With Week 2 in the books and most fantasy football owners needing to make their free-agent moves today, let’s take a look at some of the headlines. Ryan Fowler already made some recommendations for injury replacements, and we’ll suggest more here.
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY SportsBrace Hemmelgarn
Jerick McKinnon is ready to step up for Vikes
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson hasn’t been officially ruled out for Week 3, but his knee injury (torn meniscus) is likely to keep him out somewhere between two weeks and the entire season depending on the severity. That’s a broad time frame, we know. Let’s assume at least three missed games – the Vikes have a bye in Week 6 – and go from there.
Minneapolis Star Tribune beat writer Matt Vensel suggests that Jerick McKinnon (owned in 17.5 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) will play at least 60 percent of the snaps in Peterson’s absence, with Matt Asiata (0.5 percent owned) handling the rest of the work along with goal line duties. Despite Asiata’s vulture potential, McKinnon should be your top free-agent target this week. He’s got a high ceiling on a run-first team.
Panthers turn to CAP at RB
With Jonathan Stewart’s hamstring expected to keep him out for a week or two, the Panthers will turn primarily to Cameron Artis-Payne (1.2 percent owned), with head coach Ron Rivera calling Fozzy Whittaker a "good change-of-pace guy." When Stewart missed three games late last season, the touch distribution was 38 for Artis-Payne, 20 for Mike Tolbert and 11 for Whittaker. That’s about what we should expect now, starting Sunday against the tough Vikings’ defense.
Getty ImagesStreeter Lecka
Jay Ajayi's quick return from the doghouse
The Dolphins are calling Arian Foster day-to-day with his groin injury, but the Miami Herald suggests that Foster is likely to be out this week. Replacements Jay Ajayi (45.3 percent owned) and Kenyan Drake (0.3 percent owned) would be teed up for a great matchup against the Browns, with the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel noting that Drake’s biggest issue is "continuing to learn the playbook." Ajayi might be dropped into a workhorse role just two weeks after being left off the team charter to Seattle due to reported attitude issues. Isn’t fantasy football great?
Doug Martin's injury status TBD
The Bucs aren’t sure how much time (if any) RB Doug Martin will miss with his hamstring injury. Charles Sims’ fantasy owners could be in line for a big week or two, even with the Bucs hosting the solid Rams’ D this week.
What is Brandon Marshall's injury?
Jets WR Brandon Marshall is lobbying to play at Kansas City despite a mysterious knee injury. Head coach Todd Bowles denied a report that Marshall sprained his MCL but didn’t get into further detail. If Marshall can’t go, Quincy Enunwa (2.7 percent owned) is likely to build on his strong start to the season.
Thumbs down for Jay Cutler
Bears QB Jay Cutler left Soldier Field on Monday with his right thumb in a cast and will have further tests Tuesday. Cutler reportedly suffered ligament damage in the thumb against the Texans in Week 1. Brian Hoyer will play Sunday night at Dallas if Cutler can’t go, and that’s not at all interesting for fantasy purposes.
APNam Y. Huh
MRI for Donte Moncrief
Colts WR Donte Moncrief had an MRI Monday on his injured shoulder, and results should be available Tuesday. They’ll need Moncrief to get their passing game in gear against the Chargers, but if he can’t go, Phillip Dorsett’s (11.7 percent owned) fantasy value gets a bump.
The Seahawks are banged up
The Seahawks suffered a trio of fantasy-relevant injuries Sunday, with Thomas Rawls (leg), Doug Baldwin (knee) and Tyler Lockett (knee) all expected to be on this week’s injury report. Rawls’ issue sounds like a bruise, so hopefully he’ll be back for a Week 3 matchup against the 49ers.
Grab the Dolphins' DST
We’ve got two solid fantasy defense options this week, with the Dolphins (10.8 percent owned) getting a home matchup with Browns rookie third-string QB Cody Kessler, and the Bucs (4.1 percent owned) hosting Case Keenum and the Rams. The Dolphins are the strong preference here, but you could do worse than the Bucs. The Texans also look great at Foxborough against Pats’ third-stringer Jacoby Brissett, but they’re owned in 92.8 percent of FOXSports.com leagues.
Getty ImagesRob Foldy
Replacing Abdullah in Motown
Lions RB Ameer Abdullah is getting a second opinion on what appears to be a sprained foot. If Abdullah misses time -- and you should expect him to -- he figures to be replaced by a committee of Theo Riddick (71.3 percent owned), Dwayne Washington (0.3 percent owned) and Zach Zenner (0.2 percent owned).
Washington should be your fallback option if you miss out on your league’s scramble for McKinnon, Ajayi, and Artis-Payne (in that order). Washington’s status will improve if Abdullah’s prognosis is worse than expected.
Getty ImagesDonald Miralle
More news and notes
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid isn’t yet sure if an improving Jamaal Charles (knee) will return in Week 3 to form a running back committee with Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. ... Giants WR Rashad Jennings (thumb) might be limited in practice this week, but his injury doesn’t sound serious. Let everyone else chase Shane Vereen, and keep Orleans Darkwa on your radar in case Jennings can’t play. ... Broncos TE Virgil Green (calf) is day-to-day. ... After two weeks, the only four running backs with more than 50 carries are DeAngelo Williams (58), Lamar Miller (53), Matt Forte (52) and LeGarrette Blount (51). Remember when we all used to get mad at Miller’s limited workload in Miami? ... We’ll know more about Rob Gronkowski’s status on Wednesday.
Good luck this week, and please tweet me (@jhalpin37) with any free-agent questions.