Tale of the Tape: Week 2 (Fantasy Football)
Welcome to Tale of the Tape, where we break down a handful of highlight GIFs from the week’s slate of NFL games and translate them into fantasy football relevance. If you see a highlight worth analyzing in the future, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @FantasySensei!
For now, let’s get into Week 2 of the NFL season!
James White’s Elite Pass-Catching Skills on Display
Anyone who watched the Patriots win Super Bowl LI knows how integral James White’s pass-catching is to this offense. With Julian Edelman out for the season and Danny Amendola banged up in this Week 2 contest against the Saints, White picked up most of the slack with 85 receiving yards on eight catches. He is incredibly elusive in space and the nature of the Pat’s offense regularly opens that space, as seen above. Even when Amendola returns, White is a near-lock for five receptions and has a high FLEX-level floor in PPR leagues.
Derrick Henry Lookin’ Like John Henry
If you get this folklore reference, consider yourself highly cultured. John Henry was the African-American folk hero who hammered through mountains in the railroading days and Derrick Henry looked like a human hammer himself against the Jaguars defense. After DeMarco Murray failed to get anything going (nine carries for 25 yards), the Titans essentially gave Henry the reins to the backfield. He responded with 92 yards on 14 carries, including this 17-yard beast of a run to break the game open. Murray is apparently banged up (hamstring), so Henry may keep the reigns for the foreseeable future. If he continues playing like this, it’s possible he may keep them.
Allen Hurns Eating Up the Garbage
With Allen Robinson out for the season, Allen Hurns and Marquise Lee will likely carry the passing load for Jacksonville. With all the garbage time fantasy points this team produces, that will translate to some big numbers now and again. Hurns has been highly fantasy relevant before and is a bit better fit for Robinson’s big receiver role. He turned the opportunity into several late-game receptions this week, racking up six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. While not an every-week starter, Hurns will be a valuable play in any game the Jaguars aren’t expected to blow out.
Todd Gurley Leaps Back Into Fantasy Stardom
For those who still doubted Gurley after a mediocre rushing effort in Week 1 (he was still valuable in fantasy thanks to a score and several receptions), his Week 2 performance should finally put a stop to the “flash in the pan” talk. Gurley was explosive and dynamic, as evidenced on this incredible receiving touchdown to keep the Rams in the game. The third-year RB totaled 137 yards on 16 carries and three receptions, and his use in the passing game might be the brightest spot of all. Regardless of game script, Gurley is the key to this offense and actually does have the talent to capitalize.
Jack Doyle Doesn’t Need Luck
Apparently, Jacoby Brissett is just about as good for Jack Doyle’s fantasy value as we could expect Andrew Luck to be. Doyle hauled in 8-of-8 targets on Sunday for 79 yards and has clearly established chemistry with the newly added quarterback. Young, inexperienced QBs are prone to lean on tight ends due to their size and reliable routes, so it’s not a surprise to see the target share. But the excellent connection, trust, and timing, as showcased on this sideline throw, suggest promising production from the duo in the near future. Obviously, Andrew Luck won’t be a downgrade either, so now might even be a good time to buy Doyle low.
Mike Evans is Unstoppably Elite
In their first game of the season, Mike Evans showed why he was the No. 1 WR in fantasy (depending on format) last year. Evans had seven catches on nine targets for 93 yards and a touchdown and looked virtually uncoverable on a slew of middle-of-field slant routes. Then there’s the 1-on-1 prowess Evans flashed on the score – when combined with his 6’5″/225 frame, Evans is as good an end zone threat as there is in the NFL. He has the target share of a Julio Jones and the scoring ability of Dez Bryant, and should easily be in the conversation among the fantasy elite.
Duke Johnson Builds His Case For WR Eligibility
While the Browns were mostly smothered by the elite Ravens defense, Duke Johnson compiled a respectable 80 total yards, including 34 yards on this OBJ-level one-handed catch. Johnson only had three receptions total, but was targeted six times and continued running routes out of the slot. Whether or not fantasy sites actually give Duke WR eligibility, he is startable in deeper PPR leagues. This may be especially true if Corey Coleman misses extended time with a broken hand, as the other top pass-catchers in Cleveland would currently be TE Seth DeValve and practice-squad signee Rashard Higgins.
Mr. “Faster Alshon Jeffery” Has Cutler’s Affection
You likely heard from me and others that Jay Cutler was enamored with Parker’s big frame and contested-catch ability in the preseason, and the connection was on full display on Sunday. While Parker only came down with four receptions, he had nine targets and 85 yards, and was a inches away from muscling this incredible catch into the end zone. Regardless, this play and others throughout the game showed Cutler’s absolute dedication to getting Parker the ball downfield. With his ball skills and Cutler’s clear intentions, Parker has all kinds of upside in fantasy this year. He’s one of my favorite buy-low candidates heading into Week 3.
Chris Carson Assumes Command in Seattle
Hopefully, you read last week’s Tale of the Tape and picked up Chris Carson. Carson not only ran exceptionally well, breaking tackles and powering downhill against the 49ers, but he was just about the only show in town. Eddie Lacy was a healthy scratch and Thomas Rawls had five carries for four yards. Carson is not only the lead back in Seattle, he may be a legitimate bell-cow moving forward. With 93 rushing yards on 20 carries, Carson is making the most of a poor offensive line and could be one of the most valuable players in fantasy this year if Seattle’s offense can improve as the season progresses.
Dez is Dez, Even in Denver
Continuing his monstrous slate of elite cornerback matchups in Week 2, Dez Bryant took on some combination of Denver’s best but still managed to score on this short TD, his bread-and-butter play. Here’s an insane stat through two weeks, Bryant has seven end zone targets – Emmanuel Sanders and Ted Ginn each have three and no other receiver has more than two. Admittedly, the tough slate will make it hard to trust Bryant some weeks, but mark my words … as soon as he has a chance to face an average CB, Bryant has as much upside as any WR in fantasy. Don’t even be afraid to start him next week, as Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals seem to be a little slower than in years past.