32 Fantasy Thoughts – Week 2
Week 2 of the NFL season was full of suspensions, cuts, trade rumors and injuries. Thankfully they played some football as well.
– Martavis Bryant is looking at a yearlong suspension. He has been granted the ability to play while he appeals the league’s ruling.
– Josh Gordon was scratched due to injury, then getting cut and ultimately ended up traded.
– There are a lot of terrible offensive lines in the NFL.
– Mahomes goes off and sets an NFL record.
– Fitzmagic is alive and well, when will the clock strike midnight?
32 Thoughts from week 2;
1. The Baltimore Ravens lost 34-23 on Thursday night and the score flattered their effort. Joe Flacco was Joe Flacco and the run game for the Ravens continues to frustrate. Alex Collins is the best back in Baltimore, but he continues to split work with Buck Allen. Collins & Allen both played 49% of the offensive snaps. Allen took advantage of his goal line opportunity and scored a TD, while Collins failed to score on his goal-line carry. I am not sure what pictures Buck Allen has of Jim Harbaugh and Marty Mornhinweg, but they must be rather incriminating. One thing for sure is the Ravens coaching staff doesn’t care about our Dynasty teams. John Brown, Willie Snead, and Michael Crabtree performed well, helping Flacco have a decent game despite his erratic throws. Baltimore returns home to face the Broncos in week 3. Stick with Collins, avoid Flacco and do your best to stay away from the receivers. This should be a big game for the Ravens numerous TE’s.
2. The 2013 Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos were the last team to start a season with 34 points in weeks 1&2, until The Cincinnati Bengals in 2018. The Bengals rode a hot start from Andy Dalton, Joe Mixon, and AJ Green to victory. In addition to the big game from those three Tyler Boyd led the Bengals with 6 catches and recorded a career-high 91 yards. Boyd is the clear #2 WR for the Bengals. Boyd has run a route on all 74 of Andy Dalton’s dropbacks this season compared to 55 for John Ross. AJ Green remains in the top 12 WR conversation, and Joe Mixon was making a claim for top 12 himself until he tweaked his knee. Mixon had a clean-up procedure done on Saturday and his timeframe for return is roughly between 2&4 weeks. A further hit to the run game rookie C Billy Price was also injured. Giovani Bernard is the obvious replacement in the Bengals backfield, but keep your eye on Mark Walton. Walton, a 4th round selection out of Miami in this year’s draft will be active for the first time next week in Carolina. Entering week 3 the only Bengal I am interested in starting is Green, fade the rest as this one is likely a low scoring affair.
3. Cam Newton and Christian McCaffery had big fantasy days in a losing effort to the Falcons. McCaffery did little on the ground (8/37) but was a PPR monster with 14 catches for 102 yards. DJ Moore was quiet again but made an impact taking his 1 reception 51-yards to the end zone. Carolina hosts the Bengals next week and will look to bounce back into the win column. Keep Cam and CMC in your lineups. I like Devin Funchess as well, he’s a different WR at home and the Bengals looked soft vs the Ravens passing this week.
4. I wasn’t surprised to see a quarterback run for a couple of touchdowns in this one, but I was surprised it was Matt Ryan. Ryan made up for his stinker in week 1, by adding 2 throwing scores to his 2 rushing scores. Tevin Coleman went over 100 yards on the ground and Julio Jones failed to score a TD again. Not to be outdone by his fellow rookie DJ Moore, Calvin Ridley also scored his first career TD in this one. Atlanta stays at home in week 3, as they play host to the Saints. Fire up all your usual suspects for the Falcons against the overrated Saints defense in what should be another high scoring NFC South contest.
5. The Los Angeles Chargers led 28-6 at halftime and cruised to a 31-20 victory. At times the Chargers looked bored in the second half. Melvin Gordon scored three times and Mike Williams scored the Chargers 4th TD. Phillip Rivers remains a solid start regardless of opponent but Keenan Allen disappointed in this one. Keep your eyes on Austin Ekeler as his role in this offense continues to grow, and with Gordon being banged up late, he may see an increased role in Week 3. The Chargers face the Rams in Week 3 in a great matchup of solid offenses and defenses. Rivers, Allen, and Gordon are you go to for the Chargers in this tough matchup.
