Let’s face it, there’s an enormous amount of information out there on Sunday mornings. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have the personalized lineup advice for you on the premium content. Again, there are 100 places you can go for that, so no reason to repeat ourselves or others.
The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. One player will be picked from each team who has dynasty value tied to the game – players at a pivot point where their value could increase or decrease based on opportunity and performance.
Tennessee at Detroit
My first player to watch this week is Delanie Walker. With an almost entirely new set of skill position players on offense for the Titans, Walker found himself in a different environment in week one, where he saw only five targets. In 2015, he averaged 8.3 targets per game. Heading into the season, everyone assumed Walker would maintain his volume and be the Titans target leader, but he garnered less than half of the looks Tajae Sharpe did. Look for a rebound in targets in a dream matchup – and if he doesn’t see more, it’s time to rethink his role.
The man I have my eyes on for week two is Theo Riddick. We expected a healthy number of targets providing an excellent PPR floor, but the increased rushing opportunities were a pleasant surprise for team #ZeroRB. It will be interesting to see if that was a fluke or a trend. If it is a trend, he displayed shiftiness I didn’t see on his film the past two years that could translate to a better yards per carry average and snowballing into more touches. The drawback is it is already a timeshare with Ameer Abdullah and Dwayne Washington may be the goal line back, capping value for Riddick.
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New Orleans at New York (Giants)
Saints rookie Michael Thomas hauled in all six of his targets in his first NFL contest. The Giants have a defensive weakness in the middle of the field that Cole Beasley turned into 14.5 PPR fantasy points. The smart money is on Willie Snead capitalizing on this weakness, but his value is relatively settled already. What I want to see is if Thomas can carve out a significant piece of the pie in a tasty matchup, especially while Coby Fleener is struggling.
Rashad Jennings is poised for his fantasy performance of the year in what should be a high scoring matchup against a soft defense. Gathering the majority of the running back touches as well as the goal line work, Jennings needs to capitalize. If he can’t put up big points this week, I think he has a very limited ceiling going forward and would be looking to sell while his value is still intact.
San Francisco at Carolina
Remember when we were all salivating over Bruce Ellington’s potential in Chip Kelly’s offense? Turns out Jeremy Kerley might just be the main beneficiary of Ellington’s injury after seeing 11(!) targets in week one. In a game that figures to see the 49ers down big and the Panthers going into prevent defense, I want to see if Kerley can keep it up. He likely already went for 15-25% of your league’s FAAB dollars, but his value still has room for growth if he can sustain this target volume.
As much as it pains me to say this, Greg Olsen is the Panther I’m watching. He put up solid production last week, but most of it came towards the end of the game when Cam Newton needed clutch plays to drive down the field for a shot to win the game. He really wasn’t involved early in the game or in the Panthers establishing a lead. I want to see him involved early and often in this one, or I have concerns he may become a game script dependent weapon for the Panthers in 2016.
Dallas at Washington
Fantasy Twitter has been all over this, but Dez Bryant is the man to watch. Jason Garrett’s offense doesn’t force feed the WR1 and Dak Prescott prefers safe plays at this point in his career. While Dez is an elite weapon, he may not see the volume needed to turn that into elite production this year. His elite production on mid-level targets may have been a product of Tony Romo’s efficiency. I wouldn’t overreact to this, but I also wouldn’t want to underreact.
Is it cheating if I go back to the same player I went with in week one? Jamison Crowder did not disappoint as he gathered six of his 10 targets for 58 scoreless yards. He was involved throughout the game and a number of his targets came at crucial points in the game, demonstrating that Kirk Cousins has faith in him. As long as his value remains relatively low, I will continue to watch him for his value to grow.
Miami at New England
For a while it looked like Ryan Tannehill could be a consistent top 10 quarterback. The way the 2016 season is starting, I don’t think that is necessarily going to be the case anymore. Other, younger, quarterbacks are stepping up and Miami isn’t producing like it should despite a healthy investment in offensive talent. Check to see if Tannehill can put things together against New England, but my money is against it.
