Week 2 Fantasy Football: Instant Sunday Recap

Eric Mack@@EricMackFantasyFantasy Football Lead WriterSeptember 15, 2014

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Sometimes you can find out early on that it just isn't your day or your week. Imagine having Robert Griffin III (ankle), Jamaal Charles (ankle), Ryan Mathews (knee), A.J. Green (toe) and DeSean Jackson (shoulder) in your Week 2 fantasy lineup.

Save for Mathews, who waited until the end of the evening games to break your heart and his body, it didn't take long for your pregame butterflies to become full-blown nausea. It was a devastating day for big-time injuries deciding games and fantasy matchups.

We break down the studs, duds and injury concerns, sprinkling in advice about who to consider off the waiver wire Tuesday in "Bleacher Report's Instant Sunday Recap." We wish we could bring you some good news, but alas, injury information is sparse Sunday night; your week is all but lost if you own those players listed above, and the near future looks bleak.

That's why you need the information below more than ever. It can help you cope with loss. It might also help you salvage your season.

Fantasy Week 2 Studs

Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs
79 yards rushing, two touchdowns and six catches for 26 yards receiving

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We figured Davis would be an impact player in fantasy football this season. We didn't know the production would come this soon.

Davis' work in relief of Charles (ankle) was great, albeit relatively useless for fantasy owners. He was active in less than 1 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, but he is still available in 35 percent. There is the opportunity. Andy Reid's offenses are running back-friendly. Davis is going to be there when Charles cannot be. Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star reported Reid's assessment of Charles and Eric Berry's injuries:

Terez A. Paylor @TerezPaylor

Reid says Berry and Charles have sprained ankles.

Davis might be the most added player in fantasy this Wednesday morning, particularly if Charles is ruled a question mark for Week 3 at the Miami Dolphins. Regardless, Davis is a must-own handcuff for easily the most frustrating fantasy player through two weeks of the season.

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Seven catches for 96 yards and three touchdowns

Gates' fan club has dwindled over the years. The 34-year-old future Hall of Famer was even losing fantasy steam to his backup Ladarius Green this preseason and was a common candidate to sit against the Seattle Seahawks' Legion of Boom as one of fantasy's fringe tight ends.

So much for that. Gates went off, while Green wasn't even targeted. Clearly, we have to hold off on the Green breakout talk and keep Gates among the must-start tight ends in fantasy. Too bad many of us had lost faith in the veteran.

There shouldn't be a league in Week 3 where Gates isn't a starter in fantasy lineups. In fact, throw Philip Rivers (284 yards passing and three TDs against the Seattle Seahawks defense) into that category, too, particularly at the Buffalo Bills.

Arian Foster, Houston Texans
138 yards rushing, one TD and two catches for 12 yards

It was only the Oakland Raiders, but reports of Foster's demise have been greatly exaggerated, apparently. We have to admit, we were skeptical of his health and career arrow coming into the season, but Foster has posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing games for the first time since November 2012.

We are not going to say Foster is all the way back to being the star he once was, but he is healthy enough to trust as a feature back for the Texans and fantasy owners in all leagues. He is a must-start option at the 0-2 New York Giants next week.

Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
Bernard: 90 yards rushing, one TD and five catches for 79 yards
Hill: 74 yards rushing, one TD and two catches for 22 yards

Because this was a two-man show, we have to give credit to the Bengals' offensive line and run-heavy offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. We can also place blame on the porous Atlanta Falcons' run defense that made the Saints' Mark Ingram and company look like heroes in Week 1.

The Bengals proved they can support a pair of fantasy starting-caliber running backs this week, with the rookie Hill picking up the leftovers from Bernard's monster day. Expect both to be intriguing again against a Tennessee Titans defense that allowed 167 yards rushing to DeMarco Murray this week.

Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
Eight catches for 117 yards and a TD

It wasn't a matter of talent for Watkins. We know what he is capable of. It is a matter of whether we can trust EJ Manuel to get him the ball—apparently, we can—and if he could play through the pain of his rib injury. Again, apparently, he can.