6. The Buffalo Bills put up much more of a fight than I anticipated. I figured this one would be over about 7 minutes into the third quarter. Josh Allen was decent in his first career start. LeSean McCoy was injured in this one and was held to 69 total yards on 10 total touches. McCoy has a rib injury and his off-field situation is heating up again. The Bills travel to Minnesota next week. Leave all your Bills on your Dynasty bench, Buffalo fans will wish the Bills stayed home.
7. I could write all 32 thoughts on this Vikings and Packers game alone. Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph all had great games. Dalvin Cook was held in check and the Vikings settled for a tie thanks to the kicking game. A blocked punt led to a Packers TD and Daniel Carlson in what was his last day as a Viking missed 3 field goals. Cousins threw for 435 & 4, 259 & 3 of those were to Diggs and Thielen. Dalvin Cook left with a hamstring injury in the overtime period, if he can’t go next week Latavius Murray in a solid start. The Vikings host the Bills next week, so you are starting everyone.
8. The Green Bay Packers led by all-world QB Aaron Rodgers tied the Vikings despite trying to give this one away multiple times. Rodgers on one leg threw for 281 and a TD, proving he’s better than the majority of QB’s in this league that have two healthy legs. Jimmy Graham came to life after a poor week one and Devonta Adams scored a TD. The remainder of the Packers offense was ok. RB Jamaal Williams failed to impress once again and is likely losing whatever grasp he had on the starting job. Green Bay is in Washington in week 3, I am starting all the usual suspects for the Packers in that one.
9. The Cleveland Browns were forced into battle with the New Orleans Saints without their #1 WR Josh Gordon. Gordon was a surprise scratch on Saturday due to a hamstring injury, that later turned into a flurry of Twitter activity as it was announced the Browns are releasing Gordon after 6 tumultuous seasons. It ended up the Browns traded Gordon to the Patriots for a 5th round pick. The Browns hung in with the Saints all day and they got just enough from Tyrod Taylor, Carlos Hyde, and Antonio Callaway to almost pull off the upset. For the second straight week, the kicking game cost the Browns. Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals as well as 2 extra point attempts in a 3-point loss. On Monday the Browns released Gonzalez and signed Greg Joseph. Cleveland hosts the Jets on Thursday night. This could possibly be the game in which they finally get a W and release the locks on those Bud Light fridges. Taylor, Hyde, and Landry (if healthy) should be started with confidence. If Landry can’t go, David Njoku and Duke Johnson should be started and if you are seeking high upside fire up the rookie Antonio Callaway.
10. Michael Thomas was great again and the New Orleans Saints squeaked out a win over the Browns. The Saints did nothing most of the day until the 4th quarter. Alvin Kamara had very little success on the ground (13/46) and made up for it with 6 catches for 53 yards. It was Thomas that that saved the day. Determined to make up for his costly fumble earlier in the day, Thomas caught two TD passes in a 6-minute span in the 4th and Will Lutz hit a 44 yard to put the Saints ahead for good. Through 2 weeks Michael Thomas has been targeted 30 times and has a line of 28/269/3. Thomas is on a ridiculous pace for 224/2160/24 this season. The Saints are in Atlanta in week 3. Keep Brees, Kamara and Thomas in your lineup this is going to be a shootout.
11. Ryan Tannehill was good enough throwing for 168 yards and 2 TD on 23 attempts, and the Miami Dolphins did enough to outlast the Jets and improve to 2-0. Kenyon Drake had a decent game despite only getting 15 touches and Albert Wilson scored his first TD in a Dolphin uniform. Danny Amendola was hurt yet again and looks like he will miss some time. The AFC East Leading Dolphins look to go 3-0 next week when they host the Raiders. I would comfortably start Tannehill, Drake, Wilson, and the DST in this one.
12. Sam Darnold threw for over 300 yards with a TD and two picks in the New York Jets loss to Miami on Sunday. Quincey Enunwa remains Darnold’s guy receiving 11 targets and turning them into a 7 catch 92-yard performance. Robby Anderson saw a boost in targets receiving 5 after only seeing the 1 in week 1 vs Detroit. Week 3 the Jets will attempt to get back into the win column with a Thursday night matchup in Cleveland. The Browns D looks legit through two weeks and I am not overly jazzed to start anyone other than Enunwa in this one. I would consider Crowell if you are desperate for a flex play.
