Week 2 Observations

Week 2 Observations

This article is part of our NFL Observations series.

I remember when I was jealous of the people who drew the first or second pick in drafts and got to take Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey. It's possible McCaffrey's ankle injury is minor, but he went for an MRI, and you don't usually do that when it's something you can walk off. As for Barkley, he's one of my favorite players, and I have him in two leagues (both auctions.) So far three of the top five players by ADP have already missed time (Michael Thomas too), and we're not even done with Week 2. 

  • Cam Newton is the favorite to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns and is an easy top-five fantasy QB in a strong field. He also threw the ball accurately and with poise. The Patriots are still the favorites in the AFC East this year too, despite the loss in Seattle, and it's not especially close.
  • Julian Edelman doesn't seem to miss Tom Brady. N'Keal Harry had 12 targets while playing through what looked like a concussion. (It's great having Edelman as a mentor!)
  • I lost $20 on Pats +4 to Dalton Del Don, per a bet made on our Real Man Would podcast. He should be too embarrassed to collect.
  • As insane as Newton's fantasy season looks to be, Russell Wilson isn't far behind. The Seahawks are finally throwing more, and Wilson tossed four TDs to his wideouts against a Patriots secondary that had given up only four TDs to the position all last year.
  • DK Metcalf looked like peak Terrell Owens making a 54-yard TD catch over Stephon Gilmore. The coverage was decent, but Metcalf was too strong, and the pass too accurate for Gilmore to disrupt it.
  • The Ravens make it look too easy. We'll get a better idea next week when they play the Chiefs.
  • People should have drafted Justin Tucker (and Harrison Butker) in the 10th round this year. The "never draft a kicker until the last round" dogma is outdated and failed to foresee these modern-day GOATS.
  • Butker hitting three field goals (two from 58 and one from 53, only one of which counted) to win the game was Tucker-esque. It's like he's kicking PATs.
  • Justin Herbert played credibly, despite a couple rookie mistakes. It's unfortunate Tyrod Taylor got hurt, but it would be dumb if Anthony Lynn follows through on what he said and re-instates Taylor as the starter. If you draft a guy sixth overall, and he shows anything, you have to play him. Then again, Lynn punted on 4th and short in overtime facing Mahomes and Butker.
  • Austin Ekeler got more work as a receiver this week (4-4-55), but a switch to Taylor would bode badly for him. Ekeler did get 16 more carries, but rookie Joshua Kelly (three targets, two catches, 49 yards receiving) got 23 carries and was in near the goal line late in the game. Ekeler was more efficient, but this is an even timeshare.
  • Sammy Watkins seemed to get concussed, and Mecole Hardman immediately got some run. Keep an eye on this as Hardman is a potential league winner should he get regular opportunities.
  • Patrick Mahomes didn't light up a strong Chargers secondary, but did enough in the second half and killed them with well-timed scrambles. It's hilarious the way he pretends to go out of bounds and then runs up the sideline for an extra five yards.
  • Kyler Murray is putting up monster numbers as a runner and still has plenty of passing attempts. There are seven (eight if you count Matt Ryan) must-have fantasy quarterbacks this year.
  • Leonard Fournette not only killed the Panthers cover with his 46-yard TD at the end of the game, but probably destroyed Ronald Jones' value too. Jones scored early and seemed to be headed toward a big day, but fumbled on an awkward exchange with Tom Brady, and it was mostly Fournette the rest of the way.
  • Scotty Miller dropped a perfectly-thrown would-be TD from Brady, and he too was scarcely heard from again.
  • Filling in for McCaffrey Mike Davis went 8-8-74. McCaffrey is quite obviously a system back.
  • Right after Fournette killed my Panthers cover, James Conner broke free deep into Broncos territory, but luckily the defense tackled him around the 10, and the Steelers ran out the clock.
  • The Steelers are a one-back team, and if Conner is healthy, he's that back.
  • Jeff Driskel is probably better than Drew Lock (out 2-to-6 weeks) anyway.
