Saturday - Jun 15, 2019

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In The Spotlight – Week 2 In Review

Week 2 Fantasy Headlines:

Game Summaries & Fantasy Commentary:


Thursday Night Game:


                     


NEW YORK JETS

10


(1-1)


NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

13


(2-0)

Final

Fantasy Focus – New York Jets:
Bilal Powell is still the runner to own in New York’s committee backfield. He played 49 snaps while Chris Ivory played only 24. Powell made his second straight start of 2013, toting the rock 13 times for 48 yards while Ivory rushed 12 times for 52 yards. Powell, however, received first crack at goal-line carries. He notched New York’s first rushing score of the season in the third quarter. He also caught two balls for 22 yards, while Ivory wasn’t targeted in the passing game.

Rookie Geno Smith (15/35 for 214-0-3) was sacked four times and knocked down frequently. Stephen Hill topped all Jets receivers with four catches for 86 yards on eight targets. Kellen Winslow followed up his surprising Week 1 outing (7-79-1 versus the Buccaneers) with a very quiet three catches for 16 yards on six targets. Santonio Holmes, who is coming off a foot injury, hauled in three balls for 51 yards on six targets, but he is not playing full-time just yet. Kerley (concussion) was inactive.

Who is Smith’s favorite receiver? Two weeks into the season, Stephen Hill leads the Jets with 17 targets followed by Winslow with 14 looks and Holmes with nine.

Fantasy Tip:
It looks like the Powell/Ivory timeshare will last for a while, unless either player has a “meltdown moment.” Don’t write off Winslow. The Patriots defense usually takes away one weapon from an offense, and it was him.


Waiver Wire Prospects: None                                                             

 

Fantasy Focus – New England Patriots:
Not to take anything away from a rock-solid defensive effort from the Jets, but the New England offense was a shell of its high-scoring self. The losses of Danny Amendola (groin) and Shane Vereen (wrist surgery) were absolutely devastating. Lacking reliable targets, Tom Brady completed just 19-of-39 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown, which was his worst outing since 2010.

Rookie receivers Aaron Dobson (3-56-1 on 10 targets) and Kenbrell Thompkins (2-47-0 on seven targets) played poorly. They lacked timing and overall chemistry with Brady, and both dropped many catchable throws. Brady relied heavily on Julian Edelman, who led New England with a career-high 13 catches for 78 yards on a whopping 18 targets.

Why did Edelman amass just 78 receiving yards? Neither Dobson nor Thompkins could serve as a legitimate vertical threat, which is why the Jets defenders crowded the line of scrimmage more than usual. They seemed content to let Edelman make the grab and tackle him quickly.

With so many defenders in the box, Stevan Ridley didn’t find much running room. He racked up just 40 rushing yards on 16 carries and didn’t catch any passes. Ridley’s longest run of the game was only nine yards.

Fantasy Tip:
If you stop Ridley and contain Edelman, you can throttle Brady and the New England offense – at least for right now. Unless either Amendola or Rob Gronkowski (back surgery) returns in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sitting Brady and Ridley for safer options would make sense.

Waiver Wire Prospects:
None


Early Sunday Afternoon Games:


ST. LOUIS RAMS

24


(1-1)


ATLANTA FALCONS

31


(1-1)

Final

Fantasy Focus – St. Louis Rams:
For the second straight week, St. Louis started slowly. The Rams fell behind 24-3 and had to go into throw-heavy comeback mode, which limited the involvement of Daryl Richardson. He rushed just 10 times for 35 yards, but Richardson’s five receptions for 45 yards helped him cobble together a decent fantasy outing for owners in PPR leagues.

Sam Bradford completed 32 of his 55 throws for 352 yards and three touchdowns against just one pick, and he rushed three times for 25 yards. The Rams’ revamped offensive line did not allow a sack. The Falcons contained Jared Cook; he caught just one pass for 10 yards on six looks. With Cook bottled up, Tavon Austin topped all St. Louis receivers with 12 targets. The rookie hauled in six balls for 47 yards and the first two touchdown receptions of his career. Chris Givens was more involved this week. He was targeted eight times, catching five passes for 105 yards. Austin Pettis surprised with an 8-78-1 line on 11 looks.

