In Week 1 of the Fantasy Football season, we overreact. In Week 2, we correct. That's how it's supposed to work, right? If Corey Davis' big game in Week 1 made us overrate him -- which, uh ... I may be guilty of this one -- his dud Sunday was the necessary course correction we needed.
Of course ... if it's easy to overreact to Week 1, it's just as easy to overreact to Week 2, right? Maybe Davis' Week 1 was a mirage, or maybe Week 2 was just an example of the natural ebb and flow of a season, a poor performance against a tough matchup. A big game in Week 7 followed by a face plant in Week 8 wouldn't necessarily cause us to change our opinion about a player, so should it do that in Week 2?
That's the question I'm looking to answer here. Sorting through the randomness of the early season to find what matters and what doesn't is what it's all about, and that's our goal in today's newsletter.
I've gone through every game from Sunday, picking out winners and losers and giving you some noteworthy numbers/performances/plays that you might have missed while everything was going on around the league. But, before we get to that, Heath Cummings' Believe It or Not column is here to help you try to make sense of the biggest storylines from Week 2.
He addressed five of the biggest storylines from Week 2 to try help you identify what was real and what was just a mirage. Here are some of the questions he's answering today:
- Is Robert Woods no longer a must-start Fantasy WR?
- Does Darrell Henderson's injury make Sony Michel a must-start RB?
- Is Courtland Sutton a top-24 WR rest-of-season?
Also, if you missed it last night, I wrote about the numerous significant injuries from around the league Sunday, from the four starting QBs who went down to the 49ers' continued issues in their backfield. You should also check out my early look at the Week 3 waiver wire here. We'll have Jamey Eisenberg's full breakdown of the top options tomorrow morning, but here's a first glimpse at my top priorities:
- Justin Fields, QB, CHI 78%
- Sony Michel, RB, LAR 71%
- Tony Pollard, RB, DAL 71%
- Michael Pittman, WR, IND 66%
- Rondale Moore, WR, ARI 45%
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And now, here's my recap of every game from Sunday:
Week 2 Recap
- Winner: Deebo Samuel. Maybe it wasn't just a one-week thing for Samuel as the top target. Brandon Aiyuk was, once again, largely a non-factor despite seeing an increased snap share from last week, and Samuel, once again, had a big game. He didn't have as much of a downfield role as last week, but he's also not just being used as an extension of the running game like he was last season -- he still led the team in air yards Sunday. Samuel is looking like a must-start WR right now.
- Losers: George Kittle. It's too early to panic about Kittle, but it's time to start asking some questions, because we're two games into the season now, and he has had a target share below 20% in each game. He was at 25.1% last season, and while in Week 1, it was natural that his might be a bit lower as Samuel earned 12 of 26, Samuel's target share was down to a more reasonable 26.7% in Week 2 and Kittle still had just four on 30 passes. Even if Samuel is the team's top target now -- which I'm not quite ready to say -- Kittle should still be well ahead of his current 16% share. I'm holding Kittle, but I want to see them make him more of a focal point in Week 3 against the Packers.
- One more thing to know: Jalen Hurts didn't have a passing touchdown, but he came quite close on multiple occasions -- once when he missed Zach Ertz in the end zone in the first half, and once when Dallas Goedert went down at the 1-yard line. On the first one, the drive ended when the Eagles tried to run a reverse pass with Hurts as the primary target; the 49ers snuffed it out. Hurts scored on a QB sneak on the second drive.
- Another thing to know: The 49ers entire RB depth chart got hurt in this one with the exception of Trenton Cannon, and it all came in a span of about five players. Elijah Mitchell left with a shoulder injury (suffered on a play where he had a touchdown overturned at the goal line), then JaMycal Hasty left with an ankle injury shortly after; Trey Sermon got one carry of his own before being forced to leave with a concussion. We'll have to keep an eye on how things look over the next few days, because it's basically impossible to say right now who might be the lead back for the 49ers.
