15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 3
You could call Week 2 a fantasy football apocalypse, I suppose. Your team with Jamaal Charles and A.J. Green most likely flopped (one of mine definitely did), while your benching of an injured Brandon Marshall for a potential-breakout in Justin Hunter made you look like – or at least feel like – an amateur.
If you’re moving into Week 3 with little to not injuries woes, consider yourself lucky. You could be this guy. Just remember, in fantasy football, it can always be worse.
Plenty of teams are in trouble right now, and that’s where this article comes into play. You can always make your fantasy football squad better even if you aren’t hurting, but especially for the teams that are, it’s time to get your transaction boots on.
Add Donald Brown
Say what you want about Ryan Mathews getting hurt again – that’s not what we need to analyze here. He’s gone – out for four to five weeks – and Donald Brown, who the Chargers signed over the offseason, is going to get some opportunities to shine in the San Diego offense.
The Chargers were the seventh-most run-heavy team a year ago in terms of pass-to-run ratio, and that’s generally continued in 2014. Mathews saw 12 carries in Week 1 against the Cardinals and snagged 11 in Week 2 versus the Seahawks, meaning those touches are going to be divied up between Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown.
Woodhead will already be rostered in most leagues, which is why I’m targeting Donald here. That, and Donald Brown was really underrated a season ago in Indy.
While Trent Richardson finished as the third-worst running back in football according to our Net Expected Points metric, Brown was able to rank fifth among runners with 100 or more carries. It was the best season of Brown’s career, and the difference in production between Brown and Richardson under similar circumstances shows how effective Brown can be when given the opportunity.
He should be a top priority off the waiver wire this week, as the Chargers get the Bills and Jaguars in Weeks 3 and 4, and the Raiders in Week 6.
Add Khiry Robinson
Robinson wasn’t all that efficient according to our metrics a season ago – he had the lowest per rush Net Expected Points average, while his 37.04% Success Rate ranked 57th of the 67 running backs with 50 or more touches. To put that another way, just a little over 37% of Robinson’s touches were contributing positively towards the Saints’ chances of scoring.
The good thing about Robinson is that, in an offense that’s bound to be good throwing the rock, he should have opportunities to score. Robinson has already seen one more carry in the red zone compared to teammate Pierre Thomas this season, the other main healthy back in New Orleans, so it shouldn’t shock anyone if Khiry scores a few times with Ingram sidelined.
With that being said, the Saints ran the ball just 52 times in the red zone last year, while the Chargers – referencing the Donald Brown note above – ran 72 times. Five different Saints running backs totaled 47 of those attempts (Drew Brees had 5 rushes), while just three Chargers backs saw their 67 (Rivers had 5 rushes)red-zone looks.
In other words, while Khiry may be in a high-powered offense, there’s a little more touchdown ambiguity, strengthening the fact that Donald Brown is the clear-cut option off the wire this week between the two. Robinson’s still not a bad choice, but the Saints are hard to predict in the red zone (and in terms of touches each week). Be prepared for that.
Hold Justin Hunter
Perhaps no game was more depressing for fantasy owners in Week 2 than the one we saw in Tennessee, where Jake Locker and company couldn’t get anything going offensively. Locker’s Passing NEP dropped five points due to his Week 2 outing, and Justin Hunter, well, hasn’t really broken out yet.
But now isn’t the time to give up hope. Last season, a relatively unknown receiver with ridiculous measurables in Chicago started his season with 6 receptions, 53 yards and zero touchdowns. He (it’s Alshon Jeffery) ended the year with 89 receptions, 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns.
This isn’t to say that Justin Hunter is about to go bonkers on the league, but let’s not overreact and already sell one of the biggest sleepers in 2014. The good news is that Hunter saw relatively similar snaps as wide receiving teammates Nate Washington and Kendall Wright on Sunday, and has two more targets than both of them after two weeks of football. Don’t give up on him yet.
