We are two weeks into the season and the NFL as we know it is holding form and upside down at the same time. Certain players are who we thought they were while others aren't who we thought they were. From a fantasy sense, we have to make up our minds quickly and stay ahead of the curve. This means knowing when to hold 'em and knowing when to fold 'em. This time of the year is all about observation, evaluation, decision-making and adjusting. Let's get to it.
What do we know after two games?
- Tom Brady is match-up proof and he's trending towards a Top 5 finish, if not higher. He can score on the road and at home. He knows what type of attacking style is required for each opponent and his execution is top notch. The pieces to the puzzle are already coming together for New England and it's only Week 3. Last year it took the Patriots several games before they "figured it out." Brady and his arsenal of capable backs, receivers and Gronk will be a handful this year.
- Sam Bradford and the 0-2 Eagles are struggling to find rhythm offensively and it's affecting the entire team's mojo. If they don't win this week at the New York Jets, we may see big time adjustments. Since 1990 1% of teams that start 0-3, have made the playoffs. Things are looking bleak for Chip's crew, but we know anything can happen in the NFL.
- Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense is already firing on all cylinders. Let's hope the additions of LeVeon Bell and Martavius Bryant won't kill their momentum. It's hard to even fathom that, but stranger things have happened around the league. Roethlisberger is pacing towards a Top 3 finish and likely has his owners in a good position in the league standings.
- Andrew Luck is struggling out of the gate, but don't be too concerned. The Colts played two of the league's best defenses in Buffalo and the NY Jets, plus sometimes teams take some time to adjust. Case in point, Tom Brady last season. The Colts and Luck should bounce back this week at Tennessee.
- Tyrod Taylor and Marcus Mariota have been big surprises so far in this young season. Will that continue? Possibly. One thing for sure is that both quarterbacks are entrenched as their team's starting quarterback, which bodes well for their fantasy success.
What stands out after two games?
- The early fantasy MVP is arguably DeAngelo Williams. If you were fortunate enough to handcuff LeVeon Bell with Williams in the 10th round or later, you are probably sitting pretty right now. If Williams can perform so well, what do you think Bell is going to do? The word out of Pittsburgh is that Bell will be the team's bellcow back, relegating Williams strictly to a backup role. Bell can do it all. He's one of the few three-down backs and the Steelers know it.
- Dion Lewis has assumed the Shane Vereen role in New England, but he's doing more than that - he's running the ball well between the tackles, and in space he's incredibly elusive. The best part about Lewis is the Patriots know what they have in him and they are using him to the fullest. Lewis is capable of being a RB2 every week, especially in PPR leagues. If he's available in your league, run right now and pick him up. If you're lucky enough to have him, start him.
- Carlos Hyde has fallen back to earth and now we're starting to see how exposed he is. He could finish as a RB2 this year, but it will be difficult to know what weeks he's going to excel and which weeks will be like Week 2. The 49ers are a bottom 10 team in my opinion. They had a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm in Week 1. It was the home opener, national televised game and a precursor to SuperBowl 50 for a pregame show. You can see how they performed well. Reality will set in - it may have done so already. San Francisco is who we thought they were and so is Hyde - a capable back who will have big games here and there, but consistency will be an issue.
- Adrian Peterson can still play and play well. He's just getting warmed up. Bigger things are ahead of him. Wait til the Vikings offense starts to click. He was a little rusty Week 1 and the Vikings were flat. They were awfully flat. The game script dictated going away from Peterson and before you knew it, it was the fourth quarter and the game was out of hand. Peterson will be fine and the fantasy points will come.
- Ameer Abdullah - everyone's favorite sleeper....is still sleeping. He could wake up and explode onto the scene any given week. It could even happen this week against Denver on national television. The concern I have is this - how will the Lions coaching staff utilize him? Right now, there is no clear cut rushing threat. Joique Bell hasn't answered the bell. Abdullah hasn't been given enough of an opportunity to showcase his talents. The game hasn't flowed like they need it to. The Lions need a get right game and it likely will come at home. Can this week be the week? Perhaps. Stay tuned.
- Danny Woodhead is stunting the growth of Melvin Gordon and he's doing it by being one of the best PPR backs in the league. Woodhead may not be as sexy of a play as Dion Lewis or even Darren Sproles, but expect to see similar results on a slightly less dynamic offense. San Diego will have "Woodhead games" and at times, he'll produce pedestrian numbers. Being able to predict those games will take you far.
- Matt Jones - It's only a matter of time before Matt Jones carves out a role with Washington. He already has commanded more carries and he's averging 6.0 yards per carry in 25 attempts. Compare that to Alfred Morris' 4.2 YPC, which is a respectable number, but he has true competition. The snap count margin of Morris to Jones was +39 after Week 1 and only +5 in Week 2. Jones is coming and he's bringing a train full of steam with him.
