Wed Sep 11 8:33am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Brown looking good for Week 2
Before I get to my random thoughts for the week, I just wanted to mention something. Don’t overreact to the first week of the season. That means dropping players that had a bad game or spending all your FAAB money on player that had a big game. You need to remember that the season is a long one. Things even out over time. I’m not saying you should ignore what happened this first week, but don’t go crazy one way or the other. It is a loooooooooooong season.
With that said, here are my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
I was really impressed with the Bengals offense. This was a big surprise for me. I think their new coach, Zac Taylor, has that unit headed in the right direction. Andy Dalton was getting the ball out quicker than I have seen him in past seasons and utilizing a lot of weapons. I’m bumping all these players up in my weekly rankings. I think their arrow is pointing up.
My big dud of the week was Jameis Winston. I was really high on for the coming year and he laid an egg in Week 1. I know it was just a week but he looked terrible against a below average defense. He just hasn’t made much progress since entering the league and I’m not holding out hope the light goes on anytime soon. I do think he still has some big games this year but more inconsistency is going to come for Winston. Not good.
I can’t fathom the Giants not giving Saquon Barkley more weekly touches. He had just 15 touches in the opener but still managed 139 total yards. This guy needs 20-plus touches every game. If he doesn’t get that work, the offensive coordinator should be fired. He is one of the best players in all of football. Craziness.
Tyrell Williams could end up being a steal for all the fantasy owners that were able to get him. He is the unquestioned No. 1 receiver in this offense and has a chance to rack up the weekly targets. He is setup for a career year and could be a No. 2 fantasy receiver much of the year.
And speaking of the Raiders, Darren Waller lived up to the preseason hype. He was on the field almost the entire game and was targeted eight times, catching seven passes for 70 yards. Just look at what Jared Cook did last year and expect Waller to match or exceed that in this offense. He is going to have a huge fantasy season.
Lamar Jackson looked amazing, missing on just three passes while topping 300 yards and throwing five touchdown passes. And he ran the ball just three times. I’m still not convinced he is going to be an elite fantasy quarterback based on one game against a terrible Dolphins team. I don’t expect him to have this much success throwing the ball on a weekly basis, especially against better defenses. And remember, he attempted just 20 passes last week, which is a very low number. I still consider him a low-end No. 1 or No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson did nothing to help Melvin Gordon’s cause. Both backs looked great with their chances and proved the Chargers offense can function just fine with Gordon not in the mix. This does not bode well for the Chargers caving to Gordon’s contract demands. As for Ekeler and Jackson, I like both backs for fantasy purposes. Ekeler is a legit No. 2 back in my view because of his reception potential. And I think Jackson can be a decent streaming flex play. He’ll get near double-digit touches on a weekly basis.
Lastly, I’m not sure when all the Antonio Brown drama will end. This is unreal. You have to hold onto him if you drafted him but at this point, I would be preparing for the worst. This guy has been a train wreck most of the offseason. I really didn’t think playing time would be an issue for him based on his track record. He was a bit crazy and a diva the last several years but that never cost him games. Well, that isn’t the case anymore. This is spiraling out of control. Not good.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 2 rankings.
News and Notes: The Jets are releasing kicker Kaare Vedvik and are expected to sign Sam Ficken. The Jets traded for Vedvik but he struggled in the preseason and the first game of the year. Ficken will get his chance to earn the job going forward. . . . .The Patriots traded receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Jets in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round draft pick on Tuesday. Thomas adds some veteran depth to the Jets passing game. . . . .New Patriots receiver Antonio Brown has been accused of raping his former trainer, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in South Florida. Stay tuned. The drama continues on for Brown.
Tom Brady, QB, Patriots. Brady had 29 fantasy points and threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in the opener. He looked tremendous, showing no signs of slowing down. And now he gets Antonio Brown to work with starting this week. Brown is suddenly looking very good for fantasy teams after seeing his stock drop this offseason. Brady gets the Dolphins this week, a team that allowed 378-passing yards to a Ravens team that is not known for throwing the ball.
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans. Henry got off to a fast start, looking like the back that ended last season on such a high note. He had 159 total yards and two touchdowns against a pretty good Browns defense. Things are looking even better for him this week against the Colts. The Colts allowed the second most fantasy points to running backs in Week 1 and 125-rushing yards. Henry is a must play in this matchup.
