15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 2
Your first inclination is to immediately sell players who overperform.
But so is everyone else's.
Imagine making the assumption that you could just put your home on the market and it would automatically sell for the list price. No matter what. Whatever you listed it for, you got.
That'd be nice, wouldn't it? I'd guess you could have pet unicorns in that world, too.
You know things don't work that way. So why assume it works that way in fantasy football?
When you're trying to sell a player high -- when you're trying to get rid of a player who seemingly has overperformed -- you can't just create some imaginary market. I mean, you can, but it's not realistic.
So be realistic. Understand that the marketplace in your fantasy football league isn't as naive as you think it is.
Don't assume you can just sell anything you want to sell.
Hold Kareem Hunt
"Sell Kareem Hunt," they said. "He'll never do that again this season," they said.
You know, they aren't wrong. Hunt's 45.60 PPR point total in Week 1 was the fifth-highest output seen over the last six seasons by a running back in fantasy relevant (read: all non-Week 17) contests. And he did it while playing 58% of Kansas City's snaps, which is certainly not an elite number.
But, guys, your leaguemates know this, too. Even if they're not looking into snap counts, they're more than likely aware that Kareem Hunt had somewhat of an outlier performance.
And let's not take this to the extreme. Just because the performance that Hunt had was somewhat of an outlier -- it would be an outlier for any player in his position -- doesn't mean Hunt isn't a capable top-10 running back from here on out. In fact, we should expect that: he was essentially ranked that way by our experts (including yours truly) entering the season.
There were positives to his performance, even if you believe it was a little flukey. Though his snap count wasn't a top-10 one at running back, he still played as the starter, and pretty clearly. And he ran the ball well: according to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, he had a 58.82% Success Rate, meaning nearly 60% of his runs increased the Chiefs' expected point value on a given driven. The NFL average is usually around 40%. And every single one of his runs gained positive yardage.
So what do you do? I mean, what can you do? I'm always open to hearing trade offers to see where folks are at on a player, but we shouldn't assume that other league owners are willing to part ways with someone like Le'Veon Bell in a trade for Hunt. Hold him for now, unless you can get a locked-in top-notch player for him.
Buy Chris Hogan
Chris Hogan didn't have the breakout game some were expecting in Week 1, but there was enough evidence to feel some optimism moving forward. Danny Amendola, who saw seven targets in Week 1 to Hogan's five, is week to week with a concussion. Hogan also saw 4 of Tom Brady's 15 attempts that travelled 15 or more yards through the air. That target total on those types of passes topped the NFL (tied) in Week 1. Naturally, you want those types of looks for your wide receivers, as they generate more fantasy points.
What's most intriguing is that Hogan ran over 64% of his routes from the slot, per Pro Football Focus (PFF). That's been the area of the field where New England wideouts have crushed through the years, and that's where a lot of volume could live with Julian Edelman out for the year.
Brady himself only completed 16 passes, when his average was over 24 completions per game last season. He's struggled against the Chiefs in the past, too -- in 2014, he only completed 14 passes in a loss to Kansas City.
So it was a rough matchup for New England, they underperformed overall, Hogan played in the slot, and he managed to see about 27% of Tom Brady's deep ball targets. This all tells me that things could turn around quickly, especially with a matchup against New Orleans next week.
Sell Jordan Howard, Add Tarik Cohen
Howard was featured in last week's 15 Transactions column, and the pessimism surrounding him was two-fold. First, where would the touchdowns come from in this Bears offense? And second, what if Tarik Cohen was used a lot in the backfield as a pass-catcher?
One of those two things was answered in Week 1.
Howard did find the end zone, but Cohen did hurt his playing time. He ended the game with 38 snaps to Cohen's 28, playing 56.72% of the team's snaps. For reference, Howard had a 65% snap rate last year, and from Week 4 on (Week 4 was when he became the unquestioned starter in Chicago), he averaged a 73.70% rate.
Yes, I'd be nervous as a Howard owner. Because the main reason for the lack of snaps was, quite obviously, Tarik Cohen.
Cohen not only dug into the snap count total, but his usage was insane. He caught 8 of 12 targets for 47 yards and a score to go along with 5 rushing attempts.
That, in a nutshell, is why you've got to add Cohen.
With that being said, I'd be open to hearing trade offers if someone in your league is high on his breakout performance. Per PFF, Cohen ran 21 routes on Sunday, meaning he was targeted on over 57% of his routes run. That's not sustainable at all.
And with Jordan Howard still in that backfield, it's going to be difficult for Cohen to be more than a receiving, Darren Sproles-type back for the Bears. There's nothing wrong with that at all, especially given the Bears should see plenty of negative game scripts this year and they're down their top-two receivers. But sending out feelers to see if someone views him as more than a flex player isn't a bad idea.
