Week 2 recap: Beyond the Box Score
New York Jets 10
New England 13
- Through two games, Tom Brady has posted a 44.9 QBR (22nd in the NFL), which puts him on pace for the worst quarterback rating of his career and lowest since 2006 when he posted a 62.4 rating throwing to the likes of Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney. The reality of the situation is that aside from veteran Julian Edelman, who caught 13 passes for 78 yards on a team-high 18 targets against the Jets, Brady has nobody he trusts to throw the ball too. There is some hope that Brady will be able to turn things around when Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola return, but fantasy owners who bought into the notion that the Patriots would be able to replace the production of Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Lloyd and Danny Woodhead (401 receptions, 4,827 yards and 34 TDs) purchased a lemon.
- The Jets showed signs of life running the football and controlling the line of scrimmage against the Patriots' stout run defense, as Chris Ivory ran for 52 yards on 12 carries and Bilal Powell rushed for 48 yards on 13 carries. Ivory looked outstanding when he got the ball, but for some reason offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg went away from the ground game in the second half.
- Geno Smith played much better than his final stat line, which bodes well for his fantasy prospects long-term, but he made several mistakes which resulted in three interceptions in the loss. Stephen Hill and Clyde Gates are still very raw talents, Santonio Holmes looks like a shell of his former self and tight end Kellen Winslow was invisible against the Patriots. Overall, no Jets offensive players are worthy of fantasy consideration on a weekly basis.
St. Louis 24
- Julio Jones' electrifying big-play ability was on full display in a matchup against a tough St. Louis secondary. The third-year wideout tied a career-high with 11 receptions for 182 yards (also a career high) and a touchdown. The only knock on Jones from a fantasy perspective coming into the season was his inability to consistently put up big numbers. After back-to-back monster games to open up the 2013 season (aided by the injury to Roddy White), there is little doubt that Jones is in the conversation as the top wide receiver in fantasy football. As for White, root for a full return to practice ASAP.
- Steven Jackson found the end zone in the first quarter against his former team, but was forced to leave the game with a thigh injury and did not return. Jacquizz Rodgers managed just 17 yards on 11 carries, while Jason Snelling punched in a touchdown from 11 yards out in the fourth quarter. If Jackson were to miss any time, Rodgers would get the lionshare of the carries, while Snelling would factor into the equation in the red-zone.
- The wheels came off the Jared Cook fantasy bandwagon as the encore to his monster Rams debut was quite underwhelming (one catch for 10 yards on six targets). Chris Givens led the Rams with 105 yards receiving, while Tavon Austin (six catches, 47yards and a pair of touchdowns on 12 targets) and Austin Pettis (eight catches for 78 yards and a score on 11 targets) found the end zone. The Rams' passing game is firing on all cylinders, which is a good thing because they have shown no indication that they want to run the football.
- It was a happy homecoming for the Ravens, who unveiled their championship banner from last season and then took care of business against Cleveland. The good news for fantasy owners is that the Ravens do not expect their workhorse Ray Rice to miss extended time with a strained hip flexor. If Rice is sidelined for any period of time, Bernard Pierce -- who filled in admirably against the Browns (19 carries for 57 yards and a score) -- will shoulder the full workload next weekend against Houston and is worthy of a pickup in all fantasy leagues.
- Fantasy owners who shelled out the big bucks or invested a first round pick for Trent Richardson on draft day have to be concerned after two pedestrian weeks to open up the 2013 season. Richardson managed just 58 yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for only 21 yards. The sophomore stud is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and aside from tight end Jordan Cameron, who posted another solid effort (five catches for 95 yards), nothing is going right for the Browns offense. Making matters worse, quarterback Brandon Weeden suffered a thumb injury and is in danger of missing next week's contest on the road at Minnesota.
- The cardiac cats are just 1-9 in games decided by seven points or less in the last two seasons, which pretty much sums up how disappointing this team has been overall. From a fantasy perspective, Cam Newton threw for just 229 yards and a pair of touchdowns and DeAngelo Williams racked up 85 yards on 22 carries. Williams ranks in the top five in carries (39) through two weeks and has established himself as a legitimate flex option for fantasy owners, which makes him a bargain considering he was the 29th RB off the board in most drafts this fall.
- C.J. Spiller rebounded from a dismal Week 1 to rush for 103 yards on 16 carries (6.4 yards per carry). Veteran Fred Jackson was still involved racking up 30 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, but Spiller is still getting the bulk of the carries for Buffalo.
