Week 2 of the NFL saw a number of star players from across the league go down to injuries, including season ending ones for Saquon Barkley and Courtland Sutton.
With so many fantasy relevant players going down in both the short and long term, FindBet hopes to give you some ideas on replacing your battered and bruised. Last week we rounded up the highlights and fantasy tips from Week 1. This week we're splitting the Week 2 slate into two pieces, but let's get started with the Thursday Night Football game in the Battle of Ohio.
Cincinnati Bengals - 30 vs. Cleveland Browns - 35
The Thursday night game featured Joe Burrow and Baker Mayfield, both Heisman Award winners and first overall selections in their respective NFL Drafts. Neither disappointed; however, it was the two-headed monster in Cleveland's backfield of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt that stole the show.
Chubb ran for 124 yards and 2 scores on 22 carries, while Hunt contributed 86 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, and also caught a touchdown from Mayfield. Mayfield finished with 219 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a pick. Odell Beckham also bounced back from a poor Week 1 performance and posted 74 yards and a touchdown on 4 catches. Beckham led the team in targets for a second consecutive week. Chubb and Hunt, though, are proving that fantasy owners of either back should feel confident starting them on a weekly basis, as Kevin Stefanski looks determined to get them both involved in any game script.
On the other side, Joe Burrow had 316 passing yards and threw 3 touchdowns while looking very poised as he attempted to bring his Bengals back from a big deficit late in the game, which he nearly accomplished. As Joe Mixon was largely kept in check by the Browns defense, he finished with 46 yards on the ground and 40 receiving yards on 4 catches, it was up to Burrow and the passing game to make the comeback. AJ Green was targeted 13 times but only managed to haul in 3 catches for 29 yards. Tyler Boyd led the team with 72 yards and a receiving TD. Tight end CJ Uzomah went out with an achilles injury and is out for the season. Drew Sample replaced him and played well catching 7 balls for 45 yards.
New York Giants - 13 vs. Chicago Bears - 17
The Bears have somehow started the season 2-0, despite Mitch Trubisky's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde performances in the first two weeks of the season. Last week against the Lions, Trubisky overcame a rough first half to lead Chicago to a comeback victory with a game winning throw to Anthony Miller. Week 2 saw the Bears build up a 17 - 0 lead at halftime with Trubisky tossing 2 scores, one to David Montgomery and the other to Darnell Mooney.
In the second half, however, the offense stalled, and the Bears didn't manage a single point, almost allowing the Giants to make a comeback. Nobody on Chicago stood out from a fantasy perspective outside of Montgomery, who finished with 82 rushing yards and added 45 yards through the air with the aforementioned receiving TD. Even their lead wide receiver, Allen Robinson, struggled to get anything going as Trubisky struggled; he saw 9 targets but only produced 33 yards on 3 catches. Anthony Miller, last week's hero, had zero catches on three targets.
Saquon Barkley tore his ACL and is out for the season, the Giants confirmed. https://t.co/MFXukEyjZG— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1600704426.0
Daniel Jones nearly brought his team all the way back to erase that 17 point halftime deficit, but he came up just short as the offense scrambled to find its identity after the injury to Saquon Barkley early in the game. New York's only touchdown came from Dion Lewis, who replaced Barkley but wasn't efficient as a runner averaging only 2 yards per carry. Evan Engram led the Giants in targets (8), receptions (6), and yards (65). Barkley led the team in rushing yards with 28.
The real story here is the injury to Barkley, and it's been reported that he will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL. There have been rumors about the Giants and Devonta Freeman being in contact and would be a decent landing spot for him considering the opportunities that are left.
San Francisco 49'ers - 31 vs. New York Jets - 13
The game started off with Raheem Mostert breaking an 80 yard touchdown run for the 49'ers and the points continued to add up; but unfortunately for San Fran, so did the number of players on their injury list. The 49'ers saw star defensive lineman Nick Bosa carted off, starting running back Raheem Mostert left with a knee injury in the first half, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was forced out with an apparent high ankle sprain. This adds to existing injuries to Dee Ford, Richard Sherman, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle.
Luckily for them, they faced the Jets, who were without their star running back Le'Veon Bell, and who we saw struggle against Buffalo in Week 1. Garoppolo was very effective when he did play, completing 14 of 16 attempts for 131 yards and 2 touchdown throws. Mostert also did well in his limited action and led the team in rushing with 92 yards over 8 attempts, but Jerick McKinnon filled in nicely as a home run hitter for the Niners going for a 55 yard scamper and ended his day with 77 yards and a rushing touchdown.
