Fantasy Football Week 2: Thursday night wrap up plus the latest on Aaron Rodgers, Devonta Freeman
If you missed Thursday's game, Chris Towers is here to catch you up on everything you missed, plus the latest news from around the NFL.
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I guess Andy Dalton can play under the lights
Dalton entered play Thursday with a passer rating 10 points lower at night than during the day, but he bucked the trend early and often Thursday. Dalton completed 24 of 42 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns in the game, leading three touchdown drives in the first half of at least 72 yards.
A.J. Green was unstoppable in the red zone in this one, scoring three times and finishing with five catches for 69 yards in the outing, while Tyler Boyd hauled in six passes for 91 yards to lead the team, adding a score of his own. Nobody else really got into the action, as disappointing starts by John Ross and Tyler Eifert continued. Ross still has plenty of upside, but he's clearly running behind Boyd in the offense, and can be dropped for a more useful option. I would still hang on to Eifert, but it's been slow going for him as the Bengals keep him on a snap count. Eifert did play 49 snaps in Week 2, so a breakout could be coming.
Alex Collins had another underwhelming showing
After just 13 yards on seven carries in the opener, Collins was once again relegated to a minor role for the Ravens Thursday night. As with Week 1, there were some extenuating circumstances — this time, it was the Ravens who were getting blown out early — but that still makes two games in a row with fewer than double-digit carries for Collins to open the season. This time he rushed nine times for 35 yards, while adding 55 yards on three catches. And he once again ceded a red zone touchdown to Javorius Allen, the second time the latter has scored at the expense of the former.
The good news is, Collins still has 16 carries to Allen's 10 overall, while Allen has done more work in the passing game. However, Collins has been more effective in both roles, and it's possible the weird circumstances surrounding both games explains the usage. Still, it's been a frustrating two games for Collins' Fantasy owners, who were hoping he had established himself as the clear No. 1 after 2017. This slow start could continue into Week 3, with Collins and the Ravens set to face the Broncos at home.
Joe Mixon was dealing with a knee issue
Giovani Bernard split work with Mixon, with each logging 39 snaps in the game, but I wouldn't take that as a reason to panic. Mixon was in and out of the game with a knee issue, but it didn't seem to limit him much, as he still racked up 21 carries for 84 yards in the game. He added one catch for 3 yards as well.
Even with the knee issue, Mixon saw a ton of work, and he now has 38 carries and six catches in the first two games of the season. Bernard has seven carries and five catches, so he's been no real threat to Mixon's work. Assuming this knee issue ends up being as minor as it seems, Bernard is just a handcuff option, not a legitimate threat to Mixon's work.
Other notes from Thursday night
- John Brown has been the Ravens' most effective WR … Brown had a game-high 92 yards on four catches, and most impressively, he was targeted 10 times in the game. He now has 14 targets and seven catches for 136 yards through two games, with two touchdowns.
- The Ravens are using their TE a lot … There hasn't been one beneficiary of this trend, but Maxx William, Nick Boyle, and Mark Andrews combined for eight catches and 74 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets Thursday. If Hayden Hurst can get healthy and dominate the TE work, he could be a breakout.
Other notes from around the NFL
- A decision on Aaron Rodgers (knee) may not be made until Saturday … Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters "This is no layup" when talking about Rodgers' status for Week 2, and ESPN.com reported Thursday Rodgers could play without practicing. NFL Network reports the team may not know Rodgers' status until Saturday at the earliest, so have a backup plan in place. You might want to have one anyway, because Rodgers could be playing on a bum knee against one of the toughest defenses in the league.
- Devonta Freeman (knee) has yet to practice … This one has plenty of ramifications for Freeman owners, who will seemingly be without one of their studs. However, it also has a significant impact on Tevin Coleman's value, as Coleman had 14, 11, and 21 Fantasy points in three games without Freeman last season (including the game against Dallas where Freeman got hurt early).
- Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) did not practice … There hasn't been a sense of panic about Roethlisberger yet, with coach Mike Tomlin telling reporters earlier in the week it was a minor issue. Let's hope he gets out there on Friday, though of course a veteran like Roethlisberger could also play without practicing.
- Rex Burkhead (concussion) was upgraded to a limited practice … According to NBCSports.com, Burkhead could be through the first four steps of the five-step concussion protocol, indicating the next step could be clearance. Burkhead took part in non-contact drills Thursday, so we'll have to monitor his status Friday and Saturday before making a call about Sunday.
- Leonard Fournette (hamstring) may practice Friday … Fournette has insisted all along that he would play in Week 2, and he appears to be making progress in his recovery from the hamstring issue. We'll see if he gets out on the practice field Friday, but have T.J. Yeldon stashed just in case.
- Corey Davis has been dealing with a hamstring injury … This could just be managing Davis' previous hamstring issues, but it's noteworthy that he was limited at both Wednesday and Thursday's practice sessions. We'll see if he improves Friday, but it would be hard to trust an unproven player like Davis while dealing with an injury, even coming off a solid showing in Week 1 (six catches, 62 yards).
- Marquise Goodwin (quad) missed practice again … It's not looking like we'll see Goodwin in Week 2, as he has yet to practice. Friday will likely make the determination, but have an alternate ready. Consider Dante Pettis only in deep leagues, coming off his two-catches-plus-a-touchdown performance in Week 1.
- DeVante Parker (finger) was a full participant in practice … It looks like Parker is ready to return from his broken finger. It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins work the fourth-year perpetual disappointment in. There's still upside here, but the Dolphins seem intent on spreading the ball around, so don't rely on Parker until he proves himself.
- Marlon Mack (hamstring) was limited yet again … That makes a week straight of limited practices for Mack, who sat out the opener. Mack is certainly improving, and could play in Week 2, but he wouldn't be a recommended start coming back from this injury.
- Will Fuller (hamstring) was limited again … We'll see if Fuller can put in a full practice Friday. That would make me feel better about his chances of playing, though Fuller did say Thursday he wants to make sure he's not rushing back. If he does play, he'll be a risky, boom-or-bust option at wide receiver.
- The Raiders will move Amari Cooper around more … The Raiders just couldn't get Cooper involved in Week 1, in a continuation of Cooper's nightmarish 2017. Coach Jon Gruden sounded disappointed that quarterback Derek Carr wouldn't take more shots with Cooper down the field.
- Josh Gordon will see more targets in Week 2 … Gordon had a surprisingly important role in Week 1, playing 69 of 89 snaps in the tie against the Steelers, but that didn't translate to Fantasy production. Gordon made his lone catch count with a 17-yard touchdown, but was disappointing overall, especially with just three targets. We'll see if they involve him more moving forward, but that sounds like the plan.
So who should you sit and start this week? And where does every player stack up? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 2 Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB is going to finish in the top five, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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