Season Preview: Denver Nuggets
Quietly, the Denver Nuggets have turned into an offensive juggernaut led by a budding superstar in center Nikola Jokic.
Injuries from Week 2 won’t have much impact on rosters this week, but emerging trends over the first two weeks have savvy NFL Fantasy owners tweaking their teams.
Here are the names piquing our interest as we look at the Week 3 waiver wire:
Alright, so it took me a little longer than most to buy into the Ryan Fitzpatrick story. It appears his offensive line really is that good, which is the key to everything. Fitzpatrick has an outstanding quarterback rating when the pass rush isn’t bothering him. It drops to 66 when he is under pressure. That might make me waver a bit on Fitzpatrick’s Week 4 meeting with Khalil Mack in Chicago, but it has me starting him anywhere I can against Pittsburgh Monday night.
Speculation that coach Dirk Koetter might roll with him for a while after Jameis Winston returns makes Fitzpatrick more than a one-week streaming option.
Meanwhile, Blake Bortles and the Jaguars offense look better than last season even without Marqise Lee and Leonard Fournette. Bortles is the QB-4 after two weeks. He looks confident throwing the ball and could have the most underrated group of wide receivers in the NFL. Bortles is not afraid to throw to his tight ends or backs, either, especially play maker Corey Grant. It all makes Bortles worthy of a roster spot and not just a streaming candidate
After two weeks of NFL Fantasy play, there are six wide receivers among the top 24 scoring wide receivers owned in less than half of all leagues. That includes the WR-1, DeSean Jackson. I don’t like playing deep threat specialists much, but with a red-hot quarterback going against the Steelers, Jackson should be starting in every league.
Kenny Golladay is another player with a good matchup. Detroit faces the Patriots. I wouldn’t bet against New England the week after a loss, but Bortles just put up 370 yards against their defense. I think the Stafford-to-Golladay (and Golden Tate and Marvin Jones) connection is worth a shot.
The other receivers off to good start despite their NFL Fantasy ownership status are Tyler Lockett, Keelan Cole, Chris Godwin, and John Brown. Brown looks like more than a deep threat in the Ravens offense and Cole looks the part of a WR-1, even if Donte Moncrief gets similar targets.
Antonio Calloway grabbed 4 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown with Josh Gordon off the field. Rashard Higgins got more targets from Tyrod Taylor, but Calloway was on the field for more snaps. Calloway might be worth stashing for near-future consideration.
In the preseason, I wrote that Tyler Boyd would emerge as the number 2 receiver behind AJ Green and not John Ross. I called Ross a hit-or-miss receiver and gave Boyd a steadier floor. So far, Boyd has 14 targets and is making me look good, especially when he hauls in a touchdown like last week. You should consider adding him to your roster, but only use him when Andy Dalton has a favorable matchup.
Aaron Jones comes off suspension this week for the Green Bay Packers. He is owned in roughly 65-percent of leagues. If he available in yours, grab him. Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery did nothing to steal Jones’ role in the offense.
Giovani Bernard took the bulk of carries and targets when Joe Mixon missed some time last season. Jeremy Hill is gone, but the Bengals are high on rookie Mark Walton. Along with an improved receiving corps, that could limit Bernard’s workload, but not enough to keep him from being the top priority add for the next two weeks. Walton would be a speculative add in case the Bengals decide to give him his shot, but Marvin Lewis is not creative enough for me to bet on that.
Don’t get too excited about Austin Ekeler’s Week 2 numbers. Melvin Gordon was used lightly in the third quarter and took a seat in the fourth in a game the Chargers had well in hand. That said, even in normal circumstances, Ekeler does considerable damage with his 10-12 touches per game. Gordon is still the workhorse, but Ekeler is rumored to be in line for a gradual increase in opportunities. He is worth a roster slot.
Latavius Murray is available in half of all leagues. That shouldn’t be. Dalvin Cook says he just had cramps and not a hamstring issue in Week 2, but the back has proven to be fragile enough to roster his handcuff. Even if Murray maintains his second-back role, he should see plenty of opportunities against a Buffalo team who won’t score.
On the other side of the field, I wouldn’t play a healthy LeSean McCoy against the Vikings defense. There is no reason to think Chris Ivory or rookie Marcus Murphy are worth starting, either. Buffalo has no offensive line and a passer who can’t distract the defense.
Jacksonville’s Corey Grant finally saw more playing time as promised by Doug Marrone. However, that was in a week the Jaguars went high-octane against an elite opponent without Leonard Fournette. Fournette’s possible return and a normal game plan against the Titans keeps me reluctant to add the Jaguars most exciting playmaker.
Jesse James remained the big tight end target in Pittsburgh even with Vance McDonald on the field. With another shootout expected against the Buccaneers Monday, I’d start James over most other options, including McDonald- but there is a concern.
McDonald ran one more route and got the same number of targets as James last week. As he works himself back into the flow, the older veteran could steal more snaps and targets. Either Steeler tight end is a decent bet in Week 3.
Will Dissly and the Seahawks made my prediction of a return to normalcy for the blocking tight end look good for three quarters against the Bears. Dissly caught one of two targets, compared to Nick Vannett’s five. But, during the Seahawks’ last quarter comeback attempt, it was Dissly who came up with two big catches and his second touchdown of the young season. It looks like Vannett and Dissly are 1 and 1A right now.
Carolina’s Ian Thomas dropped an easy touchdown pass and ended the day with only one yard. But he was sent out on more routes than any other tight end in the league and gets a favorable matchup with Cincinnati in Week 3. It’s tough market. He could be worth a shot.
Buffalo and Arizona emerged as the teams to stream defenses against. Unfortunately, they go against Minnesota and the Rams this week, two D/ST’s that should not be available anywhere.
That leaves Miami with not only the best match-up but a surprising D/ST-4 ranking through two weeks. Oakland has to travel cross-country for an early game in what should be a hot, Sunday in the Sunshine State. Look for the Dolphins to make three straight top-ten D/ST finishes.
Cleveland gave Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees fits over the first two weeks. Next, they face a rookie quarterback on a short week. That should make them an obvious start. But Thursday nights… weird things happen. And no one wants to be the Browns’ first victim.
Carolina’s defense disappointed over the first two weeks, leading some owners to drop them for streamers. If they became available in your league, grab them. The Panthers are wounded and angry after last week's loss to the Falcons. I am steering clear of Bengals this week in what could be quite a cat fight.
Dan Bailey signed with the Minnesota Vikings this week, making him an immediate kicker value. A steady veteran on a high-scoring offense should be rostered around the leagues.
Cleveland must be out of money. They signed Greg Joseph, a rookie free agent from a second division school who only made 65% of his kicks there. Not sure what they see in him, but good luck to the rookie.
Los Angeles replaced the injured Greg Zuerlein with Sam Ficken. He converted two of three field goals last season for the Rams. Potential volume makes him a worthy streamer, too.
Keep up with the injury news right up until game time and keep this article bookmarked. It’s good info!