Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Week 2 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play…

QBs
Tom Brady, Patriots – Washed up? If 447 yards, 3 TDs and no INTs is washed up, he’s soaking wet.
Trevor Siemian, Broncos – Passed for 231 yards and 4 TDs, though he had an INT and a fumble.
Derek Carr, Raiders – Just 230 passing yards, but he had a TD trio and no turnovers.

RBs
Kareem Hunt, Chiefs – It took him a while to get going, but he finished strong with 81 rushing yards and 2 TDs, plus 28 yards on 3 receptions.
C.J. Anderson, Broncos – Dominated the Cowboys with 118 rushing and 36 receiving yards, scoring both ways.
Ty Montgomery, Packers – He scored as a rusher and receiver as well, totaling 6 catches for 75 yards and adding 35 rushing yards to boot.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons – Rumbled for 84 yards and 2 TDs, plus 2 catches for 16 yards.
Todd Gurley, Rams – Asserted himself with 88 yards and 1 TD on the ground, and 3 catches for 48 yards and another TD through the air. We’ll forgive the fumbles.
Chris Thompson, Redskins – Was off to the races with 77 rushing yards and 2 TDs, plus 3 receptions for 29 yards.

WRs
Michael Crabtree, Raiders – Collected 6 passes for 80 yards and a TD hat trick.
Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos – Scored twice on 6 catches for 62 yards.
J.J. Nelson, Cardinals – Caught 5 passes for 120 yards and a score.
Jermaine Kearse, Jets – Turned 4 receptions into 64 yards and 2 TDs.
Jarvis Landry, Dolphins – In PPR leagues, we loved his 13 receptions for 78 yards.

TEs
Jason Witten, Cowboys – Caught 10 passes for 97 yards and a TD.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots – Left with a groin injury, but not before reeling in 6 passes for 116 yards and a TD.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs – His 8 receptions resulted in 103 yards and an acrobatic TD.

D/STs
Buccaneers – Collected 2 INTs, 2 fumbles, a sack and a TD on an INT return, while holding the Bears to 7 points.
Lions – Pummeled the Giants with 5 sacks, 1 INT and a punt return TD, while holding them to 10 points.

This was a great week to play against…

QBs
Andy Dalton, Bengals – Still hasn’t created a TD in 2017, passing for 224 yards and nothing else on Thursday.
Cam Newton, Panthers – Just 228 passing yards and 27 rushing yards without a TD or turnover.

RBs
Jordan Howard, Bears – A non-factor, with just 7 yards on 9 carries.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks – Picked up 4 stinking yards.
LeGarrette Blount, Eagles – Never carried the ball and caught a pass for zero yards. Wow.
Zeke Elliott, Cowboys – Grounded in Denver with just 8 rushing and 14 receiving yards.
DeMarco Murray, Titans – Out-played by Derrick Henry, with just 28 combined yards.
Paul Perkins, Giants – Continued his quest to be the worst starting RB in the league, with 10 rushing and 12 receiving yards.
Kerwynn Williams, Cardinals – Just 22 rushing yards as the alleged starter.
LeSean McCoy, Bills – Only 9 rushing yards plus 34 yards on 6 receptions.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns – Just 37 yards on the ground.

WRs
Jordy Nelson, Packers – Yanked his quad and left with a goose egg.
Kenny Golladay, Lions – Had an 8 yarder in the Monday nighter.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Left Indy with just 3 receptions for 21 yards in his pocket.
Mike Wallace, Ravens – Caught a 7 yarder.
Corey Coleman, Browns – He caught a 9 yarder before exiting with another injury.
Brandon Marshall, Giants – Had a 17 yarder, but dropped a much longer one right in his paws.
Golden Tate, Lions – Only 25 yards on 4 receptions.
Sammy Watkins, Rams – Tallied 2 catches for 30 yards.
Pierre Garcon, 49ers – Led his team with 3 catches for 26 yards.
Terrelle Pryor, Redskins – Limited to 31 yards on 2 receptions.
Brandin Cooks, Patriots – His QB passed for 447 yards, yet he managed just 37.
Stefan Diggs, Vikings – Wilted without Sam Bradford, catching 2 passes for 27 yards.
Jordan Matthews, Bills – Had 30 yards on 3 catches.
Eric Decker, Titans – Just 32 yards on 3 catches.
Amari Cooper, Raiders – Upstaged by his sidekick with just 4 catches for 33 yards.
Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants – Might have been better served sitting out another week after tallying 36 yards on 4 receptions.
DeSean Jackson, Bucs – Caught 3 passes for 39 yards in Tampa Bay debut.

