I'm gonna be honest with you: This has kind of been a depressing start to the Fantasy Football season.
There's just been an absurd number of injuries so far, and Monday might have had the most significant one yet. Nick Chubb's season is over after he took a gruesome hit to the knee Monday against the Steelers, and Browns coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed after the game he suffered a significant injury to the knee he already blew out in college.
It comes just a week after Aaron Rodgers' season-ending Achilles injury on the opening Monday night, and just a day after Saquon Barkley left with an ankle injury that looks likely to cost him at least a couple of games. Diontae Johnson was also added to IR Monday, so he'll miss at least a couple more weeks, while Jaylen Waddle entered the concussion protocol Monday, putting his status for Week 3 in doubt. And, of course, Joe Burrow (calf) and Anthony Richardson (concussion) are in question for Week 3, too.
David Montgomery, Austin Ekeler, Christian Watson, Aaron Jones ... I'm sure I'm forgetting a few guys, too —and that's not even mentioning Jonathan Taylor, who's out for at least two more weeks with his ankle injury. Yeah, it's been a rough start to the season.
But we have to move on, and the waiver wire in Week 3 is going to be a big part of that. In today's newsletter, I've got, and Chubb's injury will obviously loom large. And, if the wire isn't enough to bolster your lineup, I've got some trade targets for you, along with to help you make the right decisions before you say yes to a deal.
Let's go improve your teams.
If you're 2-0, you can take advantage of your strong start by consolidating a successful roster. If you're 0-2, you can kickstart your turnaround with a move. And if you're 1-1, you can get your momentum moving in the right direction. The point is, Week 3 is a perfect time to make a trade.and here are some buys and sells from me:
Three to buy-low
The Bears offense is a disaster, and you would have had no trouble finding examples of why on Twitter. Fields hasn't taken the step forward we were hoping, and honestly, he might have taken a step back since last season. I can at least see the theory behind the Bears trying to get Fields going early on as a passer, which might explain the lack of designed runs for him through two games – he has five, per PFF, after averaging 7.6 per game over the final 12 weeks of the season. But it hasn't worked, and I think we're going to see a return to the offense that at least let Fields thrive last year. The leap may not be happening like we hoped, but Fields still has better weapons than he had last year when he was a must-start Fantasy QB. I feel confident in him at least getting back to that level. I've had multiple people ask if they should drop Fields to start Jordan Love, and … just, no.
Mattison looks like a classic Dead Zone RB, the kind of guy who basically only has value in Fantasy because his team doesn't give anyone else touches. But the thing is, even though Mattison had a costly lost fumble in Week 2, they never went away from him, as he had eight of nine RB carries and six of eight targets. Maybe Week 3 will be when they get Ty Chandler more involved, but the schedule is about to really lighten up with the Chargers and Panthers on the way, and Mattison might look a lot better in a couple of weeks than he does now. I still think there's still high-end RB2 upside in this offense, and he'll probably cost a lot less.
Smith-Njigba hasn't immediately rendered Tyler Lockett and/or DK Metcalf irrelevant like some thought he might, but I hope I don't have to remind you that patience is typically a necessity when it comes to rookie wide receivers (who aren't named "Puka Nacua," at least). Smith-Njigba ran routes on 64% of the Seahawks' snaps in Week 2 and he earned a target on 21% of his routes, so I'm really not too worried about him. If you drafted him, you should have done so under the assumption that he probably wouldn't be too useful early on. But his production can only go up from here, and he's potentially one injury away from being a must-start Fantasy WR. I'm always looking for high-upside bench stashes, and I'm going to be putting some offers out this week.
One to buy-high
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
Allen hasn't posted an average depth of target over 10 since 2019, but he's sitting at 10.2 through two games, as perhaps the most obvious beneficiary of a more aggressive Chargers offense under Kellen Moore. He's done that without sacrificing much YAC, leading to a 13.4 yards per reception, which would be his highest since 2017 – when he caught 102 passes for 1,393 yards. Allen is continuing to see a high target volume without any kind of dip in efficiency, a testament to his ability to get open as well as Justin Herbert's accuracy in the deeper portions of the field. I don't love the idea of buying high on a 31-year-old who missed significant time last season with a couple of hamstring injuries, but I also feel like Allen has legitimate top-five upside in this offense right now, and I think it's unlikely he's being priced like that in trades right now.
Three to sell-high
Jordan Love, QB, Packers
Love seems like the most obvious sell-high candidate at the QB position right now, but like I said earlier, I've gotten enough questions about him that I think it's worth addressing. His extremely low pass volume (52 attempts through two games) could be the result of the Packers injuries to their main pass-catching weapons, but I just haven't been particularly impressed with him despite the six touchdowns to no interceptions. He has the third-worst Completion Percentage Above Expected among all QBs, per NFL Next Gen Stats, and I'd say most of his six touchdowns have been more about either the scheme, the wide receivers, or the defense than anything Love has done. He's got decent enough playmakers around him and a good coaching staff, but I just haven't seen much reason to think Love is likely to command a high-volume, high-efficiency passing attack and be a top-12 QB. If you cut his current 11.5% touchdown rate in half, it would be within spitting distance of Aaron Rodgers' 6.2% career mark. That's reason enough to sell high.
I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this one because if Swift is truly the Eagles lead back moving forward, he really could be a must-start Fantasy RB. And I genuinely believe that, if Kenneth Gainwell had gotten the same 28 carries Swift got in the same situations last week, he wouldn't have gotten close to Swift's 175 yards. However, Swift is also just one week removed from playing 29% of the snaps and getting a single carry. Was last week enough to convince the coaching staff he deserves to be the lead back ahead of Gainwell? If it were up to me, it would have been, but it's not. There's enough uncertainty around how the Eagles will proceed moving forward that if I had an opportunity to swap Swift for someone like Josh Jacobs, I'd do that right now.
