Fantasy Football: Breaking down every Week 2 Sunday game

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Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady tossed another five touchdowns and is up to nine on the year, as a monster fantasy season is in store. Brady doesn’t run, but the rest of his setup is ideal, as Tampa Bay continues to sport the league’s No. 1 pass-funnel defense, helping result in a bunch of high-scoring games (66.5 points averaged over the first two weeks). It also helps Brady has four All-Pro pass catchers to throw to while continuing to be among the league leaders in end-zone attempts.

Ronald Jones softly ran out of bounds without a defender close by one yard before the first-down marker and allowed at least one obvious sack, while Leonard Fournette also fumbled, so Tampa Bay has no reason not to center its offense around the GOAT.

Brady doesn’t have quite the same fantasy ceiling as other QBs who run, but there’s a real chance he throws 50+ touchdowns this season as a 44-year-old.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12)
Tom Brady is on another level through two weeks. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

It was Mike Evans’ turn on Tampa Bay’s carnival ride this week, and he also leads the league in leaving games with a seemingly serious injury only to quickly return to action unscathed … That’s three-straight games with two touchdowns for Rob Gronkowski, so I guess Yahoo DFS had the last laugh (his salary was curiously this week’s highest among tight ends) … Antonio Brown was quiet Sunday, so expect a big Week 3, as Brady likely continues to take turns giving his receivers weekly action … Mike Edwards became the first player with two pick-sixes in the same game in nine years.

One of the most disappointing people through two weeks is actually a coach, as Arthur Smith punted on 4th and a foot from midfield to Brady (predictably resulting in a touchback), only to call for a Matt Ryan (failed) sneak on a 4th-and-2 soon thereafter. Smith hasn’t exactly impressed during the early stages of his move from OC to head coach … Ryan looked plenty capable of keeping Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts’ fantasy values afloat, while Cordarrelle Patterson has emerged as an intriguing fantasy back. He saw six targets while both rushing and catching a touchdown Sunday. CPatt is WR/RB eligible and available in more than 85% of Yahoo leagues.

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

Jameis Winston was awful (-10.6 CPOE) and dragged down Alvin Kamara’s (two carries for four yards at halftime) fantasy value with him. New Orleans was dealing with injuries, but Week 3’s matchup in New England isn’t exactly favorable … Marquez Callaway had a top-80 ADP in NFFC’s Primetime leagues but looks droppable after totaling just 22 yards on six targets through two games … Adam Trautman went from leading New Orleans in targets last week to ghosting the box score Sunday … Christian McCaffrey briefly exited with cramps but still saw 29 touches and put up a big PPR game against a Saints defense that allowed the fewest fantasy points to RBs last season. CMC is a very good argument for “third-round reversal” in fantasy football drafts … Sam Darnold looks miles better without Adam Gase, but Robby Anderson’s usage is a concern over the first two weeks of the year.

After he recorded just two red-zone catches last season, it was nice to see DJ Moore secure an end-zone target from inside the five Sunday.

Houston Texans @ Cleveland Browns

Tyrod Taylor looked terrific for the second straight week before a hamstring injury (on this TD run) prevented him from playing the second half, as those (the majority) who backed Cleveland in Survivor pools got breaks with Davis Mills forced into the final two quarters of action. Taylor was off to an incredible start both for Houston and those using him in Superflex leagues, and the downgrade to Mills will be significant moving forward. It’s certainly bad news for Brandin Cooks’ fantasy value, which might have been at a career-high. Mills missed Cooks on a wide-open 50-plus-yard touchdown Sunday … Jarvis Landry also left with a possibly serious injury, which means Odell Beckham Jr.’s ability to return becomes even more important … It’s hard to argue with Nick Chubb’s production, but it’s certainly easy to complain about his usage, as Kareem Hunt saw two more touches … The Texans recorded their fourth interception of the season in the second quarter, already marking more than they had all of 2020, although the team bungled this coaching decision Sunday:

Cincinnati Bengals @ Chicago Bears

Joe Burrow was picked off on three straight passes at one point but was still able to keep all three Bengals wideouts fantasy values afloat, with Ja’Marr Chase making another long TD grab ... Justin Fields produced just seven first downs during his seven drives, but those 10 carries have fantasy managers ready for him to take over for good … Joe Mixon and David Montgomery turned 40 carries into just 130 total yards but continued to see the overwhelming majority of their team’s backfield work.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Major props to Derek Carr, who threw for nearly 400 yards (10.3 YPA) without any turnovers in a tough setup against one of the league’s best defenses — while traveling across the country to start a 10 am game — after just playing overtime on Monday night. Carr did all of this with his lead back Josh Jacobs inactive and Darren Waller having a relatively quiet game (he failed to become the first tight end ever to record five straight 100-yard games). There was even a Henry Ruggs sighting … It appears Kenyan Drake’s role won’t change even with no Jacobs, which is a real bummer for his fantasy value. I wouldn’t bother picking up Peyton Barber outside of deep formats … The Island of Foster Moreau remains a sleeper dynasty hold and would be worth grabbing in fantasy leagues should Waller ever go down …

