The Breakdown: Key fantasy takeaways from Week 2
Week 2 is nearly in the books and there’s a lot to process for fantasy football purposes. Let’s take a look at the most important pieces of fantasy information for every team that was in action on Sunday:
Cleveland @ Baltimore
We knew entering this game that it would be a rough matchup for the Browns, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. Rookie signal caller, DeShone Kizer was sidelined for nearly half the game with migraines, and managed just 1.9 fantasy points with 182 passing yards and three picks. Kizer will be volatile this year, but does have some big weeks in him in the right matchup. … David Njoku found the end zone on four targets, but that pass came from Kevin Hogan. However, it’s still too tough to trust Njoku in starting lines because of Seth DeValve, who equaled Njoku with four targets. … Corey Coleman suffered what’s believed to be a broken hand, which is the same injury that caused him to miss six games last year. With Coleman sidelined, Rashard Higgins racked up seven catches on 11 targets for 99 yards after just being signed from the practice squad this week. Higgins was a PFF favorite in college, Higgins is worth a look on this week’s waiver wire if Coleman’s injury is expected to cause him to miss time.
With Danny Woodhead sidelined, here’s how the touches broke down in the Ravens’ backfield: Buck Allen (19), Terrance West (10), Alex Collins (7). West managed to get in the end zone, but Allen was clearly the Ravens’ preferred option with 43 snaps to just 15 for West. Allen will be an RB2 this week, with West a flex option at best. … Jeremy Maclin didn’t put up big yardage numbers, but he got in the end zone again this week. He remains in the WR3 conversation. … Ben Watson was excellent in this contest, with eight catches on eight targets for 91 yards. The performance places Watson squarely on the TE2 radar.
Buffalo @ Carolina
This one was ugly across the board for Buffalo. Tyrod Taylor followed up his strong Week 1 performance with just 124 yards and no scores through the air. He was able to at least post 10.5 fantasy points thanks to 55 yards rushing. As a result, there was essentially no value to be had from the Bills receivers. It’s best to avoid this group in fantasy starting lineups, unless Taylor shows he can consistent produce strong passing numbers. … LeSean McCoy also sputtered with nine yards on 12 carries. McCoy wasn’t a total was in PPR, as he chipped in six catches for 33 yards. Don’t panic if you own McCoy. This was a tough road contest. Better days are ahead.
Carolina also struggled offensively in this one, but the biggest news for the Panthers was the injury to Greg Olsen. The star tight end suffered a broken foot, which is expected to cost him roughly 6-8 weeks. That puts injured reserve on the table with Olsen being designated to return after eight weeks. … With Olsen out for a big chunk of the game, Cam Newton wasn’t able to get much done as a passer. He threw for 228 yards and no scores. Newton’s value is trending down, but keep in mind that New Orleans is up next on the schedule. … That matchup is also an upgrade for Kelvin Benjamin, who caught 6-of-8 targets for 77 yards in this one. … Panthers backfield touches: Jonathan Stewart (15), Christian McCaffrey (12). McCaffrey posted the better fantasy line, but only had 8.4 PPR points. His value is capped as long as Stewart is playing, but he remains an RB2.
Arizona @ Indianapolis
The Cardinals offense continues to spin its wheels. Carson Palmer topped 300 passing yards, but failed to crack the top 10 in fantasy scoring for the week. It’s tough to trust him unless Arizona is able to right the ship. … Larry Fitzgerald disappointed for the second straight week with just 21 yards on three catches. Jaron Brown surprisingly led the Cardinals with 11 targets, but J.J. Nelson was the biggest fantasy producer with five catches on seven targets for 120 yards and a score. Before you run out and pick him up, though, remember that Nelson has displayed this upside in the past and has proven to be very volatile from week to week. … Like we expected, the running back situation is a complete mess. Chris Johnson led the backfield in touches with 11, but he offers minimal fantasy upside. Avoid the Arizona backfield until/unless someone emerges as the clear lead back.
Jacoby Brissett got the start after just joining the team at the end of the preseason. Brissett didn’t post viable fantasy numbers, but he was at least able to help Jack Doyle deliver a solid stat line. Doyle posted 15.9 PPR points with eight catches on eight targets for 79 yards. He remains a in the TE2 conversation even with the mess at quarterback for the Colts. … T.Y. Hilton owners are likely going to have to keep starting the receiver, but he’s now in WR3 territory. Hilton posted four catches for 49 yards in this contest. … Frank Gore led the backfield in touches with 14. That was double Marlon Mack’s workload after the two saw equal touches in Week 1. Gore remains the fantasy back to own in Indy, though he offers a minimal fantasy ceiling.
Tennessee @ Jacksonville
Perhaps the most frequently asked question of the week has been “What happened to DeMarco Murray?” The veteran managed just 25 yards on nine carries, while Derrick Henry went nuts posting 92 yards and a score on 14 carries. Murray was reportedly dealing with hamstring tightness in the second half, which opened the door for Henry, but this isn’t a changing of the guard. Murray still out-snapped Henry 37-31 and remains the lead back when healthy.
