Zero-RB loyalists are looking awfully smart after the first two weeks of the season, as another slew of backfield situations grew cloudy in Week 2.
Tevin Coleman disrupted the Atlanta backfield with a huge performance in the season opener — and kept the pressure on Devonta Freeman Sunday — but in Week 2, the injuries were the real issue.
The two biggest names to go down were probably two of the least surprising ones, as Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) and Arian Foster (groin) were forced to exit their games. We’ll know more about their availability moving forward, but you obviously need to keep an eye on their health, because you have a chance to snag a starting running back off waivers this week if you move quickly.
The guy to target first is Fozzy Whittaker , who entered Sunday owned in just 2 percent of CBSSports.com leagues. He took over after Stewart’s departure and looked good, rushing for 100 yards on 16 carries against the 49ers. Whittaker didn’t get many opportunities last season, so we don’t have much to go on here, but the Carolina Panthers are committed to the run, and Cam Newton ‘s rushing ability certainly makes whoever gets the carries in Carolina look better. Cameron Artis-Payne could also figure into a larger role in Stewart’s absence, but was a healthy scratch for the first two games, making Whittaker the guy to target.
In Miami, Foster couldn’t even make it through six quarters of work before going down with a groin injury, another in a long line of issues the veteran has dealt with. Jay Ajayi would be the back to target in Miami if Foster misses time, though after being designated a healthy scratch in Week 1, Ajayi had just five carries for 14 yards in Sunday’s game. In fact, it was rookie Kenyan Drake who got goal line work and a score against the New England Patriots , however Ajayi finished fourth on the team with four receptions and still got much of the work in the game.
The problem with targeting Ajayi on waivers, of course, is that he is owned in 63 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, so he isn’t widely available. Two other backs who could be pressed into larger roles also won’t play much of a role when waivers run this week, as Theo Riddick (88 percent owned) and Charles Sims (87 percent) could benefit from injuries to Ameer Abdullah (foot) and Doug Martin (hamstring). Where available, they should definitely be scooped up this week as well.
If there is one position that might be harder to fill these days than running back, it’s definitely tight end. Rob Gronkowski has yet to play, and everyone’s favorite breakout candidate Coby Fleener has yet to show up, leaving the already-thin position perilously lacking in talent. Any flash, then, is worth chasing, and Dennis Pitta did a lot more than show a flash in Week 2, as he was all over the place for the Baltimore Ravens , racking up 102 yards on nine catches against the Cleveland Browns . Joe Flacco looked his way 12 times in the game, giving him 16 targets in his first two games of the season. Pitta lost most of the previous three seasons to injuries, ultimately playing just seven games total, but he was a productive low-end starting tight end once upon a time. He has done more than hint at that potential over the season’s first two games, and that should be enough to make tight end-starved Fantasy players interested in him heading into a great Week 3 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars .
Most rookie wide receivers don’t make much of an impact at first, so it wasn’t exactly a huge red flag that DeVante Parker struggled early in his rookie season while working his way back from an injury. What was a red flag was an offseason headlined by his inconsistency and inability to lock down a starting role for the Miami Dolphins . Parker sat out Week 1 with a hamstring injury, but was worth the wait for the Dolphins, as he put his offseason troubles behind him, hauling in eight catches for 106 yards on 12 targets against the Patriots. There has never really been a question that he is the Dolphins’ most talented wide receiver, but he has had to earn coach Adam Gase’s trust. Assuming he has, Parker has a ton of upside moving forward, including in Week 3 against the Browns.
It’s not just that Tyrell Williams scored a long touchdown in Week 2 that makes him worthy of your attention — it’s how he did it. Williams, who jumped onto Fantasy radars in the aftermath of Keenan Allen ‘s injury last week, but should make the jump onto more of your rosters after he racked up 61 yards on just three receptions, including a 44-yard score in the third quarter. Williams did most of the hard work on the score, taking Philip Rivers’ pass 40 yards after the catch and breaking multiple tackles inside the 10 to get into the end zone. Williams still has just five catches in the first two games, but has taken them for 132 yards total, and has been targeted at least five times in each game. Consistency might be an issue, but Williams has showed the ability to make defenders miss and make big plays, and has a chance to do even more moving forward.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Fantasy Football Week 2 Quick Review: Fozzy Whittaker, Jay Ajayi, Theo Riddick and Charles Sims ready?