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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 2


Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 2 of the NFL season. Dynasty owners, check out our separate Dynasty Risers/Fallers segment as well.

 

Week 2 Risers

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

After a disastrous 2019 and having not mattered since 2016, combined with one of the weakest set of pass catchers outside of Davante Adams, I admittedly wrote off the 37 year old Aaron Rodgers in 2020. After one week, that's trending in the wrong direction. Rodgers looked like his old self last week, completing 72% of his passes, taking shots downfield, and racking up the fantasy points with 364 yards and four touchdowns. One week does not a season make, but Rodgers, who many, myself included, had proclaimed as not a QB1, is firmly back in the QB1 ranks for the time being.

Cam Newton (QB, NE)

I usually don't double up on quarterbacks in this column, but Cam Newton needs to be mentioned. Newton has never been a prolific passer with a career completion percentage south of 60%. His fantasy value stemmed from his rushing ability. Over the past couple years, Newton was running less and less so it was fair to question if coming off multiple years of injuries whether Newton would resume running. That kept his ADP outside the top 12 quarterbacks. Well, we have our answer. Newton ran the ball 15 times last week, the second most of his entire career (he carried the ball 17 times in Week 6 of 2014). Bill Belichick, unsurprisingly, reworked the offense to cater to Newton's skills. The Patriots scored just 21 points last week and Newton posted 25 fantasy points. Imagine what can happen when the Patriots get into shootouts.

Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI)

It's rare that a team can actually produce two viable TE1s. We haven't seen it since Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. But the Eagles find themselves in exceptional circumstances in 2020 as their two best pass catchers are both TEs. Dallas Goedert played 79% of the offensive snaps in Week 1 and commanded a team high nine targets. Even though Zach Ertz is still the TE1 on this team, Goedert is simply better at football. It wouldn't be a total shock if the Eagles realized this and started featuring Goedert more. Any concerns about Goedert's usage should be assuaged for now and he's an every week fantasy starter.

Parris Campbell (WR, IND)

While there was no debate that the sophomore wide receiver was the Colts' WR2 entering this season, there was no clarity on how Parris Campbell would be used or whether Philip Rivers could support two fantasy viable wide receivers. Campbell's team high nine targets and the fact that his skill set meshes very well with what Rivers can do at this stage of his career bodes well for Campbell. I like Campbell's chances to become an every week fantasy WR3.

Will Fuller (WR, HOU)

To be fair, we've seen this story before. Will Fuller has done a tremendous job evolving his game from a pure burner to a complete wide receiver. With DeAndre Hopkins gone, Fuller is the locked in WR1 for Deshaun Watson. His health remains the biggest obstacle, but after a 10 target, 112 yard game to open the season, it's clear that Fuller can be at least a high end WR2 in fantasy.

Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines (RB, IND)

Ironically, Jonathan Taylor would have been on the fallers list if not for Marlon Mack's torn achilles. Taylor didn't play a snap in the first quarter and was clearly going to be the third most valuable asset in this backfield, at least to start the season. Mack's injury thrust Taylor into the primary role (Nyheim Hines was always going to be the complementary piece) and Taylor excelled. He looked fast, explosive, and, most promising, was heavily utilized in the passing game. Taylor caught all six of his targets, which was a concern for some based on his collegiate profile. Frank Reich outright said that Taylor is the starter going forward. He's an RB1.

As for Hines, his role was already way more significant than I expected. He was replacing Mack on third downs and was the guy in there near the goal line. With Rivers' completely washed and just checking it down all the time, it's very clear that Hines is going to have a role no matter how good Taylor performs, making Hines a must roster in fantasy as at least a flex play.

Malcolm Brown (RB, LAR)

It is irrational to deny reality. Malcolm Brown is the lead back for the Rams. That's reality. He carried the ball 18 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns while adding three receptions. The Rams like Brown and are not ready to turn the backfield over to Cam Akers just yet. Darrell Henderson, as I've stated since January, is completely irrelevant because the Rams hate him. Brown is nothing more than a replacement level plodder, but the Rams offense looked strong and he's going to get the goal line carries. He's worth rostering.

