There were several shakeups this week in fantasy football, some short-term, some long-term. Jamaal Charles’ season ending injury in Kansas City will likely have the biggest long-term ramifications. In the short term, Thomas Jones stands to see a good chunk of the carries in KC. However, I would be surprised if that continues throughout the season. Kansas City also has Dexter McCluster ready to step in to a bigger role. If they continue to play poorly, I do not see any reason to continue giving the bulk of the carries to an aging back that is unlikely to have much of a role in your team’s future. Instead, it makes more sense to try out McCluster in an expanded role and see how well he does. Based on the results from the first partial game without Charles, Jones averaged 3.3 Y/A while McCluster came in at 6.4 Y/A. Given this, I’d think about Jones if I was in desperate need of a running back in the next week or so, but I’d be inclined to stick McCluster on my bench as a long-term project. In PPR leagues, McCluster may be the better option right now.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo, QB – Fitzpatrick made my list last week as a long-term project. However, his current TD hot streak (4 TDs in Week 1, 3 TDs in Week 2) makes him a potential short-term starter. He also faces New England, giving up about 400 YPG in the air, and the Bungals in Weeks 3 and 4. If you need a spot start for the next couple of weeks – Michael Vick owners this means you – Fitzpatrick could be a perfect candidate.
DeMarco Murray/Tashard Choice, Dallas, RB – Felix Jones may be sidelined for the next few weeks with a separated shoulder. Unfortunately, its not entirely clear how the Dallas backfield will be splitting carries in his absence. Murray seems to be the favorite to take on an expanded role, but its worth watching to see how this situation unfolds as the week progresses.
Thomas Jones, Kansas City, RB – See above.
Eric Decker, Denver, WR – Right now, Eric Decker seems to be the hot pickup of the day. He did have a solid game on Sunday (5 Rec., 113 Yds., 2 TD) and should continue to get playing time during Eddie Royal’s (possibly extended) absence. Throw in some value in the return game and he is a reasonable spot start if you have an immediate need. However, I am not as sold on him as a long-term option as I believe his production will drop when Denver’s other WRs return to health. Personally, I would look at Denarius Moore (see below) as an option with more long-term upside.
Deion Branch, New England, WR – As long as New England is on a hot streak, you might as well join in the fun by grabbing Branch. Though Branch is something of a household name and has been decent forever, he surprisingly has never surpassed 1,000 yards receiving or pulled in more than five TDs in a season. However, Tom Brady is on fire, Branch has been a viable option for him and New England will not face a tough passing defense until Week 5. Accordingly, he should be a good fill-in for the next few weeks.
Cam Newton, Carolina, QB – If you didn’t jump on Newton last week, he is probably gone. However, he is still available in some leagues. While I do not expect Newton to continue at quite his current pace, Carolina is showing all signs that it intends to stand on the offensive gas pedal and not look back. As long as they continue with that plan, Newton should be a solid starter against poor defenses and possibly even good defenses, as he was against Green Bay.
Denarius Moore, Oakland, WR – Moore had a great game yesterday, pulling in five catches and a TD to go with 146 yards. He very nearly pulled in a second TD to end the game. Moore showed promise in the preseason, but was plagued by inconsistency in college. Moore has great upside and is worth grabbing if you are thin at WR.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City, RB – See above.
Marshall has over ten years fantasy football experience and maintains a fantasy football blog over at Sunday Morning Legend (In My Own Mind).
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