Injuries are a part of fantasy football. We draft with depth on our mind knowing that at any time, even the best players on our rosters can go down for the count. Being able to pivot week-to-week is one of the challenging and exciting parts of fantasy football.
Then Week 2 of the 2020 season happened.
Christian McCaffrey and Saquan Barkley, the top two picks in almost every draft, both were injured. McCaffrey could miss a month and Barkley is done for the season. Add these two names to the ever-growing list of injured stars that include George Kittle, Kenny Golladay, A.J. Brown, Courtland Sutton, Chris Godwin, Raheem Mostert and many more.
This week’s waiver wire will be very important to many teams. If you lost a player (or players), you may need a plug-and-play starter. If you did not lose anyone, do not sit back and let people underbid their FAB or use a low-waiver priority to get a player that you know will help them. And after waivers clear, be cognizant of who was cut. Some leagues have no I.R. spots and some useful players may have to be cut. Depending on the league size, the players cut could be extremely valuable to you.
A good example would be a player like Tony Pollard. Pollard has done nothing so far in two games. If you have Ezekiel Elliot, you may have not drafted Pollard because of his 10th – 12th round draft price. But if he is cut, he could be lost in the shuffle, and you could pick up a valuable depth piece with little-to-no cost.
This is a week to be active.
As always, our threshold will be players rostered in less than 20% of Yahoo! leagues.
Mike Davis RB Carolina (6%)
With McCaffrey set to miss 4-6 weeks, Davis looks to be in a very strong spot to see production. There is little-to-nothing behind him, and his ability as a receiver should set him up as a solid floor play for RB-needy teams. This past weekend he caught all 8 of his targets for 8 catches. If you have McCaffrey, then go get Davis. If you do not roster the former, he is still the best RB option on this list.
Dion Lewis RB New York Giants (6%)
For those hoping for some Barkley-like production or usage, don’t hold your breath. While some will bid a ton to get Lewis, he is the most risky RB option on this list. The Giants will most likely sign a back (Devonta Freeman?) or at the very least, mix Wayne Gallman in with Lewis. If you need a starting back, Lewis could give you a low-floor option, but let someone else blow a huge FAB bid or high priority on him.
Myles Gaskin RB Miami (16%)
For two weeks in a row, Gaskin has been the receiving back for Miami. At this point, he is the best option in this backfield. He can provide valuable depth to RB-needy teams. In a week that lots of teams will be chasing Davis, Lewis (and for smaller roster leagues, Jerick McKinnon and Darrell Henderson) Gaskin could be a very cheap option.
Keelan Cole WR Jacksonville (4%)
The 27-year old Cole had a great start to his career with a 700+ yard rookie season. After that, he has been nothing but a role player. We cannot ignore the positive start to this season he is having with new Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden and second year QB Gardner Minshew. Cole has 11 catches and 2 scores through two games. He looks like a real part of this suddenly ascending offense.
Tre’Quan Smith WR New Orleans (15%)
In the first game without Michael Thomas, Smith led the Saints with 86-yards receiving on 5 catches. He looked fluid and explosive. Until Thomas returns, Smith is very much in the WR3/FLEX range.
Laviska Shenault WR Jacksonville (17%)
Shenault shows up on this list for the second week in a row. He is a weapon and should see his rostered-percentage go way up as the season progresses. He saw 5 carries to go along with 3 catches. Get in on the ground-floor.
K.J. Hamler WR Denver (1%)
While Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant should see an uptick in targets with WR1 Courtland Sutton lost for the year, do not underestimate Hamler. He was used immediately in his first game back from injury. Expect that usage to increase. The second-round pick has elite speed and big play ability. He is a sneaky add for forward-thinking teams; he is a must own in dynasty as well.
Adam Humphries WR Tennessee (2%)
With Brown out, Humphries out-targeted and out-produced Corey Davis. Humphries now has 11 catches to start the season. Ryan Tannehill has been highly efficient. If Brown misses another game, Humphries should see a decent enough floor to be used as an emergency fill in.
Chase Claypool WR Pittsburgh (6%)
While Claypool has not seen a high-volume game (and may not all season), he is a monster. Week 1 versus the Giants he made a beautiful catch along the sidelines. This past week versus Denver, he caught an 84-yard touchdown and looked like D.K. Metcalf in terms of size-speed. He cannot be used yet, but the talent is there. If you have the room, add him as a speculative upside bench stash.
Jordan Reed TE San Francisco (7%)
With Kittle sidelined, Reed stepped in and put up a Kittle-like stat line: 7 catches for 50 yards and 2 scores. Kittle’s timetable to return is up in the air; he could play as early as this week. For as long as Kittle is out, continue to ride the hot hand of Reed.
Dalton Schultz TE Dallas (2%)
Yet another Stanford tight end in the NFL making an impact. One of the surprising developments of Week 2 was Schultz. There was zero-hype with the 2018 4th round pick after an offseason of Blake Jarwin-hype. With Jarwin done for the season, Schultz took advantage of his first start with 9 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. Dak Prescott seemed to show real trust in Schultz; add as such.
Mo Allie-Cox TE Indianapolis (1%)
The former basketball player, as you may have heard, made the most of his first start with 5 catches for 111 yards. He showed a big play ability that the Colts will be missing due to the injury to Parris Campbell. While it is assumed that Jack Doyle will come back and resume his regular starting role, I am not so sure. Allie-Cox has been a Colts’ favorite and they have developed him for years. We could be seeing a changing of the guard for the position in Indianapolis; Doyle has multiple injuries.
BONUS CONTENT: Dynasty Special
Gabriel Davis WR Buffalo (0%)
Davis caught his first touchdown ball as a Bill. All training camp, there were reports of how dominant Davis looked. The 4th round pick has good size and speed and looks to be the long-term replacement for John Brown. If Brown or Diggs were to miss time, Davis would see a huge bump in snaps.