Ten Things We Learned in Week 2 (Fantasy Football)
Last week was weird, and this week was…. still kind of weird. There were a bunch of good games, way too many injuries, and a Bears kicker made a field goal. In terms of things we can actually take from Week 2 and use going forward, I made a list. This list will be compiled weekly, all season long. I can’t promise you that I won’t make puns and I certainly promise you that I will make film references. If you have a question about anything you see in here, you can find me on Twitter @TheFFGator.
Let’s get to it! Here are ten things that we learned in Week 2:
1. Todd Gurley is like a box of chocolates
But every one of them is filled with coconut. Regardless of the “why” behind the “what”, it’s very obvious that Todd Gurley is going to be in bubble wrap for most of 2019. Gurley was targeted six times per game last season, and this year he only has five targets total through two weeks. Malcolm Brown is going to be a thorn in the side of Gurley owners everywhere and the concerns about him in the preseason are proving to be very justified. Gurley has only been on the field 65% of the time so far this season, and McVay is giving us every indication that his 30 touchdowns over the last two seasons don’t guarantee him goal-line work. If you own Gurley and can still sell him for an RB1 price tag, you should do it now. Having him in your lineup will be a headache all year and every time he steps on the field, you’ll never know what you’re gonna get.
2. Patrick Mahomes is breaking the NFL.
What is this regression you speak of? Patrick Mahomes is confused. Before the season every analyst on earth was pointing out how ridiculous Mahomes’ play was in 2018, and how it was nearly mathematically impossible for him to continue it. I wrote a piece earlier this summer about this exact topic and stated that the only way Mahomes would be worth his ADP was if he outpaced the best quarterbacks of all time.
We’re two weeks in, and I feel stupid. Mahomes was already the QB3 on the week at halftime of his game this Sunday, and he made it look effortless. No lead is safe if you’re playing Kansas City, and no record is safe if Mahomes stays healthy. I don’t think it’s an overreaction to say that we may be watching the next all-time great quarterback, and he may reset plenty of statistical trends in fantasy football in the process.
3. The Cardinals are a 2015 Amazon stock.
You need to buy-in now before it’s too late. I highlighted their pace of play in last week’s recap, and this week we saw an even more promising performance with a few head-scratching play calls. Kyler Murray is on pace to throw more passes this season than any player in history. If he continues to throw the ball at this rate then he would end the year with 79 more attempts than anyone had in 2018. Larry Fitzgerald is on pace to see 22 more targets than Julio Jones did in 2018, which led the NFL.
Going into Sunday Night Football, Kyler Murray is a QB1 on the week….. And he didn’t even throw a touchdown pass. If Kliff Kingsbury decides to take a few more risks near the goal line, Murray could be an absolute monster. Whether it’s DJ, Murray, Fitz, or Christian Kirk, you need to invest in this offense. Right now they’re only selling books online, but I can promise you sooner or later they will take over the world.
4. Lamar Jackson cares about your fantasy team.
What do I need to say that we didn’t already see? Jackson showed us what he can do through the air in week one, and this week he showed us how high his ceiling can be if he keeps it on the ground too. I haven’t seen a cheat code like this since Michael Vick in Madden 04’, and it’s a blast to watch. It’s unlikely that any fantasy owner will trade you Jackson for less than a king’s ransom right now, so you might just have to sit back and enjoy the show.
5. Cam Newton texts “you up?” at 2am.
It’s exciting, but it’s sketchy. He has let us down, and he has played with our heart. Every time we think that we’re done with him, we give him another chance. Cam has been a top 5 QB every year that he has played a full 16 games, so there’s a lot of reason to think he can turn things around. It’s time to face the reality that something may be wrong, and we can’t fully trust him. I want to believe that Cam will come through when we need him most, but right now we have to be careful. Don’t drop Newton in your fantasy leagues completely since he’s coming off a surgery and might just need to kick the rust off, but right now you can’t start him until he produces at a high level consistently. The only silver lining I can come up with is a comparison to Andrew Luck when he came off Shoulder surgery. Luck looked very shaky in the first few weeks of 2018 as well, so hopefully, Cam can turn it around in a similar fashion.
