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Next Gen Stats for Week 2 (Fantasy Football)

Sep 11, 2019

Week 1 was chock-full of surprises, especially at the wide receiver position. Now that we’re heading into Week 2, how should fantasy members cut through all the noise and decide which players are deserving of waiver bids or trade offers? That’s where our weekly Next Gen Stat article is here to help.

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Running Back

56%. The percentage of Kerryon Johnson rushes that went against formations with eight defenders in the box, the second-highest among NFL running backs in Week 1. Johnson owners were likely disappointed with his 49 yards on 16 rushes for a meager 3.1 YPC, but they should exercise patience. It’s exceedingly difficult for a back to be productive when facing a stacked box over half the time. The good news is that Johnson will be facing lighter defensive formations shortly. Running back leaders in eight-man box percentage last year ranged around ~35% while Johnson logged 21%. Greener pastures are ahead.

43%. Dion Lewis’ snap share in Week 1’s blowout against the Browns compared to 59% for Derrick Henry. With a significant lead by the third quarter, this was a game script that should have heavily favored the ground-and-pound makeup of Henry for touches. Instead, the Titans’ coaching staff showed their commitment to getting Lewis on the field even in the midst of the blowout score and Henry’s big game. This bodes well for future weeks when the Titans play in tighter contests or find themselves trailing. Expect Lewis to earn more snaps than Henry in those matchups and to profile as a solid flex play. He presents a tremendous buy-low opportunity right now.

Wide Receiver

95th. Terry McLaurin’s percentile rank in SPARQ-x score, an indicator of athletic ability that combines speed, power, agility, reaction, and quickness. Washington’s 2019 third-round wideout showed those traits off in spades on Sunday, posting five catches on seven targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. McLaurin’s speed allowed him to create tremendous separation on deep routes, converting one target into a 69-yard touchdown and another into a near 73-yard touchdown if not for a Case Keenum overthrow. Despite being a rookie, McLaurin is Washington’s only reliable deep threat, playing on 93% of snaps in Week 1. While names like Marquise Brown and John Ross are attracting the most attention as mid-week wideout pick-ups, McLaurin represents the shrewder play.

55%. Cody Latimer’s percentage share of the air yards thrown by Giants’ quarterbacks on Sunday, the fifth-highest of any wideout in the league. Latimer’s 6’2″ frame and 4.44-speed make him an enticing downfield target and it showed with over 20 air yards/target against the Cowboys. While he only ended up catching three balls on eight targets for a total of 74 yards, Latimer has significant week-to-week upside as a flex play given his deep-threat role in the Giants’ offense. Daniel Jones showed a good rapport with Latimer in the preseason and seems poised to take over the starting quarterback role in the coming weeks. Fantasy owners that miss out on the top wire wide receivers this week and those in deeper leagues should consider adding Latimer after waivers clear.

Tight End

17.2. TJ Hockenson’s average air yards per target on Sunday, by far the highest among the 10 tight ends that received at least seven targets on the day (Kecle was second at 10.2). Hockenson’s impressive physical tools, highlighted by a 75th percentile weight-adjusted speed score, make him the rare tight end that can be a legitimate downfield threat. That, combined with his pedigree as a top-10 pick out of Iowa this year, make him an exciting prospect for the rest of the season. Hockenson owners should hold on tight while owners on the outside looking in shouldn’t be afraid to part with value for him in a trade.

Quarterback

100%. Gardner Minshew’s adjusted completion percentage against the Chiefs, a stat which excludes drops and throw-aways from the calculation. If that isn’t impressive enough, Minshew’s regular completion percentage of 88% ranked as the highest ever for an NFL debut as well as the highest single-game showing in Jaguars’ history. Minshew did make life easy on himself with numerous throws to backs and slot receivers underneath, but he also completed some impressive downfield passes, including a long-toss to DJ Chark that went for 69 yards. Those in Superflex leagues on the prowl for good quarterback streaming options should roll with Minshew against Houston in Week 2.

2.2. Jimmy Garoppolo’s air yards per completion in Week 1, the lowest among NFL QBs. He didn’t complete a pass over nine yards downfield and nearly half of his completions came behind the line of scrimmage. There was concern over Garappolo’s ineffective play in the preseason and those will only grow after an anemic outing against a poor defense in Tampa Bay. Moreover, expect the 49ers to continue pounding the ball on the ground after attempting 30 running back rushes in Week 1.

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Nicholas Gerli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Nicholas, check out his archive and follow him @nickgerli1.

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