Fade the Thursday game they said. It will give you an edge they said. The game will be low scoring they said. Ask fantasy owners of Matt Forte, Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall and Tyrod Taylor if they wish they had faded the week two Thursday night victory over the Jets 37-31. Even owners bold enough to start Quincy Enunwa profited. Sammy Watkins rewarded those (me) bold (dumb) enough to start him with two catches for 20 yards. It will be fine. This is fine. The 37-31 victory for the Jets wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicates. New York was far superior on both sides of the ball. In the aftermath of 0-2, Rex Ryan was forced to fire OC Greg Roman. It wasn’t the offenses fault the Bills lost this game but I guess there is zero chance Rex was going to fire his brother.
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Have you guys seen this #FakeBrady ridiculousness? Last week in Arizona someone showed up to the tailgates in a Tom Brady mask. This week he was back at it in Foxboro. The man behind it all? Former Patriot receiver Wes Welker. Gotta love guys like this who know how to have a little fun. As for the actual game this week, The Patriots dominated the first half, getting out to a 21-0 lead on the arm of Jimmy Garoppolo. Jimmy G started with 234 yards and three touchdown passes before going down with a shoulder injury in the second quarter. Enter Jacoby Brissett. Third-string rookie quarterback? No problem. Brissett led the Patriots on a scoring drive to start the third quarter as the team leaned heavily on LeGarrette Blount. He finished with 123 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries as the Patriots held on to the lead and got the victory 31-24.
It was a tale of two halves for the Dolphins. The offense couldn’t get anything going until the end of the second quarter when they put three points on the board. I thought Arian Foster would be a great three week fill in for Le’Veon Bell owners, but it appears he couldn’t even make it through one and a half games. Foster left the game in the second quarter with another soft tissue injury, this time it’s his groin. Ryan Tannehill was on fire to start the second half, completing 20 of his first 21 attempts. He led the team in rushing with 35 yards and threw touchdowns to Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron. Jarvis Landry had a very Landry-like ten catches for 137 yards. It was a nice season debut for DeVante Parker, who tied Landry with 13 targets, catching eight of them for 106 yards. Even Kenyan Drake got in on the fun with a seven-yard touchdown run. In the end, it just wasn’t quite enough to get the win.
Alex Smith and Spencer Ware put up some fantasy goodness at home against San Diego in week one. Week two in Houston was quite a different story as Smith was under pressure all day and sacked four times. He managed just 187 yards and zero touchdowns. The cherry on top? Two lost fumbles. Ware’s week two was a bit of a letdown as well. He did manage 105 yards combined rushing and receiving but he didn’t get into the end zone and lost a fumble. If you play in leagues with kickers, the best Chiefs play of the day was kicker Cairo Santos who was 4/4 and scored 15 fantasy points.
The Texans did enough offensively to win the game 19-12, but kicker Nick Novak was their leading scorer as well with 4/4 field goals and 13 fantasy points. DeAndre Hopkins caught the lone touchdown pass from Brock Osweiler. Rookie Will Fuller continues to impress. He dominated the Texans first drive, catching two passes for 70 yards including a 53-yard bomb to the three-yard line. Lamar Miller continues to get all the work he can handle. He follows up a 28 carry performance in week one with 25 carries for 83 yards and two receptions for 14 yards in week two. The touchdowns should come.
West coast teams traveling east often struggle with the early game and three hour time difference. The San Francisco 49ers were no different on Sunday when they fell to the Carolina Panthers 46-27. Carlos Hyde struggled to find much running room after a big game last Monday night. His day ended with just 34 yards on the ground, 18 through the air and a lost fumble. Blaine Gabbert played about as well as you can expect Blaine Gabbert to play against the Panthers. In fact, he brought the Niners within a score when he tossed a 75-yard touchdown to Vance McDonald in the fourth quarter. In the end, Cam Newton was just too much. He showed no ill effects from the pounding he took in week one, throwing for 353 yards and four touchdown passes. Kelvin Benjamin continues to be a thorn in the side of his dynasty deniers. He caught two of Cam’s four touchdowns and went over 100 yards receiving. Greg Olsen had a day on just one play when he took a short pass 78 yards for a touchdown – impressive athleticism from a tight end. Devin Funchess got on the scoreboard as well. Fozzy Whittaker rushed for 100 yards after Jonathan Stewart left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. Whittaker is likely to be a hot waiver wire option this week, especially for “zero running back” teams.