McKinnon looked far better than Tevin Coleman, who was given opportunities (14 carries) but was only able to muster 12 yards on the ground and 28 receiving yards on 2 catches. Speaking of catches, Jordan Reed has resurrected himself in the Bay and caught 7 balls for 50 yards and 2 scores. Depending on the health of George Kittle, Reed has shown he is a solid fit in this offense, and provides some depth at the position for the team.
Me celebrating the 49ers win after all of the injuries https://t.co/Kt4zaeRvh5— Tessa (@Tessa)1600632040.0
The Jets have looked underwhelming for the second consecutive week, but the most concerning thing about the Jets' performances has been Sam Darnold not looking like a starting quarterback in this league. Outside of hitting Braxton Berrios for a 30 yard touchdown with only 1:33 left in the game, long after the game had already been decided, Darnold would have finished with 149 passing yards and zero touchdowns. Considering the number of starters that were missing from the opposition's defense, combined with the Jets needing to pass more in the second half to catch up, Darnold needed to be better and he was unable to rise to the occasion.
Tight end Chris Herndon was getting rave reviews and compliments during the offseason camps, but he has been nearly invisible on the stat sheet, finishing this game with only 1 catch for 5 yards. The Jets should look to get him more involved off of play action to take some pressure off of Frank Gore and their running game until Bell is able to come back. Until further notice, fade everyone on the Jets offense.
Detroit Lions - 21 vs. Green Bay Packers - 42
Most rushing yards in Week 2: 🔹 Aaron Jones - 168 🔹 Nick Chubb - 124 🔹 Aaron Jones AFTER CONTACT - 116 🔹 James Con… https://t.co/Oq5wLVwT0P— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF Fantasy Football)1600696923.0
The Packers have scored over 40 points in both of their games so far in the 2020 season, and they've shown the ability to do it in a number of different ways. While Coach Matt LaFleur and the Packers front office made some questionable decisions during the draft and ignored bringing in more ancillary talent around Aaron Rodgers, the talent that they already had in Rodgers, running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Davante Adams seems good enough to carry the rest of the team.
Rodgers was the star from Week 1 throwing 4 touchdowns; but not to be outdone, the NFL TD leader from 2019 Aaron Jones, showed up in Week 2 on a mission to put up a signature game early in the year. Jones finished with 168 yards on the ground and added 68 receiving yards to go along with 3 combined touchdowns on the day. As Davante Adams struggled to get looks (3 receptions for 36 yards), Jones also paced the team in targets and looked like the second best receiving option on the team next to Adams.
Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have been given the chance to step into the number two role in the Green Bay offense, but both have been too inconsistent and unable to capitalize on their opportunities. If Aaron Jones is able to stay healthy, it looks as though he will have a repeat of last year's success and doesn't appear to have much competition from any of his teammates outside of Adams for scooping up fantasy points the rest of the season.
In Week 1, Detroit had the chance to win late into the game and took a lead into the closing moments of the fourth quarter, only to see Mitch Trubisky hit Anthony Miller for the game winner. Week 2, however, never saw Detroit in it after half time, and by the end of the third quarter the Packers lead grew from 3 points to 20. Matthew Stafford has been pretty good, considering he's been missing his primary receiver Kenny Golladay all season. He finished the day with 244 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and a pick.
But it was the running game that worked so well in Week 1 that never got going against the Packers defense. Matt Patricia's backfield split carries pretty evenly amongst Adrian Peterson, who exploded last week only got 7 carries for 41 yards, Kerryon Johnson rushed for 32 yards on 8 carries and scored a touchdown, while rookie D'Andre Swift carried 5 times for just 12 yards however added 5 receptions for 60 yards receiving. The Lions will hope to get Golladay back for Week 3, and early reports are that is the expectation. That might be enough to get them back on track against the Arizona Cardinals.
Denver Broncos - 21 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers - 26
Since returning under center, Ben Roethlisberger has led the Steelers to a 2-0 record and looks to be picking back up where he left off when he was knocked out due to injury early in 2019 as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The complement of receivers at his disposal have proven to mesh well with the veteran QB, as we've seen solid performances now out of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool who now all have touchdown catches after Week 2.