Fantasy Tip:
I don’t see Pettis as a consistent fantasy option, so don’t chase his stats on the waiver wire. He had the big game only because Atlanta neutralized Cook.

Waiver Wire Prospect:
None

 

Fantasy Focus – Atlanta Falcons:
Disaster struck early. Steven Jackson opened the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown grab, but he left the game a short time later with a thigh injury. That scoring grab was Jackson’s only reception. He also rushed three times for no yards. Without Jackson, Atlanta couldn’t run the ball and eat up the clock, which is why the Rams were able to mount a comeback.

Jacquizz Rodgers couldn’t carry the load as the main runner in Jackson’s absence. Rodgers carried 11 times for just 17 yards and caught four balls for 28 yards. Jason Snelling toted the rock twice for 19 yards – he scored on an 11-yard run midway through the fourth quarter – and caught four balls for 41 yards.

Matt Ryan (33-of-43 for 374-2-0) overcame a ferocious pass rush to deliver his second straight 300-yard game of the season. With Jackson injured and Roddy White (high ankle sprain) playing at less than 100 percent, Ryan leaned heavily on Julio Jones. He looked very comfortable as the go-to guy, hauling in 11 balls for 182 yards and one touchdown on 14 targets. As expected, White (3-21-0 on three targets) was quiet, and Harry Douglas (4-43-0 on five looks) compiled a forgettable stat line.

For the second straight week, Gonzalez (4-33-0 on eight targets) turned in a quiet outing. Since White is struggling with an injury, it seemed reasonable to think that Gonzalez would rack up bigger numbers.

Fantasy Tip:
If Jackson misses some games, Snelling actually would be a worthwhile pickup. He is a much better between-the-tackles runner than Rodgers. Keep rolling with Gonzalez. In Week 3, he’ll face a Miami Dolphins defense that has struggled against the tight end position.

Waiver Wire Prospect:
Jason Snelling (assuming Jackson misses games)


                     


CLEVELAND BROWNS


 
6


(0-2)


BALTIMORE RAVENS

14


(1-1)

Final


Fantasy Focus – Cleveland Browns:
Cleveland never got on track against a Ravens defense that wanted to make up for its terrible showing last week. Jordan Cameron is the star of the Browns offense at the moment. He followed up his outstanding Week 1 outing with a rock-solid five receptions for 95 yards on seven targets. Davone Bess (5-38-0 on eight targets) and Greg Little (4-33-0 on 12 looks) were the next best receivers on the stat sheet.

Brandon Weeden (21 of 33 for 227-0-0) struggled big time against a nasty Baltimore pass rush. He was sacked five times, rushed several other times and looked discombobulated. Weeden left the contest in the fourth quarter with a thumb injury. Backup Jason Campbell (1-of-4 for six yards) did nothing in mop-up duty.

The Browns kept their promise to get Trent Richardson more involved in the offense. Richardson’s total touches increased from 15 in Week 1 to 23 in Week 2, but the Ravens successfully contained him.
 

Fantasy Tip:
The return of big-play threat Josh Gordon (suspension) in Week 3 should help open things up for Richardson.

Waiver Wire Prospect:
None

Fantasy Focus – Baltimore Ravens:
Cleveland’s defense is the real deal, and this bunch put up a fight against Joe Flacco and company. The Browns only sacked Flacco twice, but they constantly disrupted his timing and took away the deep stuff. Flacco went 22-of-33 for 211-1-0. Torrey Smith (7-85-0 on 13 looks) was surprisingly productive, despite constant shadow coverage from elite Cleveland cornerback Joe Hayden. Marlon Brown (4-45-1 on six targets) started in place of the injured Jacoby Jones (knee) and scored for the second straight week. Dallas Clark (1-8-0 on one target) was shaken up in the first quarter and was not a factor the rest of the way.

