Fantasy Football Week 2: Beyond The Box Scores
Worried you missed something big with all the action in Week 2? Read Beyond the Box Scores for the key fantasy takeaways from each of Sunday's games.
Week 2 always produces heaps of important information for fantasy managers. We start to learn which Week 1 surprises — bad or good — are legit, and which are flukes. This year was no different, and also saw a rash of injuries that will lead to plenty of fantasy fallout. Without further ado, let’s get into it, and take a closer look at three of the most important stories from each of Sunday’s matchups.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
- The only positive thing for fantasy managers to take away from the Jets’ performance in Week 2 is that they seem to already be accepting the reality that veteran RB Tevin Coleman is their third-best runner. While it didn’t translate to fantasy production for either, both Ty Johnson and Michael Carter received over 10 carries. If you’re holding either in a deeper league, don’t cut bait just yet.
- Last week I predicted that 29-year-old James White could once again be a weekly flex in PPR formats and lead the Patriots in targets. This week, he not only led the team in targets but also added a score on the ground for another solid outing. If you drafted White or added him last week, consider him a flex until he proves otherwise.
- It looks like 2021 might be another year in which it’s impossible to trust any individual Patriot pass-catcher in all but the deepest of formats. Jakobi Meyers could emerge as an exception, especially in PPR, but don’t count on it.
Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars
- Laviska Shenault managed to turn a whopping seven targets and a carry into -3 all-purpose yards, impressive levels of inefficiency. However, volume is king and Shenault clearly has a role in this Urban Meyer offense. Don’t drop him yet, and if someone else does, grab him immediately.
- James Robinson believers can breathe a tiny sigh of relief. He will likely never return to his Derrick Henry-esque dominance of snaps and carries from last year, but an 11 to 2 split with Carlos Hyde and 73% of snaps shared with Trevor Lawrence are both much better than last week. This volume could see him flirt with flex numbers going forward.
- A year removed from his torn ACL, Courtland Sutton looked great yesterday. His day could have been even bigger if not for a (missed) DPI that prevented him from reaching a deep shot that could have gone for six early in the game. Start him with confidence.
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Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
- Even in the process of leading the Bills to a 35-0 rout of the Dolphins, Josh Allen didn’t look great. He missed both short and far on multiple deep shots, a concerning trend for a QB who before last season faced struggles with accuracy. On the other hand, he was inches away from adding a rushing touchdown which would’ve made for a respectable 22.7 fantasy points on the day. Allen may not return the elite production of last year, but the rushing upside will keep him as a startable weekly option.
- With Tua Tagovailoa exiting after just two drives, the Dolphins got nothing going on offense against a stout Buffalo defense. Jacoby Brissett looked unimpressive filling in. Until Tua returns it will be hard to trust anyone on this Dolphins team as a weekly fantasy option.
- Devin Singletary and Zack Moss combined for 30 points yesterday, scoring one and two touchdowns respectively ... but I wouldn’t rush to start either. Singletary looked more explosive and got more touches, but Moss dominated the valuable red-zone looks. In a less favorable game script, the production wouldn’t be so pretty.
San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles
- Where in the world is George Kittle? The second or third tight end drafted in most leagues, Kittle has managed just 13.5 points across the first two weeks. He still looks like one of the league’s best YAC threats, but opportunities to flash that talent are much scarcer than in previous years. He’s too talented to have many more games like yesterday, but the huge 15-target outings may be a thing of the past.
- Elijah Mitchell actually got workhorse-like usage for San Francisco in Week 2. He was briefly sidelined with a shoulder injury, during which time JaMycal Hasty and Trey Sermon filled in and both promptly also suffered injuries. Other than that, he was on the field and touching the ball consistently, a recipe for success in the explosive 49er rushing offense. Especially with Hasty and Trey banged up, start Mitchell with confidence (although don’t overlook Jeff Wilson Jr.’s upcoming return — he’s worth a stash).
- Even as the Eagles struggled to move the ball against a solid San Francisco defense, Jalen Hurts eclipsed 20 fantasy points. Was he saved by his 82 yards and a score on the ground? Yes. Is he just going to keep running and racking up fantasy points? Also yes.
