Ten Things to Watch: Week 2
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Week 1 answered a lot of questions that fantasy owners had going into this season. Unfortunately, Week 2 brought its own share of uncertainties. Let’s take a look at ten things you should watch in Week 2.
1. Ryan FitzMagic
If you had Ryan Fitzpatrick as the overall QB1 after the first week, congratulations, and I hope you bought a lottery ticket. For the rest of us, we have to sit back and wonder if Fitzpatrick is legitimate. Against the Saints, he threw for over 400 yards, threw four passing touchdowns, and had a rushing touchdown. That was good for over 42 points in ESPN standard scoring. This monstrous day came out of nowhere. He was owned in a whopping 2% of leagues going into this matchup. This week, Fitzpatrick will go up against the Eagles. This is the same Eagles team that held Matt Ryan to 251 yards and zero touchdowns. Despite Fitzpatrick’s success, I have to believe that most owners are benching him for this matchup. It will be important to watch how Fitzpatrick is able to run this offense against a legitimate top-3 defense. If he is able to perform well, then I imagine his ownership will again rise and he’ll be considered one of the top quarterback options in the league. QB Jameis Winston is still waiting in the shadows to take over for Fitzpatrick if he cannot continue his hot streak.
2. The Mile High Running Backs
Phillip Lindsay came out of nowhere to become one of the hottest waiver-wire pickups this week. Throughout the preseason, everyone (including me) was singing the praises of Royce Freeman. The main threat to Freeman’s success? Many thought the culprit would be Devontae Booker. Enter Phillip Lindsay. The undrafted free agent from Colorado proved he was more than able to help carry the load in Denver. He finished with 71 yards on the ground and got a receiving touchdown. He out-carried Booker 15 to 2. As we enter Week 2, we have to watch to see if this trend continues. If Lindsay is able to continue getting the number of targets he got in Week 1, then Lindsay should have some solid flex value. If he starts losing touches to Freeman or Booker, then Lindsay could fall into obscurity like many Week 1 darlings in years past. The Broncos take on Oakland in Week 2.
3. Tight End Wasteland?
Rob Gronkowski put up his usual numbers and finished as the TE2 in Week 1. Who else finished as a top-five tight end? How about Jared Cook, Will Dissly, Eric Ebron, and Jordan Reed? That’s right. You invested early draft stock in Zach Ertz (TE8) and Travis Kelce (TE53), just for them to underperform their draft position. Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen both suffered significant injuries. Walker has been placed on the IR and will miss the rest of the year. Olsen is hopeful he will return in a few weeks if he’s able to avoid surgery. Jimmy Graham, Trey Burton, and Evan Engram all finished outside the top 30 at the position. If early indications are true, the tight end position is going to be sparse this year. We will have to watch and see if those highly-drafted tight ends rebound, or if the downward trend continues for anyone not named Gronkowski.
4. Still No Sign of Bell
Let’s all take a moment of silence for those who drafted Le’Veon Bell with a top-4 draft pick.
Okay, but seriously, who would have thought that the Bell holdout rumors were true? After being spotted at a Miami nightclub this week, Bell was removed from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ depth chart. As it stands right now, this is James Conner‘s team. He rewarded owners with 34 points in PPR. This week, Conner will go up against a Kansas City team that gave up a combined 51 points to the Chargers’ running back duo, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Conner is set up to have another successful outing. If he’s able to take the reigns once again and prove that he’s able to be the bell cow for the Steelers, you might not see Bell on the Steelers for a long time. Watch this game to see if Conner is able to put another dagger in Bell’s comeback chances.
5. Aaron Rodgers and His Bionic Knee
Breaking news: Aaron Rodgers is good at football. If you just watched the first half of the Packers game on Sunday, you would probably be under the belief that the Packers’ season is over, Aaron Rodgers has a broken leg, and thinking about throwing a waiver claim on DeShone Kizer. Just kidding on that last one. No one is that desperate. Football fans across the nation held their breath as Rodgers was carted off the field in the second quarter with an apparent leg injury. It looked really bad. We saw replays showing his knee bending in ways that knees aren’t supposed to bend. We expected the worst.
