Win your next matchup with these five fantasy football tips


Ella Shen

Joe Mixon, Kyler Murray and Amari Cooper were some of the top performers in Week One

Rikin Patel and Lucas Quick

With the first two weeks of the NFL 2021-22 season behind us, there are a lot of surprises, including unexpected players who broke out and previously reliable players who disappointed. Indeed, it is very difficult to determine future player performances, simply because we are only 3 weeks into the season.

But fear not for your fantasy outlook! As we take a deeper look at most aspects of fantasy, including the waiver wire and player performances, here are six pieces of advice to keep in mind for the upcoming fantasy weeks.

Stick to your starting lineup

Many fantasy managers are quick to switch out their star players drafted in the early rounds of drafts for players they picked up from the waiver wire who had blown up the week before, only to be disappointed when their new players don’t match their performance from the previous week. For example, the Texans’ backfield is composed of three veteran running backs: Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson and Mark Ingram, who share touches on a weekly basis. Going into the season, managers were betting on which running back would outperform the others and establish themselves as the RB1. Ingram seemed to be that guy in Week 1 when he was given 26 touches and used them to rush for 85 yards and a touchdown. However, Ingram rushed for 41 yards but scored no touchdowns in week 2, hurting fantasy teams that started him off of his Week 1 performance.

But because NFL teams will always be using fewer RBs than they do WRs, the amount of good RBs in fantasy is fewer than good WRs.

Do you dig the Gib?

The expectation for second-year running back Antonio Gibson of Washington was set fairly high. However, he is only averaging 9.3 fantasy points after his first two games in half PPR scoring. There wasn’t a whole lot of concern after Week 1, as Gibson still got 20 carries and three receptions, as J.D. McKissic was nowhere to be found. That switch flipped in week two however, as Gibson’s carries decreased from 20 to just 13 with Taylor Heinicke. Although McKissic got only three carries, he out-targeted Gibson, leading us to believe he would have a high receiving upside, as he was out thrown by McKissic five receptions to just two for Gibson. This really started the concern of Gibson’s workload for the rest of the season, as Heinicke could possibly be Washington’s starting QB until around late November. The real question is, will Washington be a pass-heavy offense with Heinicke in? 

If you are a Gibson owner, definitely find a way to either pick up McKissic off waiver or even trade for him, so you are more comfortable knowing you’ve handcuffed Gibson for the rest of the season. We’re not expecting Gibson’s breakout week to be in Week 3, as Washington faces off a really tough Buffalo Bills defense, so give it an extra week for Gibson to get back into that high-end RB2, low-end RB1 conversation. Although it is concerning, don’t lose hope on Gibson, he will be an elite fantasy player going forward.

RBs are your team’s MVPs

Not too much needed to say here. Running backs will always be your team’s most valuable players because of their sheer scarcity. Just by looking at your bench or the FA, you should immediately notice the overabundance of flashy wide receivers who score enough yards in a PPR format to receive fantasy relevance. But because NFL teams will always be using fewer RBs than they do WRs, the amount of good RBs in fantasy is fewer than good WRs. That’s also why elite running backs are mostly drafted in the first round of fantasy drafts. When picking players up off of the waiver wire or trading for players, always remember to evaluate running backs as the best position on your team.

Is this the start of a new era in the Dallas backfield?

There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding Ezekiel Elliot coming into this season and for good reason, as he was stuffed in the season opener against the Buccaneers when rushing for only 33 yards. He did bounce back in Week 2, however, getting 71 rushing yards and a touchdown. 

Even so, there is a different running back in Dallas we should take a deeper look at as the season progresses, and his name is Tony Pollard. Pollard didn’t have a high workload at all in Week 1, but he still managed to get four receptions in the backfield. In Week 2, however, Pollard bursted out of the water, converting his 13 carries for 103 rushing yards and a touchdown, as well as tallying three receptions and 31 yards. 

Elliot should furthermore be the Cowboys’ starter for a portion of the season, but it is something to look into. If Pollard keeps improving throughout the season, it is possible that we can see a two-running back committee from Dallas further into the season. Could this be the awakening of Tony Pollard, or was it just a one-week wonder?

Brady and Gronk still are the bad boys

It’s no shock to see the immortal Tom Brady still putting video game numbers to start the season, as he leads all QBs in touchdown passes, but the heavy red zone usage of Rob Gronkowski to kickoff the season hasn’t really been expected. Gronkowski leads all tight ends in touchdown passes in the first two weeks. 

What year are we living in again? The Brady and Gronk connection last year certainly wasn’t the same as it was during their time in New England, but we may end up seeing the return of the elite duo for the rest of this season. Gronkowski was targeted eight times in Week 1 and five times in Week 2. He isn’t super stable in fantasy, however, because the strong trio of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown ensure Gronkowski won’t be the only guy piling up red zone looks.

But it’s still a really good sign for all Gronkowski owners because what was once a late round pick in fantasy drafts is starting the season as a top five TE. It is still very early into the season, and we can possibly see other players in this Tampa offense taking over that red zone role. But at the moment, it seems like the duo have gone back to their 2016 form.