Welcome to Fantasy Football 2020! It’s only Week 2, and while we don’t want to overreact, we don’t want to fail to react, either. There’s a lot to react to. You might even call this the Week 1 overreactions column if you like to see another data point before doing anything rash in fantasy leagues after Week 1. I’ll be running down the biggest fantasy takeaways from each matchup from most to least important every week.
HOU @ KC
2. David Johnson is back to his old self.
3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is for real - glass half full - he got 6 goal-line carries; glass half empty, he didn’t convert any to scores.
4. Sammy Watkins is still alive and kicking and has fantasy value.
5. The Texans offense was a mess, the quarterback play, the playcalling, the offensive line. Maybe the Chiefs offense is better or it was Week 1 sleepiness.
6. Brandin Cooks isn’t 100% but we have to wonder what he will be worth when healthy if this offense is sputtering. Probably just a matchup play at best.
8. Jordan Akins looked like one of the Texans best players on offense and needs more targets.
SEA @ ATL
4. Russell Gage is going to work out as a slot receiver, but you are counting on garbage time game scripts to hit these heights.
NYJ @ BUF
1. The Bills have a 50/50ish running back committee, but Zack Moss being on at the goal line gives him the value edge. Expect a lot more backfield production against the Dolphins this week. The Jets' strong run defense encouraged the Bills to barely run at all in the first half.
2. Josh Allen looks very comfortable in the Brian Daboll offense and should have a big fantasy year, but still makes big mistakes and misses easy throws.
4. Jamison Crowder should be the one shelter in the storm here. Got enough volume to be PPR relevant and made a big play after the catch.
5. Le’Veon Bell was the man in the backfield before getting hurt and sent back into the game. Don’t be too hasty on the drop. Josh Adams is the pickup in very very deep leagues as he got some passing game work, but it’s San Francisco this week so don’t expect much.
6. Chris Herndon’s production mostly came in garbage time, not that there won’t be a lot of that for the Jets this year.
MIA @ NE
1. Josh McDaniels knows exactly what to do with Cam Newton. He’ll be option A at the goal line and the passing game should get better as the year goes on. Newton is back in the QB1 ranks.
4. Rex Burkhead and J.J. Taylor were good enough to give us a four-headed backfield going forward, and that’s with Newton bogarting goal-line runs and Damien Harris back soon. James White could grow some PPR value if the Patriots go into catch up mode, but their defense was strong, so don’t count on that being a frequent occurrence.
5. N’keal Harry was generating some momentum and then fumbled the ball through the end zone. He’s just a deep league/dynasty bench stash.
6. Just stay away from the Dolphins backfield and respect the Patriots run defense. Myles Gaskin will be a what the heck flex when the Dolphins are expected to lose.
IND @ JAX
1. Marlon Mack’s season-ending injury makes Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines both PPR RB2s with weekly RB1 upside. Taylor is probably more valuable right now, but Hines has staying power as Philip Rivers sidecar (hat tip Chris Wesseling). Be willing to pay 50% of your yearly budget for Hines in PPR leagues.
2. James Robinson is everything the Jaguars hoped he would be when they released Leonard Fournette. His has a volume RB2 floor and already has the look of a UDFA/late-round/waiver-wire hit. If you miss out on Hines/Malcolm Brown/Benny Snell in the waiver wire chase, Robinson is a nice consolation.
3. Parris Campbell looked better than T.Y. Hilton and we might see a changing of the guard here, but Michael Pittman Jr isn’t ready to be a consistent fantasy factor with Zach Pascal still playing a big role in the wide receiver group.
4. Laviska Shenault Jr is a tank (hat tip Benjamin Solak) and should be rostered in every league, although the resurgence of Keelan Cole could cause the Jaguars to spread the ball around in the passing game.
5. Jay Gruden is cooking up some good offense which will be high efficiency, but as long as the defense is solid, perhaps it will be low volume. Gardner Minshew is more viable in fantasy leagues today than he was a week ago.
6. That low volume could keep D.J. Chark Jr from emerging as a top-20 fantasy receiver, but he is still very good and drew a long pass interference penalty in addition to scoring on a beautiful play design.
7. Philip Rivers throwing 46 times can’t be Plan A for the Colts, but their defense wasn’t good enough (give an assist to the Jaguars run defense) to get them in heavy run mode. Rivers is in decline mode and the interceptions will continue to come when he is forced to push the ball downfield. He appears to be greatly favoring targeting running backs over tight ends.
