre-season?

Patterns matter.

While winning the week ahead is important, we have to play for the long haul. Always look ahead at matchups and suspended/injured players’ return timelines and how that may affect their teammates (cough Alvin Kamara, Cooper Kupp(?), Jameson Williams cough).

Never get tunnel vision.

Now let’s get into some Buyin’ Sellin’ and Holdin’, baby!

BSH

🛒BUY

🐅 Tee Higgins

“Bengals offense nowhere to be found in Week 1!”

Sure, Cincinnati had a rough (read: abysmal) start against Cleveland in their season opener. And sure, Joe Burrow’s 82 total passing yards left you squinting and calling your local optometrist… because you must be seeing things.

But ask yourself this: Do you think Burrow & Co. will figure it out as the season progresses?

Keep in mind that Burrow tied for 2nd in passing TDs (35) and 5th in passing yards (4,475) in 2022.

Me? I’m betting on the Bengals being just fine. If I can get a piece of this offense at a panic discount, sign me up.

✍️ Takeaway

A WR2 on a high-powered offense won’t stay goose eggin’ for long.

🛒 SELL

🦵 Alexander Mattison

Originally, I had Mattison as a ‘hold’ given Ty Chandler’s three carries compared to Mattison’s 11 and the Vikings’ willingness to cut Dalvin Cook, who was utilized as a bell-cow mere months ago.

And it does feel a little wrong to sell a player after his 13.4-point game where he finished RB16.

But without his TD on Sunday, Mattison’s lack of efficiency is something I’m just not confident in.

While there are other RBs I’d rather roster given their efficiency and upside, I won’t judge you if you’d rather hold.

✍️ Takeaway

Yards per carry matter.

🛒 HOLD

🧃 Calvin Ridley

Sometimes the value to be had was on your draft board all along.

After a strong 100+ yard 1TD showing against the Colts in Week 1, Ridley looks to be one of the juiciest draft picks from your past AND WE’RE NOT SELLING!

If he’s on your roster, congratulations. If not, you can’t get him for cheap anymore. Ridley’s WR5 finish wasn’t a fluke.

If you don’t believe me, or our fabulous Fantasy Life analysts’ rankings, maybe this guy named Matthew Berry can convince you.

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