NFL Fantasy: Who do you trust – and avoid – after week 2’s injury glut?

The NFL is brutal on players bodies. Week 2 showed just how destructive a slate of games can be. But crisis can mean opportunity.

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Weekly fantasy sports is all about finding value where others don’t. It’s easy to rely on big stars and household names, and everyone does, but what happens when the big names get hurt? Well, you can win big by navigating through the murky waters of backups and third-stringers to find value and opportunity that others will miss!

The injury curse hit star after star in Week 2, so let’s have a look at some injury-addled offences and see who you should trust and who you should avoid in your lineups this week.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 22: Carson Wentz #11 and Josh McCown #18 of the Philadelphia Eagles react from the bench in the fourth quarter of the preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field on August 22, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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Trust: Philadelphia Eagles passing game

The Philadelphia Eagles’ two biggest names at wide receiver, Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson, are both hurt and haven’t practised all week. With a running game that’s been less-than-impressive through 2 weeks, this should worry Philly fans against a tough Lions defence, right?

Wrong!

The Lions have been vulnerable to the pass in both of their games so far, with fantasy points a-plenty for opposing wide receivers. Neither the Chargers nor the Cardinals can boast the offensive consistency of the Eagles, so feel free to stack Carson Wentz and his top pass-catcher TE Zach Ertz with confidence this week. If you’d prefer a budget option with upside, try wide receiver Nelson Agholar at a measly £4,800 to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding Jeffrey and Jackson, leaving you to spend big elsewhere.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 15: Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the New Orleans Saints looks to pass during the first half of a game againts the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Avoid: New Orleans Saints QB(s)

Drew Brees has been one of the most consistent QBs in football. But now he’s out following surgery on a damaged thumb. The Saints paid good money to former Minnesota Vikings starter Teddy Bridgewater for just such a situation, but the always-conservative Bridgewater looked underwhelming under centre against the Rams last week, and the normally reliable Saints offence suffered as a result.

To further muddy the waters, coach Sean Payton has stated that he’ll be using both Bridgewater and offensive Swiss army knife Taysom Hill at QB this Sunday. He compared Hill to former 49ers Hall-of-Famer Steve Young in the offseason, so we know Payton likes him, and you can’t afford to gamble on the most important position of your fantasy roster. In a tough matchup on the road against the Seattle Seahawks, steer clear of the Saints QB situation this Sunday.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 08: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers is pressured by Clay Matthews #52 of the Los Angeles Rams in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Avoid: Carolina Panthers offence

Cam Newton had been playing hurt this season, and now he’s sidelined to get himself right. This explains the disappointing Panthers offence thus far. However, despite a promising showing in Week 17 of last season, does anybody believe that Kyle Allen will come in and provide a spark? I certainly don’t, and all of the Panthers’ receivers will suffer as a result.

It’s tempting to lean on running back Christian McCaffrey, especially after his monster game in Week 1, but he came back down to earth with a bang last week against the Bucs. Even against a lacklustre Arizona defence, it might be better to adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ approach with the superstar this week, so avoid all Panthers players here.

Trust: Pittsburgh Steelers offence (well, sort of)

Big Ben Roethlisberger is done for the year. A season-ending injury has handed the reins to 2nd-year QB Mason Rudolph, who came in and played reasonably well last week against Seattle, A trip to the 2-0 San Francisco 49ers awaits this week so the temptation will be to run from the Steelers offence this week, but where there is crisis, there is also opportunity!

Rudolph and Vance McDonald connected twice in the end zone last week, and the tight end led the team in receptions catching all seven of the passes thrown his way. He’s clearly the young QB’s security blanket, and at a combined price of just £12,500 for your QB and TE the more adventurous among you can take a flyer on this budding connection and spend on reliability at WR and RB instead. It’s a risk, but the potential rewards can win your contests this weekend!

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