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Tue Sep 20th 2022

Week Two Review

Dynasty Freeks were treated to another great week in the NFL, with games in every time slot coming down to the wire. Several players had game-winning fantasy days, to the joy of managers with them on their roster and the pain of those who did not. Even so, most of the games in my dynasty leagues come down to the Monday night games to determine the winners from the losers. It's going to be an exciting Monday night!

After following all the week two games on Thursday and Sunday, here are some of my observations from a dynasty perspective.

Week Two Observations

Tua's Enough

  • Tua Tagovailoa had the best game of his career in a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback win. He scored 44 fantasy points by throwing for six touchdowns and 469 yards. Two is enough because he fed Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to 37 and 35 fantasy points, respectively. Most of the fantasy goodness came in the 21-point fourth-quarter comeback, where fantasy managers saw their winning percentage radically change over 30-40 minutes. Mike McDaniel, the coach who looks like a college student, is 2-0 and has answered the question about whether his schemes could elevate the play of Tua and increase his dynasty value. Having two top-12 dynasty wide receivers to throw to only increases his chances. Under their new coach, the sky is the limit for the Dolphins this season.

Show Me The Money

  • Even though it came in a heartbreaking loss, Lamar Jackson said, "Show me the money!" He scored even more fantasy points than Tua with 46, including a 75-yard touchdown pass and a 79-yard touchdown run. Jackson is carrying the team on the ground and through the air because the running backs they brought in while awaiting J.K. Dobbins' and Gus Edwards' return are terrible. As expected, Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman are Jackson's top targets. Bateman caught the 75-yard touchdown on a perfectly thrown slant route where he outran everyone to the end zone. Last week he had a 55-yard touchdown on a deep ball. It's great to see him healthy this year and prove they won't miss Marquise Brown. Andrews scored what looked like a long touchdown, but it was overturned after review, and the ball places on the half-yard line. Thankfully, Andrews' managers were rewarded when Jackson went right back to Andrews on the next play and got the touchdown and fantasy points back. Baltimore lost more defensive backs to injury in the game, which played a big part in the Dolphins' ability to come back. If the Ravens' secondary remains hobbled and Dobbins and Edwards can't return, Jackson will continue to rack up fantasy points and secure a hefty new contract from the team.

Shiny New Things

  • The Jets have some shiny new toys, and Joe Flacco showed them off in a comeback win in Cleveland. Garrett Wilson saw his snap counts rise from 29% to 61% this week, and his snaps should continue to rise after this eight-catch, 102-yard, two-touchdown day. He received four more targets than all other Jet receivers combined, much to the chagrin of Elijah Moore's dynasty managers. Breece Hall scored more fantasy points in week two than he did in week two since he scored this week, but his snap counts decreased from 41% to 27%. He looked great, though, and averaged 7.1 yards per carry, but the Jets strangely added Ty Johnson to the running back rotation this week after only Hall and Michael Carter rotated last week. Hopefully, this is something the Jets' coaching staff will stop doing after watching how well Hall looked on film. Tyler Conklin is not a rookie, but he is a new addition to the team, and he's quietly shined the last two weeks too. He received 92% of the snaps in week one and 100% in week two and has been targeted 16 times over the previous two weeks, making him the 4th most targeted tight end in the league. Conklin is a sneaky player to try to acquire in a trade before managers realize how much he's being utilized. The new-look Jets will play from behind a lot this season as they have the last two weeks, giving their new offensive toys a lot of chances to shine and produce for fantasy rosters.

Good Bye To You

  • It's sad to do, but I think it's time to say goodbye to two players who once held such great promise on dynasty rosters. Kenny Golladay and DeVante Parker appear to be done. Golladay was basically benched this week by the Giants when he played only 3% of the snaps and did not receive a single target. Of all people, he's been replaced by career journeymen Richie James and David Sills. It's pathetic. The Giants' coaching staff doesn't care how much he's being paid or how he's played in the past. They're not letting him see the field. Parker is seeing the field more than Golladay, but he had only two targets in each game and only one catch this season. He was on the field for 100% of the plays last week and 76% this week. I'd imagine his snap counts will continue to drop. Apart from Randy Moss, the Patriots have never been able to make free agent wide receivers productive. I thought they would with Parker, but I was wrong. I've lost all hope for Golladay and am a week away from losing all hope for Parker.