Martellus Bennett was a non-factor with Rob Gronkowski out. It is difficult to tell if this is a product of Jimmy Garoppolo running the offense, the Cardinals defensive scheming, or game plan. Regardless, if this is what Bennett can do when everything lines up for him in terms of situation, he is not going to net a positive return on investment going forward.
Baltimore at Cleveland
Last week the Ravens offense did not perform as well as fantasy enthusiasts would have hoped. They’ll look to get things back on track this week, and an historically soft run defense from the Browns could be just what the doctor ordered for Terrance West. He was in a timeshare with Justin Forsett in week one, but West appeared to have more burst and upside. He may capitalize this week and in turn receive a larger chunk of the work going forward.
RGIII’s health didn’t last long for the Browns. Suddenly the Browns have aging journeyman Josh McCown at the helm with only unproven rookie Cody Kessler behind him. At the age of 30 and under contract through 2018, Gary Barnidge has his horse tied to the Browns and he will need to be able to produce with McCown at quarterback. If he can’t get rapport going with McCown this week, he has the stench of a one year wonder.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Andy Dalton has a chance to show that he has real fantasy value independent of his weapons this week. After a sharp outing against a decent Jets defense, Dalton has a chance to put up two 300+ passing yard weeks in a row with a severely depleted receiving corps. In the past I have posited Dalton was a product of the weapons at his disposal, but consistent success in early 2016 could prove that the success is of his own making. That would make him a fine buy as we approach the return of Tyler Eifert.
Eli Rogers had a ridiculous first NFL game for someone without draft pedigree, catching six of seven targets for 59 yards and a touchdown. While that doesn’t light the world on fire, it indicates he could be the de facto WR2 for the Steelers in 2016. With question marks surrounding Martavis Bryant’s future, Rogers could see a permanent value bump with sustained production.
Kansas City at Houston
I’m going to cheat again. Spencer Ware took my wildest expectations and turned them upside down by dominating as a receiver in week one. This week, the Chiefs will reportedly be without two of their starting offensive linemen and they’re facing a stout defense. If he can crank out production again in week two, he should be forcing a timeshare at minimum going forward, with him being the likely goal line back.
Speaking of rookies putting up impressive week one stats, Will Fuller is forcing his way into very early rookie of the year discussions. The knock on him has been drops and he is a boom/bust kind of fantasy player, but he hauled in five of 11 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown, and was one dropped pass away from making that six of 11 for 187 and two scores. Like other young players I’ve listed thus far, if he can put some consistency together, he will get a permanent value bump.
Tampa Bay at Arizona
This week Jameis Winston has a chance to solidify himself as an elite quarterback in the NFL, at least in my mind. Take that with a grain of salt as I also went to FSU and have been high on Jameis since his first collegiate throw. After dominating a good Falcons pass defense in week one by spreading the ball around, he faces an even tougher challenge in the Arizona defense. If he can manage to find fantasy success on the road in week two, he becomes matchup proof and an increasingly rare plug and play option.
John Brown had a quiet week one. Based on his limited practice time heading into the game, that isn’t alarming in and of itself. What is alarming is the offense ran very well through Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and David Johnson. If that consistently happens beginning with this week, Brown could find himself a boom/bust odd man out with an almost unplayable floor for fantasy contenders. For clarity, Will Fuller’s boom/bust nature is a stock up because of high target volume, while Brown’s is a down due to lack of target volume with only four in week one.
Seattle at Los Angeles
The Seahawks have been adamant that Thomas Rawls is (and has been) their starter when healthy. In week one, he saw more work than I had expected him to and he even collected a few targets. With CJ Prosise nursing a broken hand, he shouldn’t threaten Rawls for short term receiving work, and if the Seahawks word is to be trusted he should see more rushing opportunities than Christine Michael. If he performs well in both functions, the NFL may have a new workhorse back on its hands.
