Two weeks of games doesn’t seem like much of a sample in the context of a 16-game fantasy football season (leagues who play in Week 17, be darned). However, unlike fantasy baseball, we can only exercise patience for so long. These first few weeks force us to balance the fine line between not overreacting to outlier performances while still being open to pivoting to unexpected breakouts. You have just 13 games to stake your claim for the playoffs in most leagues so whether you’re 2-0 or 0-2 (or 1-1), focus on winning the week and the rest will take care of itself.
We’ve already seen a number of young stars ascend to fantasy relevance and there will be more to come as injuries and changing depth charts are an inevitable part of any football season. Make sure to check out Matt Dean’s priority waiver wire adds article and/or podcast every Tuesday for more insight on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday. Now let’s dive into a few stream-worthy players that I feel can help lead you victory in Week 3.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced above and will have more limited streaming analysis so that additional options can be covered.
Frank Gore (RB, Buffalo Bills)
Frank Gore? What is this, 2009? The 36-year-old won’t blow you away with his efficiency but in fantasy football, we cherish volume and opportunity. Devin Singletary (hamstring) could be facing a multi-week absence, opening the door for this blast from the past to dominate touches in the Bills backfield against a Bengals defense that is currently dead last against RBs this season. Don’t expect to be dazzled by highlight-reel runs but at the end of the day, I think you will be satisfied with a stat line similar to last week’s final numbers (19 carries / 68 yards / one TD). Respect to one of the all-time running back greats for chugging along and giving us fantasy production in his 15th NFL campaign.
Carlos Hyde* (RB, Houston Texans)
Carlos Hyde, Gore’s incumbent as the 49ers running back for four seasons, came back onto the fantasy radar with the Texans last week (20 carries / 90 yards). If Lamar Miller hadn’t gone down in the preseason with an ACL tear, this is almost identical to the numbers he typically put up each week in his role as the Texans’ early-down back. Eerily-similar numbers aside, I feel it demonstrates how the Texans value having a reliable ball-carrier like Hyde who can get what’s blocked and hang on to the football (10 career fumbles on 857 attempts). The Chargers are fifth-worst against RBs this season and I expect this to be a somewhat neutral game script, allowing Hyde to have another decent day on the ground even if he’s limited as a receiver.
D.J. Chark (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars)
People might have been scared off from the Jaguars passing game after Nick Foles’ injury in Week 1, but Gardner Minshew has been serviceable in his absence and Chark seems to be his preferred target with a two-week total of 11 receptions, 201 yards, and two TDs on 13 targets. You could do much worse than the rangy, athletic 6’4″ wideout who is receiving consistent targets as a key cog in the Jacksonville passing attack. The Titans have a respectable defense that Chark won’t be able to sneak up on like he may have in the first couple weeks, but his 43% share of the team’s targeted air yards should give him a healthy dose of opportunities to make impact receptions.
James Washington (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
If people were freaked out about the aforementioned Foles injury, they’re really going to be down on Steelers receivers after Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) was lost for the year in Week 2. In this instance, however, Big Ben’s absence may actually give Washington a boost in value. New Steelers QB Mason Rudolph has a built-in connection with Washington from their college days at Oklahoma State and that showed in the 2019 preseason where the duo shined. I already expected Washington’s role to grow due to Donte Moncrief‘s underwhelming start to the season, but with Rudolph now under center I think Washington is a sneaky play in deeper leagues and worthy add in 12-teamers.
Nelson Agholor* (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)
Agholor has proven to be a useful fantasy receiver over his career when given ample opportunities, finishing each of the last two seasons with 60+ catches and 700+ yards to go along with eight and four touchdowns, respectively. With DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery likely to miss time this week and beyond, Agholor once again has that opportunity at consistent targets in a productive offense. His career 11.6 yards per catch might not pop off the page but he’s more than capable of breaking off big plays with 19 catches of 20+ yards and eight catches of 40+ yards over the past two seasons. Scoop him up if there’s room on your roster even if you cut bait once the Eagles pass-catchers are back at full-strength.