13. Patrick Mahomes set an NFL record for the most touchdown passes through three games to start a career. He has 10. The strange part of that stat is in his first start he failed to complete a touchdown pass. He has 10 in two starts to kick off 2018. The Kansas City Chiefs are 2-0 and appear to have all parts of their offense firing on all cylinders. Week 1 was the Tyreek Hill show, Week 2 it was Mahomes with a great supporting cast of Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, Tyreek Hill, and Kareem Hunt. Their defense sucks and nobody cares. Week 3 the Chiefs play host to San Francisco in what is shaping up to be another high scoring affair. Be sure to start all the names listed above with confidence.
14. The Pittsburgh Steelers are dysfunctional and fragile group these days. They are fortunate to be 0-1-1 to start the 2018 season. Le’Veon Bell remains absent, and now there #1 WR Antonio Brown is unhappy to boot. Brown was visibly upset by the lack of targets in Sunday’s shootout against the Chiefs. Adding gas to an already raging fire, former Steelers media Relations assistant Ryan Scarpino claimed in a tweet that Brown would not be nearly as successful away from the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In response, Brown tweet Monday morning; “Trade me and let’s find out”. The crazy part of this is that Brown was targeted 17 times Sunday. He finished 9 for 67. A good day for most but not a good day for AB. To add to the complexity, Brown was a no-show for work on Monday. Stay tuned as the Steelers are quickly becoming a soap opera of a team. The Steelers seek their first win of the season in Week 3 when they hook up with the surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night in Tampa. It’s hard to sit anyone in this one, start Ben, Conner, JuJu, and AB.
15. The Philadelphia Eagles are a banged-up crew. They traveled to Tampa to take on the Bucs without Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery and lost Jay Ajayi (Ajayi later returned and scored), and Mike Wallace to injury during the contest. The Eagles defense got torched by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Eagles fell 27-21. Corey Clement had a nice day in both the running and passing games and Nelson Agholor along with Zach Ertz led the passing attack. Nick Foles was much improved from his opening week contest and finished 35/48 334 & 1 TD. Fear, not Eagles’ fans it appears that Carson Wentz has been cleared for contact and is slated to start Sunday vs Indianapolis. I am starting Ertz, Agholor, and Wentz. I will wait on injury and practice reports to determine who to start of the running back crew. It is possible that both Ajayi and Clement maybe starts in week 3.
16. I have a feeling that it’s about 11:45 pm and the clock is about to strike midnight on “Fitz Magic” and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then again, their opponent the Pittsburgh Steelers are not exactly striking fear in the hearts of their opposition. Fitzpatrick thru 2 weeks as the Bucs starter Fitz is 48/61 819 yards with 8TD, plus 13 rushes for 35 yards and an additional TD. He is the number 1 QB in fantasy. The Steelers were just torched for 326 yards and 6 TD last week. Tampa Bay should lose this game, they also should have lost their first two games. I am starting Fitz with all his WR in this one, along with OJ Howard. Peyton Barber can stay on the bench and if by some chance Ronald Jones finds himself in a uniform I am sitting him as well.
17. Deshaun Watson threw for 310 yards and 2 TDs as the Texans outgained the Titans 437-238 yet lost the game. Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins both went over 100 yards, combining for 14 catches on 20 targets. They both had a TD catch as well. Watson was sacked 4 times in this one, a week after being sacked 3 times by the Patriots. The Texans offensive line is one of the weakest in the league. The Texans host the Giants in week 3, in what should be a higher scoring game than week 2. I am starting Watson, Lamar Miller, and both Hopkins and Fuller.
18. The Tennessee Titans started this game without their starting QB and 3 offensive tackles and somehow won this game by a field goal. Blaine Gabbert started this one a threw for 117 yards and a TD. Corey Davis led the Titans receivers with 5 catches on 7 targets for 55 yards. Jonnu Smith a popular starter this week had nothing to show for his 2 targets. Marcus Mariota is still struggling to grip a football and remains questionable for Week 3. The Titans travel to Jacksonville to hook up with the Jaguars. I am sitting all Titans regardless of Mariota’s health in this one. If desperate, Dion Lewis can be started in hopes of garbage time production.
19. The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Redskins rather handily on Sunday. The biggest take away I have from this one is man, the Arizona Cardinals are terrible. I had the Skins winning this one and the Colts came to DC and punched Washington in the mouth. Andrew Luck was efficient again throwing for 179 yards and scores to TY Hilton and Eric Ebron. Marlon Mack made his season debut and turned 10 carries into 34 yards as Jordon Wilkins turned his 10 carries into 61 yards. The backfield in Indianapolis remains a mess. Indy travels to Philly to take on a wounded Eagles club in week 3. I am starting Luck, TY and Ebron. The entire backfield stays on the bench in this one.
