Wed Sep 11 8:33am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Brown looking good for Week 2
Before I get to my random thoughts for the week, I just wanted to mention something. Don’t overreact to the first week of the season. That means dropping players that had a bad game or spending all your FAAB money on player that had a big game. You need to remember that the season is a long one. Things even out over time. I’m not saying you should ignore what happened this first week, but don’t go crazy one way or the other. It is a loooooooooooong season.
With that said, here are my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
I was really impressed with the Bengals offense. This was a big surprise for me. I think their new coach, Zac Taylor, has that unit headed in the right direction. Andy Dalton was getting the ball out quicker than I have seen him in past seasons and utilizing a lot of weapons. I’m bumping all these players up in my weekly rankings. I think their arrow is pointing up.
My big dud of the week was Jameis Winston. I was really high on for the coming year and he laid an egg in Week 1. I know it was just a week but he looked terrible against a below average defense. He just hasn’t made much progress since entering the league and I’m not holding out hope the light goes on anytime soon. I do think he still has some big games this year but more inconsistency is going to come for Winston. Not good.
I can’t fathom the Giants not giving Saquon Barkley more weekly touches. He had just 15 touches in the opener but still managed 139 total yards. This guy needs 20-plus touches every game. If he doesn’t get that work, the offensive coordinator should be fired. He is one of the best players in all of football. Craziness.
Tyrell Williams could end up being a steal for all the fantasy owners that were able to get him. He is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver in this offense and has a chance to rack up the weekly targets. He is setup for a career year and could be a No. 2 fantasy receiver much of the year.
And speaking of the Raiders, Darren Waller lived up to the preseason hype. He was on the field almost the entire game and was targeted eight times, catching seven passes for 70 yards. Just look at what Jared Cook did last year and expect Waller to match or exceed that in this offense. He is going to have a huge fantasy season.
Lamar Jackson looked amazing, missing on just three passes while topping 300 yards and throwing five touchdown passes. And he ran the ball just three times. I’m still not convinced he is going to be an elite fantasy quarterback based on one game against a terrible Dolphins team. I don’t expect him to have this much success throwing the ball on a weekly basis, especially against better defenses. And remember, he attempted just 20 passes last week, which is a very low number. I still consider him a low-end No. 1 or No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson did nothing to help Melvin Gordon’s cause. Both backs looked great with their chances and proved the Chargers offense can function just fine with Gordon not in the mix. This does not bode well for the Chargers caving to Gordon’s contract demands. As for Ekeler and Jackson, I like both backs for fantasy purposes. Ekeler is a legit No. 2 back in my view because of his reception potential. And I think Jackson can be a decent streaming flex play. He’ll get near double-digit touches on a weekly basis.
Lastly, I’m not sure when all the Antonio Brown drama will end. This is unreal. You have to hold onto him if you drafted him but at this point, I would be preparing for the worst. This guy has been a train wreck most of the offseason. I really didn’t think playing time would be an issue for him based on his track record. He was a bit crazy and a diva the last several years but that never cost him games. Well, that isn’t the case anymore. This is spiraling out of control. Not good.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 2 rankings.
News and Notes: The Jets are releasing kicker Kaare Vedvik and are expected to sign Sam Ficken. The Jets traded for Vedvik but he struggled in the preseason and the first game of the year. Ficken will get his chance to earn the job going forward. . . . .The Patriots traded receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Jets in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round draft pick on Tuesday. Thomas adds some veteran depth to the Jets passing game. . . . .New Patriots receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of raping his former trainer, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in South Florida. Stay tuned. The drama continues on for Brown.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots. Brady had 29 fantasy points and threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in the opener. He looked tremendous, showing no signs of slowing down. And now he gets Antonio Brown to work with starting this week. Brown is suddenly looking very good for fantasy teams after seeing his stock drop this offseason. Brady gets the Dolphins this week, a team that allowed 378-passing yards to a Ravens team that is not known for throwing the ball.
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans. Henry got off to a fast start, looking like the back that ended last season on such a high note. He had 159 total yards and two touchdowns against a pretty good Browns defense. Things are looking even better for him this week against the Colts. The Colts allowed the second most fantasy points to running backs in Week 1 and 125-rushing yards. Henry is a must play in this matchup.
