Week 2 Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Antonio Brown is bad for Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon

We look to Week 2 for truth. To teach us which events from Week 1 actually meant something, and which things we can ignore. Instead we got all kinds of crazy. A star made his debut in New England and completely disrupted the target distribution. A backup in Jacksonville played like a wild card gunslinger. It didn't make a lot of sense. 

Two things that did continue from Week 1 were the the statistical struggles of a couple of studs we were all counting on. Does that mean we're supposed to give up on them? That's what we're here to decide with this week's Believe It or Not.

As long as Antonio Brown is active in New England it's bad news for Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon.

So I was wrong about Antonio Brown's role in Week 2 for the Patriots. I really didn't believe he'd come in and see a big workload immediately. He did just that, leading the team with eight targets and 56 receiving yards while scoring his first touchdown as a Patriot. Brown's 15.6 PPR Fantasy points were more than Edelman and Gordon combined.

That brings us to the thing I wasn't wrong about: There isn't room for three viable Fantasy receivers in New England. 

Verdict: Believe it.

It's been a long time since the Patriots focused a huge share of their targets on wide receivers. For several years, Rob Gronkowski made sure the tight ends got their fair share, and in 2018 it was the running backs who demanded more than a third of the total targets. While I do expect Brown's arrival to change that, in Week 2 we saw eight of Tom Brady's 28 passes go to running backs and tight ends. If we generously assume Brown, Edelman and Gordon get to share 60% of the targets it becomes quite clear there isn't enough to go around.

Brady averaged 35 attempts per game in 2018, and 60% of that total is 21 targets per game. Edelman averaged nine targets per game last year. Gordon averaged seven once he settled into the offense. There's no way Brown is going to be content with the five remaining targets. 

If Brown remains on the active roster for the remainder of the season it means a significant downgrade for both Edelman and Gordon.

George Kittle's regression means he's no longer a top three tight end.

I felt confident Kittle wasn't going to match his efficiency numbers from 2018. He simply had too many long plays for that to be repeatable. But through two weeks it looks even worse than I'd expected. Kittle has caught just 11 passes for 108 yards after a pair of matchups against the Buccaneers and Bengals. He also hasn't gotten into the end zone yet. 

The schedule won't get much better than the past two weeks so you can legitimately start considering options like Mark Andrews over Kittle on a weekly basis, right?

Verdict: Don't believe it. 

Kittle had 10 targets in Week 1 and had two touchdowns overturned by penalty. Are the three targets in Week 2 a concern? Sure, but he caught all three of them for 54 yards. That's about as efficient as you can get. The fact that Marquise Goodwin, Deebo Samuel and the running game stepped up in Week 2 is actually a good thing for Kittle's longterm prospects. He won't be as good as he was last year but he'll still be a top-three tight end rest of season. 

Gardner Minshew is going to make things difficult to Dede Westbrook and Leonard Fournette.

Okay, let's be clear: Minshew seems very cool. Definitely on my short list in terms of quarterbacks I want to have a beer with. But this is not the Nick Foles experience I signed up for. Minshew is more of a gunslinger who hangs on to the ball looking for the big play and then runs when he doesn't find it. It's a style I love to watch and I don't blame anyone who wants to cheer for it. But it's bad for Fournette and Westbrook and it's making me reevaluate them in Fantasy.

Verdict: Believe it.

Yes, they're still getting targets and Westbrook did catch a touchdown from Minshew in Week 1. No, I'm not cutting Westbrook yet or considering benching Fournette any time soon. But I am questioning whether Fournette still has the same top-five upside I thought he did, and I'm not starting Westbrook again unless I really have no better option. The beneficiaries of this new quarterback seem to be Chris Conley and D.J. Chark, but I don't really feel like I can trust either of them yet. 

Derrick Henry is a bona fide top-12 running back.

What more do you need to see? Henry has 252 total yards and three touchdowns through Week 2. He now has 858 total and 10 touchdowns in his last six games. I understand why you were hesitant to believe the final month of 2018, especially considering how bad he was the rest of the season. But it's pretty clear this new offense is rolling and Henry is the focal point.

Verdict: Don't believe it.

Not yet. I still don't trust it. I don't trust Henry's lack of involvement in the passing game, or that the passing game will be good enough to give him consistent red zone opportunities. To be a top-12 back with little work in the passing game on a mediocre offense you really have to be special. Henry has been for six weeks now; if he does it again against the Jaguars on Thursday night, I'll have no choice but to believe it. 

It's time to give up on Cam Newton as a starting Fantasy quarterback. 

As I'm sure you're well aware, Newton was my No. 1 quarterback last week. And in fairness, he did throw for 333 yards. The problem is it took him 51 attempts and he didn't throw a touchdown pass. The bigger problem is that Newton ran for negative yardage. If he's not a threat as a runner and he's not efficient as a passer there's no reason to trust Cam Newton as a starting Fantasy option.

Verdict: Don't believe it.

First off, we don't yet know the status of Drew Brees or Ben Roethlisberger. If both are out for Week 2, the quarterback position starts to look a little bit thinner. More importantly, Newton faces a Cardinals defense that has been gashed by both Matthew Stafford and Lamar Jackson to open the season. I'm giving him one more week as a starter before I start looking for a replacement. And to be clear, when I look for a replacement I'm still not talking about dropping Newton. We're a ways away from dropping a quarterback who has legit No. 1 upside.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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