- Winner: Michael Carter. Carter looked like he was stuck in a three-way split in Week 1, but with Tevin Coleman playing just 8% of the snaps Sunday, maybe it's more like a two-way committee with Ty Johnson. Johnson got one more carry than Carter, but Carter was more involved in the passing game, while they split snaps evenly. It's still not a great situation -- splitting carries on a bad offense -- but if Carter is going to have a passing game role while splitting carries, he can be Fantasy relevant. You just hope this offense starts to look a little better.
- Losers: Corey Davis. Look, this one was a disaster for the whole Jets offense, as Zach Wilson looked completely overwhelmed, throwing four really ugly interceptions. Davis was held to just 8 yards on two catches, and he was targeted just five times on Wilson's 33 attempts, fewer than both Braxton Berrios (11) and Elijah Moore (8). I thought Davis would still have a good game despite the tough matchup, but the bigger concern here is that Davis has just a 17.1% target share through games and has been below 20% in each. The case for him as a Fantasy option rested on him getting a clear No. 2 WR role, but that's not what we've seen from him. I'll have to re-evaluate my expectations here, especially if Jamison Crowder is able to play in Week 3.
- One more thing to know: The Patriots didn't punish Damien Harris for his costly fumble in Week 1, and he ended up having a decent Fantasy game with 62 yards and a touchdown plus a catch for 2 yards. But he needed a Herculean effort to get to decent -- he broke about five tackles on his 26-yard touchdown. He's going to need to score to be a top-20 back most weeks.
- Winner: David Montgomery. Damien Williams took six of the 22 RB carries and out-targeted Montgomery five-to-one in Week 1, but Montgomery took that work back and then some Sunday, getting 20 carries and four targets to Williams' two and three, respectively. Montgomery isn't entirely matchup proof, but he's played 69.5% of the team's snaps through two games and is one of the true nearly-every-down-no-matter-what backs in the league.
- Losers: Allen Robinson. It's a good thing Robinson found the end zone in this one, or else people would really be panicking. Should they be? No, not yet. He was still targeted 27.5% of the time in Week 1, so his struggles there were more about a tough matchup than anything else, and the hope is his 16.7% target share Sunday was more about the team having to switch quarterbacks midway through the game after Andy Dalton left with a knee injury. If Justin Fields is the starter moving forward, you have to figure they'll make Robinson more of a focal point. But it has not been an ideal start for Robinson.
- One more thing to know: The Bengals managed to keep this one close despite Joe Burrow throwing picks on three straight passes, including one that was returned for a touchdown. It was not a good game for Burrow, and yet Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and Ja'Marr Chase all had at least 13 PPR points. That's not a bad sign.
- Winner: Brandin Cooks. The Texans will be without Tyrod Taylor for Thursday against the Panthers, but at this point, why should we expect that will slow Cooks down? People were fading him in drafts because of the situation in Houston, and yet he's got 14 catches for 210 yards and a touchdown through two weeks. He's just about the only good thing about this offense right now, and maybe that, combined with the fact that Davis Mills will be making his first NFL start this week, will be enough to slow him down. Or, maybe we should just stop doubting him.
- Losers: Mark Ingram. It took a perfect storm for Ingram to have a good Fantasy game in Week 1, and lightning did not strike twice in Week 2. He has almost no role in the passing game, so he's the lead back in a bad offense and that's it. Ingram will have a few top-20 games if he can find the end zone, but he probably shouldn't be ranked inside of the top 36 at any point this season in PPR leagues.
- One more thing to know: With Odell Beckham inactive and Jarvis Landry leaving in the first quarter with a knee injury, you would think it might be an opportunity for one of Rashard Higgins, Anthony Schwartz, or Donovan Peoples-Jones to step up, right? Nope. Baker Mayfield threw 16 of his 21 passes to running backs and tight ends. If Landry and Beckham are out in Week 3 against the Bears, there might not be a single pass catcher worth trusting on this team.
- Winner: Courtland Sutton. So much for Sutton "not looking right," or whatever the narrative was. He played a full snap share in Week 1 and then, with Jerry Jeudy out, emerged as the go-to option in the passing game. He caught nine of 12 targets for 159 yards, both career-high marks, and he now leads the NFL in air yards through two games -- pending Tyreek Hill's performance Sunday night. With how well Teddy Bridgewater is playing this season, I think Sutton should be viewed as a must-start player moving forward.
