Fantasy Football: Free agent finds for Week 2

These five additions could help boost your fantasy team this week.  Photo by     Jean-Daniel Francoeur     from     Pexels

These five additions could help boost your fantasy team this week. Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur from Pexels

Week 1 of football is officially over, and unfortunately for many fans, they might be worried that not only is their NFL season already over (sorry Dolphins fans, though to be fair something has to start for it to end), but their fantasy one is also on the brink of collapse. But fear not! If you make some of these moves, there might be a chance to salvage your season so it doesn’t end almost as fast as it began. 

We’re going to take a look at five additions you can make to improve your squad for not only Week 2 but beyond. To do so, there is one main rule that must be abided by: no players on this list can be rostered in over 30 percent of leagues on ESPN, so sorry T.J. Hockenson, you just missed the cut (but go add him if you can). Now, let’s get down to business. 

Quarterback: Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars (0.1 %ROST) 

Short-term: Now the starter in Jacksonville due to the injury to Nick Foles, Minshew has immediate value just by virtue of being the starter. The Jaguars also face a very vulnerable Houston Texans defense in Week 2, so he could be a decent streaming option if you are somehow already in need of a quarterback. 

Long-term: Foles broke is clavicle and is expected to be out for a minimum of eight weeks, if not more. Minshew got to see plenty of action when he was needed to step in for the Jaguars after he had to take over for the injured Foles, and in what came to a surprise to many he was actually good, like, really good. The sixth-round pick out of Washington State (and formerly East Carolina) went 22/25 passing for 275 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, as he was shockingly efficient and made some very impressive throws. While he should not be starting every week, he might be worth rostering in deeper leagues until Foles returns. 

Running back: Adrian Peterson & Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins (27.7 & 18.9 %ROST) 

The Redskins’ Chris Thompson gets tackled by the Eagles’ Ronald Darby during a game last September.   Photo by Michael Perez/Associated Press

The Redskins’ Chris Thompson gets tackled by the Eagles’ Ronald Darby during a game last September.

Photo by Michael Perez/Associated Press

Short-term: This is for sure more of a long-term move, as the Redskins have to go up against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. Even though they did give up 139 scrimmage yards last week to Saquon Barkley, considering how good the reigning OROY is they did a pretty good job. However, the Redskins did look surprisingly competent on offense in Week 1 vs. a very solid Philadelphia Eagles team, so who knows maybe they can get something cooking against Dallas as well. With no more Derrius Guice, Peterson and Thompson should each see a decent amount of touches.  

Long-term: After missing all of 2018 with an ACL tear, many expected Guice to be a huge part of the Redskins’ offense this season, which as a result led to Peterson and Thompson falling off most people’s draft boards. However, Guice is hurt again (for at least a couple of weeks), so Peterson and Thompson should slide right back into their roles from last season. Peterson quietly had his first 1,000-yard rushing season since 2015, and Thompson brought in over 40 catches in just 10 games. Look for the former to handle the majority of the rushes, and the latter to have most of the pass-catching duties. Both backs are worth a look if you have a space for them, which is likely considering how sharp the drop-off is for running backs once you get to a certain point.  

Wide Receiver:  DJ Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars (11.8 %ROST) 

Short-term: Chark emerged as a big-play threat for the Jaguars in Week 1, bringing in four receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. For the same reason that Minshew is a streaming option in Week 2, his teammate Chark is as well. The Texans' defense is questionable at best, and Chark could have plenty of opportunities to burn them deep. Not only that, but they might have to go with the aerial attack a lot, as they very well could be playing catchup all game to a high-powered Texans’ offense.  

Long-term: While Chark did catch his touchdown from Foles, he and Minshew connected on two deep passes later in the game which accounted for the majority of his nearly 150 yards. The Jaguars’ 2018 second-round pick had an abysmal rookie year, as he hauled in 14 passes for less than 200 yards and no scores in 11 games. If he can hold on to the big-play, deep-threat role that he excelled in against the Chiefs and prove why he was worthy of a second-round pick, he could be worth a FLEX or even WR2 play against certain matchups throughout the season.  

Wide Receiver: John Ross III, Cincinnati Bengals (4.8 %ROST) 

Short-term: The Bengals, who are expected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year, nearly upset the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, and Ross was one of the main reasons why. Hauling in seven receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns, Ross showed off his blazing speed and playmaking ability. With a matchup vs. the uninspiring San Francisco 49ers (who aside from Richard Sherman are extremely weak in the secondary) on the horizon, Ross could very well be in store for another big week. 

Long-term: Ross was a top-10 pick in the 2017 draft by the Bengals after a breakout junior year at Washington and record-setting 40-yard-dash time at the NFL combine, but like Chark he has thus far failed to live up to his hype. Now, with A.J. Green set to miss a significant portion of the 2019 season with an injury, Ross has the opportunity to finally make an impact for Cincinnati. Andy Dalton proved that he still has some life left in his arm, and Tyler Boyd will most definitely be drawing the No.1 cornerback, which leaves Ross in an excellent position to succeed. Besides, the Bengals defense isn’t very good, so Dalton and Ross might have a lot of garbage time to play with this season. While that means nothing to them, we all saw what it did for Allen Robinson in 2015. Ross is another player who, while risky, is worth taking a flyer on at the moment. 

Tight End: Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders (26.8 %ROST) 

Short-term: He very well could be above 30 percent by the time you’re reading this, but Waller needed to be included on this list. He had seven receptions for 70 yards on Monday night vs. the Broncos and faces an even more favorable matchup in Week 2 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs and is easily worth a start over all but a few tight ends. 

Long-term: The Raiders lost two of their top receivers from last year either during the middle of the season like Amari Cooper or when free agency came like Jared Cook. They tried to make some moves, signing Tyrell Williams and trading for, uh, nevermind, but their receiving corps is still very lackluster. Cook led the team in targets and receptions last year as the starting tight end en route to a top-5 fantasy season, and Waller went and grabbed the baton, leading the team in both categories in Week 1. If you need a tight end, do everything you can to get Waller, and even if you have one, try to get him and hold him hostage from your league because of how thin the position is in fantasy football. 


Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at Jorge.eckardt@uconn.edu