Derek Dimino, Contributing Writer
|Quarterback||Derek Carr – If there is a model of consistency and poise under pressure this season in the NFL, it’s Derek Carr. After throwing for 319 yards and a touchdown in week 1 against New Orleans, Carr brought his passing efficiency to the next level in week 2, throwing for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns. Derek Carr could even have had a fourth touchdown, had Amari Cooper not stepped out of bounds. Going up against Tennessee, I can easily picture Carr throwing for another 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while keeping his season turnover number at zero.
|Brock Osweiler – Surrounded by weapons, Brock Osweiler and the Texans offense are daunting. From their dynamic wide-outs, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, to their smash mouth runner Lamar Miller, to the strong-armed Brock Osweiler, they have serious playmakers at every position. Unfortunately, Osweiler has yet to translate all that talent into scoring. So far, through two games he has just over 500 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Going up against New England in their week 3 matchup, I see the Patriots taking advantage of Osweiler’s insecurities in the red-zone, forcing more than 2 turnovers.
|Running-Back||Melvin Gordon – Gordon struggled his rookie season. Between playing second fiddle to Danny Woodhead and not being able to reach the end-zone in any of last year’s games, Gordon seemed like a border-line bust coming into this season. In week 1, Gordon took on new life, making it to the end-zone on two separate occasions, while fighting for touches with Danny Woodhead. In week 2, we saw a fantasy favorite, Woodhead, go down with a season ending injury in the first quarter. Melvin stepped in and assumed all first back duties and did not disappoint. Rushing 24 times for 102 yards and a score, Gordon proved not only why he was drafted but that he could also be a 3 down back in the NFL. Going up against a struggling Indianapolis defense in week 3, Melvin Gordon will be a must start.
|Jeremy Hill – Cincinnati’s running game has been atrocious through two games. Between Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, neither of them could get anything going on the ground in week 2, combining for 39 yards off of 16 carries. Until Cincinnati can establish their run game, you won’t see Jeremy Hill gain last year’s red-zone value back. Going up against Denver and their high-quality defense, Jeremy Hill should be on everyone’s bench.|
|Wide-Receiver||Mike Wallace – After going undrafted in the majority of fantasy leagues, Mike Wallace has continued to prove why he deserves a spot on any fantasy owners’ starting line up. Wallace caught 4 of 6 passes for only 41 yards, redeeming himself with two touchdowns in the Ravens come-from-behind win in week 2 against the Browns. Although Wallace only accumulated 41 yards, he continues to be highly valued in the Ravens offense for his big play ability, as well as a red-zone threat. He will bring in at least four touches and a score in their week 3 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
|Sammy Watkins – Through his first two games, Sammy Watkins has caught the ball six times for 63 yards and no touchdowns. As the prime receiver in the Buffalo offense, he’s been anything but a WR1. This may be because Rex Ryan is afraid of getting Watkins too involved, increasing his risk of re-injuring his foot, but this season’s 11 targets say otherwise. Coming off a season with just 60 receptions, I think his lack of production is because they’re having more trouble getting him the ball, rather than the Bills trying to preserve his foot. Regardless, in week 3 Arizona introduces a giant obstacle for Sammy Watkins, healthy or not.|
|Tight-End||Julius Thomas – For the second week in a row, Julius Thomas hauled in 4 or more catches, for over 60 yards. Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles has thrown to Thomas 12 times through the first 2 games. Although Thomas is not reliant on touchdowns to be fantasy relevant, he will be a red-zone asset in this coming week against the undefeated Ravens.
|Gary Barnidge – Three QBs in three weeks doesn’t help Barnidge’s fantasy value, as the Browns announce that Cody Kessler will start in week 3 after Josh McCown went down with an injury last Sunday. To go along with that, the Browns have also found their deep ball threats in Corey Coleman and Terrelle Pryor, leaving very little big play opportunities for Barnidge.
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