Fantasy Football Week 3: Matt Camp's Week 3 BS Meter
Even after two weeks, you shouldn’t be making sweeping changes to your fantasy roster, at least not when it comes to your early-round draft picks.
It hasn’t been a great start for players like Le’Veon Bell and A.J. Green, but overreacting to two games would be ignoring years of massive fantasy production. Barring injury, the foundation players of your roster should be given a longer leash if they aren’t living up to their typical, high expectations.
What you can start looking at are the spots in your starting lineup and bench that were never totally secure to begin with, as you should always be analyzing your roster to find improvements regardless of your record. You can include Cam Newton and Adrian Peterson in that conversation, which might sound crazy, but is certainly justified when you look at their performances and the state of their respective teams.
This week’s BS Meter breaks down nine situations that are hot topics in the fantasy world. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true or 10 being total BS.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. Snap counts are also from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
Owners Should Be Concerned About LeSean McCoy
It’s not uncommon for a veteran to get a day off from practice to get some rest. Usually, it happens in the second half of the season and often on Wednesdays, as it allows the players one more day to recover from the prior game.
When the Bills gave LeSean McCoy last Friday off, head coach Sean McDermott said it was scheduled, but also that McCoy had groin soreness, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. After initially appearing on the injury report with groin and wrist issues, McCoy was removed from the injury list heading into the Week 2 matchup with the Panthers.
If you were skeptical of about McCoy’s ability to play through two injuries, your suspicions were correct. Even though McCoy had 18 touches, he wound up with just nine yards on 12 carries and six receptions for 34 yards on seven targets while playing 74 percent of the snaps. So McCoy saw his normal workload and snaps yet failed to provide his typical fantasy output.
The Bills are woefully short on talent in their offense, which is why all signs pointed to a busy season for McCoy as a runner and a receiver. With the team already scheduling a practice day off before the second game, concerns for McCoy's health are completely justified. It's hard to feel good about him making it through a whole season with such a heavy workload. You might think about trading into a safer situation when it comes to your RB1.
BS Meter on McCoy concerns being real: 1/10
Adrian Peterson Should Be Cut from Fantasy Rosters
Coming into the season, it was pretty clear that the Saints' backfield could be a mess for fantasy owners with the additions of Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara to go along with a strong fantasy option in Mark Ingram. Through two games, the assessment was correct, and it's Peterson whose value has been hurt the most.
Game flow seems to be the biggest issue for Peterson's role. The last lead the Saints had came with 4:08 remaining in the second quarter of their eventual 29-19 loss to the Vikings in Week 1. They followed that up with a 36-20 loss to the Patriots, which was never closer than the 6-3 lead the Patriots had with 7:38 left in the first quarter.
In the first two games, Peterson has just 14 carries for 44 yards and one target while playing 25 of 127 snaps (19.7 percent). During that same span, Ingram played 61 of 127 snaps (48 percent) and Kamara played 48 of 127 snaps (37.8 percent).
If you thought Peterson would leapfrog Ingram into the starting job, it doesn't appear that was ever in the plans. According to Kevin Patra of NFL.com, Payton was asked about Peterson and said, “I don't think we've ever discussed featuring him like he was featured in Minnesota.”
It's no secret the Saints have a terrible defense, so playing from behind could become a trend throughout the season, which might leave Peterson as the odd man out. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have combined for 16 receptions and 149 yards on 23 targets while Peterson doesn't have a reception on his lone target. The Saints need their backs to contribute in the passing game, and that's not a strength for Peterson, but it is for both Ingram and Kamara.
Even if you take away the need for help in the passing game, Peterson and Ingram each have 14 carries with Ingram averaging 4.9 yards per carry to Peterson's 3.1 YPC. This situation never seemed like a great fit for Peterson, as he's on a team that likely won't be able to give him enough carries to be useful for fantasy. Don't let his name value stop you from cutting him loose.
BS Meter on cutting Peterson from fantasy rosters: 2/10
Todd Gurley Has Returned to RB1 Status
In Week 1, Todd Gurley averaged just 2.1 yards per carry, but he was saved by volume (19 carries, 40 yards), a rushing touchdown and an active role as a receiver (five receptions, 56 yards, six targets). In Week 2, Gurley saw similar volume but also performed at a higher level. In fact, he looked like the Gurley we saw as a rookie, when he had a top-10 finish among fantasy RBs.
