Plug and Play: Benjamin Watson BAL
The tight end position was beaten up badly in Week 2. Greg Olsen hit the IR, while Jimmy Graham, Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert all suffered injuries that could cause them to miss Week 3. That’s a big hit to the top end of the tight end position in Fantasy, which could have many owners scrambling for a replacement this week. If you’re looking for a stopgap solution this week, then look no further than Watson. The veteran tight end caught eight of eight targets for 91 yards, leading the Ravens in each category. Joe Flacco loves to lean on his tight ends, and Watson is a reliable safety valve in the middle of the field for him. Jacksonville has also been quite lenient to opposing tight ends this season, giving up 12 catches for 151 yards and two scores. All of these factors make Watson, who is available in virtually every league, a solid plug and play tight end for Week 3.
Wait and See: Robert Kelley WAS
Kelley is dealing with a rib injury that he suffered in the first half of last week’s win over the Rams. He was a limited practice participant Wednesday and seems more likely to play now than he did after missing the second half on Sunday. He is an Elevated Injury Risk according to Inside Injuries, and he could struggle to keep the pain under control, which could cause him to sit out Sunday night. If Kelley does miss this game against the Raiders, or if he is limited, that could cause a shift in the Redskins’ backfield that many had anticipated would happen at some point this season.
Washington drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and many consider him as the future starter. Perine wasn’t great in relief of Kelley last Sunday, but if he gets the start this week with a game plan more centered around his skills, it’s entirely possible that the all-time leading rusher for Oklahoma University could grab the lead back role in Washington and run with it.
Chris Thompson, Washington’s passing down back, has also been incredibly impressive in the first couple of weeks and should see an uptick in snaps and touches. At the very least, a decent Perine performance could turn this situation into a full-blown three-way timeshare, of which Kelley might have the least upside. At this point, Kelley should certainly be owned in all leagues. However, this situation is definitely worth monitoring this week. Things can change quickly.
Drop: Corey Coleman CLE
Coleman had a solid start to his season, catching five passes for 53 yards and a score. However, the injury bug has bitten Coleman again. He was placed on IR due to a broken hand suffered in Week 2, which required surgery. Coleman is expected to be a return player for the Browns off of IR, but he will be out at least eight weeks. Coleman is currently a High Injury Risk with a Poor Health Performance Factor according to Inside Injuries, and he has dealt with multiple hand and shoulder injuries since entering the NFL.
Can he really be counted on to return at the earliest possible date, even if that date is eight weeks down the line? Also, does he hold enough value for you to hold onto him for that long, clogging up a roster spot? The answer to the first question is unknown, but the answer to the second is almost certainly no. Coleman is the No. 1 receiver for the Cleveland, but the Browns’ question mark at quarterback make that designation somewhat meaningless. At this point, Coleman should only be stashed in extremely deep leagues. Otherwise, he is a drop.
Rob Gronkowski, TE NE – Cautious Start
Gronk is the best tight end in football. Period. I probably didn’t have to tell you that. But groin injuries can be scary, no matter how good the player is. The Pats front office has said that the groin injury last week was “nothing serious,” and this is backed up by the fact that Gronk was a participant in Thursday’s practice. At the end of the day, unless he is guaranteed to be out for the game, Gronk is probably too good to bench, but the “safe” move is to bench him.
Jordan Howard, RB CHI – Cautious Start
Jordan Howard has not had a great start to the 2017 season. He got injured in Week 1, hurting his shoulder. And while he did play in Week 2, his performance has been way down. The NFL’s second leading rusher in 2016 has averaged only 3.3 yards-per-carry this season. It’s not all his fault: the Bears passing game has been bad and the offensive line hasn’t looked great, but unless your backup is pretty bad, you should at least consider benching Howard Week 3.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR NYG – Cautious Start
Beckham got his first start of 2017 in Week 2, and what we saw wasn’t the best. He had 4 receptions for 36 yards and 0 touchdowns. He is still not 100%, but things should go better for him this week. It will be hard to start someone over Beckham unless you are incredibly deep at WR, but it is hard to look favorably at any Giants player right now considering how bad the defense has been. The Giants opponent should also help Beckham, as the Eagles have been terrible against the pass this season.
Demaryius Thomas, WR DEN – Risky Start
Demaryius Thomas was limited in practice on Wednesday, and things aren’t looking great for him this week. He was held from full participation due to a groin injury, which is one of the hardest for a player in this sport to overcome. He looked OK last week, but this injury could jump into full effect at any moment. The worst thing you would want as an owner is to start him and have him get pulled after the first few minutes of the game. Should probably be sat on almost every team this week.
Jordy Nelson, WR GB – Risky Start
Jordy Nelson is in a very similar situation to Thomas, as he is out with a quad injury. The difference here, however, is that Nelson was a full participant at practice. I would be more likely to start Nelson than Thomas due to his participation, his quarterback, and his overall production so far this season. But at the end of the day, he could pull a muscle again at any moment and be pulled out of the game. I would play him as a typical WR3 this week. If you have a 3 WR league or a 2 WR league with poor depth, then consider playing him. Otherwise, let him sit.
Jordan Reed, TE WAS – Sit
Reed has been out of practice this week after suffering a chest injury in Sunday’s game against the Rams (possibly an SC joint sprain). He did not practice on Wednesday but returned as a limited participant on Thursday. Even if you don’t have a backup TE, it will be worth picking one up off the waiver scrap heap because Reed is going to be a non-factor this week.
More Injury Updates:
Kelvin Benjamin, WR CAR – Healthy Start
Tyler Eifert, TE CIN – Cautious Start
DeVante Parker, WR MIA – Risky Start
Jay Ajayi, RB MIA – Risky Start
Amari Cooper, WR OAK – Risky Start
DeMarco Murray, RB TEN – Risky Start
Randall Cobb, WR GB – Sit
Jarvis Landry, WR MIA – Sit
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