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Fantasy Football: Week 2 Wrap-Up

All said and done, Week 2 should have been somewhat successful for the majority of fantasy owners. It saw a productive return for some familiar faces who struggled in Week 1, a few more challenging injuries to address, and of course, a new found love for Tony Romo. Here’s your weekly wrap-up:

Thumbs Up

  • You could give Aaron Rodgers the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down,” really, depending on how you look at it. An INT and a fumble are rare from A-Rod, but without Jordy Nelson for most of the game, he still put up 343 yards and two TDs against a relentless Falcons defensive line. It is interesting to see Rodgers struggle so much under pressure, though. He threw a lazy ball over the head of Geronimo Allison that was quickly picked, a pass that would normally be thrown to the back shoulder. Vic Beasley hit Rodgers hard right after, and the fumble play on the very next drive wasn’t much different. This could finally be the year we see Rodgers post double-digit turnovers since 2010, but he is the fastest QB to reach 300 TDs, so that can’t go unrecognized.
  • Staying in Atlanta, boy, Julio Jones is something, huh? The Packers just can’t unlock this puzzle no matter how hard they try. Last season Green Bay’s defense double-teamed Jones and kept him quiet, but the Packers still lost the game. On Sunday night, Dom Capers chose man coverage for much of the affair, but Jones still went bonkers for 108 yards. For whatever reason, the Packers relied on their safeties to keep Jones in check, but after an opening drive of two passes for 52 yards, the tone was pretty much set.
  • Chris Carson will probably be the Tarik Cohen of Week 2. His workload might decrease a little as Thomas Rawls eases back into the offense, but 93 yards on 20 carries certainly warrants a waiver wire add. Really, the most impressive part was the big runs when it mattered most. In a tight game, he sealed the win for the Seahawks with two big runs to move the chains on 1st and 2nd down, and with so much power to break tackles, this could be a big-time sleeper in the making.
  • Well, would you look at that, DeShaun Watson didn’t suck. Okay, sure, 125 passing yards is nothing to gloat about, but the Bengals’ defense ranked eighth lowest in yards allowed last season, so this counts for something. Aside from real life, gee it was nice to see a Texans quarterback fully utilize DeAndre Hopkins. The pair connected for 73 yards, and while there’s still some bridges to build, the chemistry is certainly brewing.
  • Travis Kelce has now caught at least one first-half pass in his last 18 games. He’s also caught eight 80+ yard receiving games in that span. Kelce is one of the most dominant tight ends in the league right now, and with 103 yards and a score on eight receptions against the Eagles, fantasy owners really can’t complain.
  • There was a serious case of the uh-oh-spaghettios after Kareem Hunt rushed for a lousy six yards in the first half. Eventually, though, the Eagles defense wore thin, as Hunt finished with 81 yards, two TDs and 22 fantasy points in standard PPR leagues. It serves as a nice reminder to the entire league that Andy Reid is super tough to beat when he has extra days to prepare.
  • Well, it’s about time Todd Gurley wowed us. He put up 85 yards or more just once last season, but gosh it was nice to see him finally do it again on Sunday. If only the Rams’ attendance were this impressive.
  • Heeeere’s Tommy! Tom Brady’s day started with a 6-for-7 drive of 59 yards and a touchdown to Rex Burkhead, and after that, well, he never looked back. Perhaps the most encouraging sign was watching Rob Gronkowski sprint down the field to haul in a 53-yard touchdown pass. Gronk easily could have had two if it wasn’t for a pretty basic dropped catch in the back of the end zone during the third quarter. Of course, there are bigger concerns. Gronk’s groin is now the story to watch.
  • Wait, it says here Benjamin Watson caught eight passes for 91 yards? Yep, a tight end owned in less than 0.5% of leagues completely torched the Browns on Sunday. It’s the Browns, so let’s not get too carried away; it just sucks that this probably helped out a grand total of zero people in leagues this week. The Ravens will continue to share the ball around among their three tight ends, but after seeing just one target in Week 1, this is still a guy worth placing on your watch list.
  • Ben Roethlisberger really is living the dream. Martavis Bryant outdid Antonio Brown this week with 91 yards of his own, but overall, all six of the Steelers’ receivers (including Le’Veon Bell) accounted for 243 yards and two scores. He now has a higher QB rating (99.9) than Dak Prescott, Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins, and has thrown for the second most touchdowns (4) behind Alex Smith.
  • Welcome to 2017, Mike Evans. A cute little toe-tapper in the back of the end zone gave Evans 22.3 points in standard PPR leagues this week, and really, he could’ve finished with at least two more touchdowns if it weren’t for the mis-timed throws from Jameis Winston. Speaking of which, it’s really hard to see Jacquizz Rodgers taking a step backward when Doug Martin returns. He too found the scoreboard and took great delight dump-trucking the Bears defense as he barrelled up the middle for six.
  • Antonio Gates set the All-Time Touchdown Record among tight ends on Sunday, and I was instantly reminded how reliable some of these old tight ends really are. Jason Witten was again clutch when it counted on Sunday (97 yards and a TD) and since Gates and Witten combined for 34.8 fantasy points, you have to be happy with that kind of late-round production.