Watkins looked great against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday and draws a suspect San Diego Chargers secondary in Week 3. Active in just 10 percent of CBSSports.com leagues this week, this performance elevates Watkins to the top 30 of fantasy options at his position, which is frankly where he belongs.

Even if you don't think Manuel has juice, the Bills are going to have to keep up with Rivers and the Chargers, and Watkins should get his numbers, even if they come in garbage time. Watkins owners needed this confidence-boosting effort.

Fantasy Week 2 Duds

Shane Vereen, New England Patriots
40 yards rushing (six carries) and one catch for zero yards

It wasn't that Vereen had a bad week, or even that Stevan Ridley (believe it or not!) ripped off a 101-yard, one-TD performance. It was the mere five touches Vereen garnered in a game that was a blowout and could have made Vereen a productive fantasy option.

Sure, it is feasible the Pats still prefer Vereen over the fumble-prone Ridley in actual tight and competitive games, but the more Ridley proves capable of grinding out the tough yards without fumbling, the more Bill Belichick and the Patriots are going to put their trust and the ball back in Ridley's hands for the important carries.

While you can love the fact Ridley is not toast in fantasy football, this was a bad, bad development for Vereen-hopeful fantasy owners.

We should remind you, Vereen has never had more than 14 carries in an NFL game, per Pro-Football-Reference.com, regardless of whom is healthy or in the Belichick doghouse. Vereen just isn't a true starting running back in the rushing sense. He is a pure passing-down back in stature (205 pounds) and usage. That limits his fantasy value and gives Ridley owners hope.

Jake Locker, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans
Locker: 234 yards passing, one TD, two interceptions and nine yards rushing
Wright: Three catches for 31 yards
Hunter: Two catches for 26 yards

Here is this week's reminder you cannot trust fantasy analysts. We kid, but clearly Week 1 managed to overrate the Titans, while the widespread hatred for the Dallas Cowboys' defense was overblown.

The Titans were supposed to rip that defense for big fantasy numbers. Instead, you learned Locker and company—save for tight end Delanie Walker (10 catches for 142 yards and a TD)—just are not ready for fantasy prime time.

Wright and Hunter can still prove to be viable starting options in deeper formats, particularly through the bye weeks, but they are not consistent stars. When they cannot take advantage of a suspect defense like the Cowboys', you have to be wary of trusting these guys in any close calls for fantasy lineups going forward.

Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans
Two carries for three yards

That is not a misprint. That is a sad reality for Sankey owners. Sankey has been stinky or another "s" word that rhymes with lucky.

Against the Dallas Cowboys' run defense, we should have seen something in the way of promise. We should have at least gotten something in the way of confidence in him from his team. Heck, he could have been used as a passing-down receiver out of the backfield.


The Titans didn't run the ball much. Starter Shonn Greene got only five carries for 40 yards. Forget trusting any non-Walker Titans at Cincinnati next week.

Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
43 yards rushing and two catches for 18 yards

The good news is he proved healthy and made it through a full game coming off a concussion scare in Week 1. The bad news is he couldn't get anything going against the New York Jets' run defense, and the Packers used Randall Cobb on an out route to score a touchdown at the goal line. That could have been Lacy's short touchdown to salvage a bust of a week.

We had listed Lacy as a sit, but it was just as much of a function of his injury risk as it was his matchup. His matchup isn't much better in Week 3 at the Detroit Lions, but we should all feel confident enough in his healthy to get him active in all leagues.

Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars
Two catches for 13 yards

You might have expected this. Watching the flavor-of-the-week wide receiver going off one week, becoming the most-added off waivers and then posting a stinker is as generally automatic as a PAT.

We admit: We were sucked in by Hurns' Week 1 performance. We forgot we are talking about the Jags and Hurns' quarterback Chad Henne. There might be some big weeks in there out of the blue, but there will be nothing in the way of consistent production.

