Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Dalvin Cook panic? Buy Antonio Callaway?
Heath Cummings takes a look at Week 2 and tells you what you should and shouldn't believe.
Just when we thought football couldn't get any more awesome, we got a six-touchdown performance from Patrick Mahomes, and Ryan Fitzpartrick excelled on and off the field. I talked about those guys last week, and I still don't believe they'll keep this up, but there's also no reason to rehash it each week.
They're awesome, enjoy it while it lasts.
As for the rest of Week 2, the drama started even before the games. The Browns announced they are going to cut Josh Gordon on Monday, which led to multiple teams contacting them to trade for him. This was terrible news for Tyrod Taylor but gave a rookie an opportunity, and he ran with it. Let's start this week's Believe It it Not in Cleveland.
Antonio Callaway is a must-add with Josh Gordon gone.
In the Browns first game without Gordon, the passing game looked less-than-inspiring. Taylor, Jarvis Landry and David Njoku were all disappointments, but Callaway caught a 47-yard bomb in the fourth quarter to save his day in Fantasy. He now ranks second among all rookie receivers in receiving yards and looks like the team's best deep threat. Landry and Rashard Higgins are both possession receivers, and Njoku patrols the middle of the field, so the opportunity is there for Callaway to shine.
Verdict: Believe it.
If it wasn't for off-the-field problems Callaway would have gone much higher in the draft. The fact that he had another incident in the preseason but still worked his way to the top of the depth chart in Cleveland tells you all you need to know about his talent. No, the four targets aren't enough for sustainable Fantasy production, but there's room for that to grow as well. Callaway is at least worth a spot on your bench and deserves boom-bust flex consideration in deeper leagues.
It's time to hit the panic button on Dalvin Cook.
I was one of those people who was really excited about Cook coming into the season, so his performance the first two weeks has certainly stung. Cook hasn't reached the end zone in the first two weeks and has yet to top 40 rushing yards in a game. He's averaging 3.0 yards per carry and sharing the load with Latavius Murray. He even left Week 2 with a hamstring injury, to kill any trade value he might have. If you spent an early second-round pick on Cook and off to slow start, you may have to consider selling low.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
Not even a little bit. As Aaron Rodgers would say "R-E-L-A-X". Cook said the hamstring issue was just a cramp. As for the production, well it hasn't been that bad. He has 185 total yards in two games. He may not be getting it done on the ground, but he already has nine catches for 107 yards. The problem from a Fantasy perspective is that he's not scored a touchdown. The strange thing is, no one has scored a rushing touchdown for the Vikings so far. For an offense this powerful, that will most certainly change. Cook has essentially played one-third of an NFL season so far in his career. He has 20 catches and 629 total yards. That's the type of player you buy, not sell.
Eric Ebron is the most valuable tight end on the Colts.
Prepare yourself for confirmation bias. I loved Ebron this preseason and nothing that's happened in the first two weeks of the season has changed that. Through two weeks he's tied for the team lead with two touchdowns and has averaged more yards per reception (11.0) than any other Colt with more than one catch. While Andrew Luck isn't really throwing the ball deep, Ebron does have the team's longest reception at 26 yards. With all the drama we've had at tight end this year, it's nice that one of them is actually panning out.
Verdict: Believe it.
This is the point where I'm supposed to tell you Jack Doyle is dominating Ebron in targets. That Doyle also has more catches and yards than Ebron. That touchdows aren't predictable and you should trust Doyle's volume. But I won't. For one thing, Doyle has turned 15 targets into 80 yards. Last year he had just 690 yards on 108 targets. He's not good. But most importantly, I think the target shift has already started. In Week 1 Doyle saw 20 percent of the team's targets, Ebron just 10 percent. In Week 2 they didn't have to throw as often, but Doyle saw his share shrink to 16 percent and Ebron's climb to 13 percent. With that type of split, Ebron is going to be the better option in Fantasy.
DeSean Jackson is a must-start wide receiver again.
The main beneficiary of Fitzmagic has been Jackson, who is currently the No. 1 wide receiver in non-PPR scoring. Jackson leads the league in receiving yards and has already scored as many touchdowns (three) this year as he did in all of 2017. Jackson already has two touchdowns of more than 50 yards and four receptions over 30 yards. He once again looks like one of the best deep threats in the league and needs to be in your starting lineup every week.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
Jackson has nine targets in two games. That's the same number as Ebron. There is no world in which I'd tell you that Ebron is a must-start wide receiver. Jackson is the same thing he's been for the last several years, a boom-or-bust flex play who is equal parts inconsistent and injury-prone. We've already seen him fight off a concussion and a shoulder injury this year. If you can get anything resembling a top-25 running back or receiver for Jackson, you should do it now, before he and Fitzpatrick turn back into pumpkins.
Marvin Jones is the third best receiver in Detroit.
We knew Jones was going to regress from his career-best 2017, but we didn't expect he'd be the third-best receiver in this offense. That's exactly what he looks like right now. Through two games, Jones is actually fourth on the team in targets, behind Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay and Theo Riddick. We can excuse Riddick, because he shouldn't really affect Jones' targets, and Tate isn't surprising at all. The big issue is Golladay surpassing Jones in the pecking order, or at the very least, he's caught him. This is a bad development for Jones' Fantasy value.
Verdict: Believe it.
The truth is that Kenny Golladay probably should be getting at least as many targets as Jones. He's awesome. So far in his young career, Golladay has caught 59 percent of his targets and averaged 16.6 yards per reception. He's been even better than that in 2018 and has 21 targets to Jones' 17. The good news for Jones is the Lions don't really have a tight end, and they can't run the ball or stop anyone. As long as those trends hold, there should be enough targets to make all three Lions' receivers viable starters. Especially if Jones continues dominating end zone targets.
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