Week 2 fantasy football live reaction


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Week 2 of the NFL season is here, and there are plenty of notable performances. What do they mean? Tristan H. Cockcroft and Matt Bowen are here with instant analysis on the biggest fantasy performers, as well as the duds of the week.


Sunday

4 p.m. ET games

Patrick Mahomes is rewriting the fantasy record books: Mahomes is setting marks that will be difficult for anyone to catch even in this modern, pass-friendly NFL environment. In his 19th career NFL start on Sunday, he scored 31.6 PPR fantasy points, giving him a total of 488.4 in those 19 games. To put that into perspective, the next-closest quarterback, Cam Newton, scored only 418.4 points — or 70 fewer — in his first 19 career games. Incredible. — Cockcroft

Mitchell Trubisky is irrelevant in fantasy: Can we take Trubisky off the fantasy radar for now? After a really rough first week versus the Packers — where the film highlighted Trubisky’s inconsistencies in the pocket — the Bears quarterback completed 16 of 27 pass attempts for just 120 yards (4.4 yards per attempt) in an extremely reduced game plan versus the Broncos. Until Trubisky can find some rhythm as a thrower, with a call sheet that actually shows some aggressive tendencies in the pass game, he doesn’t have fantasy relevance. — Bowen

Concern for Damien Williams‘ low output: I’ve rolled with Williams — even after the addition of LeSean McCoy — as a low-end RB2 in my rankings through the first two weeks of the season, but should there be some concern here after another subpar day? Williams, who left the game late with a knee injury, has a total of just 34 yards rushing and a score on 22 carries to start the season. Sure, he has caught 9 of 11 targets for 97 yards and I always lean to the upside of the running back as a receiver in Andy Reid’s system, but with McCoy in the mix and the lack of production here, Williams has to slide down into the Flex range. — Bowen

It’s time to add Demarcus Robinson: Say hello to your Week 2 PPR fantasy scoring leader (through the 4 p.m. ET games, at least): Robinson, whose 35.2 points were nearly 20 more than he had ever had in any of his 49 prior NFL games. With Tyreek Hill (collarbone) sidelined, Robinson’s role took a sizable step forward, as he played 91% of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps (62 of 68), his most in a single week since 2017 Week 17 (92%), and matched Sammy Watkins‘ usage.

It seems that Mahomes can make most any receiver a fantasy star, and with Hill expected to miss extended time, Robinson can — and should — be one of the week’s top pickups. — Cockcroft


1 p.m. ET games

Mark Andrews‘ historic start to the season: We’re not merely watching a breakthrough start to Andrews’ season — we’re potentially watching something historic. With his second consecutive 20-PPR-point fantasy game to start 2019, Andrews now has 50.0 PPR fantasy points through two weeks. Since 1950, that is tied for the fifth most by any tight end through his team’s first two games of the season.

Remarkably, he’s doing it despite playing limited snaps while in a tight end rotation, making the production all the more impressive. He was on the field for only 39 percent of the plays in Week 1, but his usage ramped up late on Sunday as he played 41 of the team’s 72 offensive snaps (57%). That’s a sign that his role could be expanding to the point where he’s capable of repeating these performances. — Cockcroft

As Tristan noted, Andrews’ two-week production to start the season is super rare. However, after Andrews caught 8-of-9 targets for 112 yards and a score, we have to look at how the Ravens and Lamar Jackson are targeting the tight end. Remember, Baltimore is going to lean on play-action passing, plus inside vertical throws. And that’s a prime fit for Andrews at the tight end position.

The guy is a pretty easy mover with a big frame and enough separation ability to create space versus coverage. Andrews can continue to produce in an offense that will use multiple tight end sets to generate high-percentage passing opportunities for Jackson. Give me the second-year pro as a TE1 next week versus the Chiefs. — Bowen

Antonio Brown‘s high-volume debut: Brown was the focus of the Patriots’ opening drive, catching 3-of-3 targets for 36 yards, as they utilized middle-of the field concepts and quick game throws to the boundary. Brown later followed that up with a carry on a reverse, and then found the end zone on a great back-shoulder throw from quarterback Tom Brady. While Brown didn’t record another catch on the afternoon, he finished with 56 yards receiving on a team-high eight targets, including four targets inside the red zone.

