Week 2 Fantasy Wrap: Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray shine

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Arizona Cardinals @ Baltimore Ravens

Traveling across the country to play a 10AM body-clock game following a tie in overtime, this wasn’t a favorable setup for Kyler Murray against a tough Baltimore defense (even if missing Jimmy Smith). But the rookie responded with 349 passing yards (becoming just the second player ever to throw for 300+ yards in his first two games), getting an impressive 8.7 YPA with no turnovers and giving his team a chance at an upset as 14-point underdogs despite his running backs adding just 16 rushing yards (2.0 YPC). Murray is the real deal, and especially given his situation in the uptempo Arizona offense, should be treated as a borderline top-five fantasy QB moving forward (just wait until he starts running).

Of course, that would still be lower than Lamar Jackson, who’s right there in the conversation as fantasy’s most valuable QB behind only Patrick Mahomes. Jackson is now up to a 7:0 TD:INT ratio on the year, and he ran for 120 yards Sunday (only Dalvin Cook and Matt Breida had more in Week 2). Most importantly, this late dime to Marquise Brown (13 targets!) sealed the win and saved my Survivor pick this week. Jackson became the first player in NFL history to throw for 270 and run for 120 in the same game, and while he’s benefitted from an easy schedule, he will again next week in Kansas City, as all of the Ravens’ offseason moves that were clearly tailored around Jackson are paying off in a big way. Jackson and Murray gave a glimpse of the future of the NFL, and it looks bright ... Mark Andrews should be considered Tight End No. 4 at worst, while Christian Kirk should be treated as a top-20 WR moving forward (go try to trade for him now before he really blows up).

The future looks bright with these two at QB. (Photos by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
The future looks bright with these two at QB. (Photos by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

Easing Antonio Brown in during his first game, the Patriots naturally gave him his first carry since 2016 and a target share (28%) that ranked top-10 in the league this week, because of course. Brown’s addition if nothing else is bad news for everyone with Josh Gordon on a roster … Tom Brady entered 7-9 during his career in Miami but had little trouble with this tanking version (and had no problem throwing late in the game while up 37-0), and you’ll probably want the Dallas defense in your lineup next week at home against the Dolphins, who are handing over turnovers for scores ... Stephen Gostkowski missed a field goal and two extra points in this game, and for what it’s worth, Josh Rosen had two nice deep throws late that were just dropped …The Pats own the best point differential through two games since 1975.

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins

Dak Prescott continues to play well and is up to a 7:1 TD:INT ratio on the year, getting 10.9 YPA while taking just one sack (and adding 81 rushing yards). Ezekiel Elliott will get his, but given the Kellen Moore (all that play action!) promotion and Michael Gallup’s emergence, Prescott is a dark horse MVP candidate on a team likely to make a deep run this season … Terry McLaurin saw another nine targets, scored again (despite seeing Byron Jones) and finished tied for second in WOPR in Week 2. “Scary Terry” not only should be rostered in 100% of leagues, he’s approaching must-start status.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Detroit Lions

Austin Ekeler continues to be used as a workhorse and looks like a draft-day steal (at least until Melvin Gordon returns), while Keenan Allen saw a predictably high 15 targets in a good battle with Darius Slay. His volume should continue to remain high with Mike Williams banged up and Hunter Henry out … T.J. Hockenson followed up his big debut with a quiet game, but Matthew Stafford (8.4 YPA) and Detroit’s defense have played very well to open the season … The Chargers had two touchdowns called back by penalties and lost a fumble at the goal line on the same drive, while Philip Rivers was intercepted in the end zone for the second straight game.

Buffalo Bills @ New York Giants

Devin Singletary impressed again in limited work, getting 9.5 YPC and a score before hobbling off late and watching the inconvenient truth of Frank Gore taking a goal-line TD. The rookie’s health will be one to monitor moving forward … Josh Allen was solid, but he missed an open John Brown on a would-be long touchdown, something fantasy gamers probably need to get used to this season ... Evan Engram had a somewhat quiet game, but it came against a Buffalo defense that yielded the fewest fantasy points to tight ends last season, and he’s going to see a ton of targets moving forward (and soon enough it will be Danny Dimes throwing to him instead of Eli Manning’s carcass).

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

Gardner Minshew is quite clearly the man and finished with more fantasy points than Deshaun Watson (despite Jacksonville missing DE Yannick Ngakoue, CB A.J. Bouye, and LT Cam Robinson). We now all get the pleasure of watching young Minshew perform for a national audience Thursday night … What a letdown game from Dede Westbrook, who was mostly facing a slot corner just signed off the street, and Will Fuller was disappointingly unable to take advantage of the Jalen Ramsey/DeAndre Hopkins shadow situation to go along with Bouye’s absence. Meanwhile, Duke Johnson saw just one target (when Watson missed him for a wide-open TD), and Watson has taken 3+ sacks in 11 straight games now.

