Top fantasy takeaways from Week 2’s action
Jeff Ratcliffe offers the 10 most important stat takeaways from the Week 2 fantasy action.
Top fantasy takeaways from Week 2’s action
The fantasy landscape continued to take form in Week 2 with a number of injuries affecting fantasy owners. Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Thomas Rawls, Jonathan Stewart, Arian Foster, Ameer Abdullah and Danny Woodhead all sustained injuries that forced them from their respective games on Sunday. There were also a number of noteworthy statistics — both good and bad — from this Sunday’s action. Here are 10 stats to know from Week 2:
1. Devonta Freeman wasn’t targeted in Week 2.
This one is a real headscratcher. After being the third-most-targeted running back last season, Freeman has apparently taken a back seat in the Falcons’ passing game to Tevin Coleman, who caught both of his Week 2 targets. The snap distribution between the two Atlanta running backs was again a nearly 50-50 split with Freeman on the field for 36 snaps and Coleman playing 30 snaps. It was also very close in touches with Freeman getting the slight edge 17 to 14. While the touch and snap distributions are concerning for Freeman owners, he was the better runner on Sunday and remains in the RB2 conversation.
2. Travis Benjamin emerges as the Chargers go-to wide receiver.
In the wake of Keenan Allen’s season-ending injury, Travis Benjamin exploded for 115 yards and two scores on six catches. Interestingly, he posted the exact same stat line in Week 2 of last season. Benjamin led the Chargers receivers in targets with six, and ranked third among wide receivers for the week with 0.88 fantasy points per opportunity. Tyrell Williams also got into the action with a catch-and-run touchdown, but Benjamin was clearly Philip Rivers’ top target. He’s a back-end WR2 with upside going forward.
3. Through two weeks, there are four running backs with at least 50 carries.
At this time last year, Alfred Morris led the position with 43 carries. We finished the year with just one player over 300 carries (Adrian Peterson). Currently, DeAngelo Williams, Lamar Miller, Matt Forte and LeGarrette Blount have all seen heavy workload through the first four weeks of the season. Of this group, Miller is the only player who isn’t in the top 10 among running backs in fantasy scoring. However, that’s no reason for Miller owners to be upset. Heavy volume is going to continue for the former Dolphins’ running back, and that almost always means good things for fantasy purposes.
4. It was a bad fantasy day for Antonio Brown, but he still topped double-digit targets.
That’s 10 or more targets in 33 of the last 36 games for Brown. The three games where he didn’t top double-digits were with either Michael Vick or Landry Jones under center. While his four catches for 39 yards isn’t ideal, fantasy owners need not panic. Brown is still the king of volume and remains the top fantasy option every week.
5. Aaron Rodgers has completed 23.1 percent of his passes when under pressure.
That’s the lowest among quarterbacks through the first two weeks of the season, and it’s an area where Rodgers struggled last season. Only Blake Bortles and Alex Smith were less accurate in the face of pressure in 2015. Rodgers managed to pad his Week 2 numbers with a rushing touchdown or else it would have been a rough day for his fantasy owners. He passed for just 207 yards and a score. Of course, this was a tough matchup against a potent Vikings defense. Things get a little better in Week 3 with the Packers facing the Lions at home.
6. Only one tight end topped double-digit targets so far in Week 2: Dennis Pitta.
After a somewhat slow start in Week 1, Pitta put up a big stat line on Sunday with nine catches on 11 targets for 102 yards. He nearly doubled up the next-most-targeted received, as Mike Wallace saw six targets on the day. Pitta is making an unlikely return to the field after missing nearly the last two full seasons with a hip injury. His last full season came in 2012 when he finished as fantasy’s No. 7 tight end. He’s currently tied for 10th among tight ends in fantasy scoring following Sunday’s performance. If he can remain healthy, Pitta has the capability to put up back-end TE1 numbers.
7. Dak Prescott is not getting good protection on the right.
The Cowboys offensive line was widely regarded as the top unit entering the season. They’ve failed to live up to that billing through the first two weeks of the season, and it’s largely because of the play of RT Doug Free. He’s yielded nine QB pressures (sacks, hits or hurries) through the first two games, including two sacks on Sunday. Tyron Smith has been strong on the other side of the line, but Prescott has still been pressured on 32.5 percent of his dropbacks so far this season.
8. Isaiah Crowell leads the pack in breakaway runs.
The fantasy community is well-aware of Crowell’s 85-yard touchdown scamper on Sunday, but he’s actually posted a position-high four runs of 15-plus yards through the first two weeks of the season. Only Melvin Gordon and Fozzy Wittaker have three runs of 15-plus yards so far this season. In total, 136 of Crowell’s 195 yards have come on breakaway runs. While many fantasy players had high hopes for Duke Johnson this season, Crowell has out-touched Johnson 33 to 13 and is clearly the better fantasy option in the Cleveland backfield.
9. Texans continue to target Will Fuller deep.
Houston drafted Fuller to be a field-stretching option opposite DeAndre Hopkins, and that’s exactly what he’s been so far. Through the first two weeks of the season, Fuller leads all wide receivers with 10 deep-ball targets that have traveled at least 20 yards down field. That accounts for 55.6 percent of his targets for the season. Of course, he’s only caught two of those passes, but the good news is that Brock Osweiler keeps taking shots to Fuller. He’s a volatile fantasy option, but Fuller will continue to have big weekly upside.
10. The league leader in yards per route run is Stefon Diggs?
Yards per route run is a metric we use at PFF to see how efficient receivers are on a per-route basis. It’s a category that’s always dominated by the league’s elite receivers. Yet, through two weeks, it isn’t Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green or Odell Beckham Jr. who sits atop the list. Diggs paces the league with a monster 4.25 yards per route run after his second straight 100-yard performance. Through the first two games, Diggs has 285 yards and a score on 16 catches and currently sits second among receivers in PPR scoring. While he’s a likely candidate for regression, he’s going to continue to benefit from being the clear top receiving target in the Vikings offense. Diggs should now be considered a WR2.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.