Who would have thought that through the first two weeks of the season Patrick Mahomes and Ryan Fitzpatrick would be two of the best quarterbacks in fantasy football? The answer is no one, and while the extreme variance of two late-round quarterbacks exploding is obviously tilting, it’s part of the fun. Before the FitzMagic can continue, we get a Browns-Jets Thursday Night Football showdown.
Thursday Night Football
Despite not having the brand equity of most other games, the Browns-Jets matchup tonight will have plenty of interesting aspects to it. After excelling against the Detroit defense on the road, No. 2 pick Sam Darnold struggled at home against the Dolphins. He now goes up against the Browns defense which held both the Steelers' and Saints' high-powered offenses to 21 points in Weeks 1 and 2. You can go more in-depth on these two teams and every fantasy-relevant player in Evan Silva’s Matchup Column.
Aaron Rodgers Injury Situation
When Aaron Rodgers was carted off against Chicago, the football world fell silent. After losing him for the bulk of last season, most fans (excluding those in Chicago and Minnesota) realized how much the NFL needed the prolific signal-caller. He somehow returned in Week 1 and hobbled his way to a remarkable comeback victory over Chicago. Leading up to Week 2 there was lots of uncertainty about his health and playing status, but nonetheless he played and led his team to 29 points on a 71.4 completion percentage against a tough Vikings defense.
He is now expected to play against the Redskins in Week 3 but said there's "concern" his knee sprain could get worse but “hopefully it goes the other way.” That doesn’t sound all too encouraging and Rodgers probably won’t be able to ever fully heal this season if he continues to play. The Packers have a tough decision to make with their franchise quarterback because they are at a serious disadvantage without Rodgers, but they likely can’t make a strong playoff run unless he is at least capable of being mobile. My guess is they are probably going to ride Rodgers for as long as possible due to having former Browns QB DeShone Kizer as their primary backup. This is a decision that will likely come back to bite them and potentially hurt them in a big way if Rodgers suffers any long-term issues.
For the time being there isn’t much you can do in your fantasy leagues with Rodgers and the Packers offense unless an owner is looking to pay a premium for them. If that does occur, don’t hesitate to sell high as this offense could be entirely devoid of fantasy value if Rodgers ends up sitting for any period of time.
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Neither Sproles or Ajayi were able to practice on Wednesday and may not play this Sunday. If both players sit, Corey Clement becomes a very viable option in fantasy football. His only competition for touches would be Wendall Smallwood and they are playing against the Colts who have allowed the 7th worst ranked rushing success rate and 3rd worst passing success rate to opposing running backs (Football Outsiders). Clement is still viable if only one of Ajayi or Sproles sits, but he has a lot more upside as a flex play if both aren’t able to suit up.
Packers’ Running Back Situation
Now that Aaron Jones’ two-game suspension has ended, the Packers backfield has become even more of a mess from a fantasy perspective. Coach Mike McCarthy gave some clarity to the situation and said Jones will play behind both Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery against the Redskins. While Williams may have a grip on the starting job at the moment, it isn’t too farfetched to think he could lose that job quickly. Through two weeks his play should be described as lackluster at best with a 37 percent rushing success rate and averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. The coaches still like him however and will continue to rotate all three backs in the game.
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Eagles Sign WR Jordan Matthews
Time is a flat circle. Matthews now returns to his original team after a season awry in Buffalo and an offseason in New England. With Mike Wallace on injured reserve and Alshon Jeffery still trying to return from a shoulder injury, Matthews could garner a significant snap-share immediately. He will likely slide into the slot for the majority of his snaps which bumps Nelson Agholor to the outside. If this does happen, it isn’t great news for Agholor’s fantasy value as he resurrected his career from the slot in 2017. Maybe he’s grown enough as a player in the past year to overcome the bump outside, but the return of Jeffery and addition of Matthews isn’t a good thing for Agholor’s projected output.
Jarvis Landry (knee) is questionable for Week 3 against the Jets. He should play in this one but expect more Browns players to play based on his decision and the contagiousness of Landry’s health. … Browns coach Hue Jackson confirmed Antonio Callaway has an every-down role. The troubled but talented wideout has loads of upside as a full-time starter and should be on the fantasy radar. …Saints coach Sean Payton plans to get Tre'Quan Smith more touches. This is good news for Smith and It could also help that WR Ted Ginn was limited in practice on Wednesday. If Ginn sits, Smith will have a big opportunity to shine. … Marquise Goodwin (thigh) was limited in Wednesday's practice. This puts him on track to play against the Chiefs. With a shootout expected in the highest Vegas total of the week, Goodwin could play a big part in the 49ers passing offense against an extremely soft Kansas City secondary. … Leonard Fournette (hamstring) was limited at Wednesday's practice. It looks like he’s is on track to play this week after sitting out last Week’s win over the Patriots. If he does play he’s unlikely to receive his usual workload. … Cardinals coach Steve Wilks said Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) will play in Week 3 against Chicago. This is a good sign for their sputtering offense as they could use any help they can get. Boasting one of the worst offenses through two games, a quarterback change seems likely if their struggles continue. ...Vikings DE Everson Griffen (knee) didn't practice on Wednesday. This is something that should be monitored as he’s an every-down player on the Vikings’ elite defense. At this point it seems likely he will play, but it’s tough to be sure. … Josh Gordon (hamstring) was limited at Wednesday's practice. He doesn’t look to be hampered too much by his injury but will be forced to try and learn the Patriots playbook prior to Sunday Night's game against Detroit. He won’t be much of a factor until he does so. … Dalvin Cook (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday. Cook is suffering from a soft-tissue injury and will likely be good-to-go for Sunday against the woeful Bills. … Marlon Mack (foot, hamstring) didn't practice on Wednesday. The foot injury is new for Mack who has been struggling with hamstring issues. If he isn’t able to suit up Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines will have increased roles. … Giants CB Eli Apple (groin) is not practicing Wednesday. This is something to watch because the Giants secondary needs all the help they can get at this point. … Paul Richardson underwent an MRI on his knee and results came back negative. Richardson will be good to play in the Redskins Week 3 game against Green Bay. … LeSean McCoy (ribs) was limited in Wednesday's practice. A limited practice suggests McCoy is on track to play on Sunday as 17-point road underdogs to the Vikings. … Eagles placed WR Mike Wallace on injured reserve with a broken fibula. Wallace suffered what’s likely a season-ending injury in last week’s game against the Bucs.