Even though the Rams lost, Gurley was better against the Redskins on Sunday. He carried 16 times for 88 yards (5.5 YPC) with a rushing TD and added three receptions for 48 yards on four targets with a spectacular TD catch that featured a leap over a defender and fighting through a tackle to reach over the goal line for a 28-yard score. He scored 28.6 fantasy points and has 49.2 fantasy points for the season, which is easily one of the best outputs for a fantasy back.
Last season, Gurley averaged at least four YPC in just two games and scored a total of six times. He's already halfway to matching both of those totals after just two weeks of the 2017 season. Gurley's volume shouldn't be going away since the Rams would probably like to limit how much they lean on Jared Goff, as evidenced by just 54 pass attempts through Week 2.
Gurley was likely drafted as a RB2, so he's already outperforming that and should continue to be the featured player in the Rams offense. His role as a receiver is what might be the most attractive part of his value since those numbers can make up for any potential struggles he has as a runner. Welcome back to the top, Todd Gurley.
BS Meter Gurley returning to RB1 status: 3/10
Buck Allen Is an Every-Week Starter
When the Ravens were forced to put Danny Woodhead on the injured reserve with a hamstring injury, it appeared to leave a big void in their backfield, especially when it came to a pass-catching threat. Buck Allen is filling that role and then some.
Woodhead was on the field for just six snaps in Week 1 when he suffered the injury, so the Ravens needed Allen to fill the void for the majority of the game, which is exactly what he did with 21 carries for 71 yards (zero receptions, one target). That didn't translate to much for fantasy production, but it showed the faith the Ravens had in Allen.
He rewarded that faith with a much better performance in Week 2 against the Browns. Allen led the way (over Terrance West) with 14 carries for 66 yards and five receptions for 35 yards and a TD on six targets. West had eight carries for 22 yards and a TD and two receptions for 23 yards on 2 targets. Allen played 50 percent of the snaps, which led the backfield (West played 41 percent).
According to Jeff Zrebiec, West is dealing with a "soft-tissue injury," which is a "day-to-day thing." With West limited, the Ravens gave Alex Collins more chances, and he responded with 42 yards on seven carries, although he did lose a fumble. When asked about Collins' performance, head coach John Harbaugh indicated that guys who play well are going to earn more playing time.
The Ravens aren't loaded with high-end talent in their receiving corps, so they need to rely on their backfield to be reliable contributors for the offense, both on the ground and through the air. The combination of Allen and West is a good one if West is healthy, but Allen's role as a receiver will keep him involved regardless of the score. As a waiver-wire pickup, he should continue to pay dividends as a regular part of your starting lineup.
BS Meter on Allen being an every-week starter: 4/10
D’Onta Foreman Will Become the Lead Back in Houston
A slow start for Lamar Miller has put some extra attention on rookie D'Onta Foreman, and based on the reaction in Week 2, the excitement might be a little premature.
Foreman had a single carry in Week 1, which prompted head coach Bill O'Brien to say Foreman's role would increase in Week 2. That promised was fulfilled with Foreman getting 12 carries for 40 yards in a win over the Bengals. In the same game, Miller carried 18 times for 61 yards after posting 17 carries for 65 yards in Week 1.
While Miller's struggles have been apparent, it's a little too early to hand the job to Foreman, especially since he also failed to run for at least four yards per carry. Most RBs would have trouble finding room with the continued offensive line struggles in Houston, including the absence of holdout LT Duane Brown.
Another potential wrench in the plans is how much Tyler Ervin played in Week 2. While Miller clearly led the way with 74 percent of the snaps, Ervin was second in the backfield with 41 percent while Foreman was at just 26 percent. Ervin didn't have any carries but caught three of five targets for 16 yards. Miller caught all three of his targets for 26 yards, and Foreman didn't have a target.
The Texans could consider taking carries away from Miller to give to Foreman since Miller could make up for that with his role in the passing game, but would they also keep Ervin in the mix? This is a fluid situation and one that should be monitored, but don't get too excited about Foreman's ascension just yet.
BS Meter on Foreman taking over the lead role: 5/10
Dez Bryant Is a Must-Start Regardless of Matchup
For those who had questions about starting Dez Bryant against a tough Broncos defense, your concerns were justified. Consider Bryant's stat line of seven receptions for 59 yards and a TD on 16 targets a victory, but also a sign that Bryant doesn't belong in that elite class of fantasy WRs as he once did.