- Buffalo appears to have something special in E.J. Manuel, who not only orchestrated a game-winning drive capped off by a two-yard touchdown to Stevie Johnson with two seconds on the clock, but the rookie completed 27-of-39 passes for 296 yards and threw only one interception.
- There is very little fantasy takeaway from this matchup considering that all of the big names on both sides (Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall) showed up and put up big numbers except that we still have no clarity with the Vikings passing game. Nobody has stepped up and established themselves as the clear-cut number one option. Big name free agent acquisition Greg Jennings hauled in a team-high five passes for 84 yards. Tight end Kyle Rudolph snagged three passes for 42 yards and a score, while Jerome Simpson followed up a huge Week 1 performance with two catches for 49 yards.
- Bears tight end Martellus Bennett found the end zone for the second consecutive game, hauling in seven passes for 76 yards and a pair of scores. Bennett is a must start for fantasy owners going forward.
Green Bay 38
- Aaron Rodgers shredded the Washington Redskins secondary for 480 yards and four touchdowns. Jordy Nelson (three catches for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns), Randall Cobb (nine catches for a career-high 128 yards and a score) and Jermichael Finley (six catches for 65 yards and a score) all found the end-zone while James Jones, who was a non-factor in Week 1, rebounded in a big way, taking advantage of the Redskins' weak secondary to catch 11 passes for 178 yards.
- James Starks took over for starter Eddie Lacy, who suffered a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet collision on his first carry of the game, and became the first Packer to break the century mark in a single game since 2010. Starks, who ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, is the number one pickup in fantasy football this week because it is nearly impossible to predict when Lacy will be healthy enough to return to the lineup.
- Robert Griffin III owners have to be concerned. Washington didn't score until it was 31-0 and while garbage yards still count in fantasy, RG3 still isn't running (four rushes, one yard) and just based on the eye test, Griffin doesn't look like the same quarterback as the one who took the league by storm a year ago. Fantasy owners who have other options should consider them next weekend.
- DeAndre Hopkins' official breakout game was highlighted by seven catches for 117 yards and the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Hopkins has proven to be the perfect complement to veteran Andre Johnson, who racked up 76 yards on eight catches (13 targets) before exiting with a possible concussion in the fourth quarter. If Johnson is forced to miss any time, Hopkins will be the top option for the Texans passing game and a must-start for fantasy owners in Baltimore next weekend.
- It is difficult to have two alpha dogs in one offense, but for right now, Ben Tate and Arian Foster have found a peaceful co-existence splitting the workload in Houston. Tate has been the more productive of the two, averaging 8.2 yards per carry, through two games, despite getting just 18 carries to Foster's 37 carries, averaging 3.7 yards per carry.
- There isn't a lot to like with the Tennessee Titans offense besides Chris Johnson, who continues to be a non-factor in the passing game, but ran for 96 yards on 25 carries against the Texans. The only Titans wide receiver worth owning is Kendall Wright, who received a team-high 11 targets and caught seven of them for 54 yards and a touchdown.
- There was plenty of talk throughout the week about getting T.Y. Hilton more involved in the Colts offense and the result was a team-high 12 targets against Miami. Hilton only caught six of them, but they went for 124 yards. Hilton and Reggie Wayne remain the only options in the Colts passing game fantasy owners should consider starting.
- Mike Wallace bounced back from a less than stellar Dolphins debut to rack up 115 yards and a touchdown on nine catches. Brian Hartline was still involved, catching five passes for 68 yards, but clearly Miami made getting their big-ticket free agent involved their top priority.
- Lamar Miller returned to fantasy relevance with 14 carries for 69 yards and his first touchdown of the season, rebounding from a terrible Week 1 performance. Fantasy owners in deeper point-per-reception leagues should target Charles Clay, who not only punched in a short touchdown on the ground, but eclipsed the 100-yard mark with five catches for 109 yards on seven targets.
Kansas City 17
- Alex Smith shed the game-manager label to lead the Chiefs to a win over the Cowboys, completing 21-of-36 passes for 223 yards and touchdowns to Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe. Smith was also a factor on the ground, rushing for a career-high 57 yards. The Chiefs defense has also been a sneaky good fantasy unit, holding Dallas to just 16 points, forcing two turnovers and sacking Tony Romo three times.
- Dez Bryant delivered a monster performance (nine catches for 141 yards and a touchdown) but there was little else to rave about from the Cowboys offense. DeMarco Murray managed just 25 yards on 12 carries and no Cowboy besides Bryant had more than 35 yards receiving.