Socialist Offenses

  • Ian Hartitz cracked me up this week by calling some offenses socialists, meaning they try to distribute the fantasy wealth evenly among the team. That's what stood out most to me watching the highly anticipated game on Thursday night between the Chargers and Chiefs. I'm very concerned about Austin Ekeler's timeshare. He saved his fantasy day on the last two drives by benefiting from a few receptions in the hurry-up offense, but before that, Joshua Kelley and Sony Michel were way too involved in the offense and on the goal line. Plus, Zander Horvath scored on a green-zone reception for the second time in two weeks. Ekeler has yet to score a touchdown this season after carrying fantasy teams while scoring 20 last season. I'm not a fan of this new development. The same is happening with the Chiefs' passing game. After looking like the clear WR-1 week one, Juju Smith-Schuster fell to the third in wide receiver targets. Marquez Valdes-Scantling led the team in snaps, and Mecole Hardman has been way more involved in the offense than I expected. He and Justin Watson caught the wide receiver touchdowns on Thursday. Jerrick McKinnon caught the other one. Last week it was Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jody Fortson, and Hardman that scored. It's early in the season still, but this is what I feared would happen after watching preseason games. Ian Hatitz is right. Some offenses are acting like socialists.

Hanging With Mr. Cooper

  • Amari Cooper is an excellent wide receiver. He's bounced around the league, but he's been the team's top receiver with each team. Sunday, he gave the Browns hope for the future, leaving fans eager to see what he can do once Deshaun Watson returns from suspension. Jacoby Brissett looked good in this game, too, making Cooper managers open to starting him even on a run-first team with a backup quarterback. Brissett was on point Sunday, completing 81% of his passes compared to 53% last week, and Cooper benefited by catching nine of ten targets for 101 yards and a touchdown. The Browns' next two opponents give up the 24th and 25th most points to quarterbacks, so dynasty managers should be able to see if Brissett can make Cooper productive and in starting lineups until week 13 when Watson returns or if he'll be off one week and on the next week as he's been so far. Cooper is a tactical receiver that still can win even with poor quarterback play. He's still got gas left in the tank and has several more productive years ahead of him with Watson, even though many of the younger receivers have long since surpassed his dynasty value.

Winning By Losing

  • As I wrote last week, injuries are the worst part of fantasy football, but in some cases, they help other players. Injuries to non-quarterbacks provide other players on our benches a chance for playing time to become a starter in our lineups or, from a dynasty perspective, earn a more permanent role with the team. Very rarely, however, do quarterback injuries help players on that team from a fantasy standpoint, but this Sunday, I'm sad to say I think it will. Every manager of 49ers' players except the Trey Lance manager will benefit from Lance's season-ending injury. Last week I wrote about how I sold one of my Deebo Samuel shares last year and regretted not doing the same with some Kittle shares because I feared Lance would make the players around him less productive, especially in the passing game. All that has changed now that Jimmy Garoppolo is the starter for the rest of the season. He'll produce more passing yards than Lance would have, and he won't eat up rushing yards and rushing touchdowns like Lance would have. Simply put, the slices of the pie just got bigger for everyone. Now I want Deebo back. At least I sold him for a decent price - Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, and what turned into Jahan Dotson. 

Who Is In Command?

  • Speaking of Jahan Dotson, the first two weeks of play make it hard to know who is in command in the Washington receiver room. Today, I have the commander receiver ranked this way in my dynasty rankings: Jahan Dotson 23rd, Terry McLaurin 26th, and Curtis Samuel 65th. After two games, here is how many fantasy points they've scored: Curtis Samuel 34.6, Jahan Dotson 32.4, and Terry McLaurin 23. The good news is that Carson Wentz is making them all viable fantasy starters. The bad news is that if this trend continues, their dynasty values are changing, especially McLaurin's, who most analysts and managers have ranked far above the other Commander receivers. I can't help but think that Samuel will get injured if they continue to use him as they have to start the season, but I need to move him up in my ranking significantly since he's been the top targeted receiver, especially on targets per route run. Dotson and McLaurin lead the team in snaps with 70 and 67, respectively. Dotson has three touchdowns compared to McLaurin's one and has one more reception than McLaurin, seven to six. I'm sure McLaurin will be their most productive wide receiver in many games this season, but he has not done so yet. This trend makes me nervous about my two McLaurin shares, thrilled with my four Dotson shares, and sad that I don't have Samuel on a roster.

Can't Hackett

  • Nathaniel Hackett "improved" upon his terrible offensive showing and end-of-game coaching decisions last Monday night into more of the same on Sunday. Hackett, hired to make the Broncos more offense-minded after working as the offensive coordinator with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, has been a total failure so far. He made another terrible mistake on Sunday, causing a delay of game penalty before a long field goal attempt that caused them to have to punt instead. After two green-zone fumbles Monday night, he seemed afraid to run the ball in the green zone this week and threw every time without success except for one stupid trick play featuring Andrew Beck. The plays were getting in so late that the crowd started counting down the play clock as basketball fans do for their team with the shot clock. When they weren't counting down the clock, they were booing Hackett and Russell Wilson, who completed just 45% of his passes on Sunday. Courtland Sutton and Javonte Williams look great when given the opportunity, but the offense needs a lot of work to unleash their fantasy production. Neither has a touchdown through two weeks. Jerry Jeudy scored the first week on a nice catch and run, but the rest of the startable Broncos have underperformed on this offense that's scored just two touchdowns this season. So far, coach Hackett can't hack it.

