- Ryan Fitzpatrick is on his way to stealing Jameis Winston's job, and he's definitely worth a waiver wire pickup.
Week 2, as it so often does, threw some cold water on some of Week 1’s surprises. Those high-flying Jets? They scored 12 points in a home loss to the Dolphins. Adrian Peterson? He was held to 20 yards on 11 carries in a loss to the Colts. Ryan Fitzpatrick? He, well, he’s still exceeding expectations and confounding the fantasy community. Guess what, though? That has earned him a spot at the top of our early look at the Week 3 Waiver Wire.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buccaneers
It takes a lot for a quarterback to make it into the waiver wire as a player we’re recommending to keep around beyond one week. In one-quarterback leagues, the quarterbacks fantasy owners want to grab off the wire are streamers with short-term value. In two-quarterback leagues, all starters and the highest-value backups, such as Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson, are likely owned. As such, quarterbacks generally don’t show up on the waiver wire beyond being streamers. To do so, they must do something special.
It’s safe to say Fitzpatrick has done just that over the first two weeks of the season. He has the Buccaneers sitting at 2-0 with wins over the Saints and Eagles thanks to some of the best quarterback play we’ve seen this season. In the two wins, Fitzpatrick has completed 78.7% of his passes for 819 yards, 13.43 yards per attempt, and eight touchdowns against one interception. He became the third quarterback in NFL history with consecutive games with at least 400 yards and four scores, joining Billy Volek and Dan Marino.
Fitzpatrick isn’t going to put together the greatest quarterback season any of us has ever seen, but there’s reason to believe he can remain a strong fantasy option for the balance of the season. First and foremost, Jameis Winston has done nothing to prove he’s a franchise quarterback. In fact, he has actively harmed his stature off the field, and hasn’t done much to help it on the field. Fitzpatrick can absolutely steal the starting job from Winston, relegating the one-time first overall pick to backup status. Secondly, Tampa Bay’s passing game is showing signs of not just competence, but explosiveness. The Buccaneers have produced three 100-yard receiving games thus far, DeSean Jackson twice and Mike Evans once. Jackson has nine catches for 275 yards and three scores on the season. Evans has 17 grabs for 230 yards and two touchdowns. O.J. Howard is at 5-150-1, and went for a 75-yard score on Sunday, and Chris Godwin has an 8-97-2 line in two games. If Fitzpatrick is guiding this passing attack all season, he could be in line for more than his fair share of QB1 games. At this point, fantasy owners should trust what they’ve seen.
John Brown, WR, Ravens
It’s likely that this is the week where Brown’s ownership rate finally reaches a level where it should have been immediately after the end of draft season. Brown was great again in Week 2, catching four of his team-high 10 targets for 92 yards and a touchdown. In two games, he has seven catches on 14 targets for 136 yards and two scores, all while bringing a unique element to the Baltimore offense. Buck Allen may wrest touches away from Alex Collins, and Willie Snead and Mark Andrews can steal possession-style targets away from Michael Crabtree, but no one will challenge Brown’s primacy as the team’s best deep-ball receiver.
What has to make the fantasy community even more excited about Brown are the red-zone looks. Joe Flacco looked his way inside the 20-yard line three times, and all of those have come from inside the 10. In Week 2, Brown got an end-zone target from inside the 5-yard line, and while he dropped what should have been a touchdown, the confidence Flacco has shown in him in scoring range is encouraging. Brown is always going to get plenty of opportunity on balls deep down the field. If he can add consistent looks inside the 5- and 10-yard lines, his touchdown upside increases dramatically.
Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers
Allison was productive again in Week 2, catching all six of his targets for 64 yards. He was tied with Randall Cobb for third on the team in targets, trailing Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham. What’s more, the Packers running game was a presence all afternoon, with Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery combining for 24 carries. Even when Aaron Jones returns next week, it’s not going to be out of the ordinary for Aaron Rodgers to attempt 42 passes, as he did on Sunday. Even though Allison is likely to run third, at best, in the passing game, there will be enough opportunity to go around.
Allison has 14 targets in the first two weeks of the season, pulling down 11 of them for 133 yards and a touchdown. He has put up those numbers against the Bears and Vikings, which appear at this early stage of the season to be two of the better defenses in the league. Twelve of Allison’s 14 targets have come from Rodgers, meaning he has a 16.7% target share with the starter on the field. If the fantasy community can expect that to hold all season, Allison is going to be relevant in all but the shallowest of leagues.