Stars of Week 2
QB: Dak Prescott, DAL: 34-47, 450 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs (5 carries, 18 yards, 3 TDs)
RB: Aaron Jones, GB: 18 carries, 168 yards, 2 TDs (4 catches, 68 yards, 1 TD)
WR: Calvin Ridley, ATL: 7 catches, 109 yards, 2 TDs
TE: Tyler Higbee, LAR: 5 catches, 54 yards, 3 TDs
Week 2 brought about several exciting games, along with too many serious injuries. We’ll focus on the former in this section. While the top QB performance in Week 2 goes to Russell Wilson for his masterpiece against the Patriots, the top fantasy QB performance goes to Dak Prescott. The Cowboys QB led an improbable comeback against the tortured Atlanta Falcons franchise, throwing for 450 yards and a TD, while also rushing for three TDs. Prescott’s penchant for rushing TDs elevates him from the lower half of tier 1 QBs to the upper echelon, ranking just behind Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
From one established fantasy star to another, it was less than two seasons ago when the Twitter world needed to beg the Packers to #FreeAaronJones. Jones has become an easy RB1, serving as rushing stalwart while also contributing heavily to the passing game. Jones destroyed the Lions for more than 230 total yards, finding the end zone three times. His excellence will continue.
Don’t be surprised if Calvin Ridley, and not Julio Jones, becomes the first Falcons’ WR drafted next year in fantasy leagues. Ridley had breakout potential written all over him, and he has realized it to become a WR1. His two TDs against the Cowboys looked rather effortless, and between his incredible route running, great hands and place in a pass heavy offense, Ridley will be a top 10 WR going forward.
We wrap up the Week 2 honor roll with Rams’ TE Tyler Higbee, who has developed great chemistry with QB Jared Goff. While Woods and Kupp marched the team down the field, it was Higbee who capped the drives off with his TD catches. Higbee remains a mid level TE1 for the season.
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.
- Joshua Kelley, RB – LAC: 23 carries, 64 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: The Los Angeles Chargers have operated with a two RB offense over the last few years, with Melvin Gordon serving as the thunder to Austin Ekeler’s lightning. With Gordon now in Denver, Justin Jackson opened the season in the thunder spot, only to get hurt early in game 1. In came the team’s 2020 fourth round pick, Joshua Kelley, for his shot at glory. It’s not definitive, but after two games, it’s not looking likely that Jackson will reclaim his job. Kelley has rushed for 135 yards and a TD thus far, and has generally looked good. The UCLA alumnus runs with power, inviting contact and continuing to push forward. Kelley won’t break too many long runs to the house, but he’ll be a lead option when the Chargers are near the goal line. Ekeler remains the top RB to own on the Bolts, but barring a change in mind by coach Anthony Lynn, expect Kelley to keep the 1A RB chair and average somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 carries per game. This makes Kelley a solid flex option and a top waiver priority if you need an RB.
- James Robinson, RB – JAC: 16 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the 2020 season viewed by football pundits as an NFL wasteland. The assertion was not unfair, as the team had stripped itself of Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campbell and others over the past twelve months, with nary an appearance that the team had aspirations for winning anything other than the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. Well as the saying goes, that’s why you play the games. Only 1/8 of the regular season has transpired, but it’s safe to declare that the Jags won’t be the worst team in the league. Mustached general Gardner Minshew has solidified himself as a starting caliber NFL QB, and taking the place of overrated RB Leonard Fournette has been undrafted rookie James Robinson. The Illinois State product rushed for his first TD, while eclipsing the 100 yard mark with a 6.2 yard per carry average. Perhaps most importantly, Robinson dominated the carries’ tally for the Jags, with his 16 dwarfing the next highest number, 5 by swiss army knife Laviska Shenault. Robinson has locked down the starting RB job for Duvall, and he’s a low end RB2 going forward, adjustable higher and lower based on matchups. But in any event, he’s a weekly starter for your leagues.
- Russell Gage, WR – ATL: 6 catches, 46 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: The ascension of Falcons’ WR Calvin Ridley into a superstar has been highly visible, but he’s not the only Falcons’ WR whose arrow points upward. Quietly, slot WR Russell Gage has also put together a strong start to the year, with 15 catches for 160 yards and a TD over two games. QB Matt Ryan has targeted Gage a whopping 21 times over these first two games, showing that the early start is no fluke. Despite the several mouths to be fed in the passing game (Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst), there’s plenty of ball to go around with these Falcons, who feature a sharp passing attack, mediocre at-best ground game and a defense that can’t stop anyone. This means that the Falcons will mostly be in game scripts that require the passing game to be on full tilt. Gage should be viewed as a flex play in games where the Falcons face neutral to easy passing defense. So, while Gage should not be a weekly starter, he’ll be a flex play most weeks and should be rostered in all but the shallowest of leagues.
- AJ Green, WR – CIN: 3 catches, 29 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: The Cincinnati Bengals suffered through a lost season in 2019. The team went 2-14, and star WR AJ Green missed the whole year due to injury. All was not lost, however, as the Bengals earned the first pick in the 2020 draft, where they added future star QB Joe Burrow to the fold. So far Burrow looks the part, showing good accuracy and going through his receiver progressions especially well for a young QB. On the flip side, we have been witnessed an old AJ Green, rather than the AJ Green of old. Despite 13 targets from Burrow against the Browns, Green pulled in a measly three receptions for 29 yards. There were multiple balls which, while they catches would have been deemed contested, were throws which vintage Green would pull down. Setting the stats aside, Green just looked old out on the field. Green didn’t wow in game 1 of the season against the Chargers, either. Given what’s transpired, it’s time to downgrade Green to a flex option in favorable matchups and a WR4 in tougher ones. Tyler Boyd has taken over as the team’s number 1 WR. In case you have Green, see if you can get someone to take him off your hands based on his name. Otherwise he’s a declining asset, one that you will not be able to count on from week to week.
- Jonnu Smith, TE – TEN: 4 catches, 84 yards, 2 TDs
Analysis: I’ve long held to a philosophy that you should not pay for tight ends in fantasy football. Every single year, tight ends emerge from the shadows (so for fantasy football purposes, the late rounds and the waiver wire) to become solid weekly starters. Otherwise, except for the short list of truly elite tight ends – Kelce, Kittle, etc. – the difference between the fifth best tight end and the fifteenth is not all that much. Once you factor in draft capital used to select a mid-level tight end with a fifth to seventh round pick, then the benefit of waiting to draft your tight end becomes crystal clear. Now this is not a draft guide, so I digress. Tennessee tight end Jonnu Smith, with an ADP of 166 and drafted as the #22 tight end (per ESPN), helps prove my case. If you doubt my premise, take a look at Mike Gesicki, Hayden Hurst, Noah Fant, among others. In two weeks, Smith has found the end zone three times, with eight receptions over this time and 120 yards. Smith has athleticism for days, and has shown improvement as a route runner, now in his fourth season. Smith has taken over Delanie Walker’s role in the Titans’ offense, and his emergence this year is no fluke. Smith should be viewed as a low end TE1 going forward, and he’s a fine starter as we move forward in 2020.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been featured above, and 2) a player available in more than 50% of leagues.
QB: Gardner Minshew, JAC
RB: Darrell Henderson, LAR (a top pickup this week as well)
RB: Mike Davis, CAR (ditto, he’s the RB to own in CMAC’s absence)
WR: Preston Williams, MIA
WR: N’Keal Harry, NE
TE: Logan Thomas, WAS