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The Top 10: Week 2

Matt Waldman opens his Week 1 film notebook and examines the fantasy fallout of emerging stars, established studs, and returning legends. 

BALANCING REALITIES OF FANTASY WITH THE FANTASIES OF REAL FOOTBALL MEDIA

Because the football season has far fewer games than other popular American sports, analysts commonly emphasize the week-to-week urgency that each NFL organization must feel compared to other professional teams.

While this is true, the difference is still relative. As with any situation in life, the best decision-making involves reacting when necessary, but not overreacting. Because fans and media buy and sell the storylines and revel in the drama, we're prone to overreacting.

Many of Week 1's outcomes require a quick decision without all of the information that we'll eventually see as the season unfolds. This is the reality of fantasy football.

However, there are at least 1-3 teams in your league that will overreact to what happened in the season opener and they will do more harm than good to their rosters.

The mission of this column—and a lot of my work—is to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality of football analysis. Football analysis—fantasy and reality—is often dramatized because there's a core belief that it's more important to entertain than to educate.

I don't live by the idea that it's better to be lucky than good. While I want to give you actionable recommendations that will help you get results, I prefer to get the process right. There will be a lot of people talking about how they were right to draft or start specific players. Many of them got the right result but with the wrong process.

Much of Week 2's Top 10 will cover topics that attempt to get the process right (reality) while understanding that fantasy owners may not have time to wait for the necessary data to determine the best course of action (fantasy).

1. is Patrick Mahomes For real? (Yes, And So is tyreek hill)

One of the biggest questions of the month will be about Patrick Mahomes II, who delivered four touchdown passes against a Chargers defense that lacked Jason Verrett and Joey Bosa — two of them shovel passes where the scheme earns more credit than the quarterback.

Mahomes' first touchdown...

Mahomes' fourth touchdown...

These are plays that defenses will eventually figure out by committing enough defenders to each side of the line and daring Mahomes to keep the ball up the middle. Until then, the Chiefs are benefiting from the confusion that results from a well-drawn, well-executed offensive play.

Despite the productive outing, Mahomes wasn't at his best. The skeptics will say that he's simply not as good as he appeared — citing his 55 percent completion percentage and the two plays above as "easy touchdowns."

Mahomes' receivers dropped multiple passes in this game but only one of them was a pinpoint target. Neither of Hill's big plays in the passing game was a perfect throw (see below). He was also a step shy of delivering a fifth touchdown on a deep post to De'Anthony Thomas while on the move to his right. If not for the Sean Taylor-like range of Derwin James where the rookie got a hand on the ball to knock it away at the last second, it might have been the throw of the week.

There were only two throws in this game that Mahomes didn't place only where his receiver could make the play. This is consistent with Mahomes' game dating back to Texas Tech despite the promulgated analysis that he's a reckless player because of a handful of bad outings. While he's bound to have reckless moments ahead, there's a difference between daring and reckless and Mahomes walks that line better than most quarterbacks.

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