Sell Stevan Ridley
A month ago, everyone believed Stevan Ridley was going to be cut. Today, Stevan Ridley is relaxing after a 25-carry, 101-yard, 1-touchdown game.
I don’t want to mess with this running back situation, even if the Patriots’ upcoming games are against Oakland and Kansas City. Ridley had 20 or more carries in two games last year, and followed them up with 11- and 13-carry games. He also saw four contests with fewer than 10 totes. This doesn’t mean it’ll happen again, but to depend on Ridley given his general history with the Patriots isn’t the best idea. I’d look to sell him if someone’s willing to buy into his Week 2 performance.
Add Ahmad Bradshaw
Sometimes in this weekly column, I have to reiterate my thoughts. Pick up Ahmad Bradshaw, will you?
After a Week 1 game that saw Bradshaw on the field for 15 more snaps than Trent Richardson while scoring 13.5 half-point PPR fantasy points, Bradshaw was back and producing in Week 2. He ran the ball 13 times for 70 yards, and was able score two receiving touchdowns on five catches in the passing game. After two weeks, only Le'Veon Bell and Knowshon Moreno have higher Total NEP scores at the running back position.
Though Trent Richardson looked decent on Monday night, he's still not play as effectively as Bradshaw. And, as we all know, T-Rich has a history of being really bad at football.
Add Bradshaw if he's out there. While you shouldn't expect a massive 20-plus fantasy point performance each week, he's certainly a good flex option.
Drop Ladarius Green
We all know Green is a big-play guy capable of returning fantasy value on just a handful of plays. Among players with 15 or more receptions last year, only Kenny Stills did more per target in terms of Net Expected Points. Green can be a monster, but he can’t when he’s not getting volume. Antonio Gates is still the man in San Diego.
Add Brian Quick
If you thought last week was a fluke, perhaps Brian Quick’s solid 7-receptiom, 74-yard line from Week 2 will make you see that he’s a serviceable option in fantasy football. Or, at the very least, Brian Quick should be owned.
Through two weeks of the season, Quick’s totaled 18 targets. That’s four more than every other wide receiver on the Rams combined. He’s seen 27.7% of the team’s targets, which ranks 10th in the entire NFL.
The reason more folks aren’t talking about him is because he hasn’t scored a touchdown. That, unfortunately, may not change with Austin Davis under center. But Quick should continue to get volume in a rather inept offense, making him flex-worthy each week.
Add Travis Kelce
Kelce has now seen more targets than tight end teammate Anthony Fasano, despite playing 74 fewer snaps. His Target Net Expected Points score - the number of points added on all targets, so it includes incomplete passes and interceptions - is more than double that of any other Chiefs player. And actually, Kelce's Target NEP is third-best in the entire NFL at his position.
As the season moves forward, we should only expect the second-year (essentially rookie since he failed to play last year) tight end get more involved in the passing game. It’s not like the Chiefs have a ton of pass-catching options.
Buy Keenan Allen
Keenan Allen’s started the season with back-to-back five-reception games, but he’s failed to score a touchdown and hasn’t accumulated 100 yards receiving. For a guy usually drafted in the third round in August, I’m sure fantasy owners are a little upset by this.
But don’t be. The Chargers opened their season against a tough Cardinals’ defense and the best one in the league versus Seattle. In truth, Allen’s performed admirably.
Keep in mind that Keenan Allen’s rookie year was one of the best we’ve ever seen, and he’s still clearly Philip Rivers’ top target. The Chargers get the Bills, Jaguars, Jets and Raiders upcoming, so expect Allen to begin performing like we thought he would. If fantasy owners aren’t aware of his strength of schedule, now is the perfect time to buy.
Add Knile Davis
There’s a lot of vagueness surrounding Jamaal Charles’ ankle injury, but one thing is certain: his backup can ball.
Knile Davis finished Week 2 with a -1.54 Rushing NEP, and a Total NEP (includes receiving) just under zero. While that sounds terrible, for a guy who ran the ball more than 20 times, it's not - rushing is far less efficient than passing. The Chiefs offense didn’t really miss a step, as Davis tallied almost 30 half-point PPR fantasy points.