Los Angeles Rams @ Indianapolis Colts
- Don’t give up hope for Robert Woods. He may not quite have the connection with Matthew Stafford that Cooper Kupp does, but he still picked up nine targets and two rushes yesterday. Considering Woods' talent and the way the Rams are rolling, this will translate to production sooner rather than later.
- Under Carson Wentz, the Colts actually moved the ball quite well against an elite Rams defense. They struggled in the red zone, with Wentz throwing an odd shovel-pass interception and Jonathan Taylor being stuffed repeatedly from the one for a turnover on downs. Assuming Wentz recovers from a late ankle injury, there should be brighter days to come for him, Taylor and this whole offense.
- Darrell Henderson Jr. looked great yesterday, consistently gashing the Colts' defense. He suffered a rib injury, and Sony Michel looked just as good. Whoever is starting at RB for the Rams will be at least an RB2 weekly. If Henderson’s injury looks like it will keep him out for more than a week or two and Michel is available in your league, do what you can to get him.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers
- Najee Harris struggled again on the ground, managing just 38 yards as the Steelers' offensive line gave him very little to work with. On the other hand, he caught five passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. It might not always look pretty, but his huge role in this capable offense will likely translate to respectable production most weeks.
- After two weeks, Derek Carr is a top-10 fantasy quarterback. It’s easy to forget, but he was a legitimate MVP candidate at one point in his career. Now with tons of weapons at his disposal, he’s looked great through two weeks. Unless you’re set with an elite quarterback, Carr is worth adding.
- After a very productive day, Diontae Johnson hurt his knee on the final play of the game. No real updates have come out of Pittsburgh yet, but things didn’t look great for the talented third-year wideout. If he does miss time, both Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster rise in value.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Chicago Bears
- While the production didn’t quite reflect it, yesterday’s game had nothing but good signs for Joe Mixon. His 20 rushes were the only carries by any Bengal, and he ran a route on 71.4% of pass plays, easily the highest mark of his career. Now is probably the last chance to acquire him for less than a guaranteed RB1 price tag.
- With Andy Dalton picking up an injury, rookie QB Justin Fields saw his first extended NFL appearance. As is to be expected, his performance was mixed, with flash plays but also two turnovers. Many have been eagerly awaiting the day Fields grabs the reins and “unlocks” the Chicago offense, but don’t expect too much of an upgrade if and when that happens.
- A Darnell Mooney breakout is coming. The second-year WR saw eight targets, four each from Dalton and Fields. He was close to multiple big plays, including one early reception that could have been huge if he didn’t lose his balance. If you can trade for him for cheap or he’s somehow still on waivers, now is the time to make a move.
Houston Texans @ Cleveland Browns
- Brandin Cooks saw 14 targets yesterday, as many as every other Texan combined. With volume and talent on a team that looks much better than expected, Cooks is shaping up to be one of the steals of the draft this fantasy season. Start him happily and expect WR2 results.
- Seeing Nick Chubb out-touched by Kareem Hunt 12-14 can’t be particularly fun for Chubb owners, but there’s no reason for concern. After all, Chubb still racked up 95 yards and a touchdown on over eight yards a carry. Don’t overthink things, just keep starting Chubb as a solid RB1.
- Prior to exiting the game with a hamstring injury, Tyrod Taylor looked legitimately great. He scored more touchdowns than he threw incompletions, picking apart a Browns defense full of talented playmakers. Hopefully, he is healthy and starts again next week. If he does, efficiency and running ability mean he should be considered a startable quarterback in Superflex leagues.
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
- The Saints' offense crashed back to Earth Sunday, struggling to get anything going in Carolina. However, their offensive coaching staff was so devastated by COVID-19 that rookie QB Ian Book was in charge of substitutions for the day. With that in mind, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and chalk this week down as an outlier.
- DJ Moore looks locked in as the Panthers' number one WR, with 19 targets after two weeks. He has always shown the potential to be a top receiver, and this looks like it will be his breakout year. He’s at least a WR2, with potential for more.
