What a first week of football, right!? NFL fans were treated to close games, comebacks, a little bit over overtime and game winning field goals during the first full week of the season. With all of that behind us, week two is about to kick off which brings with it plenty of tough fantasy choices.
With injuries starting to pop up and roles becoming more clearly defined, fantasy owners may have to switch up their lineups ahead of this weeks games. No worries however, as the week two kickoff kit is here to update owners on player’s injury status’, interesting depth chart notes and a few intriguing match ups for week two’s slate of games.
It is important to note that the Thursday night games will not included in each kickoff kit.
Week Two Injury Notes
Rob Gronkowski (TE) – Gronk’s absence in week one reminded the fantasy football community how much he truly brings to the table. Jack Doyle, Dwayne Allen and Julius Thomas were the top three tight ends on ESPN for week one even though none of them had more than five receptions and 65 yards. New England’s star tight end was limited in Thursday’s practice with a lingering hamstring issue that cost him week one and is listed as questionable. Mark Daniels, of the Providence Journal, said Gronk didn’t look 100 percent based on his activities during his limited practice. His status should certainly be watched leading up to Sunday as it’s looking like Gronk will be a game-time decision.
Russell Wilson (QB) – Wilson is the only player on this list currently listed as “healthy”. The Seahawks quarterback has been dealing with an ankle injury and was seen in a walking boot following Sunday’s game. Wilson reportedly underwent “rigorous” rehab during the course of the week, resulting in just six total hours of sleep during that time, according to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN. This is certainly a situation owners should have their eyes on, especially since so much of Wilson’s game revolves around his mobility.
Demaryius Thomas (WR) – Thomas has been dealing with a hip injury he sustained in Denver’s week one match up against Carolina and is currently listed as questionable. The talented wideout was limited in both Wednesday and Thursday’s practices, reportedly only running about a third of the teams reps on Thursday. He was also seen hitting his hip several times out of frustration after running, which can only be taken as a negative sign. According to NBC Sports, Thomas noted that his hip is a concern when stopping out of breaks, running downfield, and taking hits. With Thomas still struggling in practice, he may be in line for a snap count come Sunday, so owners should definitely monitor his progress leading up to games. The all-pro receiver did shed some light on his injury with the Denver post:
“It’s day by day. I ain’t gonna be feeling great. But it’s getting better every day,” Thomas said, via the Denver Post. “You pray about it, keep getting treatment, and hopefully by game day, you’re ready to go and nothing freaky happens.”
Julio Jones & Mohamed Sanu (WR) – Atlanta’s first and second receiving options are both dealing with ankle injuries heading into to week two. Funny enough, both were limited Thursday and both appear to be on-track for full participation Friday. Also, both receivers took half of the team’s reps during Thursday’s practice. Falcon’s head coach Dan Quinn didn’t seem too worried about either of these two. Owners should still monitor both Jones and Sanu’s progress heading into the weekend as Friday’s report should tell us a lot.
Larry Fitzgerald (WR) – Larry the great was limited in Thursday’s practice for the second day in a row while dealing with a knee injury and is currently listed as questionable. Fitz missed the final three preseason games due to a MCL sprain but played all but two snaps during week one. Owners have to remember this is Fitzgerald’s 13th NFL season so Arizona might just be giving the veteran some extra rest during practice. Friday’s injury report should dish out more info on Fitzgerald’s knee, but all reports so far see him as a go for week two’s match up against Tampa Bay.
Jonathan Stewart (RB) – Stewart’s ankle has limited him during Wednesday and Thursday’s practices as the Panthers’ bell cow back is listed as questionable. Head coach, Ron Rivera, expressed confidence in Stewart’s ability to play on Sunday, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Carolina regularly gave Stewart a day or days off of practice last season due to his history of lower extremity injuries and have a fairly good idea of how to manage Stewart over the course of a season. Overall, this injury doesn’t seem serious. Owners should still monitor Friday’s injury report, but Steward seems primed to go for week two.
Zach Ertz (TE) – Ertz did not practice Thursday due to a displaced rib. While the Eagles’ tight end isn’t expected to play this week, he has yet to be ruled out of Monday’s match up with the Bears. Head coach Doug Pederson told media that the tight end has “progressed well” and “is feeling better” but finished saying “he considers Ertz week to week”. Ertz’s rib was displaced seven millimeters on Sunday against Cleveland and is listed as doubtful, so consider his chances of playing this week slim at best.