John Brown, WR, Bills. Brown was targeted 10 times in Week 1 and caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. He is the top target in this Bills offense and should get plenty of weekly chances. He can do more damage this week against the other New York team, the Giants. New York was a mess defensively last week, allowing the most fantasy points to receivers. The Giants could not stop any of the Cowboys receivers, seeing Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup run wild in the secondary. This bodes well for Brown to repeat his big Week 1 performance.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars. Fournette didn’t have a huge Week 1 but was solid. He had 13 carries for 66 yards and caught four passes for 28 yards, giving him 94 total yards. He also was targeted six times in the game, which is encouraging. Fournette could be the focal point of the offense the next several weeks with a rookie quarterback now at the helm. He gets the Texans this week, a team that couldn’t stop the Saints rushing attack last week. Houston allowed the third most fantasy points to running backs Week 1.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys. Gallup made big play after big play in Week 1, catching seven passes for 158 yards. He really looks to have taken a step forward from last year and the new offense is a plus for his abilities, taking more chances down the field. Expect Gallup to get plenty of chances to push the ball downfield this week against the Redskins. Washington could not contain DeSean Jackson last week. The Redskins allowed the fourth most fantasy points to receivers.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. Jones lands on the cold list for the second straight week. Jones struggled against a good Bears defense last week, rushing 13 times for 39 yards. And he caught just a pass in the game, getting fewer than five fantasy points. It was a dud of an opener for Jones. It could be more of the same this week against the Vikings, a team that allowed the third fewest fantasy points to running backs in Week 1. Minnesota allowed just 73-rushing yards last week.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos. Sanders looked great in his first game back from a torn Achilles. He caught five passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. The entire Broncos offense did not look good against a mediocre Raiders defense. This is not a good sign for Denver and Sanders. He’ll have a much tougher game this week against the Bears, a team that allowed the second fewest fantasy points to receivers last week. Sanders is a player to leave on your bench despite his good showing last week.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings. The Vikings attempted just 10 passes last week, leaning heavily on the run. Cousins looked just fine with his work but the few amount of pass attempts is a concern. This could be a trend in the Vikings new offense, being a run-first team. Cousins is a player to avoid this week, playing the Packers. Green Bay looked great defensively last week against the Bears, shutting down Mitchell Trubisky and the passing game.
James Conner, RB, Steelers. Conner was a huge bust in the opener, rushing 10 times for just 21 yards. The entire Steelers offense was a mess, which is a concern right now. Conner isn’t a player to give up on by any means, but another below average game could be in the works for Week 2. Conner plays the Seahawks, a team that allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to running backs last week.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets. Crowder was a monster to open the season, catching 14 passes for 99 yards on 17 targets. It was quite the showing in his first game with the Jets. He is going to get a lot of targets throughout the season. But even with that said, he isn’t a sure thing for fantasy teams based on his track record. He could be pretty mediocre some weeks, especially in tough matchups for the Jets. And a game against the Browns isn’t a great one for Crowder this week. Cleveland was a huge bust last week and should come out with a lot more urgency this week. The Browns also allowed the fewest fantasy points to receivers in Week 1.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals. The Bengals lost the opener but played a good game on the road against a tough defense. It was a very encouraging game for Dalton in the new Bengals offense, going 35-of-51 for 418 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. And he did this without A.J. Green, who remains out because of injury. Dalton has an easier matchup this week against the 49ers. San Francisco looked better defensively last week, but Jameis Winston really struggled for the Bucs. Dalton and the Bengals offense can exploit this defense, making Dalton a sneaky play for fantasy teams.
Latavius Murray, RB, Saints. Murray didn’t have a huge opener but was solid, playing the Mark Ingram in the Saints offense this year. He had six carries for 43 yards and a touchdown, and caught two passes on three targets. He is going to get around double-digit touches per game. He can improve on last week against the Rams in Week 2. Los Angeles allowed the most fantasy points to running backs in Week 1.
KeeSean Johnson, WR, Cardinals. Johnson was heavily involved in the passing game Week 1, catching five passes for 46 yards on 10 targets. The amount of targets is a great sign as well as Johnson starting the game as the No. 3 receiver. We know the Cardinals are going to throw the ball a lot, so as long as Johnson remains the No. 3 receiver, he has value to fantasy teams. The Ravens are a tough matchup for the Cardinals but if the offense is going to have any success, it is likely through the air, giving Johnson some chances once again.
Vernon Davis, TE, Redskins. Davis got the start last week because Jordan Reed was injured once again. Davis took advantage, catching four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. Reed could return this week but nothing is certain with him. If Davis starts, he could post good numbers against the Cowboys. Dallas could not stop Evan Engram last week, so look for Davis to get a workout in this one.
Duke Johnson, RB, Texans. Johnson had a solid opener for the Texans, getting 90 total yards on 13 touches. Johnson made plays as both a runner and receiver. He should continue to get 15 or so touches per week in a great Texans offense. Johnson has a favorable matchup this week against the Jaguars, a team that struggled to stop the Chiefs running backs in Week 1. Jacksonville allowed the fifth most fantasy points to running backs last week.
High/Low Scoring Games
Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.
