Week 2 in the NFL was like a MASH unit. Injuries coming at you from
every direction. A few days later you are just trying to piece together
a suitable lineup to get you through the next weekend. Unfortunately,
no one can replace injured Christian McCaffrey (4-6 weeks) or Saquon Barkley (out for the season). No, Mike Davis and Devonta Freeman
aren’t the answer, though they could be a short-term Band-Aid.
The bottom line - If you have to trade one superstar for two
lower tier stars be sure the deal works for the long run, not
just for Week 3.
“A lie, told often enough, becomes the truth.”
1) This is the year of the running quarterback.
In 2019 over the entire 256-game regular season schedule quarterbacks
ran for 79 touchdowns (.308 TDs per game). This season in 32 games
to date they have already run for 16. Even I can do that math
without a calculator (.5 TDs per game). Cam Newton leads the way
with four, but Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott have three each and
not surprisingly they rank three-four-five in FPts/G. Lamar Jackson
still hasn’t run one in yet. If your quarterback doesn’t
score a few on the ground, you are at a distinct disadvantage
because running one in is worth more fantasy points than throwing
a touchdown pass.
2) Josh Allen is playing a lot better than I expected, but Russell
Wilson is my early MVP leader.
True. Wilson has thrown nine touchdowns in two games. He’s
also thrown nine incompletions in two games. He’s completed
a stunning 82.5% of his passes. Seattle’s got great receivers
in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. He’s got a running game.
This offense, which has scored 73 points in two games, may be
unstoppable (barring injury).
3) Tom Brady may be gone, but Bill Belichick is still crazy
Fact. Bill is paying almost nothing for a vintage Cam Newton
($1,050,000 base salary). Who knew Newton could still play near
his 2015 level? Certainly not me. Meanwhile, the Bears are paying
backup quarterback Nick Foles a guaranteed $21 million dollars.
Sam Darnold is still starting in New York. Dwayne Haskins is starting
in Washington for Newton’s old head coach, Ron Rivera. Derek Carr is starting in Las Vegas (OK, he looked pretty good Monday
night). Philip Rivers is getting paid $25 million in Indianapolis.
Newton is playing better than all of them. Only a failed final
play Sunday night from the Seahawks 1-yard line is keeping the
Patriots from a 2-0 start and that falls on OC Josh Daniels play
call. Was there a single person in the building or watching on
television that didn’t know Cam was going to run the ball?
4) Chris Carson has as many touchdown catches over two games
in 2020 as he’s accumulated in his first three NFL seasons.
Fact. But be warned, that may not be a good thing. Can you reasonably
expect him to finish the season with 24 touchdown receptions?
This isn’t your father’s Seahawks anymore either.
This is not a run-first offense. This is Russell’s team.
Eventually both Lockett and Metcalf will overtake Carson. Meanwhile,
Carson’s averaging a career-low 4.0 ypc and has yet to run
one in. In fact, the Seahawks only have one rushing touchdown
and it belongs to backup Carlos Hyde. Perhaps you should consider
“selling” Carson while he’s ranked sixth at
his position in FPts/G (22.2 in PPR leagues).
5) Despite his paltry 9.9 FPts/G average, now would be a good
time to “buy low” on Todd Gurley.
Yes. Unless you believe the Falcons will continue to yield almost
40 ppg, the game scripts should be better for Gurley in the future.
He’s still a touchdown maker, who has averaged 14 touchdown
runs per season and four touchdown receptions from 2017-19. With
two of the next three games against lesser offenses (Chicago and
Carolina) a trade for Gurley at a “discounted” price
should yield immediate dividends.
“Everybody lies, but it doesn’t matter because nobody
listens.” – Nick Diamos
1) Without a preseason the defenses will be ahead of offenses
to start the season.
False. Not only is it false, the corollary; the running game
is ahead of the passing game at the start of the season is also
patently false in 2020. In fact, there are a whopping six quarterbacks
averaging 30+ fantasy points through two games (Josh Allen, Wilson,
Newton, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott and Matt Ryan). That’s
twice as many as last season when only three quarterbacks averaged
that much (Prescott, Lamar Jackson and Mahomes).
Fiction. Sort of. In case you don’t know Wally Pipp, he
was a pretty good Yankees first baseman in June of 1925 before
a headache from a beanball left him watching a youngster named
Lou Gehrig play a then record 2,130 consecutive games over the
next 15 seasons. Taylor’s replacement on Sunday, Justin Herbert, nearly defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas
City Chiefs despite virtually no practice time. Herbert came up
a little short due to a poor coaching decision in overtime. Though
Coach Anthony Lynn says Taylor will get his job back when healthy,
the writing is on the wall. Figure Herbert to be the starter in
Week 6, just after the Chargers lose back-to-back games to Tampa
Bay and New Orleans. If he’s available, stash him, he can
3) Averaging just 8.0 FPts/G, A.J. Green is no longer the Green
of old, circa 2012-2016.
Don’t quit on Green just yet. The best part about the first
two games is Green’s team-leading 22 targets. Early on in
the season I value opportunity as important as production. So
long as it continues, fantasy points will surely follow. It doesn’t
hurt that his rookie quarterback, Joe Burrow, looks like the real
deal or that the OC is willing to let said rookie throw 97 times
in two non-blowout games. I like Green as another “buy-low”
4) Calvin Ridley is the best receiver in the NFL since he’s
leading the league with a 31.9 FPts/G average.
Sorry, he’s still not the best receiver on his team. But
because Julio Jones is so good, opposing teams roll their coverage
away from Ridley giving him great opportunities against the defense’s
second-best defenders. That’s not a bad thing as long as
Jones is on the field (beware of his current hamstring issue)
and Ridley should continue to produce big numbers. Just not at
this level. Ridley improved from 13.1 FPts/G in his rookie season
to 15.0 in 2019. Even as a third-year breakout candidate, his
ceiling is probably 18.0 FPts/G (Jones and Mike Evans averaged
about that last season) which means he’ll average just 16.1
FPts/G the rest of the way. Don’t overpay to get him, but
if someone offers you too much … take it. Sixteen points
per game is low-end top-10 level.
5) The Ravens’ Mark Andrews was drafted as a top-five tight
end and still is one.
False. Currently, he’s ranked 11th among all tight ends.
But what worries me even more is the lack of targets and the upgraded
play at the tight end position around the league. Andrews has
seen just nine targets over two games and while he has produced
well considering the lack of opportunities, Baltimore and Lamar Jackson have thrown the ball just 48 times to date. With games
against Washington, Cincinnati and Philadelphia after a titanic
battle versus the Chiefs this Monday night, Andrews may continue
to struggle for looks. Meanwhile, I’d rather have a guy
like Mike Gesicki (54% owned). Or Noah Fant (88% owned) if he’s
still an available waiver claim in your league or for trade now
that Sutton is out for the season. Just saying if someone still
believes in Andrews you might be able to trade him for top value
and still replace him given the excellent production at this position
through the first two weekends.