CLE @ BAL
1. J.K. Dobbins got goal-line carries over Mark Ingram II. Dobbins is a must-start for as long as this goes on, and if it doesn’t change in a few weeks, Ingram will be droppable in short bench leagues.
2. Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb have the look of a 1a/1b and with Baker Mayfield no Kirk Cousins at running this offense, Chubb will have a lot of trouble returning ADP value. Hunt is the garbage time back and might end up being more valuable overall.
3. Odell Beckham Jr looked healthy and drew a lot of penalties and got frustrated with Baker Mayfield. This week he might face William Jackson III a lot and be disappointing again. We might get tired of waiting for Beckham the Brown to come around.
4. Mark Andrews led the offense in snaps and has a good chance to join Kittle/Kelce in the elite tight end tier this year.
5. Marquise Brown is healthy and had 100+ yards in the first half. Congrats if you drafted him.
6. Lamar Jackson made it look easy and while we have to tap the brakes because it was the Cleveland defense, we are actually disappointed when he only scores in the 27-30 range like he did this week. He was worth his ADP and more.
LV @ CAR
1. The Panthers spread the ball around almost equally between their top three wide receivers and there wasn’t an emphasis on Christian McCaffrey in the passing game. D.J. Moore might have trouble returning value, but Robby Anderson could be a late-round hit.
2. Josh Jacobs is automatic near the goal line and the team loves to lean on him when they are leading. He might be a boom/bust play like the team he plays for, but he would definitely go higher in drafts today than he did a week ago.
3. Bryan Edwards is a nonfactor and droppable after a hype-filled summer.
4. Even against a weak Panthers defense, Derek Carr didn’t do much. If Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, and Darren Waller didn’t help your team win this week’s matchup, they aren’t going to be core contributors.
5. Teddy Bridgewater had a chance to lead a stirring comeback but Matt Rhule called the fullback’s number of fourth and short with the game on the line in maybe the worst NFL head coaching debut decision ever. Bridgewater will be solid and safe with the ball but might struggle against better defenses like Tampa up this week.
6. Ian Thomas is a nonfactor even in this pass-heavy offense and droppable.
PHI @ WAS
1. The Eagles' unwillingness to meet Zach Ertz’s contract extension desires was foreshadowing a Dallas Goedert breakout. He looks like he has more to offer than Ertz right now. There is a non-zero chance that Ertz gets traded and even without a trade Goedert may be more valuable than Ertz.
2. The Eagles offensive line is going to be a problem or the Washington defensive line is going to be a problem or both. This was striking and made Boston Scott a bust with Miles Sanders out, in addition to making us reevaluate the value of Sanders when he does return. It’s also difficult to want to start any Eagles wide receiver or Carson Wentz right now.
3. Peyton Barber’s dependable profile is catnip for a coach that doesn’t trust his rookie yet. Antonio Gibson clearly has more to offer than Barber and could be getting those goal-line carries and leading the backfield touches soon. It was a disappointing day for Gibson, but have faith.
4. Logan Thomas is going to be a dependable target for Dwayne Haskins and may end up being a viable low ceiling play in redraft leagues. He’s a good low-cost pickup if you’re not happy with the tight ends you drafted.
GB @ MIN
1. The Packers must have drafted Jordan Love to light a fire under Aaron Rodgers. He was playing within the offensive play design, and they let him throw a lot of short stuff early. He took deep shots later and everything worked. Whether this is more about a renewed Rodgers, how bad the Vikings secondary is now, or both, is yet to be seen, but Rodgers is back in lineups until further notice.
3. Dalvin Cook scored twice (yay!) but Alexander Mattison looked very good on his touches, including four receptions, and a poor Vikings defense will lower the margin of error for Cook. He wouldn’t go as high in drafts today as he did a week ago.
5. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard both got free deep and they’ll be upside plays against Detroit’s banged-up secondary this week. T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell will get the hapless Vikings secondary this week. Did we mention that the Vikings pass defense was bad?
6. There’s no viable second target in this pass offense after Adam Thielen. There might be blowup games here and there from a secondary receiver or a tight end, but the hopes of Irv Smith separating himself in year two were premature.
7. Kirk Cousins will be throwing more than expected unless this offense improves, which puts him back into fantasy relevance.
CHI @ DET
1. Allen Robinson is unhappy he didn’t get an extension and could be on the way out via trade? That might actually be a good thing for his fantasy ceiling, which has been held down by his quarterback play for years. Think Amari Cooper when he went to Dallas. New England would be a great destination.
