Fantasy Football Week 2 BS Meter
As a whole, Week 1 was a pretty good one in terms of fantasy production.
Ten quarterbacks scored at least 20 fantasy points, including Patrick Mahomes. Twenty running backs scored at least 15 fantasy points, 11 of whom hit 20 fantasy points, including James Conner. The wide receiver position produced 26 players who scored at least 15 fantasy points and 13 who scored at least 20 fantasy points. DeSean Jackson, Emmanuel Sanders, Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills all hit the 25-point mark, which was a pleasant surprise.
The tight end group was more of a mixed bag. Rob Gronkowski, Jared Cook, Will Dissly and Eric Ebron were the only TEs to score 15 fantasy points. Jordan Reed, George Kittle and Jack Doyle each posted at least 13 fantasy points, but those were the only seven players to hit double digits.
There will be positive and negative overreaction to Week 1. That's perfectly encapsulated with the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes and Tyreek Hill had top-three performances at their respective positions, while Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce combined for 6.5 fantasy points. This team gave you the best and worst of fantasy in one game, but that shouldn't set expectations for the rest of the season.
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations that cover the most pressing issues in fantasy football heading into Week 2. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true and 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. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
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Dion Lewis Is the Best Fantasy Option in Tennessee
The Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins endured multiple weather delays to play a game that took seven hours and eight minutes to complete. The Titans lost 27-20 and suffered three injuries that could have lasting impacts.
On Monday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Delanie Walker suffered a broken ankle and ligament damage—injuries that are expected to end his 2018 season. QB Marcus Mariota left with an elbow injury, and left tackle Taylor Lewan exited with a concussion.
According to Turron Davenport of ESPN.com, head coach Mike Vrabel said Mariota's injury was being evaluated and that the team is hoping it'll get a good report back. Vrabel acknowledged he and general manager Jon Robinson are discussing adding a QB if necessary.
Dion Lewis overcame an otherwise disappointing day for the Titans to rack up 75 yards and a TD on 16 carries along with five receptions for 35 yards on eight targets to post 22 fantasy points. Derrick Henry carried 10 times for 26 yards and caught his only target for five yards to finish with 4.1 fantasy points. However, he did have a long TD called back due to a penalty. Lewis played 71 percent of the offensive snaps, while Henry played just 29 percent.
Corey Davis was the only other Titan to crack double-digit fantasy points with 12.2 on six receptions for 62 yards (13 targets), although going forward with Blaine Gabbert instead of Mariota would lower expectations for Davis.
As a three-down back, Lewis never has to come off the field in any situation, and, because of that, his fantasy owners don't have to worry about game flow taking him off the field. The Week 1 injuries could spell bad news for the Titans' season, but Lewis should continue to get plenty of work regardless of the score. He's easily the best fantasy option in Tennessee.
B.S. Meter on Lewis being the best fantasy option in Tennessee: 1/10
Jordan Howard Is an RB1
Even though the Chicago Bears blew a 20-0 lead to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, their offense took multiple steps forward compared to last year and is trending up for fantasy. The biggest jump may have come in the form of Jordan Howard's fantasy value.
While still clearly the lead back ahead of Tarik Cohen coming into this year, Howard wasn't a consistent factor as a receiver in his first two seasons, and that limited his ceiling. During that time, he caught 52 of 82 targets for 423 yards and one TD, although he had just 23 receptions for 125 yards on 32 targets in 2017.
In Week 1, Howard rushed 15 times for 82 yards and added five receptions for 25 yards on five targets. In 2017, Howard had just three games with five targets and only one game with five receptions. Howard had zero or one catch in 10 games last season.
While Cohen was expected to see an enhanced role under new head coach Matt Nagy, he wound up with just three receptions for 16 yards on four targets and five carries for 25 yards. Howard's snap percentage of 71.4 was much higher than Cohen's 40 in Week 1. Game flow helped Howard since the Bears had the lead for nearly the entire game, but with a better defense than previous seasons, that could happen often, which is good for Howard.
If he can remain a factor in the passing game, Howard has RB1 written all over him on a far better Bears team than he's played on in the last two years.
B.S. Meter on Howard being an RB1: 2/10
The Colts Have 2 Fantasy-Relevant Tight Ends
Andrew Luck's first regular-season game since Week 17 of the 2016 season came with cautious optimism. Could Luck return to the form that put him in the top-five-fantasy-QB conversation in the past? If so, would he boost the fantasy value of other members of the Indianapolis Colts?
Even though the Colts took a tough loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Luck's return has to be considered a success. He finished just outside the top 10 QBs with 19.46 fantasy points thanks to 319 yards, two TDs and one INT on 39-of-53 passing in addition to seven yards on his only rush. However, he was able to get 15.6 fantasy points out of T.Y. Hilton and 13.9 fantasy points from Ryan Grant, which gave the team a pair of WRs inside the top 35.
Perhaps even more impressive was what Luck did with Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle. Ebron's four receptions for 51 yards and 26-yard TD on five targets produced 15.1 fantasy points. Jack Doyle caught seven of his 10 targets for 60 yards to finish with 13.0 fantasy points. That gave the Colts two TEs inside the top seven.
