As is the case for running backs, the fantasy football wide receiver group was hit with a rash of injuries in Week 2 of the 2020 NFL regular season. While this positional group was not affected like the running back group was, as they lost Christian McCaffrey for around a month, Saquon Barkley for the entire year due to a torn ACL, and a plethora of other backs for various amounts of time, wide receivers are looking a bit thin heading into the third week of the season.
Injuries are not easy to overcome, especially in how you build your fantasy football rosters, but having this injury bug hit (at least for the first time) this early in the season makes it a bit easier. By having this much time until your playoffs begin, you are able to fill out your roster, address the waiver wire, swing deals with other teams in your league, or even just wait it out and see if your existing roster is able to weather the storm.
Regardless of how you choose to handle the injuries across the league, see what top options should be picked up off of the waiver wire moving into Week 2.
5. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
The much-maligned wide receiver from Western Michigan, Corey Davis has just simply not panned out for the Tennessee Titans like they had hoped he would when they used a first-round selection on him. But 2020, in the year of anything can happen, it looks like anything may finally be happening.
Davis is quickly becoming a solid no. 2 target behind A.J. Brown for the Titans, and Ryan Tannehill has two vertical options to throw to, something that has contributed to his fast start this year as well. For Davis, he has been thrust into the spotlight as the top option due to Brown’s knee injury, giving him a real shot at fantasy relevancy.
Even when Brown returns, Davis should have that rapport with Tannehill that will make this offense much of a functioning unit with two threats at WR.
4. Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons
It is truly uncommon to see an NFL team furnish three fantasy-relevant wide receivers, but so far, the anomaly has been created and fostered by the Atlanta Falcons to start 2020. Outside of household name Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley has become the best young receiver in the league, producing two-touchdown performances in both of his games to open the year.
But even with those two names on the roster. WR3 Russell Gage has produced at a much higher amount too, showing that Matt Ryan’s resurgence is tied to the number of targets that he has, something that bodes well for Gage’s future.
15 catches over the first two games to start the year, Gage may not be able to furnish those numbers for an entire season, so strike while the iron is hot and grab a bench flier for now.
3. Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
The top receiver, Courtland Sutton, and starting quarterback, Drew Lock, both sustained tough injuries Sunday against Pittsburgh, with Sutton’s knee injury effectively ending his season before it got off the ground.
First-round draft selection Jerry Jeudy now slides into the top pass-catching role for the Broncos, and with Lock out for around a month, he will need to develop a relationship with backup QB Jeff Driskel quite soon. Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant look to be the biggest fantasy football beneficiaries of the Sutton injury, and Jeudy will now demand the attention of top corners across the league, a big ‘put up or shut up’ moment for the Alabama rookie.
If Jeudy is still chilling out on your waiver wire, put him at the top of your fantasy football list – he should pay dividends very quickly (just be wary of starting him right away before watching how he plays with Driskel).
2. Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
Sammy Watkins started his heartbreak campaign yet again this season, as his penchant of starting out seasons with big fantasy football performances continued yet again in 2020. But he sustained an injury Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Chargers, giving Mecole Hardman a direct boost in the game plan.
Hardman slots in behind tight end Travis Kelce and speedster wide receiver Tyreek Hill, which is still a very good place to be in fantasy football, especially in a fast-paced offense that loves to take the tops off of opposing defenses. For Hardman, he fits into that role well, as low expectations typically garner lower-tiered opposing corners, giving Hardman a nice chance to boom.
Patrick Mahomes, as everyone is well aware of, loves to spread the ball around, something that plays into Hardman’s role very nicely and provides him a good chance to set a solid floor in fantasy football, depending on the type of injury recovery Watkins has to deal with.
1. Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts
Much more of a sleeper than most other names on this list, Michael Pittman Jr. was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and came in behind established veteran T.Y. Hilton and sophomore player Parris Campbell on the depth chart. But with Campbell injuring his MCL, his ‘indefinite’ injury recovery timeline bumps Pittman up into the starting two-deep outlook.
Hilton is not the receiver that he used to be, so his ability to command the better corners makes him more of a liability than a consistent, pushing the onus onto Pittman to step up and show out. The former USC Trojan has the skillset to form a solid combo with Campbell as soon as next year, but Pittman needs to break out in his rookie campaign to show the coaching staff that he is worth the investment.
Pittman is more of a deeper fantasy football selection, so do not go out and drop higher-ranked players to pick him up. He surely has value in a dynasty format, and if you are desperate for WR depth, he could be a weekly play. Just understand that outside of a few boom plays, his floor is a bit low, meaning that a few low weeks may be customary of Pittman before establishing that relationship with Phillip Rivers.