Last week, I said Puka Nacua “might be my top priority on waivers.” I undersold him. Nacua might be the waiver-wire add of the season in Fantasy Football.
He followed up his 10-catch debut in Week 1 with an even bigger showing Sunday, catching 15 of 20 targets for 147 yards. Those are, obviously, massive numbers, and he even added another couple of carries, more ammunition for the belief that he’s the new Robert Woods in this Rams offense.
Obviously, Nacua isn’t going to keep catching 10-plus passes every week — I mean … probably. Especially when Kupp is able to play. But there’s also no point in being skeptical about him after 25 catches over two games, because it would be a heck of a fluke. Over the past 30 seasons, only three wide receivers have ever had even 20 receptions in a two-game span, with Odell Beckham the only one to have more than 21 catches in a two-game stretch.
I hope you weren’t conservative with your bids for Nacua last week, because there’s nobody who even comes close to Nacua in this week’s crop of waiver-wire targets. In fact, there’s nobody who looks as good as Kyren Williams — more about whom shortly.
So, before we get to the biggest winners and losers and the biggest injuries from Sunday’s action, here’s an:
- Matt Breida, RB, Giants (6%)
- Tutu Atwell, WR, Rams (48%)
- Zack Moss, RB, Colts (57%)
- Nathaniel Dell, WR, Texans (24%)
- Josh Reynolds, WR, Lions (20%)
In the rest of tonight’s FFT newsletter, we’ve got the biggest injuries and winners and losers to recap Sunday’s action. Here’s what you need to know:
Week 2 Injury Recap
This was, unfortunately, a pretty big day of injuries. Joe Burrow suffered a setback with his preseason calf injury, and while he told reporters after the game he would have played through it if the Bengals had gotten the ball back, his status for Week 3 (and potentially beyond) looks to be in some doubt right now.
That’s frustrating because the Bengals offense hasn’t been able to get on track after Burrow missed the entire preseason and training camp with the initial injury. Tee Higgins bounced back Sunday from a catch-less opener, but Ja’Marr Chase now has just 70 yards through two games and might be catching passes from Jake Browning in Week 3. As Garrett Wilson showed Sunday, you don’t necessarily have to bench a player like that because of a bad QB situation, but it certainly lowers both Chase’s floor and ceiling — and it makes it even harder to bet on both Chase and Higgins at the same time.
, along with the other injuries you need to know about. Here’s a quick summary, and unfortunately, Burrow is not alone
Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants (ankle) — Barkley got rolled up on late in the Giants’ furious comeback effort against the Cardinals and had to be helped to the sidelines. He tried to have the ankle taped up in case the game went into overtime, but he was clearly frustrated by the injury, slamming his helmet on the bench. The Giants would ultimately win without him, and he ended up having X-rays taken on the ankle after the game. Even if the injury isn’t serious, Barkley seems pretty likely to miss at least some time, with the Giants set to play Thursday in Week 3. Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell would probably split work, and I don’t think I’d have much interest in either against the 49ers, even if Barkley is out. Hopefully, it’s just a one-week thing.
Anthony Richardson, QB, Colts (concussion) — Richardson looked like he was on his way to a massive game with two early touchdowns, but we saw the downside of his aggressive, run-heavy approach when he fell hard on the second of those touchdowns and exited the game. He was checked out and entered the concussion protocol, meaning he’ll have to be cleared before he can return to the field.
David Montgomery, RB, Lions (thigh) — Montgomery was having another solid game, rushing for 67 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown, but he suffered the injury after his lone catch for 7 yards. Montgomery got his leg twisted up as he was being tackled, and he was eventually carted to the locker room. That doesn’t always mean the injury is as serious as it might seem, but it’s still not what you want to see. Jahmyr Gibbs saw a bit of a bigger role in Week 2, and could be a top-12 RB if Montgomery misses time – though it’s also worth noting that Gibbs left Sunday’s game late with what looked like an ankle injury. It’s not clear if that’s anything to be concerned about, but I’ll note it here, because Craig Reynolds could be in line for a useful role in Week 3 against the Falcons if both Lions backs are out.
Davante Adams, WR, Raiders (concussion) — With Jakobi Meyers out with a concussion of his own, Adams dominated targets for the Raiders, sporting a 33% target share on Jimmy Garoppolo’s 24 throws. However, the last of those targets saw Adams take a shot to the head on a play that earned an unnecessary roughness penalty. Adams was placed in the concussion protocol after the game, so he’ll have to be cleared before he can play in Week 3 against the Steelers. No wide receiver for the Raiders has had more than one target in either of their first two games except Adams and Meyers, so I’m not sure there’s anyone here I’d have any interest in if they are out next week.