If you’re a Charles owner and you don’t have his ‘cuff, Davis is a must add. Regardless though, there aren’t many second-string backs who can realistically perform like a top one, but you have that with Knile Davis. He should be a top priority this week.
Add Kirk Cousins
Plenty of football fans are on the Kirk Cousins bandwagon, and admittedly, he played pretty well on Sunday. He now has a 15.84 Passing NEP on the season, sixth-best in the NFL.
But we have to remember that he faced Jacksonville, a team that is sure to have some problems this season and was without safety Johnathan Cyprien.
With that being said, Washington will be on the road to face the Eagles this week, a team that's generally struggled against the pass over the last year-plus. They looked better against Andrew Luck and the Colts on Monday night, but even with that game, the secondary is ranked a little above average according to our Net Expected Points metrics.
Vegas has the Week 3 tilt set at a 51-point over/under, so points will be scored. If you need a quarterback streamer this week, Cousins could be your dude.
Hold Lamar Miller
Lamar Miller has never looked great within the Net Expected Points metric, and in 2014, he's been a little below average among 20-plus carry backs. But with Knowshon Moreno sidelined in this new Bill Lazor offense, Miller is intriguing.
To be honest, my plan was to tell folks to sell Lamar Miller, because we've seen what he can do as a lead back in the NFL. But then I looked at the Dolphins schedule and realized that Lamar Miller could go off. Miami's next four games includes contests against Oakland (22nd-ranked rush defense when adjusted for strength of opponent), Green Bay (32nd), Chicago (16th) and Jacksonville (26th).
In terms of running back fantasy points against through two weeks, Oakland ranks 30th, Green Bay 27th, Chicago 22nd and Jacksonville 31st.
If you're a Lamar Miller owner, you may feel the need to sell high given his new gig and tendency to disappoint. But he may actually outperform our expectations while Knowshon is out given this cake walk of a schedule.
Add Davante Adams
The Green Bay passing offense is pretty straightforward right now: feed Jordy Nelson.
Though Randall Cobb has scored three times, he's seen only 15 targets to Nelson's 30. Meanwhile, in Week 2, Davante Adams saw seven targets of his own, four more than supposed number-three wideout Jarrett Boykin. Those seven targets were more than what Cobb saw against the Jets on Sunday.
This stems from a Jarrett Boykin drop in the red zone, and because Adams filled in admirably (he actually had a higher Target Net Expected Points - number of points added on targets only - score than Jordy Nelson), it shouldn't surprise anyone to see him get some more play. In an offense that can produce multiple relevant wide receivers, that's worthy of a pick-up.
Add the Browns’ Defense
First and foremost, if the Patriots' defense is on your waiver wire, they should be your top add this week from a defensive standpoint. The Raiders are still the Raiders, and they'll travel east for a game in Foxborough.
But after the Browns played well against our third-ranked offense, the Saints, you may want to consider them this week. They'll be at home, which is important for pinpointing a defense to stream, facing Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Though Baltimore looked competent against the Steelers on Thursday, keep in mind that the Steelers defense could be one of the worst in the NFL this year. Joe Flacco is still Joe Flacco.
With an over/under set at 41.5, you shouldn't expect a lot of scoring in Cleveland's Week 3 contest. Snag them.
Buy Eddie Lacy
I've seen countless tweets about selling Eddie Lacy, and I can't wrap my head around why.
Lacy faced a tough Seahawks defense in Seattle during Week 1, and suffered a concussion during the game. He ended up with 12 carries and 6 half-point PPR fantasy points.
In Week 2, the Packers fell behind to the Jets, and only fed Lacy 13 times. His 43 yards were actually impressive considering the Jets run-stopping ability - New York currently ranks third against the run, and they were a top-five unit last year as well.
Selling Lacy now is a complete overreaction. He may have trouble getting yards against a good Detroit front in Week 3, but the Packers are still going to try and establish the run. And Lacy is still going to eat.