By the Numbers: Week 2 (2020 Fantasy Football)
As we head into Week 2 of the NFL season, many fantasy football questions have been answered, while others continue to confound managers on an existential level.
The “don’t overreact after Week 1” crowd reminds fantasy managers that T.J. Hockenson was the No. 2 tight end after Week 1 last season and that Sammy Watkins, DeSean Jackson, and John Ross were fantasy’s top three wide receivers to that point.
While each player was a tempting waiver-wire add heading into Week 2 last season, none of them finished the year among the top 30 at their position in half-PPR scoring.
Members of the “take action now” crowd, however, might suggest going all-in on the waiver wire this week, citing injuries and the legitimate 2019 Week 1 breakout of Terry McLaurin, whose 11.7 points per game last season were more than fantasy stalwarts Odell Beckham Jr. and Adam Thielen.
Given how much offensive schemes evolve throughout the season, there is no hard-and-fast formula for identifying which breakouts will last and which ones will fizzle after Week 1.
With that, one thing I try to remember heading into Week 2 each year is that every factoid posted around this time is out of context since it’s representing only about 6.3 percent (one out of 16 games) of the stats we’ll see throughout the season.
While I’m preaching patience, for now, managers should be monitoring the following situations closely moving forward.
Number to Know: 21
I’ve been fading Ingram since midway through last season, mostly because of his inflated touchdown rate and his lack of targets, but also because of his age.
My concerns were amplified when Baltimore selected J.K Dobbins out of Ohio State in the second round of April’s NFL draft, a move which foreshadowed John Harbaugh’s implementing a three-back approach in 2020.
In Week 1, Dobbins led the Ravens backfield in offensive snaps (23), with Ingram (21) and Gus Edwards (15) seeing ample work as well. Ingram led the team in carries, but Dobbins had the backfield’s only two rushes from inside the five-yard line, scoring on both occasions.
While I’m not bullish on any of the three backs’ fantasy values at this point, I’m particularly concerned about Ingram, whom many managers were expecting to be a high-floor RB2 in 2020.
Number to Know: 6
Rookie Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire exploded for 19.8 half-PPR points in a Week 1 win against the Houston Texans, rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
While Edwards-Helaire’s receiving usage was moderately concerning in his NFL debut, it’s essential to consider the game script, which led to the Chiefs’ passing on just 37 percent of their plays in the second half.
Lost in some of the frustration surrounding Edwards-Helaire’s two targets on Thursday were his six rushes from inside the five-yard line, which ranked first among all players in Week 1.
Number to Know: 6.8
Speaking of game script, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler finished Week 1 with just one target, down significantly from his 6.8 targets per game in 2019.
It was just Ekeler’s fourth game with fewer than two targets since 2018, and most of the team’s prime scoring carries were given to backup Joshua Kelley, who outscored Ekeler with 12 half-PPR points in Week 1.
From a long-term perspective, a lot of noise has been made about Los Angeles’ transition from check-down-happy Philip Rivers to the mobile Tyrod Taylor, but what people overlook is that Taylor was tied with Rivers in check-down percentage from 2017-2018.
Moving forward, I’m expecting Ekeler to return on his second-round investment, but I’ll be worried if he doesn’t have a mini-explosion against Kansas City on Sunday.
Number to Know: 13
Carson Wentz led all NFL quarterbacks with 13 bad throws in Week 1, which isn’t surprising considering he was sacked eight times and pressured at the fifth-highest rate in the league by a stout Washington front seven.
With a depleted offensive line and few healthy receiving options out of the gate, Wentz is a player to monitor in Philadelphia’s Week 2 game against Aaron Donald and the Rams.
If the peripheral pieces of the Eagles offense don’t round into form soon, it may be wise to explore the waiver wire and trade market for a QB1 replacement.
Number to Know: 72
On Monday, Rams head coach Sean McVay reiterated his belief in all three running backs, saying, “each week we’ll kind of present different approaches.”
While I won’t be investing significant free-agent auction dollars in Brown, his box score stats were backed up by a 72 percent success rate, which ranked third among starting running backs in Week 1 behind surprisingly strong performances from David Johnson and Sony Michel.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.