I am not going to say we have the 2021 NFL season figured out yet, but we now have multiple games to look at and some players are showing a lot of promise in fantasy football while other players are leaving fantasy managers frustrated. I tend to start making moves after three weeks with good players that have not lived up to the preseason hype early in the year, but for fantasy managers that have started the season winless, the last thing you want to do is drop to (0-3) hanging onto players that are not producing for you.
There are plenty of players that have not lived up to the hype early in the year that are already justifying being put on the waiver wire. Here are some players that I would look at cutting ahead of Week 3.
12- and 14-Team Leagues
Giovani Bernard (RB – TB)
Bernard has played two games and he has yet to log a rushing attempt and he has five targets, four receptions, 28 yards, and no touchdowns. Tampa Bay’s offense can be very frustrating when it comes to fantasy. Antonio Brown had five receptions for 121 yards and one touchdown in the opener. He had one reception for 17 yards in Week 2. Mike Evans had three receptions for 24 yards in the opener. He had five receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2.Tom Brady spreads the ball around to everyone and it can lead to very inconsistent fantasy results for his skill position players.
What seems to be very consistent after two weeks is that Tampa Bay has anemic fantasy production at running back and Bernard does not have a significant role in this offense. Many were hoping that Bernard would have a James White role, instead, he sees just a couple of targets per game. Bernard is not worth rostering in any league at this point.
2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Back Production
Tevin Coleman (RB - NYJ)
Coleman saw enough carries in Week 1 that I thought fantasy managers should hold onto him in deeper leagues, but Week 2 saw him as the clear third option. Michael Carter had 11 carries for 59 yards, Ty Johnson had 12 carries for 50 yards, and Coleman was left with five carries for 24 yards. Coleman was not targeted in the passing game. The Jets' next three opponents are at the Denver Broncos, the Tennessee Titans, and at the Atlanta Falcons. They follow up those games with a bye week and then travel to the New England Patriots coming off their bye week. I think Coleman is at the point where he is the third option on an offense that is 30th in points scored and 26th in yards gained. The Jets do not have a good enough offense for fantasy managers to roster the third running back.
Le'Veon Bell (RB - BAL)
The Ravens' backfield is starting to take shape. Ty'Son Williams had 13 carries for 77 yards in Week 2. Latavius Murray spelled Williams with nine carries for 36 yards and one touchdown. Devonta Freeman was promoted from the practice squad over Bell and had two rushing attempts for 29 yards. Bell is at a point in his career where he needs to overtake Freeman so that he can have a couple of rushing attempts per game, which is miles away from being fantasy-relevant. There are better uses of a roster spot than hoping that Bell eventually sees enough touches to be on a fantasy roster.
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB - NE)
Stevenson is definitely in the doghouse after his Week 1 fumble, he was not even active for Week 2 against the New York Jets. Even if he makes his way back to Bill Belichick's good graces, Damien Harris had 16 of the team's 24 carries and James White was next with five carries. Kendrick Bourne and J.J. Taylor combined for three carries in the game. Stevenson is not worth rostering with Harris the clear lead back and Stevenson not even able to be on the active roster to see a few carries.
Terrace Marshall Jr. (WR - CAR)
Marshall's biggest obstacle to production is Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey has 15 targets in two games and those are the looks that would normally go to a slot wide receiver. D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson also have a huge role in the offense. That leaves Marshall as the odd man out with just three targets, three receptions, and 17 yards in Week 2. Curtis Samuel did have a big role as the third wide receiver last year, but that role was created by McCaffrey being injured. Marshall Jr looks like he is going to need the same thing to happen and even then, he was targeted less than Dan Arnold (four targets) and tied with Brandon Zylstra and his three targets. Even Ian Thomas had two targets against the Saints. Marshall Jr. is a long way from having a consistent role at this point.
Russell Gage (WR - ATL)
The player that seems to have a role as the third option in the passing game is Cordarrelle Patterson. In addition to his seven rushing attempts for 11 yards and a touchdown, he had six targets, five receptions, 58 yards, and another touchdown. Gage was left with seven targets, five receptions, and 28 yards in a game that the Falcons trailed 28-10 and lost 48-25. I do not see a role for Gage at this point that warrants fantasy rostership. Even in a game where they trailed early and Matt Ryan threw the ball 46 times, Gage was not productive.
Marquez Callaway (WR - NO)
Callaway had one reception on two targets for 14 yards in Week 1 when the Saints won 38-3. He followed that up with two receptions on four targets for eight yards in a game the Saints lost 26-7. If he is not going to have a role in a blowout win or a blowout loss, it seems hard to see his route to fantasy relevance. Granted, Michael Thomas will still be out for a few more weeks, but Callaway has a road game at New England, the New York Giants, another road game at Washington, and the bye week. The Giants are the only decent matchup, and even in that matchup, it is hard to trust a player with 22 yards receiving on the season.
