Against a porous Bengals defense, the ageless Gore can put up solid fantasy numbers
It's Week 3 for fantasy football owners, and some owners are happy with their 2-0 record. Others are scratching their head, wondering what went wrong as they are 0-2. Many quarterbacks have been injured, which has hurt their real-life teams and affects their fantasy teams as well. When a second-string quarterback takes over, the offense changes. Some players lose value and others gain it. Many of the players in this column are a result of a week with a new quarterback.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills
In Week 2, Allen was in the top 10 for quarterbacks in terms of fantasy points. His stat line for Week 1 was similar – he’s had about 250 yards, a TD pass and a TD run. The difference was that he had two interceptions in Week 1 and none in Week 2. Allen faces the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3, who just allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to throw for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns. Allen is ranked No. 12, but he should creep into the top 10 again.
Frank Gore, RB, Buffalo Bills
While Gore isn't a must-start, he should exceed his No. 41 ranking. Devin Singletary is banged up, and while the team won't specify if he's going to suit up on Sunday just yet, it does seem that Gore will be in line for more work. He's had 11 and 19 carries in the first two weeks, respectively. In Week 2, he found the end zone. The Bengals are giving up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs through two games. This could be a big week for Gore.
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
The game between the Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs has the potential to be high-scoring based on the way both quarterbacks are playing. Lamar Jackson targeted Brown 13 times in Week 2, the most on the team. While he didn't have two touchdowns as he did in Week 1, he did have 86 yards. In a game where plenty of points should be scored, look for Brown to exceed his No. 25 ranking.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
With touchdowns in each game this year, Sanders is quickly becoming a favorite target for Joe Flacco. He had the fourth-most fantasy points among all wide receivers in Week 2 (PPR format). Sanders had a team-high 13 targets as well as team-highs for receptions (11) and yards (98). The matchup this week is tougher with the Green Bay Packers, but Sanders should exceed his No. 42 ranking. He's more of a high WR3.
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers
After a slow Week 1 start, Olsen had six receptions for 110 yards in Week 2. However, all signs point to Cam Newton sitting this game out (usually when you're walking around wearing a boot you don't play on Sunday). Kyle Allen will take over quarterback duties. While Newton and Olsen certainly had a connection, new quarterbacks often use their tight ends as often as possible. Olsen is a veteran tight end and can help Allen's confidence. He's ranked No. 14 among tight ends but should exceed that.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Last week, Watson was on the 5 Up list. He finished with 159 passing yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. His fantasy day was "saved" by the one rushing touchdown he had. Overall, it was a disappointing performance. While he certainly has potential to be a top-three quarterback, so far it hasn't happened this season. Odds are that it isn't going to happen in Week 3 on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers. He's still a QB1, but last week's flop hurt.
Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
The defensive strategy of the New England Patriots is typically to take away their opponent's best player. With Luke Falk as the Jets starting quarterback, the best offensive player on the Jets will be Bell. The Patriots are likely going to stack the box and ensure that Falk has to throw. While Bell had 10 receptions in Week 2, and the Jets are likely going to try to get him the ball as much as possible, it's going to be difficult for him to reach his No. 12 ranking.
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
With barely double-digit carries in each of the two games so far this season, Sanders has yet to be the high RB2 that fantasy owners likely drafted him as. He had 25 yards in Week 1 and 28 yards in Week 2. Sanders also really has not been a part of the passing game, with four receptions across both games. Sanders is ranked No. 28, but based on performance, he's not even an RB3. While he does have a good matchup in Week 3, he's hard to trust until he can prove it
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
James Washington was almost in the 5 Up section (he's ranked No. 40). Rather, Smith-Schuster (ranked No. 16) is in the 5 Down. Both may actually end up happening, as Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season. Mason Rudolph will take over, and his arm strength is not on par with Big Ben's. Smith-Schuster has had eight targets in each of the first two games of the season, but even with those targets, he's not likely to be in the top 20 this week.
Jared Cook, TE, New Orleans Saints
Cook has two receptions in each of the games so far this season. He hasn't found the end zone or topped 40 receiving yards. Without Drew Brees it's hard to say what this offense will look like. Teddy Bridgewater may want to throw to his tight end (Cook did have seven targets in Week 2), but so far Cook hasn't been an integral part of the offense. He's ranked No. 10, but it's hard to classify him as a TE1.
Full Disclosure from Week 2
6 Up (3/6 correct)
Deshaun Watson, Texans (Ranked: 6, actual: 22)
Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders (Ranked: 14, actual: 23)
Ty Montgomery, RB, Jets (Ranked: 66, actual: 45)
Tyrell Williams, WR, Raiders (Ranked: 31, actual: 22)
Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs (Ranked: 51, actual: 17)
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions (Ranked: 15, actual: 46)
5 Down (5/5 correct)
Drew Brees, QB, Saints (Ranked: 11, actual: 38 – injured)
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams (Ranked: 13, actual: 15)
Robby Anderson, WR, Jets (Ranked: 32, actual: 38)
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, Eagles (Ranked: 20, actual: not in top 50 – injured)
Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers (Ranked: 12, actual: not in top 50)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
(Top photo by Bill Wippert, courtesy of buffalobills.com)