2. Adrian Peterson is the best back on the Lions roster right now, which means we’re probably not trusting any Lions back. Kerryon Johnson is droppable, and while D'Andre Swift would have been a nice play if he didn’t drop the game-winner, he’ll need a Johnson injury to be a safe play in lineups.
3. Marvin Jones Jr didn’t go off with Kenny Golladay sidelined, and TJ Hockenson didn’t either. Matthew Stafford was more than good enough to win against a Bears defense with a weakened pass rush, but didn’t make a fantasy impact. It’s just hard to see anyone in the Lions offense overachieving this year.
4. Anthony Miller was on the field for less than half of the snaps and still had a big impact on the game and fantasy-relevant results. He should stay hot vs. the Giants and hopefully see his role increase.
6. David Montgomery was modestly successful considering his groin injury happened just a few weeks ago, but it’s hard to know when we will trust him in lineups.
7. Mitchell Trubisky is going to get his three touchdowns vs. the Lions come hell or high water. The Lions also had the two best corners get hurt in this game. The week before they face Aaron Rodgers. Trubisky holds onto the job for at least another week.
LAC @ CIN
1. This is the boring Chargers offense you should have expected. Austin Ekeler isn’t going to be barnstorming in the passing game and Joshua Kelley will get goal-line carries. Ekeler is worth less than he was a week ago, maybe significantly less. Kelley is a good matchup play, but could be marginalized against the Chiefs this week if the Chargers fall behind.
2. A.J. Green made it through the game healthy and without a question pass interference call, he would have had a good fantasy week. Go back to him on Thursday vs Cleveland.
3. Mike Williams also made it through the game healthy and Taylor’s decent deep ball will keep him relevant, maybe even the most valuable wide receiver on the Chargers this year.
4. Keenan Allen’s value takes a hit on reveal, but his ADP was already expecting a deflation from the quarterback change. If he doesn’t put up numbers against the Chiefs and Panthers next week, it’s time to worry.
5. Don’t get too worried about Joe Mixon. The offense should get better as the year goes on with more opportunities to score and catch passes. The Chargers may also prove to be a stubborn run defense with Linval Joseph in the mix.
6. Until the last drive of the game, you might have been wondering why Joe Burrow went No. 1 overall. Even though he wasn’t a fantasy success story, and the offensive line may keep him from being one this year, his performance on what could have (should have?) been a game-winning drive should lead to better numbers for him and Tyler Boyd if the game plan adjusts.
7. John Ross led the wideouts in snaps, and while he didn’t do much, he was this close to scoring on a longer pass so at least the opportunity is there. Keep him on your waiver wire speed dial list and don’t be surprised if he makes a splash against the Browns Thursday.
TB @ NO
1. Michael Thomas suffered a high ankle sprain and wasn’t impactful before his injury. He'll miss several weeks according to the latest report. Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook could have a temporary bump in value while Thomas is mending, and Tre'Quan Smith will become a starter.
2. Drew Brees and Tom Brady look old. Father Time comes for everyone eventually. We shouldn’t expect anyone in these pass offenses to overachieve and Brady and Brees might not be great Plan A’s at quarterback in fantasy leagues this year.
4. The right answer in the Bucs backfield was once again none of the above. Give the Saints defense an assist, but this is just going to be a mess with no one distinguishing themselves in a mediocre running game.
5. Jared Cook meshes best with what strengths Brees has a passer at this point and he remains a TE1.
6. Mike Evans should get more targets going forward and he did draw two pass interference penalties, but Scott Miller outproduced him. Chris Godwin was fine, but again, you aren’t thrilled to have drafted a Bucs receiver at ADP at this moment.
7. Alvin Kamara yielded more to Latavius Murray than he did last year and didn’t make any explosive plays. Touchdowns bailed him out and he has a good matchup this week vs Las Vegas, but you’re not that excited to have him as a top-five pick right now. Murray is still a high-value injury hedge as this was a very tough draw vs. the run.
ARI @ SF
1. DeAndre Hopkins isn’t going to see a volume drop in Arizona, in fact, he’s going to debut with his career-high in catches. Congrats if you ignored the consensus take and drafted him in the second round anyway.
2. Immediate remorse on my part for buying into any Kyle Shanahan RBBC narrative as a reason to fade Raheem Mostert. He was the fastest player on the field on his long touchdown reception and the clear lead back.
3. Kenyan Drake isn’t in a full-blown RBBC with Chase Edmonds, but Edmonds isn’t going to be riding the pine like he did after Drake took over last year. Drake isn’t quite an RB1 and Edmonds isn’t only an injury hedge.