Ray Rice also struggled against the Browns defense. He rushed 13 times for 36 yards and caught three passes for nine yards before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a hip flexor injury. To the frustration of Rice owners, Bernard Pierce rushed 19 times for 57 yards and one touchdown. No, Pierce didn’t actually steal the touchdown. He happened to be subbing for Rice on that particular scoring drive.

Fantasy Tip:
Somebody in your league probably owns Marlon Brown already, but it never hurts to double-check the free-agent pool. He is locked in as a starter until Jones returns. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Brown continued to start even when Jones returns.

Waiver Wire Prospect:
Bernard Pierce (somebody probably owns him but check anyway)


CAROLINA PANTHERS

 
23


(0-2)


BUFFALO BILLS

 
24


(1-1)

Final


Fantasy Focus – Carolina Panthers:
The conservative philosophy of new Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula is holding this offense back and hurting Cam Newton’s fantasy stock. Newton completed 21-of-38 throws for 229 yards and two touchdowns against one interception. Here is the strange thing: Shula is determined to see the 6-foot-5, 244-pound Newton scramble less, which is ridiculous. Through the first two weeks of the season, he has rushed only nine times for 53 yards with no rushing scores. Last season, Newton would have compensated for a lackluster passing effort with his rushing skills. If Newton isn’t a threat to scramble regularly, he becomes more predictable to opposing defenses. Shula needs to let Newton be Newton.

The Carolina field general was under siege all game long from an unexpectedly productive Bills defense that sacked him six times. Newton settled for quite a few check-down throws. Greg Olsen (7-84-1 on eight targets) topped all Panthers receivers in catches, receiving yardage and targets. Steve Smith (5-52-0 on 11 targets) was held in check by Leodis McKelvin, while Brandon LaFell (4-13-0 on six targets) struggled for the second straight week.

DeAngelo Williams (22-85-0 rushing and 0-0-0 receiving) continues to receive the bulk of the rushing workload, and he topped the 80-yard mark for the second straight week. However, Williams hasn’t scored this season. Mike Tolbert (6-25-0 rushing and 2-18-0 receiving) continues to replace Williams in third-down and obvious passing situations.

Fantasy Tip:
Downgrade Williams to flex value. Stay the course with Newton. The Panthers have to let him start toting the rock regularly at some point. Head coach Ron Rivera is on the hot seat and needs to win now, and a productive Newton would help the cause.


Waiver Wire Prospects:

None

Fantasy Focus – Buffalo Bills:
C.J. Spiller broke off a 46-yard run in the fourth quarter to save his fantasy owners from another disappointing outing. Spiller finished with 103 rushing yards on 16 carries and 26 receiving yards on four receptions. However, for the second straight week, there was close to a 55 percent/45 percent split in the total touches between him and Fred Jackson. Unfortunately for Spiller owners, Jackson scored on a four-yard run in the third quarter on his way to carrying 12 times for 30 yards and catching four passes for 23 yards. With Week 2 in the books, Spiller has touched the ball 42 total times (no touchdowns), while Jackson has compiled 33 total touches (one touchdown scored).

Rookie E.J. Manuel (27/39 for 296-1-1 passing and 4-13-0 rushing) led an impressive last-minute scoring drive to help his team pull out the victory. Although Manuel’s stat line looks very respectable, he did miss on a lot of long passes and relied quite a bit on short stuff.

Stevie Johnson caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Manuel with two seconds left. Johnson led all Buffalo receivers with eight grabs for 111 yards and one touchdown on 10 targets. Johnson has scored in two straight games. Robert Woods was the only other receiver to make any noise on the stat sheet. He hauled in four passes for 68 yards on six looks.

Fantasy Tip:
If you own Johnson, he looks like a decent play as a flex or WR3 going forward, unless the matchup is a tough one. As long as Jackson is effective, it looks like he will continue to eat into Spiller’s touches.

Waiver Wire Prospects:
None

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