Welcome to Thursday! Week Two saw more offenses kick it into gear which increased fantasy points for individual players and teams alike. This week, we’re going to highlight some players whose fast starts look sustainable and are thus not merely “flashes in the pan” so to speak. Next week, we’ll flip the coin over and examine some unsustainable things, but for now, let’s stay positive and talk guys whose arrow will continue to point up.
Doing Well and Here to Stay:
Quarterbacks- Kirk Cousins, C.J. Stroud, Jared Goff (at home)
First off, let me just ask you to put away whatever preconceived notions you have about Kirk Cousins. Through two weeks, he has the most fantasy points of any quarterback- that we know. But, is that production here to stay? Yes and no, but mostly yes. Cousins has such elite weapons to throw to that he’ll stay top five in fantasy scoring all season. If you already have him, I would hang on to him unless someone offers you the farm with a bag of Dot’s Pretzels thrown in. If someone is willing to sell him based on those preconceived notions for a good price, buy. As for C.J. Stroud, the early results are impressive: 64% completion percentage, 300+ yards per game, and no interceptions. He’s not much of a runner, but as we noted last week, he’s turning Nico Collins into a household name. A fantasy football household that is. Finally, Jared Goff is an awesome fantasy quarterback…playing at home in Detroit. He should be started every time he plays at home. He should be your backup, though, when he plays on the road.
Running Backs- Brian Robinson, James Cook, James Conner
Wherefore art thou, Antonio Gibson? With a new offensive coordinator in Washington (Eric Bieniemy) has come a new philosophy with regards to that offense. It’s Brian Robinson’s show now and while Sam Howell isn’t a great NFL or fantasy quarterback yet, he’s good enough to keep defenses honest and allow for running lanes for Robinson. I noted in the offseason that Brian Robinson was a poor man’s Josh Jacobs in terms of usage and production. If Robinson indeed ascends this season to where I think he’s headed, Jacobs may end up the poor man’s option instead. In Buffalo, James Cook is simply not getting enough competition for carries to put a dent in his fantasy value. The Bills are clearly seeking to be a more balanced offense in 2023 (in the past, they were among the most pass-happy teams in the league) and Cook is the primary beneficiary of that climate change. Last, let’s just get this out of the way: James Conner plays on a bad (poorly run) NFL team, comparatively speaking. And, that’s why he’s such a fantasy asset moving forward if he can stay healthy. The Cardinals don’t care if they run him into the ground. They just need someone to take the body blows while they prep for being competitive in future years. Conner is their fall guy. Bad for him…but good for those counting on him for fantasy numbers.
Wide Receivers, Tight End- DeVonta Smith, George Pickens, Hunter Henry
Now, three for the road. At wide receiver, DeVonta Smith was thought of this past offseason as 1B to A.J. Brown’s 1A in the WR pecking order in Philadelphia. Two weeks into this season, Smith is looking like the better fantasy prospect and while Brown’s numbers should improve, there’s plenty of room for Smith’s numbers to hold where they currently are (15 targets, 11 receptions, 178 yards receiving, 2 TDs) for the most part on a per game basis. Jalen Hurts, after all, hasn’t thrown for more than 193 yards in either of Philadelphia’s games so far and that will change as (again) he gets used to a new offensive coordinator. George Pickens, meanwhile, is a guy I mentioned last week and I too think his production has staying power. Like Garrett Wilson, Pickens will have some poor games due to a young, inexperienced QB throwing him the ball, but his top 10-15 status as a WR is here to stay. Feel free to trade for either Smith or him if you can. Last but not least, I keep talking about the impact of new offensive coordinators. They are the primary persons that change the landscape of fantasy football. That’s why Hunter Henry’s on this list. New coordinator. New role. Increased success.
More to come next week- Best of luck this week as always!
Kirk Hollis is a 1989 Ruston High School graduate and has written for Fantasy Football Today, one of the nation’s top fantasy info sites, for 15 years.