Fantasy Football: 10 Lessons Learned from Week 2
Week 2 was a welcome order of comfort food (Raisin’ Canes anyone?) after the insanity of Week 1. Except for Ezekiel Elliott, we didn’t see nearly the level of duddery as we suffered opening week. That said, there was still quite a lot to glean from Week 2, so let us enter the fantasy classroom yet again in search of this week’s Lessons Learned.
Also, for those of you who dare challenge me on the existence of “duddery” in the dictionary, I stand on my Jason-Moore-shaped soapbox and disclude the following:
duddery: noun. A place where fabric made of wool is produced or retailed.
Read it and weep.
1. James White is Among the Most Overlooked Players in the NFL and Fantasy
I was going to start with a joke about how it’s not hard to overlook a relatively little guy, but it turns out White is 5’10″/205 lbs. That’s in the LeSean McCoy ballpark and illustrates the point perfectly. White is much more than meets the eye and certainly more than a run-of-the-mill third down back. He is an integral part of this high-powered offense, as we learned from his 96 total yards on two carries and eight catches. Especially with the wealth of injuries to the New England receiving corps, White is a lock for five-plus receptions per week and makes elite use of the space provided by the Patriot offense. Especially in PPR leagues, White is worth a weekly start as a high-end RB3 or better.
2. Javorious “Buck” Allen is the Top Fantasy Option in Baltimore
Besides the D/ST, of course. Until Danny Woodhead returns, Allen is not only the Ravens RB to own, he may actually be a legitimate workhorse. Through two games, Allen has 35 carries for 137 yards along with five catches for 35 yards and a touchdown last week. With Terrance West now banged up as well, Allen could easily see 20 touches a game for the foreseeable future. Even if he’s not incredibly effective with the opportunity, that kind of volume is too good to pass up. Allen should be owned and started in all leagues until further notice.
3. Even Without Luck, Jack Doyle is Worth Owning
In Jacoby Brissett‘s first game as the Colts’ starting quarterback, Doyle commanded eight targets and caught all eight for 79 yards. The duo clearly has a connection — unsurprising, since young and/or inexperienced QBs tend to lean on their tight ends due to their size and reliable routes. With little else happening in the Indianapolis offense, Doyle should be a decent low-end TE1 option until Andrew Luck‘s return. At that point, his value will only increase, as Luck will improve the entire Indy offense and is also known to heavily target his tight ends. Doyle is a very solid buy-low candidate, especially if you’re dealing with one of the many injuries to elite TEs this week.
4. Kareem Hunt is the Real Deal
This may be slightly burying the lede. After a ton of Andy-Reid-related hype and a monstrous Week 1, many of us felt like we had to temper expectations with Hunt before allowing Week 1 overreactions bite us in the butt. Cancel all expectation-tempering. Hunt belongs among the fantasy superstars. The rookie racked up 109 yards on 16 touches in Week 2, adding two touchdowns on the ground. And he passes the eye test as well, breaking tackles and accelerating through open space left, right, and center. Andy Reid‘s RB usage and general offensive scheming are a huge part of Hunt’s success, but so is the kid’s talent. He’s an RB1 shoo-in with easy top-five potential.
5. Derrick Henry Has Elite Upside
I was pounding the table for Henry coming into the season, as DeMarco Murray had reached the age of 29 and a carry count beyond his years. We knew the day would come when Murray would finally run out of gas or break down, opening the door for Henry as an immediate RB1. That day may have arrived last week, as Murray topped off two weeks of relative ineffectiveness with the return of a preseason hamstring issue. The Titans handed Henry the reigns and the sophomore back galloped for 92 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. I have to disagree just a bit with the Ballers on this one, as I think Tennessee will be willing to ride Henry forward regardless of what they’ve paid their veteran cornerstone. They have their sights on the playoffs, and so far, Henry has looked like the better path to that end.
6. Martavis Bryant Has Shaken Off the Rust
Following a very disappointing start to the season, The Alien rewarded his fantasy faithful with 91 yards and a touchdown on only three catches in Week 2. He also drew a massive pass interference call that doesn’t show up in his fantasy points. Of course, that stat line does perfectly illustrate what Bryant will entail all season: massive boom-bust potential. He has only five catches through two weeks and will always struggle with a low target share with Antonio Brown and 27-carry Le’Veon Bell in town. Still, it was exciting to see Bryant do what he does best and help win fantasy weeks on one or two catches. Bryant should be worth starting weekly and especially in game scripts where the Steelers may have to throw more often.
7. Smokin’ Jay to DeVante is Going to Be Fantasy Gold
All the reports and film through preseason suggested that Jay Cutler had goo-goo eyes for DeVante Parker and Week 2 flashed some under-the-radar confirmation. Cutler targeted his “faster Alshon Jeffery” clone nine times on Sunday and connected on four of those throws for 85 yards. After Parker literally stole one such throw from the defender’s hands and nearly converted it into a touchdown, Cutler was visibly enamored, pointing at Parker and adding a fist bump in the sign language version of “You the man!” As the connection grows and a few more of the deep Cutler targets turn into catches, Parker could push for the league lead in yards per reception and leap his way into WR2 territory.
8. Michael Crabtree is Still the King of the Red Zone
Unfortunately for all the Amari Cooper truthers, Michael Crabtree returned to his touchdown-hogging ways in Week 2, snagging three TDs from Derek Carr in a blowout of the Jets. Whatever it is about Crabtree that draws Carr’s eyes in the red zone (hint: his contested catch rate is elite), this is a continuation of an ongoing trend and reminds us that Crabtree is a strong WR2 candidate on the merit of his touchdown proclivity. It still remains to be seen how much end zone action Cooper can wrest from Crabtree’s grasp, but it will clearly be a battle, as Crabtree has no intention of giving up his crown.
9. Trevor Siemian and Co. are Fantasy-Legitimate
Now, I’m not saying Siemian is a QB1 just yet. But Mike McCoy and Vance Joseph clearly have this offense on the same page, as they put up 35 points on the Cowboys. Siemian has seven total touchdowns through two weeks, C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles annihilated the Dallas run defense with 164 yards on the ground, and the dynamic duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders combined for 37.3 PPR fantasy points. Thanks to an elite defense, this offense will have plenty of time with the ball (often in great field position) on a weekly basis. Moving forward, Siemian is highly-streamable and could grow into a low-end QB1, Anderson is an RB1 while healthy, and the WRs are both reliable starters.
10. Carlos Hyde is Talented, Involved, and a Buy-Low Candidate
So far, Carlos Hyde and the 49ers have faced two strong defenses in the Panthers and Seahawks. They have yet to score a touchdown or build any sort of lead. And yet, Hyde has 220 total yards on 24 carries and nine receptions. He has averaged 7.0 yards per attempt and is surprisingly strong in PPR formats thanks to the RB-targeting proclivities of head coach Mike Shanahan. The upcoming schedule looks to get a little easier and may offer the Niners a chance at (slightly) more positive game scripts. Hyde is a buy-low target, as the matchups loosen up and the team (eventually) finds its way into the end zone. If Hyde can add a few scores and a few more carries per game to his resume, he will consistently knock on the door of high-end RB2 territory.