Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Week 2
Justin Vreeland surveys the fantasy football world and examines whose stock is rising and whose is falling after Week 2.
Welcome back FANation! Week 2 is in the books and we are starting to get a big sample to work with. Anything can happen in a single game, but multiple games gives us a trend to build off of and give us a better idea of what is real and what isn’t. Also with each week there will be multiple injuries, and those will always change surrounding players stocks as well. Feel free to shoot me feedback or anything else in the live chats or on Twitter @JustinVreeland. Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Deebo Samuel, WR SF – Samuel was someone I loved coming into the year (even stating that he would lead all 49er receivers in scoring this year) and he is trending way up through two weeks of action. He has started both games thus far and leads their receiving group in snaps played to this point with 89. He didn’t have a breakout Week 1, but he did haul in all three of his targets for 17 yards and caught a two-point conversion. However, Week 2 was his breakout week as he hauled in 5-of-7 targets for 87 yards and a touchdown. He currently leads their receiving group in targets, receptions, receiving yards, fantasy points, and is tied for touchdowns. He is the most talented receiver on this team and Jimmy G is already showing great chemistry with him. He is a talented kid with good hands who will consistently get open.
Kyler Murray , QB ARI – Murray has looked really good through two weeks of action, completing 54-of-94 pass attempts (57%) for 657 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He is currently tied for sixth in pass competitions of at least 20 yards with 10 such completions. He is eighth in average intended air yards with 9.1 (right behind Mahomes), despite currently being 22nd in time to throw, as the Cardinals O-line is giving him just 2.64 seconds to throw, on average. He has a solid receiving corps at his disposal and the fact that he compiled 349 passing yards against a tough Ravens defense was a really good sign. He should be in line for another good week this week too, as he faces the Panthers and they haven’t looked good at much of anything to this point. Fantasy owners can feel comfortable with Murray going forward and he will likely finish in the 9-to-14 range of fantasy QBs this year.
Demarcus Robinson , WR KC – In the first game without the injured Hill, Robinson went bananas, hauling in all six of his targets for 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns! He finished as the highest scoring player in all of fantasy (in both STD and PPR). He looked good in doing so too, showing off his speed and making a couple tough catches, including a contested grab on his second touchdown. I know Hardman was the hot grab of the week for the Chiefs, but I actually liked Robinson this week. People failed to understand (and this is something I stressed) that Robinson isn’t a rookie, he already had chemistry with Mahomes and it was going to much more likely that he would be Mahomes guy, especially in the early going (which is what matters, since Hill is only expected to be out of action for 4-6 weeks). Don’t expect too many more weeks like this though, keep in mind he is still just the third option at best (behind Kelce and Watkins). Having Mahomes as his quarterback and being a part of the explosive Chiefs offense will certainly help though.
Terry McLaurin , WR WAS – I’ll admit, while I called the Robinson breakout and loved Samuel going into the year, I wasn’t sold on McLaurin after Week 1. My hesitation had nothing to do with him though and everything to do with the Redskins offense and Keenum’s QB play. I didn’t feel that they would be able to consistently get the rookie wide out the ball, but through two weeks he looks great. After hauling in 5-of-7 targets in Week 1 for 125 yards and a touchdown, McLaurin hauled in 5-of-9 targets for 62 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. I love the volume, averaging eight targets per game through two weeks. That type of volume will get the job done for fantasy football purposes. The last wide receiver with at least 50 yards and a touchdown in each of his first two games was Calvin Johnson in 2007. Of course I am not saying that he is the next Megatron, but that’s impressive nonetheless. He is the Redskins best receiver and they will be trailing in games frequently, making McLaurin someone that you can trust going forward.
Phillip Lindsay , RB DEN – There was a lot of talk about a timeshare in the Broncos backfield this year and that had Lindsay’s ADP drop throughout draft season and his stock continues to fall now through two weeks of action. To this point he has 24 carries for 79 yards and has hauled in 8-of-13 targets for 53 yards. Freeman has 21 carries for 110 yards and has hauled in 6-of-8 targets for 53 yards. The touches do speak to a timeshare and to make matters worse, Lindsay has been vastly outplayed by Freeman, which will likely lead to him losing even more touches to him. Lindsay’s fantasy owners should be very concerned and at this point he isn’t someone you can really trust in your fantasy lineup. He is a flex play at best and this entire backfield looks like a headache at this point. Don’t get any ideas of dropping him, but you can’t expect weekly production from him at this point.
