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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Week 2 fantasy pickups include Julius Thomas, Julian Edelman, Terrelle Pryor

Julius ThomasWith the fantasy season having officially kicked off, we here at LBS are going to try to give you some advice throughout the season to help you win your leagues. Starting last Thursday and continuing into the weekend, a ton of fresh faces and even some older faces emerged as must-have fantasy pickups for Week 2. Those are the players we’ll be highlighting in this week’s column.

Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos: Many of you may have found yourselves checking your stat sheets and saying, “Wait, I thought DeMaryius Thomas was No. 88” during Denver’s win over the Ravens last Thursday. The No. 80 you saw running all over the field untouched was Julius Thomas, a third-year tight end who — like Jimmy Graham — played basketball in college. Thomas caught two touchdown passes of more than 20 yards each in the second quarter before most of us could even figure out who he was. We now know that he’s a player who plays a very thin fantasy position and clearly has developed chemistry with Peyton Manning during training camp. He should be the No. 1 add heading into Week 2.

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots: Edelman has been a player Tom Brady trusts for several seasons now, but he could be more valuable than ever this year. Danny Amendola was clearly Brady’s favorite target in New England’s Week 1 win over the Bills, but he is already dealing with a groin issue that is expected to keep him out against the Jets. Rookie receiver Kenbrell Thompkins hauled in only four of his 14 targets against Buffalo and Rob Gronkowski is not expected back just yet. Shane Vereen, who is probably a better pass-catcher than runner, is also out for several weeks with a broken wrist. Someone has to catch balls on Thursday and possibly going forward. Edelman is the safest bet to be that someone.

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Raiders: Did anyone see this coming? I certainly didn’t. Pryor kept the Raiders in the game against the Colts on the road and gave them a chance to win. He made some good throws and was the only player to rush for more than 100 yards in Week 1 — running backs included. Is he going to lead Oakland to an eight-win season? No chance, but Pryor can put up stats that are more valuable in fantasy football than they are in real life. If the Raiders find themselves playing from behind (which they should), he’ll have a lot more chances to do just that.

Marlon Brown, WR, Ravens: Many are expecting 2013 to be a breakout season for Torrey Smith, and it still could be. He hauled in four catches for 92 yards against Denver, but he still seems like more of a deep threat. Brown, a rookie out of Georgia, is a big body (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) who probably has better possession receiving skills than Smith. He caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown last Thursday. Are we expecting him to outproduce Smith? Hardly, but the Ravens don’t exactly have a ton of options in the passing game. Brown could emerge as a reliable target for Joe Flacco.

Vick Ballard, RB, Colts: Ballard is a guy that went undrafted in many fantasy leagues this summer because Indianapolis added a big name to the fold in Ahmad Bradshaw. In a Week 1 win over Oakland, Ballard rushed 13 times for 63 yards (4.8 YPC). Bradshaw, who had yet another foot procedure over the offseason and missed most of training camp, rushed seven times for 26 yards (3.7 YPC). Bradshaw is more talented and may get the majority of the touches after a few weeks, but isn’t it only a matter of time before he goes down with an injury? Ballard could wind up being the back to own in Indy.

Those should be your top targets, with other names that could be worth a look including Andre Roberts, Brian Hartline, Sam Bradford and Tyler Eifert. Remember, it’s not how you draft, it’s how you work the wire. Got get ’em.

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