TEs
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks – Had a 1-yard catch on the day before leaving hurt.
Greg Olsen, Panthers – Caught a 10 yarder before exiting with an injury.
Austin Hooper, Falcons – Just 7 yards on 2 receptions. 
-->

Monday, September 18, 2017

Injuries shift fantasy landscape

In both of my leagues, and many more I’ve heard about anecdotally, the owner who selected David Johnson with the first overall pick also swung for the fences and took Ezekiel Elliott with their second or third selection. It was a bold move at the time, as Elliott’s six-game suspension was still in force.

Fast forward a few days, when Elliott was granted his injunction, and it appeared that those of us who weren’t armed with the Johnson/Elliott duo were destined to play for second place.

Funny how quickly things change. Johnson’s Week 1 injury leveled the playing field overnight. Then yesterday in Denver, Elliott might as well have been serving his suspension. Last year’s leading rusher wasn’t injured; he was just bottled up by a ferocious defense. Suddenly, my owner envy shifted to owner pity.

Bless their hearts.

But while Johnson’s near-season-ending injury was all the rage after opening weekend, Sunday’s assorted breaks, pulls and strains have thrown even more fantasy owners into a tizzy.

Greg Olsen’s broken foot leaves a huge hole in countless fantasy rosters. Olsen is renowned for his toughness and durability, and he won’t be easily replaced for the next six to eight weeks. Not by his owners, and certainly not by his quarterback. Cam Newton’s stock takes a hit, too.

Rob Gronkowski strained his groin, but declared himself to be “good” after the game. We’ll see about that. Jordan Reed left Sunday’s contest with a chest injury of unknown severity, but his owners should already have a backup plan in place, given Reed’s lengthy injury history.

That’s a lot of blows to the already-thin tight end ranks.

Meanwhile, Jordy Nelson’s owners are wondering if Sunday night’s goose egg is a one-week thing, or if their top wideout will be lost for an extended period. In the most helpful of ways, those of us who own Davante Adams and Randall Cobb think the Packers should err on the side of caution and make certain Nelson’s quad is 110% before he returns to the field.

Few fantasy owners hitched their team’s hopes to Sam Bradford in the QB slot, but those banking on consistent production from Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are surely rooting for the rapid healing of Bradford’s bum knee.

It’s not clear if Jordan Howard’s shoulder injury is the problem, or if Howard is the problem. What seems clear is that Tarik Cohen is the solution in Chicago.

A similar shift may be unfolding in Tennessee, where DeMarco Murray is struggling with a tender hammy. Is the younger, more-decisive Derrick Henry about to seize the workhorse role?

If you’ve dodged the injury bullet so far with your fantasy team, consider yourself lucky. And warned.


WAIVER WIRE PICKS AND PANS

To win a fantasy championship, it’s best to start with a great draft. But filling gaps in your roster with the occasional waiver-wire acquisition can also pay big dividends. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Javorius "Buck" Allen, RB, Ravens. Allen made a name for himself in the second half of his rookie season two years ago, then he disappeared in 2016. Now he’s back, leading the Ravens in touches and combining for 101 yards and a TD against the Browns. Allen has stepped into the role planned for Danny Woodhead – another Week 1 casualty. Consider him as solid depth and a decent flex start in the right matchups.

Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks. Seattle’s backfield (and its offense in general) is in low gear at the moment, but the rookie has emerged as its most viable rushing weapon. With 20 carries against the 49ers, versus just five for Thomas Rawls, and with Eddie Lacy a healthy scratch this week, Carson is currently the only Seahawk RB worth owning.

Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins. If Rob Kelley’s rib injury keeps him sidelined for a game or more, Perine’s ascendance to the lead RB gig will accelerate. Chris Thompson has a lock on the change-of-pace role, and he should already be on someone’s roster. But Perine is most likely to take on the bulk of the rushing workload should the starting job be vacated.

Benjamin Watson, TE, Ravens. Given the depletion of the tight end position, healthy options will be in high demand on the waiver wire. After seeing just one target in Week 1, Watson was the busiest receiver on the field against the Browns. Though there’s no guarantee that will continue, given Baltimore’s three-headed TE committee, he’s worth consideration by desperate owners. The Colts’ Jack Doyle is another decent option, if available.

