Deciphering Situations Heading Into Week Three

With two weeks of data in the books, it’s going to become more and more difficult to go against the grain as statistics compile. Rising sample sizes will identify trends and the chalk plays will become even chalkier in “can’t miss” matchups. I typically recommend waiting four weeks before beginning to heavily rely on results, but trends are certainly worth noting at this point. Instead of writing another article on this week’s “mindset,” I figured it would be a better exercise to go over the specific situations worth diagnosing before it’s too late. Simply analyzing a situation correctly this early in the season and inferring the accurate outcome will prove to be an advantage. Some of it is guesswork while other situations can be reasoned through. Let’s look through a variety of skill position situations on different teams and conclude how the roles will be divvied up moving forward:

Colts’ WR – Simply put: Donte Moncrief is legit. The Texans simply had no reason to part with Andre Johnson if they believed he had anything left in the tank… yet they did. That tells me they knew something, and it shows, because Johnson looks done. He looks about 40 years old (he’s only 34) in terms of the speed, or lack thereof, he currently possesses. Furthermore, he had a few bad drops on Monday even when he was able to break away a bit from his man. T.Y. Hilton is hurting, but he has not looked nearly as effective as Moncrief and lacks one important attribute: being able to catch a healthy amount of TD passes. The only way Hilton is going to score is on a bomb or a quick slant in the red zone, which defenses will be looking for considering his size. Moncrief, on the other hand, is the full package and Andrew Luck absolutely needs him. Standing 6’2, Moncrief can catch passes in all capacities and possesses the speed to break one as well. He’s a rock-solid WR2 moving forward and I’ll definitely be looking to roster Moncrief this week as Luck looks to take out his frustrations on the Titans.

Cardinals’ WR – Do not write off Larry Fitzgerald’s three TD game as a fluke because Carson Palmer is healthy. Palmer continuously produces as around a top-10 QB in this Arizona offense when healthy and has proven in the past that he can sustain two fantasy-worthy options in his passing game (Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh in Cincinnati, plus Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald in 2013). Floyd is basically a boom-or-bust FLEX option at this point, as John Brown has emerged as a superior option to him. If deciding which receiver to roster on this Arizona team looking forward, make sure the decision is limited to Fitzgerald and Brown (Fitzgerald figuring to be slightly more TD-dependent in order to have a big week).

Cardinals’ RB – The temporary loss of Andre Ellington led Bruce Arians to call Chris Johnson the “lead man” in the backfield… but is he? After scoring on his one touch in week number one, David Johnson was yet again a human highlight reel right from the start. He returned the opening kickoff 108 yards for a score and later rushed for a 13-yard TD, plus he had some other nice runs mixed in as well (8.4 YPC). Meanwhile, Chris Johnson continued his mediocrity from recent years with 20 ATT for 72 yards (3.6 YPC). Coach Bruce Arians says he doesn’t like to force rookie backs into large role but, when one is your best option, you have to if you’re trying to win. Even in cash games, I would not look to the Johnson named Chris because there isn’t much difference between the floor and ceiling: both are low. David is the way to go, as he has the potential to take one to the house on any given play (and that’s the upside we love in fantasy). He’s better suited for tournaments until Arians just full-on lets him loose, because I believe that is coming regardless of the return of Ellington.

Broncos’ RB – The Denver Post’s Troy Renck “figures” C.J. Anderson has one more chance to solidify his job as the Bronco’s starting back. It feels like this job has already been lost, considering Ronnie Hillman has registered a superior YPC in both games this season. Hillman even outgained Anderson in terms of yardage, despite three less carries in week two. Anderson simply looks slow and it’s not even just in comparison to the faster, leaner Hillman. 2.4 and 2.3 YPC  in back-to-back games tells you all you need to know. If you really want to roster one of the backs in week three, go with Hillman and sleep like a baby.

Bears’ WR – Jay Cutler will miss “at least” two weeks according to Adam Schefter. Alshon Jeffery missed Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury he suffered in Friday’s practice, which has been described as a setback due to his previous calf injury. Even if he does play, can you really put much faith in Jimmy Clausen’s pass-catchers? The game flow will likely dictate the Bears having to throw when they inevitably get down against any team, but Clausen proved last week (14-23 for 121 yards and one INT) that situation doesn’t matter. He’s just not even anywhere near an average NFL QB and I don’t want my daily fantasy teams’ fate to rely on garbage time against the Seahawks in week three. I’d rank Eddie Royal ahead of Marquess Wilson, but I wouldn’t touch either with a ten-foot pole as long as Cutler remains out.

Falcons’ RB – Last but not least is the Falcons’ backfield, which is an easy situation to analyze: use Devonta Freeman. The Cowboys have been stout against the run, but they’ve allowed opposing backs to catch 13 passes in two games. Coincidentally, catching passes is Freeman’s strength and he should be allotted a full carry workload as well. Terron Ward will serve as the change of pace back, but still does not warrant consideration with Tevin Coleman in the lineup. Freeman is basically a workhorse in the meantime and the price will not reflect it. Do not miss out on the value while it remains.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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