*Note: Since week two’s kickoff kit is written on Friday morning, these injury updates are only through Thursday’s practices.*
Week Two Depth Chart Watch
Atlanta Falcons RB
This is the situation that has one owner in every fantasy league sweating heading into week two. According to FantasyPros consensus ADP rankings, Devonta Freeman was the 14th overall player taken in fantasy drafts. To say he played an important part in many owners roster building is an understatement. Now, heading into just the second week of the season, his workload is in jeopardy of being split with fellow back Tevin Coleman. During Atlanta’s week one match up against Tampa Bay, Freeman had just 15 total touches with 40 yards while Coleman totaled 13 total touches for 117 yards. Neither back ran the ball particularly well, Freeman averaging 1.8 yards/carry with Coleman averaging 2.8 yards/carry.
Freeman was listed on the Falcon’s injury report earlier this week with a quadriceps injury, which could possibly be related to his lack of production in week one. On top of that, Freeman mentioned in the past that he’s a rhythm back and runs better with a consistent workload. None the less, Freeman and Coleman’s respective workloads on Sunday could indicate whether or not Freeman’s days as Atlanta’s feature back are over.
San Diego Chargers WR
With Phillip Rivers top target and talent, Keenan Allen, out for the season, someone has to step up in San Diego. Since the Chargers have one of the better passing offenses in the league, whichever receiver takes over the lion share of targets from Rivers is boosted into fantasy stardom. Right now, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman are the top three receivers on the Chargers’ depth chart. Whether one or any of these receivers can breakout remains to be seen, but Sunday’s contest against Jacksonville will certainly be an indicator.
While Benjamin posses elite speed, Rivers has spent some time after practice this week talking up Williams. Williams was also the most added player in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues over the past week. It’ll be interesting to see if any of these receivers can take advantage of the void of targets left by Allen.
San Francisco 49ers WR
From what we’ve seen of the NFL level Chip Kelly offense, it can support one go-to receiver i.e. Jordan Matthews in Philadelphia. With many fantasy sites and experts assuming this would be Torrey Smith in 2016, his two receptions for 13 yards on Monday night didn’t show it. On the other side of things, former New York Jet Jeremy Kerley looked pretty solid in that contest catching a team-high seven of his team-high 11 targets for a team-high 61 yards. You get it, nothing spectacular, but that’s a pretty nice game for PPR leagues.
I think it would be wise of owners to keep an eye on this 49er passing offense, especially in a week two match up against the Panthers that should feature a lot more passing. Assuming San Francisco can’t shut out the Carolina, either of these receivers could have a sneaky fantasy week. The only question is, which one?
Kansas City Chiefs RB
Another popular talking point early this season: what’s up with the Chiefs’ backfield? Spencer Ware came through in a big way for fantasy owners in week one, but whether or not he can keep that up is a discussion in and of itself. Meanwhile, there’s Jamaal Charles who is still working his way back from a torn ACL last season and doesn’t quite seem ready for week two. Finally, there’s Charcandrick West who didn’t do a whole lot in week one, but still pulled down all six of his targets.
Ware was on the injury report earlier this week with a toe injury that sounded minor, but nonetheless should be monitored. If anything were to happen to Ware in week two, West could suddenly be the guy in this deep running back corps. If Ware comes anywhere close to his production in week one, however, head coach Andy Reid may have a hard time splitting carries between him and Charles whenever he gets healthy.
Week Two Underrated Match ups
Latavius Murray (RB) vs. Atlanta Falcons – Despite Murray not seeing the field as much as owners would have liked in week one, he still finished as the 16th overall running back in ESPN standard scoring. With Atlanta allowing the second most rushing scores since week one of last season, I like Murray and the home-favored Raiders. While Murray will rarely do anything to blow fantasy owners away, he should be a steady top-20 running back week in and week out as long as he stays healthy and receives his normal workload.
Mike Wallace (WR) vs. Cleveland Browns – Despite Wallace only hauling in three receptions, he emerged as Joe Flacco’s go-to down the field option. His 66 yard touchdown reception came against a solid Buffalo Bills’ secondary proving he still has big-play potential. With the Browns defense getting lit up by a mediocre Eagles’ offense last week, Wallace makes a great boom or bust flex play with his chances of booming much higher against one of the worst secondaries in the NFL.
Virgil Green (TE) vs. Indianapolis Colts – This match up is more impacted by the health of Demaryius Thomas than anything else. If Thomas is limited or held out, Green could be in for a nice game against a Colts defense that gave up the fourth most points to tight ends last week. Green is an athletic, pass catching tight end that has shown spurts of production. If Thomas is limited in any way, I like Green as a low-end flex play this week.
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