Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. As fantasy football managers, we are prone to making mistakes when it comes to lineup decisions and roster moves. That comes with the territory when literally anything can happen in an NFL game. We can still, however, take things away from these game in order to increase our chances of making better fantasy decisions. Here are 10 things we learned in week 2.
10Raven About the Script
Although he is the Ravens lead back, Alex Collins is by no means a workhorse. Over the first 2 weeks of the season, Collins has averaged 10 touches per game, not the kind of numbers that fantasy managers were hoping for when they, on average, used a 3rd round pick to draft him. Collins proved that he is dependant upon game script. In week 2 for instance, the Ravens were trailing the Bengals by 21 points early in the 2nd quarter. Javorius Allen appears to be the more capable pass-catching back as he caught 5 receptions in both games this season. That makes Collins a great play in easy matchups where the Ravens can get a big lead. However, in game scripts when the team is behind, Allen will get more work.
On Sunday, Matt Ryan did something that he only managed 5 times in 2017, scoring multiple TD passes in a game. After a dismissal week 1 performance, Ryan threw and ran in TDs and helped fantasy managers who started him (as advised in my Yahoo DFS article). The Falcons offense as a whole executed much better vs the Panthers than they did against the Eagles. With Devonta Freeman out, Tevin Coleman took the lead role in the backfield. Coleman averaged 6.1 yards per carry on 16 rushing attempts. Even rookie Ito Smith got 10 touches which he converted in 54 scrimmage yards. We learned in week 2, that the Falcons offense can be explosive under Steve Sarkisian.
It didn’t look pretty, but when he needed to make a play, Aaron Rodgers stepped up… or sideways actually. At the end of regulation against the Vikings, Rodgers ran out to his right and threw a dart to Jimmy Graham for a 27-yard completion. That put the Packers in field goal range, but Mason Crosby missed the 52-yard attempt to win the game. The QB did this while wearing a knee brace. Clearly, Rodgers was limited throughout the contest, and that will probably continue for several weeks. However, we learned in week 2 that he can still be somewhat productive, even against the top flight defense that is in Minnesota.
What is significant about that number? Well, that is the number of points Cleveland Browns’ opponents scored in each of the first 2 weeks this season. Those were not teams one would consider weak offenses. In fact just the opposite. Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New Orleans Saints are led by Super Bowl-winning QBs who have great weapons to throw to. The Browns defense proved that they are legitimate threats to fantasy production. While they are not a defense to avoid at all costs (i.e. Jaguars), the Browns are not a matchup to get excited for with regards to offensive fantasy players.
All of this defense proficiency has really helped Carlos Hyde‘s production. Entering the season, it appeared that Duke Johnson would get a lot of work as a pass-catching RB. He has only had 11 touches combined during the first 2 weeks. Hyde meanwhile, has dominated the rushing attempts with 22 and 16 in weeks 1 and 2 respectively. As long as the Browns are keeping games close, Hyde will get the majority of the backfield work.
6Hail to the Chiefs
During the offseason, Tyreek Hill said that the Chiefs offense can be “the best in the league“. Perhaps some believed that to be the case, but few took that remark very seriously. After two weeks those people (me included) need to seriously reconsider their opinions. Kansas City put up 38 and 42 points in consecutive weeks to begin the 2018 season. Yes, the Chargers and Steelers were missing key defensive players that made them great units last year. These point totals, however, are still rather impressive. Patrick Mahomes had one of the best QB games we’ve ever seen. He went 23-for-28 with 326 yards and 6 TDs. Mahomes should still probably be benched in tough matchups (vs Jaguars in week 5) but can be started with confidence by fantasy managers most weeks.
5FitzMagic: The Gathering
Much like the game Magic: The Gathering, Ryan Fitzpatrick has gone through multiple colors. Blue with the Rams, the Bills and the Titans, Green with the Jets and now Red with the Buccaneers. Furthermore more, like a Magic player, the QB has found a group of people that he trusts. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard and DeSean Jackson were targeted on a combined 26 of Fitzpatrick’s 33 pass attempts. After starting the season 2-0 the most important thing we learned about Tampa Bay in week 2, is that there is a strong possibility that Jameis Winston might not be the starter when he finishes his suspension.
4Sony Day on the Horizon
It took less than one game for Sony Michel to become the lead dog in the Patriots backfield. Rex Burkhead had half of his 6 rushing attempts on the first drive of the game. One Michel stepped on the field, he looked like the most explosive back on the New England roster. He appears to have no ill effect of the knee procedure he underwent in August. While the numbers aren’t overly impressive, Michel was clearly the best RB at running the football. He will have better matchups throughout the season. Michel is on the verge of being a regular contributor for fantasy managers.
For the Detoit Lions, much in New England, a rookie looks like the best option at RB. That player is Kerryon Johnson, someone who has been a popular pick for fantasy football team names in 2018 (Kerryon My Wayward Son). Much like the band who perform that famous song, it is likely that Johnson sticks (Styx) on the field often this season. Unlike his teammates in the backfield, Johnson looked explosive and it showed on the stat sheet. 5.4 yards per carry is a great average. In only his 2nd NFL game, Johnson received 13 touches, a number that should increase in the coming weeks. LeGarrette Blount had some negative runs in week 1 and got ejected in week 2. Usually, sure-handed Theo Riddick dropped two passes at the end of the 4th quarter that would have kept the game alive for the Lions. If Johnson can prove to the coaching staff that he can be trusted, a larger workload is surley in store for him.
2Sunday Night RBs
Both teams competing in the Sunday Night Game were led by an RB on offense. Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott led their respective teams in carries and targets. The Cowboys and the Giants made big investments in these RBs considering they were both top 5 picks in the NFL draft (Zeke 4th in 2016, Barkley 2nd in 2018). It makes sense that they would use them in the passing game in addition to their rushing attempts. Barkley actually got more targets than carries (16 to 11) since the Giants were down early. We can expect both Barkley and Elliot to see 20+ touches as they did in week 2.
1A New (England) Man
We learned at what level the Cleveland Browns value Josh Gordon. They traded him to the Patriots for a conditional 5th-round pick. For reference sake, the Steelers unloaded Martavis Bryant on the Raiders for a 3rd-round pick. While both players have had lengthy suspensions in their careers, Bryant has not had the upside that Gordon demonstrated in 2013.
We also learned that the Patriots are not satisfied with their current WR corps. Julian Edelman will still be suspended for the next 2 games and Gordon may get on the field soon. The player most likely to lose playing time on offense is Cordarrelle Patterson, who has been struggling.
Thank you for reading the 10 things we learned in week 2. Hopefully, this will help with fantasy football decisions in week 3. For comprehensive fantasy advice, check out all of the articles on Going for 2.Download the Free GoingFor2 App by Clicking Here...