It sure was an interesting week 2 in the NFL. As fantasy players, we need to realize that it takes more than one game to understand how teams (and players) are trending. Jameis Winston scorched in week 1 with 4 TDs and 1 Int, but week 2 brought expectations back in check with a 1 TD / 4 Int performance. Theo Riddick had over 100 combined yards and 2 TDs in week 1 vs. 65 all-purpose yards and 0 TDs this week. On the flip side, we questioned Giovani Bernard after week 1 in regards to his workload (5 carries and 4 targets) for 30 yards. Hello week 2 where Gio had 9 catches for 100 yards and a TD. And we were ready to write off Dez Bryant after the loss of Tony Romo and his limited use (only 5 targets) in the first week of the season. The Cowboys weren’t going to let their biggest weapon go unnoticed as Dez had 7 catches on 12 targets for 102 yards. The point here is that you cannot get too high or too low on a player at this point of the season.
And now onto the week 2 fantasy recap…
Week 2 Fantasy Highlights
Cam Newton (Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen) – This highlight goes to the core of Carolina Panthers passing attack. Newton had 353 passing yards with 4 TDs and 1 Int. Benjamin stat line was 7-198-2 and Olsen was 5-122-1 (17 targets combined).
Ryan Tannehill (Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker) – This highlight goes to the Miami Dolphins passing game. Tannehill put up 389 passing yards with 2 TDs and 2 Ints. Jarvis Landry had 10-137 and DeVante Parker had 8-106; both on 13 targets each. There will be some big weekly performances by those two receivers, but the passing attack in general is below average.
Matt Ryan – Matty Ice has put up back to back 300 yard passing games. Only 4 yards short of 400, Ryan put up 396-3-1 and has 5 TDs to 1 Int this season. We know he CAN do it, but will he continue for a full season? Wait and see…
Philip Rivers – Without Keenan Allen, Rivers still had a respectable day. He was an efficient 17/24 for 220 passing yards, 4 TDs and 0 picks. While these aren’t huge numbers, it’s nice to see that the Chargers still have a passing game.
Matt Forte – Thursday night, Forte had 30 carries for 100 yards and 3 TDs. He’s been a stud so far this year, but he’s 30 years old and has had a ton of volume over the past few years. I expect a 2nd half decline so start to position yourself to sell high in the upcoming weeks.
Melvin Gordon – Gordon had another good game rushing for 24-102-1. That’s 3 rushing TDs on the season after 0 his entire rookie year.
LeGarrette Blount – Blount had another stellar performance rushing 29 times for 123 and a TD. He’s carried the load through two weeks with 52 carries. Remember, Coach Belichick can throw a curve ball at any given time and go with another running back based on game plan; you just never know.
Isaiah Crowell – “The Crow” had 18 carries for 133 and a TD. Don’t get too hyped up because of his 85 yard scamper. If you remove that, he had 17 carries for 48 yards.
Corey Coleman – Rookie WR Corey Coleman was targeted by Josh McCown 8 times and caught 5-104-2. It was a nice coming out game, but the Browns may be forced to start their 3rd different QB in 3 weeks. I cannot trust this passing game until McCown returns.
Marvin Jones – Marvin sure wasn’t “Starvin’” this week when he went 8-118 on 11 targets. He’s become Mathew Stafford’s go to weapon now that Calvin “Megatron” Johnson is gone. Golden Tate only caught 2 balls on 9 targets.
Mike Evans – Evans had a whopping 17 targets in this game but only managed 6-70-1. Tampa Bay was down big to the Arizona Cardinals as Jameis Winston put the ball in the air 54 times. Evans should do more with his looks moving forward, but I still don’t feel that he’s an elite fantasy receiver.
Sterling Shepard – Rookie WR Sterling Shepard caught all 8 of his targets for 117 yards. Victor Cruz also had 8 targets in the game as they vie for the attention of Eli Manning opposite Odell Beckham.
Stefon Diggs – With QB Sam Bradford at the helm in week 2, Diggs blew up. On 11 targets, he put up 9-182-1. Even with back to back 100 yard games, it’s hard for me to trust this passing game. Diggs has shown flashes of what he can do, but this is a defensive team with a run first mentality.
Dennis Pitta – After a few injury plagued seasons, it appears that Pitta has returned to fantasy relevance. He was targeted by longtime teammate Joe Flacco 12 time and caught 9-102. If he’s on the field, Flacco looks for this guy. In 2012 when he last played 16 games, Pitta caught 61-669-7.
Denver Broncos Defense – Denver’s defense lit it up against the Colts. The defensive unit scored 2 TDs, had 5 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery. It was a great game, but you cannot predict defensive touchdowns from week to week.
Week 2 Fantasy Games to Forget
Russell Wilson – Wilson wasn’t 100% in this one with a sore ankle he injured against Miami. Regardless, he played in the game and only put up 254 passing yards with no TDs or Ints. The Seattle Seahawks usually improve as the year goes on, but maybe they’re slipping as one of the elite teams. The Los Angeles Rams beat them in this one 9-3 and no TDs were scored in the game.
Andrew Luck – The Colts signal caller couldn’t overcome the vaunted Broncos defense. Luck passed for 197 with a TD and a pick. Chalk this one up to a poor matchup and look for him to turn it around. His next three matchups are against the Chargers, Jaguars, and Bears.
Carlos Hyde – The 49ers stud running back had a tough matchup against the Carolina Panthers in this one. He carried the ball 14 times for only 34 yards and 3 catches for 18 yards. He knows that he has to improve and carry this team. Luckily, there really isn’t any other pedigree RBs on the roster.