  • Diontae Johnson and maybe Chase Claypool are yet two more WR finds by a Steelers organization that has the magic touch at the position: (Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, JuJu Smith-Schuster.) Johnson looks like the No. 1 now too.
  • I loved Carson Wentz heading into this year, but he's been terrible. Carson If.
  • Miles Sanders saw 20 carries and seven targets in his debut at least.
  • Darrell Henderson (12-81-1, 3-2-40) looks like the guy you want in the Rams backfield, especially with Cam Akers banged up. Tyler Higbee is the red-zone guy apparently.
  • How on earth did I convince myself the Jets +7 was a good bet?
  • Raheem Mostert (knee) is fast, but Jerick McKinnon (3-77-1) showed anyone with speed and cutting ability can get a long TD in that running game. If Mostert and Tevin Coleman are out, McKinnon could be a monster, given he's also the best receiver among the RB corps.
  • It's insane how many key players are hurt for the Niners (Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, George Kittle, Richard Sherman, Deebo Samuel.)
  • Garoppolo's injury in particular led to this exchange:
  • Josh Allen is another quarterback killing it in fantasy. Stefon Diggs was supposed to be heading to a passing-game wasteland, but is thriving, and so is John Brown.
  • Devin Singletary is still ahead of Zack Moss
  • Props to the Dolphins for staying the course and heroically covering the spread in the loss.
  • Mo Alie-Cox (6-5-111) was the only target of note for the Colts. T.Y. Hilton doesn't look right, and Parris Campbell hurt his knee.
  • Jonathan Taylor saw a heavy workload, but oddly Philip Rivers didn't dump off to him or Nyheim Hines much.
  • Gardner Minshew looked like Joe Montana during the Jaguars comeback that got derailed on a tipped-ball-at-the-line interception late. I was relieved because I had the Titans in Survivor, but I'm buying Minshew as a 10-year NFL starter.
  • Derrick Henry hasn't done much, but it seems like he's a big part of Ryan Tannehill's uncanny efficiency, forcing teams to focus on the run.
  • Aaron Jones was supposed to show TD regression this year, but instead had three more on 18 rushes and four catches. He's a top-five back if we were to re-draft today, and I regret taking Nick Chubb over him in the NFFC Primetime.
  • The Falcons waiting for the onside kick to roll 10 yards was like the Leon Lett It Be play from the 1993 Thanksgiving game, a game-turning unforced error based on players misunderstanding the rules.
  • I was fine with it, though, because I have Dak Prescott in two leagues. What a monster game. Shopping in the Wilson-Murray-Prescott tier of QBs in Rounds 5-6 was the right call so far.
  • TE Dalton Schultz, who led the team with 10 targets and scored a TD, might do what many expected of Blake Jarwin.
  • Julio Jones had a bad game, including a costly drop, and is apparently playing through a hamstring injury. It's hard to know with him whether it's one of his many nagging injuries through which he normally produces or if at age 31, it's taking a greater toll.
  • David Montgomery looked pretty good, both as a runner and a receiver, while Tarik Cohen was barely used.
  • I love to mock the Jets, but the Giants are also on the ropes. Danny Dimes didn't look sharp, albeit against a tough defense, Saquon Barkley is likely out for the year, and Sterling Shepard is nursing a toe injury. Darius Slayton had a modest game, but he's probably the only Giant in whom I have any confidence. Dion Lewis/Wayne Gallman (healthy scratch) or whoever they sign at running back (Devonta Freeman?) isn't likely to move the needle.
  • I love Barkley, and as I mentioned I have him in two leagues, but to be honest, I was holding my breath every time he got tackled the last couple years. In fact, on the carry right before he tore his knee, he had to leave the game briefly with what looked like a hyper-extended elbow. Maybe you just can't be that big and freakishly athletic without being fragile. The optimal build for a running back, in my opinion, is 5-7 to 5-9 and about 215 pounds. Stout, low, small surface area to hit, but still plenty of power. I hope Barkley goes 2012 Adrian Peterson next year and proves me wrong, though.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Liss
Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.
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