The excitement and expectation of the second slate of games in this season in the National Football League quickly turned into drama and horror as horrendous injuries stuck superstar by superstar in what felt like every game. No fewer than 8 players suffered season-ending knee injuries due to torn ligaments, including star running back Saquon Barkley and 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Nick Bosa. Christian McCaffrey and, more importantly for this article, Jimmy Garoppolo are also likely to be out for multiple weeks due to high ankle sprains. In short, it was a bloodbath.
Fantasy output on the field at the quarterback position was much higher than the first week, with 5 quarterbacks eclipsing 30 points – MVP front-runner Russell Wilson did it for the second week in a row, and he was joined by Kyler Murray, Cam Newton, Josh Allen, and Dak Prescott. Only 2 of the top 10 scorers at QB were under 70% owned – Ryan Tannehill and Gardner Minshew.
It was a case of the amazing, the good, the bad, the downright ugly in our recommended streamers from last week. Let’s start with Gardner Minshew – for the second straight week, the Jacksonville Jaguars enigmatic quarterback outperformed many other QBs who had a much larger rostered percentage on Yahoo! His 25.46 fantasy points was good enough for QB13, and going forward he is likely to be picked up on your waiver wire for the bye week run (between week 4 and week 12). Minshew is a streaming stud! Baker Mayfield (16.26 points) and Jimmy Garoppolo (13.24 points) produced competitive returns, especially Jimmy G who suffered a high ankle sprain and did not last past the half in the 49ers 31-13 win over the hapless Jets. He was 14-of-16 for 131 yards and 2 TDs before going down. He is likely to miss time in the coming weeks. And now for the downright ugly – Daniel Jones (8.74 points) and Kirk Cousins (1.52 points) were ranked 31 and 32 in terms of fantasy output last week. Jones lost key targets Barkley and Shepard early in the contest and his offensive line was basically a revolving door for the mauling Bears defensive line. His performance wasn’t terrible but the matchup was too overwhelming for him to be productive. It is hard to trust Jones going forward. Speaking of the word terrible, it is one of many derogatory words that accurately sums up Kirk Cousins on Sunday. The Vikings signal-caller produced the worst performance of his career in Indianapolis, throwing 3 INTs and completing just 11 of 26 passes for 111 yards – this is an extremely worrying development given the investment the front office made in him this offseason. Cousins is not recommended to stream at least until we see him return to a competent performance level.
|QB||Matchup||% Owned (Yahoo!)||Fantasy Points|
|Daniel Jones, Giants||NYG at CHI||62%||8.74|
|Gardner Minshew, Jaguars||JAC at TEN||26%||25.46|
|Kirk Cousins, Vikings||MIN at IND||34%||1.52|
|Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers||SF at NYJ||52%||13.24|
|Baker Mayfield, Browns||CLE v CIN||57%||16.26|
Who surprised us? Both Ryan Tannehill and Ryan Fitzpatrick were candidates for last week but difficult matchups and middling week 1 performances kept them off the list. Well, we were wrong. Tannehill threw for 4 TDs and amassed 26.76 fantasy points against Jacksonville; “Fitzmagic” returned to score 24.32 fantasy points for the Dolphins in a 31-28 shootout loss at home to Buffalo.
Now, let’s look at the lay of the land for Week 3. Drew Lock was been confirmed as out with a sprained AC joint; Jimmy Garoppolo and Tyrod Taylor are both doubtful. Remember, the caveat is that these players are less than 70% owned in Yahoo! leagues.
|QB||Matchup||% Owned (Yahoo!)||Projected Fantasy Points|
|Ryan Tannehill, Titans||TEN at MIN||46%||18.50|
|Jared Goff, Rams||LAR at BUF||62%||17.89|
|Gardner Minshew, Jaguars||JAX v MIA||33%||19.42|
|Justin Herbert, Chargers||LAC v CAR||3%||18.92|
|Mitch Trubisky, Bears||CHI v ATL||8%||17.25|
“The Return of the Kings”
Ryan Tannehill, Titans at Vikings
This is the old “I left you out last week, and that was a mistake” redemption pick. Ryan Tannehill backed up a middling performance in week 1 with an electric outing against the Jaguars, which the Titans won in a 33-30 shootout. This is the kind of game we want for Tannehill to be productive, and my bad for not predicting the future accurately last week. The former Miami Dolphin’s first-round pick completed 18-of-24 passes for 239 yards and 4 TDs, two of which to promising tight end, Jonnu Smith. The other reason for hope is Corey Davis, the fantasy darling that most people have probably abandoned by now. The former Western Michigan wideout has 10 catches for 137 yards over the first two games of the season and caught his first TD at the weekend. With an offense centered around Derrick Henry and the running game, hopefully, Mike Vrabel takes note of Tannehill’s versatility this weekend against a Vikings secondary that looks lost at the minute.