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger and James Conner both left injured in a disastrous day for Pittsburgh, which also featured Donte Moncrief dropping his lone target before getting benched the rest of the game. The 0-2 Steelers now travel across the country to face a suddenly fierce San Francisco defensive line that may be after Mason Rudolph instead of Big Ben … DK Metcalf looks like a future star, but everyone rostering Tyler Lockett shouldn’t panic, as his target share (34%) was top-five this week (although his game could’ve been bigger against a Pittsburgh team that struggles against the slot) … Will Dissly should be treated as a top 10-15-type TE moving forward, so act accordingly … Chris Carson lost a fumble for the second straight game (and was possibly responsible for another), while Rashaad Penny got 6.2 YPC and had this impressive 37-yard touchdown run. He should only see more carries moving forward.

San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals

Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert ran for 204 yards on just 25 carries, while fourth-string RB Jeff Wilson ran for two touchdowns. I’m beginning to think the team shouldn’t have handed out those contracts to Jerick McKinnon and Tevin ColemanBreida is really good. Meanwhile, Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard combined for 23 yards on 17 carries. This 49ers defense is a little different from the one that recorded an NFL-record low two picks last season … San Francisco had a whopping 500+ total yards of offense through three quarters, although the loss of Joe Staley hurts … Deebo Samuel is the Niners receiver to have, while John Ross added a 66-yard TD in garbage time. Dante Pettis finished with a negative WOPR, which isn’t easy to do.

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers

One week after finishing as the league’s most inaccurate passer, Aaron Rodgers got just 6.1 YPA but tossed two touchdowns anyway, while Aaron Jones had a nice game on the ground. Jones lost a TD grab to Jamaal Williams but encouragingly recorded the fifth-most air yards by a running back this week, so big things could be in store … Dalvin Cook had a 75-yard TD run and continues to look like a monster, while Kirk Cousins is now a lesser version of Matthew Stafford.

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans

No one saw more than six targets or got more than 5.5 YPA in this game, while Marlon Mack was held to 51 yards on 20 carries, so it was mostly a fantasy dud ... The Titans made a curious decision to take an intentional delay of game while down late, while it sounds like Adam Vinatieri is calling it a career after missing two more extra points … The Colts’ schedule is about to get a whole lot friendlier (Atl, Oak, @KC), making Mack a weekly RB1 and Parris Campbell an interesting add off waiver wires.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders

Patrick Mahomes threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns in the second quarter alone, but this game (the last one ever featuring a dirt infield with Oakland not returning home again until Week 9) weirdly was scoreless in the second half ... Derek Carr tossed a couple of brutal picks in a favorable matchup but did pass Ken Stabler as Oakland’s all-time leading passer … Mecole Hardman had a long score and another 72-yard touchdown nullified by a penalty, and he’s going to be well worth using as long as Tyreek Hill is out … DeMarcus Robinson was the wild card blowup of the week, securing all six targets for 172 yards and two scores. Those rostering Sammy Watkins are disappointed with the results, but the 13 targets are nice ... Damien Williams disappointed on the ground again but led all running backs in air yards in Week 2. Both Williams and LeSean McCoy left this game with injuries late, and it’s a situation well worth monitoring, as preseason favorite Darwin Thompson may soon become quite popular.

New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams

A possible high-scoring affair turned into a defensive dud thanks in no small part to Drew Brees exiting early with a thumb injury, and it’s safe to be deeply concerned with all Saints properties if it’s serious. That said, Teddy Bridgewater will be better with more time to prepare and without Aaron Donald in his face, so he’s going to be an attractive free agent add for those in Superflex leagues … Jared Goff continues to post massive home/road splits, while the Saints were once again on the wrong side of horrible officiating, as a whistle cost New Orleans a sure long defensive touchdown. Errors of commission are always worse than omission, and especially in this case considering the play could’ve otherwise been reviewed later.

Chicago Bears @ Denver Broncos

David Montgomery took over as Chicago’s lead back and finally became the first Bears player to score this season other than their kicker late in the third quarter. The rookie back had 18 carries (Mike Davis had three) and finished with the third-most air yards among running backs in Week 2 … Emmanuel Sanders (13 targets) sure made an impressive recovery from Achilles surgery as a 32 year old … This game had a wild ending that featured Denver converting a two-point conversion down 13-12 with 30 seconds left (after back-and-forth penalties and a missed Brandon McManus extra point), only then to watch the Bears come back to win it, thanks to a 53-yard field goal.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons

What projected as a high-scoring game turned into a battle of attrition, as Carson Wentz, DeSean Jackson, and Alshon Jeffery all left injured for the Eagles, who still nearly pulled off a comeback victory. In a day highlighted by quarterback injuries, Wentz was fortunately able to return, with a rushing score salvaging an otherwise dreadful game (5.4 YPA and the lowest Passer Rating in a half in his career) against an Atlanta secondary that was torched for the most fantasy points by quarterbacks last season … The big winners here are Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz if the WR injuries prove serious, as the former eclipsed 100 yards with a TD despite dropping a would-be 60-yard game-winning touchdown late, while the latter saw 16 targets and fellow TE Dallas Goedert leave hurt. JJ Arcega-Whiteside is also a speculative add … Devonta Freeman’s praise-filled preseason seems like forever ago, and it doesn’t help that Atlanta has lost both of its two offensive line first-round picks from this year’s draft to injuries already … After recording just three touchdowns over a 23-game stretch, Julio Jones has 10 TD catches over his last 10 games.

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