The Market Report is your one-stop Monday shop for all the movement from a big weekend of NFL football.
These are the players who stood out for fantasy-relevant reasons — the good reasons, the bad reasons, and the in-between.
This column will be posted every Monday afternoon.
Players about whom we’re feeling more optimistic based on recent play or news.
Kyler Murray (Ari) — Murray is off to a QB1 start through two weeks with his second straight 30+ FP performance in a victory over the Vikings in Week 2. He completed 29/36 passes for 400 yards (11.1 YPA), three touchdowns, and two interceptions while adding 5/31/1 rushing. Murray has accounted for 4+ touchdowns in each of his first two games, and he’s reached 400+ passing yards in two of his last five starts dating back to last season. The Cardinals could be an offensive juggernaut this season with 34+ points in each of their first two games, and Kyler will be the favorite to be the QB1 again this week with a matchup looming against the lowly Jaguars. (Tom Brolley)
Lamar Jackson (Bal) — After a very inauspicious start where he missed Marquise Brown on a sure-fire TD on the second play of the game and then threw a pick-six on the very next snap, Lamar Jackson turned his night around to finally beat the Chiefs for the first time in his career. Jackson ended his night 18-of-26 for 239 yards (1 TD, 2 INT) and was dynamic on the ground (16/107/2) en route to a 32.3 FP outing. While Jackson has been hit-or-miss as a passer through two games, his running ability has covered up any of his mistakes through the air and, once again, has been a difference-maker for fantasy. So far, only Derrick Henry (240) and Joe Mixon (196) have more rushing yards than Lamar (193). And, dating back to last season (including the playoffs), Jackson has rushed for over 80 yards seven times in his last 10 games. Lamar will be in the QB1 mix in Week 3 vs. Detroit. (Graham Barfield)
Tom Brady (TB) — I mean, there’s not much we can say about Brady that you don’t know, but this is just to point out that the Buccaneers are one of those teams that doesn’t trust its RBs enough down at the goal line to hand them the ball while they have a quarterback operating at full capacity with an assload of weapons at his disposal. Brady threw 5 TD against the Falcons in Week 2, giving him 9 on the season. Of those 9, five are from five yards or closer. In fact, those are the only five plays the Bucs have run from inside the opponents’ five-yard line. With Brady doing this and Rob Gronkowski looking like his old self, why would the Bucs hand the ball to the likes of Ronald Jones? (Joe Dolan)
Derrick Henry (Ten) — King Henry looked headed for a second disappointing fantasy performance in as many weeks when he was stuck with 13/35 rushing after the first two quarters against the Seahawks. Henry and the Titans flipped the switch in the second half, though, as he rumbled 22/147/3 rushing in the final 35 minutes as Tennessee erased a 15-point deficit in their Week 2 victory. Henry also caught all six of his targets for 55 yards on his way to finishing with a week-best 47.7 FP. He already has nine catches on 10 targets through two games, and he’s well on pace to smash his previous receiving bests in targets (31) and receptions (19), which he set last season, as well as his 206 receiving yards from 2019. Henry is back on track after a slow first six quarters to the season, and he gets a matchup against a Colts’ defense this week that he posted 46/281/3 rushing against in two games last season. (TB)
Damien Harris (NE) — The disadvantage of Harris’ fumble in Week 1 — other than, y’know, it cost the Patriots the game — is that we didn’t know how Bill Belichick, notorious hater of fumbles, would react. We knew he benched rookie Rhamondre Stevenson in Week 1 for his, but Harris’ came so late we didn’t see what discipline, if any, Belichick would impose. Well, in Week 2, we found out — nothing, at least not in game. Harris was the Patriots’ lead dog in their win over the Jets, posting 16/62/1 rushing and a single 2-yard catch while playing 41% of the offensive snaps. Yes, his snap share did go down, and a significant chunk of his rushing yardage came on a nasty 26-yard TD run, but he handled almost all the grind-it-out work while James White is back to being the efficient passing-down weapon he was with Tom Brady at QB (White maintained a 50% snap share). Meanwhile, Stevenson was a healthy scratch. Harris is likely to be a TD-dependent fantasy asset, but he should get enough work that he and White are viable low-end RB2s. (JD)
Austin Ekeler (LAC) — Week 1 overreactions devoid of context are very dangerous and Ekeler is yet another example of that. After missing two key practice days last week with a slightly pulled hamstring, Ekeler played a limited number of snaps and wasn’t targeted in the passing game on Opening Day. We tried to tell you not to freak out in this space. Against Dallas, Ekeler played on a much more normal 63% of Chargers’ snaps, went 9/54 rushing, and caught all nine of his targets for 61 yards. Even without a TD, Ekeler is the RB4 in PPR scoring on the week pending MNF (20.5 FP). That’s the advantage to Ekeler’s role – he doesn’t need to score to have a great week. Even though he didn’t get into the end-zone this week, Ekeler got another goal-line carry (inside-the-five) on a successful two-point conversion and is the only Charger back to get a carry in scoring range so far. Ekeler looks fantastic, is still a high-volume receiver, and is finally getting the opportunity to score. Everything is shaping up for him to be a league-winner. (GB)
Cooper Kupp (LAR) — It appears Matthew Stafford has a new favorite toy. After posting 9/163/2 on 11 targets in Week 2’s win over the Colts, Kupp is now tied for the NFL lead in receptions (16), third in the NFL in receiving yards (271), tied for second in the NFL in touchdown receptions (3), and first among non-QBs in fantasy points (60.6). He, Robert Woods, and Van Jefferson have all played similar snap shares and run the same number of routes, especially in Week 2, when they all basically were even in each category. But Stafford has consistently found Kupp to move the chains and — perhaps unexpectedly given Kupp’s style — for chunk plays. There’s just no way to sit Kupp right now. Based on usage and production, he is the WR1. Will Woods and Jefferson get theirs eventually? Sure. but Kupp and Stafford have a special connection, it seems. (JD)
Terry McLaurin (Was) — Scary Terry needed a performance like the one he gave in his first action with Taylor Heinicke as his starting quarterback in 2021. F1 routinely made top CB James Bradberry look silly with his route running in Week 2 on his way to 11/107/1 receiving on 14 targets against the Giants. Heinicke is going to be the starting quarterback for at least the next two months with Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip, IR) out of the lineup, and he quickly discovered that McLaurin is the guy this passing game funnels through. McLaurin draws another tough matchup against Tre’Davious White in Week 3, but he showed he can be trusted as a fringe WR1 going forward with Heinicke at quarterback. (TB)
Julio Jones (Ten) — Julio had a rough first showing with the Titans in Week 1, and HC Mike Vrabel called out his new star WR after the blowout loss for an unnecessary roughness penalty. Julio got the message and he put together a much better performance in Tennessee’s comeback victory over the Seahawks in Week 2. He posted 6/128 receiving on eight targets (20% share), and Jones could’ve had a much bigger day but he had a six-yard touchdown taken off the board on a controversial booth overturn. The Titans got their offense moving in the right direction so much better days are ahead for Jones as a WR2 option. (TB)
Tyler Boyd (Cin) — Boyd was the man left behind in Week 1 when Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins took over the Bengals’ passing game, but in a gamescript when the Bengals had to throw more in Week 2 — and Joe Burrow had some struggles — he benefited. Boyd played 87% of the snaps in Week 2, (76% in Week 1) and managed 7/73 on 9 targets. Higgins actually led the Bengals with 10 targets… but Boyd being the recipient of 30% of Burrow’s looks is a good sign after last week. Per PFF, Boyd also ran 32 routes to lead the Bengals in Week 1. This is not to say that Boyd is the Bengals’ #1 WR — far from it. But they have three really good ones, and if Burrow can work through his recovery from last season’s devastating ACL injury, they all have a chance to be pretty good. Boyd is the slot receiver, so there’s always a sense of “security” there that Burrow can exploit when he’s under duress. (JD)
D.J. Moore (Car) — After a strong opening game where he led the Panthers WR group in targets and went 6/80, Moore was fantastic against the Saints in Week 2. He turned his team-high 11 targets into 8/79/1 and is the WR12 in scoring on the week (pending MNF). Moore has unquestionably been Sam Darnold’s guy – he has 19 targets while Robby Anderson and Terrace Marshall both have nine – and is getting way more layup looks in this offense. Last year, Moore was the Panthers primary deep threat and his average depth of target downfield was 13.6 yards. This year? So far, Moore’s aDOT is 9.5 yards and him racking up those easier catches will continue to be great for his fantasy outlook. And more good news: the Panthers get the Texans next. Wheels up. (GB)
Courtland Sutton (Den) — Without Jerry Jeudy (ankle) for at least the next month, Sutton is set up as the Broncos clear-cut No. 1 wideout. And, boy, did he deliver in Denver’s first game without Jeudy. Granted, it was against the lowly Jaguars, but Sutton exploded for 9/159 on a team-high 12 targets. No other pass catcher got more than 6 looks from Teddy Bridgewater. The highlight of the day was this 55-yarder to open up the third quarter where Sutton got on top of the defense and Bridgewater delivered an excellent throw. Bridgewater went deep to Sutton multiple times as he routinely got open. After a slow start last week (1/14 receiving), Sutton showed that he is back to full health here. He will be on the WR2 radar and have a WR1 ceiling against the Jets in Week 3. (GB)
Mike Williams (LAC) — Is anyone happier with this new coaching staff in L.A. than Williams? We read quotes from new OC Joe Lombardi all offseason suggesting that Williams will be way more involved and, as it turns out, it certainly wasn’t empty coach-speak. Williams was Justin Herbert’s main target and turned in his second-straight game with 22 FP as he went off for 7/91/1 against Dallas. The biggest thing that has changed for Williams with this new staff is that he is no longer pigeon-holed as a deep threat. Through two games, Williams’ average depth of target is 9.9 yards downfield – which is significantly behind his 2020 figure (15.8 aDOT). Getting some easier grabs and setting Williams up for yards after the catch has gone a long way in making Williams a much more valuable receiver in fantasy so far. Williams will be a strong WR2 start again in Week 3 in a likely shootout against the Chiefs. (GB)
Marquise Brown (Bal) — After dealing with a hamstring injury that robbed him of getting reps in during Training Camp, Hollywood is off to a somewhat surprising white-hot start to 2021. Brown turned in a solid 6/69/1 in Week 1 and just exploded for 6/113/1 against the Chiefs. Pending MNF, Brown is the WR8 on the week (23.3 FP). Brown is continuing what was a great finish to the 2020 season to start the new year. Over his last 10 games (including the playoffs), Hollywood is averaging 7.3 targets and 17.1 fantasy points per game while never dipping below 12.5 FP in a single game. After a brutal start to last season, Brown has found a consistent role and is gaining more chemistry with Lamar Jackson along the way. (GB)
Rob Gronkowski (TB) — When evaluating a player for fantasy football, you must take into account a player’s “range of outcomes” — in other words, what is his best-case scenario? What is his worst-case scenario? What is most likely to happen? Frankly, I don’t think anyone expected Gronk’s “best-case scenario” to look like “2011 Gronk” through two weeks. Gronk posted 4/39/2 receiving on 5 targets in Week 2 against the Falcons, giving him a league-leading 4 TD receptions through two weeks. He’s second to only Travis Kelce in total fantasy points at the TE position. And, most importantly, he’s playing a ton — he’s played over 80% of the snaps in each of the Bucs’ first two games, a mark he reached in only 8-of-20 games a season ago (including playoffs). We also think Gronk would be thrilled to know he’s run a route on 69% of Tom Brady’s dropbacks. One of the most staggering stats we’ve seen thus far, by the way, is the fact that Tampa Bay has run five plays inside the opponents’ five-yard line. All five have been passes, and all five have been TDs. Two of those have gone to Gronk. We’ll see if his high usage keeps up, but he looks as healthy as he’s looked in years. He’s hard to bench right now. (JD)
Players about whom we’re feeling less optimistic based on recent play or news.
None of note.
Antonio Gibson (Was) — Gibson is slowly gaining a bigger role with more snaps in obvious passing situations this year, but OC Scott Turner isn’t ready to turn over the entire backfield to his second-year back. The fantasy masses were pissed on Thursday night when hurry-up back J.D. McKissic scored a touchdown at the end of the first half before he caught a 56-yard pass in their four-minute offense at the end of the game. Gibson still held a 61% to 44% snap advantage in a game that Washington trailed for much of, and he turned his snaps into 13/69 rushing (5.3 YPC) with 2/4 receiving on two targets. McKissic held just a 24-to-22 advantage in routes but his routes came in the much more valuable hurry-up situations when the quarterback is more likely to check it down. Gibson’s fantasy owners want him to own the entire backfield, but it’s unlikely to happen this season with McKissic being an excellent hurry-up option. Gibson will be a RB1 option in potential positive game scripts and he should be viewed as a high-end RB2 when Washington could potentially face negative game scripts. (TB)
Josh Jacobs (LV) — Jacobs never came close to playing in Week 2 after he sat out of practice all week with his toe/ankle injuries. He grinded out 10/34/2 rushing in the season opener but he was clearly hobbled with the injuries, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s forced to miss at least another game this week against the Dolphins. Don’t bother picking up Peyton Barber off the waiver wire after he averaged 2.5 YPC against the Steelers, and Kenyan Drake is the only usable fantasy option in this backfield while Jacobs is out. (TB)
Ezekiel Elliott (Dal) — The good news? Zeke looked much better this week compared to last and turned his 18 touches into a strong 98 scrimmage yards and a score. The bad news? Tony Pollard looks awesome and is earning himself a much bigger role. Pollard turned his 16 touches into an explosive 150 scrimmage yards and a TD as he was a massive part of the Cowboys win over the Chargers. What’s interesting is that Pollard isn’t really getting a lot of snaps, but he is getting the ball a ton when he’s on the field. Pollard was on the field for just 21 snaps this week while Elliott got 44. With Pollard looking like a huge part of the offense – and looking damn good while doing it – this may be a long, frustrating season for Zeke backers. Pollard’s ascension puts him in play as a weekly FLEX option and knocks Zeke down to high-RB2 territory. (GB)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) — The same two concerns about CEH’s rookie season are coming back to haunt us here in the early goings of the season. Edwards-Helaire played a distant third fiddle to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce in the passing game last season and not only has that been the case once again, he’s now an afterthought near the goal-line. Kansas City has run 18 plays inside of the red-zone so far this season, and CEH has only been on the field for 10 of them. And, on those red-zone plays, CEH has exactly 2 touches. Two. This week, Edwards-Helaire was even more of an afterthought in the passing game as Patrick Mahomes targeted him a grand total of zero times. CEH looked good as a runner for most of the game, but ended up costing the Chiefs a come from behind win after fumbling as Mahomes was marching the team down the field. There are no two ways about it: CEH has been a disappointment since entering the NFL. We now have a 17 game sample size that shows us Edwards-Helaire is capped as a receiver because Mahomes doesn’t check it down and capped in the TD department because Hill, Kelce, and now even Darrel Williams are getting touches near the goal-line instead of him. Plus, who knows if his fumble will cost him snaps in Week 3 and beyond. Right now, CEH is a low-ceiling RB2 and we can’t trust him more beyond that until something materially changes with his role. (GB)
Kenny Golladay (NYG) — It didn’t take long for Golladay to turn on his new quarterback after an ugly 3/38 receiving performance on eight targets against Washington. Golladay had some choice words for Daniel Jones on the sidelines late in their loss to the Football Team. He could’ve had a much bigger night but Golladay had a drop, Jones soared a pass well over his head on a long dig route, and he had a 22-yard touchdown taken away by DPI. Golladay and Jones clearly aren’t on the same page yet after Golladay missed most of August with a hamstring injury. Sterling Shepard is also still Jones’ go-to receiver in big spots while Darius Slayton is still his preferred deep target at this point. Golladay will be a volatile WR4 moving forward playing with an inconsistent QB who isn’t on the same page with Golladay just yet. (TB)
Jarvis Landry (Cle) — Landry left early in Week 2’s win over the Texans with a sprained MCL and didn’t return to action, after posting just 1 catch on 9 targets. The early word is that it’s an MCL injury, which our Dr. Edwin Porras believes could be between a three-and-six-week injury if the MRI reveals a Grade II sprain. Anything more than that, and Landry’s season could be in jeopardy. It’s a huge loss for the Browns and for fantasy — we already don’t know when Odell Beckham (ACL recovery) will return to the field. And for a team that’s overall pretty good, there really isn’t a pass catcher in Cleveland beyond Landry who has been reliable for fantasy. We’ll have to see if someone emerges.
#Browns coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters that WR Jarvis Landry has an MCL sprain and is week-to-week. It’s relatively minor, so sounds like 2-3 weeks.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 20, 2021
Will Fuller (Mia) — Fuller stepped away from the team for personal reasons before their Week 2 showdown with the Bills, and HC Brian Flores rather cryptically refused to say if Fuller would return to the team this season. Well, Fuller returned to the team this week and he should be ready to play against the Raiders barring any new developments later in the week. Fuller had to sit out Week 1 for the final game of a six-game suspension for PED use, which was handed down at the end of last season while he was with the Texans. DeVante Parker has led the Dolphins in targets in each of the first two games while rookie Jaylen Waddle has 10+ FP in each contest with Fuller on the sidelines. Fuller is a bit of risky play in his first action with the Dolphins since he could have a limited role after barely practicing since the start of training camp. (TB)
Corey Davis (NYJ) — Davis was targeted 5 times from Zach Wilson in Week 2, catching 2 passes for 8 yards. He caught 2 passes fewer than Patriots defenders did, and he was directly responsible for one of Wilson’s 4 interceptions with a bad drop. Davis is clearly Wilson’s man on the perimeter, but a lot of his production in Week 1 came with the Jets way behind (both of his TDs came with the Jets down two scores in the second half), and in Week 2, Wilson’s struggles were impossible for him to overcome. Unfortunately, this is what you’re dealing with in a rookie QB behind a terrible offensive line, and putting Davis in your lineup is a tacit admission you’re willing to jump on that roller coaster every week. There’s probably always going to be someone you’re more comfortable starting on a weekly basis, at least until Wilson evens out. (JD)
Laviska Shenault (Jax) — Besides their opening drive, the Jaguars offense struggled mightily again this week and their issues can’t be better encapsulated than Laviska Shenault’s day. Shenault turned his seven targets into 2 catches for negative yardage (-3) and picked up a shoulder injury to boot. HC Urban Meyer said that Shenault should be fine for Week 3, but it’s been nothing short of an awful start for the second-year wideout. Trevor Lawrence has targeted Shenault 16 times so far and those looks have gained 47 yards (that is 2.94 yards per target, lol). The Jags’ offense has been an unmitigated, undisciplined disaster in their first two games and the only usable player in fantasy right now is Marvin Jones. (GB)
None of note.
Players whom we’re not ready to upgrade or downgrade, but their situations demand monitoring based on recent play, injuries, or news.
None of note.
Dalvin Cook (Min) — Cook suffered what HC Mike Zimmer called a “little ankle sprain” in their Week 2 loss against the Cardinals. Cook rotated with Alexander Mattison on the final drive after Cook suffered the injury, and the Vikings could take it easy on Dalvin at practice. Cook is coming off a strong performance with 22/131 rushing (6.0 YPA) and 2/13 receiving on three targets in a heartbreaking loss to the Cardinals. It’s an injury to keep a close eye on this week and it would be wise for Cook owners to add Mattison if he’s available just in case he sits out against the Seahawks in Week 3. (TB)
Saquon Barkley (NYG) — Barkley’s start of the season has gone pretty much as expected with an extremely slow start coming off his ACL surgery. He totaled 13/57 rushing with 2/12 receiving on three targets in a loss to Washington in his second game of the season, but his usage tells us that better things are coming soon. He saw his snap rate rise from 48% to 84% despite a quick turnaround to Thursday Night Football and his routes climbed from 16 to 27. It’s not all positive for Barkley as he’s averaging just .77 yards before first contact on his overall 3.6 YPC average (per PFF). His 41-yard run also covered up his 12 other carries for 16 yards, but long runs have been Barkley’s M.O. throughout his career. Barkley is a clear buy-low candidate heading into Week 3 since he’s totaled just 12.6 FP through two games, but he has a chance to start getting into the 18-20 touch range beginning this week against the Falcons. (TB)