- Tevin Coleman is suffering from a fractured rib that likely will cause him to miss one, if not two games. Taking his place in a full time role will be Devonta Freeman. If you're looking for a stopgap at running back for a few weeks, Freeman could be your answer, but I'm not loving the Falcons schedule in the next three weeks - at DAL, HOU, WAS. It's decent, but not favorable.
- It's Antonio Brown's world and we're living in it. Seriously. He's that good. Start him and reap the benefits. Rinse and repeat for Julio Jones with slightly less consistency.
- Julian Edelman fits the Wes Welker role better than Welker. Yes I just said that. Both Edelman and Welker were perfect in the possession role for Tom Brady, but Edelman has more toughness and grit to him than Welker did. The way the Patriots offense is clicking and pacing, Edelman could very easily be a Top 5 wide receiver in PPR leagues.
- Those of you who drafted Larry Fitzgerald over John Brown are liking that decision right now. Brown is a capable receiver who will make big plays here and there, but Fitzgerald is a future Hall of Famer who can still bring it and perform well when called upon. Carson Palmer knows this and has the utmost confidence in his best receiver. Fitzgerald could have a renaissance year, especially if Palmer stays healthy.
- Lets pump the brakes on the Eagles wide receiver corps. Jordan Matthews is still a WR2 player even when the offense is struggling, but there's probably going to be games where his consistency will be tested. As for Nelson Agholor, people expected him to come out strong and that hasn't been the case - just yet. One big play could be all that's needed to get him on the target train for Philadelphia. He's getting the snaps and being a part of the offense, but he hasn't executed yet. I don't have many shares of Agholor in my fantasy arsenal, but he's coming. I can sense it, but the Eagles offense needs to right the ship first.
- Donte Moncrief looks like what Andre Johnson should've looked like. I envision Moncrief being a big part of the Colts offense going forward. He has the size and speed to make plays anywhere on the field. The best part is Moncrief is playing well amidst Andrew Luck's trip to the doldrums. As for Johnson - I almost wonder if he isn't doing well, because for the first time in his career, he's not his team's WR1. DeAndre Hopkins may have outperformed Johnson last year, but he was still the WR1 in the eyes of the Houston offense. That's not the case in Indianapolis and I think he's struggling to fit in as a part time player. We'll see as more games progress, but right now it looks like he needs to adjust.
- What should you do with guys like DeVante Parker? Rishard Matthews is getting the snaps and targets as the team's second receiver behind Jarvis Landry. Parker, it seems, is still getting used to the NFL game, his foot recovery, the plays and everything in between. In my opinion, it's only a matter of time before he carves out a role for himself. Right now, Matthews is stunting his development, but Parker is an injury away from being thrust into a role that he might not let go of once he gets his opportunity. Some players, especially rookies, it takes a learning curve and period of adjustment. His time is coming. If you have a space on your roster, take a chance on him. He may be available on the waiver wire. Phillip Dorsett, Dorial Green-Beckham and Brandon Coleman are players that I have my eye on, but for whatever reason I'm not fully on board yet. I thought Dorsett would have more of a role in the offense by now, but Donte Moncrief has taken that opportunity and ran with it. It may take an injury to get Dorsett more touches and even then, he may still need an adjustment period.
- It's Rob Gronkowski and everyone else. Tyler Eifert, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed and to some extent, Jason Witten are decent options, but the goliath at tight end is Gronkowski. I don't see Kelce as an every week gem, because it really depends on how the Chiefs offense moves the ball. A tough defense could keep him shelved and that's a concern if you're starting him every week. We'll see how the next few weeks go, but right now, I have some degree of concern with Kelce's ability to sustain consistent value every week.
- Jordan Reed and the Washington offense has surprised me. The loss of DeSean Jackson (hamstring) has opened the door for Reed to see an extended number of targets, which he is taking advantage of. If he can stay healthy, he could be a Top 6 tight end this year, which insn't too bad for someone who was likely drafted in the later rounds of your draft.
- Tyler Eifert is finally healthy and playing well. The Bengals offense is loaded with options, Eifert being one of them. He has maneuvered himself into an every week starting fantasy tight end and the best may be yet to come. The needle is pointing up for Eifert.
- The Colts tight end tandem of Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener has yet to take off. In fact the plane is still on the tarmac. Dwayne Allen injured his ankle last week, which might open the door for Fleener to assume more of a receiving role. We've seen Fleener thrive in this role in the past with Allen out. If Allen is forced to miss time, take a flier on Fleener. He has the ability to soar into a weekly starting lineup if the opportunity presents itself. Monitor this situation carefully. If Allen is out, grab Fleener. If you have Allen, consider adding Fleener.
- What is with the Seahawks not knowing how to utilize Jimmy Graham? You would think Seattle would be giddy to rev the engines on their new car? Get it out on the road and open the throttle. Maybe it's Russell Wilson's disinterest in using the tight end? Maybe it's the play calling? I don't know, but I do know this. Seattle - YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG! You're 0-2 and you have yet to open the last Christmas gift under the tree. Perhaps in that nicely wrapped gift there is a key, a key to your season. Open it and find out.
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