After a wild and fun Week 1, football went into Week 2 determined to crush our hopes and dreams. After thinking last week had enough injuries, Week 2 told us to 'hold its beer'. In Week 2, we saw some major injuries occur, such as the top two picks in most drafts this year, Barkley and McCaffrey.
Those two superstar running backs are just the cherry on top of a big injury sundae, but I’m here to tell you who to pick up and who will benefit from some of the key injuries. From questionable yearly replacements to high flying weekly plug-and-plays, let’s get into our Injuries and Opportunities from Week 2.
New York Giants
RB - Saquan Barkley (O-Knee)
Dion Lewis – RB3 (0.9%owned)
With one of the best running backs in the league going down, a huge opportunity in this offense opens up to Dion Lewis, who ended the day with 10 carries for 20 yards and a touchdown. He also hauled in 4 catches for 36 yards. Barkley will be out the rest of the year, that means you need to pick up Lewis immediately. With him being owned in less than 1% of leagues, he will be available; but not for very long. The Giants don’t have the best line, as we have seen from Barkley’s 34 rushing yards through the first two games. So, Lewis is best set for a flex role for now in PPR formats. He is a nice pass-catching back, which means that he should not only lead the team in carries, but he should see a couple catches out of the backfield every game. Barkley’s injury doesn’t help anyone else on his team other than Lewis and maybe Evan Engram. Lewis was a solid running back in New England where in 2017, he ran for 896 yards on 180 carries. He could turn into RB2 option as the year plays out but is safest as a high-end RB3 until we see what he does. Also, keep an eye on Devonta Freeman, who the Giants will bring in for a workout.
RB - Christian McCaffrey (O-Ankle)
Curtis Samuel – WR3 (42% owned)
Mike Davis – RB2 (1% owned)
With the best all-around running back in the league going down at least three to four weeks, it’s interesting to think that one of the best opportunities that arise from this injury goes to Curtis Samuel. Samuel is listed as a WR, but the Panthers use him in motion and in the backfield a good bit and he saw a total of 19 carries last year. With their start running back down, they will use their utility player more as Samuel should see an uptick in both carries and catches out of the backfield. On other hand, Mike Davis is the player getting most of CMC’s carries. Davis also caught eight passes in their game last week, which should make you eager to pick him up off waivers. Davis has also received high praise from his coach, calling him a big playmaker out of the backfield. With CMC being out 4-6 weeks, Davis might be a legit flex play in solid matchups as he will receive the majority of Carolina’s carries and receptions out of the backfield.
WR - Courtland Sutton (O-Knee)
Jerry Jeudy – WR2 (74% owned)
Melvin Gordon – RB2 (96% owned)
Jerry Jeudy was one of my favorite rookies to break out this year and with Sutton going down, it only adds to the potential. Through the first two weeks, Jeudy has been targeted 15 times and caught 8 passes. He is now the WR1 on this team and could very well average 10 targets a game. With Sutton out for the entire year with a torn ACL, Jeudy will have the entire season as the main guy in Denver. If he’s not owned in your league, pick him up immediately. If you already have him, you might want to wait a week or two to play him in anything other than in your flex due to the fact he will be catching balls from Jeff Driscoll. Now with Melvin Gordon, all these injuries on the Broncos truly boost him into being a top end RB2. During most fantasy drafts, Gordon was ranked lower than usual because of the split backfield and his previous injury concerns. Now with Drew Lock, Sutton and Phillip Lindsay all suffering injuries, Gordon is the workhorse in the offense. Both Lock and Lindsay are out at least for the next two weeks and with games against the Buccaneers and the Jets, you absolutely start Gordon.
San Francisco 49ers
RB - Raheem Mostert (D-Knee)
QB – Jimmy Garoppolo (D-Ankle)
RB - Tevin Coleman (O-Knee)
Jerick McKinnon – RB2 (19% owned)
Jeff Wilson, Jr – RB3 (0.2% owned)
Raheem Mostert has an MCL sprain so expect him to miss a couple of weeks. Coleman has already been ruled out for next week as well. So, who’s left of this 49ers team? McKinnon has already scored two touchdowns in his two weeks of limited action. Emphasize “limited.” McKinnon was paid a lot of money after his stint with Minnesota to come play for this team, but back-to-back season ending injuries has kept him out of the past two seasons. McKinnon should see the majority of touches, and with his skill set in Shanahan’s run-heavy offense, he has a very high ceiling. We see this when he records only three carries yet turns it into 77 yards and a touchdown. McKinnon is a high-end RB2 this week against a weak Giants defense. But it doesn’t end here. Remember in 2019, when Wilson Jr. was a part of the three-headed backfield and took all the goal line work, resulting in a combined four touchdowns in Weeks 2 and 3? Well, I do. And I don’t think he takes much of a backseat in this one. Wilson Jr. should see a few touches and may take over goal line carries, which only caps McKinnon’s upside. Beware of the vulture.
Los Angeles Rams
Cam Akers (Q-Arm)
Malcom Brown – RB3 (84% owned)
Darrell Henderson Jr – RB3 (44% owned)
Now, I’m going to start off by saying that I would stay away from the Rams backfield at all cost. This is a three-headed dog out of the backfield and each week you will see a different person pop off. Such as Malcolm Brown having 110 combined yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 to just 47 yards and zero touchdowns in Week 2, while Henderson has 121 yards and a touchdown this week. Now, all of that said, Rams rookie running back Cam Akers is banged up, so you will see more usage out of both Henderson and Brown. With a tough matchup against the Bills this week, I would say both Brown and Henderson are risky flex plays and would pivot if you had the chance, but if Akers misses a few weeks then there are better matchups down the road against the Giants and Washington.
Green Bay Packers
WR - Devante Adams (Q-Hamstring)
Marquez Valdez-Scantling – WR3 (17% owned)
Allen Lazard – WR2 (35% Owned)
Adams is dealing with a hamstring injury, which can sometimes linger more than you would think. So, it’s possible Adams could miss some time. That leaves huge opportunities to Valdez-Scantling and Lazard, who both caught touchdown passes in Week 1. If Rodgers’ top threat ends up sitting out next week, either Valdez-Scantling or Lazard will be solid flex plays in a high scoring game against New Orleans. Rodgers has already shown repertoire with these guys, so the more they are on the field, the more they will see high-value targets.
WR - Parris Campbell (D-Knee)
TE - Jack Doyle (Q-Ankle/Knee)
Michael Pittman - WR3 (14% owned)
Mo Alie-Cox - TE2 (0.8% owned)
With the Possibility of Campbell missing a few weeks with an MCL sprain, this should result in young rookie wideout, Michael Pittman, to see a lot of targets from Phillip Rivers. With the opportunity to possibly be the full time WR2, Pittman will try to take advantage of the larger target share while Campbell gets healthy. Pittman can absolutely take over Campbell’s position if he plays well and if Rivers like him. Now if that happens, that’s when you start thinking about playing Pittman consistently in your fantasy league. But for now, he is just a snatch and stash player. However, if you need a plug-and-play for Week 3, Pittman gets to face a weak Jets secondary. Speaking of plug-and-play, Doyle may miss another week and if that’s the case, the former basketball player, Mo Alie-Cox, should find himself in a similar role like the one in Week 2, where he caught 5 of 6 targets and turned that into 111 yards. Next week, he’ll face a Jets defense that gave up two scores to Jordan Reed. Allie-Cox is an athletic freak with a huge frame, he has weekly TE1 upside, especially with Rivers behind center.