John Brown, WR, Bills. Brown was targeted 10 times in Week 1 and caught seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. He is the top target in this Bills offense and should get plenty of weekly chances. He can do more damage this week against the other New York team, the Giants. New York was a mess defensively last week, allowing the most fantasy points to receivers. The Giants could not stop any of the Cowboys receivers, seeing Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup run wild in the secondary. This bodes well for Brown to repeat his big Week 1 performance.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars. Fournette didn’t have a huge Week 1 but was solid. He had 13 carries for 66 yards and caught four passes for 28 yards, giving him 94 total yards. He also was targeted six times in the game, which is encouraging. Fournette could be the focal point of the offense the next several weeks with a rookie quarterback now at the helm. He gets the Texans this week, a team that couldn’t stop the Saints rushing attack last week. Houston allowed the third most fantasy points to running backs Week 1.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys. Gallup made big play after big play in Week 1, catching seven passes for 158 yards. He really looks to have taken a step forward from last year and the new offense is a plus for his abilities, taking more chances down the field. Expect Gallup to get plenty of chances to push the ball downfield this week against the Redskins. Washington could not contain DeSean Jackson last week. The Redskins allowed the fourth most fantasy points to receivers.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers. Jones lands on the cold list for the second straight week. Jones struggled against a good Bears defense last week, rushing 13 times for 39 yards. And he caught just a pass in the game, getting fewer than five fantasy points. It was a dud of an opener for Jones. It could be more of the same this week against the Vikings, a team that allowed the third fewest fantasy points to running backs in Week 1. Minnesota allowed just 73-rushing yards last week.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos. Sanders looked great in his first game back from a torn Achilles. He caught five passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. The entire Broncos offense did not look good against a mediocre Raiders defense. This is not a good sign for Denver and Sanders. He’ll have a much tougher game this week against the Bears, a team that allowed the second fewest fantasy points to receivers last week. Sanders is a player to leave on your bench despite his good showing last week.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings. The Vikings attempted just 10 passes last week, leaning heavily on the run. Cousins looked just fine with his work but the few amount of pass attempts is a concern. This could be a trend in the Vikings new offense, being a run-first team. Cousins is a player to avoid this week, playing the Packers. Green Bay looked great defensively last week against the Bears, shutting down Mitchell Trubisky and the passing game.
James Conner, RB, Steelers. Conner was a huge bust in the opener, rushing 10 times for just 21 yards. The entire Steelers offense was a mess, which is a concern right now. Conner isn’t a player to give up on by any means, but another below average game could be in the works for Week 2. Conner plays the Seahawks, a team that allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to running backs last week.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets. Crowder was a monster to open the season, catching 14 passes for 99 yards on 17 targets. It was quite the showing in his first game with the Jets. He is going to get a lot of targets throughout the season. But even with that said, he isn’t a sure thing for fantasy teams based on his track record. He could be pretty mediocre some weeks, especially in tough matchups for the Jets. And a game against the Browns isn’t a great one for Crowder this week. Cleveland was a huge bust last week and should come out with a lot more urgency this week. The Browns also allowed the fewest fantasy points to receivers in Week 1.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals. The Bengals lost the opener but played a good game on the road against a tough defense. It was a very encouraging game for Dalton in the new Bengals offense, going 35-of-51 for 418 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. And he did this without A.J. Green, who remains out because of injury. Dalton has an easier matchup this week against the 49ers. San Francisco looked better defensively last week, but Jameis Winston really struggled for the Bucs. Dalton and the Bengals offense can exploit this defense, making Dalton a sneaky play for fantasy teams.
Latavius Murray, RB, Saints. Murray didn’t have a huge opener but was solid, playing the Mark Ingram in the Saints offense this year. He had six carries for 43 yards and a touchdown, and caught two passes on three targets. He is going to get around double-digit touches per game. He can improve on last week against the Rams in Week 2. Los Angeles allowed the most fantasy points to running backs in Week 1.
KeeSean Johnson, WR, Cardinals. Johnson was heavily involved in the passing game Week 1, catching five passes for 46 yards on 10 targets. The amount of targets is a great sign as well as Johnson starting the game as the No. 3 receiver. We know the Cardinals are going to throw the ball a lot, so as long as Johnson remains the No. 3 receiver, he has value to fantasy teams. The Ravens are a tough matchup for the Cardinals but if the offense is going to have any success, it is likely through the air, giving Johnson some chances once again.
Vernon Davis, TE, Redskins. Davis got the start last week because Jordan Reed was injured once again. Davis took advantage, catching four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. Reed could return this week but nothing is certain with him. If Davis starts, he could post good numbers against the Cowboys. Dallas could not stop Evan Engram last week, so look for Davis to get a workout in this one.
Duke Johnson, RB, Texans. Johnson had a solid opener for the Texans, getting 90 total yards on 13 touches. Johnson made plays as both a runner and receiver. He should continue to get 15 or so touches per week in a great Texans offense. Johnson has a favorable matchup this week against the Jaguars, a team that struggled to stop the Chiefs running backs in Week 1. Jacksonville allowed the fifth most fantasy points to running backs last week.
