Now that the first two weeks of fantasy football are out of the way, we can start to decipher which players are for real. The following players are under-owned in leagues right now and have a good chance on continuing fantasy success all season.
*Availability (% owned) and statistics based on Yahoo! PPR leagues.
Carson Wentz, Eagles (67%) — Wentz is proving to be the real deal so far. He still has room for improvement, but facing off with the Chiefs was a big test last week. He passed from a fantasy perspective, putting up 28 points. Wentz has thrown for at least 300 yards and 2 TD in both games this year. He is currently fantasy’s QB4.
Alex Smith, Chiefs (51%) — Like I said last week, Smith’s 40-point outburst from Week 1 will be far from the norm for him, but he will get you something every week. In Week 2, he put up 18 points.
James White, Patriots (66%) — If you are in a PPR league, you can’t let White sit around on the waiver wire much longer. While the Patriots have a ton of RB’s, White clearly has a role in the offense as the chain-mover. Think of him as your replacement for Danny Woodhead. White is averaging 7.1 yards on 23 touches so far.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Buccaneers (62%) — Simply put, while Doug Martin is out on suspension, Jacquizz is the man. Tampa feeds him the ball and he almost always delivers. His 12 points in Week 2 is what I would expect out of him for the next couple of weeks.
Theo Riddick, Lions (57%) — It should be well known by now that Riddick is a must-have in PPR leagues. He will always get multiple looks from Matthew Stafford in the passing game, especially in the red zone.
Javorius Allen, Ravens (56%) — Buck might prove to be the man in Baltimore by year’s end. With his backfield mates struggling with injuries, the Ravens continue to feed Allen, averaging 17.5 carries per game. He leads all Ravens RB’s with 40 touches.
Chris Carson, Seahawks (40%) — I wanted to wait and see when Carson’s role would be more defined, and that time is now. The Seahawks made Eddie Lacy a healthy scratch in Week 2, and Carson became the team’s high-volume runner. He touched the ball 21 times compared to Thomas Rawls’ 5 and C.J. Prosise’s 3. Seattle will need to rely on a violent power runner like Carson with how bad their line is.
Alvin Kamara, Saints (37%) — For me, it’s just a matter of time until Adrian Peterson is almost completely phased out of the Saints offense in favor of Kamara. He currently brings more to the table as an outside runner and pass-catcher. Kamara averages 6.1 yards per touch as opposed to Peterson’s 3.1.
Chris Thompson, Redskins (30%) — Without a doubt, Thompson is the Redskins’ biggest playmaker at RB. He is the only one that can catch with regularity, and like we saw on Sunday, he can take simple plays to the house.
Rex Burkhead, Patriots (21%) — Burkhead got more involved with New England’s offense against the Saints on Sunday. One thing that is clear is that he will remain involved in the passing game. He belongs on rosters in PPR leagues.
Chris Johnson, Cardinals (12%) — Arizona began life without David Johnson on Sunday. Though Kerwynn Williams was the starter, Chris Johnson was the most effective back. Bruce Arians will trust that, and I will trust that Chris Johnson will be the Cardinals’ chief ball-carrier throughout the season.
D’Onta Foreman, Texans (7%) — After seeing just 1 carry in Week 1, the Texans got Foreman more involved in Week 2, giving him 12 carries. Bill O’Brien doesn’t seem to want to open the offense much yet for rookie QB Deshaun Watson, so that should mean plenty of carries for Foreman and Lamar Miller.
Kenny Golladay, Lions (76%) — In no way did Babytron (h/t JJ Zachariason) duplicate his Week 1 line in Week 2. In Week 1, Stafford targeted Golladay 7 times, pulling in 4 catches for 69 yards (17.3) and 2 TD. In Week 2, Golladay was targeted just 3 times and caught 1 pass for 8 yards. This is life of a rookie WR who isn’t his team’s No. 1 option. However, he still have boom potential most weeks.
Willie Snead, Saints (73%) — Snead is serving a three-game suspension for a DUI, and now two games are in the books. Pick him up, because he will be a hot commodity on waiver wires in the next couple of weeks. The Saints’ struggling offense could sure use him.
Cooper Kupp, Rams (69%) — Like Golladay, fellow rookie WR Cooper Kupp didn’t do as much damage in Week 2 as in Week 1. However, Kupp is higher up in the pecking order of his offense. He’s one guy I’m definitely riding with until further notice.
Sterling Shepard, Giants (43%) — The Giants offense is just gross right now. However, with Odell Beckham Jr. back, it’s got to get at least a little better now, right? Shepard’s owners will need to exercise a little patience, but once the Giants’ offense opens up, Shepard will make a nice flex option.
J.J. Nelson, Cardinals (20%) — No John Brown, no problem for the Cardinals. Nelson found himself in the right place at the right time often against the Colts, pulling in 5 catches for 120 yards (24.0) and 1 TD. He has scored in both games this year.
Mohamed Sanu, Falcons (16%) — Sanu is a good option to stash on your bench when your other receivers are hurt or on a bye. Sanu can get you something just about every week and is in a high-volume passing offense. He has 15 targets through two games.
Jermaine Kearse, Jets (7%) — I’m turned off by Jets players also, but Kearse actually makes a good case. In two games, he has been targeted 14 times and has 11 catches for 123 yards (11.2) and 2 TD. He is the most reliable option for the Jets, and things may improve with Austin Seferian-Jenkins returning.
Rashard Higgins, Browns (2%) — With Corey Coleman being out for several weeks with a fractured hand, someone’s got to step up. It doesn’t look like Kenny Britt or Sammie Coates are great options either. Higgins does, however. The young WR should be hungry and trying to establish himself.
Hunter Henry, Chargers (73%) — Much to the chagrin of his fantasy owners, Henry wasn’t even targeted by QB Philip Rivers in Week 1. The pair made up for it in Week 2 by connecting on all 7 of their targets for 80 yards.
Jason Witten, Cowboys (66%) — Witten has started out excellently this year (22 targets, 17 catches, 156 yards and 2 TD) and is somehow only owned in 66% of leagues. And this is a shallow pool of TE talent this year. Dak Prescott is zoning in on Witten.
Jack Doyle, Colts (64%) — With Jacoby Brissett under center on Sunday, the Colts offense looked muuuch better. He locked in on Doyle and they connected on all 8 of their targets.
Charles Clay, Bills (25%) — With a weak TE group, Clay deserves a roster spot. He was a letdown, points-wise, in Week 2, but he and Tyrod Taylor did connect on all 3 targets. Clay is a reliable option for Taylor all throughout the season.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jets (3%) — ASJ has been on suspension the last two weeks but is set to return this week. An awful Jets passing game will get a reliable weapon in Seferian-Jenkins. He is reportedly getting his life together and is re-dedicated to football.
Benjamin Watson, Ravens (1%) — Well, it appears Watson appears to be recovered from 2016’s Achilles injury. He and Joe Flacco connected on all 8 targets for 91 yards in Week 2. In 2015 with the Saints, Watson had a career year, catching 74 of 110 targets for 825 yards and 6 TD. If he and Flacco develop a nice chemistry, we could see similar results in 2017.
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