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Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football, and managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 2 of the NFL season. Dynasty owners, check out our separate Dynasty Risers/Fallers segment as well.

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Week 2 Risers

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

"In my projections for Tyreek Hill, I baked in the fact that I believe Patrick Mahomes is a future elite QB." - Me, in August. By no means am I suggesting that I am already correct based on on week, but damn, did Mahomes look good. Two things stood out to me. 1) He didn't turn the ball over. 2) He got the ball in Tyreek Hill's hands as much as possible. To modify a quote from Matt Kelley: "Football doesn't have to be hard." Mahomes completed seven passes to Hill and eight to the rest of the team. While I do think it's worthwhile to involve Travis Kelce a bit more going forward, Mahomes clearly understands who butters his bread. I am very optimistic going forward that Mahomes is an every week QB1, and possibly a high one at that.

Tyreek Hill (WR, KC)

I'll make this quick so as to not belabor the point. I am taking a Week 1 Victory Lap. I am a big analytics guy so I understand the argument about efficiency and regression. If you thought that applied to a truly one of a kind player that cannot be covered, then shame on you. Tyreek Hill is a top five fantasy WR until further notice.

Randall Cobb (WR, GB)

I never thought Randall Cobb was particularly good at football. He's been largely a product of Aaron Rodgers. On Sunday night, Cobb looked like a man who is good at football. He was constantly open and only propped up even more by the best QB on the planet. If Rodgers misses time, then Cobb's value takes a substantial hit, but as long as Rodgers is out there, Cobb looks like a legit WR2.

Kenny Golladay (WR, DET)

The Lions had a ton of garbage time in their embarrassing performance against the Jets. Kenny Golladay's seven catch, 114 yard performance came largely before it. Golladay is the real deal and is a problem for Marvin Jones. I'd go so far as to say I'd rather have Golladay. He is at least an every week WR3.

James Conner (RB, PIT)

I agree with Le'Veon Bell's decision to hold out because he deserves to get paid. I also agree with the Steelers' decision to not pay him because running backs don't matter. James Conner easily handled 31 carries, totaling 135 yards and two touchdowns. He even added 57 yards on five receptions. Those are Bell numbers. Conner is an RB1 for as long as Bell isn't playing.

Dion Lewis (RB, TEN)

Uh oh for Derrick Henry owners. This game was largely a one score game and Dion Lewis severely out-touched Henry. Lewis touched the ball 21 times to Henry's 11 and Lewis got himself a goal line carry and touchdown. Unless this was some sort of strange game plan, it looks like Lewis is going to be a weekly RB2 and Henry barely startable.

Jared Cook (TE, OAK)

"This is the year for Jared Cook." - Fantasy analysts every year. Except, maybe this really is the year. When the top two receivers are Amari Cooper (LOL) and a potentially washed Jordy Nelson, Cook seems quite appealing. Derek Carr seemed to think so, peppering the veteran TE with 12 targets to the tune of nine catches for 180 yards. Suffice it to say, his ownership percentage needs to rise considerably.


Week 2 Fallers

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

On Sunday, Deshaun Watson owners experienced a valuable lesson in regression. Watson's inaccuracy caught up with him and the flawed prospect many of us saw out of college was revealed. It could just be a blip, but, in all likelihood, Watson truly wasn't deserving of his overall QB2 preseason ranking.

Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)

I was tempted to not even put him here because no one should be surprised by what he did (or rather, didn't do) on Sunday. Sammy Watkins is just not that good. He was overpaid and never a threat to Tyreek Hill. Watkins will have a game or two where he looks great, but he's just never going to be a weekly starting option in fantasy. He had three catches for 21 yards last week and a couple of bad drops.

Amari Cooper (WR, OAK)

Seriously people? How did you let his ADP remain in the third round? At what point does the NFL product supersede the college production? I think a three year sample size should be enough. Amari Cooper is Sammy Watkins 2.0 - not that good. The difference is this season, his owners will have no right to complain.

The Dallas Cowboys

Woof. The Cowboys are bad. This offense is an embarrassment. Dak Prescott is a legitimately good quarterback, but he has no one to throw to and coaches calling the blandest game plan imaginable. Ezekiel Elliott will probably be fine, but there is not a single other Cowboy that needs to be owned after this team failed to generate 300 yards of total offense.

Kareem Hunt (RB, KC)

I wouldn't panic too much on Kareem Hunt, but he didn't catch a single pass and was outplayed by Spencer Ware, who totaled just nine fewer yards despite having 12 fewer touches. Hunt was trending as a back end RB1 and I still think he probably gets there, but Week 1 was certainly not a great start.

Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN)

I really didn't understand how people had him ranked as a top 6 TE. What exactly excited people about an unathletic TE that has no shot at eclipsing 80 targets? Kyle Rudolph salvaged his day with a touchdown, but he only saw two targets. This offense runs through Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Dalvin Cook. There simply isn't room for Rudolph, nor should he be anywhere near a priority.


More Week 2 Lineup Prep