Tue Sep 21st 2021
2021 Week Two Review
The NFL's week-two Sunday got off to a really slow start with noncompetitive games and few fantasy points scored, but the afternoon games delivered great entertainment and fantasy goodness. The nightcap game between Kansas City and Baltimore was an instant classic. What a weekend!
I had a tough week, personally. My teams finished 5-5 this week. But like I always say, win or lose, it's a joy to watch football all weekend and cheer on all of my dynasty teams.
After following all of the games this week, here are a few of my thoughts on players and situations and their impact on our dynasty teams.
Ten Observations From Week Two
Quarterback Injuries Impact Games
- I already mentioned that the early games got off to a slow start. There were very few fantasy points scored in the early games — one reason is that so many quarterbacks left the early games with injuries. Tyrod Taylor pulled a hamstring on an excellent run for a touchdown. Rookie, Davis Mills, entered the game and had difficulty moving the offense before connecting on a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks late in the game. Carson Wentz injured his ankle and gave way to Jacob Eason, who quickly threw an interception on his second play. Wentz came back into the game but tried to do too much and could not lead his team to a comeback win. Tua Tagovailoa hurt his ribs when he took a nasty blindside sack, and the Bills shut out Jacoby Brissett and the Dolphins. Andy Dalton hurt his knee on a scramble early in the game, and the Chicago fans got what they wanted to see - Justin Fields. Fields didn't do much in his first NFL game but got the win thanks to Joe Burrow's three interceptions. Four out of the nine early games had backup quarterbacks playing, which resulted in poor fantasy weeks for players on their teams. As of Monday, it's unclear if the starters will be healthy enough to play next week or in the coming weeks, but startable players like Allen Robinson, David Montgomery, Jonathan Taylor, Brandin Cooks, Jalen Waddle, Devante Parker, and Myles Gaskin are questionable starts if backup quarterbacks lead their teams. Dynasty managers will have to make some tough calls this week and in the coming weeks. I hate when starting quarterbacks get injured.
Sterling Shepard Consistency
- I'm going back to Thursday night's game just to remind people how consistent Shepard is as long as he is healthy. Shepard is the perfect WR-4 or last flex position kind of player in PPR leagues. When healthy, he's the number one target of Daniel Jones. Kenny Golladay's presence is not making the difference that I thought it would. Shepard just does all of the little things well and gets peppered with targets underneath coverages. He has 16 catches on 19 targets over the first two games of the season while playing against two of the top defenses in the league. Next week the Giants play Atlanta at home, which has been torn up two games in a row by Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. As long as Shepard is healthy, start him and collect a guaranteed 10-15 fantasy points. I traded for him in three leagues last year, and he's been in my lineups every week.
Courtland Sutton And The Denver Offense Is Improved
- Sutton put to rest any doubters that thought he would have to ease his way back into starting dynasty lineups after recovering from his surgery. In week one, he only had one catch, but he exploded on the scene in week two with nine catches for 159 yards. Tim Patrick and Noah Fant got the red zone touchdowns, but Sutton hogged the target share and air yards. The Denver offense is humming under Bridgewater's leadership, and the Broncos are 2 and 0 going into their week three game against the hapless Jets. In a one-quarterback league, I started Bridgewater over Tua Tagovailoa, Daniel Jones, and Jameis Winston. Admittedly, that's a pretty weak quarterback room, but on weeks where the matchups are in my favor, Bridgewater will start for me in that league. The Broncos' running back usage is frustrating from a fantasy perspective, as Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams are splitting snaps almost 50/50. It was clear this Sunday that Melvin Gordon is the back they prefer in the passing game, so he's a flex-worthy player ahead of Williams for the time being, while Williams has far greater dynasty value. The Broncos have one of the best defenses in the league, too, giving their offense a higher volume of plays than most teams.
James White Is PPR Magic Again
- James White used to be a sneaky start in PPR leagues when Tom Brady was his quarterback. He even had a top-twelve fantasy season one year. When Brady left, and New England signed Cam Newton, White's dynasty value plummeted. I thought it plummeted permanently, but now with Mac Jones at quarterback, his dynasty value is on the rise again. White has had six receptions in each of his two games with Jones. He's second on the team in targets, just behind Jacobi Meyers and ahead of Jonnu Smith. Damien Harris only has seven more snaps than White after two games. White is going to play a lot, and his role on passing downs is set in stone. This week they left him in the game on the goal line two, where he scored a red zone touchdown. I love having a guy like White in my RB-2 slot or flex position in PPR leagues and am eager to get him my lineups this week ahead of some wide receivers who are not likely to have the six-reception floor of James White.