Don’t be fooled

Chris Johnson, RB, Cardinals. It was good to see The RB Formerly Known as CJ2K back on the field Sunday, but it’s clear this Johnson is nothing like the one he replaced. Arizona was a terrible rushing team before David Johnson arrived, and it appears they will be so again. I’m avoiding the Cardinals’ three-headed RB committee entirely.

Brandon Coleman, WR, Saints. When you play catch with Drew Brees, you’re bound to have the occasional good game. But unless you’re one of his favorites, those performances can be fleeting. With Carolina on deck, the Saints’ passing game mostly out of sync and Willie Snead set to return from suspension in Week 4, it’s best to leave Coleman on the wire.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday morning updates -- Week 2

Good morning, Fools. I trust you're ready for another beautiful day in Fantasyland. Even if you are still mourning the loss of David Johnson.

I wasn't able to draft him, but I just plucked DJ off the waiver wire from the bonehead* who dropped him in one league. (*I acknowledge that we really won't know which of us is the bonehead for about 9-10 weeks.) Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to a more high-scoring weekend in Week 2, after both of my teams got off to a slow start in the opener (though I still managed to emerge 1-1).

But enough about me. Let's take our stroll through the NFL for the news we can use to make the right starting lineup decisions today.

One of the biggest questions, of course, is how the Arizona backfield touches shake out. My preliminary answer: Who cares? I wouldn't recommend starting any of their RBs (Kerwynn is likely to handle 1st and 2nd downs, plus the goal-line carries; Ellington will be the 3rd down/receiving back; Chris Johnson might get 3-4 touches). This game will be all about the passing attack for the Cardinals, assuming Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald can get their creaking bones moving.

The other big question for me: Will Alex Smith, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill have another great game this week against the Eagles? I don't own any of them, so I would sure like to see them come back down to earth. And while Hunt and Hill are must-starts until they prove otherwise, don't plan to ride either one to another easy fantasy win today.

Sam Bradford has not been moving around much, so far, in pre-game warm-ups, due to his tender knee. Now Case Keenum appears to be preparing for the start. I'm certainly not jumping on the Bradford Bandwagon after one stellar game against the hapless Saints defense. But I was planning to start Adam Thielen against the Steelers. I've just made a switch, and depending on your other options, recommend you do the same.

Hey, Jordan Howard owners: Are you nervous yet? You should be! Not only is your guy banged up (shoulder), but some rookie named Tarik Cohen is nipping at his heels. Howard is expected to play today, but it seems logical that Cohen will be given an even greater share of the touches against the Bucs. Especially in the passing game. I grabbed Cohen in both my leagues, and you bet I'm flexing him.

Everyone expects Jay Cutler to favor DeVante Parker over Jarvis Landry, but I'm not so sure. Landry is more sure-handed and he's a higher-percentage target than Parker, the speedster. That said, Landry has been dealing with swelling in his knee, and the Dolphins are facing a solid secondary today. So I'm not expecting much from any member of this trio.

Odell Beckham, Jr., will likely be a game-time decision again. But unlike last week, his arrow is pointing up for Monday night's game. There's still risk holding a spot for him unless you have another option, but I would probably take my chances this time.

That's it for today. I'll be tweeting inactives and other late-breaking news soon. Good luck today, Fools!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Week 2 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start Zeke Elliott and Antonio Brown, or to bench Scott Tolzien and Brian Quick? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 2 of the 2017 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks vs. 49ers. Wilson got off to a rough start in Green Bay, but he should bounce back nicely against his divisional rivals. San Francisco’s secondary is still getting used to each other, and they benefited from the sub-par quarterback play they faced in the opener. Wilson should find more room to pass and run, and should score both ways at least once.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Raiders vs. Jets. Lynch looked close to his old self in the opener, despite facing a solid Titans run defense. Now he’ll get to exploit a pathetic defense that surrendered 190 yards on the ground to the Bills. Oakland should visit the red zone frequently, and Lynch will be a primary beneficiary.

Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears at Buccaneers. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, as I scooped up Cohen in both my leagues. But the rookie has not only earned a steady diet of carries (thanks to his 13 yards-per-carry average in Week 1), but he’s likely to remain Chicago’s leading receiver. That’s a nice combo, especially while Jordan Howard is nursing a tender shoulder.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals at Colts. The Colts’ secondary just made Jared Goff look like an All Pro, so this sets up as a nice rebound opportunity for Carson Palmer. As usual, Fitz was his go-to receiver in Week 1, seeing 13 targets in the loss to Detroit. The seasoned duo should produce much better results in Indy.

Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots at Saints. Both Stefan Diggs and Adam Thielen came up huge against the Saints, while Tom Brady looked like, well, Sam Bradford against the Chiefs. Get ready for Brady to work out his frustrations in the Big Easy, with both Hogan and Brandin Cooks racking up the fantasy points, boosted by the absence of Danny Amendola (concussion).

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Carson Palmer, Derek Carr, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers; RBs Kareem Hunt, Ty Montgomery, Mark Ingram, Jacquizz Rodgers; WRs Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, Davante Adams, Emmanuel Sanders, Tyreek Hill, Tyrell Williams, Adam Thielen.

Roll ‘em back

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers vs. Vikings. Minnesota’s secondary is a force to be reckoned with, and it will be fascinating to see how the Antonio Brown-Xavier Rhodes showdown plays out. Brown, of course, is a must-start, but his quarterback and fellow receivers aren’t. Best to let Big Ben sit this one out.

Todd Gurley, RB, Rams vs. Redskins. Gurley took a step in the right direction last week, mostly due to his participation in the passing game. But he barely averaged more than 2 yards per carry, which is a huge red flag. Washington’s run defense is showing improvement over last year’s soft unit, and it could present an obstacle to Gurley’s return to his fantasy owners’ good graces.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings at Steelers. The rookie had a nice NFL debut, though 65 of his 127 rushing yards came in the fourth quarter against a tired and over-matched Saints defense. Pittsburgh’s run defenders are far superior, and will not be as hospitable as New Orleans was. Cook will learn what a tougher NFL defense looks like this week.

Golden Tate, WR, Lions at Giants. It’s not his finger I’m worried about. It’s Janoris Jenkins. But even if Tate doesn’t draw Jenkins in coverage, the rest of the talented New York secondary is plenty capable of limiting his ceiling. Matt Stafford was sharp last week, but the going gets tougher on Monday night.

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins at Chargers. Jay Cutler gets a tough draw for his Miami debut, facing a pair of shutdown corners who excel at cutting off the deep ball. Hopes are high for the downfield threat of Parker combined with Cutler’s gun-slinging style, but the dividends aren’t likely to start paying this week.

More thumbs down: QBs Jay Cutler, Jameis Winston, Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, Dez Bryant, Carson Wentz; RBs Jonathan Stewart, Bilal Powell, Rob Kelley, LeGarrette Blount, Frank Gore, Adrian Peterson, Paul Perkins, Ameer Abdullah; WRs T.Y. Hilton, Sammy Watkins, Allen Hurns, Kendall Wright, Corey Coleman, Marvin Jones, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martavis Bryant, Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Terrelle Pryor, Cole Beasley, Corey Davis.

TAKING A FLIER

Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams vs. Redskins. Washington’s secondary was awful in the opener, especially against slot receivers. That’s where Kupp found his groove with Goff in the opener. It’s clear this tandem is in sync, and they should keep up their positive momentum on Sunday.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO… releases David Johnson. At least not yet. I realize many of you have already made this decision, but I think you’ll live to regret it. Last year’s Fantasy MVP is projected to miss the next 8-12 weeks. Obviously, that’s the majority of the fantasy season. But he could recover more quickly, and just imagine the boost he’ll provide for your playoff run. It’s too early to punt.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Week 1 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play…

QBs
Alex Smith, Chiefs – Started the season in grand form, passing for 368 yards and 4 TDs, without a blemish.
Matt Stafford, Lions – Passed for 292 yards and 4 TDs, with an INT.
Sam Bradford, Vikings – His 346-yard, 3-TD evening was more a credit to New Orleans’ pathetic defense than his greatness.

RBs
Kareem Hunt, Chiefs – Raced for 148 yards on the ground and a TD, and added 5 catches for 98 yards and 2 TDs. We’ll forgive the first-carry fumble in his NFL debut.
Mike Gillislee, Patriots – Picked up where LeGarrette Blount left off, rushing for 45 yards and 3 TDs.