Biggest Winners and Losers
Here’s who has the arrow pointing up or down coming out of Sunday’s action:
Geno Smith, QB, Seahawks
Given that Smith doesn’t have the same kind of track record to fall back on as some other quarterbacks who similarly struggled in Week 1, I couldn’t quite ignore the nagging concerns I had about how he played in the opener. Those concerns are mostly gone after he looked more like his 2022 self Sunday. He passed for 328 yards and a couple of scores, while adding 20 rushing yards, and he did that despite both DK Metcalf and Jaxon Smith-Njigba leaving for stretches with injuries (both played through them). Smith has even more weapons than he did last season, and the Seahawks haven’t been shy about having him air it out. He’s still a top-12 QB in my eyes.
Kyren Williams, RB, Rams
The Rams made Cam Akers a healthy scratch, and then they went out and gave Williams a massive workload. The second-year back played all but three snaps in a game where the Rams played a whopping 77 snaps – that’s a 96% snap share. Williams got 14 carries and 10 targets in the game, and he might just have massive workloads coming for the foreseeable future if the Rams and Akers can’t figure out whatever the issue is. Williams runs tough, works hard as a blocker, and clearly has the coaching staff’s trust, and might just be an RB2 moving forward if they’re going to keep throwing to him. It’s a lot to ask any back to hold up to a 96% snap share, so that might not be sustainable, but I don’t think Ronnie Rivers is really going to be a threat to Williams’ role.
Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Lions
Hopefully, Gibbs’ ankle injury ends up a non issue, because he could be in line for the role we’re hoping for in Week 3. He already saw more opportunities Sunday, with seven carries and seven catches (on nine targets), and while I think it’s unlikely he’ll just get 20-plus carries if Montgomery can’t go against the Falcons, his first double-digit carry game plus a healthy passing game workload seems reasonable to expect. Gibbs wasn’t efficient Sunday, but he’s a big play waiting to happen, and a bigger role simply means more opportunities for those big plays. He might be ranked as a top-12 RB if Montgomery misses time, and even if Montgomery is fine, all that talk about Gibbs’ role growing as the season went on was backed up by action Sunday.
Rachaad White, RB, Buccaneers
White looked dreadful in Week 1, to the point where many voiced concerns about whether he was cut out for a lead role – including myself. I don’t want to say he proved unequivocally that he’s an RB1 Sunday, but he should have quieted some of the doubters by rushing for 73 yards on 17 carries and adding 30 yards on five targets. It’s not even that White looked like a star – he looked fine, I thought – but that his poor showing in Week 1 did nothing to impact his standing in the coaching staff’s eyes. White may lose his job in the long run, but after Week 2, at least, it doesn’t look imminent.
Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
I thought a lot of people were too quick to write off Evans and Chris Godwin, because it seemed pretty clear to me this offense was still going to run through those two in the passing game. And through two games, they’ve dropped back to pass on 56% of their snaps – a far cry from last season’s massive 67% rate, but not at all a run-first approach, especially considering they are 2-0 and led for most of the way Sunday. Evans has a 26% target share through two games while still seeing plenty of downfield throws, and he’s turned them into 12 catches for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns. I think you can make a case for Evans as a sell-high candidate, but I also think there was enough skepticism about Evans coming into the season that it might be tough to get fair value for him. He sure looks like a rock-solid WR2 to me.
Christian Kirk, WR, Jaguars
Kirk might just be a matchup play this season, as the Jaguars talked about his strengths against man coverage ahead of the matchup against the Chiefs, and then he put together a massive bounceback game, catching 11 of 14 passes for 110 yards, all of which led the team. Kirk only had one catch in Week 1 while regularly coming off the field, but he was out there for 44 of 49 pass plays Sunday. He was helped by both Zay Jones and Calvin Ridley coming off the field with knee injuries at various points, but it was still nice to see. Kirk probably isn’t going to be a reliable, week-in, week-out option, but you’re not going to drop him. That was the concern this time last week.
Nico Collins, WR, Texans
I’ll be honest: I was pretty skeptical about the Collins breakout talk this offseason. I think I only drafted him in one of my 15 leagues. I just didn’t see a ton in either his prospect profile or what he did in his first two seasons to suggest he was likely to be a big-time contributor with a rookie QB. Well, I may have been wrong about Collins and this whole Texans offense. On the latter point, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much trust the Texans have had with C.J. Stroud, who has dropped back to pass 50-plus times in each of his two games. That probably won’t be sustainable, but it’s a good sign that this team isn’t going to play scared on offense. Collins isn’t exactly dominating targets – he has one more than Robert Woods through two games and had one fewer than Tank Dell Sunday – but he is dominating air yards, with 270, 97 more than Woods. Earning a 21% target share with that much downfield work is a great sign. There will probably be some leaner times, but I’m incredibly impressed with what we’ve seen from Collins and the Texans so far. Stroud might be the real deal.