Laying Eggs

  • Who everyone assumed would far and away be the two top targets for Justin Fields have laid eggs through weeks one and two, and I'm not sure it will improve. Cole Kmet finished the game without a catch for the second week in a row, and Darnell Mooney had one catch for the second week in a row, only this time it went for negative yardage, giving him a total of two catches for four yards this season. Justin fields threw the ball just eleven times Sunday night, and I get why. The Bears could not throw the ball but were gashing the Packers with the run. David Montgomery looked great and averaged 8.1 yards per carry Sunday night. As great as he looked, the Bears just couldn't sustain drives and ended the night with just 41 offensive plays. With that low play volume, not a single player is reliable in fantasy lineups. For comparison, the Packers ran 68 plays, more than 50% more than the Bears. Justin Fields has run the fewest plays of any starting quarterback in the NFL so far this season (excluding Dak Prescott and Trey Lance, who left games with injuries). Mooney and Kmet are still intriguing dynasty assets if the offense can improve in the coming years. Still, neither are startable players this season unless there are significant improvements by Fields and the Bears' play pace.

Week Two Waiver Wire

Remember, I play in leagues with 300 to 360 players rostered. In dynasty leagues with that many players rostered, here's a list of the players I plan to add to my rosters this week.

Ashton Dulin

  • Dulin is a player I've had on and off my rosters since the end of last season when his target share in Indianapolis began to rise. The addition of Alec Pierce in the draft and Parris Campbell's healthy return caused me to drop him from all of my rosters before this season started, but I've since added him back in every league where he was available. Dulin was the second-most targeted wide receiver for the Colts in week one and the most targeted this week after Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce were ruled out with injuries. On Sunday, he caught five of seven passes for 79 yards in the Colts' scoreless effort. I picked Dulin up in four leagues on Saturday right after Pittman was ruled out. I still like his chance to become the WR-2 ahead of Pierce. He has been through two games already.

Darrel Williams

  • If you followed me for long, you know that I was very high on Williams after he signed with the Cardinals. I thought he'd win the RB-2 role behind James Conner, who is often injured. I admitted I was wrong at the start of the season when it was clear that Eno Benjamin secured the RB-2 role behind Conner. I dropped him from the two teams where I had him rostered, but now that Conner is injured, I'd like to add him back. Williams was in a near virtual split with Benjamin after Conner left the game, and he outscored Benjamin, too. He got the more fantasy-relevant work in the passing game too. If Conner's injury is significant, Williams will be a flex-worthy player in deep leagues that start ten or more players. He may even have a chance to prove to the coaches that he's a better backup to Conner once he does return to the field.

Justin Watson

  • I'd only look to add Watson in the deepest of leagues, given what I already wrote about Patrick Mahomes' pass distribution, but Watson is a player I'd like to keep an eye on, at least. His college production was incredible, but he's never been on a team without several veteran receivers ahead of him on the depth chart. He has a lot of competition in Kansas City, too, but he's in the same league athletically as most of them.

David Sills

  • David Sills is a player to watch but not necessarily add this week if only because he saw 92% of the snaps for the Giants on Sunday, and Kenny Golladay, as I already wrote, is done. Sills used to tear up my Longhorns when he played for West Virginia, so I remember him well. I'll keep an eye on him while the Giants' wide receiver mix gets figured out. 

Week Two Trades

Here are my thoughts on trades made in my leagues this week.

Clyde Edward-Helaire <=====> Diontae Johnson

  • Last season's champion in this league put Johnson on the trading block, and a deal was made the next day. One team needed more depth at running back, and the other did at wide receiver, so they struck a deal and put both players immediately into their starting lineups this week. I've always been way lower on CEH than most dynasty managers and analysts, so I like the Johnson side of this trade. CEH has produced well to start the season, but it's based on touchdowns instead of volume. In contrast, Johnson has yet to score this season but has received 22 targets in two games. I'd bet on the targets over the touchdowns this year and in the future.

Terry McLaurin <=====> Chase Claypool and a 2024 1st round pick

  • The same reigning champion in this league sold another receiver, McLaurin, but this time got a wide receiver and a distant draft pick back in return. I already wrote about my concern for McLaurin above. He's definitely a player dynasty managers have to decide whether they're in or out on. In this case, one manager declared he was all in and even willing to give up a first-round pick for him. George Pickens has yet to cut into Claypool's production and could arguably help it if Claypool becomes the Steeler permanent slot receiver. He's also a player dynasty managers have to decide on, especially after the Steelers re-signed Johnson for two more years. Given the value of a first-round pick, I like the package side of this trade, but it's close and will take until 2024 to see which team got the best of this trade. 

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