Ray Rice’s extended suspension takes away running back depth
While most of the breakout players from week one in fantasy football were pass catchers, a few running backs did enough to warrant fantasy owners giving these likely free agents a roster spot on their team in Week 2. Justin Forsett of the Baltimore Ravens put together a solid performance against a very good Cincinnati Bengals defense, and he will likely be the feature back in Baltimore now that Ray Rice has been suspended indefinitely. For the New York Jets, a solid two running back attack emerged in Week One with Chris Ivory having a huge breakout game on just ten carries that included a touchdown. Chris Johnson, the other running back for the Jets received more carries as the starter, but it will be a battle for playing time between the two. In Cleveland, Ben Tate suffered a minor knee injury, but they were still able to run the football effectively with their two reserve running backs who showed a ton of promise in the opener. Both Isaiah Crowley and Terrance West, did enough to earn a look on rosters going into week 2, but fantasy owners will have to play a guessing game in deciding which player to add, without knowing who the Browns will turn to with Ben Tate out. These lesser known running backs all face the opportunity to make an impact again in week two with the various matchups they face.
The pass catchers
With Cam Newton’s status in doubt for Week 1, many fantasy owners stayed away from adding any receivers from the Panthers in the draft or on waivers. With very few weapons to take targets away from him though, rookie Kelvin Benjamin emerged as the most reliable pass catching target on the Panthers roster. With Cam Newton likely to return, Benjamin’s fantasy stock will continue to rise in the coming weeks as he emerges as the Panthers number one red zone target. Kelvin Benjamin was not the only young receiver to emerge this past week though as the Steeler’s second-year receiver Markus Wheaton proved to be a reliable target against a very good Browns defense. In some leagues that include fewer teams, the underrated wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson for the Vikings, may not have been drafted. In Week 1, Patterson showed that he is an elite playmaker who creates huge plays when he gets the ball with space to run. This type of production fits well in the flex position in any league where fantasy owners have two wide receivers that they consider to be better options than Patterson. At the tight end position, Dwayne Allen for the Colts was the big name to emerge from Week 1 as he proved to be one of Andrew Luck’s favorite targets in a very pass-happy Colts’ offense. All of these players can be expected to contribute in the coming weeks for fantasy owners that find their team in need of a boost after a rough week one due to performance or injuries.
Some fantasy owners may have been staying away from the 49ers defense due to the loss of Aldon Smith for the first nine weeks because of suspension, along with the pending suspension for Ray McDonald. The 49ers showed in Week 1 that they are still good enough in the secondary to help their team win ballgames, along with providing big plays that rack up points for fantasy owners. Both the Vikings and Titans defenses emerged in week one with solid point production in fantasy football, but both defenses are currently owned in less than 15 percent of ESPN fantasy football leagues this season. While neither defense should be leaned on as the top option on your fantasy roster, they make a good bench option for when your top defense has a bye week. Coming up in Week 2, the Vikings face the Patriots, so that is probably a bad matchup for the Vikings defense in fantasy football, but with the Titans facing Dallas they would be worth giving the start to their defense in Week 2. These three defenses could all provide your fantasy team with a boost in Week 2, if needed, but matchups have to be considered carefully when taking the risk on starting these defenses.
After a tough opening week to the season, some fantasy owners may want to completely re-tool their rosters. This process can’t be rushed though, because without careful consideration, players who may be able to carry a team in future weeks can’t be thrown away after one tough week. Many of the players or teams mentioned above are likely only to be upgrades on the bench options, unless your fantasy team suffered a significant injury in week one. Ultimately a patient approach with the players on fantasy rosters that are supposed to be stars, will lead to those players carrying teams that they were drafted to, down the stretch run of fantasy seasons to the playoffs.