Week 2 of the NFL season didn’t disappoint. There were some incredible performances and some that fell short. Some games went as expected, and plenty of surprises. We saw some stars who struggled in Week 1 get back on track and some who will need a little more time to round into form. As dynasty players, we’re in it for the long haul. That doesn’t mean value remains static. That’s why this weekly column is here!
As will be the case throughout the season, I’ll be taking stock of what we’ve learned each week. I’ll be offering one player per position—QB, RB, WR, and TE—who improved their stock and one who saw their stock slip. For those trying to win now and those playing the long game, it’s crucial to pounce at the right time. So, without further ado, here’s Week 2 of the Dynasty Stock Watch.
Stock Up: Daniel Jones, New York Giants
About: I know, I’m as surprised as anyone. Before the season, I speculated Jones would not be an NFL starter in 2022. There’s still a lot of season left, and the Giants are 0-2, but it hardly seems to be Jones’ fault. On Thursday night, he went 22-for-32 for 249 yards and a touchdown, carrying nine times for 95 yards and a touchdown. It could have been a bigger night if not for the drops and the long rushing touchdown called back due to penalty. Jones has also curbed his biggest bug-a-boo, turnovers. He was turnover-free on Thursday night and has just one turnover, a fumble made on a spectacular defensive play Week 1 against the Broncos. The Giants surrounded Jones with better weapons in his all-important third year. So far, he looks equal to the challenge, even if the Giants aren’t.
Stock Down: Zach Wilson, New York Jets
About: It’s a tale of New York this week at the quarterback position. Wilson was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and faced a stiff test in trying to help the Jets re-build. Wilson was up-and-down in his first game but fell off a shelf Sunday against the Patriots. At one point, Wilson had as many completions (four) as interceptions (four), and his team failed to score a touchdown. It’s fair to point out weapons Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims were out, as was left tackle, Mekhi Becton. There was also always going to be a steep learning curve, but it was an inauspicious performance. Some had doubts about whether Wilson was the right choice, and Sunday’s game certainly didn’t assuage any of those fears. Wilson gets Vic Fangio and the Denver Broncos, on the road, in his Week 3 matchup. Meanwhile, Jets fans got to see Sam Darnold throw for 300-plus yards as the Carolina Panthers went 2-0 Sunday.
Stock Up: Demetric Felton, Cleveland Browns
About: Running back is a difficult position to handicap. When you play dynasty, it’s about looking ahead and deep stashes. That’s what this week’s Stock Up is all about. Felton is the RB3 for a team with two great ones in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. He didn’t even get a carry Sunday. But he’s a speedy weapon with an interesting skill set. He saw two targets, catching both for 51 yards and a touchdown. It’s a glimpse into the potential Felton brings. He’s also an injury away from an expanded role—if his performance Sunday didn’t earn him some snaps anyway. Felton isn’t a player you’re starting right now, but he’s an ideal stash that could eventually pay big dividends.
Stock Down: Tevin Coleman, New York Jets
About: Heading into the season, the Jets backfield was a wide-open question. Conventional logic suggested Coleman, a veteran signed to a free agent contract and came with experience in the system. Three off-seasons ago, Coleman was a hot property leaving the Falcons. He signed a free-agent deal with the 49ers and, at times in 2019, looked like he’d get a chance to be featured. In 2020, he faded to the background. This 2021 season in New York seemed like a chance to be featured again, but it appears to be already going south after two weeks. In Week 1, Coleman led the Jets with nine carries but turned it into just 24 yards. He also had zero targets. In Week 2, Coleman had five carries for 24 yards. Rookie Michael Carter saw 11 carries, and veteran Ty Johnson saw 12 carries. Coleman, again, had zero targets. The Jets aren’t great, and the offense seems inconsistent, but it’s clear that Coleman is fading, as is his long-term value, what little there was coming into the season.
Stock Up: Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals
About: Moore was a hot commodity in rookie drafts due to his skill, speed, and potential in the Arizona Cardinals’ offense. In Week 1, he saw five targets, catching four passes for 68 yards. In Week 2, a shootout with the Minnesota Vikings, his usage exploded. He saw a team-high eight targets, catching seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. That includes a 77-yard touchdown strike. His 13 targets in two weeks lead the team, one better than the 12 for DeAndre Hopkins. That’s a positive sign for a player who continues to shine in an offense that continues to be one of the most productive in the NFL. Those who nabbed him in drafts are sitting pretty as the buy-low window officially slammed shut as Moore crossed the goal line on Sunday.
Stock Down: D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
About: The Jaguars’ offense is a bit of a mess. Many fantasy players hoped that Chark, who struggled in 2020 due to mediocre quarterback play, would see a significant uptick with Trevor Lawrence in 2021. So far, that hope hasn’t materialized. In Week 1, Chark saw a team-high 12 targets, which was encouraging. But he only managed to haul in three of them. He got 86 yards and a TD, but he finished with fewer receptions than Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault. In Week 2, while Jones caught six passes for 55 yards and a touchdown and Shenault saw seven targets, Chark saw just four targets and caught just one pass for 19 yards. True, Denver has a good defense, and Chark came into the season shaking off an injury, but the Jaguars’ pass offense is a work in progress, and his role within it is far from certain. Many, myself included, hoped to see a Top 20 season from Chark. Through two weeks, it seems clear we’ll have to moderate those expectations.
Stock Up: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
About: There was a time when Rob Gronkowski was the best tight end in football. After a year of being retired, he came back in 2020 and was OK. He looked like the Gronk of old in the Super Bowl, but it was fair to wonder if that could last. It appears it can. Tom Brady connected with Gronk on opening night for eight receptions, 90 yards, and two touchdowns. In Week 2, he hit Gronk with four receptions for 39 yards and two more touchdowns. Brady and Gronk have always been close, and his 12 receptions and four touchdowns in two games indicate that connection will continue in a big way in 2021. Gronk is an every-week start and, again, looks like one of the best tight ends in the game.
Stock Down: Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
About: For years, we’ve waited for a consistent Higbee breakout. With Gerald Everett moving on to the Seattle Seahawks, it seemed like 2021 could be the year. Matthew Stafford targeted Higbee six times in the first game of the season, turning that into five receptions for 68 yards. It seemed like he was finally poised to break big. In Week 2, the Rams threw the ball 30 times, yet Higbee was targeted just one time. He caught that target for eight yards but it seems that rumors of his breakout were once again greatly exaggerated. Higbee is still a decent TE option, but it’s unclear if he’ll have a consistent role, even in a robust Rams passing offense.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.