2020 Fantasy Football Week 2 Wrap: Ravens' hard-to-predict running game looks like a headache for roto managers

Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans

The Ravens put up an easy 33 points, although they didn’t help fantasy managers much in the process, as it was a busy game for Justin Tucker, and the defense scored (Baltimore has an NFL-high 15 straight games with a takeaway), so Lamar Jackson finished with just one TD for the first time in nine regular-season games. While Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews will no doubt have bigger days ahead, the Ravens’ backfield by committee is a long-term concern. Gus Edwards led the Ravens with 73 rushing yards, and his 10 carries nearly matched Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins combined (11). Since Jackson rarely targets his running backs out of the backfield, it’s a messy fantasy situation, especially with OC Greg Roman recently admitting their plans to “keep people guessing” each week.

The Ravens had nearly 1,000 more rushing yards than the next closest team last year (of course, it helps with LJax at QB), but it’s going to be difficult predicting when and which Baltimore running backs will have their inevitable big games this season. Dobbins sure would be fun if he were to even approach a workhorse role here eventually, but for now, it’s not an ideal situation with Gus Edwards firmly in the picture (not to mention Jackson’s ability to steal TDs at the goal line) … While other top teams have struggled, the Ravens have made it look easy with a +49 point differential through two games heading into a huge Week 3 matchup with Kansas City.

David Johnson didn’t do much despite no Duke Johnson in a tough matchup. It also looks like Will Fuller is dealing with an injury again, this time a hamstring that forced him to come on and off the field. He ranked #7 in target share in Week 1 but saw zero targets Sunday … Not only does Deshaun Watson have to deal with poor coaching, a shaky O-line and a front office that jettisoned DeAndre Hopkins, but he and Houston also have to open the season with quite a tough stretch (@KC, Bal and @Pit). After a failed fourth-down try this game (the right decision), expect Bill O’Brien never to attempt one again.

Los Angeles Rams @ Philadelphia Eagles

Jared Goff threw downfield more and is set up for a nice fantasy season given his division, but his short-term schedule isn’t great. Still, Sean McVay and company have impressed over the first two weeks of the season, although LA’s backfield committee looks like a season-long fantasy headache … It took five targets for Tyler Higbee to match last season’s TD total with three, while Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz both somehow were Week 2 busts … Miles Sanders immediately acted as the Eagles’ workhorse, and you have to love the seven targets … It’s only a matter of time before the Jalen Hurts era begins in Philadelphia, and Superflex players with bench room should stash him now.

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ronald Jones was off to a nice start with a quick score, but a fumbled handoff exchange with Tom Brady ostensibly led to more Leonard Fournette, who promptly put up huge stats helped by a late 46-yard TD run. Don’t forget it was at home against a Carolina defense that was shredded for the most fantasy points by running backs last season (and allowed the second-most in Week 1), but it would obviously be huge news if Fournette is now treated as TB’s feature back moving forward. The Bucs don’t have an extremely favorable upcoming schedule, but this is a nice situation with the team sporting a strong defense, banged-up wide receivers, and an aging Brady (who avoided throwing a pick-six for the fourth straight game) who loves throwing to backs (LeSean McCoy dropped a TD pass Sunday) … Rob Gronkowski can be safely dropped in all fantasy leagues … Robby Anderson is sure looking like a draft-day steal (and is the latest player to breakout immediately freed from Adam Gase), while Mike Davis is clearly a top waiver priority with CMC’s ankle injury looking like it will sideline him 4-6 weeks.

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) scores against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Consensus top fantasy pick Christian McCaffrey hurt his ankle in Week 2, which could sideline him 4-6 weeks. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Denver Broncos @ Pittsburgh Steelers

James Conner’s line looked a lot less impressive before a late 59-yard run to help run out the clock, but he dominated backfield touches, scored a touchdown, and watched Benny Snell lose a fumble. Assuming Conner escaped without injury, he can be safely started in Week 3 … I’m upset at myself for not ranking Diontae Johnson ahead of JuJu Smith-Schuster this week, and it would be an upset at this point if Johnson isn’t Pittsburgh’s most valuable fantasy wideout from here on out … Courtland Sutton’s season reportedly being over with a torn ACL is such a bummer and par for the course coming out of such a rough Week 2 for injuries. The move from Drew Lock to Jeff Driskel was barely noticeable (and will be the norm for the foreseeable future following Lock’s injury), and Melvin Gordon’s crazy tough run-schedule to open the season continues the next few weeks (TB, @NYJ, @NE) … This was a pretty 85-yard TD bomb from Big Ben to Chase Claypool.

Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott’s huge home/road splits continue, as it’s not often a QB throws for 450 yards and runs in three scores, and it should be noted how smart it was when Dallas went for 2 (although failed) while down nine points (the sooner you know that information the better). Wild that Dallas scored 40 points without Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, or CeeDee Lamb scoring … Dalton Schultz saw 10 targets, which makes him a viable add if you need TE help (and should make those who drafted Blake Jarwin even more frustrated) … After throwing for 450 yards in Week 1, Matt Ryan posted a 4:0 TD:INT ratio during Atlanta’s second straight loss … It’s tough to use Todd Gurley in fantasy lineups right now, and the backup situation appears to be a committee … Russell Gage has averaged 7.9 targets over 11 games since Mohamed Sanu was traded, and Ryan has thrown six TD strikes this season with none to Julio Jones. Jones, Michael Thomas, and Davante Adams no longer look like the safer draft picks … In a game that featured two teams who both entered top-three in Pace, it didn’t disappoint with 79 total points (thanks to a late onside kick by Dallas) … Calvin Ridley is on pace to record 32 touchdown catches this season.

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins

A favorable schedule has helped, but Josh Allen has been terrific so far. He looks much improved (and all the pre-snap motion and play action helps), ably keeping both Stefon Diggs and John Brown fantasy starters (the same can’t be said for Buffalo’s backfield). Allen still has never been picked off in the red zone in his career … Mike Gesicki plays the slot and is essentially treated like a wide receiver and should be viewed as a top-five fantasy tight end moving forward.

Minnesota Vikings @ Indianapolis Colts

With a free-falling defense and new aggressive approach passing downfield, I actually liked Kirk Cousins as a sleeper this week, but instead, he stunk it up with 4.3 YPA and a 0:3 TD:INT ratio. Adam Thielen somehow got 3.9 yards per target, and Dalvin Cook’s game was saved by a late, meaningless TD, as the Vikings appear to be in real trouble … T.Y. Hilton dropped an easy 50-yard touchdown in the end zone, while Nyheim Hines was shockingly given just one touch/target. Jonathan Taylor had 20 touches by halftime, and he’s already in the conversation as a top-five fantasy player moving forward.

Jonathan Taylor #28 of the Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor's outlook is sitting pretty after Week 2. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Jets

The 49ers entered already missing George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Richard Sherman, and Dee Ford, and then proceeded to lose Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Nick Bosa, and Solomon Thomas all to significant injuries Sunday (thank you, new turf in New York), as dreaming of cashing my Super Bowl ticket feels like years ago … Mostert scored an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of Sunday’s game and had another 67-yard TD called back by penalty. Mostert is expected to miss this Sunday’s game with a knee injury, while Tevin Coleman’s own knee injury will reportedly cost him multiple weeks.

Jerick McKinnon meanwhile had a 55-yard run that Mostert would have taken all the way to the house while jogging backward, and Coleman finished with just 12 yards on 14 carries. Only health was preventing Mostert from finishing as an RB1 in fantasy this year, especially with the increased targets. But health matters … It’s hard to evaluate Sam Darnold given his surrounding talent, as he had a 37-year-old as his running back with Chris Hogan, Braxton Berrios, and Josh Malone finishing as his top-three targets … Jimmy G had a pretty great first half while playing through a high-ankle sprain, while Jordan Reed looked like Terrell Owens while scoring two touchdowns wearing #81 … I’ve never seen a more depressing 31-13 win than San Francisco’s.

