Injuries, injuries and more injuries! They can literally kill your fantasy dreams before the season even gets going. The loss of some high profile receivers has sent fantasy owners frantically scouring the waiver wire to replace the likes of Dez Bryant or T.Y. Hilton.
The influx of non-drafted quarterbacks who had hall-of-fame-esque weeks has players second-guessing themselves as we head into week 2. Marcus Mariota, Carson Palmer and Alex Smith all scored more than 25 points in six point per touchdown leagues. But does that mean they will be able to sustain that streak as we go forward?
With almost all of those players getting spikes in ownership following Wednesday’s waiver wire period, there are still plenty of players that can help you in Week 2. As we kick off the second week of the year tonight let’s take a look at players still without a fantasy home.
The following players all have ownership percentages of 35% or less in ESPN leagues. Not in an ESPN league? That’s fine; check out each player’s percentage of ownership for Yahoo and NFL leagues as well as their Fanduel and Draftkings prices.
Jameis Winston (TB): ESPN: 27.5; Yahoo: 28; NFL: 15.3; FD: 6.6K; DK: 5.6K
It’s hard to look at Winston’s Week 1 performance and feel anything other than melancholy about it. Winston had one of the worst openings to a #1 overall draft pick’s career throwing a TD – to the other team – on his very first NFL attempt. Despite the slow start, he was able to get into his own groove a little bit and pull out a pretty nice fantasy showing with 210 yards and two touchdowns, good for 17 fantasy points. His two interceptions took four points away from him in most scoring leagues, so to think he could have had 21 points and jumped into the top 10 for the week tied with Andrew Luck.
Winston gets a pretty favorable match up in Week 2 against divisional rival New Orleans who were the third worst defense against opposing QBs last week. Carson Palmer is clearly a better QB at this point in his career than Jameis is but after seeing Palmer throw for more than 300 yards and three scores, Winston could turn around the naysayers and put up a pretty solid fantasy week.
Andy Dalton (CIN): ESPN: 20.6; Yahoo: 27; NFL: 14.8; FD: 6.9K; DK: 5.8K
Can you believe that Andy Dalton is owned in fewer leagues than Jameis Winston? I couldn’t either. Dalton, who has never been the pinnacle of consistency, had an off season in 2014 throwing for nearly 1,000 yards less than he did in 2013. But in Week 1 against a defense who was pretty tough against the pass, he shined throwing for 269 yards and two touchdowns. And he could have had a third if not for a dropped AJ Green pass. He also managed not to turn the ball over. The Bengals are in a little bit better of a matchup this week as they take on the San Diego Chargers at home. The Chargers snuck out a win late in the game last week but had problems stopping the pass in their own right giving up two passing touchdowns and more than 240 yards through the air.
Karlos Williams (BUF): ESPN: 11.7; Yahoo: 7; NFL: 1.9; FD: 4.7K; DK: 3.3K
Who is going to run the ball in Buffalo? If you were like the majority of people, you were certain that Rex Ryan trading for McCoy and giving away arguably the best young ILB in the game in Kiko Alonso meant it would be LeSean getting the work. An injury to his hamstring during training camp has slowed down that certainty enough to truly be confident in making this pick. Karlos Williams gained 55 yards on just six carries and scored last week and that was with McCoy on the field. Shady on the other hand is still nursing a sore hamstring, as he was limited in practice Thursday due to tightness and soreness.
Even with the Bills being confident McCoy will be ready to go, Karlos Williams is a solid play for your flex spot. The Pats couldn’t stop a nosebleed against the run last Thursday when DeAngelo Williams from Pittsburgh gained more than 120 yards against them. There will certainly be a committee specifically if McCoy is somewhat healthy, but Karlos can exploit the Pats defense and score if given the opportunities to do so.
Harry Douglas (TEN): ESPN: 1.6; Yahoo: 2; NFL: 0.9; FD: 4.8K; DK: 3K
When Harry Douglas left the Falcons to go to the Titans many, including yours truly, believed that his career would be swallowed whole in the dismal situation that is the Tennessee Titans. Enter Marcus Mariota who last week threw for four touchdowns, one of which went to Douglas. Douglas only saw two targets on Sunday but caught both, gained 24 yards and found the end zone, which was good for double digit points in PPR leagues. Douglas is going to continue to be the third or fourth option in Tennessee for now, but with his veteran status he could start to gel with Mariota more as the season prolongs. The Titans get to take on the Browns who gave up two touchdowns to WRs last week against the New York Jets.
Cole Beasley (DAL): ESPN: 17.7; Yahoo: 17; NFL: 5; FD: 5.7K; DK: 3.3K
It’s a bit shocking to me that Cole Beasley is still owned in such a small percentage of leagues. He should at least be on the bench in a majority of PPR leagues based solely on his 2014 numbers down the stretch. In Beasley’s last seven games last year the former Southern Methodist receiver either scored or saw at least seven targets in all but one game. Beasley kicked off the 2015 season with six targets and four receptions with 49 yards receiving. Although he fumbled the ball, he did receive a red zone target later in the game and brought the ball down close to the goal line, almost scoring.
The injury to Dez Bryant is going to make Cole Beasley a big target for Tony Romo as he tries to figure out how to move the ball down the field efficiently without his star wide out. The Eagles secondary was expected to be much better than they were on Monday, but after giving up more than fifteen receptions to the Falcons receivers, it’s safe to say the Cowboys receivers will need to step it up with the loss of Dez and pick up the slack against a team that can certainly provide some.
Eric Ebron (DET): ESPN: 18.3; Yahoo: 13; NFL: 4.1; FD: 4.8K; DK: 3.3K
For a good portion of Eric Ebron‘s first game he only had one reception, which went for a touchdown, but many people thought that would be as far as he goes. Ebron finished the day with four receptions for 53 yards and that aforementioned score. The news that Golden Tate may be on the shelf this week due to a shoulder injury makes things even more intriguing for the second year tight end who failed to live up to the hype he received in his first year. With Tate off the field his 15+ point upside from the TE position is nice, specifically on DraftKings with a $3,300 price tag.
These players and more can certainly help your team as you second-guess the options both on your team and on the waiver wire. They may be deep down on the wire themselves, but they can all help you perform this week and beyond.
Need start / sit questions answered? You can find me on twitter @justinmandaro right up until game time.