Benny Snell Jr. rushed for 113 yards in Week 1 and Coach Mike Tomlin had insisted that both Snell and James Conner would get equal work heading into the match up with Denver; however, Snell only received 3 carries and 1 passing target for a cumulative 1 yard on Sunday. Conner had a rushing touchdown and rumbled for 106 yards, marking the second week in a row the Steelers offensive line has produced a 100 yard rusher, but Conner made up most of that late in the fourth quarter on a 59 yard breaker to seal the game for Pittsburgh. Conner still seems to be the running back to own in this backfield, but they may decide to go with the hot hand depending on how games play out. Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool should all be owned and a case can also be made for James Washington.
The Broncos lost starting quarterback, Drew Lock, to injury in the first quarter and was replaced by Jeff Driskel. Driskel went on to throw for 256 yards and 2 scores on a stout Pittsburgh defense, and Melvin Gordon pitched in with 70 rushing yards and 2 catches with a receiving TD. Denver also saw Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton endure injuries in Week 2. Sutton is expected to miss the remainder of the season and Jeudy, if healthy, will slide into the primary role with Tim Patrick, DaeSean Hamilton and rookie K.J. Hamler fighting for reps now that Sutton will be out.
Noah Fant has also positioned himself as an important piece to the Broncos offense; he snagged 4 balls for 57 yards and touchdown on Sunday. Lock is expected to miss 2-6 weeks, Driskel is expected to fill in as starter, and running back Phillip Lindsay is also expected to be out for a few weeks. This Denver team is in serious danger of being one of the first teams eliminated from playoff contention if they cannot figure out a way to get more out of their replacement players.
Source: #Broncos WR Courtland Sutton tore his ACL.— Ian Rapoport (@Ian Rapoport)1600707334.0
Jacksonville Jaguars - 30 vs. Tennessee Titans - 33
The Titans have found themselves on the winning end of two close games to start the season, and Ryan Tannehill has been great early on. Sunday he finished with 4 touchdown passes and helped carry his team to a walk off victory on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Derrick Henry impressed with 84 yards rushing, and Jonnu Smith erupted for 84 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on the day. Tannehill has been spreading the ball around with 4 different receivers receiving 4 or more targets, including Adam Humphries who also caught a touchdown.
In Week 3, the Titans will match up with the Minnesota Vikings, who have started 0-2 and will be looking to come out firing to get their first win of the season. Tennessee will need to continue their late game heroics to keep their winning streak going. Look for King Henry to have a big game against a run defense that just gave up 151 rushing yards to the Colts including 101 of them to rookie Jonathan Taylor.
Some glorious Gardner Minshew for your timeline... you're welcome 😎 https://t.co/ScW3oalioO— FOX Sports: NFL (@FOX Sports: NFL)1600620383.0
Jacksonville may have to trade quarterback Gardner Minshew in order to successfully complete their tank job this year. Apparently Minshew didn't get the memo, as he has been spectacular thus far. With very little around him, Minshew has been able to keep the Jaguars competitive in their first two games and was just a couple plays away from coming out of this week 2-0. Minshew had 339 passing yards to go with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. James Robinson has also been better than projected, impressing with 102 rushing yards and a touchdown. Minshew's ability to extend plays and throw with accuracy downfield will keep DJ Chark fantasy relevant all year, and guys like Keelan Cole or Laviska Shenault could be viable options later in the season if they prove to be able to put up consistent performances. Pick up James Robinson if he's still available, but with the expectation that he may have just had his best game of the season in Week 2.
Kansas City Chiefs - 23 vs. Los Angeles Chargers - 20
This was a wild ride, and we nearly saw Patrick Mahomes outdueled by a rookie quarterback making a spot start, but we'll get to that later. When the dust settled, the Chiefs took care of business and disposed of the Chargers with an overtime field goal, but it took a few quarters of football for the reigning Super Bowl Champs to wake up and start playing. You wouldn't be able to tell by looking at the box score, however, as Mahomes finished with 302 yards and 2 touchdowns and Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce both ended their days with 90+ yards and a touchdown each.
Rookie back Clyde Edwards-Helaire came back down to earth this week and only managed 70 yards from scrimmage with no scores after an outstanding debut in Week 1. Although they struggled early, Andy Reid's group got it together in the second half and took care of business. Continue to expect these guys to roll offensively throughout the season.