Drop or Hold Carson Palmer
The Most Obnoxious Performance award from this week might belong to Carson Palmer, who threw three interceptions against last season's second-worst schedule-adjusted secondary (according to our numbers). The Lions' secondary, on paper, shouldn't scare anyone. And Palmer had a gorgeous matchup with Larry Fitzgerald in the slot against Quandre Diggs and couldn't really take advantage of it.
If you're in a shallow league, it's fine to drop Palmer. Streamers, though, may still want to hold on. He threw six deep balls on Sunday (only seven quarterbacks had more prior to Monday's games), and the Cardinals are facing the Colts here in Week 2. We saw what a Vontae Davis-less Indianapolis secondary looks like against Jared Goff in Week 1. (If you didn't, they were the Eli Manning of secondaries.) That matchup lines up pretty well with what the Cardinals want to do, which is drive the ball down the field with deep passes -- Palmer was only able to connect on one of his six deep balls, but Goff hit five of his six passes for 136 yards and a score versus Indy on Sunday.
If Davis is out again for the Colts, for Carson Palmer's confidence and streamers all around the world, this is the matchup you're hoping for.
Add Buck Allen
The Javorius Allen (I like "Buck" more, for those caring) transaction from last week's column had to do with the fact that starting Ravens running back Terrance West isn't very good, and Allen could have a shot to take some snaps as the season goes on.
But in Week 1, we were introduced to another path to Buck Allen upside: a Danny Woodhead injury.
We're not sure how long Woodhead will be out, but it could be a significant amount of time. It's unfortunate, too, because Woodhead was balling out before going down, having caught three passes on the first drive alone. Those three receptions actually ended up being the most on the Ravens by the time the game ended.
Allen, third on the depth chart, saw a lot of work in relief of Woodhead. He played more snaps than West did, which could've been more of a "we're destroying our opponent, so let's not wear anyone out" sort of thing rather than the fact that he's the new starter.
Regardless, we should be interested in Allen -- especially in PPR formats -- off the waiver wire because, as I noted last week, he's arguably the superior back compared to West. More importantly, in any sort of negative or neutral game script, he's got a shot at catching a lot of passes. Joe Flacco and company have targeted the running back position more than any non-New Orleans team over the last two years, after all. And we got a glimpse of that yesterday with Woodhead before the game got out of hand.
Add Kerwynn Williams, Chris Johnson, and Andre Ellington
If you're prioritizing which Arizona Cardinals running back to add given the status of David Johnson, your guess is as good as mine, more than likely. Kerwynn Williams was outsnapped by Andre Ellington in Week 1, but much of that is likely due to the Cardinals playing in a massive negative game script against the Lions. Ellington, who was slotted to play receiver earlier in the summer, is the natural pass-catching back with an injured David Johnson.
Kerwynn Williams is the obvious pick to target off the waiver wire, but there's also a good chance the Cardinals bring back Chris Johnson. Yes, that Chris Johnson. Don't forget, before David Johnson broke out in 2015, CJ401K was the team's featured back. He ended the year with a 43.36% rushing market share on nearly 200 attempts.
In truth, though, I wouldn't be prioritizing any of these players over someone like Tarik Cohen or Buck Allen. There's a good chance we're looking at a committee, and behind an offensive line that couldn't block a thing in Week 1, there's also a good chance none of these players end up being incredibly useful.
Sell Sammy Watkins, Add Cooper Kupp
Apologies for reiterating some transactions from last week, but with games happening, we've got new information. And sometimes points need stressed.
But I'm kind of not impressed by the output.
As I mentioned earlier, the Colts were without corner Vontae Davis, giving Watkins a plus matchup. Like, a really plus matchup. And Watkins ended up being out-targeted by rookie Cooper Kupp. And -- and! -- Watkins didn't see a single target down the field despite quarterback Jared Goff throwing six deep balls.
Kupp was on the receiving end of three of those, and he ended up with the lone receiving touchdown on the day. The worry with Watkins, then, is that he's not the main field stretcher on the team, and that he also won't steal as large of a market share as we'd like for him to be fantasy viable. Seeing 5 of a possible 29 targets isn't exactly what we'd call great.
The Rams won't do what they did in Week 1 each week moving forward, either. Their average drive started on their own 38-yard line, which was the best field position in the league during Week 1. Against more difficult competition, there will be fewer scoring opportunities.
A big negative for Watkins, too, is the upcoming schedule. They'll face Washington in Week 2 where he'll get matched up against Josh Norman, and then they'll see the 49ers, Cowboys, Seahawks, Jaguars, Cardinals, Giants, Texans, and Vikings. Aside from San Francisco and Dallas, those are some awful matchups for a number-one wide receiver.
Add Kenny Golladay
If you've read some of the things I've been spitting this offseason, then you're probably aware that I have a lot of love for Kenny Golladay. Or, as I like to call him, Babytron.
His breakout performance yesterday forced me to take my pants off.
