There was some terrific television programming on Monday night.

Frank Sinatra played the title role in the World War II film Von Ryan's Express on one channel. Forrest Gump was running through the SEC and napalm strikes on another. All the while, Aaron Altherr was hitting that majestic grand slam off Clayton Kershaw on CSN.

Oh, and ESPN was showing a Giants game, which is basically a looping horror flick for fantasy players. The Giants are on a run of eight consecutive regular-season games being held to fewer than 20 points. Eli Manning looks lost, the running game is a rumor, and Odell Beckham Jr. has been dramatically outproduced by even Nelson Agholor. Wanna bet Beckham thinks of that contract extension every time that ankle injury, which kept him out of Week 1, gives him a shooting pain?

The coach is trying to assure the rest of the village that all is well, even though his seat is starting to get a little hot.

"We're not the first good team to start 0-2," Ben McAdoo said.

This is the fifth time the Giants have opened a season 0-2 under Manning. They scored 48 points in those first two in 2007, 54 in 2013, 28 in 2014, and 46 in 2015. This year,  they've scored 13. Running back Paul Perkins has 26 yards, Beckham has just four catches for 36 yards, and the only touchdown was scored by rookie tight end Evan Engram.

Wait, who said the Giants were a good team?

List of the week

Where Odell Beckham Jr., a consensus preseason top-3 fantasy wide receiver who missed the opener, ranks among WRs after two weeks:

Receptions 4 (t-71st)

Targets 5 (t-84th)

Yards 36 (86th)

Touchdowns 0 (n/a)

The Buck starts here …

… As an RB3.

Baltimore's Buck Allen was one of the more popular free agents this week, after registering 19 more touches and his first touchdown last week. Through two games, Allen has 40 touches (35 rushing attempts, five receptions) to nominal starter Terrance West's 29 (27 carries, two catches). In addition, West is dealing with a thigh injury that kept him from practicing Thursday.

Allen also is listed in places as "Javorius Allen," and Ravens director of public relations Patrick Gleason said  the third-year running back out of USC has no preference. He picked up the nickname "Young Buck" in high school to differentiate him from a teammate with a similar name, according to a Los Angeles Times profile. "Buck" just seemed to stick.

Baltimore will play a Jacksonville defense that gave up just 138 rushing yards to Tennessee's RBs last week. Reminder that the game is Sunday in London and starts at 9:30 a.m.

And finally

Had one of those "Cam Newton is killing me" kind of text messages from a guy in my league the other day, before we found out that Newton will not have sturdy tight end Greg Olsen for the first time in his seven-year career.  Olsen has a broken foot and will be out for at least eight weeks.

Newton has just 399 passing yards and two touchdowns in two games. It's similar — fantasy players can only hope —  to the slow start he had in 2015, when he rebounded and finished with 35 TD passes, easily the best of his career. Seven of those scores went to Olsen.

So, continue to use Newton as a QB1, but if he struggles against porous New Orleans this weekend, then it's OK to start reaching for the panic button. Just don't send any profane text messages.

Position Watch

Quarterbacks: Carson Wentz is 6-2 as a starter at home, 2-8 on the road. … Sam Bradford (knee) practiced again on Thursday, making it safe to return Stefon Diggs to the lineup as a high WR2 and Adam Thielen as a WR3. … Drew Brees needs 242 yards to become the third QB with 67,000 in his career. Only Peyton Manning (71,940) and Brett Favre (71,838) have more. Sixty-seven thousand yards are more than 38 miles.

Running backs: Bump Denver's C.J. Anderson to a mid-RB1 if Buffalo defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (ankle, did not practice Thursday) can't play. Anderson is the only back in the league with 20-plus carries in each of the first two games. Miami's Jay Ajayi probably would have had 20-20, but his game in Week 1 was moved because of Hurricane Irma. … Houston's D'Onta Foreman is biting into Lamar Miller's workload enough to become an RB5 stash. He's a better option than Arizona's Kerwynn Williams, who I added last week and dropped this week when my tight end (Jimmy Graham) came up injured. Love donating  to the league's pot.

Wide receivers: Not a lot of money to be made playing Jets, but no Robby Anderson (knee) should mean double-digit targets for Jermaine Kearse, who would be a fine play as a flex or WR3. … Markus Wheaton, who missed the first two weeks with a broken finger, will make his Bears debut this week when his former Steelers teammates visit Chicago. The Bears gave Wheaton $6 million guaranteed, even though he played just three games last season because of a shoulder injury. … The Saints' Willie Snead is eligible to come off suspension next week. He averaged about seven targets per game in his first two seasons and should be added in larger leagues.