High/Low Scoring Games
Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.
High Scoring Games: Bucs/Panthers, Chiefs/Raiders, Saints/Rams, Eagles/Falcons.
Low Scoring Games: Bears/Broncos.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said that he wants to keep running back Aaron Jones fresh throughout the season and wants to "even up" touches between Jones and Jamaal Williams. LaFleur thinks the balance will change week to week. It's something to keep an eye on, but it shouldn't deter you from starting Jones this week at home against the Broncos, where he'll be a low-end RB1/high-end RB2. Jones had a career-high 23 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown in Week 2, while Williams ran the ball nine times. Jones had six targets in the passing game (four catches) while Williams had four (three catches). Williams is a necessary handcuff for Jones owners.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams (knee) won't practice on Wednesday, while the plan is for running back LeSean McCoy (ankle) to get in some limited work. Both running backs should be considered questionable to play in Week 3 against the Ravens right now. If one or both sit out this Sunday, rookie Darwin Thompson and Darrel Williams would be thrust into larger roles. As of now, both Williams and McCoy should be seen as risky RB3/flex plays in KC's home opener.
Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher (abdomen) will undergo core muscle surgery and will not play in Week 3 against the Ravens. Cam Erving will start in Fisher's place on Sunday. It's a notable downgrade against a good defense in Baltimore, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes remains an elite QB1 for fantasy owners. It remains to be seen how long Fisher will be out, but he should be expected to miss multiple weeks at the very least.
The Philadelphia Eagles Defense is not a particularly exciting option in a Week 3 matchup against the Detroit Lions. The Eagles defense came into the season with a lot of hype but have been mostly disappointing through the first two weeks. With two of the Eagles' top offensive playmakers likely to miss the game, the defense may end up tasked with a bit more work than usual. They're likely to end up as a middling option, so they're certainly not a unit to avoid, but they aren't one to get excited about this week either.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that the team planned to use running back Jeffery Wilson in the red zone in Week 2. "I wouldn't say he's our designated red-zone back, but that was how we planned going into the game... We tried to do that when we got down there," Shanahan said. Of San Francisco's six rushing attempts inside the red zone in Week 2, Wilson had five of them and scored twice. All three of Wilson, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert had double-digit carries, but the team was also up big on Cincinnati for most of the game. It looks like the Niners will employ this three-man committee with Tevin Coleman out, making it difficult to trust any one player in fantasy. Wilson will be a touchdown-dependent RB3/flex against the Steelers.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is set for what could potentially be an enormous Week 3 performance. Ertz saw 16 targets from quarterback Carson Wentz in Week 2 and could be in line for a similar number or perhaps even more against Detroit in Week 3. With top receiving options DeSean Jackson (groin) and Alshon Jeffery (calf) trending toward sitting out on Sunday, Ertz will be the clear top target in the passing game. He's a threat to score every week, and is almost always a top-three tight end option. This week, he has the highest floor of any tight end and one of the highest ceilings.
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott is looking like a strong option in a Week 3 matchup against the Detroit Lions. Elliott is always a solid and consistent option, but with the Eagles expected to be missing two of their top playmakers on Sunday, Elliott may see a few more field goal attempts as the passing game stalls out. He's a top-eight kicking option nearly every week, but looking like a top-five option in Week 3.
New York Giants wide receiver Cody Latimer (concussion) is not practicing on Wednesday. Latimer suffered a concussion in Week 2 and is looking very questionable to play in Week 3 against the Buccaneers. With Sterling Shepard also still in the concussion protocol, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones might be looking at a receiving corps of Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard and T.J. Jones in his NFL debut this Sunday. Unless Sterling Shepard plays this weekend, expect the Giants to hand the ball off frequently to running back Saquon Barkley. Latimer wouldn't be a recommended play, even in deeper leagues, if he gets cleared.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor will likely be thrust into an every-down role in Week 3. With top wide receivers DeSean Jackson (groin) and Alshon Jeffery (calf) unlikely to suit up, Agholor will be wide receiver atop the depth chart. He spent the second half in Week 2 in the role, and despite some decent stats (107 yards and a touchdown), he also showed why he's so far behind Jackson and Jeffery when everyone is healthy. Agholor made some totally inexcusable drops when wide open in the second half. Still, he'll likely be peppered with targets from Carson Wentz and even if he drops half of them, he could still end up with seven or eight catches. Agholor is a solid WR3 option with touchdown upside this week.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Mack Hollins will likely see an increased offensive role in a Week 3 contest against the Detroit Lions. With top wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson both expected to miss at least one game, Hollins will be needed on offense. He's been mostly working on special teams, but he saw plenty of work on offense in the second half last week after Jeffery and Jackson were forced to leave the game. Hollins has flashed his talent in small bursts before, but it will be his first chance to show it throughout a whole game. He has some upside in a strong Eagles offense, but can't be trusted as more than a WR4/5 in most formats.