6. Dak Prescott needs Rod Tidwell
If you don’t get this reference, shame on you. Stop what you’re doing and go rent Jerry Maguire. It’s very clear that Dak is a bona fide every week starter in your fantasy lineup, and we have Kellen Moore to thank for it. Moore has revamped the Cowboys passing attack and Dak is showing us that he’s here to stay. Through two games he has racked up 674 passing yards and seven touchdowns while completing a ridiculous 82% of his passes. Dak is the man, and it’s time for us to recognize that.
I have two personal messages for the gentleman in Dallas:
Kellen Moore: You. complete. me.
Jerry Jones: SHOW DAK THE MONEY!
7. The Rams offense is a Swedish massage.
It hurts a lot of the time, but it’s a good kind of pain. Predicting the wide receivers in LA is a difficult task, but somehow all of them found a way to produce in the first two weeks. Between Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, the Rams are a fantasy powerhouse. The issue with owning these guys is the unpredictability that comes with having them in your lineup. Cooks lead the receiving corps in fantasy points this week, while Robert Woods stayed quiet. This was the total opposite of week one and it didn’t make it any easier to predict week three. Even though these guys may hurt you sometimes, it’s important to recognize that the offense is good enough to support all of them at a high level. Embrace the pain, it will ultimately be good for you.
8. Tampa Bay is an Alfred Hitchcock movie
We have drama, we have confusion, we have plenty of twists. I felt fear, I felt excitement, and I felt terror. Chris Godwin looks like someone who will live up to the hype, while OJ Howard has gone missing. Jameis Winston still looked like a high school quarterback, but somehow the team managed to eat a W. The fantasy impact of this game was a big one, especially if you had Howard in your lineup. The biggest issue with Howard’s outlook going forward was his usage in the passing game. Even though he’s been on the field more often than last year, he’s only running routes on 41% of his snaps, which is nearly a 20% decrease from 2018. Bruce Arians may be limiting his usage downfield to keep him inside to block, but that’s never a good thing for our fantasy teams. Both Howard and Mike Evans have let us down through the first two weeks, but there is a reason to be optimistic. Evans is seeing a lot of volume and Howard is exceptionally talented.
The Bucs will be a team that keeps us on the edge of our seats throughout the year, but that may not be a good thing. If you’re wondering what to do with the Tampa Bay pass catchers, I recommend holding on to them for a few more weeks. Arians track record is too good to ignore Howard’s skill set, and Mike Evans has had slow starts to his seasons before. Hold on tight for now, but don’t be afraid to listen to offers if someone believes in them more than you do. Norman Bates fooled us all, so it’s not out of the question to think Arians might too.
9. The top-tier pass-catchers dressed up for Halloween.
And all of them are ghosts. What in the world is going on with some of the biggest names in fantasy? JuJu has a quarterback with a phantom injury, Michael Thomas may be without Drew Brees, Davante Adams bounced back but stayed on earth, and even DeAndre Hopkins let us down this week. Amongst the receivers that had an ADP in the top ten at the position going into the season, only Thomas sits in the top ten for receiving yardage, and he may lose his starting quarterback. You drafted these guys to anchor your team, but right now they’re sinking it.
If you took any of these guys in the back of the first round then you may be in a hole already, but you shouldn’t panic. There’s an explanation for most of the flops so far and each one of these guys is too good to be kept down. If you have an opportunity to trade for any of them at a discount, you need to take advantage of that.
10. You can never have too many running backs.
Damien Williams, James Conner, Devin Singletary, David Johnson. Each one of them either gave us a big-time scare in Week 2, or is currently awaiting a diagnosis. Running backs get injured every single week, and you need to prepare for that. Be careful with your running back depth, it can disappear very quickly.