Stars of Week 2
QB: Patrick Mahomes, KC 30-44, 443 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
RB: Dalvin Cook, MIN 20 carries, 154 yards, 1 TD
WR: Demarcus Robinson, KC 6 catches, 172 yards, 2 TDs
TE: Mark Andrews, BAL 8 catches, 112 yards, 1 TD
For the next several years, the NFL world will be living in Patrick Mahomes’ fiefdom. He’s the best QB in the NFL, and will find his way atop the honor roll several times this year. Mahomes had absolutely no trouble against the Raiders. Minnesota Viking Dalvin Cook has crashed the top RB party this year, showing what he can do if he’s healthy. If Cook keeps up this level of performance, he’ll be an easy top 5 pick next year. No better example of a rising tide lifting all boats than Mahomes with his Chiefs’ wide receivers. Case in point, Demarcus Robinson entered week 2 with 0 percent ownership in leagues, and that number will skyrocket this week – that’s what 172 yards and 2 TDs will do. We’ll take a closer look at Robinson below. We wrap up here with Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, who has established himself as Lamar Jackson’s top target. Andrews was the tight end I highlighted in the draft guide, and he has become a weekly start. He’s the real deal.
Week 2 Takeaways – A Closer Look
Each week we’ll take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.
Cam Newton, QB - CAR 25-51, 333 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
Analysis: As we take a deep dive into the weekly NFL performances, we have to review both the good and the bad. Hate to start the analysis with a negative tone, but Cam Newton leaves us no choice after two weeks of distinctly subpar performance. After two weeks, Newton has yet to throw a TD, and just from watching him, he doesn’t look healthy. His passes don’t have much zip and are often falling well short of his targets. Also very importantly, Newton has -5 yards rushing in two games. The problem here is that Newton’s fantasy value is tied heavily to his rushing game, as he’s not a good pocket passer. If teams don’t have to worry about his rushing, then the extra focus they turn to stopping the passing game will severely limit Newton’s passing stats. There are valid questions as to whether or not the Panthers’ QB’s best days are behind him. Newton is not startable at this point, and should be benched in deeper leagues. In smaller leagues (10 teams or fewer), you can drop him if you need the roster space.
Matt Breida, RB – SF 12 carries, 121 yards, 0 TDs
Raheem Mostert, RB – SF 13 carries, 83 yards, 0 TDs
Jeff Wilson, RB – SF 10 carries, 34 yards, 2 TDs
Analysis: With opening day starting RB Tevin Coleman out for an extended period, let’s do a deeper dive on the 49ers’ RB situation. The team had three notable RB performances, with a relatively close distribution of carries among Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. You should fully expect the time share arrangement to continue, as Shanahan has favored usage of multiple backs in his offenses. Among this trio, Matt Breida has the most value, and he’ll be an RB2/flex dependent upon matchup. Mostert falls into the situational flex category based on matchup, while Wilson is more of a play for very deep leagues (14 plus teams). Wilson did score two rushing TDs, though, so he could be carving out a role as the goal line back. That remains to be seen, but each of the 49ers’ RBs has some value, dependent upon your league specifics.
Demarcus Robinson, WR – KC 6 catches, 172 yards, 2 TDs
Analysis: At this point, if you’re a wide receiver on the Kansas City Chiefs and you have a pulse, you’ve got fantasy value. No Tyreek Hill, no problem. Robinson was a 2016 4thround pick for the Chiefs, and he had 500 receiving yards in his career entering the game against the Raiders. Well, add 172 yards to that total to go along with 2 more TDs, bumping Robinson up to 6 career end zone trips. Like other Chiefs’ WRs, Robinson is incredibly fast, which sets him up well to be on the receiving end of Mahomes’ bombs. Entering the starting lineup in place of Hill, Robinson will continue to have plenty of opportunities to make plays and help fantasy teams. Mahomes targeted Robinson seven times, which is a reasonable distribution to expect going forward as long as Hill remains out. Robinson is the top short-term WR add this week, as he will lose some value when Hill returns.
Terry McLaurin, WR – WAS 5 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: The Redskins are clearly in a rebuilding season, and that means a rough year continues to remain ahead. While the team is far from contention, there are a few bright spots. Through two games, 2019 third round pick Terry McLaurin has 187 yards and 2 TD catches over 10 receptions. QB Case Keenum targeted McLaurin a team leading 9 times against the Cowboys, and there’s a clear path to McLaurin continuing as the team’s number one option. While QB Case Keenum will likely cede the starting QB gig at some point in the season to first round pick Dwayne Haskins, that’s far from bad news – as Haskins and McLaurin were teammates at Ohio State. McLaurin will continue to get targets, and will continue to produce. Throw in the fact that the Redskins will likely be trailing in most games, that leads to a path to solid weekly production. McLaurin is the top long term WR add for the week.
OJ Howard, TE – TB 0 catches, 0 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: OJ Howard sat in the second tier of tight ends in fantasy drafts, joining Evan Engram and Hunter Henry, just below the Kelce-Ertz-Kittle troika. With offensive mastermind Bruce Arians becoming the Bucs’ new head coach, the rising tide was expected to lift all boats. Unfortunately, the results have been middling at best over the first two games. Jameis Winston has looked like, well, Jameis Winston. While draft favorite receiver Chris Godwin has indeed been a stud, the incumbent stud receiver Mike Evans has been rather quiet. While a quiet start is concerning for Evans, it comes nowhere near the code red level of alert with the Bucs’ star tight end, OJ Howard. When asked about Howard’s performance against the Panthers, Bruce Arians noted that Howard “can play a heck of a lot better”. Yikes! Howard had four catches for 32 yards in week 1, to go along with a null stat line in week 2. So what’s the outlook here? Howard is too talented to fall into the toilet completely, but he should be benched until he wakes up from his funk. Don’t drop Howard, but find another TE to fill in for the immediate future.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been referenced above, and 2) a player available in more than 50% of leagues.
QB: Josh Allen, BUF
RB: Jaylen Samuels, PIT (keep an eye on James Connor’s health)
RB: Frank Gore, BUF
WR: Mecole Hardman, KC (another Chiefs’ WR with a pulse)
WR: Nelson Agholor, PHI
TE: Vernon Davis, WAS