- Losers: You cannot say the same about D.J. Chark, sadly. I was optimistic about Chark after his Week 1, where he was targeted 12 times and was third in the league in air yards, but Sunday's game was not as promising. He was targeted just four times on Trevor Lawrence's 33 attempts. Chark was still primarily used down the field, with an average depth of target of 15.5 yards down the field, but he has now caught just four of 16 passes thrown his way through two games, so there is work to be done. There's still upside here, but you can't trust Chark right now, especially with Lawrence still very much trying to figure things out.
- One more thing to know: There was a lot of concern about James Robinson's role in Week 1, but Carlos Hyde was much less of a factor in this one -- he didn't get his first snap until midway through the second quarter. Robinson out-snapped Hyde 36 to 13, finishing with 11 carries, three targets, and 64 total yards, compared to just two carries, two targets, and 7 yards for Hyde. Robinson doesn't quite have the role he had last season, but he's the clear lead back, at the very least. He'll remain in the RB2 conversation, albeit on the lower end.
- Winner: Jaylen Waddle. There really isn't much to be excited about with Miami's offense through two weeks, but Waddle is the notable exception. He had another solid game, catching six of eight passes for 48 yards, and that was with backup Jacoby Brissett playing much of this game after Tua Tagovailoa left with a rib injury. He has 109 yards on 10 catches with a touchdown through two games, and they've made a point of getting him involved in a number of ways in both. You probably still can't trust him as much more than a flex right now, but if this offense figures it out, Waddle could be a must-start option-- especially with Will Fuller away from the team for personal reasons.
- Losers: Josh Allen. I'm not actually going to be moving Allen down in my rankings at all, this is just an excuse to talk about him. Because we have to talk about him. Or, at least, we have to talk about the possibility that we may be a week away from having to talk about him. Allen contributed another pretty lackluster passing game Sunday, going just 17 for 33 for 179 yards and an interception, albeit with two touchdowns as well. Through two games, Allen has completed 55.9% of his passes for 5.3 yards per attempt, with just a 3.6% touchdown rate, which looks an awful lot like what he was doing prior to 2020. It's too early to say he's regressing, but this has not been a good start for a guy who took one of the biggest leaps in NFL history last season. It's something worth watching heading into Week 3 against Washington -- another tough matchup. If you want a silver lining, Allen had a rushing touchdown in this one that was overturned by replay. Even when he's struggling, he's still a good Fantasy option.
- One more thing to know: Zack Moss scored two touchdowns, but he really was a nonfactor until pretty late in the game -- he had just four touches until the final four minutes of the third quarter. In fact, despite his two fourth quarter touchdowns, Moss played just 13 snaps in the second half, compared to 17 for Devin Singletary, and much of that was with the game well out of hand. Singletary rushed for 82 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown and two catches for 9 yards, and is clearly the better back for Fantasy. The question is whether Moss' late-game success -- including good, tough running on the touchdowns -- pushes him into a larger role, which would once again make this a stay-away backfield for Fantasy if they are splitting.
Saints at Panthers
- Winner: Sam Darnold. I'm not saying we need to be starting Darnold right now, but we do need to acknowledge how good he's been so far. Against a Saints defense that completely shut down Aaron Rodgers in Week 1, Darnold completed 26 of 38 passes for 305 yards and a couple of touchdowns. He has completed 68.5% of his passes at 8.0 yards per attempt through two games, and clearly seems to be benefiting from the much better playmaking surrounding him in Carolina. At the very least, he's playing well enough that I'm not worried about the playmakers being dragged down.
- Losers: You can go in a lot of different ways for this one, especially on the Saints side -- Jameis Winston was as bad in this one as he was good in the first one and Marquez Callaway has just three catches for 22 yards through two games and can be dropped in a lot of 12-team leagues. But I want to focus on Robby Anderson, who has just four catches on nine targets through two games in his reunion with Darnold. He's reverted to being used primarily as a deep threat after looking like a more complete receiver in 2020, and that could make it tough to trust him moving forward. D.J. Moore is clearly the top option in this passing game, and Christian McCaffrey is the No. 2 -- does that leave Anderson as just a boom-or-bust Fantasy option? That's what he's looked like so far.