Mike Williams Looks Different This Year
- Mike Williams had a great game on Sunday. He out-targeted Keenan Allen 10 to 8 and was the first read on several pass plays, including his 12-yard touchdown. He's been featured in the offense the last two weeks, getting 12 and 10 targets weeks one and two. He scored 18.2 and 18.6 fantasy points in back-to-back weeks. That's pretty darn consistent, and for the time being, more points than Keenan Allen. This week he even ran more routes than Allen. Williams needs to be in starting lineups every week now. Williams has never lived up to his first-round draft capital and has struggled with injuries. I anticipated that Josh Palmer would slowly work his way into the rotation this year and be groomed to replace Williams since his contract is up at the end of the season. I now believe I am wrong. If Williams can stay healthy this season, the Chargers should give him a new contract. He's looked that good to me. Sadly, I don't have a single share of Williams, but I will look for one this week.
Hard To Watch One Of My Favorite Players
- It looks like the Browns are committed to keeping Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt healthy by splitting their touches in half, and as a fan of Chubb, this really upsets me. Chubb is my favorite running back in the NFL to watch, so this annoys me as a football fan, not just as a dynasty manager. Because I love to watch him, Chubb is also one of my most rostered players. Unfortunately, this season he looks bound to 12-15 touches a game. He only had 11 carries on Sunday. I'm confident he'll score a touchdown every week, as he already has, but that's not what I need on my fantasy teams. I need a workhorse back with his speed and power to carry the ball 20 times a game and score two touchdowns in games to help my dynasty teams win. Sadly, Chubb is more of a safe floor player and has lost his high ceiling upside. Cleveland is ruining my Sundays in real life and dynasty.
Minnesota's Offense Is Different
- The Vikings have been running eleven personnel on almost every play, and K.J. Osbourne is a permanent piece of their offensive puzzle. He scored on an early 64-yard touchdown in the game this week and had six targets this week after getting nine looks last week. As I wrote last week, he's an excellent player to roster if Justin Jefferson or Adam Thielen get injured this season. Kirk Cousins is annually disrespected in fantasy football, but he finishes in or near the top twelve every season. This year, as the Vikings open up their offense more, he's going to do it again. He's a very reliable quarterback with one of the best wide receiver tandems in the league and a running back that defenses have to account for. Thielen continues to produce fantasy points with efficiency in the red zone with three touchdowns on the season already. Minnesota's defense has played pitifully to start the season to boot, so Cousins and company have been in some shootouts, which could continue. Dynasty managers already start Cook, Thielen, and Jefferson every week, but they should consider giving Cousins a nod too. I'm 2-0 in the one-quarterback league where I have started him the last two weeks.
Tony Pollard Is A Factor
- Pollard outscored Ezekiel Elliot for the second week in a row. Both had good fantasy games, but Pollard's was better. Last week Dallas focused on the passing game against the stout Tampa Bay defensive line, so I thought Pollard was involved more just because of his role in the passing game. This week, however, Dallas focused on the running game, and Pollard was just as involved. He ran more routes than Zeke and was featured many times on the plays when he was in the game. If dynasty managers have not done so yet, it's time to put Pollard in starting lineups. Unfortunately for Zeke managers, he's not going to get the volume he's had in years past. Pollard is a permanent new addition to the offense, which is good for the Cowboys but bad for Zeke in fantasy.
Derek Carr Is A Reliable Starter
- Don't look now, but one of the quarterbacks that's the most fun to ridicule and most sensitive to it is proving us wrong, at least in the first two games of the season. After throwing a game-winning catch late in overtime Monday night, I thought for sure that Carr and the Raiders would fall apart after traveling from coast to coast on a short week. I was wrong on that front. Carr dropped two dimes for touchdowns - one deep pass to Henry Ruggs and one red zone shot to Foster Moreau. What's most impressive is the 817 yards combined he's had passing the last two weeks. This week it wasn't only Darren Waller who had all the targets. He spread the ball around to eleven players, giving Henry Ruggs and Hunter Renfro as many targets (7) as Waller. Two weeks does not make a trend, but if Carr strings a few more like this together, his dynasty value could rise as high as it's been since he finished his promising rookie season.
