Say what you want about Darren McFadden and his inabilities to meet expectations in the past. At the moment, he is a top fantasy running back.
Two weeks are behind us, and the fantasy football world continues to be turned upside down.
Who would have predicted that by Week 3 Austin Collie and Kevin Walter would be among the top six wide receivers in fantasy land? Or that Visanthe Shiancoe would be a top three tight end? Or that Michael Vick would be a top four quarterback?
And I won’t even get into the running back upheaval. That I will save for another post.
So what does it all mean? Whose stock is really on the way up to stay? Whose stock is falling faster than a brick off the top of the Sears Tower?
Must Read: Week 3 Waiver Wire Pickups
Jahvid Best, DET. His fantasy stat bonanza in Week 2 vs. Philadelphia’s once stout defense was impressive, especially considering the Lions’ top QB has been sidelined with injury. His proficiency in the passing game says a lot about his overall versatility and how he could be something special on a bad team. Interesting to note the four rushing TDs, meaning the team trusts him at the goal line. The 98 total yards rushing could use some help.
LeSean McCoy, PHI. On the outside looking in, McCoy’s 100-plus yards and three TDs looked like a small revelation for a project back in Philly. Almost Westbrook-esque. Remember, however, that these stats came against the Detroit Lions. McCoy seemed to be second fiddle in the first game whenever Kevin Kolb was playing in the first game and Michael Vick was vulturing carries out of the backfield vs. Green Bay. Vick’s ascension into lead signal caller role means McCoy may hsve OK value moving forward. However, after a Week 3 matchup with Jacksonville, the Eagles’ schedule gets much harder and McCoy has one of the hardest schedules of any back when it comes to Weeks 15 and 16 — typically the fantasy playoffs.
Michael Vick, PHI. Speaking of Vick, Tuesday's announcement that the Eagles are going full-time with Vick under center completes a remarkable comeback story for the one disgraced quarterback. There's no doubt he has the skills to turn a bad play into something special, and will get plenty of stats on the ground to augment his passing totals. One play during the season opener impressed me about Vick: he had a clear shot running the ball into the endzone late, but instead lofted a pass that ultimately fell incompletel. Not a great football decision in terms of wins and losses and getting into the end zone, but impressive to me that he’s looking to spread the wealth around this season and not try to make every play himself. That newfound maturity could help him become something special in 2010.
Kevin Walter, HOU. For the past year-plus, everyone was wondering who would step up as the best receiver alongside of Andre Johnson in Houston. In that offense, a WR2 can do plenty of good, especially as tight end Owen Daniels struggles to find his form. Walter emerged in Week 2 with 11 catches, 144 yards and a TD, leapfrogging the Jacoby Jones hype train and making himself a possible must-add in fantasy circles. Before I start him in a league, I want to see Walter do this type of statistical explosion more consistently. But for now, he’s someone to stash in all formats.
Darren McFadden, OAK. Finally, McFadden realizes how to run a football for a gain. A gain of 145 yards on the ground in Week 2, to be exact. Everyone was ready to anoint Michael Bush as Oakland's back to have in 2010, but McFadden has forced the spotlight back on himself for the time being. Expect some bumps along the way and some zingers on the fantasy scoreboard at times, but McFadden has made himself fantasy relevant.
Mike Tolbert/Jason Snelling. Two backs who vaulted into fantasy prominence on the coat-tails of injuries. Both were super impressive and should play bigger roles moving forward regardless of how quickly Ryan Mathews and Michael Turner, respectively, return from their injuries.
Tony Moeaki, KC. A young tight end with very little street cred from a professional NFL standpoint, Moeaki has shown over the first two weeks that he’s worth a waiver wire add in most every format, regardless of the sad state of the Chiefs offense.
Shonn Greene, NYJ. Two weeks in the books and Greene has a whopping six fantasy points in PPR leagues with just two receptions. It's obvious the Jets offense isn't the same one that allowed Thomas Jones to be an elite fantasy option. The Jets also have one of the toughest schedules of any team in the NFL this year. Greene isn’t a bad option to stash in a keeper or dynasty league, but has very little value right now unless LaDanian Tomlinson goes down with an injury.
Jamaal Charles, KC. After a nice opening week against what many expected to be a stout San Diego defense, much was expected of Charles in Week 2 vs. the Cleveland Browns. However, 11 carries for 49 yards isn’t exactly awe-inspiring. Thomas Jones has a role in the Chiefs offense, and that combined with the lack of a true passing game means that Charles is one back I’m not willing to bet on for week-to-week production. He’ll have an occasional big game, followed by a fantasy divot.
Brandon Marshall, MIA. There is little doubt that Marshall is an elite talent at receiver. Unfortunately, the Miami passing game isn’t the most reliable. Marshall’s 12 catches for 124 yards through two games isn’t horrible, though the lack of a touchdown is disappointing. One would expect Marshall to right the ship over the course of the season regardless of how Chad Henne or the rest of the passing attack does. But, for now, Marshall’s stock is definitely down, looking to rebound.
Beanie Wells, ARI. One thing that seemed to impress most in fantasy circles last year was how Wells stayed healthy during his entire rookie campaign. Injuries were a hindrance to Wells in college and some were worried that would continue at the pro level. Well, two weeks of NFL season are over in 2010, and not a single carry for Beanie due to a bruised knee. One would expect him to come back soon and be a solid option, but beware the injuries.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR. Another week, another underwhelming performance for Stewart, who is getting just a third of the carries that DeAngelo Williams is. Not that either back is doing much with any of their opportunities so far, but one wonders if Stewart will continue to get such a small portion of the Panthers’ carries or if change is on the horizon.
Brett Favre, MIN. Looking human - as in couch potato, Monday morning flag football human. He wasn’t horrible in Week 1 versus the New Orleans Saints, but was downright miserable in Week 2 with three interceptions and a lost fumble in the end zone. Sidney Rice’s missing presence and the teams overall ineptitude has tarnished the image Favre was hoping to create this year. The Vikings are pushing hard to get Vincent Jackson, and Favre could be a decent play if the receivers around him can step it up, but I wouldn’t push too hard to obtain Favre’s services in fantasy circles at this point.
Michael Crabtree, SF. Mired in suckitude with Mike Sims-Walker after one week of play, many thought Crabtree would start to break out in what many expected to be a pass-a-thon Monday night. However, while Sims-Walker righted his boat in Jacksonville, Crabtree finished with just one catch for 32 yards. One would expect him to get his act together at some point, but for the time being, his value is rock bottom.
Felix Jones/Marion Barber/Tashard Choice, DAL. Three-headed running back monsters rarely work at the pro level, and this tandem is really stinking it up. One would suspect that the Cowboys move one of the three (likely Barber) to a RB-starved team, such as Green Bay, Seattle or New Orleans. In the meantime, the three have very little value in a timeshare.
For more stock up/stock down players, go here.
Wondering who to snag off waivers? Here are a few possibilties.
We have plenty more fantasy football advice, projections, rankings, etc. for Week 3. Check out our Week three index for new content regularly.
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