Najee Harris continued to dominate Pittsburgh’s backfield yet struggled to find any running room even in a supposed smash spot. Still, his targets may be increased if Diontae Johnson’s knee injury suffered on the game’s meaningless final play is serious. Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster would both also see big boosts in fantasy value should Johnson miss time. Ben Roethlisberger probably isn’t washed (his nerd stats were just fine Sunday, and the Bills’ pass defense — which locked the Steelers up in Week 1 — looked strong again in Week 2) … Bryan Edwards had a touchdown catch questionably overturned or called back by penalty for the second week in a row.

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins

The regression talk is winning out through two weeks with Josh Allen, who’s yet to record 5.5 YPA in a game to open the year. Of course, that’s come against a couple of tough secondaries, and Allen added two TD passes and 35 rushing yards Sunday anyway. He’ll be just fine … Both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss looked good while combining for three touchdown runs, but they remain no better than flex options moving forward as part of a RBBC with a QB who’s a goal-line beast … Myles Gaskin saw just five of the team’s 20 carries, as Miami’s backfield looks like another fantasy disaster. The situation would only get worse should Tua Tagovailoa miss time with a rib injury that forced him out of Sunday’s game, as Jacoby Brissett is both a downgrade as a passer and a bigger threat to steal rushing scores … The early Tua injury didn’t help, but Jaylen Waddle was a big disappointment with no Will Fuller, failing to reach 50 yards and losing a fumble … In some good Dolphins news, the team has forced a turnover an NFL-high 24 straight games.

Los Angeles Rams @ Indianapolis Colts

Darrell Henderson was being treated as LA’s true workhorse and was looking like a first-round fantasy player until he got hurt. And that’s why Sony Michel was one of the most valuable RB2s to have on fantasy benches. Quietly impressive in limited work last year and now in a highly favorable system with little competition, Michel would be a top-15-type fantasy RB should Henderson miss time … Robert Woods saw more work than last week, but Cooper Kupp is Matthew Stafford’s favorite target and looks like a draft-day steal. Assuming Kupp’s knee issues don’t return, he’s a real threat to lead the league in TD catches this season … In a day filled with injuries, Carson Wentz rolled his ankle “pretty bad.” The Colts also must go on the road over the next three weeks, but I’d still be offering trades for Jonathan Taylor right now.

San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles

Jimmy Garoppolo finished with the lowest intended air yards of any game of his career, while Jalen Hurts’ aDOT jumped all the way to 14.6. Hurts’ fantasy day was saved by his legs, as Quez Watkins somehow didn’t score during a 91-yard catch. Jimmy G looked flat-out bad for stretches of this game, but it might take losing (or an injury) for SF to turn to Trey Lance any time soon … The Eagles wisely went for two down 17-9, as the new coaching staff continues to impress … Brandon Aiyuk remained quiet and needs to stay on fantasy benches … The 49ers’ backfield was once again a roller coaster against a stout-looking Eagles defense, as Elijah Mitchell dominated work (without much success) only to leave injured on a touchdown run that was later overturned (by an inch). JaMycal Hasty committed a bad fumble and then also left with an ankle injury.

That forced rookie Trey Sermon into action, whom the 49ers traded up to draft in Round 3 before making him a healthy scratch in Week 1. He proceeded to both get injured and fumble during his first and only career carry (it was also arguably the 49ers’ best of the day).

You can’t make this stuff up. Mitchell would return, and there’s hope he only suffered a “stinger.” The fast rookie looks like SF’s feature back if healthy (although Jeff Wilson needs to be stashed on all benches/IR spots too), and the 49ers have one of the most favorable looking schedules moving forward. But what a mess.

Denver Broncos @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Tim Patrick and Noah Fant scored, but Courtland Sutton is the biggest beneficiary of Jerry Jeudy’s injury, as he looked fully recovered from his knee injury during a big performance Sunday. Teddy Bridgewater continues to be a major upgrade over Drew Lock, so Sutton can easily be a top-20-type fantasy WR while Jeudy is sidelined … It was nice to see James Robinson get all of Jacksonville’s RB work, but it wasn’t so nice to see Laviska Shenault get -3 receiving yards on seven targets. Shenault’s ADP shot all the way up to No. 61 in NFFC Primetime leagues; he’s set for an MRI on Monday ... Marvin Jones, who was brought in by Urban Meyer and has ties with OC Darrell Bevell back in Detroit, has emerged as the team’s WR1 … Trevor Lawrence was making just his second career start and faced a tough defense, but a -18.8 CPOE at home is rough in any context.

