It’s easy after one week to hold true to what you believed in the preseason. It was just one game after all. Well, now it’s been two.
We’ve now seen 12.5 percent of the season. That’s about 20 games of a baseball season. Far too early to make definitive proclamations about what will happen the rest of the way.
Most of the time.
There are a few things we thought before the season that have looked flat out wrong and it’s difficult to see how that’s going to change. We’ll start with one of the most obvious.
The Seattle Seahawks pass offense was overrated.
Russell Wilson had a breakout season in 2015, largely because over the final half of the season he was the best quarterback in football. Wilson made Doug Baldwin look like an all-world wideout and Tyler Lockett emerged as a rookie phenom.
Coming into this season Wilson was a consensus top-five quarterback, Baldwin was a top-20 wide receiver and I spent the month of August bemoaning that everyone was overlooking the imminent Lockett breakout.
Through two games the Seahawks have been one of the worst offenses in the league, barely beating the hapless Miami Dolphins before falling to a Los Angeles Rams team that had just been shellacked 28-0 by the San Francisco 49ers . In the process they’ve scored 15 points. Wilson has thrown the ball 78 times and he has just one passing touchdown. This is not an elite offense.
What’s wrong with the Seattle offense? The line is bad. They can’t run it, and Wilson is just OK when he can’t move.
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) September 19, 2016
Verdict: Don’t believe it. Wilson is clearly not healthy and their Week 2 game was against a top defense. The Seahawks went on the road against a team that had just been embarrassed. Oh yeah, and it was their opponent’s first game in their new (old) town with a rabid fan base. The Rams were the hungrier team on Sunday and that showed.
Wilson is in the unenviable position of playing behind a patchwork offensive line without his mobility. One, if not both, of those things is going to improve as the year goes on. Wilson is an excellent buy-low candidate and so are both of his young wide receivers. We’ve seen this offense at its best. Even if it doesn’t reach that level again it will be much better and worth more than you would have to pay to get it now.
Travis Benjamin is must-start in leagues that require three receivers.
We wrote a lot about Benjamin last week, but we didn’t expect an explosion like this. The 26-year-old receiver caught all six of his targets for 115 yards and two touchdowns despite a bad game script against the Jacksonville Jaguars .
How bad was the game script? Benjamin saw just one target in the final 24 minutes of game time. Of course, he turned that one target into a 45-yard touchdown. With a good quarterback in Philip Rivers and little competition for targets, Benjamin could creep into No. 2 WR very quickly.
Verdict: Believe it. The thing I enjoyed the most about Benjamin’s game was that he was used underneath and on the deep ball. The underneath stuff is what he needs to do to replace Keenan Allen , but Benjamin excelled last year in the deep passing game with a much worse quarterback.
I speculated last week that Benjamin should be in line for close to 150 targets this year and the injury to Danny Woodhead only helps that. If he’s somehow still on the waiver wire, you should add him quickly, even in 10-team leagues.
You can drop Coby Fleener and stream tight ends.
I was late to jump on the Fleener bandwagon, but I jumped on nonetheless. I should have stuck to my guns. Through two games Fleener has been a colossal disappointment, catching 3 of 12 targets and failing to provide anything close to startable tight end numbers.
Fleener will have some good games, I have no doubt. But he’s not the type of tight end you have to hold onto. Find a tight end that has a good matchup and roll with him in Week 3. You won’t miss Fleener.
Verdict: Believe it — with a caveat. You have to want to stream tight ends. This is not the easy way out. The easy way out is sticking with Fleener and hoping your preseason expectations come true. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Either way you don’t have to do anything.
Jesse James , Dennis Pitta , Vance McDonald and Clive Walford (amongst others) all outperformed Fleener in Week 2. They’re also the exact type of tight end that will be available most weeks on the waiver wire. If you’re only halfway in but have a free roster spot, bench Fleener until he shows something and pick up a streamer to start this week. Either way, your dream of having a top-five tight end is likely dead.
Matt Ryan is back as a solid No. 1 QB.
I wrote about Ryan as a sleeper this summer. I did not expect him to wake up like this. Ryan is the only starting quarterback in the league averaging 10 yards per attempt. He’s second in the league in touchdown passes (5), passing yards (730) and completion percentage (72.6). Ryan’s 121.4 passer rating leads the NFL.
Yes, he’s faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders . But that Raiders game was a cross-country trip against a defense we thought was going to be decent. I’m not saying Ryan is a top-three quarterback, but he’s a legitimate week-to-week starter in most leagues assuming he doesn’t have a terrible matchup.
Verdict: Believe it. Why wouldn’t you? Last year was the anomaly for Ryan, when he didn’t finish as a top-12 quarterback. It was mostly due to the fact he had some wonky red-zone numbers and Roddy White was no longer a legitimate No. 2 option. Ryan has a No. 2 in Mohamed Sanu now and he still has one of the best receivers in the game. As long as Julio Jones stays healthy enough to play each week Ryan should be a solid top-12 QB.
The presence of a quality No. 2 and 3 receiver will prevent Odell Beckham from matching 2015.
Beckham is an incredible wide receiver. This is meant as no disrespect. But he’s not approaching what he did in 2014 or 2015. That’s OK. He could have the worst year of his career and still be better than 90 percent of the receivers in the league. In fact, that’s likely exactly what is about to happen. If there’s someone in your league who thinks this is just a funk and Beckham will get back to his otherworldly pace, sell now.
Verdict: Believe it. For almost his entire career, Beckham has been the only good wide receiver on his team. That is no longer the case. Not by a long shot.
Each of the past two seasons Rueben Randle has finished second on the team in targets. Randle is not a good wide receiver, just ask the Philadelphia Eagles .
Instead of Randle, Beckham now shares targets with both Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard , both of which have looked excellent in the first two weeks. The pair has combined for 19 receptions, 285 yards and a score in their first two games together. With that type of production coming out of the Nos. 2 and 3 spots it’s going to be tough for Beckham to come anywhere close to the numbers we’ve come to expect.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Week 2 Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Matt Ryan, Odell Beckham and overrated/underrated