Like an annual sign of autumn, the panic sets in quickly for fantasy football owners. It wouldn’t be the Monday after Week 1 if someone didn’t want to trade Eddie Lacy for Brandin Cooks.
We don’t want to sleep on important things we learned in Week 1, like how Zach Ertz’s usage makes him the real deal and Le’Veon Bell’s weight loss has made him far quicker. But we also don’t want to overreact to fluky first impressions:
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Expected to play the role-playing Kevin Walter spot in Gary Kubiak’s offense, Steve Smith instead erupted in his first game as a Raven for 7-118-1 on a whopping 15 targets. It wasn’t nearly as good as it sounds. Smith took advantage of a blown coverage on a broken play to nab an 80-yard touchdown, meaning his other 14 targets produced six catches and 38 yards. That’s the kind of inefficiency that got the 35-year-old cut in Carolina. Smith is an excellent sell-high candidate, while Torrey Smith makes for a nice buy-low.
Eagles fans won’t want to hear this, but Andy Reid knows he screwed up on Sunday. He gave Jamaal Charles seven carries and four targets in a game the Chiefs started Donnie Avery and Frankie Hammond at wideout. It was “negligence,” something Reid admitted at his Monday press conference. Pessimists will want to poke holes in Charles through a weak offensive line and a defense that will put them behind more this season, but we’re splitting hairs here. JC is the centerpiece of this offense in every situation and one of the most naturally gifted backs in the league. If someone is selling, I’m buying.
Vernon does Dallas
When the schedule first came out, I pegged Vernon Davis as a sell-high candidate after Week 1. Predictably, he ripped Dallas’ “defense” for four catches, 44 yards and two touchdowns. Also predictably, he was only targeted six times. We knew that volume was going to be an issue this season as the 49ers’ run-heavy scheme now has a lot of mouths to feed. Remember that in the eight games Michael Crabtree played in last year (including playoffs), Davis averaged just 4.6 targets per game. Davis’ boom against the Cowboys is a good bet to be his best output of the year.
Pickups of the Week
Terrance West, RB, Browns – Ben Tate’s latest injury will cost him 2-4 weeks. West plays ahead of committee partner Isaiah Crowell.
Brian Quick, WR, Rams – The light is finally coming on for a favorite of the metrics crowd. The Rams schemed more balls to Quick than Kenny Britt.
Larry Donnell, TE, Giants — Certainly not a great talent, but locked as starter and gets dream matchup with Arizona this week.
Avoid these borderline players in Week 2
1. Philip Rivers – The Seahawks have flattened Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick and Drew Brees in their last four games. Rivers is next.
2. Rueben Randle – There’s zero chemistry between Randle and Eli Manning. And now Patrick Peterson comes calling.
3. Trent Richardson – The offense runs far smoother when Ahmad Bradshaw is in. Also, don’t sleep on this underrated Eagles run defense.
Ray Rice’s deserved release from the Ravens leaves more questions than answers in their backfield. Bernard Pierce, who was rotating evenly with Justin Forsett even before his fumble, will get another chance. Forsett will likely get the most touches Thursday night, but he’s a journeyman scatback that can’t hold the job all year. Perhaps the answer is fourth-round rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, who profiles as a no-nonsense three-down back. Someone is going to emerge for effective run-game schemer Gary Kubiak here – the Ravens just don’t know who it is yet.