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The First Ten Week 2 Fantasy Football Observations

The RotoViz crew offers you their first ten observations about the current NFL week.

1. Houston Tight Ends

Despite Deshaun Watson targeting his tight ends often (on 10 of 34 attempts), there may be very little sleeper appeal for fantasy, with Ryan Griffin, Jordan Akins, and Jordan Thomas all splitting up the 10 TE targets against New England. Griffin “led the way” with five targets, but zero receptions. Bruce Ellington was the non-DeAndre Hopkins pass-catcher to watch with Will Fuller inactive. — Devin McIntyre

2. Denver Running Backs

Phillip Lindsay’s usage was the biggest eye opener of the weekend, as the UDFA led the Broncos in total opportunities (carries and targets). His 15-71 rushing line was identical to Royce Freeman’s, and he had two catches for 31 yards to Freeman’s none. The passing role was what we were buying, but the carry share with Freeman is something of a shock. I still expect Freeman to lead the team in carries on most weeks, but Lindsay needs to be owned in all formats. — Cort Smith

3. More Running Back Surprises

Melvin Gordon seeing 13 targets (one more than Alvin Kamara) despite Austin Ekeler’s involvement was pretty crazy. As Hasan Rahim said, he’s the Chargers WR2. Also while Alex Collins only got seven carries, he saw the majority when the game was close. — Michael Dubner

4. Indianapolis Running Backs

Following a horrific preseason, Nyheim Hines found vindication of sorts on Sunday. Hines carried the ball five times for 19 yards and caught seven targets for 33 yards. His 12.2 PPR points may not seem like much, but he certainly outscored starter Jordan Wilkins.1 It will be interesting to see how the opportunity is split once Marlon Mack and Christine Michael return, but it’s possible Hines is going to reward the faithful fantasy owners. — Hasan Rahim

5. Tampa Bay Playcalling

Most of the media focus on the Buccaneers offensive explosion has so far been on Ryan Fitzpatrick and his receivers, but there may be more to it than that. Dirk Koetter wouldn’t publicly commit to handing over playcalling duties to offensive coordinator Todd Monken leading into Week 1, but Monken was indeed calling the shots on Sunday. While we shouldn’t read too much into one shootout game, better playcalling could help the fantasy outlook of all of Tampa Bay’s weapons who finished ninth in yards in 2017, but just 18th in points scored. — John Lapinski

6. Seattle Running Backs

The Seattle offensive line is still just as cruddy as it was last season. Doesn’t matter if your Team Carson or Team Penny, it’s going to be tough for either one. With Doug Baldwin now having a right knee injury (after a left knee issue during the pre-season), and Russell Wilson getting crushed all game, don’t expect many fantasy points from this backfield. — Phillip Caldwell

7. Kansas City Offense

The Chiefs are going to lead the NFL in scoring. They put up 38 on the road against a solid – although Bosa-less – Chargers defense despite getting little from Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt, and Sammy Watkins. Patrick Mahomes will make his mistakes, but he might already be the scariest QB in the league. And he makes Tyreek Hill the ultimate weapon. — Shawn Siegele

8. Predicting Running Backs

Last season, I studied the relationship between Week 1 and rest of season (ROS) performance. For running backs, the combination of Week 1 market share of team rushing attempts and the number of receptions provided the strongest relationship, explaining almost half of ROS performance. Adrian Peterson dominated Washington’s rushing attempts (61 percent) and contributed a healthy, for him, two receptions. Chris Thompson racked up six targets. This backfield looks settled until age or injury catch up with one or both of them. That same research bodes poorly for Derrick Henry, but nicely for Dion Lewis, who garnered more attempts and targets than Henry. Assuming Delanie Walker is done for the year, some more passes might find their way to RBs, which could boost Lewis’ appeal even more. — Chuck Kleinheksel

9. Tennessee Receivers

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Despite a bleak stat line, Corey Davis finished Sunday in the top 10 of Josh Hermsmeyer’s Weighted Opportunity WOPR metric. This is a good signal for the rest of the season. Also take note of Tajae Sharpe running as the Titans WR2. — Matt Wispe

10. How I Learned to Catch: The Jordan Howard Story

Two of the most pleasantly surprising statistics of Sunday were Jordan Howard’s 100 percent catch rate and 1.6-yard aDOT on five targets. In 2017, Howard was ridiculed by the analytics community for his pathetic 71 percent catch rate while having a behind-the-line-of-scrimmage aDOT of -0.8. Rumors circulated over the summer that Nagy was teaching Howard how to catch in hope of him being a positive contributor in the pass game. But what seemed like the pinnacle of rosy-eyed coachspeak actually came to fruition. Obviously, this positive passing game involvement will prove tremendous for Howard’s fantasy value in the dynamic Nagy offense. Maybe it really is possible to teach a stone-handed pro athlete how to catch. — Ben Battle

  1. Wilkins scored 9.1  (back)

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