Baltimore Running Backs Untrustworthy
- Baltimore won the exciting Sunday night game on the back of Lamar Jackson and their running game. The only problem for dynasty managers is that the backfield is muddier than ever. Ty'Son Williams got the most snaps (37), but Latavius Murray (27 snaps) got the short-yardage and goalline looks and scored a touchdown. Devonta Freeman had his first two carries with the team, including one 31-yard burst, though he only had ten snaps. It looks like Lamar Jackson is once again the best runner on their team. He led the team in carries with 16, touchdowns with 2, and a game-sealing run with 1. It's fun to watch as an NFL fan but hard to watch as a dynasty manager. I did not get any shares of Ty'Son Williams after the Baltimore running back injuries, but I have a few shares of Latavius Murray. I would only feel comfortable starting either of them in a pinch.
Week One Waiver Wire
As a reminder, I play in 27 to 30-man roster leagues, so the players I list here are for deep leagues only. If you play in shallower leagues, there are certainly better players than these to pick up off the waiver wire, but if you're in deep dynasty leagues, these are the players I would make bids on this week. I list them in the order that I would prioritize them.
It's a pretty bad week this week.
- I wrote about Osbourne above and included him on the waiver list last week, but I'll mention him again here since he is still available in several of my leagues. I'd rather have him in his second year in the NFL than an older wide receiver like DeSean Jackson that clearly is not getting the role we hoped for on his new team. He's played well the last two weeks and should be rostered in 100% of leagues after this week.
- Doyle had five catches for 64 yards on Sunday. More importantly, he had almost double the snaps of Mo Alie-Cox and eight targets compared to Cox's two. Wentz checked down to running backs many times in game one, and in game two, he checked down to Doyle a lot. Parris Campbell did not play Sunday, which may be a significant reason why Doyle got more looks. Still, he appears to be the starting tight end for the Colts and has the eye of Wentz more than Cox. If I had a top-tier tight end, I would not make a bid on him, but if I had a roster where I streamed the tight end position, I'd make him a priority this week.
- Arizona is not running as much ten personnel as I expected. Williams has had plenty of tight-end snaps with 55 in week one and 45 in week two. It's just one week, but this week he received seven targets and caught all seven for 94 yards, even though his best catch was a ricochet and not intended for him. There are too many weapons in Arizona to think he could become a significant part of the offense, but he was second in targets and yards this week. I would only add him to my roster in tight-end premium leagues or leagues with very deep rosters.
Week Two Trades
Trades are hard to grade in a vacuum since scoring systems are different in each league, and every team has a diverse roster construction. That's why I write about trades made in my leagues and give context for why the dynasty owners made the trades. I grade the trade, but in the context of what each team was attempting to accomplish with the trade.
Here are my thoughts on trades that took place in my leagues this week. I hope these trades give you an idea of how other active owners value these players and future picks.
It's early in the season, so there were only two trades in my leagues last week.
Kellen Mond, Kenyan Drake, Michael Carter, and a 2022 1st round pick <=====> Trey Lance, Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and a 2022 2nd round pick
- This big trade was made in a one-quarterback league between a team trying to rebuild and a win-now team. It is a pretty fair trade, in my opinion. Trey Lance is the best player in the trade, but the team that gave him up already had Trevor Lawrence on his team, making him more willing to part with Lance in a one-quarterback league. He was able to stash another rookie quarterback in Mond, get younger at running back with Michael Carter, and pick up another first-round pick for his rebuilding team. The win-now team has to stud running backs with Dalvin Cook and Antonio Gibson but lost depth after Raheem Mostert got injured and Trey Sermon possibly lost his backup role. He secured a nebulous backfield should he need to put a Bills running back in his lineup and now has the upside of long-term quarterback in Lance behind his starter, Matt Stafford. It's a fair trade, but I think I like the Lance side of the trade better, especially since I don't believe Carter can be an every-down player in the NFL, and Mond is an overrated prospect. That first-round pick next year will be delayed gratification, though, and Trevor Lawrence will get better after taking his lumps his year.
Kenyan Drake <=====> 2022 2nd round pick
- I didn't mention Drake in the above trade because the rebuilding team that acquired Drake immediately flipped him for another 2022 second pick. Essentially, he got back the second-round pick he gave up in the above trade. He now has two first-round picks and three second-round picks in 2022. I think I like his side of the trade here. I don't imagine Drake playing in my starting lineup this year, even if Josh Jacobs is injured, which I'm sure is why this trade happened this week. This is hindsight, but the Raiders gave more carries to Peyton Barber this week than they did Drake. They don't believe Drake is the direct backup to Jacobs but see him only in the passing game role.
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