The vegas line for the New Orleans Saints at the New York Giants was one of the highest of the week but it didn’t live up to its billing. The Giants take this one 16-13. Drew Brees threw the only offensive touchdown for either team to Willie Snead in the fourth quarter. The Giants only touchdown came on a Will Lutz field goal attempt late in the second quarter. Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins came up the middle for the block and Janoris Jenkins picked it up for the 65-yard return touchdown. Coby Fleener continues to look lost and disappoint, catching just two of eight targets for 29 yards.
Bad news for Kirk Cousins and the Washington professional football team as they fall to 0-2 at home to open the season. Cousins had a decent fantasy day with 364 yards and a touchdown but he made a critical mistake in the fourth quarter when he threw a terrible interception in the end zone on third and goal from the six-yard line. He also overthrew Jamison Crowder on the first drive of the game on what should have been a 37-yard touchdown. Through two home games, Cousins has one touchdown against three interceptions. Maybe Washington thought Cousins might pull a Nick Foles when they declined to sign him long-term this off-season? The season is young, but that’s not the start Cousins or the team was looking for. At least Washington is protected from a long-term commitment.
Dak Prescott, on the other hand, earned more raves from Jerry Jones after his first NFL victory. The Owner / General Manager of the team mentioned him in the same breath as names like Troy Aikman and Tom Brady. The fourth round rookie even got Dez Bryant involved this week. After a disappointing one catch for eight yards in the opener, Bryant got loose for seven catches and 102 yards on 12 targets. Cole Beasley was heavily involved once again with five catches for 75 yards on six targets. Rookie phenom Ezekiel Elliot had another up and down game. He got into the end zone again with 21 carries for 83 yards to go with the touchdown, but also put the ball on the ground twice, losing one. It was Alfred Morris who sealed the game with a touchdown against his former team. I imagine that feels pretty good.
Antonio Brown’s fantasy owners weren’t happy about four catches for 39 yards, but that’s all he needed to do for the Steelers to get the win over the Bengals 24-16. This game was largely won on the back of DeAngelo Williams once again as he carried the ball a career-high 32 times for 94 yards and added four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown as a receiver. Williams’ success the first two weeks feels like great news for Le’Veon Bell when he returns to the field in a couple of weeks. Ben Roethlisberger was off the mark with two interceptions in the first half but settled down in the second, finishing with 259 yards and three touchdowns.
The Steelers defense did a great job of taking AJ Green out of the game after he exploded last week. It took Andy Dalton 31 completions on 54 attempts to reach his 366 yard, one touchdown day. Giovani Bernard was the only Bengal we really wanted anywhere near our fantasy lineups and he finished with nine catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.
It was a blast from the past when Andre Johnson caught a game-winning touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota on fourth down with 1:13 left on the clock. The second-year signal caller went back to his bread and butter by getting Delanie Walker involved this week. DeMarco Murray continues to look closer to the 2014 version than the 2015 imposter. He rushed 12 times for 89 yards and added seven receptions on seven targets for another 56. The Lions were actually in a position to get a final drive game-winning field goal for a second straight week, but Stafford threw an interception in the middle of the field with 18 seconds left in the game. Detroit had some injury woes in this game as well. Pass rusher extraordinaire Ziggy Ansah left with an ankle injury and didn’t return. Ameer Abdullah was off to a great start when he was knocked out with a foot injury suffered after a 24-yard run. Marvin Jones had another nice week with eight receptions on 11 targets for 118 yards.
Returning to the starter role, Josh McCown got the Browns offense off to a roaring start. He threw two touchdowns to rookie Corey Coleman and Isaiah Crowell broke off an 85-yard touchdown run to give the Browns a 20-0 lead in the first quarter. The Ravens blocked an extra point attempt, took it in for the two-point score, and didn’t look back as they proceeded to score the final 25 points of the game, winning 25-20. Joe Flacco had eyes for Dennis Pitta, connecting with him nine times for 102 yards. Mike Wallace follows up a 66-yard touchdown in week one with two more in week two. I know he is scoring, but on limited targets I still feel like I can’t trust him enough to start as more than a bye week / injury fill option. The running back situation in Baltimore isn’t any clearer either as Terrance West and Justin Forsett split things pretty much right down the middle, neither eclipsing four yards per carry. Once Kenneth Dixon is healthy he should be able to come in and take the starting job. Buck Allen is still nowhere to be seen.
