The Week 2 games were particularly unfriendly toward NFL running backs, with a number suffering injuries.
Some, such as Doug Martin (Tampa Bay) and Jonathan Stewart (Carolina), could be down for several weeks. Others, including Danny Woodhead (San Diego), Adrian Person (Minnesota) and Ameer Abdullah (Detroit), could be lost for the season.
Those injuries have impacts in fantasy football, too. Here’s how to take advantage:
▪ With Abdullah out, Theo Riddick (Detroit) will have even more value, although it would make sense to keep him in his pass-catching role, where he excels, and let Dwayne Washington take Abdullah’s old role. Washington has major sleeper upside and has drawn poor-man David Johnson comparisons given his size and speed combination.
▪ Carolina will turn to a mix of Fozzy Whitaker and Cameron Artis-Payne, who, while he has been inactive the first two weeks, has the higher upside. Given Stewart’s track record of slow rehab, it would make sense for the Panthers to just shut him down through the team’s Week 7 bye.
▪ In Week 2, Melvin Gordon (San Diego) had career highs in rushing yards (102) and rushing attempts (24), and he has three touchdowns in two games. With Woodhead hurt, Gordon’s stock moves up considerably. And he goes against the Colts, who allow the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
▪ Minnesota will use a combination of Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon to replace Peterson. McKinnon has the higher upside, but Carolina is a difficult matchup.
▪ Charles Sims (Tampa Bay) will be the Bucs starter with Martin out a reported three weeks. Sims won’t draw the best of matchups over that stretch (Los Angeles, Denver, at Carolina) but he has a high floor given his work in the passing game.
Week 3 sleepers
▪ Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) has thrown for 199 and 213 yards the first two games, but at Lambeau for the 2016 home opener against the Lions should get him back to his old self.
▪ Oakland has allowed 20 percent more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than any other team, making Marcus Mariota (Tennessee) a strong option. Mariota has opened the season with two passing touchdowns in each game, and he passed for three touchdowns last year against Oakland.
▪ Randall Cobb (Green Bay) has been held without a touchdown in seven straight games, his longest drought since 2012. He seems due, and Cobb has scored four touchdowns in his past three games against the Lions.
▪ Donte Moncrief will miss four to six weeks, leaving Phillip Dorsett (Indianapolis) to move into the Colts’ starting lineup. Dorsett is solid number three fantasy receiver, and both of the Colts’ tight ends (Dwayne Allen, Jack Doyle) should get additional targets as well.
▪ For what it’s worth Seth Roberts (Oakland) had six receptions, 113 yards and two touchdowns last year when the Raiders played Tennessee. Roberts could be a deep sleeper.
▪ It’s possible that Coby Fleener (New Orleans) has hit your league waiver wire after his disappointing start . Fleener is hard to fully trust but this is a good matchup for him. The Falcons/Saints game easily has the highest over/under this week, and Atlanta has given up three touchdowns to tight ends so far this year.
▪ There is some “revenge-game” potential for Jordan Cameron (Miami), who will face his former team for the first time.
▪ Josh McCown (Cleveland) is out, replaced by rookie quarterback Cody Kessler, and without wide receiver Corey Coleman, who broke his hand in practice this week. Dial up the Miami defense as a strong option.
Alan Satterlee is a co-owner and senior writer for DynastyFootballWarehouse.com, a comprehensive fantasy football strategy site.