Philip Rivers, Chargers
When you throw for 284 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against the league’s top secondary, you get the Moving Up treatment. Better yet for Rivers owners, the team’s rushing attack is a question mark with Ryan Mathews expected to miss multiple games, plus the Chargers face a soft schedule over the next several weeks.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins
RGIII is out and Cousins is in, maybe for longer than most expect. He was superlative off the bench this week, abusing the Jaguars secondary by completing 22 of his 33 passes for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Unfortunately, DeSean Jackson may also be out for some time with a sprained shoulder.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins
Moving Down two weeks in a row. RGIII was here last week in recognition that the team’s effort to curtail his running was negatively impacting his fantasy production. A dislocated ankle injury suffered in Week 2 gets him here again this week, and this injury appears serious resulting in an extended absence.
Tony Romo, Cowboys
Let’s see. Lots of downfield passing, 37 attempts and a loss in Week 1. Ball control and short passes in a Week 2 win over the Titans. What’s in store for Week 3?
Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas, Saints
With Mark Ingram expected to miss a month with an injured hand, Robinson figures to take over as the team’s running back on early downs with Thomas also seeing more carries out of the backfield in addition to his receiving role. With the byes approaching, both players are worth adding as fill-ins.
Darren Sproles, Saints
The preseason read on Sproles was that he would see far fewer touches in Philly than he had in New Orleans and that he had lost a step in 2013. So much for that. Sproles had 15 touch and a score in Week 1 and followed that up with 11 touches and a score in Week 2 while producing 263 total yards of offense. Simply put, if Sproles gets 12-13 touches a week, you can be pretty sure one of those touches will result in a long gain or a touchdown making him a viable low end RB2.
Jeremy Hill, Bengals
The Bengals said they were going to get Hill more involved in Week 2 after he carried the ball just four times in the season opener, and they delivered. He carried the ball 15 times for 74 yards and a touchdown as the Bengals ran roughshod over the Falcons. Better yet for Hill owners, the Bengals are playing stout defense and leading wide receiver A.J. Green is out until at least Week 5, with an increased emphasis on the running game likely.
Donald Brown, Chargers
With Ryan Mathews out and Danny Woodhead ill-suited to handle the lead role, Brown is looking at between 12-15 touches per game. If he is the player we saw last season, he can help you. If he is the player he was during his first four years in the league, he can’t help you. Yes, that’s a lukewarm endorsement.
Bobby Rainey, Bucs
With Doug Martin out, Rainey got the start against the Rams and didn’t disappoint, carrying the ball 22 times for 144 yards and catching three passes for another 30 yards. The truth is that Rainey hasn’t proven he can produce on a consistent basis but given his performance this week, he has carved out a larger role in the Bucs backfield and reduced the urgency for Tampa Bay to get Martin back in the lineup.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts
Bradshaw is getting the passing down work, the goal line work and spelling Trent Richardson on a regular basis. He might technically be the backup in Indianapolis but he has more fantasy value than T-Rich.
Toby Gerhart, Jaguars
I really hate to be the, “I told you so” guy, but this one is low hanging fruit. Take your pick – Gerhart’s overall lack of skill, an ankle injury or the Jags sad sack offensive line. Some combo of those three issues caused Gerhart to rush for just 42 yards on 18 carries in Week 1 and he followed that up this week with a seven carry, eight yard performance against the Redskins. As I mentioned to a friend in the preseason, you just know that some combination of factors will transpire to cause Gerhart to underperform his optimistic preseason fantasy ADP. And sure enough, he is headed down that path.
Ryan Mathews, Chargers
Quite possibly out for the year with an MCL sprain. So much for Mathews proving his ability to stay healthy in 2013 by appearing in all 16 games. At best, he misses a bunch of games and comes back as part of a timeshare for the balance of the season. Remember that Mathews is in a contract year with Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown under contract for next season.
Knowshon Moreno, Dolphins
Out for 6-8 weeks. While Moreno was a standout last season and in Week 1, this is a reminder that he is also a player that has failed to remain healthy on a consistent basis throughout much of his career.
Josh Gordon, Browns
When last year’s top fantasy wide receiver has his suspension reduced from 16 games to 10, he tops the Moving Up list. Gordon should be owned in all leagues, bar none.
Harry Douglas, Falcons
The Falcons play Thursday, Roddy White might miss the game with a hamstring injury and Douglas has 15 targets in two games. It’s easy to forget that Douglas topped 1,000 receiving yards last season while White and Julio Jones each missed time.
Brian Quick, Rams
While Quick doesn’t possess much upside given the sorry state of the Rams offense, he is their clear cut leading wide receiver with 18 targets in two games which is 13 more than the next most targeted Rams receiver. And he’s been efficient, catching 14 of those targets for 173 yards. The ceiling isn’t really high but Quick has an outside chance to top 1,000 receiving yards with 5-6 touchdowns.
Julian Edelman, Patriots
More sold on him now than at any point in his career. His 15 targets in two games leads the Patriots wide receiver with Kenbrell Thompkins next with 10 and he was inactive in Week 2. Edelman rates as an upper tier WR3 the rest of the way.
James Jones, Raiders
Rod Streater is expected to miss time, the Raiders stink and their rushing attack is non-existent so we can expect plenty of passing. And Jones is their only remotely reliable wide receiver. He had a pretty good game in the stats department Sunday.
Mohamed Sanu, Bengals
Both A.J. Green and Marvin Jones won’t return until Week 5 at the earliest. Sanu is a must start this week although the Bengals Week 4 bye means his uptick in value is likely only for a short period of time.
A.J. Green, Bengals
With a possible case of turf toe and a Week 4 bye, don’t expect to see A.J. in the Bengals lineup until Week 5.
Jarrett Boykin, Packers and Brandon Gibson, Dolphins
Not all third wide receivers are created equal. Most fantasy owners were not counting on Gibson entering the season but Boykin had more breakout potential. Unfortunately, both of these veterans appear to have been passed on the depth chart by a pair of 2nd round picks, Davante Adams in Green Bay and Jarvis Landry in Miami.
Riley Cooper, Eagles
Cooper has just 10 targets in two games which is only two more than rookie Jordan Mathews. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where this is headed.
Antonio Gates, Chargers
As it turns out, Gates’ 77 reception, 872 yard, four touchdown season from a year ago wasn’t a fluke. Perhaps it was the touchdown count (his lowest since his rookie season in 2003) that lulled us into thinking he was a spent force at 34 years of age. After catching all seven of his targets this week for 96 yards and three touchdowns against the Seahawks, the consensus choice as the league’s top secondary, Gates has 13 receptions for 177 yards and three scores in two games.
Delanie Walker, Titans
I wasn’t convinced after Week 1 due to his low target count (just four) but after Walker’s 10 receptions on 14 targets for 142 yards and a touchdown this week against the Cowboys, count me in.
Larry Donnell, Giants
Donnell doesn’t seem to have special talent but with 17 targets in two weeks, he does seem to be a key cog in the Giants game plan. Since he has caught 12 of those targets for 137 yards and a touchdown, Donnell is definitely Moving Up.
Niles Paul, Redskins
Subbing in for an injured Jordan Reed, Paul caught all four of his targets in Week 1 for 86 yards. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the Moving Up treatment due to his low targets. That changed in Week 2 as he was targeted a healthy 11 times, catching eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. With the Redskins stating that Reed was a “long shot” to play in Week 2 and Paul performing well, we expect him to get a healthy majority of targets in Week 3.
Ladarius Green, Chargers
See above – Antonio Gates. Looks like the breakout season is at least a year away.