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By Paul Hickey
After huge performances by Chargers RB Mike Tolbert and Falcons RB Jason Snelling in Week 2, this stock market report might not be what you’d expect, but then again, I’ve never been a huge fan of being captain obvious.
Believe it or not, I’m not targeting those guys at all this week as risers. While Snelling put up 40 fantasy points in PPR leagues, and Tolbert scored twice, rushing for 82 yards on 16 carries, neither are likely to start in Week 3. Michael Turner (groin) will return, and Ryan Mathews (ankle) will have his status updated on Wednesday after practice. This news leaves these guys in fantasy limbo, which means you should NOT go rushing to the waiver wire to pick these guys up. So, if the two highest performing RBs in Week 2 (other than Jahvid Best) aren’t rising, who exactly is?
Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - Are you serious? 12 solo tackles — five of them sacks — and a forced fumble in the first to weeks of the season makes the second year man from USC an elite linebacker in “big play” IDP leagues. He’ll be tough for offenses to block all year, and his ability to make regular tackles and not simply rely on sacks makes him more than just your typical “boom or bust” big play backer.
Dustin Keller, TE, Jets - Fantasy owners saw the real Keller in Week 2 against the Patriots, as he snagged seven passes for 115 yards and a TD. He may not put up those stats each week, but he certainly will be the Jets' leading receiver, at least until Santonio Holmes returns from suspension. Mark Sanchez loves him, which is a huge factor. Since being taken in the first round three years ago, Keller has been compared to Indy’s Dallas Clark, and he’s not far off. Consider him a solid starting option despite the fact that he faces four top 15 passing defenses over the next four weeks.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos - While I was watching the Denver-Seattle game this past Sunday, I saw #88 come onto the field during the two minute drill before the end of the first half, and for those of you who didn’t watch the game, take my word for it, Kyle Orton ONLY looked “Bay Bay’s” way. Drawing coverage from Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings, the 6′3″ rookie hauled in eight of his nine targets for 97 yards and a score. I’m confident saying he not only resembles his predecessor Brandon Marshall, but he looks a lot like another former Georgia Tech WR, nicknamed Megatron. If he’s available in your seasonal league, snag him immediately. If you’re a Thomas dynasty owner, you have a gem.
Aaron Hernandez, TE, Patriots - The rookie may not be roster worthy in seasonal leagues just yet, but PPR owners take note, he’s an eventual every-week fantasy starter. In the Patriots’ attack, he’s been lining up as a receiver often, and has already earned the trust of Tom Brady, catching a 45-yard pass in Week 1, and hauling in six balls for 101 yards in Week 2 against the Jets. We’re taking a stance now: He will prove to be the more fantasy-worthy of the Pats’ two rookie TEs.
Devin Hester, WR, Bears - After being blanketed by the Lions’ defense in Week 1, Hester had a coming out party in Week 2, catching four balls for 77 yards and a score. And if you saw the TD catch in the corner of the end zone from Jay Cutler, you’ll agree that Hester has improved immensely as a wide receiver. Even with the Bears spreading the targets around, Hester will clearly be among their top two pass catchers each week. Count on him as a WR3 with upside moving forward.
Donald Brown, RB, Colts – Let’s face it, when the Colts commit to the run, they can truly pound the rock. Brown, a second-year former first rounder from UConn, had probably the best game of his pro career in Week 2 against the Giants, rushing 16 times for 69 yards and a TD. Look for him to continue to eat into Joseph Addai's carries, and eventually become the Colts’ featured back.
Jerome Harrison, RB, Browns - A week after complaining about getting only nine carries against Tampa Bay, Harrison toted the rock 16 times against the Chiefs, but gained only 33 yards. He has lost goal line duties to Peyton Hillis, and does not appear to have the trust of the coaching staff at all. Though three weeks ago he looked like a lock to be a fantasy stud after Montario Hardesty blew out his knee, he’s now a shaky fantasy play at best.
Vince Young, QB, Titans - Speaking of an up-and-down start to the season, Young’s first two weeks epitomizes it. After completing 13 of 17 passes for 154 yards and two scores, VY threw for only 66 yards and two picks on seven of 10 completions in Week 2. The fact that he was benched for Kerry Collins doesn’t bode well either. Even though he’s expected to keep his starting job in Week 3, it shows that Jeff Fisher is not afraid to pull him. Nothing is set in stone moving forward for Young.
Jason Campbell, QB, Raiders - Campbell’s numbers don’t look horrible, but he was pulled for Bruce Gradkowski in Week 2, who proceeded to lead the Raiders to a win over St. Louis. As a result of his benching, we would recommend dropping Campbell in all formats.