Ed Barkowitz, who will never be able to enjoy the song "Rocket Man" again, has been writing about fantasy football since 2001.



  1. Tom Brady, NE vs. Hou.
  2. Aaron Rodgers, GB vs. Cin.
  3. Matt Ryan, Atl. at Det.
  4. Derek Carr, Oak. at Was.
  5. Cam Newton, Car. vs. NO
  6. Drew Brees, NO at Car.
  7. Matthew Stafford, Det. vs. Atl.
  8. Carson Wentz, Eagles vs. NYG
  9. Alex Smith, KC at LAC
  10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pit. at Chi.
  11. Marcus Mariota, Ten. vs. Sea.
  12. Kirk Cousins, Was. vs. Oak.

Running backs

  1. Le'Veon Bell, Pit. at Chi.
  2. Jay Ajayi, Mia. at NYJ
  3. Kareem Hunt, KC at LAC
  4. Ezekiel Elliott, Dal. at Ari.
  5. Melvin Gordon, LAC vs. KC
  6. Devonta Freeman, Atl. at Det.
  7. LeSean McCoy, Buf. vs. Den.
  8. Leonard Fournette, Jac. vs. Bal.
  9. C.J. Anderson, Den. at Buf.
  10. Dalvin Cook, Min. vs. TB
  11. Todd Gurley, LAR at SF
  12. Ty Montgomery, GB vs. Cin.
  13. Carlos Hyde, SF vs. LAR
  14. Lamar Miller, Hou. at NE
  15. Ameer Abdullah, Det. vs. Atl.
  16. Marshawn Lynch, Oak. at Was.
  17. Mike Gillislee, NE vs. Hou.
  18. Christian McCaffrey, Car. vs. NO
  19. Chris Carson, Sea. at Ten.
  20. Darren Sproles, Eagles vs. NYG
  21. Buck Allen, Bal. vs. Jac.
  22. Jacquizz Rodgers, TB at Min.
  23. Joe Mixon, Cin. at GB
  24. Isaiah Crowell, Cle. at Ind.
  25. Derrick Henry, Ten. vs. Sea.

Wide receivers

  1. Antonio Brown, Pit. at Chi.
  2. Julio Jones, Atl. at Det.
  3. Mike Evans, TB at Min.
  4. Michael Thomas, NO at Car.
  5. Keenan Allen, LAC vs. KC
  6. Demaryius Thomas, Den. at Buf.
  7. Amari Cooper, Oak. at Was.
  8. Davante Adams, GB vs. Cin.
  9. A.J. Green, Cin. at GB
  10. Odell Beckham, NYG at Eagles
  11. Larry Fitzgerald, Ari. vs. Dal.
  12. Stefon Diggs, Min. vs. TB
  13. Michael Crabtree, Oak. at Was.
  14. Alshon Jeffery, Eagles vs. NYG
  15. DeVante Parker, Mia. at NYJ
  16. Tyreek Hill, KC at LAC
  17. Golden Tate, Det. vs. Atl.
  18. Doug Baldwin, Sea. at Ten.
  19. DeAndre Hopkins, Hou. at NE
  20. Brandin Cooks, NE vs. Hou.
  21. Jarvis Landry, Mia. at NYJ
  22. Jordy Nelson, GB vs. Cin.
  23. Kelvin Benjamin, Car. vs. NO
  24. Martavis Bryant, Pit. at Chi.
  25. Jeremy Maclin, Bal. vs. Jac.

Tight ends

  1. Rob Gronkowski, NE vs. Hou.
  2. Travis Kelce, KC at LAC
  3. Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. NYG
  4. Kyle Rudolph, Min. vs. TB
  5. Delanie Walker, Ten. vs. Sea.
  6. Martellus Bennett, GB vs. Cin.
  7. Coby Fleener, NO at Car.
  8. Jason Witten, Dal. at Ari.
  9. Jack Doyle, Ind. vs. Cle.
  10. Eric Ebron, Det. vs. Atl.
  11. Austin Hooper, Atl. at Det.
  12. Tyler Eifert, Cin. at GB

Injured/Status unclear

Jimmy Graham, Sea.; Jordan Reed, Was.


ESPN-run leagues

As of Thursday afternoon

  1. J.J. Nelson, WR, Cardinals
  2. Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks
  3. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Jets
  4. Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens
  5. Derrick Henry, RB, Titans