- One more thing to know: How good is Christian McCaffrey? He had 24.7 PPR points despite leaving the game for a couple of drives with cramping. He is up to 324 yards from scrimmage with 14 receptions through two games. Alvin Kamara, my No. 2 RB coming into the season, struggled in this one and looks like a far cry from McCaffrey, however his 23.3% target share through two games should give you reason for optimism.
- Winner: Michael Pittman. I had Pittman as a loser after Week 1, so call me a flip-flopper if you want; I follow the evidence! He turned full snap share into just four targets last week, continuing a trend from 2020, when he finished outside of the top 100 in the league in yards and targets per route run. However, he looked every bit like a No. 1 receiver Sunday, catching eight of 123 passes on 12 targets -- that he did that against a team that just held Allen Robinson to a quiet game made it even more impressive. Pittman is worth adding on waivers where available, and while I don't necessarily view him as a must-start Fantasy option for Week 3 -- especially if Jacob Eason has to start for Carson Wentz (ankle) -- I'm more open to the possibility than I was.
- Losers: Jonathan Taylor. Look, he's still a must-start Fantasy option, but this looked a lot more like what I feared things might look for Taylor. He ran the ball 15 times, and that might be his floor most weeks. However, after playing a big role in the passing game in Week 1, he had just one target on 36 passes Sunday. Nyheim Hines also had just two targets, despite the Colts trailing much of the game. That was a disappointment for both, and makes it a lot harder to know what to expect in Week 3, when they face a very vulnerable Titans pass defense.
- One more thing to know: Cooper Kupp was dominant yet again, but I think there were also reasons to be optimistic about Robert Woods, despite an underwhelming start to the season. He was targeted nine times Sunday and had 95 air yards, a mark he topped just twice last season. A big part of why I liked both Woods and Kupp to have big seasons was because I expected a more aggressive passing offense with Matthew Stafford at QB, and that's what we saw Sunday. That's promising, even if the results haven't quite been there for Woods just yet.
- Winner: Derek Carr. You can't get a much tougher test to open a season than the Ravens and Steelers, and Carr has the Raiders at 2-0 with 817 passing yards and four touchdowns through two games. He's attacking down the field more consistently than he has in years past, and while Week 1 was out of necessity with the Raiders chasing points, his 8.4 average intended air yards per attempt Sunday came in a much different game context. Given his career as a pretty conservative passer, skepticism is still warranted, but Carr has been impressive so far. And, this might have gone overlooked a bit in the offseason, but this might be the best group of weapons Carr has ever had top to bottom.
- Losers: JuJu Smith-Schuster. He scored on a 3-yard carry to end up with a pretty good Fantasy day, but I think you've gotta be a bit discouraged by Smith-Schuster's performance so far. He had six catches for 41 yards on seven targets Sunday, after having just 52 yards on four catches (eight targets) in Week 1. He has just 67 air yards through two games, and seems stuck in the same role that made him pretty touchdown dependent in 2020. His target volume and high catch rate will keep him relevant in PPR formats, but his ceiling is just so dependent on touchdown potential in this role.
- One more thing to know: I'm still pretty pessimistic about Ben Roethlisberger and this pass offense, but I'll give credit where it's due: Roethlisberger looked better in this one than he did last week. He was actually willing to push the ball down the field, as he attempted nine passes that traveled at least 20 yards down the field; he attempted just one such pass in Week 1. The overall results still weren't great, but this is reason to be optimistic about Chase Claypool if you're looking for one -- of all of the Steelers receivers, he's the one who needs downfield targets to be relevant the most. Of course, they'll still have to complete those passes -- Roethlisberger was just 3 for 9 targeting Claypool -- but with Diontae Johnson leaving with a knee injury on the final play, Claypool could have a big opportunity in the coming weeks.