David Johnson (RB, HOU)

There were exactly two possibilities for David Johnson this season. He was either completely cooked and would dropped by Week 3 or he would be an RB1. There was no scenario where he'd be a middling RB2. He was either done or he wasn't. After watching one game, we can definitively say that DJ is not done - far from it. It's very clear that his issues last season were entirely due to injury. He's healthy and he's the same elite talent we saw back in 2016. That's the DJ I saw on Thursday night. Game script got away from the Texans, but DJ ran 11 times for 77 yards and caught three passes. He looked shifty and explosive. He was making defenders miss. Not that Duke Johnson ever mattered, but with Duke out, DJ is going to play every snap he can handle. If he stays healthy, DJ in the fourth round will end up being one of the best values this season.

 

Week 2 Fallers

Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

Yikes! That's the only word I can use to describe Carson Wentz's opening week performance. He completed just 57% of his passes and allowed the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, Dwayne Haskins, to come back and beat him. Wentz's battered offensive line did him no favors, but he looked lost at times and made multiple bad decisions. I would be terrified to start him in Week 2 against the Rams.

The Late Breakout TEs

I don't want to put someone like Blake Jarwin here because this list isn't about injuries. Guys like Ian Thomas and Irv Smith were popular back of the bench fliers. They each saw two targets in Week 1 and are clearly not part of their respective offenses. They can be safely dropped for literally anyone else.

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, CLE)

Another season, but more of the same from Odell Beckham. I'm not ready to close the door on Baker Mayfield just yet, but I'm getting there. Beckham saw 10 targets, but was able to corral just three of them. One week does not a season make, but after 16 weeks of this, it sure looks like 2020 is going to be just as frustrating for Beckham. Let's see how he does against a far inferior defense, but I'm certainly holding my breath with Beckham.

Christian Kirk (WR, ARI)

There were some people, myself among them, who thought Christian Kirk was poised for a breakout year. The Cardinals run a ton of pass plays and DeAndre Hopkins can only see so many targets. Well, apparently there is no limit on the amount of targets that can go to Hopkins. Kirk was an afterthought in a game where Kyler Murray attempted 40 passes and dropped back to pass over 50 times. Kirk managed just one reception for no yards on five targets. Larry Fitzgerald was above him in the pecking order. I'm not writing Kirk off just yet, but I'm very concerned.

Leonard Fournette (RB, TB)

I don't care that it was one week with a new team. 48 year old Adrian Peterson walked onto the Lions and immediately dominated touches. 25 year old Leonard Fournette was apparently incapable of even resembling a competent NFL running back. Ronald Jones' offseason workouts clearly made a difference. Jones looked great while Fournette looked like LeGarrette Blount. Joining a team late is no excuse for what Fournette displayed. Five carries for five yards. It was pathetic and embarrassing. The only silver lining is that LeSean McCoy is completely toast as an NFL player so Fournette is very clearly the primary backup to RoJo. However, at this point, Fournette needs an injury to matter and even that might not be enough. There's a very real chance that Fournette's NFL career is closer to its conclusion than we think.

Le'Veon Bell (RB, NYJ)

Again, this column isn't about injuries, but Le'Veon Bell's appearance here is much more than that. Bell was last a fantasy force back in 2017. He's on the tail end of his career, but by all accounts, the talent is still there. The pass catching acumen certainly is. However, Adam Gase is probably the worst coach in NFL history. Sam Darnold is one of the five worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL. The Jets' top wide receiver is Jamison Crowder. Their offensive line is atrocious. And, to top it all off, Bell is going to miss multiple weeks with a hamstring strain. Bell is a bust. I'm confident saying that after just one week. This Jets team has no hope offensively even if Bell was healthy. With an injury tacked on to a bottom of the barrel situation, Bell is already a lost pick for fantasy managers.



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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More