20. The Washington Redskins fooled me. After their performance in week 1, I anticipated a game in which Adrian Peterson would run all over the Colts, and that Alex Smith would add a few timely passes on the way to a second straight victory. The result, AP ran 11 times for 20 yards, and Alex Smith was forced to throw 46 times. Chris Thompson remained a workhouse with 14 targets, 13 catches and 92 yards. The Redskins signed Breshad Perriman and Michael Floyd this week for some reason. Washington welcomes the Packers in week 3. I am starting Smith, Thompson, and Reed. The rest of the running and passing game is on the bench. I sure hope you all sold AP last week.
21. Entering the season, if asked you who the worst team in the NFL is, most us would have said Buffalo. Well, the Arizona Cardinals have something to say about that. The Cardinals have failed to score a touchdown this season and have posted 6 points in two weeks. Sam Bradford has 4 fantasy points on the season, David Johnson is being mishandled and Larry Fitzgerald is hurt. Arizona was shutout by the Rams in week 2 and get to face Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears in Week 3. Arizona needs to make the move to Josh Rosen, and for his sake, I hope they wait a week. David Johnson is the only Cardinal I would consider starting as he will likely see upwards of 30 touches in this one.
22. Todd Gurley posted 3 scores and 32 fantasy points in 3 quarters last Sunday. He took a seat with some muscle cramps in the 4th. Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and a TD to TE Tyler Higbee. Brandon Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp continue to lead the way in the receiving game for the Los Angeles Rams. Battle of LA in Week 3, I am starting all the mentioned WR’s, Gurley and Jared Goff. I see this one being on the high scoring side and the Rams having an edge with Joey Bosa out and the Chargers pass rush diminished as a result.
23. The Detroit Lions are 0-2 after a loss in San Francisco on Sunday. Matthew Stafford was better than week 1, throwing for 347 yards and 3 TDs. WR’s Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. had touchdown receptions, and Golden Tate hauled in 7 catches for 109 yards. The running game that was supposed to be improved this season stalled again. Kerryon Johnson is clearly their most talented back but he will need more touches to fully take the #1 job. KJ had 8 carries for 43 yards (5.4 YPC), and an additional 5 catches for 23 yards. The Lions host Josh Gordon and the New England Patriots in week 3. Stafford and the 3 WR are starts and hopefully, Kerryon Johnson furthers himself from LeGarrette Blount, and he becomes a starter in Week 4. For now, he needs to stay on your bench.
24. The San Francisco 49ers showed us that you start your running backs against the Detroit Lions. Matt Brieda and Alfred Morris combined for 25 carries, 186 yards and a TD in this one. Brieda turned his 11 touches into 138 yards and seems to have established himself as the #1 back despite 3 fewer touches than Morris and playing 26 snaps to Alf’s 31. Jimmy G. didn’t do much in this one, without #1 WR Marquise Goodwin, and to be honest he didn’t need to. The Niners travel to KC to battle the Chiefs in week 3. As mentioned earlier I anticipate a lot of points in this one. I am starting Garoppolo, Brieda, George Kittle and Marquise Goodwin (if healthy). If Goodwin can’t go, Pierre Garcon is worth flex consideration.
25. The Oakland Raiders for the second straight week failed to hold onto a lead. Derek Carr was improved in this one, and most importantly for his owners, Amari Cooper had a good game. Cooper caught all 10 of his targets for 116 yards. It was Cooper’s best game since week 7 of 2017 when he went off for 11/210/2. Marshawn Lynch scored a TD for the second straight week and led the way with 65 yards on 18 carries. The Raiders have a long cross-country trip to Tampa in Week 3. I am Starting Carr, Lynch, and Cooper, and that is it. This should be a tough one for Oakland.
26. The Denver Broncos kicked a last-second FG to defeat the Raiders 20-19. Case Keenum crushed my DFS day Sunday failing to capitalize on the Raiders suspect defense. Keenum was 19/35 for 222 with an INT. Emmanuel Sanders appears to be the most reliable WR for Denver, he caught all 4 of his targets for 96 yards. I am concerned about Demaryius Thomas. I was not that high on him coming into 2018 however, he looked terrible catching 5 of 11 targets in this one, with multiple drops. Rookie Courtland Sutton appeared to have a highlight reel TD reception only to have it overturned on a questionable call. Phillip Lindsay continues to impress. He had 14 carries for 107 yards highlighted by a nice 53-yard run. Fellow rookie Royce Freemans saw only 8 carries and Devontae Booker received 3. Denver is a somewhat surprising 2-0 to start the season and they travel to Baltimore in week 3. I am likely not starting anyone here and if I need a flex spot I will go with Sanders.