Then, the second half begins and we see Rodgers throwing the ball around on the sidelines. The announcers, the fans, and even his teammates are surprised to see him out there. Rodgers proceeds to have a storybook second half, capped with a 75-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb. Despite missing significant time, Rodgers finished as the QB5 this last week. As a new week arrives, all eyes are on Rodgers’s knee. He missed practice on Wednesday due to the injury and is “taking it one day at a time.” We will need to watch if Rodgers is healthy enough to get the start. If he is starting, we’ll still be watching to see if that knee is able to hold up throughout the whole game. When Rodgers is healthy, he is the top quarterback in fantasy football.
6. Dion Over Derrick
Dion Lewis out snapped Derrick Henry 49 to 20. We can write that up to game script, as the Titans were playing from behind, but it’s worth watching going forward. Lewis ended his day as the RB10 while Henry finished as the RB58 in PPR formats. Henry was drafted ahead of Lewis, so if things continue to progress down this path, Henry owners could start to panic. In Week 2, the Titans face Houston. Houston has a dynamic offense and the Titans could find themselves in a similar situation to Week 1 where they were playing from behind for much of the game. The following weeks aren’t any easier as the Titans will face Jacksonville and Philadelphia in Weeks 3 and 4. Watch this game to see if Henry continues to be overshadowed by Lewis. If the trend continues, owners should adjust their season-long expectations for both Lewis and Henry.
7. The Josh Allen Era
Josh Allen will get his first NFL start this week for the Buffalo Bills. What does this mean for fantasy football? More than likely, not much. Consider this though: Allen has some incredible arm strength. If Allen is able to prevent defenses from stacking the box, LeSean McCoy might be able to get some running room. Allen could also look to TE Charles Clay as a safe read in this offense. WR Kelvin Benjamin and WR Zay Jones have slightly more upside now that Nathan Peterman is not throwing them the ball. Let’s be honest, Allen has a wide range of outcomes. He’s a rookie with an incredible arm on an offense that has nowhere to go but up. I’d keep an eye on Allen’s debut to see if you can find a diamond in the rough. He could be this season’s Deshaun Watson or this season’s Paxton Lynch.
8. Tyreek Does Everything
I think that Tyreek Hill is the most exciting player in football. Try to convince me otherwise. This last week, he ended with 42 points in PPR leagues. He returned kicks. He took long passes. He took short passes. He ran the ball. He scored numerous touchdowns against arguably one of the best defenses in the league. He has a great rapport with Patrick Mahomes. Coach Andy Reid is creatively getting Hill the ball. All signs point to success. In what might be a shootout with Pittsburgh, I’d make it a point to watch Tyreek Hill do everything this Sunday.
9. TyGod Runs Cleveland
Football fans saw the end of a great losing streak this last week. For the first time in over a year, Cleveland did not lose a football game. To be fair, they didn’t win either. Tyrod Taylor played extremely well in his debut for the Browns. He did have a poorly-timed interception, but in terms of fantasy production, Taylor did very well. He ended the day with just under 200 yards passing and 77 yards on the ground. He finished as the QB6 for the week. Many journalists have Taylor on their waiver wire articles this week. It will be important to see if Taylor can continue this success. With Baker Mayfield on deck, Taylor can’t afford to make any mistakes. If he can hold the starting job, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t be a solid fantasy contributor this season. You can bet that if the Browns don’t win a game soon, the chants for Mayfield will get louder. The Browns take on New Orleans this week. If they can manage a win, I imagine Taylor’s job is safe for the immediate future.
10. Adrian Peterson Returns?
If you had asked me this offseason what I thought of Adrian Peterson, I would have told you that he was more than likely done in the NFL. After finishing last season on a poor note, Peterson was a free agent for most of the offseason. That was until Derrius Guice tore his ACL and the Redskins were left in a dilemma. They signed Peterson, who quickly rose up the depth chart and was announced as the opening game starter. Last week, Peterson finished with 22 points in PPR leagues. That was good for RB8. Is that a sustainable number for a running back that is 33 years old? Only time will tell. The Redskins take on the Indianapolis Colts this week. Watch this game to see if Peterson can continue to thrive this late into his career. If he’s able to fend off Chris Thompson and Father Time, I expect owners will be very happy with the production they get from Peterson.
I think that about wraps up everything we should watch for this week. Hopefully, the first week went your way. If it didn’t, luckily we have at least 14 more to figure it out. If I forgot something or you want to tell me something you’re watching this weekend, let me know in the comments below. Good luck to your fantasy teams out there!