Week 2’s second data point can convince reluctant owners to buy into new realities, so some of the better buy low and sell high opportunities revolve around temporary situations that should resolve themselves in due time. Looking at schedules and extrapolating the way that they have inflated or diminished early results can give us clues to which early trajectories will reverse course soon.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, SF - A trip to Seattle can often be the low point in a quarterback’s season, and that’s where Blaine Gabbert is headed this weekend. Chip Kelly has said that he’s not considering a quarterback switch, but that could and should change soon. Gabbert has been ineffective and Kaepernick’s threat as a runner could unlock more of the potential in the Kelly offense. Gabbert has been borderline fantasy relevant so far this year, so Kaepernick could do more if he is more effective as a runner.
Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN - The Bengals have opened with two very rough run defenses, and they have another up this week against Denver, so Hill’s owner is probably considering putting him on the bench again and wondering why they drafted him to be their RB2. Hill still looks like the 2014 that appeared to be knocking on the door of RB1 status at times instead of the 2015 version that looked like LenDale White in black and orange. The Bengals still have the look of a winning team that will set Hill up for some huge games this year.
Matthew Stafford, QB, DET - Stafford was victimized by a rash of drops and penalties that wiped a touchdown off of the board among other things. The pass offense still appears to be a great fit for Stafford’s mindset and abilities. Weapons are being deployed in an efficient fashion and an offensive line that is still a work in progress hasn’t been a huge liability. The Lions defense has lost two of its three best players, and they should be forcing Stafford into high-scoring game scripts. Invest in confidence.
Dwayne Washington, WR, DET - Washington is a size/speed/athleticism freak who has his foot in the door after Ameer Abdullah went on injured reserve with a foot injury. Think Bryce Brown. Brown flamed out after a hot start, but Washington might avoid the fumble and running discipline issues that torpedoed Brown’s career. If Washington hits, he’ll hit big. He has the tools to do it and he is coming very cheap in dynasty leagues right now.
Doug Martin, RB, TB - Martin’s injury is unfortunate, but he is dodging three tough run matchups (LA, DEN, CAR), and the Week 6 bye should ensure that the Bucs do the right thing and let his hamstring fully heal before he returns to the field. Martin looked good in Week 1 despite an underwhelming stat line, including five dumpoff receptions. 2-0 teams with only one reliable back should be trying to deal for Martin.
Eddie Lacy, RB, GB - Lacy has had two rushing touchdowns vultured by Aaron Rodgers in a trend that will not continue. He doesn’t look like early career Lacy, but he doesn’t look as sluggish as 2015 Lacy. He is also getting a clear majority of the backfield touches and snaps in another sign that we should not expect a repeat of 2015. This week he faces a Detroit defense that should struggle to cover him as a receiver out of the backfield and bring him down when he gets to the second level of the defense.
Allen Robinson, WR, JAX - Robinson had multiple pass interference penalties committed on targets to him ignored in Week 1 and he was blanketed by Jason Verrett in a game that the Jaguars were out of early in Week 2. The Jaguars defense appears to be just as bad as 2015, which means the catchup game scripts with high passing volume will continue to come his way. If you can get him for less than a WR1 price, do it.
Kenny Britt, WR, LA - Don’t laugh. Britt had an average well over 20 yards a reception and two scores after interim offensive coordinator Rob Boras took over for the last four games last year, and he has had two games with at least four catches and 67 yards to open this season. This week, he draws a Bucs pass defense that has allowed five scores on 20 wide receiver receptions. Perhaps the only good to come out of defenses focusing on Todd Gurley is less attention on Britt and one-on-one matchups he can win consistently.
Tom Brady, QB, NE - The Patriots offense rampaged through the Dolphins defense that gave the Seahawks fits in Week 1. Without Rob Gronkowski and with an offensive line that is still getting settled. Unless injuries strike in 2015 proportions, Brady is going to be able to put defenses in binds they can’t solve. He has QB1 overall upside if he inherits an offense with a stable offensive line and at least four of Gronkowski, Bennett, Edelman, Hogan, and Amendola.
Mark Ingram II, RB, NO - The Saints have curiously not stuck with the running game despite favorable game scripts, and they have also not set up Ingram with his typical red zone opportunity. Ingram has only two touches in the red zone in two games after having 37 in 12 games last year. Ingram should be fine, starting out with a very emotional Steve Gleason game anniversary this week on Monday night.
Entire Seattle Offense - This is a typical script for the Seahawks offense. Turnover at skill positions, an offensive line that needs Tom Cable magic, and a few games to make us question our faith in the offense for fantasy football. 2016 also brought injuries at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and a slow starting tight end coming off of patellar tendon surgery. The Seahawks passing game won championships for us last year. Look for a new unit to emerge out of their Week 5 bye.
Matt Ryan, QB, ATL - Ryan deserves some of the credit for putting them near the bottom, but he has faced the absymal Bucs and Raiders pass defenses so far, who also wet the bed against their other opponents in the first two weeks. Carolina, Denver, and Seattle are up after the juicy Saints Superdome Monday night matchup. You might be able to sell Ryan to an owner who isn’t looking ahead at the schedule and is looking at his stats to date.
Charles Sims, RB, TB - Sims has been everything he was advertised to be in the NFL plus some speed and a general intensity that translated better than expected. Now, he gets the chance to take most of the work in a backfield that was very productive in fantasy leagues last year. Unfortunately for him, he is drawing Los Angeles, Denver, and Carolina for his three starts. He could still be a big hit if Doug Martin’s hamstring is hurt again, but Sims’ redraft value is most likely at a peak. If you don’t need him right now, use him to upgrade your starting lineup elsewhere.
Demarco Murray, RB, TEN, Latavius Murray, RB, OAK - The Murrays are going to be in the sell high column for as long as they have fantasy results that conceal the forces aligning against them in their backfields. Demarco has capitalized on a big opportunity as a receiver while his running has bogged one save for one long run. Derrick Henry looks much better and should usurp carries and targets from him as the year goes on. Latavius is in a committee with two younger, faster, quicker backs. He will still get goal line carries, but the Raiders defense is fizzling and should get them into games that favor the rookies.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE - Savvy owners will see through the stat line, but you never know. Crowell was kept in check after his early 85-yard touchdown run. Perhaps you can sell him on the idea that the Browns will lean on the run with Cody Kessler in. I am getting start/sit questions that make me think Crowell could have some cachet. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get the answer you want.
Mike Wallace, WR, BAL - Wallace has three scores and Joe Flacco is talking about continuing to feed him targets, but as Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman round into shape, it’s hard to see that trend continuing. Wallace only has 12 targets, six in each game, so unless he continues to score at this scalding rate, a drop is coming for Wallace.