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Deshaun Watson, QB, HOU - Garbage time bailed his fantasy teams out, but you didn’t take him in the top six quarterbacks to be a sanitation engineer (hat tip Matt Waldman). This offense lacks structure and looks ugly without DeAndre Hopkins. Kansas City’s defense isn’t THAT good. Maybe the Texans were just sleepwalking, but either way, I’m making a lateral move or trying to trade Watson for a lesser quarterback and something else of value.
Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN - The Vikings defense was terrible and might not be setting up game scripts for Dalvin to cook this year. If it wasn’t for a garbage time score, his Week 1 would have been underwhelming and you have to wonder just how often he will be undercut by a limited pass offense that might not sustain drives and an abysmal secondary that is prone to give his team multi-score deficits to come back from on the reg. If you can get 80 cents on the dollar for Cook’s mid-first price tag, do it.
David Johnson, RB, HOU - Johnson looked like his old self and the Texans barely made an effort to get him involved in the passing game. If we were drafting today, he would be a top 25 value. If you’re needing a running back badly in dynasty, he could be cheaper than you think if his team isn’t a contender.
Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, RB, IND - If we were drafting today, Taylor would be a first-round pick, but you might not have to pay that price for him because of skepticism. I don’t know where Hines would go, but considering the value of Danny Woodhead and Austin Ekeler when Melvin Gordon was with Philip Rivers, it probably isn’t high enough in PPR leagues.
Malcolm Brown, RB, LAR - Brown was a Week 2 waiver wire fugazi last week, but Todd Gurley isn’t threatening his ability to hold down a bigger part of the backfield this year. Brown and the Rams running game looks better than they did last year, and Cam Akers is still an immature runner who isn’t close to overtaking Brown. He’ll have at least temporary RB2 value, and it could last all year.
Benny Snell, RB, PIT - The peak in Snell’s value after a 113-yard high visibility game on Monday night was short-lived when James Conner returned to practice, which means it’s the perfect time to make an offer for Snell while his immediate value is in question. If James Conner was hurt, then he’s likely to stay hurt. If he wasn’t hurt then Snell is clearly the better back at this point.
Parris Campbell, WR, IND - Let’s get straight to the point: Campbell looked better than T.Y. Hilton. That isn’t to trash Hilton as much as it is to say that Campbell played fast and under control like a veteran but with the fresh legs of a young player. He’s going to be Philip Rivers #1 this year if he stays healthy. Last chance to get him in dynasty before his value explodes and he’s worth overpaying for as a waiver wire wonder.
Aaron Jones, RB, GB - Jones shared with Jamaal Williams (and Tyler Ervin and AJ Dillon) a little more than his fantasy teams would have liked, but the good news he caught four passes and he is in an offense that is going to create a lot of scoring opportunities if Aaron Rodgers keeps this up. If we were drafting today he would go ahead of at least a few backs who went ahead of him last week.
D.J. Moore, WR, CAR - Moore got 9 targets to Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel’s 8 each vs Las Vegas, one of the easier defenses the Panthers will face this year. This isn’t what you expected when you drafted him as your WR1 or WR2. Perhaps the Panthers reassess priorities in the passing game and make Moore more prominent, but if you can get 80-90 cents on the draft dollar with the Tampa and Chargers defenses up next, the window for that return in a trade could be closing.
James Conner, RB, PIT - Conner looked like a dud in Week 1 and whether his benching was due to injury or “team decision”, his value is deflating quickly. I would almost consider him free in trades, especially in dynasty. Get out while the getting is good now that he’s back at practice.
Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC - Ekeler just isn’t going to be getting fat off of passing game contributions like he did last year, and Joshua Kelley isn’t going to give up goal line carries. This isn’t going to be a prolific offense in any way and Ekeler isn’t going to pay off on his ADP. If you can get 75 cents on the draft dollar do it.
Kenyan Drake, RB, ARI - We now have our answer about whether Chase Edmonds did little to nothing after Drake was acquired because he wasn’t able to or because Drake is just that good. Edmonds looked sharp and got about one-third of the work. If this balance is going to change it will be in favor of Edmonds. You didn’t take Drake near the 1-2 turn for him to get 18 touches. If you can get 75 cents on the draft dollar do it.