It’s obviously a small sample size here, but given the high-volume targets and formation flexibility within the Patriots’ route tree, I’m going to slot Brown as a low-end WR1 in my rankings next week with a matchup versus the Jets’ defense. — Bowen

Dalvin Cook up to RB1 status again: Anyone else notice the play speed of Cook today on his 75-yard touchdown run? He was moving. And that meshes with the Week 1 film, too. This is the guy I watched coming out of Florida State. Decisive to the hole, with the burst to scoot through the second level.

Cook finished with 154 yards rushing on 20 carries and a score, plus, another 37 yards in the passing game. That gives Cook two straight games of 100-plus yards on the ground and 20-plus touches. With a matchup next week against the Raiders’ defense, Cook should again grab RB1 status. The volume is there and the Vikings want to lead with a heavy run-game script. — Bowen

Cook exceeded 20 PPR fantasy points fewer than two minutes into the second half of Sunday’s game, which gave him consecutive games with at least 20 points — as well as consecutive games of 20-plus carries — for the first time in his NFL career. — Cockcroft

Kyler Murray throwing early and often: That’s another 300-plus-yard passing day for Murray in an offense under Kliff Kingsbury that has dialed down its approach since the fourth quarter in Week 1. Through two games, Murray now sits at a whopping 94 passing attempts. While the QB run game hasn’t been a major factor yet, the game plan under Kingsbury — who is using more quick throws and tempo to create opportunities for Murray — creates monster pass game volume for the rookie.

With a matchup next week versus Seattle, expect the Cardinals to sling the ball again, making Murray a low-end QB1 in deeper leagues. — Bowen

Deebo Samuel‘s increase in volume: I’m always hesitant to go in on rookie wide receivers, but I also love the offensive system under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. Heavy play-action, misdirection and open-window throws for the quarterback. So, why not take a look at Samuel?

The rookie is a sudden route runner with the ability to produce after the catch, and he caught five of a team-high seven targets on Sunday for 87 yards with a red zone score. Plus, with Dante Pettis failing to get a single target versus Cincinnati, Samuel should see some volume again next week. Samuel should be a roster add in all scoring formats with the Pittsburgh defense on tap in Week 3. — Bowen

Austin Ekeler continues to produce: Melvin who? Ekeler exceeded 20 PPR fantasy points for the second consecutive week as he fills in for holdout Melvin Gordon. Ekeler’s 23.2 points were fourth best among running backs from the 1 p.m. ET games. His 62.7 points and 287 yards from scrimmage through two games are both more than Gordon has had through two games of any previous season. — Cockcroft

Notes

• The 33 fantasy points scored by New England’s defense/special teams were the most by any unit since the Denver Broncos scored the same in 2018 Week 7, but it was also an amount reached by only 17 D/STs since the turn of the century. Yes, it pays to stream your defenses against the Miami Dolphins, who afforded the Baltimore Ravens 14 fantasy points in Week 1.

The Dolphins’ next three opponents: Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers, Washington Redskins (Week 6, following Week 5 bye). — Cockcroft

Dak Prescott‘s 27.7 PPR fantasy points were the sixth most he has scored in any of his 50 career NFL starts, meaning that two of his six best single-game scores have come in the first two games of 2019. He’s looking awfully good throwing the football and is a locked-in QB1 for Week 3 versus the Miami Dolphins. — Cockcroft

• Give Aaron Jones the rock. It’s really that simple. Jones racked up 150 total yards and a touchdown on 27 touches in the win over the Vikings. He can give you consistent RB2 numbers — if the volume is there. — Bowen


Thursday

Concern for O.J. Howard?: If Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians wanted to light a fire under tight end O.J. Howard, Howard’s fantasy managers sure won’t complain about the attempt, after he went without a target on 17 routes run while playing 92 percent of the team’s offensive snaps (54-of-59) on Thursday. It’s not an output to expect regularly — only three tight ends all of last season played at least 90 percent of the offensive snaps of a single game and weren’t targeted (and none were close to the caliber of player that Howard is) — but Tampa Bay’s offensive game plan has been plenty unpredictable through two weeks. Fingers crossed that Arians’ challenge will help matters. — Cockcroft

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