- Winner: Rondale Moore. Moore had a solid NFL debut, but he really broke out in this one, catching seven passes for 114 yards on eight targets -- all of which led the team. You can say he got a bit lucky on his 77-yard touchdown because the Vikings botched the coverage so badly, but he also had to be in the right spot to make the play anyway. Despite the fact that he played the fourth-fewest snaps of any of the team's wide receivers, they've made a point in both games to get him heavily involved when he's on the field, and he's responded by making big plays. This team runs a ton of four-WR sets as is, but with Moore playing this well, they're going to find it hard to keep him off the field. He's such a dynamic playmaker who fits what this offense needs so well, and he's a must-add player on waivers in all leagues.
- Losers: There really isn't much negative to take away from this one, but this one was not a great one for James Conner. He wasn't targeted in the game and had just eight carries for 26 yards. If we're hoping he has the Kenyan Drake role from last season, I feel obligated to point out that Drake had at least 10 carries in each game and was only held without a target once; Conner has no targets through two games.
- One more thing to know: DeAndre Hopkins has never played with this many playmakers alongside him, and his 11.1% target rate Sunday was lower than any game from last season. I don't think it's the start of anything to be concerned about, necessarily, but his weekly production may be a bit tougher to predict on a team that doesn't have to funnel quite so many targets his way just to move the ball. On the other hand, he has three touchdowns and is averaging 11.4 yards per target through two games, so don't panic.
- Winner: Mike Evans. The Buccaneers getting Evans heavily involved in this one was so predictable that pretty much everyone in the world called it. He didn't do much in Week 1, but now has two touchdowns in two games. It may go like that all season -- with so many mouths to feed in this offense, individual consistency may be lacking, even while the overall numbers end up where they should be. Antonio Brown caught the other end of that Sunday when he was targeted just three times and had one catch. You'll have to decide if that's something you can be happy with.
- Losers: Mike Davis. This wasn't a bad Fantasy game for Davis, as he finished with 13.3 PPR points, but he's been pretty anonymous so far through two games, totaling 87 rushing yards, 10 catches, and 48 receiving yards with no touchdowns. The bigger concern for Davis, however, has been the play of Cordarrelle Patterson, who scored two touchdowns Sunday. Davis is a decent player, but the best thing he had going for him as a Fantasy option was that there was supposed to be little competition for touches in Atlanta's backfield; Patterson has 21 touches through two games to Davis' 34. Davis is still playing a healthy role and seeing plenty of touches, but can you count on 27.5 RB touches per game moving forward? And, if not, can you count on Davis to increase his share? He'll probably have to play better than he has so far.
- One more thing to know: As promised, Ronald Jones got the first carry Sunday, and as expected, it didn't really matter. He carried the ball just six times for 27 yards while adding one catch for 9 yards on three targets. Leonard Fournette had 11 carries for 52 along with 24 yards on his four catches (on as many targets), and out-snapped Jones, 31-23 (out of 60). The two players remain too similar to really make sense as a backfield tandem, especially if they're going to split work relatively evenly. Unless one gets hurt or one just establishes himself as the clear lead back, neither will be worth starting in most leagues.
Titans at Seahawks
- Winner: Julio Jones. This was exactly what I wanted to see from Jones after his poor production in Week 1, as he caught six of eight passes for 128 yards. Now, maybe you're wondering that, with Jones and A.J. Brown trading off big games through the first two that there might not be room in this low-volume passing game to thrive? Don't worry about that; Brown had nine targets and 172 air yards in this one, so there was plenty of room for both to thrive. Production will fluctuate from week to week, but there's very little reason to worry about either one right now -- though I would like to see an even higher concentration of the team's targets going their way moving forward. Let's feed these guys.
- Another winner: Of course, part of the reason targets haven't been quite so concentrated between those two is Derrick Henry's had a surprisingly robust role in the passing game, with 10 targets through two games. He had a classic dominant second half performance Sunday, rushing for 147 yards and all three of his touchdowns after halftime, but we know that's what Henry does. What's new so far is that passing game role, as Henry has a 13.3% target share -- it was just 6.4% a year ago. He's not running routes any more frequently than he did last year, which is one reason to be skeptical, but Henry is now nearly one-third of the way to his career-high in targets, with two of his five career games with more than four targets coming so far this season.
