Two games are in the books and trends are starting to emerge. Recognize
those trends quick enough and you can capitalize on them. Here’s
one; you can win your fantasy league with a quarterback that runs
(Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen) as well as with a tradition drop back
passer (Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady). Here’s another; the “Big
Three” tight ends have company.
“The truth only hurts when you want to believe a lie.”
- Jennifer McVey
1) It seems obvious, but stay away from wide receivers who are
catching balls from backup quarterbacks.
Michael Thomas and JuJu Smith-Schuster’s values take a
hit. Thomas was seeing 13 targets per game, but expect Sean Payton
to feature the running game, a.k.a. Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, and shorter, quick-release passes to his wideouts which
will take away from Thomas’ downfield explosiveness. JuJu
was already struggling, averaging eight targets and just 8.1 FPts/G
which ranked 43rd. On the other hand, both starting tight ends
on New Orleans, Jared Cook, and Pittsburgh, Vance McDonald, saw
an increase in targets to seven. While Cook didn’t do much
with his opportunities, McDonald scored twice. Remove Ted Ginn Jr., Tre’Quan Smith, Donte Moncreif, Ryan Switzer and James
Washington from any starting roles.
2) Patrick Mahomes is ranked third in QB fantasy points.
Fact. Despite his league-leading 821 passing yards and seven
touchdowns, his 34.6 FPts/G ranks just third behind Lamar Jackson
(35.2) and Dak Prescott (34.9). Fear not Mahomes owners, by the
end of the season Mahomes will assuredly be back on top. Jackson’s
numbers are inflated having just played the two worst defenses
in the league (Miami and Arizona) and Prescott’s opponents
weren’t much better (New York Giants and Washington).
3) There was still no better fantasy season for a quarterback
than Dan Marino’s in 1984.
Sorry to you young guys who never saw him throw a football, but
that’s the truth. While Mahomes’ 2018 was great as
was Peyton Manning in 2013 (5,477-55-10) and Tom Brady’s
season in 2007 (4,806-50-8), Marino’s season was so much
better than the rest of the quarterbacks that season, they pale
in comparison. Marino threw for 5,084 yards with 48 TDs and 17
interceptions. But that was before all the rules changes to make
passing easier. The next highest QB threw just 32 touchdowns and
the average for the top-20 was just under 21 touchdown passes
per season. Hall of Famers Joe Montana totaled (3,630-28-10),
John Elway (2,598-18-15), Warren Moon (3,338-12-14) and Dan Fouts
(3,740-19-17). The chart below shows just how good Marino and
his receivers performed.
% over Top-20
% over Top-20
4) It's time for Jameis Winston, Cam Newton (foot) and Mitchell Trubisky to step up.
If any of these three
don't produce top-level fantasy production in Week 3 it's time to
move on. All three face bottom-five defenses (based on QB fantasy
points allowed). Winston plays the Giants (31.1 FPts/allowed), Newton
sees the Cardinals (33.5) and Trubisky matches up against the Redskins
(30.3). All three quarterbacks rank below the top-25 in quarterback
production level this season. If they don't show up in Week 3, put
them on the block. Trade for better, or hopefully, you have another
option on your bench. Many fantasy owners have guys like Andy Dalton
(ranks 7th and 19% -owned in all Yahoo leagues) or Josh Allen (ranks
8th and 41%-owned) waiting for their turn to shine.
5) We all laughed when Le'Veon Bell said he was ready for "500 touches"
Through two games he's on pace for 432 touches, and now, without
both his starting quarterback Sam Darnold and his top backup Trevor Siemien, he should be in line for even more work. Bell leads all
runners with 54 touches (38 rushing attempts and 16 pass receptions
on an RB league-leading 19 targets). Two other interesting names
in this top-10 running back usage chart below are; Aaron Jones and
Chris Carson. Jones was a favorite for blowing up this season and
is getting the work needed to do just that. Carson caught just 20
balls on 24 targets in 14 games last season but and has nine catches
on 10 targets in two games in 2019. Now a part of the passing game,
Carson is ready to become a star too.
“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”
- Yevgeny Yevtushenko
1) Eli Manning is a Hall of Fame quarterback because he won
two Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVPs.
Not for the fantasy Hall of Fame. He is the very definition of
mediocrity with a 116-116 overall record. And for fantasy owners
he’s been less-than-mediocre having never finished a year
averaging more than 23.1 FPts/G (2011). His last four seasons,
he’s averaged less than 20 FPts/G and been irrelevant to
fantasy owners. Not that Daniel Jones should be expected to do
much in his first start with Sterling Shepard (injured) and Golden Tate (suspended) still on the sidelines. But if you have enough
slots on your roster, take a chance and stash him for later in
2) The Chargers’ 10-point output last week against Detroit proves
they need Melvin Gordon.
Melvin who? It’s not hard to see why the Los Angeles Chargers
aren’t in a hurry to bring Gordon back at Gordon’s
asking price. Through two games Austin Ekeler leads all backs
averaging 26.4 FPts/G in standard leagues and 32.4 FPts/G in PPR
leagues. Justin Jackson (15 touches) hasn’t been an issue
for Ekeler owners. Barring a losing streak, which is unlikely
given their next four games are Houston, Miami, Denver and Pittsburgh,
or injury to Ekeler, I wouldn’t expect to see Gordon as
a starter until Week 13 … the fantasy playoffs. He’ll
return in Week 10 so his contract year is fulfilled, but would
need to get in shape. Then with a bye week coming in Week 12,
there is no reason to rush him back when you can get him three
full weeks of practice and ready for an expected playoff run.
3) Fantasy tight ends are Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Zach
Ertz in Tier 1 … and everyone else.
Don’t look now, but Baltimore’s Mark Andrews is putting
forth a pretty good argument to include him in the top tier. Efficient,
catching 16 of 17 targets for 220 yards and two scores, he leads
all tight ends averaging 25 FPts/G in PPR leagues. He’s
cracked 100-yards in both games. Only Marquise Brown (18) has
seen more targets on the Ravens and no other Raven has more than
six targets. Lamar Jackson is for real, rookie “Hollywood”
Brown is for real and so is Andrews. (P.S. – Evan Engram
ranks second through two games (19.7 FPts/G), though his target
share should fall when Shepard and Tate return.)
4) Bengals wideout John Ross can now be trusted as a fantasy
It’s true that Ross is averaging 28.0 FPts/G, second only
to Sammy Watkins, but does anyone think Andy Dalton can keep throwing
at this pace? Dalton is currently second in passing yards (729)
and second in passing attempts (93). Dalton has never averaged
more than 36.6 passing attempts per game (2013) but is averaging
46.5 through two games. That will change when Joe Mixon is healthy
again. And Ross’ target share will shrink when A.J. Green
returns from his ankle injury (he’s out of the walking boot
and on a treadmill). Sell high!
5) Kyler Murray will be a passing/running quarterback much like
Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson.
False. Murray has actually run just six times in two games and
leads the league in passing attempts (94). Thirteen quarterbacks
have run more times than Murray and 15 have more rushing yards,
including such famous “cigar-store Indians” as Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan. Be wary, however, Murray is third in sacks
(8), playing behind OL that received a No. 30 preseason rank from
PFF and he’s not a big guy (5-foot-10, 207 lbs.). He’s
also completing just 57.4% of his passes which ranks 28th. But
at least he’s averaging more fantasy points than Baker Mayfield,
Cam Newton … and Aaron Rodgers!