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase said that wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) will not practice on Wednesday. Thomas had just one catch in his debut with the team on Monday night before suffering an injury. He doesn't have a good chance to play in Week 3 against the Patriots, especially since DT hasn't even had a single practice yet with his new team. He's currently off the fantasy radar. Josh Bellamy and Braxton Berrios will fight for the No. 3 duties behind Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder if Thomas misses this weekend.
Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is suddenly looking at a starting role in Week 3. A preseason hero, Arcega-Whiteside was far behind on the wide receiver depth chart until both Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson got hurt in Week 2. Both were forced to leave the game and Arcega-Whiteside was on the field for almost every offensive snap in the second half. He still only ended up with one catch for four yards, but now with a week of practice under his belt, he should be ready for his expanded role. With only drop-machine Nelson Agholor and special teamer Mack Hollins left in the wide receiver hierarchy, Arcega-Whiteside could be a significant threat in the passing game this week. He's a very risky start, but has some legitimate WR2/3 upside if things go well. At the very least, he should be rostered in most formats by now.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has been very quiet the first two games of the season. In two starts, he's caught only six passes for 89 yards. This is a bit of an anomaly compared to his first five seasons, including last year's first two games, where he compiled 17 receptions for 230 yards. His slow start is not all on him, though. Jameis Winston has struggled and he had a difficult matchup against Carolina Panthers defensive back James Bradberry in his last game and was also battling illness before his first. This all points to a much more positive outing Sunday in Tampa against the struggling New York Giants, who have been gashed every which way so far and should give Evans a serious bounce-back opportunity. He's a locked-in WR1 again regardless of his last two outings. Wipe your memory of the past two weeks and start him with confidence in all formats.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (calf) remains out of practice on Wednesday. Wilson aggravated his calf injury in the season opener and sat out of the Week 2 blowout to the Patriots. He's not off on the right foot for Week 3 against the Cowboys. Wilson had some sleeper appeal in PPR leagues coming into the season, but his injury and a putrid Dolphins offense has made him unattractive in most leagues. Even if Wilson returns to the lineup this Sunday, he shouldn't be a starting consideration in most leagues.
Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said that he'd love to give running back Nick Chubb more touches, which would include using him more on third downs in passing situations. Through two games, the second-year back has 35 rushing attempts and has caught seven of his eight targets in the passing game. It's pretty good volume already, but if he gets even more it'll just make him an even stronger RB1 for fantasy owners. Chubb and the Browns face the Rams in Week 3 on Sunday night, where he'll be a strong RB1 yet again.
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott said that rookie running back Devin Singletary (hamstring) will not practice on Wednesday. Singletary's injury isn't believed to be serious, but his status for Week 3 against the Bengals is in question. If you own Singletary or are hurting at running back, you need to pick Frank Gore up off the waiver wire if he's available. The veteran hasn't looked that great so far in two games, but he'd be the lead back for Buffalo if Singletary was inactive and would have RB3/flex appeal. T.J. Yeldon would also see his role increase as the backup to Gore.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles is not a recommended fantasy option in any format in Week 3. After a somewhat surprisingly productive Week 1, Sproles took an expected step back in Week 2 and recorded just two catches for five yards. He did not record a single carry in Week 2. Sproles is a punt returner and a very occasional pass catcher out of the backfield. He may have some decent fantasy weeks here or there when he happens to find the end zone, but he'll be way too unpredictable to ever be a smart fantasy starter.
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott said that tight end Tyler Kroft (foot) will practice in full for the first time on Wednesday since breaking his foot in May. Kroft hasn't played yet in 2019, but it looks like he'll make his season debut in Week 3 against his former team in the Bengals. Until we see what kind of role Kroft will have in this offense, it's best to leave him out of starting lineups in fantasy. Rookies Dawson Knox and Tommy Sweeney will take a back seat if Kroft returns.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Corey Clement is not a fantasy option in any format for Week 3. Clement has settled into a special teams role and has seen almost no offensive snaps so far this season. An injury to another running back could potentially thrust Clement into a more significant offensive role, but for now he's almost exclusively a special teams player and one that does not need to be rostered in most formats.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (knee) returned to limited practice on Wednesday. Higgins' knee injury prevented him from playing in his team's Week 2 win over the New York Jets. The receiver's ability to return on Wednesday, even on a limited basis, bodes well for his availability for Cleveland's Week 3 showdown against the Los Angeles Rams. Look for Higgins to slot back into his role as the team's No. 3 wide receiver.