4. It wasn’t from the game but know that Deebo Samuel had a setback in foot surgery rehab that landed him on injured reserve. Brandon Aiyuk wasn’t ready for this one, but he became more intriguing even though he didn’t play.
5. Jerick McKinnon looked like the McKinnon of old and he could be a decent PPR depth hold along with carrying a lot more Mostert injury upside than Tevin Coleman, who can be dropped even though his light workload might have been due in part to the poor air quality in Santa Clara.
7. Kyler Murray is a tough get in the open field and even more confident as a runner this year. His top 6 quarterback ADP wasn’t too optimistic.
8. Christian Kirk has a very specific deep target role and he’s not going to be a strong fantasy play because of it. If he doesn’t produce in the next few games, he’ll be droppable.
DAL @ LAR
1. Malcolm Brown is the best Rams running back and there’s no sign that will change soon. Cam Akers was indecisive and Brown even outperformed him in the passing game. This won’t be like last year when Brown was a hot Week 2 waiver wire pickup only to do nothing for your fantasy team.
2. Robert Woods was a more prominent downfield receiver and Cooper Kupp stayed in the secondary role he had in the passing game in the second half of the year. Woods is worth more than Kupp even though that isn’t how they were always drafted.
3. Blake Jarwin went out with a torn ACL, upping the season-long and weekly ceilings of all three Cowboys wide receivers.
5. Jared Goff was a dud against a very suspect defense. He was a good matchup play last year, he might not even be that this year if the underrated Rams defense keeps games low scoring, which in turn will keep the Rams offense more balanced than they were last year.
6. Dak Prescott almost had a comeback drive but for a ticky-tack pass interference call on Michael Gallup. If he can complete that drive with a game-winning touchdown pass, we’re not really worried about him going forward. He should bounce back against Atlanta.
7. The Cowboys defense will be an obstacle to the Cowboys offense if they can’t get on the field and allow opponents to shorten the game.
PIT @ NYG
1. James Conner wasn’t nearly as spry as Benny Snell. Whether that’s because he was dinged or that’s just who he is is moot because he’s always dinged up. The Steelers may still give Conner some incumbent deference when he’s healthy, but Snell is likely the more valuable back by year’s end. Snell is behind Hines and Brown in the waiver priority but could end more valuable if the Steelers move on from Conner soon.
2. Ben Roethlisberger is back! And with him the value of Juju Smith-Schuster. Diontae Johnson actually led the team in targets and looks like a value at his ADP. Chase Claypool, James Washington, and Eric Ebron all need an injury to one of the top two receivers to matter in fantasy leagues this year.
3. Darius Slayton looks like the most valuable Giants receiver and not just because Golden Tate was out. Sterling Shepard will be the safe possession receiver, but Slayton’s deep speed is what helps fantasy teams get over the hump and win.
4. The whole Giants offense had a rough night against the brutal Steelers defense, but Evan Engram’s performance was still worrisome. He didn’t look sharp or especially dangerous as a tactical piece in a game where they needed him to win his matchups. If he isn’t productive against the Bears and 49ers the next two weeks, we might be moving on, even if there are better matchups to come.
5. Saquon Barkley experienced something a lot of backs will against the Steelers, but it was almost like Pittsburgh knew when runs were coming. Let’s see if opponents go pass happy to try to slow down the blood in the water vibe from this group.
6. Daniel Jones hung in and actually had a decent stat line despite the matchup. He isn’t someone you want to play over the next few weeks, but he earned respect with his willingness to hang in against the rush (which he has always displayed).
TEN @ DEN
2. Noah Fant was a monster in the first half and scored on a nice improved play throw from Drew Lock, then he was a forgotten man in the second half. It was a very exciting opener if you have him, but there’s some worry about his target share when Courtland Sutton and KJ Hamler return.
3. Jerry Jeudy committed some rookie mistakes, but the raw materials are there for a breakout season. Don’t bail on him.
4. Ryan Tannehill threw 43 passes and a poor kicking performance almost cost the Titans the game anyway. A.J. Brown didn’t do much while Corey Davis finally looked like a No. 1 receiver in a development to monitor. Brown doesn’t have much margin of error if the Titans passing game goes back to 2019 volume and Davis is a viable target. Davis certainly should be added anywhere he wasn’t drafted.
5. Jonnu Smith was involved enough to be a fantasy starter, but his touchdown was a play-action layup and his output was modest considering the volume outlier for the Titans passing game.
6. Pat Shurmur’s playcalling was frustrating to watch, so we aren’t loving Drew Lock as a breakout candidate right now, but the return of his weapons could change that - just not this week against Pittsburgh.