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

The Lions actually led this game 14-3 with 10 minutes left in the first half, but the two Aarons (Rodgers and Jones) dominated thereafter, and the loss of Kenny Golladay has made Matthew Stafford unable to carry over last season’s success … Aaron Jones even led Green Bay in targets. He had his best games last season when Adams was banged up, so Jones looks like one of the best draft picks through two weeks (AJ Dillon doesn’t appear to be a threat at all) … Marquez Valdes-Scantling had to deal with a couple of vicious (and borderline cheap) shots, but he would be an easy top-30 fantasy wide receiver over the next couple of weeks (@NO, Atl) should Adams be sidelined through the team’s bye … Matt Patricia now has the distinction of coaching the first team in league history to lose four straight games in which they held double-digit leads.

New York Giants @ Chicago Bears

Saquon Barkley was lost for the season, as it was an absolutely devastating day of injuries throughout the league. It will be interesting to see where Barkley’s ADP settles next year, and I wouldn’t make it a priority to grab Dion Lewis off the waiver … David Montgomery returned after leaving with a possible concussion and should have plenty of fantasy value moving forward as a rare feature back. The same may not be true for Anthony Miller, who went from seeing just 27 snaps in Week 1 to three catchless targets Sunday, as his start to the season has been head-scratching. He also dropped a touchdown on a rare great throw from Mitchell Trubisky.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans

The Titans won the game (and more importantly, were my Survivor pick) thanks to Stephen Gostkowski nailing a late 49-yard FG (and earlier a 51-yarder) after Monday night’s disaster (although he did miss an extra point). Gardner Minshew apparently didn’t get the “Tank for Trevor” memo … Ryan Tannehill got 10.0 YPA with four TDs despite missing A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry getting shutdown (3.4 YPC), as Jonnu Smith revealed his major fantasy potential … After ranking top-25 in WOPR in Week 1 and scoring again while leading the team in targets in Week 2, Keelan Cole appears to be a thing this season … James Robinson is legitimately a top-20 fantasy back moving forward.

Washington Football Team @ Arizona Cardinals

Dwayne Haskins didn’t play well (to put it mildly) and hurt Logan Thomas in a prime matchup (nine targets against the Cardinals should produce more than 26 yards), although at least he fed Terry McLaurin. Washington’s offense really made life difficult on its defense Sunday (as did Kyler Murray, who continues to impress) … While big games haven’t been there yet, there have been positive developments to Kenyan Drake’s start to the season, and his schedule is about to open up (Det, @Car) … What a catch by Christian Kirk.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers

Making a surprise start, Justin Herbert got 9.4 YPA and took the defending champs into overtime. He impressed (and appears to be good news for Keenan Allen and bad news for Mike Williams in fantasy terms) … Austin Ekeler saw more action as a receiver (four targets) and a healthy 16 carries, but Joshua Kelley was given a whopping 23 rushes and is here to stay … Clyde Edwards-Helaire struggled running but saw eight targets, and Darrell Williams got one touch, so by all means trade for the rookie back coming off the modest game if he’s not valued as a top-five type player … Patrick Mahomes ran for 50+ yards for the sixth time in his career (although he’s never reached 60), and he’s oddly gotten just 6.5 YPA over the first two games of the season. KC now heads to Baltimore in a must-watch Monday night matchup in Week 3.

New England Patriots @ Seattle Seahawks

Beating a Dolphins team at home was one thing, but Cam Newton went into Seattle on Sunday night and threw for nearly 400 yards (9.0 YPA) and ran in two scores in a highly impressive performance. With little help from his running backs and unremarkable receivers (Julian Edelman set a career-high with 179 receiving yards, as Tom Brady had clearly been holding him back), Newton has made it look easy … The Patriots secondary allowed four touchdowns to wide receivers all of last season, which is the same number the Seahawks had Sunday night (along with a fifth to Chris Carson, who’s already matched his career receiving TD total in just two games this season), as Russell Wilson now has nine TD passes with 11 incompletions on the year … The oldest coaching matchup in NFL history came down to a final play at the goal line, as Seattle/New England never disappoints.

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