Getting two potential TE starters from the same team is rare but possible because the position is so thin for fantasy. Doyle had a major advantage in snap percentage with 93.9 to Ebron's 45.1, so the targets lined up with the snaps. Doyle is still out in front in fantasy and reality, but because the Colts aren't flushed with talent, Ebron should stay in the mix, especially in the red zone.
B.S. Meter on the Colts having two fantasy-relevant TEs: 3/10
James Conner Will Continue His Excellent Production
Le'Veon Bell never showed up last week, so the Pittsburgh Steelers knew they'd be rolling with James Conner to open their season in Cleveland.
The Browns and Steelers wound up in a 21-21 tie, but Conner did more than enough to make up for Bell's absence. Conner rushed a league-high 31 times for 135 yards, a pair TDs and a lost fumble in addition to five receptions for 57 yards on six targets to finish with 36.2 fantasy points. He played 91.7 percent of the snaps, which is a massive number for any RB.
As of Monday, Bell didn't report to the Steelers to sign his franchise tender, so Conner is still in line to lead the backfield for a second straight week. Considering the only other rush attempts went to Ben Roethlisberger and WR Ryan Switzer, the Steelers have no problem letting Conner take almost the exact same role as Bell, which makes him a must-start fantasy player.
The only question is, how long will that last? It's not even worth talking about the various guesses as to when Bell will return. That's up to him and his agent, but after Conner's performance in Week 1, the Steelers may not be as concerned with Bell's absence. The Steelers typically stick with one lead back, and they'll be paying a lot of money to Bell if and when he signs his franchise tender, so Conner won't be a recommended play when Bell returns. You should ride Conner as a fantasy starter as long as you can, but know that no part of his future role is guaranteed when Bell returns to action.
B.S. Meter on Conner continuing his excellent production: 4/10
Matt Ryan Will Rebound After Week 1
Other than a massive night out of Julio Jones, the Atlanta Falcons offense had an alarming performance in the team's Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. For those who drafted Matt Ryan to be a fantasy starter, the concern is already at a high level.
Ryan looked out of sorts and uncomfortable against the Eagles, which was reflected in his stats. He completed just 21 of his 43 pass attempts for 251 yards and an interception while leading the Falcons to just 12 points. He scored just 8.84 fantasy points. Ryan took four sacks for a loss of 26 yards, resulting in just 225 net passing yards. Jones was Ryan's preferred target with 10 receptions for 169 yards on 19 targets. The only other Falcon with at least three receptions was Mohamed Sanu with four receptions for 18 yards on six targets.
The Eagles deserve credit for their defensive performance, but if Ryan and the Falcons are legit contenders, they have to be better than what we saw in Week 1. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian deserves his share of the blame for suspect play-calling, including taking Jones off the field during goal-to-go situations on the team's first drive.
Even though Ryan was considered a low-end fantasy starter at best, optimism for a bounce-back season took a hit in Week 1. We'll get a better idea of where Ryan and the Falcons are at in Week 2, when they host the Carolina Panthers. You'd be justified in keeping Ryan on the bench until further notice.
B.S. Meter on Ryan rebounding after Week 1: 5/10
Austin Ekeler Is a Weekly Starter Going Forward
Austin Ekeler shouldn't be a stranger to fantasy owners after he came on at the end of 2017. However, he wasn't considered to be anything more than a handcuff for Melvin Gordon entering this season. That narrative might be out the window following Ekeler's huge game in Week 1.
Even though he was on the field for just 26.8 percent of the snaps (22 snaps), Ekeler caught all five of his targets for 87 yards and a 13-yard TD and added five carries for 39 yards. He finished the week as a top-10 fantasy RB with 23.6 fantasy points. In the same game, Gordon scored 25.6 fantasy points with 15 carries for 64 yards and nine receptions for 102 yards on 13 targets on 75.5 percent of the snaps.
When Tyreek Hill returned a punt 91 yards for a TD with 13:03 left in the first quarter, the Kansas City Chiefs gained a lead they'd never give up the rest of the way. That may account for Ekeler and Gordon combining for 18 targets and 14 receptions. Banking on a similar workload for Ekeler might be asking a lot depending on game flow in future matchups.
Still, Ekeler is far from a flash in the pan. He's one of the better waiver wire additions this week since he appears to be more than just a backup to Gordon. Even though he has fantasy value independent of being Gordon's handcuff, we'll need to see more before calling him a regular fantasy starter.
B.S. Meter on Ekeler being a weekly starter going forward: 6/10
T.J. Yeldon Is the Top Waiver Wire Add
The Jacksonville Jaguars lost Leonard Fournette to a hamstring injury during the second quarter of their Week 1 victory over the New York Giants. At the same time, many fantasy owners who made Fournette a first-round pick were left scrambling for information and potential backup plans. One of those plans could involve T.J. Yeldon.