Thumbs Down

  • The Bengals’ running back situation is a dilly-of-a-pickle. Joe Mixon was good for just 36 yards on nine carries against the Texans on Thursday night, while Giovani Bernard was the only Bengals back with a broken tackle next to his name. Mixon figures to see the majority of snaps going forward, but you’re in for a shock if you expected any kind of consistency this year. Cincinnati’s offensive line really doesn’t look up to the task. Hopefully the Bengals’ new offensive coordinator will breathe some new life into this stagnant offense.
  • The Eagles beat themselves black and blue on Sunday. Torrey Smith dropped two crucial passes, one of which was a sure-fire touchdown on a beautiful Carson Wentz throw. Really, it’s a miracle Wentz didn’t explode into a ball of flames. His receivers really made life tough against the Chiefs, and despite his last-minute touchdown, Nelson Agholor dropped a pass, as did Alshon Jeffery, who bounced back with 92 yards and a score on Sunday. Away at Arrowhead and against a very strong Chiefs defense, drops certainly won’t lead to wins, let alone fantasy points.
  • Man, you just can’t write this stuff. DeShone Kizer left in the first half against the Ravens with a migraine. Kevin Hogan filled in nicely as his replacement, but like a true warrior, Kizer popped some paracetamol and returned late in the third quarter. Really, though, he would’ve been better off resting. He did jumpstart several drives for the Browns, but three interceptions against a vicious defense only made him look bad. For the small percentage of people stuck with Kizer as their Andrew Luck replacement, this had to suck.
  • The Colts/Cardinals game was a cluster of bad playcalling and shoddy defense. It was nice to see Frank Gore on the board with his first touchdown of the year, but the same can’t be said for any of the Cardinals’ backs. Replacing David Johnson is one thing, but it’s pretty clear Bruce Arians doesn’t trust Chris Johnson or Kerwynn Williams in key scoring situations just yet.
  • What’s the over/under we see Mitchell Trubisky in Chicago next week? The Mike Glennon situation officially transformed from a fiasco into a schmozzle against the Bucs, and it’s almost a miracle he managed 10 overall points on the day. The game was highlighted with a pick six, and even when the Bears looked like they had a chance, Glennon decided throwing into double coverage was a much better option than throwing the ball away. Who really cares, right? It’s not like anyone owns this train wreck…
  • … wrong, Jordan Howard step right up. There are three parts to this mess. Part 1 is thanks to a strong Buccaneers defense that has allowed zero 20+ yard runs and zero TDs so far this season. Part 2 is on the Bears’ playcalling, as Dowell Loggains ran the ball just 16 times all game. And of course, Part 3 is really on Howard himself. He averaged (get this) 0.8 yards on Sunday, on nine carries. Tarik Cohen one-upped him with 13-yards of his own (cue fire emoji), and to make matters worse, the Bears play the Steelers next week. This could get a lot worse before it gets better, especially considering Howard was spotted in a sling after the game.
  • So DeMarco Murray has gone AWOL. He’s easily the most worrying player in fantasy circles right now, and after a 25-yard performance on nine carries, the days of the strong cow-bell downhill runner seem to be fading. Not only that, Murray is reportedly struggling with a tight hamstring. After Derrick Henry brought the offense back to life in the third quarter with a 17-yard touchdown run up the middle, carries could certainly be swaying away from the veteran.
  • The Jaguars D/ST wasn’t quite as sharp against the Titans as it was in Week 1. They managed just two hits and a sack on Marcus Mariota, and put up -1 fantasy points on the day. This is the strong Titans’ offensive line we were expecting back in the offseason.
  • Other than maybe Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, go ahead and throw the entire Cowboys team on this list. Denver’s D/ST really is a “no-fly zone,” as Aqib Talib now ranks fourth on the All Time list of INTs returned for a touchdown. Ezekiel Elliott was made to look pretty basic, too, rushing for just eight yards. The Cowboys turned the ball over twice or more four times last year, so already this is kind of a worrying sign.
  • It was nice to see Russell Wilson scrambling around and doing his thang, but Jimmy Graham certainly had a quiet one. He caught just one pass, as the Seahawks instead opted for Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett down the field. The Seahawks’ offense is still a question mark. The offensive line allowed 10 hits on Wilson, three more than it allowed last week against the Packers.
  • Finally, where my kickers at? Chris Boswell missed a crucial one for the Steelers, and Steven Hauschka missed an extra point that really could have cost the Seahawks a win. On the flip side, Dan Bailey kicked four field goals at Mile High, one of which a 48-yarder. It’s a good reminder how valuable having a reliable kicker really is.