WRs
Stefon Diggs, Vikings – Scored twice on 7 receptions for 93 yards.
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs – Reeled in 7 passes for 133 yards and a TD.
Antonio Brown, Steelers – Didn’t score, but his 11-catch, 182-yard performance was gold in PPR leagues.
Golden Tate, Lions – His 10-catch, 107-yard game was nearly as good as AB’s.
Adam Thielen, Vikings – Grabbed 9 passes for 157 yards.
Kenny Golladay, Lions – The rookie scored twice on his 4 catches for 69 yards.

TEs
Jesse James, Steelers – Was Big Ben’s favorite red-zone target, catching 6 passes for 41 yards and 2 TDs.
Austin Hooper, Falcons – Made his 2 receptions count, racing for 128 yards and a fumble-return TD.

Ks
Giorgio Tavecchio, Raiders – Nailed all 4 of his FGs (from 20, 43 and 2 from 52), plus 2 XPs in his NFL debut. And you say Giorgio, who?

D/STs
Rams – Thumped the toothless Colts with 4 sacks, 2 INTs, a fumble recovery, a safety and 2 defensive TDs.
Jaguars – Amassed 10 sacks, 3 fumbles, 1 INT and a fumble-return TD.
Eagles – Collected 4 sacks, 3 fumbles, an INT and defensive TD.
Steelers – Rung up 7 sacks, an INT and a blocked punt with TD.
Ravens – Had 5 sacks, 4 INTs and a fumble recovery while shutting out the Bengals.

This was a great week to play against…

QBs
Tom Brady, Patriots – Looked out of sync with his receivers, passing for just 267 yards and no TDs.
Andy Dalton, Bengals – Absolutely awful, with 170 passing yards, a fumble and 4 – count ‘em, 4 -- INTs.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals – He was pretty bad, too, finishing with 269 passing yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks – Got off to an inauspicious start, with just 158 passing yards, 40 rushing yards and no TDs. He also lost a fumble.
Eli Manning, Giants – When he’s bad, he’s bad. And he was pathetic on Sunday night, passing for 220 yards with no TDs and 1 INT.

RBs
Adrian Peterson, Saints – So much for his triumphant return to Minnesota (which I never predicted). His 18 yards impressed nobody.
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers – He won’t often get held to 32 yards rushing and 15 receiving.
Bengals – Jeremy Hill ran for 26 yards and was out-performed by Gio Bernard (but not by much). Joe Mixon was a non-factor, too.
Paul Perkins, Giants – Combined for a whopping 25 yards.
Ameer Abdullah, Lions – Rushed for just 30 yards and added 11 receiving.
DeMarco Murray, Titans – Limited to 44 rushing and 16 receiving yards.

WRs
Mike Wallace, Ravens – Held to an 8 yarder.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks – So was he.
Eric Decker, Titans – Handled just 3 receptions for 10 yards for his new team.
Brandon Marshall, Giants – Contributed a 10 yarder to his new team.
Martavis Bryant, Steelers – It’s gonna take him some time to get rolling again, after catching 2 passes for 14 yards.
Jamison Crowder, Redskins – Just 14 yards on his 3 receptions.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars – Caught a 17-yarder before leaving with a knee injury.
Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers – Caught a 25-yard pass, and that’s it.
Cole Beasley, Cowboys – Had an amazing circus catch, but totaled just 32 yards on 3 receptions.
Alshon Jeffery, Eagles – Just 38 yards on 3 catches, plus a 2-point conversion.
Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos – Took 3 passes 26 yards.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys – Should’ve scored, but finished with 43 yards on 2 catches.
Donte Moncrief, Colts – Caught a 50-yard pass.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts – Thanks to his shoddy QB play, he finished with just 57 yards on 3 catches, and lost a fumble.

TEs
Hunter Henry, Chargers – Blanked by the Broncos.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots – Just 2 catches for 33 yards.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals – Caught a 4-yard pass. That’s it.
Jimmy Graham, Seahawks – Left Green Bay with 8 yards on 3 receptions.
Eric Ebron, Lions – Caught 2 for 9 yards. You weren’t really expecting much more, were you?
Greg Olsen, Panthers – His 2 receptions went for 16 yards.


-->

Monday, September 11, 2017

Rookie runners steal the show on opening weekend

Have we just entered The Year of the Rookie Running Back?

