NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Mailbag: Bail on Najee Harris? Trust Cordarrelle Patterson, Antonio Gibson?
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Najee Harris.
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Fantasy Trade Questions
Najee Harris Or Saquon Barkley In Dynasty?
@Lithius from Twitter writes: “Hi Samantha, thanks for taking questions. My question is this: Would you trade Najee for Saquon in a dynasty league straight up? Full PPR.”
Samantha: Probably not. Both have health risks: Harris is currently dealing with a Lisfranc injury, which is very concerning for his immediate-term production, while Barkley has not been healthy much over the past two seasons. I’ll give Harris the slight edge since this is his first injury.
In terms of age, Harris is 24 and Barkley is 25 which seems even on the surface. That said, this is Barkley’s fifth season in the NFL and only Harris’ second. There’s likely less “tread on the tires” for Harris.
This trade screams, "Sell low, buy high" to me with Harris currently injured and Barkley coming off of a monster game. I say stick with Harris – you’ll be much happier in the long run.
How Do I Replace Elijah Mitchell?
Mitchell emails: “Two-quarterback league I have Russell Wilson and Justin Herbert, but need help at RB (Elijah Mitchell).”
Samantha: I assume you’re trying to flip one of your two premium quarterbacks for a lesser QB plus a viable running back. I don’t hate the idea on principle, especially if you need the depth.
The only issue I see is that Herbert is an absolute stud and I wouldn’t want to give him up and Wilson’s value is probably 75 percent of what it was before Week 1 after a shaky showing on Monday Night Football against the Seahawks. I suppose put Wilson out there and see what kind of offers you get. Maybe you can flip him for someone like Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence plus a RB3.
Just make sure you aren’t trading Wilson at his nadir, which very well could be now.
Week 2 Fantasy Start-Sit Questions
Should I Believe In Cordarrelle Patterson?
@putnam39 from Twitter writes: “Cordarrelle Patterson on my bench — should I believe in him? [Ezekiel] Elliott, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt are my other RBs starting.”
Samantha: You should definitely believe. I wavered on my opinion of Patterson when the Falcons drafted Tyler Allgeier, but Allgeier was a healthy scratch in Week 1, suggesting the rookie might not be ready quite yet. Patterson’s only legitimate competition comes from Damien Williams, who recorded checks notes zero fantasy points on Sunday. Patterson is a unique player with sky-high PPR upside.
All of that said, you have fantastic running back depth on your roster. Chubb is an obvious start, Elliott takes a bit of a hit with Dak Prescott injured (but he’s still a start), and Kareem Hunt was very impressive against the Panthers. Patterson is probably the worst of the four just on paper.
Week to week, I would probably agonize over who to start between Hunt and Patterson, but this is a problem of riches to have.
Which Running Backs Do I Start?
Mike emailed: “Thanks for keeping us all entertained on the Twitterscape. Pick 2 for Week 2 (14-team standard league): Jeff Wilson, Rashaad Penny, Travis Etienne, Rhamondre Stevenson.”
Samantha: Penny is a must-start whether or not Kenneth Walker plays. The fantasy production wasn’t exactly there, but to the eye test, he doesn’t look like he’s lost a step since his meteoric rise last season.
Your other options are all risky. Stevenson is in a split backfield with Damien Harris and only put up three fantasy points in standard scoring. The Patriots are up against the Steelers this week, which isn’t an attractive matchup.
Wilson Jr. will be a popular waiver add, but any Kyle Shanahan-wielded running back carries risk – especially when their best rusher is actually wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Etienne would probably be my pick, though I don’t feel great about it. He only saw four rushes to James Robinson’s 11. He was more involved in the passing game, though that is less impactful in standard leagues. Still, I expect his role to increase as the season progresses and he strikes me as the most talented of this group if that matters.
Penny and Etienne, let’s ride.
Help Me Set My Lineup, Please!
@ospreyrob2 from Twitter writes: “Sit/start .5 PPR… JuJu [Smith-Schuster], [Tony] Pollard, Breece [Hall], [Tee] Higgins (if cleared). Thanks Samantha :)”
Samantha: I’m not sure how many starters you need, but I feel fairly confident starting both receivers assuming Higgins is cleared. We can’t exactly hold a 3.7-point finish in Week 1 against Higgins when he was put into the concussion protocol. He’ll be a stud, and there’s plenty of targets to go around in Cincinnati.
Smith-Schuster had a relatively quiet day despite the Chiefs scoring 44 points, but I am far from giving up on him quite yet. He caught six of eight targets for 79 yards and trailed only Travis Kelce in all receiving categories, which is basically what we expected. They are both low-end WR2s with upside this week.
I don’t feel great about Pollard or Hall. This Cowboys offense is going to inevitably suffer with Cooper Rush slinging the rock and Pollard was out-touched by Ezekiel Elliott 11 to four. He’s a bench for me, as is Hall, who took a backseat to Year 2 running back Michael Carter. Carter out-touched Hall 17 to 12 and was much more productive from a fantasy standpoint. I expect Hall’s role to grow as the season progresses, but I am tempering expectations earlier on.
Fantasy Stock Questions
To Trust Or Not To Trust Antonio Gibson When Brian Robinson Jr. Returns
@eric_drz from Twitter writes: “Do you think Antonio Gibson's solid game 1 will result in preserving a solid role even when Brian Robinson returns?”
Samantha: It depends on a couple of things. First, I do hope that Robinson makes a full recovery from his awful incident, but I think it’s a little premature and optimistic to assume he will even be the same guy we saw in the preseason. I’m currently operating on the assumption that the rookie won’t join the team until much later in the season and will be pleasantly surprised if he does.
If Robinson were to return in Week 5, for example, (which is a possibility as he is on the NFI list) at full strength, I still think Gibson would see a nice workload, perhaps maybe in the RB2 range. Their styles of play are pretty complementary and both can be fantasy relevant.
Second, for Gibson to preserve his role in this offense, he will need to both demonstrate better ball security and stay healthy. These aren’t exactly short orders for a guy who recorded the most fumbles in the NFL in 2021 and fumbled in the preseason to the dismay of head coach Ron Rivera. If he can stay in Rivera’s good graces, he certainly has a shot of keeping a more full-time role out of the backfield.
Trusting the Broncos' Defense, Plus Thoughts On Jalen Tolbert
@halfxmasguy_93 from Twitter asks: “Would you drop Broncos defense for [the] Steelers defense or Vikings defense or Bears defense and would you drop Jalen Tolbert for Curtis Samuel, DJ Chark, Zay Jones?”
Samantha: I know the Broncos D/ST had a less-than-stellar Week 1, but Week 2 isn’t the time to drop them. They face the Texans at home, which is an attractive matchup – even if Houston held their own against the Colts. The other options you mentioned – the Steelers, Vikings or Bears – all have less favorable matchups. Pittsburgh is up against New England, Minnesota faces Philadelphia and Chicago faces Green Bay.
As an aside, I would have no issue dropping Denver after this week. You should be streaming defenses more so based on their matchups and less on their pedigree.
For your second question, I would drop Tolbert for any of those guys. He was a popular preseason name with Michael Gallup injured, but he is droppable in most redraft formats unless you have a super deep bench (which I’m going to assume you don’t because you’re thinking about dropping him). Samuel would be my top pick of your list, followed by Chark and Jones.