If the Rams could play the Seahawks every week they might be a playoff team. After Sunday’s 9-3 win, Los Angeles has now beaten Seattle four out of the last five times the division rivals have faced off. As you can probably imagine by the score, there wasn’t much for fantasy in this one unless you still play with kickers. Todd Gurley is a downright scary start right now. For the second straight week, he failed to post double-digit fantasy points. Thomas Rawls would have been more productive if he had stayed in bed today. In his first game back as a starter, he ended the day with seven carries for negative seven yards. C’mon man. Christine Michael fared better with 60 yards on six carries, but potentially lost his team the game when he fumbled on the final drive of the game with 57 seconds left on the clock. Your guess at how this running game looks next week is as good as mine.
Jameis Winston threw four touchdowns in week one and followed that up with four interceptions in week two as the Cardinals tore another hole in the Buccaneers’ sail 40-7. Mike Evans caught the only touchdown pass for the Bucs but was extremely inefficient with only six receptions on 17 (!) targets. Doug Martin left the game on the first play of the second injury with an apparent hamstring injury. Charles Sims got the bulk of the carries after Martin’s exit but it was Jacquizz Rodgers who led the team in rushing with 29 yards on two carries. You know you’re having a bad day when Jacquizz Rodgers is your leading rusher. The Bucs managed to keep David Johnson in check on the ground with only 45 yards on 12 carries. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, Johnson is equally good as a receiver. He led Arizona with 98 yards receiving on three catches. Larry Fitzgerald added another touchdown. This offense seems like it’s all Johnson and Fitzgerald, but Chris Johnson actually got more carries (16 to 12) than Johnson and the only rushing touchdown of the game, though it came in garbage time so don’t be fooled.
No Keenan Allen? No problem for San Diego as they defeated Jacksonville 38-14. Philip Rivers filled the air with four touchdown passes, two to Travis Benjamin, and one each to Tyrell Williams and Antonio Gates. Melvin Gordon took over the running game with 120 total yards and a touchdown after Danny Woodhead was carted off the field with a knee injury in the first quarter. We won’t know the severity until he gets an MRI on Monday. The Jaguars are now 0-2 for the fourth time in the last five years. The offense looked out of sync all game and the defense had little success stopping the Chargers. Blake Bortles saved his fantasy day with two fourth quarter garbage time touchdown passes to players no one started on their fantasy team.
I’m officially concerned about the Oakland Raiders defense. Going into the season it was an impressive unit on paper. In back-to-back weeks, they have allowed 34 and 35 points to opposing offenses. Last week against the Saints in New Orleans it was forgivable, but to let the Falcons travel all the way across the country and drop 35 on you in your own house is downright disgraceful. They have now allowed more than 500 yards of offense in two straight games to open the season. Matt Ryan got lucky when Justin Hardy caught an eight-yard touchdown pass off a deflection for the go-ahead score. Devonta Freeman got the majority of the carries but strangely failed to register a single target as a receiver. The Raiders offense played well and was not the issue in the game. Amari Cooper had a 51-yard touchdown pass overturned when it was ruled that he voluntarily stepped out of bounds before making the catch or his owners would have been more than happy with the performance.
I recommended starting Andrew Luck over players like Joe Flacco to multiple people today and for that, I apologize. Luck was harassed all game long and at one point was either hurried, hit, or sacked on 11 out of 15 drop backs. As an owner in one league, I’m just glad he survived the 34-20 loss to the Denver Broncos. None of the Colts pass catchers did anything noteworthy today but at least Luck was able to get his owners one touchdown on the day which was caught by Frank Gore late. Trevor Siemian has now defeated Cam Newton and Andrew Luck in back-to-back weeks. Let that set in for a minute.
Speaking of letdown games by elite quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers let down Packer fans and fantasy owners everywhere after fumbling on what could have been a game-winning scoring drive in the fourth quarter of a 17-14 loss on Sunday night. Jordy Nelson managed to get in the end zone for the second straight week but this is nowhere near the Packers offense of old. Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs put on a show. Diggs caught nine passes for 182 yards and a touchdown pass in the first game in Minnesota’s new stadium and now leads the NFL in receiving yards. The beginning of a new era for the Vikings could mark the end of another. Adrian Peterson limped off the field with a knee injury and needed to be helped back to the locker room. Has the Jerick McKinnon era begun? We’ll have to wait for next week to find out, but the Vikings should be feeling pretty good at 2-0 after losing a starting quarterback and possibly a Hall of Fame running back.
That will do it for the week two report. See you next week!