It's only been two weeks of the NFL season, but plenty of people are already needing some help on their fantasy team. Look no further than this article.
The NFL is a league full of talent, and for those scouring the back end of their roster (and hopefully the waiver wire as well), there are still plenty of fantasy backups that can make an impact this week.
Here are my 10 picks of backup players that should make a fantasy impact this coming week.
I know what most fantasy owners think when they see the name Ryan Fitzpatrick: "Why would I play a mediocre quarterback from a mediocre team who always puts up mediocre numbers?"
Pretty redundant, isn't it? However, these pleonasms don't change the fact that Fitzpatrick has had a great season so far. He hasn't racked up a ton of yards, but he's done a great job where it counts the most: scoring.
Fitzpatrick has seven touchdowns to one interception over his first two games. He doesn't have the best matchup fantasy-wise, but the Patriots can be had through the air, as evidenced by Vincent Jackson's 10-catch, 172-yard performance in Week 2.
I don't know how deep your fantasy league is, but even in my 16-team league, Fitzpatrick wasn't drafted to be a starter. At this point, though, if you have him on your bench, you should go ahead and make the switch. He's a scoring machine.
A lot of people thought last year that Arian Foster was an exceptional running back—that he was comparable to Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson, and therefore irreplaceable. Those people are dead wrong.
Proof of that is the success of Ben Tate in Foster's absence. In two games, Tate has rushed for 219 yards and a touchdown. Last week, Foster was even on the field splitting time with Tate, and Tate out-rushed Foster.
This week, Foster and Derrick Ward are both nursing injuries, so it looks like Tate is going to be back in the spotlight. He's a solid performer who is averaging more than 100 yards rushing per game so far.
Why wouldn't you start this guy?
Ryan Mathews is the kind of fantasy player you wouldn't really want to start for your team. He was expected to make a big impact when he was drafted in the first round in 2010, but he's failed to meet expectations so far in his career.
Currently, Mathews is sharing time with Mike Tolbert. Tolbert, however, is not especially fast and struggled with ball security last week against the Patriots. Mathews should get a bigger load in Week 3, and he has about as good of a matchup as there is in the NFL nowadays: the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs are the fourth-most generous run defense, likely because they also allow a lot of yardage through the air. Expect the Chargers to take the lead early and run the ball a lot late in the game.
Mathews, for this one week, should come off your bench as a flex player.
It's been a while since Thomas Jones was a strong fantasy option. He was "one of those Jets running backs" for a few years, and "that other guy" in the Chiefs backfield. He certainly isn't as good a player as Jamaal Charles, but now that Charles is out for the season, Jones will be tasked with carrying the load for the run-first Chiefs.
I know Jones has mostly disappeared from public view recently, but I believe the revenant runner will regain relevance for fantasy teams this week. The Chiefs feed their running backs the ball a ton, so with a huge increase in touches, Jones should be able to produce fairly well.
Plus, not even Chiefs fans trust Matt Cassel to run a pass-first offense.
Thomas Jones is a good backup to play this week.
I predicted earlier in the year that Fred Davis of the Washington Redskins would make an impact this year. Through two weeks, he's gone from a "who's that?" to a strong play at the tight end position. The Redskins may not love Davis' blocking, but they do love him as a pass catcher.
Davis has 11 catches for 191 yards and a touchdown, which at the tight end position are pretty nice numbers. He's also matched up against a Cowboys linebacker group that has been the fifth-most generous to opposing tight ends this season.
Davis technically won't start for some of the year because of Chris Cooley, but Cooley is out this week and Davis is quickly encroaching on Cooley's playing time.
I have Davis on my own fantasy team, and he's been a huge boost to my team. If Davis is sitting on your bench, or really anywhere other than on someone's starting lineup, now is the time to find him and start him.
After coming back from injury, Ryan Grant was expected to be a force this season by many. That has not worked out so well for fantasy fans. Grant has not only looked "human" this season, I'd say he's been "ineffective" by fantasy standards. Grant has 65 yards on 15 carries this year and no scores. Ho-hum.
James Starks, on the other hand, has rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown in the same two games. Starks has proven to be the more effective runner and is clearly the preferred runner in Green Bay.
For those who grabbed Starks, this week is a good time to start him. It doesn't matter that the Packers are playing the Bears' strong defense. The Packers will have to adapt to the Bears' strong pass rush by handing off more than usual for the team. It wouldn't surprise me to see the Bears focus on the pass so much that it opens up running lanes underneath.
It's official now: Blaine Gabbert is the quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars, just in time to face a Panthers defense that hasn't done Cam Newton any favors. The Panthers are 0-2 for a reason, and it certainly isn't because the offense can't move the ball.
It was a bit of a shocker to see Gabbert as the starter for Week 3. The team began the year saying that it would start veteran David Garrard, then promptly dumped the quarterback in the preseason. This allowed Luke McCown to play his way out of the starting lineup in the first two weeks and get Gabbert in the game.
Coach Jack Del Rio and GM Gene Smith didn't handle the Garrard/Gabbert gammon very well from a PR standpoint, but the strong-armed rookie will have a good chance to make an impact this season on an offense with a star running back in Maurice Jones-Drew and a great tight end in Marcedes Lewis.
If he's available, add Gabbert and start him.
Rex Grossman is not usually thought of as a fantasy powerhouse, but he's been surprisingly effective in his time in Washington. In his five games starting for the Redskins, he's averaged 287 yards. For the rest of his career, he's averaged under 200.
The last time he played the Cowboys, he threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns. Yes, the Cowboys were a bad team last year, but much of their secondary is the same.
As surprised as I am to hear myself say this, I think the Redskins have some pretty good matchups this week. Rex Grossman is a guy who should come off your bench if you've got him.
For every person who thought Cam Newton was going to be a fantasy football star, there were at least two more who thought he would play terribly.
It turns out the Newton supporters were right.
Cam Newton may not have won an actual NFL game yet, but he's thrown for more than 800 yards in his first two games. He's set rookie passing-yardage records with his play, and his penchant for picking up yards through the air is irrefragable.
Anyone who still doesn't think Newton can be an effective player is just being stubborn and he should be in your starting lineup this week. Personally, I don't think he'll do as well as NFL.com believes (the site's Jaguars/Panthers matchup breakdown says Newton might throw for 500 yards), but Newton has shown that he is capable of throwing for big yardage.
I can't say with any surety whether the Panthers will beat the Jaguars, but you have to ride the hot hand in fantasy, and two weeks should be enough to convince fantasy fans to get Newton off their bench.
Let's face it: Chris Johnson has been a fantasy bust this season. He was shut down almost entirely by the Jaguars and Ravens in the first two weeks of the season and has only 77 rushing yards. The passing game, once the team's weakness, is now a much stronger part of the Titans' game.
Matt Hasselbeck has thrown for 621 yards in the first two games, and has done most of his damage throwing to his receivers. Kenny Britt has all three of the TD catches for the team, but Nate Washington is having a good couple of weeks as well.
So far, Washington has 13 catches for 166 yards. Not bad at all for a guy who went fairly late in most fantasy drafts. If he's on your bench, he's worth playing this week. Champ Bailey will be playing against Kenny Britt, leaving Washington as the more attractive target for Hasselbeck.