Some interesting trends are developing around the National Football League in this early stage of the season, with a handful of workload trends emerging. As a result, some new names have emerged atop the waiver wire.
Cordarrelle Patterson, RB/WR, Atlanta Falcons
Yahoo! Ownership: 14%
Draft Kings salary: $4,600
“Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in!” That famous line from Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III is what comes to mind with the fantasy tease that is Patterson. For much of his nine-year career, Patterson has flashed breath-taking talent but could never sustain any level of offensive consistency. Is that finally changing in 2021?
Through two weeks of play, the 30-year-old has 21 combined touches via handoff or reception. He’s cutting into RB1 Mike Davis’ workload, and while Davis still leads in volume, Patterson has a 2-0 edge in touchdowns. The 2013 Vikings first round draft pick also benefits fantasy managers with rare dual-position eligibility as a wide receiver and running back. Patterson holds flex appeal with room to grow as the Falcons will likely be playing from behind quite often this season.
Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders
Yahoo! Ownership: 27%
Draft Kings salary: $5,900
Don’t look now, but Carr is a Top-10 fantasy quarterback through two games after producing 25.0 and 24.18-FPTs. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but the way Carr is playing feels like this could be sustainable. He’s not forcing the ball, instead taking what the defence gives him and making the big play only when it reveals itself. His 4-1 touchdown-interception ratio and obscene 408.5-passing yard average against tough Ravens and Steelers defences should not be ignored.
If you’re suffering from a QB injury or poor performance, strongly consider scooping up Carr off waivers. At the very least, he’s a tremendous DFS streaming option versus Miami this Sunday.
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
Yahoo! Ownership: 57%
Draft Kings salary: $5,900
Shepard is the Giants’ premiere fantasy player so far -- not high-priced free agent Kenny Golladay or star running back Saquon Barkley. Heading into Week 3, Shepard is the 16th-ranked wide receiver in PPR formats.
The veteran is devouring targets from Daniel Jones (19 total), catching 16 of them for 207 yards and a touchdown. The expectation is that Golladay will catch up as the season progresses, but over two outings Shepard has been the man. There are some juicy matchups coming up for the Giants where Jones should be forced to air it out – first, against the Falcons, followed by the Saints and Cowboys. That should keep Shepard in the WR1 conversation.
Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Yahoo! Ownership: 53%
Draft Kings salary: N/A
Pollard creeping into fantasy football relevance is of course terrible news for Ezekiel Elliott managers. However, it’s a reality we can’t ignore. The 6-foot Memphis University alumnus out-produced Elliott again in Week 2 with 13 carries, 109 yards and a touchdown as well as three receptions on Sunday. Elliott also found the endzone, but the committee trend to begin this 2021 campaign must be tracked.
Pollard is more than a high-end handcuff and needs to be scooped up. Grab and stash him, then follow how this timeshare in Dallas progresses.