5 Burning Questions for Week 2 (Fantasy Football)
Week 1 gave us a taste of what we’ve been waiting for all offseason. We saw the rookies play in their first games, we saw newly acquired free agents play in new uniforms, and we saw a 42-year-old quarterback play like he was half his age. While some of our questions were answered, a whole new set of storylines were put into motion, and here are my five burning questions for Week 2
Will we see Antonio Brown (WR – NE) play?
Every time you think the Antonio Brown saga is over, you’re wrong. After freezing his feet, protesting his helmet, and allegedly threatening to punch his GM in the face, the diva wide receiver forced his way out of Oakland (which he was over the moon about) and then a couple of hours later signed with the Patriots. There was definitely something fishy about how those events transpired, but that’s what happened. A few days after signing with the Patriots, Brown found his name in the news again in a negative way. Whether or not the allegations against him are true, he could wind up on the commissioner’s exempt list and not be able to play.
I believe he will play, at least this Sunday against the Dolphins, but how will he fit? Between Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman, James White, and Phillip Dorsett, Tom Brady had no lack of offensive weapons to throw to. Now add the most productive wide receiver over the past seven years to his arsenal? Brown should receive some high-quality targets from Brady, but given the other receivers who have proven chemistry with Brady, and the fact that he’s only been learning the playbook for a week, Brown isn’t going to be peppered with targets the way he was in Pittsburgh, he’ll have to do more with less.
Will Baker Mayfield (QB – CLE) bounce back?
The offseason hype train on Baker Mayfield started before 2018 even ended, and then when Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Browns, it went completely out of control. Mayfield had the best rookie quarterback season since Peyton Manning and everyone was expecting him to take the next step in 2019, but he opened the season with a complete dud. The Titans defense forced Mayfield into three interceptions on three consecutive drives in the second half, and he only threw one touchdown while leading his team to a total of 13 points. He didn’t look like himself.
He’ll have a chance to right his ship on Monday night against the New York Jets (who will be without Sam Darnold), and I think he will. The Titans defense was top-10 in points and yards given up in 2018 and they seemed to carry that weight through the offseason. The Jets defense, on the other hand, were bottom-8 in points and yards given up last year and Mayfield should be able to exploit that. It also seemed like Mayfield was dealing with an injury in the second half against the Titans and was seen leaving the stadium in a soft wrap around his wrist. If he’s fully healthy, he should rebound quickly on Monday night.
How will the Chiefs offense run without Tyreek Hill (WR – KC)?
The Chiefs put up their customary 40 points last week against the Jaguars and Patrick Mahomes threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns. Most of that damage, however, was done in the first half, when Tyreek Hill was in the game. Mahomes threw for over 300 yards in the first half and just 53 in half two. Part of that is because the Chiefs had a commanding lead, but it’s fair to question if the offense will run as smoothly without Hill.
Here’s what we need to know: Sammy Watkins had the best fantasy performance of his career in Week 1, but can he remain a consistent producer in Hill’s absence? Does anyone else receive a bump in the passing game? In Week 1, Anthony Sherman, LeSean McCoy, Blake Bell, Darwin Thompson, Demarcus Robinson, and Mecole Hardman were all held to either one or two targets. Does Mahomes still have the highest ceiling of any quarterback with his main deep threat on the sidelines?
The way I see it, Watkins was underrated in drafts this season as it was, and without Tyreek Hill he should return WR2 value on a weekly basis. Aside from Watkins, Travis Kelce, and Damien Williams, I think McCoy will be used a bit more in the passing game, but I’m not planting my flag in any of the Chief’s other receivers just yet. Losing Tyreek Hill takes away what separated Mahomes’ potential from everyone else’s, but he’s still a top-5 weekly option in my book.
Can the Bengals offense keep up their explosiveness without A.J. Green (WR – CIN)?
When A.J. Green went down with a foot injury a month before the season, people were questioning whether there was a less threatening offense in the league than the Bengals. All it took was one game for Andy Dalton to shut everyone up by throwing for 418 yards, a new career-high. John Ross stole the show on the receiving end grabbing seven of his 12 targets for 158 yards and two touchdowns, but both he and Tyler Boyd were targeted over 10 times. Boyd had a breakout season last year and established himself as a valuable starter in the NFL. If Ross follows suit this season and Joe Mixon can stay healthy, there really isn’t a lack of weapons at all.
Is Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL) for real?
One of the most surprising and exciting stories from Week 1 was the play of Lamar Jackson. We knew he could produce fantasy points with his legs, but on a day where he barely used his legs at all, he showed everyone what he could do with his arm. He went 17-20 for 324 yards and five touchdowns. His completions, completion percentage, passing yards, and passing touchdowns were all career highs.
The only reason there might be an asterisk by his accomplishments is that he did it against the Dolphins, a team that for all intents and purposes, isn’t even trying to win. Nonetheless, offenses now need to take him seriously as a dual-threat quarterback who can both run and throw. I don’t think he’ll have another game where he throws a touchdown on 25% of his passes, but I believe we’ll continue to see a more mature version of Jackson than the one we saw in 2018.