Todd Gurley – In some fantasy drafts, Gurley was the first overall pick this year, but his stats look like he shouldn’t even be rostered. He followed up his 47 yard rushing performance with 51 yards this week. And he’s not getting anything in the passing game with only 1 catch each week. Bottom line, this guy is a mega-talent and he’s getting a good workload (18 carries per game) each week. Once Jared Goff takes over at QB mid-season, that should be just the injection the team needs. Buy low on this guy, now!
Sammy Watkins – Granted, Watkins was questionable leading up to this game with his foot injury. But he was NFL active and likely active in your fantasy lineups. Sammy only caught 2-20. Overall at the end of the year, his numbers will look good, but there will be many ups and downs through the season.
A.J. Green vs. Antonio Brown – I’ll just lump these two together since they both did nothing in the same game. Green had 2-38 and Brown had 4-39. This was just a slight bump in the road for two of the best fantasy receivers in the game; no need to worry.
Fantasy Position Battles
David Johnson (Chris Johnson) – Chris Johnson actually led the team in rushing in week 2 with 16-54-1. David Johnson had 12-45-0 but added 3 catches for 98 yards. The Arizona Cardinals were up big in this one and that’s why Chris Johnson got so much work. There is no battle here so don’t overreact.
Devanta Freeman (Tevin Coleman) – Freeman led the team in rushing with 17-93-0 while Coleman had 12-46-1. Freeman still has an edge in this one, but may not live up to his early round draft pick value. We’ll have to monitor this week to week until a trend appears in the RB usage in Atlanta.
Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams – Usually we look at running back position battles, but there was an interesting one this week at receiver with the San Diego Chargers. Who will try to replace Keenan Allen who was lost for the year last week with a torn ACL? Travis Benjamin (my sleeper this year) was 6-115-2. Tyrell Williams had 3-61-1. Now Danny Woodhead and his 81 receptions are lost for the year with a torn ACL. I like Benjamin more this year, but the team needs Tyrell to step up too. Both should also put up good stats moving forward.
Week 2 Injuries (and Week 3 Replacements)
Jay Cutler – Cutler left Monday night’s game against the Eagles with a thumb injury. He originally sustained it in week 1 and it’s now believed he has a torn ligament and will miss some time. It’s unknown if he’ll need surgery, but he’s expected to be out for some weeks. Brian Hoyer replaced him Monday night, but should not be relied upon in fantasy.
Jimmy Garoppolo – He suffered a sprained AC joint in his should and is very questionable for week 3. The Patriots didn’t sign any QBs as of yet, so it looks like they’ll go with Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett for now. Even if active, Jimmy may serve as the backup QB in the game.
Josh McCown – McCown finished the game in week 2 but has a shoulder injury that will likely keep him out for this coming week. Cody Kessler could get the start. Downgrade the Browns WRs but Duke Johnson may come up big if Kessler checks down to his RBs.
Adrian Peterson – Peterson went down with what looked like a horrible season ending knee injury. It turns out that it’s a torn meniscus and he’s not even ruled out for week 3 yet! His return will depend on the severity of the injury and the course of treatment. It’s possible that he plays this week, but more likely that he misses a week or two of action. I expect Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata to split the work about 70/30 in favor of McKinnon until AP returns.
Rashad Jennings – Jennings injured his thumb in week 2 and Shane Vereen got his share of carries. We’ll have to wait and see if Jennings will play this week and if he’ll be limited at all. Vereen and Orleans Darkwa could pick up the work if Jennings is unable to go.
Danny Woodhead – Woodhead is out for the year with a torn ACL. Melvin Gordon may get a slight uptick in work, especially in the passing game.
Jonathan Stewart – Stewart left week 2 with a hamstring injury and will miss a week or two. Fozzy Whittaker rushed for 100 yards and had 3-31 receiving. Fozzy and Cameron Artis-Payne will fill in for Stewart, but they’re low-end flex plays at best.
Thomas Rawls – Rawls left the game on Sunday after 7 carries for -7 yards with a leg injury. He was ineffective before he left so the Seahawks may go back to Christine Michael as their starter this week.
Doug Martin – Martin left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and is slated for an MRI. If he needs to miss time, Charles Sims and/or Jacquizz Rodgers would likely fill in. Sims is intriguing since he’s already a reception machine and adding rushing stats will only help his value.
Ameer Abdullah – Abdullah suffered what appears to be a foot sprain as X-rays confirmed no broken bones. It’s unknown if or how much time he may miss. If Theo Riddick takes over, he becomes an intriguing play (like Charles Sims) if he can add some running work to his pass catching prowess. Dwayne Washington or Zach Zenner could get some work too.
Arian Foster – Foster is already showing up on the injury report; this time with a groin injury. He’s day-to-day and it’s unclear if he’ll play this week. If he misses time, Jay Ajayi and/or Kenyan Drake would fill in for Foster.
Eric Decker – Decker made it through and finished Thursday’s game, but sustained a shoulder injury at some point. I expect him to play.
Brandon Marshall – Marshall suffered a sprained MCL in his knee and is questionable for week 3. When he went down, it looked like a season ending injury. He may miss week 3 so stay tuned. If he doesn’t play, Quincy Enunwa would be a sneaky fantasy play.
Donte Moncrief – Moncrief left Sunday’s game with a head/neck/shoulder injury. He’s slated for an MRI to get some clarity on the issue. He’s questionable for week 3. If he misses time, Phillip Dorsett may get some extra looks from Andrew Luck.
Words of Wisdom
We’ve now seen 2 week of football. Some guys are overperforming and others underperforming compared to their draft slots and expectations. Start to look for a panicky owner who is 0-2. Ask the owner of Todd Gurley if he’s looking to trade him. Hunt down the owner of Le’veon Bell and sell him DeAngelo Williams. The key to winning in fantasy is to stay one step ahead of the game, and your competition!