Devonta Freeman , RB ATL – Freeman is off to a horrendous start, has looked like he has lost a step in doing so, and has been vastly outplayed by Ito Smith . Freeman carried the ball eight times for just 19 yards in Week 1 and followed that up with 11 carries for 22 yards in Week 2. That equates to an average yard per carry of 2.16, which is unsightly number. As for Smith, he has carried the rock a total of 10 times through two weeks, but has totaled far more yards than Freeman, as he has 63 rushing yards to this point. Freeman is still the guy, but the Falcons aren’t going to keep feeding him if he is only getting two yards per carry while the backup is pounding out over six yards per carry. Could it be some rust? Sure, he missed practically all of last year, but he will need to get it going soon or this could turn into a full split backfield.
Cam Newton , QB CAR – Newton isn’t running and when Newton isn’t running he isn’t a good fantasy (or reality) quarterback. He has five carries for negative two yards and zero touchdowns on the ground to this point to go along with 572 passing yards, zero touchdowns, an interception, and a 56.2-percent completion rate. Zero combined touchdowns through two weeks of action is not going to get it down, especially when you consider that the Panthers have faced the Rams (scored 27 points against them) and the Bucs (a terrible team). He has another good matchup on tap this week as he will face the Cardinals and if he doesn’t get it done this week, he’s going to really look like a lost cause this season from a fantasy standpoint.
Duke Johnson , RB HOU – The Texans traded for Johnson and that had the fantasy community all sorts of excited, but it looks like he has already been reduced to a change-of-pace role in which he doesn’t have a lot of fantasy value. He has just 15 carries this year, which is five less than Carlos Hyde had in Week 2 alone and 15 less than Hyde has for the year. He also only had one target and zero receptions against the Jags, which means he has just four receptions through two games. His average yards per carry is fantastic to this point though, racking up 88 yards on 15 carries (5.87 YPC), so it’s a bit surprising to already see him losing playing time. He is still an OK flex play in PPR leagues, but those that drafted him with hopes of being an RB2 have to be concerned. He has zero value in standard leagues at this point and probably won’t any time soon.
Stocks to Watch
Alvin Kamara , RB NO – Kamara being in this section is in no way me saying you should try and trade him or that you shouldn’t start him, so don’t get any wrong ideas, but his first game with Bridgewater did not go well at all. Brees left early in the game and Kamara finished with 13 carries for 45 yards and hauled in one reception for 15 yards on three targets. Kamara averaged seven targets per game last year and had eight in Week 1, so seeing just three targets from Teddy B is not ideal. It’s not time to hit the panic button at all, considering the game plan going into the game was obviously with Brees and an in game injury can make things go haywire, but the next two weeks will be worth paying attention to with Kamara and his target share from Bridgewater. He is a good rusher, but he racks up a ton of fantasy points in the passing game and we need to see Bridgewater get him more involved. If he struggles over the next two or three games, he will be someone that you want to try and buy at a discount on. From a DFS standpoint, I don’t think he is someone you can trust in cash games this week after what we witnessed in Week 2.
Mack Hollins , WR PHI – The Eagles lost both Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson to injury in their Week 2 loss to the Falcons. Jeffery is not expected to play in Week 3 (dealing with a calf strain) and Jackson is question (groin injury). If both players are forced to miss action in Week 3, Hollins would be in for a huge boost in playing time and could be this week’s Robinson while many people will target JJ Arcega-Whiteside (could be this week’s Hardman). Hollins ended up playing 69 snaps in Week 2 and hauled in 5-of-8 targets for 50 yards. Hollins is the more experienced player and has more chemistry with Wentz after playing in all 16 games last season. It is also worth noting that Arcega-Whiteside only hauled in one of four targets for four yards in Week 2. Both guys would see heavy DFS ownership if both Jeffery and Jackson are in fact forced to missed Week 3.