Brian Robinson, RB, Commanders
Robinson is coming off the best game of his career, and has now scored three touchdowns in the first two games. It's the perfect time to sell him. He's still just an early downs plodder, and despite his decent receiving production so far (49 yards and a touchdown), he ran just 16 routes in Week 2 on 45 dropbacks. You love the back to back games of 19 and 18 carries, but without touchdowns, he's unlikely to crack double-digit Fantasy points most weeks. Robinson is a decent RB2 at best, and I think it's pretty unlikely we'll see many more two-week stretches where he drops 40-plus points again.
One to sell-low
Jahan Dotson, WR, Commanders
I don't want to give up on Dotson, but we're seeing a continuation of a worrying trend from his rookie season in the early going. Dotson was just 61st among 88 wide receivers who ran at least 300 routes last season with a 16.2% targets per route run rate, and he's been targeted on just 15.3% of his targets early on. Dotson is a talented player who put up solid per-target numbers last season, but Terry McLaurin might just be the better target earner here. Dotson entered the season with a lot of hype, and you might be able to take advantage of that hype in a trade here.
Chubb's injury is just a massive bummer. He's one of the best running backs in the NFL, and early indications were he was getting the kind of passing game usage that could finally make him a true league-winning Fantasy option. He's got a long road back from that injury, and he leaves a massive hole in a Browns offense that suddenly looks rudderless.
Of course, his absence also creates a significant opportunity in the Browns offense, and when I asked Jamey Eisenberg for his top five waiver-wire options Monday night, he just texted me "Jerome Ford" five times. So, yeah, expect people to break the bank for Ford, who might end up being one of the biggest waiver-wire adds of the season this week. :
Jamey Eisenberg's top targets
- Jerome Ford, RB, Browns (23%) – Ford acquitted himself exceptionally well Monday night, rushing for 106 yards on 16 carries, and I'm not too worried about Pierre Strong coming in for a couple of goal-line scores Monday – he only got those opportunities after Ford was brought down at the 1-yard line after a 69-yard run. Ford should be the clear lead back moving forward with Chubb out for the season, and while he's a clear talent downgrade, he should get enough work to be a viable Fantasy RB the rest of the way – though, as Joshua Kelley reminded us last week, the backup doesn't always become a star when the opportunity presents itself.
- Zack Moss, RB, Colts (57%) – Moss' Fantasy relevance has a loose expiration date, likely around Week 5 when Jonathan Taylor is eligible to come off the PUP list. However, Moss was the only Colts back to see the field in Week 2, so he might just brute force his way to an RB2 ranking over the next couple of weeks.
- Josh Reynolds, WR, Lions (20%) – I'm not super excited about Reynolds, who followed up a 19-catch, 269-yard stretch over three games last season with 41 yards over his next three. Still, he's running well right now as Jared Goff's No. 2 target, and is a decent fill-in option if you need one.
- Tutu Atwell, WR, Rams (48%) – Atwell had never really made much of an impact before this season, but he showed some surprising per-route efficiency metrics, so maybe this isn't a total fluke. Matthew Stafford looks great, and Atwell seems to be his preferred deep target ahead of Van Jefferson. There are going to be some disappointing games for Atwell, because that's just the nature of downfield-oriented receivers. But he clearly has big weekly upside in this role, and could be viable boom-or-bust WR4 moving forward.
- Matt Breida, RB, Giants (6%) – Breida also has an expiration date on his Fantasy appeal, but he should be in line for a decent role over the next couple of weeks, at least. However, it's worth noting that, while Breida has served as Barkley's primary backup over the past couple of seasons, Gary Brightwell had 11 carries to Breida's four in Week 18 last season with Barkley out – Breida did have eight targets to Brightwell's three, so if you have to prioritize one, go with the guy with the passing game role.
One (more) target for each position
- QB: C.J. Stroud, Texans (25%) – I'm so impressed with Stroud, who has been thrown into the fire behind an offensive line missing most of its starters and has not wilted. The Texans have shown so much confidence in their young QB, having him throw 91 passes in circumstances when many teams would perhaps try to avoid having their prized young QB taking hits. He's got real weapons and might just be a high-volume, viable Fantasy streamer as a rookie.
- RB: Pierre Strong, Browns (2%) – I don't want to just entirely write Strong off, because I think he's a pretty interesting talent. If the Browns want a passing downs option, he might be the complement to Ford, and he's a really strong athlete – he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at 207 pounds, an intriguing combination. Strong is likely to be the clear No. 2 to Ford, but the smart play if you don't want to blow your FAB budget might be to throw a few bucks at Strong.
- WR: Nathaniel Dell, Texans (26%) – With Noah Brown out of the picture, Dell ran a route on 87% of the Texans dropbacks Sunday, a massive role given how often they're dropping back, and he actually led a concentrated Texans receiver trio with 10 targets. He caught seven of them for 72 yards and a touchdown, continuing to show the rapport with Stroud that made him such a hyped preseason prospect. Dell produced in college, and now he's producing in the pros, and while I think Nico Collins is the best Fantasy WR for the Texans, it wouldn't totally shock me if Collins led this team in targets the rest of the way.
- TE: Hunter Henry, Patriots (66%) – I don't really buy it being sustainable, but Henry is one of just two tight ends with double-digit points in both games so far this season. He's not going to keep scoring a touchdown every single week, but with 13 targets through two games, he's had a solid enough role that I can't write him off in a TE position that has been as disastrous as ever so far.