All aboard the Bradford bandwagon
Week 2 started to give a better sense of what we can expect from players on our fantasy squads. Trent Richardson didn't look like he's had two knee surgeries in the last six months while the two-week performances of players like Chris Johnson have some owners worrying about their early round picks. While it's still early to panic in most cases, the matchups facing your lineup should be analyzed more in-depth with another week in the books.
Sam Bradford, QB, STL - Bradford surpassed 300 yards passing against the Redskins on Sunday, finishing with three touchdowns and an interception. His YPA mark now stands at 8.5 after two games, and his quarterback rating is 112.4 (better than Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers). Only in year three, Bradford has been successful using veterans Brandon Gibson, Steven Smith and Danny Amendola while rookies Chris Givens and Brian Quick wait patiently in the wings. Bradford was a No. 1 overall pick, showing his pedigree, and has all the physical tools to be successful in the NFL.
Andre Brown, RB, NYG - Brown filled in admirably for an injured Ahmad Bradshaw against the Buccaneers after the Giants starter left with an injured neck Sunday. Brown finished with 13 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown while snagging two catches for 19 yards. His touchdown came as Tampa Bay wisely let him score to get the ball back with still enough time to tie the game. David Wilson still resides in Tom Coughlin's doghouse after fumbling Week 1, so Brown would be the main ball carrier if Bradshaw misses time. In deeper leagues, Wilson is worth an add since despite his fumble, he has a much better pedigree than Brown.
Daryl Richardson, RB, STL - Richardson would have been discussed in this column this week even if he hadn't taken over for the injured Steven Jackson on Sunday. The lesser-known "Richardson" in this year's draft put together a nice game after Jackson "tweaked" his groin. It was either very odd or a coincidence that Steven Jackson didn't return to the game after sustaining the injury and that the last snap he played ended with him getting a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Jackson's injury appears minor, which relegates Richardson back to the bench. Just keep in mind that Richardson is next in the running back pecking order for the Rams, especially after his performance Sunday (15 carries for 83 yards, two catches for 19 yards).
Shaun Draughn, RB, KC - The focus of the running back situation was primarily about how the workload was going to be split between Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis. However, with Charles still on the mend from his knee injury, it seems that Draughn has carved out a role for himself in the Kansas City backfield. Draughn has proven himself capable in a small sample size with 85 rushing yards on only 11 carries with a touchdown. He hasn't worked himself into the majority of fantasy leagues out there, but an injury to Hillis or Charles would give Draughn a bigger role and more touches.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET - With an ADP of 135, it is likely that Leshoure is only on waivers in the shallowest of leagues, perhaps 10-teamers with a short bench. Leshoure will come off his two-game suspension this week and should be fresh after suffering a season-ending injury in training camp last year. Starter Kevin Smith is an injury waiting to happen, and Joique Bell has 15 rushing yards on seven carries. Reports surfaced Monday that Leshoure is expected to take over the majority of carries before long in Detroit, and he's considered to have the most upside among Lions running backs.
Greg Little WR, CLE - The Cleveland offense came to life Sunday as Brandon Weeden threw for more than 300 yards and Trent Richardson had more than 100 yards rushing. Little, a trendy sleeper as the Browns' No. 1 wide receiver, caught five passes for 57 yards and a touchdown after a big goose egg across the board Week 1. As a result, Little was tossed back into the free-agent pool in many leagues. The Browns offense is still considered vastly improved this season and despite not starting until Week 6 last season, Little finished with 121 targets. He should continue to be a focal point in the passing game and see soft coverage with teams stacking the box against Richardson.
Brian Hartline, WR, MIA - Miami has few fantasy options outside of Reggie Bush, but Hartline has made a strong case to be added to your team. Hartline turned 12 targets into nine catches for a career-high 111 receiving yards Sunday after getting eight targets from Ryan Tannehill Week 1. While Miami has a decent defense, the offense likely will struggle with a rookie quarterback under center. As a result, it's likely Miami is playing from behind a lot and has to throw the ball. If Hartline continues to be heavily targeted (there aren't many other attractive options) he's going to be a good option, especially with bye weeks on the horizon.
Aldrick Robinson, WR, WAS - Robinson caught the eye of some fantasy owners after scoring a touchdown on four catches for 52 yards in Week 1. Robinson saw an expanded role once Pierre Garcon left the game and got the starting nod Sunday once Garcon was ruled out. Robinson had a quieter game with two catches for 40 yards. It was actually what Robinson didn't do Sunday that makes him an interesting free agent while Garcon is out. He dropped what should have been a long touchdown from Roberts Griffin that would have put him around 100 yards and score and was later open deep on another play. The emergence of Alfred Morris has made play-action followed by a seven-step drop by Griffin an effective play as Leonard Hankerson scored on a similar play. There's no reason to think Robinson can't do the same given his speed.
Martellus Bennett, TE, NYG - Lost in the big games by Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks is that Bennett has quickly emerged as the third passing option for the Giants. For the second straight week he recorded a touchdown and has 16 targets through two games. At 6-foot-6, 270, Bennett has surprising speed and agility for a player his size. Playing with arguably the best tandem of wide receivers in the league means mostly single coverage, and Bennett makes for a huge red-zone target.
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