Hurns left with an ankle injury in a game that could have started with a 66-yard touchdown, but he dropped it, as Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union wrote.

Don't give up on Hurns as a viable fantasy option this year, assuming his ankle injury isn't a long-term thing, but don't be excited about making him a starter in lineups in the near future.

Injury Concerns

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (ankle)

There is no question Charles is the bust of the year through two weeks. He left with an ankle injury Sunday, forcing his fantasy owners to watch Davis (see above) suck up the numbers that should have been theirs.

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora tweeted there are some indications...err, hope?...Charles' ankle issue is mild and won't require an extended absence. We all should be scrambling to own Davis in all leagues regardless. The running back is too productive in coach Andy Reid's offense.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (toe)

Green's loss was a bit of a shocker, because he just hasn't dealt with serious injuries before. The good news is Geoff Hobson of the Bengals' official website reports Green's injury might not be an extended one. It was the one that plagued him in practice.

Regardless of Green's status for Week 3 against the Titans, you have to consider Mohamed Sanu (three catches for 84 yards and a TD) one of the most intriguing waiver-wire pickups among wide receivers. Sanu shouldn't have been dropped in leagues last week, like we saw he was.

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (ankle)

Those desirous of Kirk Cousins playing for the Redskins over RG3 got their wish in Week 2. They might be getting it for an extended period, too.

RG3 dislocated his ankle in the first quarter, an injury Mike Jones of The Washington Post reports might be a season-ender. Regardless, Cousins is going to be quarterbacking the Redskins for the near future, which makes him a solid addition in deeper leagues, particularly two-quarterback formats. He is a must-start in those, particularly in a potential shootout with the Philadelphia Eagles next week.

We should get a better idea of RG3's timetable this week. The best-case scenario is a midseason return at best. Get your alternatives ready.

DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (shoulder)

Jackson's day was over in the first quarter, as he bruised his shoulder, per NFL insider Ian Rapoport. This should be considered good news in a day of a lot of bad. You will want Jackson to be an option to play in a favorable matchup and a personal-vendetta game against Philadelphia next week.

Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

Mathews might be out up to eight weeks with a potential MCL sprain, according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. It could be worse, but that certainly puts a lot of fantasy attention on Donald Brown and passing-down back Danny Woodhead now.

Brown, available in 83 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, might be headed for fantasy stardom. That Chargers offense proved it can handle even a tough Seahawks opponent, so going to Buffalo next Sunday shouldn't prove difficult. Expect Brown to be the starter and arguably the most important waiver-wire addition this week. Per a source, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Mathews will "undergo an MRI" for further evaluation of the knee injury:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Chargers RB Ryan Mathews scheduled to undergo an MRI on injured knee, per source. Concern it could be sprained MCL.

Knowshon Moreno (elbow) and Lamar Miller (ankle), Miami Dolphins

So much for Moreno's big year. Rapoport tweeted Moreno sustained a dislocated elbow, an injury that put tight end Tyler Eifert on the designated for return/IR last week. Moreno is out at least four weeks, as Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk reported.

That same report also claimed Miller's second-half departure with an ankle issue was a matter of precaution, stating he could have returned if necessary. It was a matter of time before we had to deal with a Moreno injury, and this one could vault Miller into fantasy starter's status.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (knee)

Martin was held out Sunday, which allowed backup Bobby Rainey to go off for 144 yards rushing and three catches for 30 yards. Rainey is going to remain a popular player on waivers this week because of the production, but Martin being held out might merely get him ready for Thursday night's game at Atlanta. Track this early in the week, particularly if you were hoping to get Rainey off waivers.

Eric Decker, New York Jets (hamstring)

He left the game in Green Bay with a hamstring injury, according to ESPN.com's Rich Cimini. Those are notoriously tricky injuries for wideouts, so expect to have to find a replacement for the Jets' leading receiver for at least the near future.

Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game.

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