Before the game even started, Tyrod Taylor injured himself during warmups, and rookie QB Justin Herbert was forced to make a spot start in the second week of his NFL career. Widely considered a "project quarterback" that would need time to develop before being ready to play, he was thrown into the frying pan against the World Champs. Herbert responded with an impressive performance. Herbert finished with 311 passing yards and a touchdown to go with a rushing touchdown was impressive; but more impressively, he looked calm under pressure and ready to handle the task at hand much like Joe Burrow in Cincinnati.
We saw a heavy dose of Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley in this game with 261 combined yards from scrimmage. We don't know for sure how long Taylor is expected to miss, but Chargers' Coach Anthony Lynn has already stated that if healthy, Taylor is still the team's starting quarterback. After getting a look at how well Herbert responded in an emergency start, however, one has to wonder how long Lynn can hold off putting his rookie QB back in.
New England Patriots - 30 vs. Seattle Seahawks - 35
Prior to their game with the Seattle Seahawks, Bill Belichick spoke about Russell Wilson and had positive things to say about his competition on Sunday night, "Honestly, I think he's in a way underrated by the media or the fans, I don't know. But I don't really see anybody better than this player," the coach continued, "This guy is a tremendous player." Russell justified the compliments from Coach Belichick during the game, throwing for 5(!) TDs, proving to be too much for the Patriots to handle.
Chris Carson led the team with 17 carries and had 3 receptions one leading to a touchdowns–which marks the second week in a row he had a touchdown in the pass game. It seems safe to assume Carson will continue to be the bell cow for this dynamic offense with Carlos Hyde serving as primary backup. When Wilson is playing this well he makes the entire offense fantasy relevant but D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Carson are must-starts every week.
Cam Newton had the Patriots fighting for the win all the way down to the last second in prime time. Newton on a designed quarterback run was stuffed on the goal line to end the game, and Seattle's defense provided an exclamation point on a back and forth classic. Cam has been the focal point of this offense this season; expect that trend to continue as long as he's healthy. His production is proof of it accounting for 5 touchdowns to 1 turnover in the first two weeks.
Julian Edelman had a huge game with 179 yards on 8 catches. Both N'Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd had 72 yards receiving. Newton has helped elevate this offense with his ability to run the ball, and that seems to have unlocked the potential in his young receivers.
If you have needs at wide receiver following a savage week of injuries across the league, take a chance on Harry or Byrd. As of Monday N'Keal Harry was only rostered in 27% of Yahoo leagues, Damiere Byrd in 0% of Yahoo leagues. I know it's a stretch, but by now we should know that 2020 is not a normal year. Let's get weird.
Cam Newton was willing to target N'Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd in big moments Sunday, which is a positive developme… https://t.co/pdJvyw1sYw— Doug Kyed (@Doug Kyed)1600776060.0
For many managers, their playoff prospects are dark and hot as hell heading into the final week of the fantasy basketball regular season.
But before you can compete to be grand champ, you need to stop, drop, shut your duds down and open up the waiver wire for your last gasp this regular season. Here are some names you should be looking for to give you that push you need.
Rest in peace, DMX.
Kyle Anderson Forward Memphis Grizzlies
The former UCLA star might have taken the tale of the tortoise and the hare a little too seriously, but the "slow and steady" mantra has given him a successful NBA career and impressive fantasy numbers. For the past week, Slow Mo has averaged 16.3 points on 48.9 percent shooting, seven rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 made threes, two steals and one turnover a game.
Ja and Kyle Anderson having too much fun out there 😳 Off-the-glass oop 🔥 https://t.co/lbCrd3edzz— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)1617847190.0
Anderson has been a consistent contributor throughout the season and it's tough to see his numbers take a hit even when Jaren Jackson Jr. returns at the end of the month. If you haven't rostered him yet, it would be a huge mistake.
Jalen McDaniels Forward/Center Charlotte Hornets
Staying on the court has been a problem for McDaniels this season, but the absence of Gordon Hayward has forced the Hornets to look for other options on the court and the second-year player has been one of the beneficiaries. In the last three games, the San Diego State product averaged 16.3 points on 62.5 percent shooting, two made threes, five rebounds and 3.3 assists. He even threw in 1.3 steals and one block per game.
JALEN MCDANIELS. THROW IT DOWN. (via @hornets) https://t.co/j6vTaidh4w— SLAM (@SLAM)1618022175.0
Hayward is expected to be out for at least three more weeks. Until he's back, expect McDaniels to continue his more proactive approach on this team.
