Ballers, and Bums – Week 2

 

How is it that the Bills can’t stop a nosebleed, put up 31 points, but Rob Ryan still has a job and the Offensive Coordinator doesn’t? Who is this guy in the Darrelle Revis jersey? Did Forte just score another TD? Will there be any healthy players left on our fantasy rosters by Week 7? I thought the Raiders defense was supposed to be good? How in the hell did Cleveland go the last 50 mins of the game without a point (the game is only 60 mins by the way), but still manage to put up 20 points? Great… Another USC QB – Anyone remember Matt Barkley, John David Booty, or Matt Leinart? If I put on a Chargers jersey, will I tear my ACL? Why do kick returners keep bringing it out of the end zone, and getting stopped at the 18, when a touchback goes to the 25? Why doesn’t anyone know what a catch is?

*audible gasp*

Where were all the points in the Saints/Giants game? Are we seeing the end of the Seahawks run? Can Jared Goff not lead the Rams offense to 4.5 points per game? I thought this was “the year” the Jags would turn the corner? Did the Packers actually play corners? Who is this guy in the Sam Bradford jersey? Is it Darrelle Revis? Is Stefon Diggs still open? Are the Vikings Super Bowl contenders without Teddy… And possibly AP? Why are the Bears so depressing? Has Carson Wentz been here before? Is Philly legit? Why does Kirk Cousins like throwing the ball to the other team so much? I wonder if anyone still “likes that”? What’s the point of NFL Sunday Ticket if every game goes to commercial at the exact same time? How does that even happen?

*slightly less audible gasp*

I could probably go on for another hour or two, but that really wasn’t the point of this post. But, maybe it should be? Maybe I should just keep thinking of questions, and name this “Unanswered NFL Questions of the Week”? Hmmm…. I’m back at it again already, and that’s the most unoriginal title. Maybe worse than, “Ballers, and Bums – Week 2”. To go along with the endless questions, Week 2 presented countless good (and bad) performances, more injuries, a few upsets… Overall, a great week in the NFL, and hopefully this applies to your fantasy teams as well! If not, don’t panic. Plenty of time to reverse the ratio, and have more ballers than bums…

*Disclaimer: Not necessarily the best (or worst) fantasy scorers. Ballers are guys who weren’t expected to put up huge numbers, but did, and visa versa. Fantasy points based on the ESPN standard scoring system.

Baller of the Week:

Philip Rivers: 17/24, 220 yards, 4 TDs (1 car 10 yards) – 23 fantasy points

Love him, or hate him, Rivers is one of the fiercest competitors in the game. Hands down. However, coming into Sunday’s game, it was hard to not come up with reasons to doubt him. He had already lost his top receiving option in Keenan Allen for the year, and Antonio Gates is in the twilight of his career. Leaving him with Danny Woodhead as his most proven receiving threat, and to make matters worse, they were taking on a Jags defense who held their own versus GB in Week 1, and were thought to be an up and coming unit. Then, to make matters even worser (where’s the red squiggly line?) shortly after kickoff, he loses Woodhead for the season with a torn ACL. Does any of this matter to Philip? Of course not. He proceeded to go out and do something that he’s only done three times in his 13 year career… Threw 4 TDs with 0 INTs. Well played, sir.

Bum(s) of the Week:

A.J. Green/Antonio Brown: 2 receptions 38 yards, 4 receptions 39 yards – 6 combined fantasy points

This game had so many intriguing storylines: The history of the teams, the division rivalry, the rematch of last year’s crazy Wild Card game, and most interestingly (from a fantasy perspective) the head to head matchup of two of the top receivers in the game. Such high expectations I had *Yoda voice*. The game itself lived up to the expectations; the receivers? Not so much. This was a game in which Dalton and Big Ben combined to throw 91 passes. A game where Dalton threw for 366 yards and a TD, and Big Ben went for 259 yards and 3 TDs. Yet, Brown and Green made 6 catches for 77 yards…. Combined! Credit due to both defenses (and Giovani Bernard/DeAngelo Williams), but a disappointing performance from two unanimous Top 10 (maybe 5) receivers.

Quarterback

Baller:
Sam Bradford: 22/31, 286 yards, 2 TDs – 19 fantasy points

EVERYONE mocked the Vikings for giving up a 1st round pick to get this guy, and rightfully so. He’s been passed around from team to team more than a groupie, he’s forever injured, and he’s never truly lived up to his expectations as a former #1 pick. He didn’t completely exercise his demons on Sunday night, but he damn sure silenced the critics. Green Bay’s secondary isn’t exactly the Legion of Boom, but Bradford made great decisions, big throws, and played well even after losing Adrian Peterson. If he can continue to play like this, with that defense, watch out for the Vikings.

Honorable mention – Check the Wire
Ryan Tannehill: 32/45, 389 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs (6 carries 35 yards) – 22 fantasy points

Game flow is mostly responsible for Tannehill’s big day – as the Dolphins fell behind early, had to abandon the run, and New England’s defense was more preventative, but who cares? He still completed 71% of his passes, had two 100 yard receivers, and even picked up some extra points on the ground. Tannehill has plenty of weapons in Miami, and they’re playing with more pace this season. If Tannehill is available, he’s an excellent matchup play this week vs. Cleveland.