Rockin’ Rooks

[the_ad_group id=”2221″]Geeky stat of Week 2: Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette, Christian McAffrey and Joe Mixon all combined for just 150 yards and one TD on 34 carries. It’s a big step back from Week 1’s brilliant introduction to The Show, but also a harsh lesson to fantasy owners that rookies are often inconsistent. McCaffrey’s situation still remains the most interesting, as Jonathan Stewart once again saw the bulk of the carries. Leonard Fournette was the man in charge when the Jaguars finally reached the red zone late in garbage time, and an impressive three-yard rush on the goal line ensured some decent points for owners.

On The Shelf

I’ll try and keep this short…

  • Jordy Nelson left Sunday night’s game with what appeared to be a quad injury. He pulled up lame on a routine blocking route, and was under some considerable pain on the sidelines. With the Packers playing the Bengals and Bears over the next two weeks, I guess the timing is pretty okay.
  • Not sure if I want to live in a world without Greg Olsen. The veteran has a broken foot and will miss his first game since the 2011 season. He’s expected to be sidelined for six weeks
  • Rob Gronkowski looked sharp against the Saints, but all of a sudden, groin issues appeared out of nowhere midway through the third quarter. There’s no word on the severity, but it’s probably of the “minor” variety.
  • The Browns’ wide receiver group has already been pretty chaotic to start the season, but Corey Coleman now has a hand injury, creating an opportunity for Rashard Higgins, who drew a team-high 11 targets on Sunday.
  • Redskins RB Rob Kelley left Sunday’s game against the Rams with what we now know to be a fractured rib. It’s the kind of injury that could take all season to heal, so if you’re stuck at RB, keeping an eye on Chris Thompson and rookie Samaje Perine could be a wise move.
  • The Packers may also be without Randall Cobb next week, who went down late with a shoulder injury. He was listed as questionable to return, but we should know more on Monday.

Surprise, Surprise

Rashard Higgins could emerge as a big time add off the waiver over the next week or two. With the Browns playing musical chairs at QB on Sunday, Higgins posted 95 surprise yards on seven catches after being promoted from the practice squad late last week. Given Coleman’s injury and Kenny Britt’s inability to hold onto the ball, Higgins could be in for some serious targets as he and DeShone Kizer looked on point for much of the game. Higgins probably isn’t worth an add just yet, and at the same time, it’s still too early to drop Britt. Trusting any Browns receiver is a tough ask this year, especially since they figure to run the ball a lot. Still, Higgins became well known for his separation skills at the line as well as his deep ball ability – something the rest of the Browns receivers have yet to fully master.

Mr. Irrelevant

Sunday’s Bills/Panthers game was a wild one. It’s not very often you can say that about a game that featured just four field goals, but Tyrod Taylor’s brilliance late in the fourth quarter nearly upset Cam Newton and the Panthers with seconds remaining. Absent on the day, however, was LeSean McCoy, who rushed for just 9 yards on 12 carries. Taylor finished with more rushing yards than both McCoy and Mike Tolbert combined, and for owners, it was yet another example that McCoy can be a fickle play from week to week. The Bills obviously favored the passing game behind an offensive line that allowed six hits and two sacks on Taylor last week, so it’s no surprise to see Buffalo steer away from trying to create rushing holes. It does make you wonder if McCoy’s groin soreness is more severe than we originally thought, though.

Want more Fantasy Football news and advice? Follow Ryan Cook on Twitter! @RyanCook13

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