With Fournette down, Yeldon played 61.9 percent of the snaps on the day while piling up 51 yards on 14 carries and three receptions for 18 yards and a TD on seven targets. 15.9 fantasy points is a strong performance in relief, but 3.6 yards per carry isn't very encouraging. Going to any back on Jacksonville's depth chart after Fournette is a step down, but getting a lead back on any NFL team has fantasy value. Does that mean you should be using your top waiver priority on T.J. Yeldon?
According to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, when asked about Fournette's status Monday, head coach Doug Marrone said, "Doc said it's a minor hamstring injury, so we're just going to treat it during the week." Marrone added, "If he's ready to go, we'll ease him back in there and see how he feels."
Coaches can lie when it comes to injuries, but instead of completely avoiding a description, Marrone offered some optimism. Instead of picking up Yeldon for what could amount to nothing, your top waiver priority should be used on some of the other options with more long-term value like Phillip Lindsay or Geronimo Allison. Yeldon should only be a priority if you have Fournette.
B.S. Meter on Yeldon being the top waiver wire add: 7/10
It's Time to Panic About Alex Collins
Alex Collins looked like he was set up for a big opening weekend performance against the visiting Buffalo Bills. A day full of rain in a game the Baltimore Ravens would likely control with their defense put Collins in line for a heavy workload with a great matchup.
That didn't happen.
Collins' third carry of the game was an eight-yard TD run on the Ravens' opening drive, so his start was promising. He went on to lose a fumble on his fifth carry early in the second quarter and didn't see another touch until the third quarter. He had just two touches after the lost fumble and didn't have one after the opening drive of the second half. It was 33-0 at that point, so it wasn't like Collins was needed.
Because Collins went back in the game after the fumble, it's a bit easier to believe he was rested with such a big lead knowing he'll be an important part of the Ravens offense for the rest of the season, especially with a Thursday night game coming up in Week 2. Collins did lose two fumbles early last season but got those issues under control and turned in a strong 2017 campaign.
According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, RB Kenneth Dixon is expected to miss "some time" after injuring his knee at the end of Week 1. Other than Collins and Dixon, the only other back on Baltimore's roster is Javorius Allen. As long as Collins hangs onto the ball, he should rebound back into solid RB2 status.
B.S. Meter on it being time to panic about Collins: 8/10
The 49ers (and Their Top Offensive Players) Are Already in Trouble
Excitement for the San Francisco 49ers offense was warranted but a bit out of control coming into 2018. They looked like an ascending team that was a long way from the mountaintop. That's why expectations shouldn't have been high for their opener in Minnesota against a legit Super Bowl contender in the Vikings.
The 49ers took a 24-16 loss, but the game never felt that close. Jimmy Garoppolo struggled to get anything going against such a strong defense. He completed just 15 of his 33 pass attempts for 261 yards, one TD and three INTs, one of which was returned for a TD. He played much of the game without Marquise Goodwin, who attempted to play through a thigh injury but was limited to just one target on 25.8 percent of the snaps. Luckily, Goodwin is day-to-day with a bruised thigh, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan (via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com).
Replacing Jerick McKinnon wasn't going to be easy, especially just a week after he was lost for the season to a torn ACL. Matt Breida was slightly better than Alfred Morris with 11 carries for 46 yards and a reception for five yards on his only target. Morris carried 12 times for 38 yards and lost a fumble near the goal line. Morris played 51.5 percent of the snaps, while Breida finished at 45.5 percent.
It wasn't all bad for the 49ers. After missing nearly the entire preseason with a shoulder injury, George Kittle started his second season on a high note with five receptions for 90 yards on nine targets. With 14 fantasy points, he was one of only seven TEs to hit double digits in Week 1.
A one-possession loss on the road to a great Vikings team isn't the end of the world. Keep an eye on Goodwin's injury throughout the week to make sure he's good to go for a much better matchup against the Detroit Lions in Santa Clara on Sunday. Expect the 49ers to bounce back in a big way.
B.S. Meter on the 49ers already being in trouble: 9/10
Phillip Lindsay Was Just a 1-Week Wonder
All of the preseason talk in Denver was about Royce Freeman beating out Devontae Booker for the starting job heading into the season. The rookie won that battle and looked primed for a big role right out of the gate in his first game, but it was another Broncos rookie who stole some of that spotlight.
Phillip Lindsay made his presence known with 15 carries for 71 yards and two receptions for 31 yards and a 29-yard TD reception on three targets to finish with 18.2 fantasy points and a top-12 fantasy RB performance in his NFL debut.
Freeman had identical rushing numbers but went without a target. Freeman did win the snap battle with 39.2 percent to Lindsay's 35.1 percent. Booker made up the rest with 25.7 percent while rushing twice for four yards and hauling in both of his targets for 11 yards.
To the Broncos' credit, they rolled with Lindsay when he was hot and it worked. Freeman still played a major role, but this looks like much more of a potential split than what was initially forecast coming into the season. It knocks Freeman down from the strong RB2 tier and puts Lindsay squarely on the fantasy radar. This could turn into a bit of a fantasy headache if the Broncos go with the hot hand each week.
B.S. Meter on Lindsay being a one-week wonder: 10/10