With Allen Robinson on injured reserve, we saw a big game out of Allen Hurns. He posted six catches on seven targets for 82 yards and a score. However, Marqise Lee dominated the target share with 13 targets. He remains the preferred Jacksonville wideout for fantasy purposes. … Leonard Fournette didn’t post a massive stat line this week, but did find the end zone and posted 14.1 PPR points.
Philadelphia @ Kansas City
Carson Wentz topped 300 passing yards for the second straight week. He attempted nine passes of over 20 yards downfield and threw to the end zone four time. Wentz is knocking on the door of the QB1s. … LeGarrette Blount was demoted in this one and saw just one touch. While this may change going forward, the Eagles backfield doesn’t figure to offer any value outside of Darren Sproles in PPR leagues for the near future. … Alshon Jeffery snagged a late touchdown and put up 22.2 PPR points with seven catches on 13 targets for 92 yards. He’s a borderline WR1. … Zach Ertz continues to see heavy volume with five catches on eight targets for 97 yards.
Kareem Hunt showed that Week 1 wasn’t a fluke with another big fantasy week. He racked up 81 yards and two scores on 13 carries to go along with three catches for 28 yards. Hunt is cemented as an every-week RB1. … Tyreek Hill came back to earth this week despite a favorable matchup. Hill will be volatile this season, but he still has plenty of big games in him. … Fantasy owners may have been disappointed with Travis Kelce’s Week 1 performance, but he more than made up for it with a massive 103 yards and a score on eight catches. He’s still an elite fantasy option.
New England @ New Orleans
Tom Brady shook off the rust and went nuts in this one with 447 yards and three scores through the air. He showed that he’s still an elite fantasy option. … Rob Gronkowski, Rex Burkhead and Phillip Dorsett all left this contest with injuries, though none are believed to be serious. … Perhaps the only disappointing player on the New England side was Brandin Cooks. He managed just two catches for 37 yards, but he was underthrown for a sure touchdown and ended up getting tackled at the two.
Drew Brees is likely going to benefit from a lot of garbage time this year. With the Saints playing from behind all game, he racked up 356 passing yards and two scores. … Mark Ingram led the backfield in touches again this week with 12. He posted 52 rushing yards on eight carries, though 28 of them came on the last play of the game. It’s best to avoid this backfield if you can. … Coby Fleener scored a garbage time touchdown for the second week in a row. He isn’t a slam dunk fantasy option, but his production places him on the edge of the TE1s.
Minnesota @ Pittsburgh
Case Keenum drew the start with Sam Bradford dealing with knee soreness. Keenum was a major downgrade on the passing game, with none of the pass catchers producing strong fantasy numbers. Dalvin Cook also disappointed for fantasy purposes, though he nearly scored on a 25-yard run late in the game.
Xavier Rhodes was on Antonio Brown for much of the game, and was a big reason why Brown didn’t post a big stat line. Brown will be fine going forward, but we need to monitor Rhodes’ matchups. The receiver he faces will be a downgrade each week. … Le’Veon Bell didn’t put up massive numbers, but he did see 31 touches. That’s an encouraging workload. … Martavis Bryant saw just four targets, but he made them count with three catches for 91 yards and a score. He doesn’t need heavy volume to be a strong fantasy producer, though his week to week production isn’t likely to be consistent.
Chicago @ Tampa Bay
It was another high-volume day for Tarik Cohen. While the exciting rookie didn’t equal his Week 1 fantasy output, he still saw 15 touches and posted 14.8 PPR points. More importantly, he out-touched Jordan Howard, who looked ineffective in this contest. Keep in mind that Howard is banged up with a shoulder injury, but he’s trending in the wrong direction for fantasy purposes. … Deonte Thompson posted the best fantasy numbers among the Bears wideouts, but he actually was the No. 3 receiver in this contest. Kendall Wright and Josh Bellamy were on the field in 2-Wide sets, and Wright led the team with 10 targets. He’s the preferred fantasy option of the Chicago wide receiver corps. … Those in a pinch at tight end may want to give Zach Miller a look. He managed six catches on nine targets and did see an end zone target this week.
Tampa didn’t need to do much to win this game, but the offense looked crisp in their season opener. Jameis Winston threw for 204 yards and a score through the air. No need to panic if you own him. Winston narrowly missed two more scores – one to Jackson and one to Evans. Bigger days are ahead in more evenly matched contests. … Mike Evans racked up 22.3 PPR points with seven catches on nine targets for 93 yards and a score. Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin each saw two end zone targets in this contest. Jackson was also targeted three times 20-plus yards downfield. … Jacquizz Rodgers proved to be a solid fantasy option with 12.7 PPR points. He remains an RB2 play until Doug Martin returns.
Miami @ LA Chargers
Apparently, Jay Cutler has eyes for Jarvis Landry. He targeted Landry 15 times, with Landry snagging 13 for 78 yards. Not a big yardage day, but Landry still managed 20.1 PPR points. Cutler also hooked up with DeVante Parker for 85 yards on four catches. In total, Parker saw nine targets. Five of them traveled over 20 yards in the air. He’s dripping with big play upside. … Jay Ajayi got off to a strong start with 30 touches. The he didn’t find the end zone, Ajayi topped 100 yards and forced a whopping eight missed tackles.
