32 games into a new NFL season we are starting to identify some trends in players’ fantasy output. It’s still very early to try and determine what exactly these performances mean, but just two weeks in, there are still some clear patterns emerging. Of course, we don’t want to overreact to these exciting/troubling numbers, but making a swift move regarding these players could set you up for sustained success over the rest of the 2019 NFL Fantasy season.
All numbers/stats provided are based on ESPN PPR fantasy leagues
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Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (30.0% OWN)
WHEN the Bills selected Josh Allen 7th overall in the 2018 draft, a lot of sceptics wondered if they’d made the right decision. While the juries still out on Allen’s future in the league, he is fast emerging as a noteworthy fantasy player thanks to his ability to tuck the ball under his arm and take off. Over the final six weeks of the 2018 season, Allen averaged a hair under 80 rushing yards a game, finding the end-zone five times during that stretch. He already has two rushing TD’s to his name this year and as Allen continues to develop his chops in the passing game with better weapons at his disposal there’s no reason why he can’t end up being a top-10 fantasy QB.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings (99.7% OWN)
WE all expected Dalvin Cook to be good if he could stay healthy and with Minnesota committing to a heavier running game, Cook has a legit shot to be the best player in fantasy this year. Injuries restricted him to 15 career games from two seasons before the start of this campaign, a start that has seen Cook run for over 250 yards and haul in all five of his targets outplaying his average draft positioning of 18.8. Kirk Cousins may take some of the volume from his running backs after just 42 passing attempts to his name so far, but either way, you can expect to see Dalvin’s name amongst the points leaders if he can stay on the field.
John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (73.2% OWN)
LAST week I advised on waiting to pick up John Ross after his eruption in Week 1 of the fantasy season and while he has a 13.6 point reception in the 0:45 of last week’s game to thank for another high score, his numbers seem to be the real deal. No player has hauled in more receiving yards so far this year with the Bengals’ speedster clearly a large part of their game plan with A.J. Green out injured. I thought Tyler Boyd might be the greatest beneficiary from Green’s absence but with Ross already accumulating more yards in one fortnight than he had in his other 16 career games COMBINED it’s clear that he’s the weapon you want to roster from Cincinnati’s offense.
Image from theathletic.com
New England Patriots D/ST (88.7% OWN)
THEIR defensive numbers were bolstered in the shellacking of Miami last weekend, but this Pats D/ST unit isn’t like the ones in year’s past. So far New England has given up just THREE points, the fewest through two games in franchise history, and they aren’t showing signs of slowing down. The upcoming month’s worth of fixtures against a lacklustre quartet in the Jets, Bills, Redskins and Giants should translate to a ton more points for the Patriots defense and in turn a lot of happy fantasy coaches.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens (94.3% OWN)
BEFORE I blow smoke up Jackson’s ass, let’s not forget that he has played the Dolphins and Cardinals in the past fortnight, two teams that may be drafting first and second overall in 2020. That being said, what Jackson has achieved through two starts is still fairly remarkable. With the entire Baltimore offense now revolving around him, we’ve seen him have his way with opposing defenses in the form of two very different performances. Dropping five passing touchdowns in Week 1, before dominating with his legs in Week 2 has seen Jackson emerge as the best player in fantasy and perhaps, a legitimate threat to take out this year’s MVP trophy.
Lamar Jackson and the Ravens put up some serious numbers in Week 1 against Miami
– Youngest player with perfect passer rating (min. 20 passes)
– First QB with 5 passing TD’s in season opener since P.Manning (‘13)
– Highest score in franchise history (59)
🔥🔥🔥#NFL #RavensFlock pic.twitter.com/kG4CKrkM6F
— SportsbyFry (@sportsbyfry) September 9, 2019
James Washington, WR, Steelers (60.1% OWN)
THE 0-2 Steelers are in a bad spot with Ben Roethlisberger heading to the IR, which only further justifies a potential James Washington dump. There’s a chance he can help buoy their offense and provide Mason Rudolph with another reliable pass-catcher, but Washington seems squashed behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief and probably even Ryan Switzer in the depth chart. Big Ben’s injury dents the ceiling of Pittsburgh’s skill players and in my eyes Washington’s no longer worth a roster spot.
Jameis Winson, QB, Buccaneers (42.9% OWN)
ONE other player who is battling to keep his place on rosters around the country is Jameis Winston, who, despite playing in a new, invigorated offense, looks like the same old Jameis. Having Bruce Arians run the show was meant to be the key that unlocked Winston’s talents, and while he was forced to play without his best receiver in one game, the former Heisman winner hasn’t looked great in two outings against the 49ers and Panthers. All eyes will be on him in the Week 3 contest against the Giants, with a strong chance to rebound from a shaky start. Should Winston fail to do so, it’ll be hard to trust him again moving forward.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers
WHILE we’re dumping on NFC South quarterbacks, Cam Newton’s start to the year has been just as uninspiring. A lot of throws against Tampa Bay failed to find the mark, with Newton barely giving his receivers a chance to haul them in, misfiring at an alarming rate. He allegedly re-aggravated a foot injury in the match and it could keep him out of this weekend’s game vs. Arizona and possibly even longer. If I was an owner I’d start planning my exit plan as the QB injury list starts to pile up, with reliable starters being claimed from the waivers as we speak.
Image from si.com
Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins (88.8% OWN)
THIS isn’t solely a Kenyan Drake stock down segment, rather a special mention for how bad the Miami Dolphins’ entire offense will be. Drake is the only player on the Fins with current residence in most fantasy leagues with the second most owned Miami player, back-up RB Kalen Ballage, boasting an ownership percentage under 25%. Only three of the teams’ 23 possessions this season have lasted for more than seven plays, which is a huge factor in Drake amassing just 10 rushing attempts (for 29 yards) to date. I can’t blame you for ditching him to try and find production elsewhere.
Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys (24.9 OWN)
THIS one isn’t rocket science with Tony Pollard arguably taking the biggest stock hit from the preseason to now. It was always expected that Ezekiel Elliott’s return would see him become fantasy irrelevant, but the coaches that drafted him thought they’d at least get a handful of good games from the fourth-round rookie. Instead, with Zeke reclaiming the reigns as the lead tailback in Dallas, Pollard has only totalled 17 carries for under 50 yards, a trend that I don’t see changing any time soon.
Jared Cook, TE, Saints (95.1% OWN)
COOK’S move to NOLA from Oakland this past offseason was meant to give Drew Brees and Co another reliable target in their dynamic offense. Instead, with Brees now out for the immediate future, it’s hard to see Cook enhancing his role in the team with just four receptions in his brief Saints career. I could see New Orleans opting to share the load a bit more with Brees out, but I can see that work being palmed off to Alvin Kamara, Ted Ginn and Tre’Quan Smith before they potentially include COok, which isn’t great news for a decent portion of the fantasy community.
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