Miles Bridges Forward Charlotte Hornets
McDaniels isn't the only one who has taken advantage of Hayward's injury. Bridges has cranked his game up a notch, averaging 21.7 points on 60.5 percent shooting, three made threes, six rebounds and one steal in the last three games. He may have even had the dunk of the year, posterizing Clint Capela on Sunday.
😤 MILES BRIDGES posterizes Capela! 😂 LaMelo’s reaction. https://t.co/y8kAanwhgq— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife.com)1618168845.0
Until Hayward is back, Bridges will get a lot more freedom to operate and that means more fantasy contribution in the coming weeks.
Reggie Jackson Guard Los Angeles Clippers
Depth has not been a problem for the Clippers the last few seasons, but it has been trouble for fantasy managers looking for consistent contributors on that team. Rest and injuries haven't slowed the Clippers' winning ways this week because Reggie Jackson stepped up for them and gives fantasy participants a short-term high performer to lean on for the week.
In a week where Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo and Paul George missed time, Jackson thrived, averaging 17.3 points on 61 percent shooting, three made threes, 4.8 assists, and 1.3 turnovers in four games.
With Beverley out with a fractured hand and Rondo/George/Kawhi undoubtedly taking games off to save themselves for the playoffs, Jackson may not be a bad desperation option in standard fantasy and worth tracking in daily fantasy formats.
Tim Hardwaway Jr Guard/Forward Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks' recent success has not translated into numbers for all players. Tim Hardaway Jr. is one of them.
The Michigan product averaged 12 points on 37.5 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in four games last week. He did make two three-pointers per game in that span, but that is like threading a silver lining on a used rag.
Tim Hardaway Jr. missed the 3, so it won't be a highlight, but Luka just threw a pass to him in the corner from the… https://t.co/5Ncj9MbnYE— Dan Devine (@Dan Devine)1616212345.0
Hardaway is still the third scoring option on the team, so he will get more chances to increase his production, but this week was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of fantasy managers.
Derrick Rose Guard New York Knicks
Rose has found a home with the New York Knicks, but his role has not been kind to fantasy managers. We all know the former MVP can still score, but head coach Tom Thibodeau hasn't asked him to do much else.
In the last four games, Rose has averaged 14.3 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 0.8 made threes, 1.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists. That kind of one-dimensional play is a killer of many fantasy teams looking for a more diverse portfolio of contributions.
If you need a boost in scoring, Rose isn't a terrible option to consider, but if you need anything else, you should leave him on the waiver.
Lou Williams Guard Atlanta Hawks
Like Rose, Williams isn't asked to do anything other than score at this point in his career. But even in the past week, he can't even do that at an elite fantasy level. Only averaging 11.8 points per game, 1.8 made threes, 2.8 assists and basically non-existent in every other category in fantasy sports.
Cool moment from first half, as Lou Williams welcomes Isaiah Thomas back to #NBA https://t.co/vv9dImK1fA— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim Eichenhofer)1617756493.0
It's safe to say that Lemon Pepper Lou's effectiveness as a fantasy star is gone.
Jusuf Nurkic Center Portland Trail Blazers
Okay, I know Trail Blazers have been trying to ease Nurkic back into the lineup and giving him restricted minutes. However, with the fantasy managers looking for that final push to the postseason, there might have to be an executive decision on whether Nurkic needs to be played or pitched.
Teams firmly in playoff position can hold out for him to be used properly again, but other managers won't be able to stomach another week of missed games and low-end production.
For college basketball, the madness is over. For the NBA fantasy managers, the madness is just beginning.
We are two weeks away from playoffs, and people are scrambling for solutions to their team's problems. Take a look at these waiver wire picks and see who will give you that final push you need to get into the postseason and avoid the humiliation of whatever fantasy punishment you may face.
Bogdan Bogdanovic Guard/Forward Atlanta Hawks
While one Bogdanovic struggles through a subpar season in Utah, another is thriving in Georgia. Bogdan, the younger of the unrelated pair, missed 25 straight games this season due to a knee injury and had trouble finding consistent minutes on this Hawks team. This past week, he caught fire with John Collins and De'Andre Hunter out with injuries.
The @ATLHawks set a new NBA record for threes made in a quarter without a miss, knocking down 11 of 11 in the 3rd q… https://t.co/Vsemb5lOV6— NBA (@NBA)1617760124.0
He is averaging 37.1 minutes, 21.5 points on 51.6 percent shooting from the field, 4.3 made threes, 4.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.3 turnovers the last four games. He is only rostered in 74 percent of Yahoo leagues but should be rostered in 100 percent.