- Losers: Gerald Everett/Will Dissly. In Week 1, the tight end duo combined for five targets, five catches, 57 yards, and a touchdown. In Week 2, they combined for one catch on two targets for 3 yards. There just isn't enough room for either to be relevant in this offense, especially when they are splitting work.
- One more thing to know: For just the second time in his career, Tyler Lockett followed up a 100-yard game with another 100-yard game. We're gonna call this one another L for the Tyler Lockett doubters. By the way, if you're worried about DK Metcalf's relatively slow start, don't be. He still has massive weekly upside, and when things shift away from Lockett, they'll invariably shift toward Metcalf. Unless you think Lockett is just a lot better than Metcalf now?
- Winner: Mike Williams. Well, now we're left wondering if it was a two-game wonder. Williams had another big game in an offense that we were told before the season might be pretty good for him. He led the team in targets with 10, catching seven of them for 91 yards and a touchdown, while totaling 86 air yards. Williams can still make plays down the field, but the Chargers are using him less like a deep threat and more like a traditional, do-it-all No. 1 WR. That's not to say Williams is the No. 1 in the offense -- Keenan Allen is still playing quite well himself, thank you -- but it's to say that he looks like a legitimate 1b to Allen, in both performance and usage. Given his talent, why can't he keep it up?
- Losers: Ezekiel Elliott. How could Elliott possibly be a loser in a game where he scored 17.7 points, especially given how much better Sunday was than his Week 1? Well, it's because Tony Pollard is looking like a lot more than just a complementary player through two weeks. The Cowboys schemed up early touches for Pollard in Week 1 before they largely abandoned the run, and in Sunday's game he had 13 carries plus three targets, finishing with 140 total yards and a touchdown. Elliott was plenty good in his own right and had 16 carries and two targets himself, but that's a much closer split than we expected coming into the season. Elliott's strongest skill in both Fantasy and real football is his ability to handle a huge workload, but if Pollard is going to be used as a 1b option, that's a threat to Elliott's elite standing. However, it is worth noting that Elliott still out-snapped Pollard 43-21, and ran 25 routes to Pollard's seven. It's still too early to panic.
- One more thing to know: In Week 1, Austin Ekeler ran a bunch of routes but wasn't targeted once, raising questions about his fit in Joe Lombardi's offense. You can kindly throw those questions away after Sunday, as Ekeler was targeted nine times on 27 routes, catching each of them for 61 yards. He topped 100 yards from scrimmage, and feels like a pretty good bet for that most weeks. He's an elite PPR option, and after scoring a touchdown on short yardage in Week 1, he got a two-point conversion rush in this one. Nothing to worry about here.
Chiefs at Ravens
- Winner: Lamar Jackson. I mean, what a performance. He looked shaky throwing the ball in the first half, but Jackson carried the Ravens to a 36-35 win over the Chiefs -- Patrick Mahomes' first loss in September in his career. He rushed for 107 yards on 16 carries with a pair of touchdowns and passed for 239 yards on 26 attempts with a touchdown and a couple of picks. The interceptions were bad -- one was returned for a pick-six -- but overall, you have to be pretty happy with how Jackson's receivers have played through two games, especially Marquise Brown, who had six catches for 113 yards on 10 targets. The breakout might actually be happening there, too.
- Losers: Clyde Edwards-Helaire. In Week 1, you could at least justify Edwards-Helaire's lackluster Fantasy showing by pointing to the fact that he was in on the team's rare opportunities near the goal line and played a healthy role in the passing game. Sunday? He wasn't targeted at all, ceded a goal-line touchdown to Darrel Williams, and then fumbled in Baltimore territory as the Chiefs were trying to come back in the final minutes from a one-point deficit. That's just about a worst-case scenario for Edwards-Helaire, and I'm not quite sure how you're supposed to move forward with him -- even if you want to panic trade, nobody is going to be willing to give you much of anything for him. This is still a valuable role in theory, and your only option might be to stick with him and just hope that manifests eventually.
- One more thing to know: How rare is it for Tyreek Hill to score less than six points in PPR scoring, as he did Sunday? It was just his fourth such game (not counting games where he left with injuries) since the start of 2017, including the playoffs. That's out of 69 games.