The Extra Point Week 3: The Replacements
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Just as important as the starters this week (and going forward) are some of the replacements to the biggest names in fantasy football. This week, we focus on where and when to play some back-ups in your starting lineup.
We begin with a top three pick in most leagues, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook. It looks like he’ll be out or extremely limited in this week’s match-up against the Seahawks. That means his back-up, Alexander Mattison, is a must-start. Last year in a similar situation against Seattle, Mattison got 20 carries for 112 yards and a few receptions sprinkled in as well. He should be a big part of their game plan once again.
The running back room with the Rams is dealing with injuries as well. Darrell Henderson is not likely to play, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. However, the match-up isn’t as good for LA in this case. They face a Bucs run front that’s pretty tough to move the ball against on the ground. Not to mention, while Sony Michel is the back-up, there’s a chance that Jake Funk gets mixed into the game as well, which hurts Michel’s fantasy appeal as a starter. When you factor in that Michel isn’t a strong pass-catcher, it feels like his upside is limited.
But if you thought that was a dicey situation, take a look at San Francisco. They’ve been dealt some brutal injuries at running back. Jeff Wilson Jr. started the season on the PUP list. Raheem Mostert went down for the season just a few plays into Week 1. Then last week, both Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) and Trey Sermon (concussion) were injured as well. The good news for the 49ers is Sermon should be available for their Sunday night game against Green Bay. The bad news for fantasy owners is you never know what head coach Kyle Shanahan is thinking. Sermon was buried on the depth chart coming into the regular season, but all of a sudden he’s in line to start. Personally, I’d take that with a grain of salt. The 49ers have been very active adding Jacques Patrick and Kerryon Johnson to the active roster. I could see them stealing their share of carries from Sermon and making it a frustrating day for his fantasy managers.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on the Raiders. Josh Jacobs could miss a second straight week, which would once again increase the workload for running back Kenyan Drake. The more snaps for Drake, the better. He’s proven to be a valuable pass-catching target for quarterback Derek Carr, who currently leads the league in pass attempts per game.
As far as non-injury related situations, the Broncos running back room is fascinating to me. Both rookie Javonte Williams and veteran Melvin Gordon are getting a similar amount of touches, but Gordon took a step back in Week 2. I’d only start him if I had to. The tide may be turning in Williams’s favor already.
Finally, taking a look at receiver, I’m predicting a breakout game for Pittsburgh’s Chase Claypool, who’s been relatively quiet through two weeks. With fellow wideout Diontae Johnson ruled out, there will likely be more targets headed Claypool’s way.
As always, I’m open for business on the Final Play app’s Final Word feature. If you’ve got any fantasy-related questions about your lineup, trades or waiver wire pick-ups, get those questions in.
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