High Scoring Games: Bucs/Panthers, Chiefs/Raiders, Saints/Rams, Eagles/Falcons.
Low Scoring Games: Bears/Broncos.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson had himself a fantastic game against the Oakland Raiders in Week 2. Robinson caught all six of his targets for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He looked unstoppable against the shaky Raiders secondary, but who knows if that will happen again. Robinson, Mecole Hardman, and De'Anthony Thomas will all be in the mix at No. 2 with Tyreek Hill (shoulder) sidelined. Robinson will be a hot pickup in most leagues this week, but he should be viewed as a WR3 for Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce started off a little slow in Week 1, but turned it around quickly in Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders. Kelce caught seven of his nine targets for 107 yards and one touchdown in the victory over the Raiders. Sammy Watkins was the only player targeted more (13), but wasn't able to do much with his chances. Kelce will be a TE1 against the Baltimore Ravens Defense in Week 3. The Ravens were torched in the passing game during their Week 2 matchup.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement (shoulder) left the Week 2 game on Sunday night against the Falcons with a shoulder injury and is questionable to return. Clement is Philly's main kick returner, and he was injured early in the third quarter on a kickoff in which he fumbled to give the ball right back to Atlanta. The 24-year-old has yet to be used on offense in 2019 and is buried on the running back depth chart behind rookie Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles. Clement should be on the waiver wire in all leagues. Sanders could return kicks the rest of the night if Clement doesn't return.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis struggled to get going once again in the team's 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Davis was able to haul in three of his five targets, but only turned them into 38 yards. It appears that new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith is very content with riding the running game and spreading the ball around in the passing game, which is bad news for Davis owners. Davis, who remained relevant a season ago solely due to his elite volume, appears to be an afterthought this season for fantasy. In deep leagues, he may be worth a hold for one more week, but don't hesitate to drop him for a more promising player in shallow leagues.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries has not gotten off to the start many expected with his new team in 2019. Humphries caught both of his targets for negative one yards in the team's 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. After the game, quarterback Marcus Mariota mentioned Humphries as someone they needed to get more involved in the offense going forward. Despite these comments, Humphries should be left on waivers in all formats after this week.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins jumped into the No. 1 receiver spot for the team in Week 2, but unfortunately disappointed fantasy owners. Watkins was targeted 13 times, but only caught six passes for 49 yards and was unable to find the end zone. He had a huge three touchdown game in Week 1, but couldn't get anything going against the Oakland Raiders. He should rebound nicely against the Baltimore Ravens Defense in Week 3 that allowed 349 passing yards in Week 2.
Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker caught four of six targets for 32 yards in the team's 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Despite a lackluster fantasy performance, Walker once again led the team in targets. While his upside may be limited by the pace of the Titans offense, Walker should continue to be the primary target of quarterback Marcus Mariota going forward, which will be enough to keep him in TE1 territory.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry had another strong game in Week 2, rushing 15 times for 81 yards and a touchdown and adding two catches for 12 yards. Surprisingly, the Titans seemed to use Henry less as the game went on despite his success on the ground. Henry's usage and touchdown upside will continue to keep him in the high-end RB2 range this season. Henry will get a matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars on a short week this Thursday, and his success against them has been well noted over his career.
Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis does not seem to have much of a role on the team's 2019 offense thus far. Lewis rushed three times for nine yards and caught his lone target in their 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Despite trailing in the fourth quarter, Lewis was still not utilized much by new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. It appears that he is nothing more than the backup to Derrick Henry at this point, making him a drop candidate in all redraft formats.
Chicago Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro went 3-for-3 on his field-goal attempts, including hitting a 53-yard strike with a second left in the game to beat the Broncos 16-14. Much has been made in the offseason about the Bears kicking problems, but on this day the kicker saved the game for them. Pineiro also connected from 40 yards in the first quarter and then nailed a 52-yarder in the second quarter. Pineiro has connected on all of his kicks thus far this season and this game-winning kick certainly should be a confidence booster. The Bears radio announcer Jeff Joniak already has nicknamed the young kicker Eddie "Dinero" Pineiro. Eddie "Money" will try and keep it rolling with a favorable matchup against the Redskins at home in Week 3.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (groin) were both injured on Sunday night in Week 2 against the Falcons and are questionable to return. Tight end Dallas Goedert (calf) also left and is questionable to return. It has predictably affected quarterback Carson Wentz's performance, as he's just 4-for-9 for 37 yards and two interceptions with some of his favorite weapons dinged up. Neither Jeffery nor D-Jax were targeted before they left the game. If they can't return, Nelson Agholor, rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins will need to step up. Zach Ertz will also be heavily targeted by Wentz.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (knee) was unable to get anything going on the ground against the Oakland Raiders in Week 2. He rushed nine times for eight yards and added three receptions for 48 yards through the air. Both Williams and LeSean McCoy struggled to get anything going in the ground game. Williams left during the fourth quarter due to a knee issue. It's unclear if he's going to miss time or not, so fantasy owners will have to wait and see. Williams will be a RB2 against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3, assuming he's able to suit up.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 19 of 28 attempts for just 154 yards and one touchdown in the team's 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Mariota did add five rushes for 32 yards on the ground, but he appeared to be more timid in the passing game than we saw a week ago in Cleveland. The Titans are content to just grind the clock and play defense when the score permits, rendering Mariota nothing more than a low-end QB2 in fantasy. The Titans and Mariota will have to rebound from this poor performance quickly during the short week before they travel to Jacksonville for Thursday Night Football.
