Week 2 of the NFL has left fantasy football owners in flux at their running back position. A bevy of injuries to many starting running backs has left owners with a bad taste in their collective mouths and with the feeling they deserved a better fate and ultimately a victory thanks to what they thought was a juicy matchup. Yet have no fear, waiver wire Tuesday is here to help you cope with the loss of your starting fantasy football running back. Or maybe you need to add some depth — I can help you with that as well.
In addition to the running back position, there were many receivers that put together strong back to back weeks that could provide you with some good depth or replace your under-performing flex player. There’s one quarterback I’ll put a target on for you as well who has been able to take advantage of a strong duo of wide receivers. So, without further ado, buckle your seat belts kids and lets wade through this week’s free agent fantasy football waiver wire pool.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (New York Jets): The New York Jets passing offense is proving early on that last year was no fluke and that the combination of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall is a deadly one, along with the much improved Quincy Enunwa.
“Fitz-magic” has plenty of options in the passing game to go along with what seems like a more consistent running game early on. After playing well in Buffalo, his old stomping grounds and slaying the Rex Ryan dragon, Fitzpatrick will be keeping his show on the road in Kansas City this weekend. The Kansas City Chiefs are ranked No. 15 overall in passing defense, allowing 244 yards per game to the San Diego Chargers (who lost No. 1 WR Keenan Allen half way through the game) and the Houston Texans. The Texans DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller each put up a 100-yard receiving game last weekend. I like Fitzpatrick’s chances this weekend with Decker and Marshall in this one, assuming Marshall is healthy.
Cameron Artis-Payne (Carolina Panthers): Here’s one of the super subs we’ll be leaning on for a couple of weeks as Panthers starting running back Jonathan Stewart will be sidelined with a hamstring injury. Have no fear, Cameron Artis-Payne is here! Despite the 100-yard game from Fozzy Whittaker, the rumblings out of Carolina – namely from head coach Ron Rivera – is that Artis-Payne will be the lead dog after being inactive for the first two weeks. I’m looking at this as a good short-term answer if you currently employ Stewart or any of the other injured backs. The Panthers are home against a tough Minnesota Vikings defense but like I said, they’re at home and Artis-Payne should get plenty of rushing attempts and opportunities to catch the ball out of the backfield as well.
Jerick McKinnon/Matt Asiata (Minnesota Vikings): The Minnesota Vikings and running back Adrian Peterson received the best news possible after Peterson couldn’t put any weight on his left leg Sunday night. AP only suffered a torn meniscus, meaning he will only miss minimum one week, maximum a couple of weeks (if all goes right).
So let’s go pick up his back-ups shall we?
Now, here’s the caveat with McKinnon and Asiata: The type of league you’re in will dictate which running back you should put in a waiver claim for. In a points per reception (PPR) league, I’d roll with Jerick McKinnon because he provides the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and he’ll get the bulk of the carries between the 20-yard lines. In a standard league, I’d put in a claim for Matt Asiata because he’s said to be the short-yardage and goal line running back and has a better chance to score touchdowns, which is what you’re really looking for in a standard league.
Travis Benjamin (San Diego Chargers): He left Cleveland because he wanted to have passes thrown to him by a legit quarterback and he got his wish in Philip Rivers. Now, Travis Benjamin steps into a larger than expected roll as he assumes the No. 1 wide receiver duties with Allen done for the year.
Benjamin has been proving his worth to fantasy owners and caught all six of his targets for 115 yards to go along with two touchdowns on Sunday and should definitely be owned in all leagues moving forward. He should not only be owned but you should feel comfortable and confident deploying him on a weekly basis as Rivers will certainly look his way early and often from here on out, especially with running back Danny Woodhead out for the year as well.
Mike Wallace (Baltimore Ravens): Things could not have started much better for the veteran wide receiver to begin his tenure in Baltimore with back-to-back 16-point fantasy weeks in each of the first two weeks (standard league). Joe Flacco seems comfortable throwing to Wallace whether it’s in the red zone or on a deep ball as well (3 TDs in two weeks). And if things couldn’t get much better for Wallace, the next two weeks he’ll be going up against two secondaries that haven’t quite figured it out yet in Jacksonville and Oakland. I’d add Wallace now and strongly consider him as a flex play the next two weeks.
Greg Larnerd is the CBS Sports Radio Round-Up Midday Host on CBS Local Sports. Greg’s the resident fantasy football nut, constantly talking everyone’s ear off around the office about all things fantasy football and glory that is this great game. You can find him on Twitter: @glarn34