The Vikings have given up 71 points over two games with the defense ranked 29th in total yards allowed. Play Tannehill!
Jared Goff, Rams at Bills
It is almost criminal that Jared Goff is only 62% owned in Yahoo! leagues. The former first overall pick had a rough year after issues with his offensive line but has looked completely in control of Sean McVay‘s West-Coast offense this season. He has a settled receiving corps that offers creativity and dynamism with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee, and young deep threat Van Jefferson. Goff was masterful against the Eagles, especially in the red zone, an area where he struggled mightily in 2019. Oh, and Higbee made three endzone grabs last weekend. Kerching!
The Bills gave up over 300 yards to a Miami Dolphins offense led by Mike Gesicki, who had 8 catches for 130 yards and a TD (see Tyler Higbee stat above!), and look vulnerable at the start of the season. Goff is a sure thing for production in week 3. Grab him now.
“The Steady Mustache”
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars v Dolphins
The man with the magnificent mustache enters week 3 ranked as the 9th best-performing fantasy quarterback so far this season. Minshew has thrown 3 TDs in each game, and can now be considered a lock to be a productive week-in, week-out streaming option for the rest of the season. Be wary of the waiver wire, however as Minshew is likely to be high on punters’ lists after injuries to Drew Lock and Jimmy Garropolo.
The Miami Dolphins defense has given up 52 points over the first couple of games and that is a trend that is likely to continue thanks to the transitional nature of the Dolphins franchise and the commitment to playing young players who are effectively learning through mistakes on the job. What is even more encouraging for Minshew is that this defense conceded 417 passing yards to Josh Allen, who is known more for his rushing ability than his passing accuracy. Minshew will have plenty of holes to work in this weekend, and after completing passes to 8 different receivers last week, he will look to build on a flourishing relationship with Keenan Cole. After a quiet first week, DJ Chark showed much more too, catching 4 passes for 84 yards.
“The Kids Are Alright”
Justin Herbert, Chargers v Panthers
To the surprise of everyone, Chargers rookie first-round pick Justin Herbert trotted out to take the first snap last Sunday. After Tyrod Taylor was taken to hospital with chest pains prior to the game, the former Oregon Duck showed the world his potential with a stellar performance that put the Chargers in a prime position to shock the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs. Unfortunately, they lost out to a Harrison Butker walk-off 58-yard field goal in overtime, but the future is now for Anthony Lynn’s team. Herbert threw for over 300 yards with a 66% completion percentage and completed a beautiful touchdown pass to fellow rookie, wide receiver Jalen Guyton to put the Chargers in front, 14-6. The number 6 overall pick led his team down the field on an eight-play, 79-yard drive that Herbert finished off with an athletic 4-yard rushing TD. This boy is the goods.
The young Panthers defense gave up 34 points to the Raiders in week 1 and followed that up with another leaky performance, giving up 31 points to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in week 2. Herbert needs to be unleashed on this miserable defense, and finally realize the potential of an offense littered with weapons like Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and upstart Joshua Kelley. As long as he gets the nod over Tyrod, he is a fantastic streaming option. Beware the conservatism of Anthony Lynn, however.
Mitch Trubisky, Bears v Falcons
I really should not be hanging my head out like this by recommending a quarterback who has shown such a dedicated commitment to inconsistency during his short career in the NFL. The biggest criticism of Mitch Trubisky last year was probably not of his own making – he virtually stopped rushing with the ball to get him out of trouble. It was bizarre because it is one of his strongest attributes. Whether it was Matt Nagy trying to develop him as a pocket passer or not, it severely harmed his game. Not this year. Trubisky has 7 rushes over the first two weeks and 5 of those have extended drives that last year would have resulted in punts. The results? The Bears are 2-0.
There are still many reservations, and his accuracy will most likely haunt his ability and arm strength for the rest of his career. However, this is a Trubisky I can at least get on board with as a fantasy asset. The capitulation of the Falcons defense and special teams last week was not only demoralizing but also embarrassing. It could radically affect the team’s camaraderie. The Bears are flying high and have a fantastic opportunity to add to the Falcons defensive woes, especially with a hungry Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller ready to roll.
Don’t hesitate to give me your thoughts and hit me up for questions at @benjaminhaller1.
(Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire)
Hi Ben – great article. So Tannehill and Mineshew are both available in my league. Which one would you pick up for the long haul?
Thanks, heaps! Yeah, I have that same dilemma in one league too, Steve. I like Minshew in the run up to his bye week (7) and he has more potential for shootouts. His second half is a bit tougher and Tannehill probably offers more consistency, in the long run, however, he has a lower ceiling due to the run game.
I am going to go Minshew.