Will Dissly (TE, Seattle Seahawks)
Credit to “Uncle Will” Dissly for making a splash early in 2019 after rupturing his right patellar tendon just under a year ago. The Seahawks passing game as a whole does not offer a lot of volume but Dissly has made his targets count. Dissly exited Week 1 early with a knee issue but bounced back in Week 2, hauling in all five of his targets for 50 yards and two scores. Dissly is a willing blocker and can make plays as a receiver when called upon so I view him as a stream-worthy tight end this week even against a tough Saints defense.
Jason Witten (TE, Dallas Cowboys)
Straight from the Monday Night Football booth back to the gridiron, Witten has touchdowns in each of his first two games in his return to the Cowboys roster. In case you haven’t seen the Dolphins play these first two weeks, it would be generous to say their defense is poor. The ‘fins have given up the second most fantasy points to tight ends so far this season and Witten is expected to see an uptick in targets with Dallas’ #2 receiving option Michael Gallup out of the picture for the next few weeks. Witten is a bit of a statue in the speed department at this point in his career so don’t expect the yards to pile up, but the savvy veteran knows how to break loose in the end zone and is a safety blanket on check-downs, providing a decent floor even if he doesn’t find paydirt.
Accountability is everything so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Giovani Bernard (RB, Cincinnati Bengals): Hopefully you took note of the “This is somewhat contingent on Joe Mixon’s health” part in last week’s article and sat Bernard in Week 2. Mixon was active and received the lion’s share of the carries, Bernard assumed his usual role as the change-of-pace back, and it amounted to a whole lot of nothing for the Bengals rushing attack. It’s worth owning Bernard if you’re the Mixon owner but that’s about the extent of his utility at the moment.
Ronald Jones (RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers): It appears as though the Buccaneers are intent on rolling with the hot-hand approach at RB even though Peyton Barber’s hand was lukewarm at best last week (23 carries / 82yds/ one TD). I still prefer Jones for fantasy purposes as the better talent and pass-catcher, but Bruce Arians does not care about your fantasy team. Coach Arians is content with playing whoever does the little things and fits the game plan so this situation could change by the week. Keep Jones on your bench for now and continue to monitor this backfield seesaw.
Adrian Peterson/ Chris Thompson (RB, Washington Redskins): Peterson’s paltry 2.5 yards per carry isn’t pretty (25yds on 10 carries) but he salvaged some fantasy points with a touchdown. Thompson was more active in the passing game as a PPR asset and finished with modest final numbers (five catches / 48yds), although his eight targets were second-highest on the team. Neither are particularly exciting options but could serve you well as we approach upcoming bye weeks.
Mecole Hardman (WR, Kansas City Chiefs): Any skill position player who gets significant snaps for the Chiefs stands to benefit from this prolific offense. After finishing with zero yards on zero targets in Week 1, Hardman showed what he’s capable of in Week 2 (four catches / 61yds / six targets / one TD). It’s worth noting that he also got loose for a 74-yard touchdown that was called back due to holding. Hardman (50 snaps) and fellow Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (62 snaps / seven catches / 172yds / eight targets / two TDs) look like solid options while Tyreek Hill is on the mend.
John Ross III (WR, Cincinnati Bengals): After his second straight standout performance (four catches / 112yds / eight targets / one TD), Ross will be owned in too many leagues to be considered a streamer moving forward. He currently leads the NFL in receiving yards and should continue to be one of this season’s early waiver wire gems as long as he maintains his current role in the Bengals offense. Some regression may hit once A.J. Green returns in the coming weeks, but keep plugging Ross into your lineup for now as long as the matchup isn’t terrible.
Darren Waller (TE, Oakland Raiders): Waller led all Raiders pass-catchers with six catches for 63 yards on seven targets and once again played over 95% of the offensive snaps. He looks like a relatively safe top-8 tight end rest of season with the ceiling for more given his consistent volume and role in the offense.
Jimmy Graham (TE, Green Bay Packers): It’s safe to call Graham’s Week 2 performance a dud as he finished with a goose egg on zero targets. The Packers ground game was cooking and they used it to maintain their lead against the stifling Vikings defense. Graham will be prone to some letdowns this season but all it takes is one of his vintage box-out TD catches near the end zone to make him worth a start.
Happy streaming and good luck in Week 3!
(Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire)