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Don’t Give Up On Me, Baby: Players to Keep Faith In

Fantasy football is well underway, and for those of you unfortunate enough to be 0-2 someone on your team is probably struggling mightily. That doesn’t mean you need to give up on them though. Some guys who are having bad starts have more than enough juice to come back, and it’s too early to push the panic button. If you don’t have any of these guys, maybe target them in a trade, in case their owners are looking to sell for cheap. These guys deserve some faith despite a rough start.

Points Data from FantasyData, assuming half PPR.

Saquon Barkley

keep faith in Barkley

There’s no doubt Barkley has been a disappointment so far. He’s slotting in at RB 48 through the first two weeks of the season. Coming off an ACL injury, it’s easy to wonder if Barkley is still affected by that. Even if you’re sure about Barkley’s body, it’s also completely justified to worry about his putrid offensive line. He’s getting slammed behind the line of scrimmage on a majority of his carries. Both are valid concerns, but it also can’t be ignored that Barkley faced two very tough defenses. The Denver Broncos and the Washington Football Team have some of the best defensive lines in football. They each dominated New York at the line of scrimmage. 

His next matchup against the Atlanta Falcons should be much easier sledding. Overall, Barkley does have a rather tough schedule, as the Philadelphia Eagles also have a good D-line, and he goes up against the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to name a few. He’s got some easier games in there too though, like the Dallas Cowboys.

As for his body, so far it hasn’t looked like the Giants are particularly worried. They’ve given him basically every carry in the offense, and they recently removed him from the injury report. Barkley is getting a decent amount of work, but so far he hasn’t been able to break one. Personally, I’m not too concerned. Much of Barkley’s production, similar to Adrian Peterson in the past, comes from carries of 40+ yards and a touchdown. He hasn’t had one yet, and he’s due considering how good he was at doing just that in the past. 

Catches on the Horizon?

One last thing, if the Giants ever wake up and decide to involve Barkley in the passing game again, which they absolutely should for basically every conceivable reason, his value rockets up again. Perhaps they were waiting for an official all clear, which Barkley seems to have gotten recently. 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

I’m not a huge fan of CEH, but the panic people are going into regarding him is a bit much. CEH is going to struggle to return RB 14 (his ADP) value, but if you think he’s not going to be a playable RB (Top 24 in a two team league) that’s too much. Same if you are ranking him below guys like Mike Davis. CEH still got double digit carries in two straight games, showing there is a commitment to getting him the ball. Not getting targeted in week 2 was likely a fluke as well. If he can catch a few balls he’ll do alright no matter the rushing production.

More than I trust CEH though, I trust Andy Reid and the Chiefs offense. He’s a guy on that offense getting 10-20 touches a game. That will spell fantasy value no matter who’s back there. While Reid sometimes forgets about the run game, he doesn’t forget about screens. Brian Westbrook rarely got a ton of carries. But he got a ton of catches in an era where it wasn’t THAT common to have a receiving back. Trust in Reid if nothing else with CEH. 

D.J. Chark Jr

Chark and his wife celebrate the birth of their daughter

Chark had a usable, if odd, week 1, and then was nearly blanked in week 2. I wouldn’t lose faith in him quite yet. Chark has big play ability in spades, and the Jacksonville Jaguars know it. While it’s also awkward to talk totals considering there’s only been two games and they were wildly different for Chark, it should be noted that he has 16 targets in these two weeks. Eight per game is nothing to scoff at, and if he keeps that pace that’s all you need. 

Trevor Lawrence has been really bad, but he’s a brand new QB with a brand new head coach. Sure, both those guys might turn out to be busts, but there has to be something that made Lawrence the most hyped draft pick since Andrew Luck. Better games are coming for him, almost by default. Another comforting thing is that he is throwing the ball a lot. The Jags aren’t shy to let him sling it, and that suits Chark perfectly. For Chark to end the season with a 25% catch percentage is impossible. I don’t have the numbers on me, but there is no way a starting receiver has ever had that low of a catch percentage over the course of a season. There will be positive regression in that regard, and some of those will be the deep TDs Chark is known for. With him, that’s all you need. 

Robert Woods

Robert Woods hasn’t really been all that bad scoring 10.9 points in week 1 and 9.5 points in week 2. That’s not terrible, but he is all the way down at WR 40 when he was drafted around WR 13, so he makes the list. Look, Cooper Kupp is going to outscore Woods which, if you drafted Woods before Kupp (which most people did, including myself) stinks, but the draft is over and you can’t cry over spilt milk. Just because Kupp is probably locked into a WR 1 finish barring injury doesn’t mean Woods can’t be right there with him.

In fact, they’ve been pretty close most of the years they’ve played together. In 2017 they averaged 9.7 and 11.3 points per game, in 2018 it was 13.9 and 14.4, in 2019 14 and 12.5 and last year it was 12.5 and 10.9, and they split who the higher one was two and two. Talent wise, these guys are identical. I know those years were with a different QB, but I’m not concerned with their current situation. 

The Chemistry Will Come

Stafford is a good QB, and this is a really good offense. The Rams want to get the ball to Woods despite what Kupp is doing, as they’ve targeted him 13 times in two weeks and have given him three carries. That’s a solid workload, and as the offense develops with Stafford the chemistry will get better and better. Not only that, but if Kupp continues to show out, defenses might start keying on him more, leaving room for Woods. That usually doesn’t happen THAT often with slot receivers, but if Kupp continues doing what he’s doing you pretty much have to as a defensive coordinator. I’m not worried about Woods, and even if he struggles this week against a very good Tampa defense, his rest of the season outlook is pretty strong.