Robert Williams Center Boston Celtics
The Time Lord continues to impress, proving that Danny Ainge made the right choice at the trade deadline to deal Daniel Theis to the Chicago Bulls. In three games last week, Williams averaged 14.3 points on 82.6 percent shooting, nine rebounds, five assists, 0.7 turnovers, one steal and two blocks.
All eyes might be on Tatum and Brown as fantasy studs, but Williams is establishing himself as a legitimate seven-category contributor in 9-cat formats.
Gary Trent Jr. Guard/Forward Toronto Raptors
Trent might not have walked into a playoff-contending team in Toronto this season, but the opportunity for production has benefitted fantasy managers. After a rocky two games, he hit his stride, averaging 23.3 points on 51 percent shooting, five made threes, and 1.7 steals.
GARY TRENT JR. WINS IT AT THE BUZZER 🔥 https://t.co/L5GiM7SdeU— NBA on TNT (@NBA on TNT)1617672392.0
Despite having a bad season, the Toronto Raptors are still within striking distance of a play-in spot. If they want to make it, they're going to look to Trent's shooting to help them get there.
Kelly Olynyk Forward/Center Houston Rockets
Gonzaga could've used the former Spokane stud in the National Championship Game on Monday. In the last four games, Olynyk is averaging 18.8 points on 57.4 percent shooting, 1.8 made threes, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks.
The Rockets may be playing for the future, but Olynyk has proven to be a dependable fantasy option for the present.
Moses Brown Center Oklahoma City Thunder
After spending last week rebounding like he was Dennis Rodman, he spent this past week looking a bit more human. After averaging 16.8 rebounds last week, Brown dropped down to 10.5 and the rest of his numbers slipped as well. He averaged 9.3 points on 42.3 percent shooting and only shot 60 percent from the foul line.
Moses Brown has been HOOPING recently... and the Thunder have awarded him with a multi-year contract. Love it. https://t.co/z0jFDmcbPR— Legion Hoops (@Legion Hoops)1616970263.0
He is averaging about five fewer minutes a game than he did in the previous week, which could be contributing to his drop in production. With Al Horford completely shut down and Mike Muscala hurt, he will have plenty of chances to increase his numbers
Seth Curry Guard Philadelphia 76ers
Slumping shooters are the most at risk to be on this "bust" list and this week it's the younger Curry brother. He still contributed 2.5 made threes, but he only shot 38.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the free-throw line.
If shooters aren't hitting, they're basically an empty slot in a fantasy lineup. Still, Curry isn't worth dropping because of his potential to get hot, but these are the rough patches managers are going to have to deal with.
Kyle Kuzma Forward Los Angeles Lakers
With LeBron James and Anthony Davis out, now would be the time for Kyle Kuzma to shine. His star is looking more like a lantern fantasy-wise.
He did average 17.3 points last week, but he only shot 44.4 percent and 63.6 percent from the free-throw line. He's also only making 1.7 threes, grabbing 5.3 rebounds and turning the ball over three times in that same time span.
Lebron watching Kyle Kuzma air ball free throws like https://t.co/jy0HzCWdu3— Rich (@Rich)1617567541.0
If Kuzma wanted to prove himself a star, this period of time was not that moment.
R.J. Barrett Guard/Forward New York Knicks
The former Duke player's career season hit a speedbump this past week. In the last four games, Barrett has averaged 13.3 points on 41.7 percent shooting, 1.5 made threes, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists. The Knicks have unsurprisingly lost three of those games.
Fantasy managers in a position to make the playoffs can be patient with Barrett, but those who are fighting for a playoff spot may need to look for other options.
Welcome to the Mock Draft lab.
This is where we are running experiments, crunching the numbers, and proving hypotheses, so you can reap the rewards of our hard work. The rules for this exercise were simple: Take the best pitcher in each round without reaching more than 10 spots away in either direction. (This kept us honest and realistic as to who would be available and prevented any major overpays for talent.)
The first simulation that I'm offering as a tool going into your fantasy drafts is a breakdown of the best pitcher available in each round left for the taking. This has been achieved by studying the results of numerous mock drafts, cross-referencing those results against average draft positions, and the plain old eye test.
How should something like this be applied? Well, imagine yourself in this situation: You've gone best player available for the first six rounds and realize that starting pitcher is a bigger hole on your team than the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Reference this handy-dandy sheet to assuage those concerns. Not to fear, there's plenty of talent to be had in the next round, the round after that, and the round after that.
