Stars of Week 2

QB: Tua Tagovailoa, MIA: 36-50, 469 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs                       

RB: Aaron Jones, GB: 15 carries, 132 yards, 1 TD (3 catches, 38 yards, 1 TD)

WR: Tyreek Hill, MIA: 11 catches, 190 yards, 2 TDs

TE: Mark Andrews, BAL: 9 catches, 104 yards, 1 TD

The often maligned Tua Tagovailoa takes the top honors at QB this week. He led the Dolphins on a historic comeback to beat the Ravens, throwing for six TDs and close to 500 yards in the process. We’ll take a closer look at Tua below.

Aaron Rodgers says that he owns the Chicago Bears, which is hard to dispute. But Aaron Jones appears to be a co-owner. Jones gashed the Bears for 170 total yards and two TDs in a comfortable 27-10 victory. Jones plays a key role in both the rushing and passing game for the Packers, which makes him a must start in all formats.

If Tua’s tossing six TDs, then someone’s gotta be on the receiving end. Tyreek Hill beat out teammate Jaylen Waddle for top receiving honors this week with his 190 yards and two TDs. Waddle matched Hill’s receptions and TDs, but only had 171 yards. Hill remains a weekly WR1 must-start.

Tight end Mark Andrews makes up the third participant from the Dolphins – Ravens matchup to make it into the honor roll. Andrews crossed the century mark in yardage and scored a TD, but he’d likely trade those stats for the W.

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.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB - MIA: 36-50, 469 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs

Analysis: No quarterback came into a hotter chair in 2022 than the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa. The third year Alabama product will always be compared to supernova Justin Herbert, since they were selected back -to-back in the 2020 draft. That comparison has never been fair, as Tua doesn’t need to perform to Herbert’s standard in order to be a successful NFL QB. That being said, Tua bested even Herbert in Week 2, throwing for 469 yards and 6 TDs in the mad comeback win versus the Ravens. Accuracy has always been a staple for Tua, and while he doesn’t possess Herbert’s arm talent, Tua can throw the ball deep better than credited. Tua’s third year leap can be traced to improved confidence, the addition of Tyreek Hill to the receiving corps and an more QB friendly offense brought in by new head coach Mike McDaniel. So Tua’s improvement has staying power. As for his fantasy prospects, remember that QB remains an incredibly deep position. As such, Tua should be viewed as a high end QB2, with upside for more based on matchups. Positional depth rather than merit keeps Tua from being a weekly starter.

James Robinson, RB – JAC: 23 carries, 64 yards, 1 TD (2 catches, 14 yards, 0 TDs)

Travis Etienne, RB – JAC: 9 carries, 20 yards, 0 TDs (3 catches, 33 yards, 0 TDs)

Analysis: We have several backfields to sort through in the early weeks, with a look first at Jacksonville’s rushers on tap for this week. Travis Etienne, who played with QB Trevor Lawrence at Clemson, was looked at as the more desirable RB to own when fantasy drafts were happening in August. But as we often see, projections don’t always reflect reality. James Robinson, the incumbent bell cow for the Jaguars, has retained his role as the lead rusher this season, having outcarried Etienne 23 to 9 in week 2, to go along with 11 to 4 in week 1. The results match the film, as Robinson has been the better rusher. He’s a more decisive, hard nosed runner. What has held to form, however, is Etienne’s role as the lead RB on passing downs. Looking at the snap count in week 2 versus the Colts, Robinson played on 45 snaps versus 26 for Etienne. This makes sense, given that the Jaguars led the whole game (i.e. rush friendly game script). The value of each player will follow with the game script, i.e. Etienne’s value will bump up in games where the Jaguars will need to throw. Both RBs should be viewed as flex options, as neither player gets enough touches to vault into RB2 territory. Expect the current usage to hold through the season. Great news for those of you who selected Robinson late in your drafts, while not the news Etienne’s owners want to hear.

