The RotoViz crew offers you their first ten observations about the current NFL week.
1. Kansas City Shootouts
Kansas City’s offense will provide a plethora of fantasy points all year. The fire power on their offense combined with their leaky defense is the perfect combination for weekly shootouts. — Michael Dubner
2. The Giants Implode
Pat Shurmur promised to bring explosiveness to the New York Giants offense. That hasn’t showed up in the first two games. Jacksonville may have the best defense in the league, and the Cowboys defense is underrated, but that’s no excuse for the Giants’ ineptitude thus far and the schedule doesn’t get much easier going forward. The Giants top-three of Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, and Evan Engram should all be fine based on volume alone, but a secondary option like Sterling Shepard might not be startable unless they can turn it around fast. — John Lapinski
3. Hilton’s Average Depth of Target
I avoided Andrew Luck and the Colts pass catchers based on Luck’s surgery and the way T.Y. Hilton had been used. Seems like that has changed under Frank Reich: more short to intermediate targets for Hilton, which is encouraging. He still has the speed to break long gains, but the Colts are not pushing the ball down field yet. — Ryan Bobbitt
4. The Cardinals Cross Midfield
There’s something about the Arizona Cardinals’ offense that’s so unwholesome. Head coach Steve Wilks and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy appear to have decided that they’ll go with regular ol’ playcalling, not the fancy playcalling that Bruce Arians implemented over the last few seasons. The Cardinals managed to cross midfield in the final minute of the game, which should count as a win for the new coaching staff. McCoy inexplicably refuses to prioritize David Johnson in the receiving game, despite giving Chase Edmonds five targets. Hopefully there are better days ahead for Johnson, but the early returns are uninspiring. Hopefully the team opts to start Josh Rosen going forward, since it should be apparent that they’re in no shape to contend with Sam Bradford under center. I mean, look at this:
— Hasan Rahim
5. Royce Who?
I’m not going to write about the Broncos RBs every week in this space, but what we’re witnessing is stunning. Phillip Lindsay has:
- Played on 22 percent more snaps than Royce Freeman.
- 10 more carries (26 percent).
- 80 percent more rushing yards.
- A 6.1 YPC compared to Freeman’s 4.3.
- 300 percent more targets.
- 91 percent more fantasy points.
All this in close, competitive games. While I don’t expect these trends to keep up all year, we’re clearly well beyond fluke territory with Lindsay. — Cort Smith
6. RB Is the New WR
In the first two weeks of 2018, there have been seven instances of an RB getting 10 or more targets in a game. There have also been seven (not the same) instances of an RB getting 75 or more yards receiving. We’re pacing for 56 instances of each. Last year these events only happened 26 and 34 times respectively. The RBs in question are nicely split between your early round studs (Melvin Gordon, Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey) and your late-round Zero-RB guys (Chris Thompson, Theo Riddick, Tavon Austin, Austin Ekeler, Jalen Richard). Two weeks could be just noise; but I’m acquiring those last five where I can. — Chuck Kleinheksel
7. Judge Ito Time
For anyone wondering what Atlanta’s backfield could look like next season, yesterday could have provided a preview. Well, sort of. With Devonta Freeman inactive with a bruised knee, Tevin Coleman took over lead-back duties, running 16 times for 107 yards and catching all four of his targets for 18 yards, pretty much duplicating Freeman’s role. That allowed rookie Ito Smith to essentially assume a reduced version of the part typically played by Coleman, running nine times for 46 yards and catching his lone target for eight yards while on the field for 29 percent of Atlanta’s offensive snaps. Coleman’s rookie deal expires after this season, and Freeman signed an extension a year ago that makes it very likely he stays with the team at least through 2019. If Coleman looks to bolt in free agency, Smith could step into what has been one of the best-producing backup running back roles in the league. With Freeman shelved at least another game or two, pay attention to how the Falcons continue to employ the rookie. — Monty Phan
8. Rushing Is Overrated
Going into Monday Night Football, of the top-five Week 2 RBs in standard scoring leagues, only Matt Breida had over 50 rushing yards (138). Not one of the other four rushed for even 43 yards. — Phillip Caldwell
9. WRs Are Overrated
Melvin Gordon looks like the WR2 on his team, which is impressive. What would be even more impressive is if he were the WR1 on his team, like both Christian McCaffrey and Chris Thompson are.
Through two games, both McCaffrey and Thompson are on pace to break the all-time single-season reception record. Not for an RB. For anyone. At any position. Ever. — Blair Andrews
10. Play Your Best Players, Even If They Drive Fast Too
D.J. Moore scored a 51-yard TD on his first NFL reception where Atlanta seemed to be arguing for “defensive indifference” to be added to the box score in football as well. I’m not sure if this is an example of “You need to play your best players,” or “D.J. needs to stop driving 100 mph and instead learn the playbook,” but the Panthers are another offense where it’s rough watching the scrubs struggle when you know who’s on the bench. — Shawn Siegele