Todd Gurley had an ugly stat line in week one and the passing game didn’t give him any help by opening things up. I don’t think Gurley’s dynasty value can significantly change based on this week’s game, but at some point we will need to acknowledge his significant floor due to the team around him. I could see players like David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliot, Le’Veon Bell and Lamar Miller passing him on pretty much everyone’s rankings by mid season.
Jacksonville at San Diego
Julius Thomas looked like his old self against the Packers and clearly has the trust of Blake Bortles. If he can continue to rack up targets he has plenty of potential in this offense. See if his target trend continues, as he may leapfrog some more heralded fantasy assets like Coby Fleener in the near future.
After a devastating week one ACL injury to Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin is the man I think has the clearest path to stepping up for the Chargers. Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman have been getting buzz, but Benjamin functioned adequately as the WR1 for the Browns last year and his contract dictates he should have first crack at an increased target share. His value should go up if he can capitalize, but it shouldn’t go down if someone else steps up to the plate as his current role is secure.
Atlanta at Oakland
While Devonta Freeman underwhelmed in week one, he saw his fair share of opportunities. His value probably went down a little after week one, but it could either go back up or further down from here. He is still the preferred red zone weapon and has the ability to put up more efficient production than he did last week. In what should be a high scoring game, Freeman may right himself with yardage and/or multiple touchdowns, or he could cede more work to Tevin Coleman. Watch this situation closely.
Derek Carr went to work against a swiss cheese Saints defense in week one. In week two, he faces a tougher draw with the Falcons, although they are vulnerable as demonstrated by Winston’s dissection of them last week. If he can continue to spread the ball around and put his team into scoring opportunities, his value should be trending upwards. His value may be capped by an improving run game with three capable running backs on the roster and a maturing defense. Still, he has the tools and weapons to be a top ten quarterback for the foreseeable future if he can keep proving himself.
Indianapolis at Denver
Phillip Dorsett was targeted in some key moments by Andrew Luck where I was expecting to see him throw to TY Hilton. Add in that he managed to lead the Colts in receiving yardage in week one and it looks like Dorsett will be seeing his role expand. While he benefits from other wide receivers taking defensive attention away from him, that won’t change anytime soon and fantasy points are what we are after.
Here is a name I haven’t heard many talking about this week. Cody Latimer may have a shot at a decent role in week two with Demaryius Thomas (questionable, hip) banged up and Bennie Fowler ruled out. I expect the defense to key on Emmanuel Sanders and CJ Anderson, leaving opportunities for Virgil Green and Latimer to rake in targets from Trevor Siemian who has a penchant for the short pass. Latimer has the natural talent to parlay opportunity into future opportunities. He is a long shot, but one to keep an eye on.
Green Bay at Minnesota
Davante Adams had an up and down week one, but his ups were pretty and Aaron Rodgers showed a lot of faith in him on their touchdown connection. I’ve bailed on Adams over the past year, but his upside is still worth chasing if he can smooth out his game and be more reliable for Rodgers.
We are witnessing something special in Stefon Diggs. He looked excellent as a rookie with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and then put up a good stat line with Shaun Hill at the helm. If he can put up more good production, especially if Sam Bradford gets the start, he deserves to have his value move upwards. Not all receivers are good enough to click with multiple quarterbacks, but he may have a knack for it – which is a good thing considering the fog Bridgewater’s injury has cast over the future of the quarterback position in Minnesota.
Philadelphia at Chicago
The Bears pass defense is solid, meaning Ryan Mathews has a shot at significant production. After dominating the backfield touches for the Eagles in week one, but failing to truly capitalize against an historically bad Cleveland run defense, I want to see Mathews step up. If he can’t put up a big stat line after two weeks of soft matchups, he will move down my value board despite his volume.
News is that Kevin White may be seeing a smaller route tree and potentially less playing time in the near future. That simply isn’t what you want to see or hear out of what amounts to an old rookie a team has spent significant draft capital on. I am not writing him off yet by any means, but if he still struggles despite a limited route tree, I’d definitely look to cash out on him while he still has substantial value.