Fantasy Football Week 2 Winners and Losers: Breakout stars, waiver targets
Lamar Jackson is proving the doubters wrong, one pass at a time, and the Fantasy ceiling is sky high for this Ravens offense after another dominant showing, Chris Towers says.
In 'Happy Gilmore' — just stay with me here, I'll tie this into Fantasy Football shortly — Happy's ability to drive the ball made him a draw on the tour, but he wasn't much more than a novelty. He wasn't a golfer, you see, he was a hockey player, and all he could do was hit the ball far.
To win the really big checks, Happy needed to learn how to putt.
Lamar Jackson's rushing ability made him a Fantasy favorite coming into this season, but as we saw last year, it wasn't enough to make him a superstar. As good as he was as a runner — and we probably haven't seen more than one or two better at the QB position in NFL history — Jackson needed to emerge as a real threat to pass to really live up to the loftiest expectations put on him.
And, well …
If Jackson didn't quite repeat his Week 1 dominance Sunday against the Cardinals, it's only because any matchup against the Dolphins may as well come with a 2x multiplier for Fantasy production. As an all-around performer, Jackon might have been even more impressive Sunday, however. He actually needed to throw often in this one and he racked up 272 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 24 of 37 passing in the 23-17 win over the Cardinals. That he added 120 yards on ground was just him putting it all together. The putter and the driver, if you will.
The beneficiaries of Jackson's progress have been tight end Mark Andrews and rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown, who both caught eight passes Sunday. Brown had 86 yards on his eight catches, while Andrews had 112 and a touchdown, giving him consecutive 100-yard-and-a-touchdown games to open the season. Pretty good for someone we were worried might be third on the depth chart in Baltimore. He's not exactly dominating snaps, but the Ravens play so many two- and three-tight end sets that he's not exactly struggling to find the field, either. He's not in the top tier at tight, and he's not quite Evan Engram either, but I'm not sure there's another tight end I'd be starting over Andrews at this point.
Brown didn't play a huge number of snaps in Week 1 himself, but was on the field for 65% of the plays the Ravens ran in Week 2, and he dominated looks from Jackson, receiving 13 targets — no other wide receiver had even four.
It's still early, however the Ravens proved Sunday they're willing to let Jackson air it out when they need to, after limiting him to no more than 29 in any game as a rookie. The rushing gave Jackson a floor, and a ton of hype, but the early signs of his development as a passer have pushed his sky-high ceiling into clearer view.
Even if you're not a true believer, however, and you want to write Jackson's strong start off as a fluke thanks to the schedule, there's some bad news: With the Chiefs, Browns, Steelers, and Bengals coming up, Jackson's got more good matchups than bad ones to go.
Uh oh: Lamar Jackson is the real deal.
Before we get to Week 2's Winners and Losers, let's start with some bonus winners:
Cowboys, Chargers, Washington, Bills, Steelers, Jets, Colts, Bills, Browns, Eagles, Jets, Giants, Bengals, Patriots – That's the Dolphins' remaining schedule. They've given up 102 points across two games, including two defensive touchdowns in Week 2.
Who should you start against the Dolphins?
Winners and Losers
KC Kansas City • #11
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
While much of the focus coming out of Week 1 was on Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman, it was Robinson who stepped up in a big way for the Chiefs, hauling in all six passes thrown his way for 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Watkins (13 targets) was still Patrick Mahomes' top option, and Hardman (four catches, 61 yards, one touchdown) showed he can be Fantasy viable, too, but it will be Robinson we'll all be running out to add on waivers this week. We'll see in Week 3 against the Ravens if he'll be just a flash in the pan. One thing we know: As long as Mahomes and Andy Reid are still here, there's plenty of production to go around.
Dak Prescott QB
DAL Dallas • #4
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Dak Prescott is printing money right now. While negotiations on a new contract have reportedly hit a snag, Prescott is showing the Cowboys exactly how much he's worth, with seven touchdowns, 674 passing yards, and 81 rushing yards through two games. He has the best weapons and best coaching he's ever had, and unsurprisingly, we're seeing the best of Prescott we ever have. You're not benching him in Week 3 — he's got that Dolphins' multiplier coming up.