My Magic 8 Ball says “Outlook good.”

Kareem Hunt got the ball rolling, literally, with a fumble on his first carry Thursday night. Then he proceeded to wipe the memory of Spencer Ware off the mind of every Chiefs fan with a monster three-touchdown, 246-total-yard shellacking of the Patriots.

Hunt is not just the leader in the clubhouse for Rookie of the Year honors, but the rest of the league could be playing catch-up for weeks in the Fantasy MVP race.

But Hunt isn’t the only shining star from the RB Class of 2017. Leonard Fournette had an impressive debut as well, notching his first 100-yard outing and touchdown as a pro against the usually stingy Texans defense. There’s little doubt Jacksonville’s offense will revolve around Fournette going forward, especially now that Allen Robinson has been lost for the season.

In Chicago, Tarik Cohen served notice that he has no interest in being groomed for “the future.” The first-year player dazzled, breaking out for a 46-yard run and answering the question “who is left to catch Mike Glennon’s passes?” With a game-high eight receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown, Cohen should be at the top of everyone’s waiver-wire priority list – especially in PPR leagues.

[Update 9/12] On Monday night, the torch was symbolically – yet emphatically – passed from Adrian Peterson to Dalvin Cook, who steamrolled the Saints with 127 yards on the ground. Most impressively, Cook made the Vikings’ offensive line look competent for the first time in years.

Meanwhile, as the perennially underrated Frank Gore begins to show his age, Marlon Mack’s young legs are clearly ready to carry the load for Indy. The rookie equaled Gore’s 11 combined touches on Sunday, and he reached the end zone twice (though he was robbed of one of the scores). Mack is a decent consolation prize for those who don’t land Cohen.

Though he didn’t produce big fantasy stats, it’s clear that Christian McCaffrey is going to be featured prominently as both a runner and high-volume receiver in Carolina.

Chris Carson averaged more than six yards per carry in his Seattle debut, and he may prove to be the most viable fantasy option in the Seahawks’ muddled running back committee over the coming weeks.

The Bengals have bigger problems than figuring out its three-headed backfield, so Joe Mixon’s days in the spotlight may have to wait a bit. But rest assured, it’s only a matter of time.

Indeed, the outlook looks quite good for this rookie class.


WAIVER WIRE PICKS AND PANS

To win a fantasy championship, it’s best to start with a great draft. But filling gaps in your roster with the occasional waiver-wire acquisition can also pay big dividends. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears – Run, don’t walk, to your waiver wire. Cohen doesn’t just represent handcuff value for Jordan Howard; the rookie is obviously the more dynamic back of the two. With 103 combined yards and a score, including a team-high eight receptions, Cohen looked like a backup who doesn’t intend to be a backup for long.

[Update 9/12Kerwynn Williams, RB, Cardinals – That gasp you heard is from owners of David Johnson, who is headed to injured reserve with a dislocated wrist. Williams is the next man up in the Arizona backfield, but don't expect anything near Johnson’s production. Andre Ellington will likely absorb most of the receiving duties, limiting Williams to ground-based contributions.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions – The rookie was a training camp and preseason sensation, and he carried that over to his NFL debut. Golladay reeled in two scoring passes among his four receptions against a solid Cardinals secondary. Though Golden Tate remains Matt Stafford’s go-to target, the 6’4” Golladay has a chance to continue shining in the red zone.

Jesse James, TE, Steelers – He may be listed as the second tight end on Pittsburgh’s depth chart, but James was Big Ben’s No. 1 target in the red zone on Sunday. Those in need of TE reinforcement should not ignore his six-catch, 41-yard, 2-TD outing.

Don’t be fooled

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs. If we didn’t have 11 years of history to review, Smith’s opening-night performance would merit immediate fantasy consideration. But that was just his sixth 300-yard game ever, and Thursday was his first outing with at least three passing TDs since the 2015 opener. Avoid the mediocrity.

Jermaine Kearse, WR, Jets – Wondering who’s going to catch passes in New York? The early answer is the former Seahawk, who reeled in a game-high seven receptions on nine targets (albeit for just 59 yards). But really, who wants the leading receiver on a pass-challenged team?


Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars – Just lost Robinson? Sure, Lee and Allen Hurns will see an increase in targets. But much like the Jets, this passing offense is best left to someone else.