This is based on a mid-round draft position in a 12 team league. Obviously, higher rated players could fall because there's no accounting for the taste, or lack thereof, of your fellow managers.
|1||Shane Bieber - CLE|
|2||Max Scherzer - WSH|
|3||Luis Castillo - CIN|
|4||Tyler Glasnow - TB|
|5||Lance Lynn - CWS|
|6||Liam Hendriks - CWS|
|7||Kyle Hendricks - CHC|
|8||Ian Anderson - ATL|
|9||Zach Plesac - CLE|
|10||Chris Paddack - SD|
|11||Patrick Corbin - WSH|
|12||Sixto Sanchez - MIA|
|13||Devin Williams - MIL|
|14||James Paxton - SEA|
|15||Alex Colome - MIN|
|16||Mike Soroka - ATL|
|17||Dustin May - LAS|
|18||Jose Urquidy - HOU|
|19||Ryan Yarbrough - TB|
|20||Jameson Taillon - NYY|
|21||Matthew Boyd - DET|
|22||Tony Gonsolin - LAD|
|23||Zach Davies - CHC|
As you can see, there is talent at every level of the draft, both for starters, relievers, and guys who can do both. The highlights:
Beginning at the beginning, I can't tell you how much I like getting Shane Bieber anywhere in the back half of the first round. The reigning Cy Young winner looked transcendent last season, and I've seen just as many fantasy projections that squarely place him in the conversation as the #1 overall pitcher. Getting a guy who led the league in strikeout percentage, strikeouts, ERA, and wins is a no-brainer. It's not his fault that he doesn't pitch in New York.
A couple rounds later, I believe you can still snag a dude that's about to prove he could be an ace on pretty much any staff. His numbers have improved from year to year, specifically cutting his walks and increasing his strikeouts. Without Bauer in the rotation, Castillo will be the Opening Day starter and can use this chance to solidify himself as a premier pitcher.
This Luis Castillo dude seems to be pretty good at throwing baseballs. https://t.co/jVcslXwKDi— Cincinnati Reds (@Cincinnati Reds)1600307193.0
In the middle rounds of the draft, I am all about jumping on Devin Williams. The man has a pitch so mesmerizing that it got a name: "The Airbender." He uses a normal circle change grip, but himself sees it as a reverse slider, or what was one time known as, a screwball. He's been ridiculously valuable as Hader's setup man, piling up holds left and right and center. Look here for the possibility of him assuming the closer role if the trade talk surrounding Hader finally comes to fruition.
Nearing the end and looking to fill out your roster, I think Jameson Taillon provides a ton of upside this season. He's coming off of a second Tommy John surgery, and the Yankees have already said they plan to ease him into the rotation by having Cole take two starts before his first. (This sets him up to face the Baltimore Orioles, by the way, a team who doesn't have a clear second baseman on the team). However, he's completely rebuilt his throwing motion, which should be more sustainable for his elbow.
Of course, exhibition games don't predict future success, but Taillon has looked tremendous in his four outings. He has one earned run and 14 strikeouts over the 8.1 innings, and this could, finally, be the season that he lives up to the lofty expectations of his high draft status.
Jameson Taillon is bringing a new and improved throwing motion to the Bronx for his first season with the New York… https://t.co/w862Pq5NvK— YES Network (@YES Network)1611673320.0
In the final round, I'm a big fan of Zach Davies, who put together a respectable season for the Padres last year, proving to be a valuable waiver wire addition. Once San Diego decided they were going the nuclear route and compiled the best staff in baseball, Davies saw himself dealt to the Cubs, as a part of the Darvish trade. The increased use of his change up resulted in more strikeouts. The change of scenery to a weaker division should provide a boost to his stats across the board.
Zach Davies was 5th in the NL in ERA last season (2.73). JD likes what he sees. https://t.co/FILc8Zi8yr— Marquee Sports Network (@Marquee Sports Network)1613489190.0
Zach Davies was 5th in the NL in ERA last season (2.73). JD likes what he sees. https://t.co/FILc8Zi8yr— Marquee Sports Network (@Marquee Sports Network)1613489190.0
Zach Davies was 5th in the NL in ERA last season (2.73). JD likes what he sees. https://t.co/FILc8Zi8yr— Marquee Sports Network (@Marquee Sports Network)1613489190.0