Just as so many predicted, New York might go 0-16. Of course, that benighted Big Apple squad was supposed to be the Jets, who ran their record Sunday to a surprising 3-2. Meanwhile, the Giants fell to 0-5, and their prospects for eventually snatching victory from the jaws of defeat appear dimmer than ever.
That’s because Odell Beckham Jr. went down with a fractured ankle against the Chargers (no longer winless!), likely ending his season. Sure, if Beckham is placed on the injured reserve list, he could in theory come back after an eight-week absence, but what incentive will the Giants have to trot him out at that point?
If the team keeps losing, it will, if anything, have incentive to mothball more players as the season goes along. You know, players such as Eli Manning, all the better to lean into the unexpected tank job and draft Manning’s replacement next spring.
As ludicrous fate would have it for New York, its 27-22 defeat by Los Angeles didn’t just feature an injury to Beckham, but three of the team’s other WRs also went down, most notably Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard with sprained ankles, in addition to Dwayne Harris’s broken foot. One need only recall how dismal Manning and the offense looked in Week 1, which Beckham missed with a sprained ankle, to get a shiver-inducing sense of how things might play out the rest of the way, but there will still be passing targets to go around, so keep an eye on the health of Marshall and Shepard.
Or will Roger Lewis, who scored a touchdown Sunday and led the team in receiving yards in Week 1, step to the forefront? Well, probably not, and owners of Manning will likely want to start looking for alternatives, because it could get grim.
On the bright side, both Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman looked good at running back for the Giants, who figure to lean on the running game much more than in the recent past. Both players should be owned in most leagues, and while rookie tight end Evan Engram had no targets Sunday, his value should go up, as well.
Big Ben goes bust: Wait, wasn’t Ben Roethlisberger only supposed to be terrible in road games? At home in Pittsburgh Sunday, he was abysmal, throwing five interceptions and zero touchdowns in a 30-9 loss to the Jaguars. At least Roethlisberger did right by Antonio Brown owners, helping the wide receiver to a 10-catch, 157-yard day, but he’ll be hard to trust going forward, even if that Jacksonville defense continues to prove it is one of the NFL’s more fearsome units. It’s not exactly encouraging that the 35-year-old Steelers QB said after the game, “Maybe I don’t have it anymore.”
Watson wattage: Here’s a QB who has been doing nothing but great things of late. Deshaun Watson topped everyone at his position, and not for the first time, dropping five TD passes on the Chiefs just a week after accounting for five more, including one on the ground, against the Titans. Watson has not only reached must-start status, he’s more than restored DeAndre Hopkins to the ranks of the fantasy elite. Fellow Houston WR Will Fuller looks like a sell-high, though, given that he has two touchdowns in each of his two games, on a total of just nine targets.
Can Montgomery keep up with Jones?: Remember when we all got excited about Aaron Jones after Thursday night, then got much less excited as news emerged that Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery were not seriously injured? Well, it’s time to get excited again, after Jones lit up the Cowboys for 125 yards and a score on 19 carries. Williams is clearly no threat to his fellow rookie, but the question is what kind of workload Montgomery, who sat out the game in Dallas, will return to, whenever he does come back from his rib injury. In the meantime, Jones’s ownership percentage should take another major jump this week, to something awfully close to 100.
Cooper anything but super: Last week, I said of Amari Cooper’s two-catch, nine-yard outing that he “has nowhere to go but up.” Er, my bad. Cooper had just one catch Sunday, and while it’s possible to point a finger at fill-in QB EJ Manuel, the latter didn’t get in the way of Michael Crabtree catching six balls for 82 yards and a TD. At this point, Cooper has gone from a second-round pick in many fantasy drafts to someone many owners would like to drop without a second thought, although holding on to him for at least a couple of more weeks seems like the most advisable path.
Reality check: That thudding sound you heard was the Rams’ offense crashing back to Earth, in a 16-10 loss to the Seahawks. While Todd Gurley maintained a high level of usage, he produced just five points in PPR leagues, and Jared Goff struggled. Those struggles may well continue for a bit, as the Rams’ next five games feature the defenses of the Jags, Cardinals, Giants, Texans and Vikings. Most concerning was the near-complete disappearance of Sammy Watkins, who had zero catches on four targets a week after one catch on two targets, and who now has a long way to go before he can be trusted as even a fringe flex start.
Other waiver possibilities: Marlon Mack, Ed Dickson (what the heck was that?), George Kittle, Andre Ellington, Elijah McGuire, Nelson Agholor, Kevin Hogan.
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