Anthony Schwartz (WR - CLE)
Schwartz looked like an interesting option after Week 1 when he had five targets, three receptions, and 69 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs with Odell Beckham Jr. out of the mix. He followed that up with one target and no receptions in a game where Beckham Jr. did not play and Jarvis Landry was injured early in the game. One school of thought could be that if Beckham is not active in Week 3 and Landry is going to miss some time, that Schwartz could take on fantasy relevance. The other school of thought is that the Browns run the ball as much as any team in the league and there just is not enough upside at the receiver position to roll with one. The Browns have a tough matchup against the Chicago Bears, followed by road games at Minnesota and the Los Angeles Chargers. I would lean toward selling Schwartz on one of the leanest passing offenses in fantasy football.
Ben Roethlisberger (QB - PIT)
Big Ben has just 483 yards passing and two passing touchdowns in his first two games of the year. It looks like the same Big Ben as the end of last year. He is averaging just 6.7 yards per passing attempt in two weeks. He is the 27th ranked fantasy quarterback and usually veteran quarterbacks wear down as the season progresses. I just don't see Big Ben improving enough as the season goes forward to warrant rostership in fantasy football. He may end up winning a lot of games with that defense, especially if Najee Harris picks up the pace, but none of that helps Big Ben's fantasy value.
Mac Jones (QB - NE)
Jones has a bright future as an NFL starter, but in fantasy, he is still a work in progress. He is the 30th ranked fantasy quarterback through two games with 11.34 fantasy points per game. New England is all about running the ball and playing good defense at this point. They are not trying to outscore teams, they are trying to grind out victories. Jones may have an expanded role later in the year, but the Patriots are looking for Jones to manage the game, which does not translate into a solid fantasy quarterback that should be rostered.
Adam Trautman (TE - NO)
Trautman had six targets for three receptions and 18 yards in the opener and followed that up with no targets in 23 snaps in Week 2. Trautman does not warrant fantasy consideration against the Patriots and he is not good enough to warrant a bench spot while the Saints sort out their passing offense.
Anthony Firkser (TE - TEN)
Firkser was out in Week 2 with a knee issue, but the Titans are just 20th in fantasy points scored by tight ends with 6.6 points per contest. Firkser was a Darkhorse fantasy option entering the season on a team with a ton of skill-position talent, but the Titans do not seem to be looking for the tight end much, and Firkser is battling injury. I do not think it pays to hold onto an injured TE3 and hope he finds a role in this offense anytime soon.
Jameis Winston (QB - NO)
Winston went from 29.62 fantasy points in the opener to 10.34 fantasy points in Week 2, which was a disappointment for fantasy managers hoping they had found a great waiver wire addition in Winston. In deeper leagues, Winston is worth holding onto for the bye weeks or easier matchups. In shallower leagues, he is still probably no more than a streaming option. With road games against New England and Washington, a home game against the Giants, and a bye week in Week 6, there is not much upside to holding a player that may be worth only one desperation start over the next month.
Ronald Jones II (RB - TB)
In the passing game, Jones saw only three targets and finished a 48-25 blowout victory with six rushing attempts for 27 yards. Leonard Fournette led the way with 11 rushing attempts for 52 yards. The Buccaneers running backs rank 25th among fantasy backfields in fantasy points scored over the first two weeks. Jones is the second option that has actually been outscored by Bernard on the season, a player with five targets in two games. In shallower leagues, there is not much upside holding onto Jones at this point.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR - BUF)
Josh Allen was not great in this game. He was 17 for 33 with 179 yards, two touchdowns, one pick, and a QB rating of 75.2. That was not the game we expected Allen to have, and the only Bills wide receiver that was fantasy relevant was Stefon Diggs with just four receptions, 60 yards, and one touchdown. My issue was that Gabriel Davis was not active in this game, and Sanders still managed only six targets, two receptions, and 48 yards. That gives Sanders six receptions for 100 yards on the season. Managers in deeper leagues will hope Allen returns to form going forward and that Sanders has a role as a result. I think managers in shallower leagues will have better options than Sanders available on the waiver wire.
Gerald Everett (TE - SEA)
In deeper leagues, you could hold out hope that Russell Wilson will find Everett in the end zone as he did in Week 1. In shallower leagues, Everett is a player that has four targets in two games and three receptions for 23 yards and one touchdown. Everett may end up not being worthy of a roster spot in any league, but at this point, he definitely should not be roster in shallower leagues. The upside of playing with Wilson does not justify rostering a player with four targets in his first two games in shallower leagues.
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