Naturally, anytime a dude opens up a season -- or a career -- with a 4-reception, 69-yard (nice), 2-touchdown performance, you're going to want to add him. Even as Golladay's biggest fan, though, I'm skeptical about his true week-to-week consistency. He still played 24 fewer snaps than Marvin Jones did, and another 19 fewer than Golden Tate. He's their number-three wideout. And with Eric Ebron not contributing yesterday, Golladay was able to do even more work.
Add him, yes. Add him. But lower your expectations just a tad early in the season. The hope is that Golladay can steal some of Marvin Jones' snaps, enabling more predictable output.
Sell Paul Perkins
The ineptitude of the offense is frightening for any Paul Perkins owner. Against the Cowboys in Week 1, Perkins ran the ball seven times (which actually ended up being 58.33% of the team's rushes, so that's not bad) for just 16 yards. According to our Success Rate metric, not a single one of his carries positively impacted the Giants' chances of scoring.
What's worse is that Shane Vereen played 13 more snaps than Perkins did. Once the game saw a negative script, it was Vereen who was on the field, not Perkins. That turned into a 9-catch day for the veteran back.
The Cowboys don't have a defense that should really scare anyone personnel-wise. The fact that New York couldn't even remotely move the ball against them is problematic. And this is on top of the running backs in the G-Men offense not really having a ton of opportunity to begin with. Last year, only four team backfields scored fewer fantasy points.
Even with a healthy Odell Beckham, how can you feel confident in throwing Paul Perkins into your lineup?
Drop Jamaal Williams
If there was any doubt that Ty Montgomery wasn't the lead back for Green Bay, Week 1 settled it. Montgomery finished the game having played over 90% of the team's snaps, while Jamaal Williams was on the field for just 7.32% of them. At this point, we shouldn't expect some sort of committee like some were thinking back in August. This is Ty Montgomery's backfield, and Jamaal Williams serves only as a handcuff. Even then, we shouldn't be certain that other players wouldn't dig into his workload with a Montgomery injury.
Add Paul Richardson
Richardson played just two fewer snaps than Doug Baldwin on Sunday, and he tallied 15 more than wideout Tyler Lockett. While Lockett's coming back from a leg injury, it's still a good sign for P-Rich.
Richardson was also on the receiving end of three deep balls from signal-caller Russell Wilson, who attempted seven against Green Bay. Like the note with Hogan above, that's what you want to see from your wide receivers -- the ability to get down the field and score fantasy points in chunks.
Drop Eddie Lacy, Add Chris Carson
So much for that revenge game for Eddie Lacy.
Against the Pack, Lacy toted the rock five times for a grand total of three yards. Meanwhile, teammate Chris Carson -- Seattle's preseason darling -- finished the game with 6 carries for 39 yards, adding a catch for another 10. Carson was the only Seattle back to see a goal-line carry, too.
In the end, Lacy played only seven snaps, while Carson beat out C.J. Prosise 27 to 15. Though Thomas Rawls was inactive, there's a chance Carson ends up running away with the early-down job. And if and when the Seahawks are in positive game scripts -- Perhaps this week against San Francisco? -- that should be money for fantasy purposes.
Add Marlon Mack
Frank Gore played more snaps than Marlon Mack did on Sunday, but not by much, outsnapping him by two. They both were fairly ineffective on the ground with 30% Success Rates (each carried the ball 10 times), and Gore had a slightly better Rushing NEP per attempt rate. That's no surprise considering Mack ran the ball 10 times for 24 yards versus Gore's 10 for 42.
Mack did find the end zone, though, and that was big. Not just because of the six points it added to his bottom line in fantasy, but because it came at the goal line. He actually finished the week with three attempts from within his opponent's five-yard line, which was met or exceeded by only Leonard Fournette and Mike Gillislee through the Sunday games.
Mack won't be very usable until Andrew Luck returns to the Colts' lineup, because the offense may not be able to move the ball well without him. But he's worth a speculative add right now.
Add Charles Clay
Amari Cooper had four targets from within his opponent's 10-yard line on Sunday, but that's the only dude in the NFL (pre-Monday night) with more looks from that area of the field than Charles Clay. When you look at the Bills' receiving depth chart, he's one of the only players Tyrod Taylor has played significant time with. We saw that in full effect in Week 1, as Tyrod targeted him on 32.14% of his passes. That type of market share has to be on your radar. Though the matchup was great in Week 1, Clay could have a nice floor each week.
Add the Raiders' Defense
Streaming defenses this year is actually just a game of who can pick up the defense facing the Jets first. That's the Raiders in Week 2, as they'll host the Jets in Oakland as 13.5-point favorites. The Raiders looked a lot more competent defensively than many thought in Week 1 against Tennessee, holding Marcus Mariota and the Titans to just one offensive touchdown. They should be able to do work against New York, who turned the ball over twice against an average-at-best Buffalo Bills defense on Sunday.
For more context and an additional transaction, listen to this week's Late-Round Podcast 15 Transactions show.