Justin Fields, QB, Bears
I’m not writing Fields off. He’s still a starting Fantasy QB. But after two games, it’s hard to see Fields making the leap we all hoped he was going to make. What’s worse is, DJ Moore actually had the kind of impact we were hoping for in this game, catching six passes for 104 yards and showing the kind of after-the-catch skills that would elevate Fields passing numbers. Unfortunately, Fields still looks pretty rough as a passer, completing just 16 of 29 passes Sunday, with just 147 yards after the first drive of the game. The Bears needed some time to figure out how to get Fields going last season, so maybe we’ll see a similar switch flipped in the coming weeks. But right now, Fields looks like a good Fantast QB, but hardly an elite one.
Roschon Johnson, RB, Bears
When reports came out Sunday morning indicating that the Bears were going to have D’Onta Foreman inactive Sunday, people got very excited about Johnson. After all, if he got five carries and seven targets in his first NFL game as part of a three-way backfield committee, what could he do with Foreman out of the picture? Well, as it turns out, four carries and two targets is what he could do. Johnson was still the clear No. 2 back behind Khalil Herbert (30 snaps to 22), but the bigger issue is that Justin Fields wasn’t dumping the ball off to his backs the way he did in Week 1. Fields throwing 41% of his passes to his RBs last week was one of the biggest surprises in the league, and it didn’t last. I didn’t expect it to, and I’m probably going to rank Herbert and Johnson outside of my top 30 at the position until I see a reason to change it.
AJ Dillon, RB, Packers
Dillon has been held up as one of the most valuable handcuffs in Fantasy over the past few years, but that may have come to an end Sunday. With Aaron Jones out, I ranked Dillon as a top-12 back and he responded with 7.3 PPR points. Now, to be fair, the Packers only ran 47 plays, and Dillon touched the ball on 34% of them, which isn’t bad. However, the bigger problem with Dillon is just that it’s been a while since he’s really looked good. He was efficient in a small role as a rookie, and then surprised with his pass-catching in 2021. But he struggled to do much in either facet of the game in 2022, and that’s continued this season in the early going. Aaron Jones is just clearly a better player than Dillon, and I’m not sure this offense is good enough to dream on RB1 upside for Dillon anymore, even if Jones misses time. This was a tough showing, and while I’m probably not dropping Dillon, if Jones is out in Week 3, I’m probably not ranking him any higher than 20. He seems like just a guy now.
Dameon Pierce, RB, Texans
The case for Pierce coming into the season was built around his lack of competition for touches in what we thought was going to be a pretty run-heavy offense. Well, we’ve already covered why the latter part of that assumption was wrong, and with Devin Singletary playing 27 snaps to Pierce’s 36 (with Dare Ogunbowale even coming in for 16, mostly in the passing game), it’s hard to see what the case for Pierce is at this point. He’s still a talented back, but he’s not a superstar, and the Texans banged up line isn’t doing much to elevate him. With how much two other backs here are involved, Pierce just looks like a low-end RB2, especially with just six targets through two games.
Garrett Wilson, WR, Jets
If you started Wilson in Week 2, you were bailed out for the second game in a row by his sheer individual brilliance, as he turned one of his two catches (on either targets) into a 68-yard touchdown. He’s now scored in both games with Zach Wilson, and I’d be trying to use this opportunity to sell him to anyone who still believes in him because I’ve seen nothing from Wilson to think this season is going to be anything but a disaster for the Jets passing game. I have to imagine the Jets will be working the phones to bring in another QB, but there’s no guarantee they find someone who can even be competent at this point. Wilson is a star, but I think he’s just a boom-or-bust WR3 with Wilson as his QB, and I’d be looking to move him if anyone in your league still views him as more like a WR2.
Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons
Pitts caught just two passes in Week 2, just like in Week 1, but if anything, this showing was even more disheartening. Because, while in Week 1 Pitts at least had the excuse that the Falcons only threw the ball 18 times, Desmond Ridder actually dropped back to pass 38 times, a relatively normal amount for an NFL team in 2023. And, while Ridder wasn’t great, he did at least look competent after getting the opportunity to get into a rhythm. And it still didn’t lead to production for Pitts, who caught two of five passes for 15 yards – a paltry 16% target share, lower than both Mack Hollins and Jonnu Smith. Pitts did at least run a route on a team-high 35 dropbacks, but he was mostly running wind sprints this week. The Falcons are 2-0 with barely any contributions from Pitts, and while I’m sure there are big games coming, the theory behind a projected Pitts breakout looks pretty weak right now. He’s a boom-or-bust, low-end starting tight end. Again. I’m so disappointed.