- Marquez Callaway will likely be dropped in many leagues this week, and with good reason. The preseason darling has 22 yards over two weeks. However, both of those weeks have been weird, for lack of a better word, for the Saints' offense. I’d give him one more chance in deep leagues.
Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals
- K.J. Osborn will be one of the week’s hot waiver pickups, as he put together his second straight double-digit fantasy outing. However, nearly all of his Week 2 production came on a single, blown coverage 64-yard touchdown. He’s not going to supplant Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen, and the Vikings offense is too run-heavy to support three WRs. Let someone else pick him up in all but the deepest of leagues.
- Similar to Osborn, Rondale Moore benefitted from a blown coverage on his 77-yard touchdown. He looks electric, but there are tons of mouths to feed on this Cardinals offense, and even Kyler Murray won’t score four touchdowns every game. Don’t be surprised if Moore is mostly boom-or-bust going forward.
- Maxx Williams played well on Sunday, and any tight end with seven targets is worth a second look. However, in his previous 26 games in an Arizona uniform, he only received 30 targets, total. Even in two-tight-end leagues, there are probably better options on waivers.
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Rob Gronkowski now has six touchdowns over his last three games (postseason included). By all reports, he is in much better shape this year than last, and it shows. It isn’t ridiculous to say he’ll continue to produce elite tight-end numbers — he’s only one year older than Travis Kelce, after all.
- Cordarrelle Patterson scored two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. However, he managed exactly one yard on six carries outside of his 10-yard TD jaunt. His unique role makes him a must-roster, but he’s a flex play at best for now.
- The Tampa Bay offense is maybe the best in the league, but that doesn’t mean they will have a usable fantasy running back. Ronald Jones got the “start,” but was out-touched and out-produced by Leonard Fournette … who himself only scored 9.6 points.
Tennessee Titans @ Seattle Seahawks
- Back-to-back 14-point weeks for Ryan Tannehill is rough. On the bright side, the Titans' offense looked much better this week, and he passed for nearly 350 yards. Multiple drops, a fumble and Derrick Henry dominating the second half and the scoreboard is also about as bad as things can go from a fantasy perspective for Tannehill, so expect better things to come.
- A.J. Brown was the main culprit in dropping Tannehill’s passes, as he was credited with drops on four of nine targets en route to a disappointing finish. If even a couple of those plays went the other way, it would have been a customary quality outing from the former Ole Miss stud. He showed on Twitter he’s not overly concerned, and you shouldn’t be either.
- Of Russell Wilson’s 31 pass attempts, 22 went to either Tyler Lockett or DK Metcalf. Even with the expanded passing offense, those are the only two Seahawk receiving options worth rostering for now. Don’t bother holding out hope for Gerald Everett or picking up Freddie Swain.
Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Chargers
- Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott combined for 237 yards and two touchdowns, with Pollard surprisingly leading the charge. Pollard’s emergence will eat into Zeke’s ceiling, but the two can coexist. Elliott is a borderline RB1, and Pollard is a flex option.
- Last week I said to monitor Austin Ekeler’s receiving work, as he wasn’t targeted once against the WFT. That concern can officially be put to bed, as he bounced back and then some, catching all nine of his targets for 61 yards.
- Don’t worry about Amari Cooper only catching three passes for 24 yards. Even if CeeDee Lamb overtakes him as Dak Prescott’s favorite target, he’ll get his. Expect stats more similar to his Week 1 performance than this week’s going forward.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens
- Fantasy players invested in Clyde Edwards-Helaire (not to mention Chiefs fans) will be upset as he capped off an already disappointing night with a game-losing fumble. But better days should be in store for CEH. Although it may not be the consistent production many were hoping for, his role on such a potent offense is bound to generate some touchdowns, and therefore big games.
- Ty’Son Williams and Latavius Murray seem to be locked in as the two top backs in the Ravens offense. As was projected for J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, there is room for both to produce. They can each be counted on as flex plays with upside.
- The Ravens defense went all out to stop Tyreek Hill and it mostly worked, holding the explosive Hill to one of his least productive games since Patrick Mahomes became the starter. Even if other teams try the same, the Mahomes-Hill connection is far too strong to stay dormant for long. Don’t overthink things, and continue starting Hill with confidence.
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