Week 1: Hey, we know some things.
Week 2: Nope.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) September 18, 2016
I have never seen a better summary of the first couple weeks of the NFL season than this.
We’re so starved for any information after the first week that we gorge ourselves on every morsel, sometimes without considering whether they have any nutritional value at all.
So, before we look at the hottest takes in the football world after Week 2, I thought it would be fun to look back to last week’s to see how they look with one more data point tacked on:
” Sammy Watkins is already a bust”
This one actually looks alright. Watkins was largely a non-factor in Week 2 as well, as his surgically repaired foot continues to be an issue
” Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers are back!”
Not so much. Neither one had a good week against tougher matchups in Week 2; in fact, neither mustered more than 300 yards of offense in Week 2.
” Jameis Winston is an elite quarterback”
I told you things were about to get tougher for the second-year passer, who went from four touchdowns in Week 1 to four interceptions in Week 2. Matchups against the Los Angeles Rams , Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers in upcoming weeks won’t make life much easier.
” Tevin Coleman is the RB to own in Atlanta”
Coleman was solid in Week 2, and isn’t going away, but he saw fewer snaps and carries than Freeman Sunday. He did strangely feature into the passing game more than his backfield mate, however.
” A.J. Green is this year’s DeAndre Hopkins “
Green was held to just two receptions for 38 yards on a rainy Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers . Better luck next week!
” Adrian Peterson is this year’s Marshawn Lynch”
At least Lynch made it further than Week 2 before suffering a serious injury.
” Coby Fleener is already a bust”
After another subpar performance in which he looked out of sync with Drew Brees , the panic level is starting to rise.
Maybe this week’s overreactions will have a better track record.
“Jerrick McKinnon will finish with more Fantasy points than Adrian Peterson”
All that concern about Adrian Peterson from the preseason came crashing down on top of his Fantasy owners Sunday, as Peterson had to be carried to the locker room with a knee injury. He has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee and, though head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters he will not rule out his veteran back for Week 3, that seems like an overly optimistic outlook given the injury. The timetable for a meniscus tear can vary widely depending on which approach to repairing the injury the player opts for. If he opts for a meniscectomy and has it removed, Peterson could be back in a couple of weeks. At this point, we just don’t know, but this is a very bad sign for a player many were already worried about.
The question is whether McKinnon will be able to step up if Peterson is indeed out for the long haul. McKinnon was the go-to Peterson handcuff in draft season, but he split time with Matt Asiata Sunday, as both logged 12 snaps for the Minnesota Vikings . Asiata was actually more involved in the offense in 2014 than McKinnon, though that is skewed by the fact that McKinnon missed five games with a back injury. From Week 2 through Week 11, when both were healthy, Asiata had 107 touches to McKinnon’s 121 over the span of nine games. McKinnon should get the bulk of the work — he’s simply the better player — but Asiata will be involved as well, and looms as a big goal-line threat. The hours after Peterson’s diagnosis might be the best time to look to trade McKinnon if you have him, because the reality may not live up to expectations from here on out.
” Todd Gurley will end up this year’s biggest bust”
Nobody has had a tougher job than Gurley in the first two weeks of the season. His Week 1 matchup against the 49ers didn’t look tough on paper, but the 49ers defensive line constantly disrupted the Rams’ backfield, forcing Gurley to work hard just to make it back to the line of scrimmage. The Seattle Seahawks similarly made life miserable in Week 2, though that was more predictable. Add it up, and Gurley ranks just 23rd in rushing yards among running backs after Week 2, despite racking up the seventh-most yards after contact in the league, per ProFootballFocus.com. In fact, among the top-30 running backs in carries through two games, Gurley is the only one who has picked up more yards after contact than total yards. Gurley’s talent has shone through even in the darkest times, but things might not get easier for him until Week 5, when the Buffalo Bills are on the schedule. He has to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 and the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4, who ranked ninth and second, respectively, in rush defense DVOA last season.
“Ezekiel Elliot isn’t worth the hype”
Has any player in the NFL been more underwhelming than Elliot so far? The No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft hasn’t exactly been bad, and the workload has been nice, with 20 carries in each game so far. However, he has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry through two games, despite running behind arguably the best line in the NFL. Elliot ranks just 26th at running back in yards per carry after contact, a sign that he isn’t accomplishing much beyond what his offensive line is giving him. It’s too early to panic about Elliot, especially if he keeps getting 20 carries per game — including goal-line work — but you probably invested a first-round pick in him on the idea that his talent would shine even brighter behind a line that made Darren McFadden Fantasy relevant last season. So far, that hasn’t been the case.
” Jeremy Hill deserves to lose his job”
Jeremy Hill absolutely took the league by storm as a rookie, rumbling for 1,100-plus yards in 2014 with much of the damage coming late. Hill had just 195 rushing yards in the Cincinnati Bengals ‘ first seven games of that season, before averaging 103 yards per game from Week 9 on — 5.4 yards per carry. Hill was a punishing runner, but it wasn’t just four yards and a cloud of dust — he could hit the home run too, with eight carries of at least 20 yards in his final nine games. Hill has now played 18 games since the start of last season and he has just one such carry in that time. He has averaged just 3.5 yards per carry since his rookie season, an unsustainable number for an offense missing as many weapons as the Bengals are. It would be one thing if he was the only running back on the roster with skill, however Giovani Bernard has carried the ball 164 times since the start of last season, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Bernard is obviously the better pass-catcher out of the two, but he might also be the better runner. At the very least, if Hill remains so ineffective, don’t the Bengals have to find out if Bernard can do more as the featured back?
“The New Orleans Saints ‘ offense is only good at home”
If you were looking for reasons to be skeptical about Drew Brees and the Saints, the first two games have offered a perfect example of why that might not be crazy. Brees led the offense to 34 points and 507 total yards in Week 1 at home, and then sputtered to 13 points and 288 yards in New York in Week 2. That continues an ugly trend from last season, as the Saints averaged just 18.6 points and 377.6 total yards on the road last season, compared to a robust 32.4 points and 430 yards per game at the Superdome. The Saints’ offense won’t be bad on the road, and you’re still starting Brees, Mark Ingram , Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead across the board on the road. However, it is fair to be skeptical of how good they might be away from New Orleans.
” John Brown is a bust”
For a half-second, it looked like Fantasy owners’ prayers had been answered. In the midst of an ugly, blowout win over the Buccaneers, a Cardinals receiver with a number in the low teens and the last name “Brown” on his jersey came open for a 51-yard touchdown. Your fears about John Brown’s offseason struggles and slow start had been alleviated! Except, wait… That’s No. 13? And, did the announcer say, ” Jaron Brown ?” Yep. In fact, John Brown actually played one fewer offensive snaps than Jaron did in Week 2. Given that John Brown was actually second on the Cardinals in snaps played at wide receiver last season, that is a bit concerning. Brown has just two catches on seven targets through two games, and it would be difficult for him not to be a bust if he is the Cardinals’ No. 4 receiver.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Fantasy Football Week 2 Hot Takes: Todd Gurley, Adrian Peterson already busts?