Philip Rivers, QB, LAC - Rivers has had the luxury of facing the Chiefs and Bills so far this season, which could well end up being the worst two defenses in the league, but this week he’ll tangle with the Rams defense, which could frustrate Rivers and expose some previously unseen flaws in the Chargers offense. Rivers will likely be viewed differently in fantasy circles after this week.
Melvin Gordon III, RB, LAC - Gordon has likewise benefited from weak competition that regularly set him up with opportunities on the doorstep with matador defenses. The Rams will be a much tougher draw, likely exposing Gordon’s floor and knocking him down a notch in trade value. This week you might be able to turn Gordon into Gurley or Kamara with a good enough sweetener.
Zach Ertz, TE, PHI - Ertz got an inordinate number of targets as the Eagles were playing from behind last week. He’ll be joined by Alshon Jeffery soon and the team should double back to Dallas Goedert to get the rookie more involved after a bust of a Week 1. Keep checking to see if you can get elite tight end return for Ertz.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN - Rudolph escaped Week 1 with a score and had a solid Week 2 on the back of a huge attempt volume for Kirk Cousins. This week brings Buffalo, which could allow a touchdown or two to Rudolph or could allow the game to get out of hand before Rudolph can have an impact. He’s a streaming tight end masquerading as a solid TE1.
Latavius Murray, RB, MIN, Giovani Bernard, RB, CIN - Both of these backs are likely to start this week, and Murray has an outstanding RB1 outlook against the beleaguered Bills. With the landmines at running back blowing up early this year, Murray and Bernard could have a lot more value to an 0-2 team scuffling for running back points as a temporary RB1 or RB2 than they do for you if they are your RB3 or RB4. It never hurts to have great running back depth, but if trading Murray or Bernard can materially improve a weak spot, do it.
Keelan Cole, WR, JAX - Cole is outperforming expectations yet again, making circus catches that Odell Beckham would respect and otherwise having the look of a #1 receiver. May the lack of draft pedigree and belief in Blake Bortles continue to artificially depress his price long enough to get an exciting long-term asset for a discount for another few weeks.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, DeSean Jackson, WR, OJ Howard, TE, TB - They can’t possibly keep this up, right? It’s more likely than you think that Fitzpatrick is the starter all season and this offense finishes in the top 5-10 of scoring and pass offense this year. All of these assets were cheap or free at the beginning of the season, which may induce those smart enough to have grabbed to feel like they are cashing out way ahead when they give them up for less than their actual value right now in redraft and dynasty leagues alike - although Howard is going to be difficult to get in dynasty leagues.
Corey Grant, RB, JAX - The Jaguars can’t continue to ignore Grant in their offense. He is a threat to turn any touch into a big play and his targets are high percentage easy plays for Blake Bortles. He needs to have and keep a larger role for this team.
Tom Brady, QB, Julian Edelman, WR, Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE - The Patriots had a rough time against the Jaguars last week and were conservative against the Texans, but this pass offense can morph instantly into a high-flying attack more in the vein of the Chiefs, and now with Josh Gordon, they have the personnel to do it. Edelman (still discounted because of an ongoing suspension) and Gronkowski should be the biggest beneficiaries among the pass catchers as the middle of the field opens up, and Brady should have a chance to get a lot closer to the top of his range of outcomes, which goes up in and of itself with the arrival of Gordon.
Robby Anderson, WR, NYJ - Terrelle Pryor’s strong start and Quincy Enunwa’s installation as the #1 receiver makes Anderson the disappointment to date in the surprisingly good thanks to Sam Darnold passing game. He’s still an immensely talented 25-year-old receiver whose best years are ahead of him. This is a great moment to acquire Anderson in dynasty leagues.
Lamar Miller, RB, HOU - The Texans offense is waking up, and Miller is running well. The touchdown opportunities will come and the very functional receiver in Miller also hasn’t been used much this year. If you’re having running back problems and have to dig for a name to give you some hope at the position, Miller qualifies.
Alex Collins, RB, BAL - Collins has been a victim of game script as the Ravens ran away with one game and got buried early in the other. He looks as impressive burst-wise and even better as a receiver than he did last year, when he was a low RB1 in the second half of the season. The Ravens will get the running game on track sooner or later, and Collins will remind everyone why he went so high in drafts this summer.
David Njoku, TE, CLE - Josh Gordon is gone and Jarvis Landry is already banged up. The Browns are not doing a good job leveraging the immense ability of Njoku in the passing game, but that could change soon. If Tyrod Taylor gets benched for Baker Mayfield, Njoku’s speculative value for this year skyrockets. He is still one of the potential hits at tight end this year.
Sony Michel, RB, NE - Michel got 11 touches in 13 snaps in his first game back. The Patriots obviously trust him despite missing the summer, and he is clearly the most gifted back of their group. His role should grow in Week 3, and a national television stage will make the most talented back in one of the most productive backfields very difficult to pry from anyone’s grip if he makes a splash play or two against the Lions.
Kerryon Johnson, RB, DET - Speaking of those Lions, Johnson is clearly their most talented back, and the only back on their roster who can stay on the field in any situation. Hopefully the offense uses him more as a runner, and the Patriots linebackers are easily exposed by good receiving backs - Johnson qualifies.
Aaron Jones, RB, GB - Will the Packers give their best running back the majority of the carries? This shouldn’t be a difficult question, but it is the Packers, and Jamaal Williams pass blocking ability is more important with Aaron Rodgers hobbled. Jones could flip this backfield in any given week. He could get cheaper if he’s not used early, but his value should still be manageable if you’re looking to acquire speculative upside on your running back bench.
Marvin Jones Jr, WR, DET, Jordan Wilkins, RB, IND - Matt Waldman makes the case better than I can. Matthew Stafford can support three WR2’s this year with a little better play and Jones is still getting a lot of red zone love and a helping of deep targets. Wilkins is clearly the best runner in the Colts backfield and Marlon Mack is still banged up. Better times are coming.
Jack Doyle, TE, IND - Doyle is battling a hip injury and he’s getting praised for his run blocking, which seems to inversely proportional to fantasy value for tight ends when they play for teams that have a viable #1 receiving tight end like the Colts do with Eric Ebron.
Deep Dynasty Watch List
As a new feature in Buy Low, Sell High, I’ll list some players each week for deep dynasty waiver wire watch lists who have intriguing talent and/or situations and a window for more playing time this week.
Ito Smith, RB, ATL - Looked good backing up Coleman, will get touches for a few more weeks
Mike Boone, RB, MIN - SPARQ freak likely backup to Latavius Murray this week
Tim Patrick, WR, DEN - Big athletic receiver whose play set up game-winning kick and almost had earlier score.
Josh Adams, RB, PHI - Big athletic back could replace Ajayi in running back mix this week
Shaun Wilson, RB, TB - Could undersized back pull a Phillip Lindsay in Tampa with Barber underwhelming and Jones in doghouse?
Michael Roberts, TE, DET - Had a nice touchdown and could see Jesse James room to roam with Lions wide receiver group
Rashard Higgins, WR, CLE - Getting significant snaps and targets, upside if Mayfield gets promoted
Robert Foster, WR, BUF - Best deep threat for big-armed Josh Allen
Mark Walton, RB, CIN - Will back up Giovani Bernard while Mixon is out
Brice Butler, WR, DAL - Butler had great chemistry with Dak Prescott in the deep game before and he’s back to help a minor league pass offense.