Easy Like Sunday Morning - Week 2
After an injury-filled opening weekend, Week 2 got started with a bang as three massive news stories dominated the headlines. I’ll discuss those in a moment, but first, let’s get you up to speed on all of the content around the site.
For those looking for injury news, make sure you check out Dave Pratt’s Sunday morning Fantasy Injury Ward. Of course, if you want a heads up on Mother Nature, you can check out our friends over at NFLWeather.com. It’s not just forecasts either. They have a treasure trove of information, so I highly recommend surfing around a bit.
As always, we have some of the best analysis in the business on our site. Scott Spratt checks in on running backs versus defensive fronts, Dan Schneier gives a detailed look at running backer timeshares, and Mike Clay breaks down his opportunity-adjusted touchdowns (OTD) for Week 1. For the film junkies, make sure you’re checking out Joe Bussell’s work. This week, he takes a look at the Patriots offense line to see if the Week 1 stats lie. Those looking to make trades need to be reading Tyler Loechner’s Trade Value Chart and Ryan McKee’s Trade Wins.
If IDP is you’re thing, we have the information to help you dominate your league with the tackle report, three-down linebackers, and snap report. We also get a little more in-depth with my weekly Breakdown and In the Trenches from Ross Miles.
Hopefully, our Daily Fantasy Sports offerings made you money last week, because they made me money. This week, Renee Miller gives some general strategies, Dan Schneier breaks down the week’s best QB/WR stack options, and Joey Cartolano tells you who to fade. You’ll also want to check out Pat Thorman’s DraftKings plays, and my action over at FanDuel.
Well be updating our rankings right up until kickoff, so check back early and often. If you have any start/sit questions, make sure you join us for our Week 2 War Room Hangout live on Google from 11:00 – noon EST.
Rice, Peterson, and the NFL Drug Policy
This week in the NFL got off to an ugly start when the now infamous video of Ray Rice striking and knocking out then fiancé Janay Palmer in an elevator in the Revel Casino in Atlantic City.
The surveillance footage is tough to watch. If you haven’t seen it, consider yourself lucky. Following the video, the Ravens released Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. While there was debate on how Rice’s case was initially handled, there’s no denying the severity of this punishment was warranted. It’s hard to envision a scenario where Rice plays in the league ever again.
In the wake of Rice’s release, the Ravens had a game to play on Thursday night. While many ran out to pick up Justin Forsett after his strong Week 1 showing, head coach John Harbaugh said Bernard Pierce would remain a big piece of the offense.
He wasn’t lying. Pierce got 23 touches to just 12 for Forsett in the Ravens win over Pittsburgh. While he wasn’t lights-out in the game, Pierce is still the preferred fantasy option of the two going forward and will be a weekly borderline RB2 play.
Of course, Rice wasn’t the only running back in the news this week. News surfaced on Friday that Adrian Peterson was indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child for allegedly causing cuts to his 4-year-old son’s legs with a “switch.” The Vikings prompted deactivated Peterson, and the running back turned himself in to authorities in Montgomery County, Texas on Saturday morning. Peterson was released on $15,000 bond.
At this point, it’s very difficult to speculate on the long-term implications of this development. However, we can likely expect the NFL and/or the Vikings to hand down further discipline. Otherwise, we really don’t know how this will all proceed.
What we do know is that Peterson isn’t playing this weekend, which means Matt Asiata will get the start for the Vikes with rookie Jerick McKinnon also in the mix. Don’t get too carried away with McKinnon. Yes, he’s an athletic freak, but he also extremely raw. Asiata figures to get a majority of the workload this week, and I have him as a strong RB2 play. That being said, if Peterson misses extended time, McKinnon offers a really intriguing fantasy ceiling.
Finally this week, we also had significant news regarding the league drug policy. It was reported on Friday that the NFLPA unanimously approved the terms of a new drug policy that included a higher threshold for a positive marijuana test and HGH testing. But NFL quickly retorted, saying an agreement has yet to be reached on a new policy. The NFLPA then confirmed this, but said an agreement will be finalized “very soon.”
The implications here are significant. Obviously, Josh Gordon is atop the list of players to be impacted. Gordon’s suspension is expected to be reduced from 16 to 10 games, which means he’ll be eligible to play in Week 12. That’s just in time to make him a potential difference maker in the fantasy playoffs. Maybe Johnny Manziel will be under center at that point. Wouldn’t that be interesting?
Wes Welker also benefits from the new policy, as he’s likely to suit up in Week 3. On the defensive side of the ball, Dolphins Dion Jordan and Reshad Jones are expected to be reinstated. Will Hill is also likely to get a reduced suspension. He’s currently out for six games, and could make an immediate impact for the Ravens. There are several other players who could see reduced suspension or reinstatement, but we’ll have to wait to see how it plays out.
Alright, that’s my thoughts for the week. Enjoy the games and good luck in Week 2!
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.