Dameon Pierce, RB – HOU: 15 carries, 69 yards, 0 TDs 

Analysis: Dameon Pierce rose fiercely up draft boards, as the reality shifted from Pierce having a shot to take over the Texans’ lead RB role midseason to Pierce starting the season as the guy. Week 1 caused heartburn for fantasy managers, as Pierce was outcarried by Rex Burkhead by a 14 to 11 margin. That led to Pierce largely sitting on fantasy benches in week 2, as he’s not expected to have a large role in the passing game. Well, the adage not to overreact to week 1 rings true, as Pierce outcarried Burkhead 15 to 0 in week 2 against the Broncos. Pierce also outsnapped Burkhead by a 39 to 22 margin, with the line of delineation clear – Pierce handled early downs and short yardage, while Burkhead headed in for third downs and hurry-up offense. Expect the week 2 breakdown to better present the Texans’ rushing plans moving forward as opposed to week 1. That said, you will also need to think through the likely game script when evaluating whether to start Pierce. For tough opponents in which the Texans are likely to fall behind, Pierce will be hard pressed to deliver starting value. You should target matchups where the Texans will likely make a game of it. And Pierce clearly has greater value in standard leagues (comfortable flex) as opposed to PPR (flex only in deeper leagues). The good news is that Pierce won’t be a wasted draft pick for his owners. That said, his upside remains limited since he has a minimal role in the passing game.

Garrett Wilson, WR – NYJ: 8 catches, 102 yards, 2 TDs

Analysis: At one point the Cleveland Browns had a 99.9% probability of victory versus the Jets, only for the improbable to happen. The player scoring the final TD to seal the deal on the comeback…rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson. The Ohio State product actually scored twice this past Sunday, hauling in 8 total passes for 102 yards in the process. Quietly the Jets have put together an exciting WR group, with veteran Corey Davis and second year player Elijah Moore also in the mix. There’s no denying Wilson’s talent, but will he have enough consistent opportunities to be a trustworthy starter in fantasy lineups? That’s the question we need to answer here. Looking at the snap count, Wilson (43 snaps) fell a bit short of Moore (66) and Davis (55). That said, Wilson had a whopping 14 targets from QB Joe Flacco, well ahead of Moore (5) and Davis (4). If the QB at the helm of this offense was Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, then the prospects of feeding Wilson and his WR mates consistently would feel less daunting. But Joe Flacco, or Zach Wilson when he returns? Less confidence here. Wilson’s dynasty value remains high, and he’s usable this year as a WR3 / flex in deep leagues (14+ teams). In smaller leagues, Wilson is certainly worth the stash, but don’t be expecting consistent weekly fantasy numbers quite yet. In non-deep leagues, proceed with caution in starting Wilson.

Drake London, WR – ATL: 8 catches, 86 yards, 1 TD

Analysis: A talented rookie WR crop entered the league this year, with noise being made by several from this group in the early weeks. We move from the promising Garrett Wilson to Atlanta’s new pass catching sensation, Drake London. The USC product has gotten off to a strong start thus far, with his numbers through two games sitting at 13 catches for 160 yards and a TD, having been targeted 19 times. London led the Falcons in receiving this past week against the Rams, getting roughly half of the team’s targets from QB Marcus Mariota (12 out of 25 total). Unlike Garrett Wilson above, London has a much cleaner path to consistent targets and production. From a pass catching standpoint, London and Kyle Pitts are pretty much it for the Falcons. In addition, the Falcons figure to be in a favorable game script for London in the majority of their games (i.e. needing to pass in order to stay in games). From a skill set standpoint, London figures to be a large volume, possession type receiver with his size and strong route running. As such, London will be particularly useful in PPR leagues, but don’t write him off in standard leagues either. London should be viewed as a WR3 / flex option, so in the small chance that he’s available in your league, make him your top WR waiver choice. Feel confident deploying London in your lineups in all but the toughest of matchups (i.e. Tampa Bay). 

* All snap count information is referenced through statistics provided by Pro Football Focus.

Rapid Fire Pickups

Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case a player 1) who has NOT been featured above, and 2) remains available in more than 50% of leagues.

QB: Jimmy Garappolo, SF (@ DEN)

RB: Raheem Mostert, MIA (@ BUF) * not great matchup, but Mostert needs to be owned

RB: JD McKissic, WAS (vs PHI)

WR: Isaiah McKenzie, BUF (vs MIA)

WR: Jahan Dotson, WAS (vs PHI)

TE: Hayden Hurst, CIN (@ NYJ)

Personal Note

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