Jonathan Taylor (Ind) — So what’s going on with Taylor? In Week 1, we had a mediocre ground performance (17/56) offset by the fact that he posted 6/60 on 7 targets in the passing game. The passing game usage is great! We weren’t even factoring that into his off-season projection. Well, in Week 2’s loss to the Rams, Taylor had another mediocre ground performance (15/51)… and had just 2 receiving yards. More alarmingly, Taylor played just 45% of the snaps in Week 2, after 55% in Week 1, and all of a sudden Marlon Mack was involved, with 5 carries of his own. And while Taylor leads the entire NFL in carries inside his opponents’ 10-yard line with 8… he’s “gained” minus-1 yards on those runs and has no touchdowns to show for it. It’s clear the Colts’ offensive line has been problematic through two games, and now QB Carson Wentz is dealing with sprains to both his ankles. A team with bad vibes this off-season has managed to make them worse during the regular season, and if Jacob Eason is the starter for any amount of time, defenses are going to be able to key on Taylor. (JD)
Darrell Henderson (LAR) — Henderson “looking good” was never really something we took for granted — given how he played in 2020, we presumed he would look like a league-winner for as long he was available to lead the Rams’ backfield. He’s followed through on that promise, with a couple of strong performances to open the 2021 season, including 13/53/1 rushing and 3/29 receiving on 5 targets in Week 2’s win over the Colts. But it’s the other factors — the injuries — that led the Rams to trade for Sony Michel in August, and unfortunately, those have borne out as well. Henderson took a shot to the ribs, and our Dr. Edwin Porras believes the best-case scenario is that he plays on a limited basis in Week 3, with an absence of around two weeks looking more likely. It’s also worth noting that Michel looked pretty damn spry when getting into action in Week 2 as well, posting 10/46 rushing (he had no targets). We want shares of whoever is leading this backfield. Henderson’s performance proved that, but if he’s not going to be available, then Michel gets the next look. (JD)
Mike Davis (Atl) — Through two games, Davis has seen bellcow kind of usage for the Falcons — he’s seen 37 opportunities in two games (24 carries, 13 targets), and he’s played 69.4% of their offensive snaps. That’s excellent usage for fantasy production. But here’s the problem. He’s not even the highest-scoring fantasy RB on his own team. That would be Cordarrelle Patterson, who is the overall RB8 to Davis’ RB26, and Patterson has seen a pretty healthy 22 opportunities through two games. For what it’s worth, these eyes think Patterson has looked better than Davis this season, as a more explosive mover with the ball in his hands and a more dynamic weapon in the passing game. Patterson has gained 136 yards and scored 2 TD on his 22 opportunities. Davis has gained 135 yards and scored 0 TD on his 37 opportunities. Will Patterson eventually get more work, or are the Falcons committed to this split? (JD)
Devin Singletary (Buf) — Singletary sprinted out of the gates with a 46-yard touchdown run on Buffalo’s second offensive play of the game, which set the tone for their 35-0 beatdown of the rival Dolphins in Week 2. The Bills dressed Zack Moss in this one after they made him a healthy scratch in the season opener, but Singletary still dominated the overall workload with 13/82/1 rushing (6.3 YPC) and 2/9 receiving on 66% snap share. Unfortunately, Moss stole two touchdowns inside the 10-yard line, including a goal-line carry on his way to finishing with 8/26/2 rushing and 2/8 receiving on 28% snap share — Matt Breida played just two snaps (3%). Singletary has wrestled away the top spot in this backfield for now with 171 scrimmage yards on 29 touches while playing 71% of the snaps, but Moss has climbed out of the doghouse and he could be ready to make some noise if Singletary has any missteps. (TB)
James Robinson (Jax) — Robinson has only scored 17.4 FP through two games, but the good news is that his usage was much better this week compared to last. After getting just five carries while Carlos Hyde had 9 in Week 1, Robinson, at the very least, out-touched Hyde 14 to 2 here in Week 2. Hyde’s role was reduced as he played on just 25% of the snaps and Robinson’s snap share was 73% against Denver. While it is a positive that Robinson has (hopefully) resumed in the No. 1 role over Hyde, the upcoming road is rough for the Jaguars. Jacksonville plays the Cardinals next followed by the Bengals, Titans, Dolphins, Seahawks, Bills, Colts, and 49ers in Weeks 4-11. That is an absolute gauntlet. Robinson will have to get it done in Garbage Time to be a useful RB2. (GB)
Elijah Mitchell (SF) — Mitchell’s first game after fantasy players blew massive loads of FAAB on him wasn’t exactly encouraging, as he posted just 17/42 rushing and 2/11 receiving while playing 61% of the offensive snaps against Philly in Week 2. Moreover, he lost a touchdown to video review and suffered an apparent shoulder injury on the same play. Yikes. That being said, he may have come out of the game in better shape than the 49ers’ other backs. Coach Kyle Shanahan thinks Mitchell just has a painful stinger (Mitchell did return to action out of necessity), while Trey Sermon suffered a concussion on his only carry, and JaMycal Hasty suffered what our Edwin Porras fears to be a high ankle sprain. So with only Trenton Cannon also on the roster, the hope here is Mitchell is OK going forward. It was a tough matchup, keep in mind. (JD)
Watch Hasty’s left ankle. Defender forces it into eversion and dorsiflexion (AKA a “high ankle” mechanism).— Edwin Porras, DPT (@FBInjuryDoc) September 19, 2021
We still don’t know the severity, but with Sermon dealing with a “head” injury, and E. Mitchell dealing with a stinger, it very well could be Trenton Canon szn pic.twitter.com/2A3qqfGewq
Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney (Chi) — Obviously, the world presumes the Bears will be better if Justin Fields takes over for the injured Andy Dalton (knee), and we don’t necessarily disagree. But it is worth pointing out that a cold Fields, who had to enter the game when Dalton got hurt in the second quarter, didn’t throw the ball particularly well against a shorthanded Cincinnati secondary. He went 6/13 for 60 yards and a terrible interception in relief of Dalton. Here was Fields’ passing breakdown: he targeted Mooney 4 times for 2/32 receiving, Robinson twice for 1/13 receiving (including a dropped TD pass), Marquise Goodwin twice for 1/10 receiving (including Fields’ interception), David Montgomery once for a 5-yard catch, Cole Kmet once for a 0-yard catch, and Damien Williams once for an incompletion. The irony is that Fields’ best throw might have been the one ARob dropped, and Mooney had another drop too that might have made Fields’ day look better. The assertion here is that Robinson and Mooney getting first-team reps with Fields will help them get on the same page, and it’s obvious that the Bears’ ceiling is limited with Dalton. There could be some growing pains, but for fantasy purposes, it needs to be Fields. Will Fields play well enough to hold off Dalton, presuming Dalton does miss time? (JD)
More on #Bears QB Andy Dalton: The initial exams did show no ACL tear and no damage to the MCL, source said. MRI today, but the early diagnosis of bone bruise would show he dodged major injury. That would be good news considering what it looked like at first glance.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 20, 2021
Diontae Johnson (Pit) — Diontae can’t go more than a game without feigning death on the field, but it looked like he may have actually picked up a knee injury on a meaningless final play against the Raiders in Pittsburgh’s Week 2 loss. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Monday afternoon that Diontae avoided a long-term injury but his status for Week 3 is still up in the air. He dominated targets for the second straight week with 12 looks (30% share), which he turned into 9/105 receiving. Johnson’s 22 targets are nine more than Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster have seen through two games, and they’d be the biggest beneficiaries if Johnson is forced to miss this week against the Bengals. (TB)
Brandin Cooks (Hou) — Cooks is the only Texan you can play with even a minimal degree of confidence, and he showed that with 9/78/1 receiving on 14 targets in Week 2’s loss to the Browns, giving him 14/210/1 on 21 targets through two games this year. But, of course, much of that was with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, playing pretty damn well overall. But Taylor left the loss to Cleveland with a hamstring injury, and coach David Culley has already ruled out Taylor for Week 3’s Thursday night tilt with Carolina. That means rookie Davis Mills, who had an up-and-down debut in Week 2 (8/18, 102 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) after coming in cold will get the start. The good news is half of Mills’ 18 targets were in Cooks’ direction, including Cooks’ 2-yard TD. The bad news is that those targets resulted in just 28 yards and 4 receptions… a monstrous 3.11 yards per target. Again, Mills came in cold, and at least he knew who his best receiver was. But Cooks’ floor and ceiling are likely more volatile than they would be with Tyrod in there. (JD)
None of note.