27. I must admit I enjoy watching the New England Patriots lose. The Jags defense was too much for the Patriots to overcome in this one. The Jags held Rob Gronkowski to 2 catches and 15 yards. Tom Brady was 24/35 for 234 yards and 2 TDs both to Chris Hogan. Sony Michel led the way in carries with 10 and turned those into 34 yards to lead the Patriots in rushing. Week 3 the Patriots welcome new WR Josh Gordon and travel to Detroit to battle the Lions. Fire up Sony in this one, as well as Brady, Gronk, and Hogan. I am also taking a flyer on Gordon, this one has a 120 & 2 game written all over it and Flash would love nothing more than to show the world he is back.
28. The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the New England Patriots 31-20 Sunday. Blake Bortles looked great throwing for 377 yards and 4 scores on 45 attempts. This was likely Bortles’ best game of his career. Keelan Cole has assumed what most of us already knew, he is the #1 option for the Jags. He caught 7 of 8 targets for 116 yards and a touchdown. Of those 7 catches was a ridiculous one-handed grab that everyone must see if they haven’t. Leonard Fournette sat this one out and TJ Yeldon carried the ball 10 times for 58 yards. Jacksonville takes their 2-0 record to Tennessee in week 3, I would prefer to sit Bortles in this one. I will start Cole and the lead running back whoever that ends up being. I would also consider starting Austin Sefarian-Jenkins as my TE.
29. The New York Giants lost to Dallas Sunday night and it is apparent that the Giants have the worst offensive line I have seen in recent memory. I entered into 2018 with high hopes for Eli Manning based on his supporting cast. Well we are two weeks in and that ship has sailed, Eli is terrible. Saquon Barkley has done his best with very little thru the first two weeks. Saquon has rushed 29 times for 134 yards. Included in that total is the 68-yard beauty he had for a TD in week 1. Without that run, Barkley would be 28/66/0. It’s going to be a long year for the rookie and his teammates if this line continues to be a turnstile for the opposing defense. Odell Beckham was limited to 4 catches for 51 yards, and TE Evan Engram salvaged a lackluster game with an 18 yard TD grab in garbage time. The Giants stay in Texas for a week 3 match-up with the Houston Texans. Start OBJ and Barkley as normal and do whatever you can to sit the rest. Start Evan Engram if you can’t get away from him, if you own him he is likely your top TE and thus he’s in your lineup.
30. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Giants Sunday night 20-13. This one was much to do about nothing. Dak Prescott threw for 160 yards and a TD (65 yards on one play), Zeke carried the ball 17 times for 78 yards. The Cowboys were not forced to do much in this one and they didn’t. Dallas is in Seattle Sunday night and with the exception of Ezekiel Elliott, all my Cowboys are on the bench.
31. Another team, another horrible offensive line. In fairness to the Seattle Seahawks, the Bears are one tough defense. Through 2 games, Russell Wilson has been sacked 12 times. This is the first time that a quarterback has been sacked 12 times in the opening two weeks of a season since Joey Harrington of the Atlanta Falcons was back in 2007. The Bears shut done the run game as well. Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and Mike Davis combined for 19 cries and 57 yards (3 YPC). Seattle scored 14 4th quarter points as the Bears softened their defense. Tyler Lockett and rookie Will Dissly had the garbage time scores. Seattle hosts Dallas in Week 3. I will be comfortable starting Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett. I am fading the rest as I cannot trust any other parts of this offense.
32. The Chicago Bears defense is something to watch. They tormented Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks all night on Monday. The Bears got enough out of second-year QB Mitch Trubisky and his 24/35/200/2/2 line. Allen Robinson led the way in the passing game with 10 catches and 83 yards on 14 targets. Jordon Howard led the RB in touches despite questionable usage in the RedZone. I am starting all Bears in Week 3 as they take on the Arizona Cardinals. One item of note, Tarik Cohen injured his ankle in this one and is questionable in week 3. If Cohen can’t go, Howard gets a lift as well as Taylor Gabriel.
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