Through two games, Bryant has just nine receptions for 102 yards and a TD on 25 targets. Dating back to last season, Bryant has just three games with at least 100 yards and hasn't hit that mark since Week 7 of 2016. In fact, Bryant has just four 100-yard games since 2015. He's far from the dominant fantasy WR we saw back in 2014, when he had 88 receptions for 1,320 yards and 16 TDs on 137 targets.
The name value of Bryant can blind those who think he should be a lock to be in fantasy lineups every week no matter how tough the matchup. Those people still have that 2014 season fresh in their heads as opposed to the reality of what Bryant has become in recent seasons.
Injuries and failing to connect with Dak Prescott the same way he connected with Tony Romo are two of the most obvious reasons for Bryant's drop in fantasy value. Bryant is far from done as a fantasy contributor, but he's also not the type of player you can lean on to be the foundation of a championship team. If you're stacked at WR, consider floating his name out as a potential trade candidate.
BS Meter on Bryant being a must-start regardless of matchup: 6/10
Cam Newton Is a Top-10 Fantasy QB
Much like Dez Bryant, it’s easy to get caught up in the past achievements of Cam Newton and treat his fantasy value as such, but if he’s been in your lineup for the last two weeks, the past seems like a long time ago.
After opening the season with 171 passing yards, two TDs, one INT and just three rushing yards in a win over the 49ers, Newton and the Panthers escaped with another ugly victory over the Bills. Newton was underwhelming with just 228 passing yards and 27 rushing yards. Two games into the season and Newton isn’t even among the top 15 QBs in total fantasy points. He trails Josh McCown, Jared Goff and Tyrod Taylor, among others.
While it’s obviously a small sample size, Newton’s fantasy value has been down dating back to last season, and so far, there’s been no sign of improvement. Last season, Newton finished 17th among QBs in total fantasy points. This season, he looks rusty coming off offseason shoulder surgery, and his production is taking a hit as a result.
Accuracy has never been a strong part of Newton’s game, but he’s clearly been off to start the season. Plus, he took six sacks in Week 2 against the Bills. If you expected a slow start for Newton, you may not be surprised with his output, although his chances of bouncing back took a big hit when Greg Olsen broke his foot, which could keep him out for about six weeks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Obviously, no one is talking about cutting bait with Newton, but he’s not a player you should be using with confidence right now. It may take some time for him to get back to the dominant player that helped win fantasy championships in the past.
BS Meter on Newton being a top-10 fantasy QB: 7/10
You Should Hang onto David Johnson
Drafting David Johnson didn’t work out. That might be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a hard truth, and now you need to move on from Johnson.
The Cardinals placed Johnson on the injured reserve last week following wrist surgery. According to Bruce Arians on SiriusXM NFL Radio, the team is "hoping we can get him back by Christmas." That would be a Week 16 game in Arizona against the Giants. For almost everyone, Week 16 is the fantasy championship.
You have to think about all the pieces that need to fall into place for Johnson to return to action as a legit fantasy option in the championship. The Cardinals, who looked terrible against the Lions and needed overtime to squeak by the Colts, have to still be in contention at the end of the season. If they aren’t, why would they bring Johnson back when he’s part of their future? Also, your team has to make the playoffs and win in the playoffs just to get into the championship.
If you have an injured reserve spot on your roster, Johnson can be stashed there unless you need that spot for a player with a more realistic chance of returning. Otherwise, you should let Johnson go and focus on strengthening your roster for the long haul still remaining in the fantasy season.
BS Meter on hanging onto Johnson: 9/10
It’s Time to Sell A.J. Green
Watching the Bengals offense over the first two weeks has been miserable. While you shouldn't be surprised at the confusion in the backfield, owners of A.J. Green have to be frustrated with the horrible play of Andy Dalton. That doesn't mean you should be rushing to move Green just weeks after you likely used your first-round pick on him.
In the first two games, Green has been targeted 18 times, yet he's underwhelmed with 10 receptions for 141 yards and 0 TDs. After Week 2, Green told reporters, "We got to find a way to get our playmakers the ball. That's it. It's a superstar-driven league. You are not going to win without them."
The Bengals responded to their slow start by firing offensive coordinator Ken Zampese and promoting QB coach Bill Lazor to the OC spot, as he has experience calling plays from his time as OC of the Dolphins in 2014-15.
You should be willing to give Green a chance to bounce back, especially with a new coordinator, since the 6'4" talent has been one of the best fantasy WRs for the majority of his career. Besides, selling low on one of your top players after just two weeks is not the way to get the most bang for your buck. Be patient and have some faith in Green.
BS Meter on selling A.J. Green: 10/10