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

Speaking of tough rookie outings, Zach Wilson appeared to see ghosts at times while entering halftime with as many picks (three) as completions. He finished with a -17.6 total EPA that’s in the third percentile, which isn’t great, Bob. Of course, he was missing his left tackle against a Bill Belichick defense that’s now 10-1 over NE’s last 11 games versus rookie QBs, so cut the kid some slack … I ranked Corey Davis way too high in Week 2 … Tevin Coleman can be dropped in all but the deepest of leagues … Rookie Rhamondre Stevenson was a healthy scratch after losing a fumble last week, while Damien Harris redeemed himself with a sick touchdown run in which he might still be breaking a tackle as of this writing. 

Minnesota Vikings @ Arizona Cardinals

It’s hard not to treat Kyler Murray as the QB1 moving forward; don’t forget, he was on pace to score the most fantasy points of all time before suffering a shoulder injury last season. He’s still running this year and plays for a team with the league’s fastest pace that added exciting rookie Rondale Moore at receiver.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1)
Kyler Murray looks like he could be the top fantasy QB moving forward. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Kirk Cousins tossed three touchdowns and even rushed for 35 yards, and it’s too bad Minnesota usually runs one of the league’s slowest paces … Dalvin Cook suffered an ankle injury late, and Alexander Mattison would suddenly become a must-start should he miss time … In a wild game that featured a whopping 47 first-half points, kicking was the difference, as Matt Prater nailed a 62-yard field while the game ended with Greg Joseph missing a 37-yard attempt.

The NFL is SO much better with Gus Johnson back.

Tennessee Titans @ Seattle Seahawks

The Titans' offense bounced back in a big way in game two without Arthur Smith, as Ryan Tannehill got 8.7 YPA while Derrick Henry ran wild during a huge second half that included three TD runs despite losing left tackle Taylor Lewan to a pre-game injury.

I said to fade Henry in DFS this week, so, naturally, he recorded a career-high in catches. Serves me right for ever fading the Big Dog.

A.J. Brown had a bad drop, as his disappointing start continued, while Julio Jones had a close TD overturned by review and wasn’t in the game late when Tennessee was in the red zone, as his scoring woes remain … Bobby Wagner recorded 20 tackles and a sack during a dominant IDP performance … Despite a big game from Russell Wilson and two touchdowns from Chris Carson, the Seahawks became the first West team to lose this season.

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Chargers

While other late games combined to score 73 points (Atl/TB), 67 points (Ari/Min), and 63 points (Ten/Sea), the game with this week’s highest over/under (Dal/LAC) ended up scoring just 37 points, because of course.

Dak Prescott failed to become the first player in NFL history with three straight 400-yard passing games on the road and also didn’t score a touchdown, but Dallas pulled off the upset anyway … Austin Ekeler caught all nine of his targets, as concern was eased over Week 1’s lack of receiving work … CeeDee Lamb and Zeke nearly scored on a wild play to end the first half ... I’m mad at myself for not drafting more Mike Williams this season; there’s a real chance he’s a top-15 fantasy WR moving forward in this new role. He’s a bigger health risk, but there’s a strong argument for Williams over Keenan Allen rest of season.

Tony Pollard is apparently going to be given a real expanded role this year. It’s not ideal for Ezekiel Elliott, who’s seen only four targets over the first two weeks of the season (he saw 30 over the first four games before Prescott’s injury last season). Still, this Dallas offense is going to put a bunch of points on the board and could be a real threat to win the NFC with an improved defense.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens

This was a fitting end to a wild day of high scoring, as Patrick Mahomes tossed his first interception and suffered the first loss of his career during September in an immediate classic. Mahomes went into Baltimore and threw for 343 yards despite a quiet night from Tyreek Hill (14 yards) and ate up a typically blitz-heavy defense, highlighted by a ridiculous TD connection to Travis Kelce … Clyde Edwards-Helaire managed just 3.5 YPC, didn’t see a single target, lost a goal-line TD to Darrel Williams and lost a crucial game-deciding fumble (the first of his NFL career), as he continues to look far too MEH …

Ty’Son Williams is Baltimore’s best back (although he fumbled at the goal line), but it’s still going to be tough to translate into a ton of fantasy value while not being targeted much and losing short scores to Latavius Murray and his QB. Speaking of which, Lamar Jackson got 9.2 YPA while running for 100+ yards and two touchdowns, as both superstar quarterbacks put up big fantasy games in their distinctly different styles.

Jackson was electric Sunday night and won the game with a late fourth-down conversion, as Baltimore went for it up just one point inside its own territory; impressive stuff by one of the NFL’s best coaches and one of the league’s best runners

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