Monday, September 18, 2017

Early Season Fantasy Risers

The one truism about football is that players get hurt. No sport is as brutal is football, and no league sees greater attrition and turnover than the NFL. You might have been feeling great about your draft, but now it's Week 2 and your star running back is out of several months, or your elite tight end is already on the shelf.

To win a fantasy football league, you're probably going to have to hit the waiver wire to supplement the ranks with up-and-coming players. In addition, you might be playing in daily fantasy leagues on sites like Playdraft, where the key to winning a fantasy draft is identifying rising young stars.

Here are a few candidates:

Darren Sproles, RB, Eagles

One thing is now clear: LeGarrette Blount isn't fitting in well in Philadelphia. In Week 2, Blount didn't touch the football at all, evidence that his stay in Philly may be short and unhappy. Sproles got 10 carries, and was targeted five times, and looks to play a prominent role in the Eagles' attack going forward. Is he a number one running back? No, not quite. But there's no one in Philly demanding the ball, so Sproles will get his chances.

Brandon Coleman, WR, Saints

For the past two seasons, Coleman has been hyped as a possible beneficiary of the Drew Brees rising tide. Unfortunately, it's never quite worked out that way. But in Week 2, Coleman was Brees' preferred deep target, and caught four passes for 82 yards and a score. If Coleman now has the faith of Brees, the 6'6" wideout could prosper in New Orleans' high powered offense.

Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins

Feature back Rob Kelly didn't come out of the tunnel in the second half of Week 2, and now the job is up for grabs. Perine will be battling Chris Thompson for carries, and in Week 2, Perine got the lion's share, rushing for 67 yards in 21 attempts. He's got more upside than Chris Thompson, even if he's Week 2 performance didn't indicate it.

Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins

It's possible you prefer production to potential, though, and if so you'll probably want to target Thompson over Perine. Thompson lit up the stat sheet in Week 2, with two touchdowns and a 61 yard run. Perine clearly had the first shot at becoming the go-to running back based on how the Week 2 carries were distributed, but if Thompson can put up more games like his Week 2 performance, that might change.

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers

Funchess elevated his game after the injury to Greg Olson, pulling down four catches for 68 yards. Now, Olsen will be missing for an extended amount of time with a broken foot, meaning his targets are up for grabs. Expect Cam Newton to look for Funchess more while Olsen is on the mend.

Dwayne Allen, TE, Patriots

Another potential beneficiary of an injury, Allen's value is largely tied up with Rob Gronkowski's health. In the first two weeks, Allen has been a non-factor, but now Gronkowski is already starting to show wear and tear. Knowing his injury history, there's a better than average chance of the Patriots needing to fill his void, and Allen might be the guy to do that.

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