Bum:
Eli Manning: 32/41, 368 yards, 0 TDs – 12 fantasy points

101, 79, 73, 75…. No, this isn’t one of those “which number comes next?” questions, it’s the total number of points scored in the last four matchups between these two teams. The Saints headed to NY fresh off of a 35-34 shootout loss, where their secondary was torched over, and over, and over, and over… And over, and over, and over by Oakland. They were also without their leading corner Delvin Breaux, and all signs pointed to another shootout… Nope. Sure, Eli threw for almost 400 yards, and in reality, you’ll take that. However, for fantasy purposes, the 0 TDs left a lot of owners sick. He finished as the #23 QB for the week.

Running Back

Baller:
Melvin Gordon: 24 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD (3 receptions 18 yards) – 17 fantasy points

Who is this guy in the Melvin Gordon jersey, and where did last year’s version go? You thought I was done with the questions, huh? If you came across a copy Grays Sports Almanac this off season, and asked me to guess who the top 5 fantasy running backs would be after the 1st two weeks, I probably would’ve quit before I even thought of Melvin Gordon. Yet, here he stands at #4. This was the first 100 yard game of his young career, and he did so without Woodhead, or Allen to draw away defensive attention. I guess you could blame the matchup. Jacksonville allowed 4.36 yards per carry to Eddie Lacy in Week 1, and Gordon’s yards per carry was an almost identical 4.25, but nah… He just balled out.

Honorable Mention – Check the Wire
Fozzy Whittaker: 16 carries, 100 yards (3 receptions 31 yards)– 11 fantasy points

Not finding the end zone put a damper on his big day, but he still finished as the #17 RB, and filled in admirably for Jonathan Stewart. Whittaker isn’t the most shifty RB, but has big play ability, and fits Carolina’s system well. He will have a much tougher time finding room to run vs. the Vikings this week, but if Stewart’s injury keeps him out a few weeks, Whittaker should consistently put up numbers.

Bum:

Injuries, injuries, injuries, and more injuries! Week 2 saw Rashad Jennings, Ameer Abdullah, Doug Martin, Danny Woodhead, Thomas Rawls, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Stewart, and Arian Foster all miss time, or leave the game completely, due to injuries. Ridiculous. One of the worst things to deal with in fantasy football is losing players to injury, but in the grand scheme of things, the game is meaningless. Wishing a speedy recovery to all.

Wide Receiver

Baller:
Stefon Diggs: 9 receptions, 182 yards, 1 TD – 24 fantasy points

He’s still open. Listen, a lot of credit goes to Sam Bradford, the Vikings O-Line, and the Packers terrible secondary. But, the reality is, Stefon Diggs is the main reason for their success (and lack thereof). He ran sharp, precise routes. Showed amazing speed, and quickness. Caught everything thrown his way (9 catches on 10 targets)… He looked incredible on Sunday night. That’s of no surprise, after his rookie campaign, but Sam Bradford hasn’t even been on the team a month. But hey, you know what ballers do? They elevate those around him. That’s exactly what Mr. Diggs did on Sunday.

Honorable Mention – Check the Wire
Travis Benjamin: 6 receptions, 115 yards, 2 TDs – 23 fantasy points

Philip Rivers loves to throw the ball + his 2 best receiving options are down with injuries + Antonio Gates is still a good player, but he’s not Antonio Gates = Travis Benjamin balling out. Benjamin was limited in Cleveland, but now has an opportunity to shine, and Week 2 showed us he’s more than capable of rising to the occasion… This performance was not a fluke, trust. Pick him up if he’s out there, and you’ll definitely want him in your lineup this weekend at Indy.

Bum:
Emmanuel Sanders: 3 receptions, 39 yards – 3 fantasy points

In the most legendary call of my illustrious career, one for the ages, that will be heralded by the masses for all of eternity… I called a big game from Emmanuel Sanders in Week 2, proclaiming him the DraftKings Start of the Week at WR… Ouch. Poor QB play is a factor here, but man…

Tight End

Ballers:
Jacob Tamme: 5 receptions, 75 yards, 1 TD – 13 fantasy points

I hate to say I told you so, but last week, I said this. I’m not quite out of the hole I dug with Emmanuel Sanders, but it’s a start. Tamme led the Falcons in targets with 8. Yes led, meaning more targets than Julio Jones. Sure, he’s a no flash, no frills, just do my job and go home kind of guy, but the point here is to score fantasy points #staywoke

Honorable Mention – Check the Wire
Kyle Rudolph: 3 receptions, 31 yards, 1 TD – 9 fantasy points

In an ideal situation, the 8 targets he’s received over the 1st two games would lead to more production, but you really can’t be mad at his 7 receptions for 96 yards and a TD. He’s currently the #8 TE, and with AP going down, and Stefon Diggs likely to draw even more attention, you have to like the odds of him continuing to put up numbers. Pick him up.

Bums:
Coby Fleener: 2 receptions, 29 yards – 2 fantasy points

Our first back to back appearance of the year! Given the offense he’s in, his 12 targets, and the talent he showed in Indy, I still can’t help but continue to believe. However, he now has 3 catches for 35 yards over his first two games as a Saint… I’ll just let that marinate.

Let’s be real – every week you’ll have ballers, and every week you’ll have bums… It’s inevitable. The key, however, is to minimize the bums. So, be sure to check back for the Week 3 Rankings to ensure you’re optimizing your lineups, and securing a W in Week 3.

 

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