Aaron Jones RB
GB Green Bay • #33
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
The schedule did not look to be Jones' friend coming into the season, and he predictably struggled in Week 1 against the Bears. The Vikings didn't prove to be much of an impediment, however, as Jones torched them for 116 yards on a career-high 23 carries, adding four catches for 34 yards, and a rushing touchdown to boot. Jamaal Williams still has a role here, but Jones is finally in the situation we've been hoping for, and should be viewed as a must-start back moving forward.
WAS Washington • #17
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
It wasn't a fluke, McLaurin really is the No. 1 receiver for Washington. He followed up his big debut with five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown on a team-high nine targets, and now has 10 catches for 187 yards and a pair of scores. He's not just a big-play guy.
DEN Denver • #10
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Coming off an Achilles tear with a new quarterback, expectations were low for Sanders. Through two games, he has 16 catches for 184 yards and a pair of scores. That Sanders is even back on the field is a minor miracle. That he's been this good is almost unfathomable, but there's no denying his role, or the juice he still has left.
Chris Carson RB
SEA Seattle • #32
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
I was tempted to not include Carson, if only because the Seahawks didn't exactly punish him after his two fumbles — he was still out there late in the game to help seal the win. But that's now two lost fumbles in as many games for Carson, and with Rashaad Penny rushing for 62 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries Sunday, it was just a reminder that Carson has some competition and may not be able to afford too many more mistakes.
LeSean McCoy RB
KC Kansas City • #25
Age: 31 • Experience: 11 year
It's not just the wildly underwhelming performance, though after McCoy looked spry in rushing for 81 yards on 10 carries in Week 1, this was humbling for those in the Fantasy community who bought into McCoy with the Chiefs. The bigger issue is that McCoy just really didn't see a much bigger role in his second week in the offense. The Chiefs led by 18 for the entire second half, and he had just 11 carries, with four coming on the final drive — after Damien Williams exited with a knee injury. If Williams' injury does keep him sidelined, McCoy would figure to get more work in Week 3, but there's no reason to think he'll get anything like a workhorse role, as Darrel Williams was getting playing time late.
Josh Gordon WR
NE New England • #10
Age: 28 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Well, there's someone who didn't get the Dolphins' bump. Despite having less than a week with the team — and with a cloud hanging over his head — Antonio Brown led the Patriots with eight targets in his debut. Gordon, meanwhile, had just five. That was actually second on the team, but it represented just a 17.9% target share. The Patriots are going to spread the ball around, and if Brown is going to get No. 1 WR work, it might be tough for Gordon to be much more than a low-end starting option for however long Brown is around.
JAC Jacksonville • #12
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Part of the appeal for Westbrook was that he figured to be the Jaguars' No. 1 option without much competition, but that just hasn't been the case. Nick Foles' injury is obviously a complicating factor, but given that Foles is likely out until Week 10 or later, Westbrook's role may continue to be limited until then. With both D.J. Chark and Chris Conley outperforming him through two weeks, Westbrook isn't someone you can consider starting until he shows a better rapport with Gardner Minshew.
Duke Johnson RB
HOU Houston • #25
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Carlos Hyde is getting significant work in Houston, after watching them continue to feed Lamar Miller in recent years. What has been surprising is just how effective he has been, rushing for 173 yards on 30 carries through two games. Johnson's role was reduced to that of a backup running back Sunday, and while that may not be the case every week, it looks like he might be a situational back. That's a tough break for those of us who were hoping Johnson could be a No. 2 RB after Miller's injury.
Dante Pettis WR
SF San Francisco • #18
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
The good news is, after playing just two snaps in Week 1, Pettis was all the way up to 35 Sunday. The bad news is, that's still much less than a full-time role, and Pettis wasn't even targeted this week. It was mostly bad news, in other words. Maybe his role will continue to increase as the weeks move along, but right now, Pettis is waiver-wire fodder if you want to go add Robinson.
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