The sky was falling last week for Hunter Henry owners after he failed to catch a pass in the opener. Henry got back on track this week with seven catches on seven targets. However, Antonio Gates found the end zone. These two will continue to cannibalize each other’s fantasy value. … Melvin Gordon struggled on the ground with just 13 yards on nine carries, but he salvaged a decent fantasy day thanks to a red zone rushing score and seven catches. He continues to be a high volume RB1. … Speaking of high volume, Keenan Allen saw 10 targets, catching nine for 100 yards.
NY Jets @ Oakland
For fantasy purposes, there’s very little value to be had on the Jets offense, but Jermaine Kearse proved to be a productive asset for the second straight week. Kearse only had five targets, but he caught four of them for 64 yards and two scores. Despite the big numbers, it’s wise to value Kearse as a flex option right now. … Avoid the Jets backfield until further notice. Matt Forte led this group with 13 touches, and Bilal Powell was actually out-touched by Elijah McGuire.
Derek Carr connected with Michael Crabtree for three scores, propelling both players to big fantasy weeks. Amari Cooper is still the preferred option of the Raiders receivers, but Crabtree is in the WR2 conversation. … With the game quickly out of hand, Marshawn Lynch didn’t get the big workload many had hoped. That being said, he still led the backfield in touches with 13. More importantly, he looked like his vintage self and found the end zone as a runner.
Dallas @ Denver
Take a deep breath Ezekiel Elliott owners. This was a rough matchup on the road that turned out to be an unfavorable game script. That being said, Dak Prescott managed to post 19.9 fantasy points thanks to that very same script. He targeted Dez Bryant a whopping 15 times and looked Jason Witten’s way 12 times. Despite the heavy volume, Bryant managed just six catches, but he ended up being a solid fantasy play thanks to a touchdown. Witten posted another strong fantasy line with 10 catches for 97 yards and a score. At this point, he’s a borderline TE1.
Trevor Siemian continued his hot start with an impressive four touchdowns this week. His play places him squarely in the QB2 conversation. … C.J. Anderson racked up a massive 28 touches, going over 100 yards on the ground and scoring twice – once as a runner and once as a receiver. Anderson is a quality RB2 option who is proving so far to be a good draft-day value. … Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas got back on track in this one. Both receivers remain weekly WR2s.
Washington @ LA Rams
Rob Kelley was off to a hot start with 78 yards on 12 carries before leaving with what’s believe to be a fractured rib. In his absence, we saw a big fantasy performance from Chris Thompson, but it was actually Samaje Perine who dominated the touches. Perine racked up 21 carries, but only managed 67 rushing yards. Despite his lackluster performance, he’s a good bet to step into the early-down role if Kelley misses time. In that event, Thompson’s role wouldn’t change.
The Todd Gurley Redemption Tour continued in Week 2, with the Rams back racking up 24.5 PPR points, thanks in part to a nimble touchdown run where he hurdled a defender on his way to the end zone. Gurley had 135 total yards on 19 touches. He’s a rock-solid RB1 option. … Rookie tight end Gerald Everrett flashed upside in this contest with 95 yards on three catches. He was only targeted three times, however, and isn’t a high priority on the waiver wire. That being said, Everett’s fantasy future is bright.
San Francisco @ Seattle
There’s isn’t much of not from the San Francisco side of this contest, but Carlos Hyde was one of the bigger surprises in Week 2. The 49ers back put up 124 rushing yards on 15 carries against the tough Seahawks defense. For fantasy purposes, this could be a good sell-high opportunity. That being said, you may want to stay put with Hyde. Kyle Shanahan’s scheme is very favorable to running backs, and Hyde could be one the verge of a very productive season.
The Seahawks backfield seems to be sorting itself out. Thomas Rawls was back in action and drew the start, but he played just 16 snaps while rookie Chris Carson was on the field for 51 snaps. Carson dominated the touches with 21 and posted 100 total yards. If he’s available, Carson will be the top waiver add of the week.
Green Bay @ Atlanta
Tough break for Jordy Nelson owners, as the star receiver exited in the first quarter with a quad injury. There’s no word yet on the severity of the injury, but it was rumored to have been caused by a knee to the thigh. Stay tuned. … With Nelson sidelined, Davante Adams led the Packers in targets with 10. He managed a good fantasy line with 99 yards and a score on eight catches. Randall Cobb saw nine targets, catching six for 60 yards. Both would get upgrades with Nelson misses any time. … Martellus Bennett also saw heavy volume in this one with 10 targets. He only caught five of them for 47 yards, but it’s still worth noting. … Ty Montgomery dominated touches out of the backfield again with 16. He remains a borderline RB1.
The Falcons got out to a big lead quickly, so we didn’t get the massive Julio Jones game many expected. That being said, he still had five catches on nine targets for 108 yards. … This game was mostly Devonta Freeman. He racked up 21 touches with Tevin Coleman seeing just eight. Freeman posted 24 PPR points with 19 carries for 84 yards and two scores. He also chipped in two catches. The touch distribution is encouraging for Freeman’s fantasy stock.