2020. Week 3. Sunday night.
Taking out the trash, I stop and take a deep breath. It dawns on me that I've been inside all day. Enjoying the moment, I linger outside awhile. The lights of a distant airplane glide over the nighttime freeway, making its final descent to the runway.
Used to be that I could look and see a long line of flights queued up ready to touch down. That was in the Before Times. That was before everyone needed a fantasy running back.
Watching the jets carrying unknown people from unknown places reminds me that 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon seemed on his way to taking Tevin Coleman's job even before Coleman was hurt. Now that Coleman and starter Raheem Mostert are destined to miss time, McKinnon is thrust into a prominent role in an offense needing playmakers. Don't be surprised, however, if he has to make room on the tarmac for Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty.
The spinning Wheel of Rams RBs has pointed its fateful arrow at Darrell Henderson. Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown both came out of the game in various degrees of scathed. Like most of us, their status for Sunday is still not fully known. Yet we forge ahead.
I come back in, set to brush my teeth and put an end to the day. I should probably shave in the morning. I should also remember to check for Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew. I think about back-to-back top-12 finishes with a pair of three-touchdown games and an upcoming slate featuring the Dolphins and Bengals. I smile, comforted. I decide not to shave in the morning. I decide to check for Minshew before bed.
Sleep came easy last night. The morning was not so kind. I swallowed the last bit of my coffee. It was cold and bitter. Like the mood of fantasy managers everywhere.
Panthers running back Mike Davis will try to be the spoonful of sugar to help swallow the bitter dregs of losing Christian McCaffrey for the next few weeks. The potential for a big workload – much like a new cup of coffee – brings me momentary calm.
That calm is shattered by the too-hot coffee burning my tongue. I think about Falcons receiver Russell Gage being pretty hot in the first two weeks of the season. As long and Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley keep drawing downfield attention, Gage should have plenty of underneath room to work in a pass-happy offense.
The Titans offense is a far cry from Atlanta's high-wire act but tight end Jonnu Smith has put on an early show. Through two weeks, the list of tight ends with more fantasy points starts with Travis Kelce and Darren Waller. That's it. Smith's preseason sleeperdom is emerging from its cocoon and spreading its newfound wings.
Receiver Chase Claypool has found wings in the Steelers passing game as a deep threat for Ben Roethlisberger. His high target rate on a low number of routes is concerning. His highs could be high. The lows could be plentiful. But without risk, there is little reward.
Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz has been rewarded with an opportunity that arose from the misfortune of Blake Jarwin's torn ACL. He is the pass-catching tight end of choice in the Dallas offense, absorbing 10 targets in Week 2 and seemingly feeling at-home in the now-vacated role.
I find leftover pasta in the fridge. My mood brightens.
The clouds have burned away, revealing a blue sky. A smoky haze still hangs above. Not as bad as the day before. Hopefully worse than the day to follow. I decide to take a walk. As I stroll the neighborhood, I think of all the places I used to go. Then all the places I could have gone but didn't. All of the overpriced-too-crowded-parking-sucks spots I went out of my way to avoid. And I sorta wish I had the choice now to even say I don't want to go.
Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis are the choices the Giants have put forth to fantasy managers in the wake of Saquon Barkley's season-ending harm. There is a chance that free agent Devonta Freeman could sign with the team and add another ball-toter to an underproductive lineup. The choices aren't appealing. But ports and storms, y'know?
The Colts may look to rookie receiver Michael Pittman and speedster Zach Pascal to provide sanctuary in the passing game while Parris Campbell is away. Philip Rivers' underwhelming inconsistency won't make either more than a depth add but a three-week stretch of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Detroit has its merits.
Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who is still feeding his sourdough starter. Send him your quarantine quirks that stuck or fantasy football questions on Twitter @MarcasG or Instagram at MarcasG.