Cooper Kupp, WR, LAR - Against a mediocre Cowboys defense, Kupp was a fantasy dud in a Rams offense that is balanced, even leaning run-heavy in the 2020 NFL. The Rams defense looks refreshed and might not get them into as many shootouts as they had early last year. It appears that second-half Kupp is what we are getting for fantasy even though he was being drafted splitting the difference between those ho-hum numbers and his elite first-half numbers. I would easily trade him for Campbell right now.
Leonard Fournette, RB, TB - Fournette isn’t on Jacksonville any longer, but he still looks like a JAG. He has gotten a pass because of his volume and compilation numbers in fantasy circles, but he was a shadow of the back Ronald Jones II was last week. If there’s any name brand value to harvest from him in dynasty leagues, collect what you can.
Mike Evans, WR, TB - Evans had better chemistry with Tom Brady in camp, and Brady’s deep ball was accurate against the Saints, drawing two big penalties on targets to Evans. With Godwin nursing a concussion, Bruce Arians talking about getting Evans 10 targets a game, and the Panthers up this week, the buy-low window will be short-lived.
John Ross, RB, CIN - Ross might be on your dynasty waiver wire and he’s also worth adding in deep leagues. He led the Bengals receivers in snaps and Joe Burrow just missed him for a nice touchdown. If you can get him as a throw-in in a deal, you might be very happy you did… if he can stay healthy.
Jordan Akins, TE, HOU - Akins stood out to everyone except Deshaun Watson and Bill O’Brien apparently as he was one of the most dynamic players for the Texans but only caught two passes. One would hope that he would more targets this as Watson should try to avoid iffy targets against the Ravens corners. He’s free on dynasty waiver wires.
Mecole Hardman, WR, KC - Hardman was barely involved against the Texans in the season opener, but Demarcus Robinson didn’t do anything to encourage Andy Reid to keep him on the field over the speedy second-year receiver. One of these games, Hardman is going to score multiple long touchdowns and then he’ll never be available in dynasty trades again. If he was dropped in redraft, snap him up and be patient.
LeVeon Bell, RB, NYJ - Bell was actually dominating backfield snaps before his hamstring injury that Adam Gase decided to test for a reason I don’t understand. Bell could easily lead the team in targets when he does return and he could have a late-career resurgence next year on a new team. He’s probably in the bargain bin in dynasty leagues right now.
Diontae Johnson, WR, PIT - There were questions about Ben Roethlisberger’s arm and his chemistry with Johnson, who he played less than two games with last year. Those were answered as Roethlisberger was in midseason form and Johnson led the team in targets. Roethlisberger has supported two fantasy WR1s before… it could happen again.
Chase Edmonds, RB, ARI - If the Cardinals are seeing what the rest of us are seeing, they should let Kenyan Drake test the market next year and let Edmonds come in as the #1 back. He could easily turn this into a full-blown RBBC this year. Be willing to overpay for Edmonds in dynasty trades.
Hayden Hurst, TE, ATL - Hurst had to deal with Jamal Adams in Week 1 so we shouldn’t read too much into his disappointing stat line when Matt Ryan threw for 450 yards. He’ll face a much easier draw in the Cowboys defense this week, but the potential lift to his fantasy value playing for a team with a suspect defense that could allow Ryan to throw a lot this year is intact. He might be cheaper in a dynasty trade than he was last week even though his situation looks ripe for hitting his ceiling.
Tony Pollard, RB, DAL - Ezekiel Elliott is so good and so durable that Pollard might require three more years of patience before payoff, but you can tell that the payoff will be there once he gets the chance. Be willing to overpay for him in dynasty.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, SF - Aiyuk was having a great camp before going down with a hamstring injury and now Deebo Samuel has had a setback in his recovery from foot surgery. Aiyuk might be the #1 receiver in an efficient (well when Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t sucking) pass offense for the foreseeable future.
Ronald Jones II, RB, TB - If the Bucs are a meritocracy, Jones should win the running back job outright soon enough. He was running with great power and urgency to go with good burst and quickness for a now thickly-built back. The Bucs offense should be a lot better this week trading the tough Saints defense for the papier-mache Panthers unit. Get in while you can.