The Chicago Bears Defense put forth an excellent effort but barely survived as the offense rallied with :31 left to beat the Broncos 16-14. The defense held the Broncos offense in check most of the game but things got interesting the second half. The Bears offense struggled to sustain drives and the high altitude began to effect the vaunted defense as the Broncos rallied from a 13-3 deficit to take the lead on a two-point conversion with less than a minute to play. The team picked up only two sacks in the game, one by Khalil Mack. But the unit recorded their first takeaway of the season when cornerback Kyle Fuller picked off Joe Flacco in the red zone to stifle a possible scoring drive. The Bears defense is legit and will have a juicy matchup against a rebuilding Redskins offense in Week 3.
Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton caught only two passes for five yards in the Bears gritty, come-from-behind win over the Broncos 16-14. Burton has missed most of training camp plus the first game of the season recovering from sports hernia surgery and a groin injury. Burton did not fill up the box score, but his presence in the running game was felt. The threat of Burton on the field also opened up some easier throws for quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Health will be key moving forward but Burton should be able to produce more than five yards in upcoming games.
The Washington Redskins Defense didn't have an answer for the Cowboys on Sunday. They did pick off Dak Prescott once, but they only got to him for one sack and allowed him to complete 86.7% of his passes. Prescott launched three touchdowns, and Ezekiel Elliott rumbled for 111 yards on 23 rushing attempts with a touchdown of his own. The end result was a 31-point showing from Dallas that proved to be too much for Washington's offense to keep up with. Up next for this unit is a Bears team that actually appears to be a favorable matchup. Mitch Trubisky has not looked good in Chicago's first two games, and if Washington is able to neutralize the Bears' rushing attack, there is the potential for some success in Week 3.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller once again was not heavily featured in the Bears offensive game plan as the team came from behind to beat the Broncos 16-14. Miller made only one catch, a quick pass, that went for only two yards as his snaps were limited for the second straight game. Miller has been struggling with an ankle injury suffered in training camp and clearly is not up to speed in coach Matt Nagy's eyes. Miller caught seven touchdowns in his rookie season and was widely expected to take a step forward this season. But that progress has completely stalled and fantasy owners may need to move on from Miller until his snap-count rises.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (hand) will be examined by a hand specialist in Los Angeles on Sunday night after leaving the Week 2 game early in the first quarter against the Rams. Brees' right thumb collided with defensive tackle Aaron Donald's hand, and the future Hall of Fame quarterback couldn't even grip a football on the sideline, which is an obvious concern. It's unclear if Brees will travel with the team to practice all week at the University of Washington before their Week 3 game against the Seahawks in Seattle. He finished 3-for-5 for 38 yards and an interception and ruined a lot of fantasy owners' weeks with his injury. If he can't play next week, backup Teddy Bridgewater would get the start but would only be worth starting in two-QB leagues. Brees' injury is a huge concern for the fantasy value of all of New Orleans' skill players on offense. Stay tuned for updates on his injury when they come.
Chicago Bears tight end Ben Braunecker caught two passes for 24 yards in the team's 16-14 win over the Broncos in Week 2. With the Bears scaling down their offensive game plan and starter Trey Burton playing limited snaps, Braunecker came through with some key catches. When 100%, Burton is the unquestioned starter. But that may take a few more games and the Bears offense moves smoothly when it targets the tight end position. Braunecker is not expected to dominate the targets but could be in line for more modest production in the weeks ahead.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught just one of his seven targets for a 49-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Though Diggs saw plenty of targets, Kirk Cousins was abysmal all afternoon and the pair were unable to get anything else going on the road against the Packers Defense. Diggs caught another touchdown in the game, but it was called back upon a booth review discovering a phantom offensive pass interference on Dalvin Cook. Though it's encouraging to see Diggs get some usage and have some success in this contest, he should be viewed as a low-end WR2 until the Vikes' passing attack shows some signs of life. The Oakland Raiders are an enticing matchup in Week 3 but volume remains a concern for Diggs.