Fantasy Football Panic Meter: Week 2 (2020)
Week 2 was bloody. Lots of star players went down across the league, and lots of fantasy managers will have to adjust accordingly.
That said, this column is not an injury report. Instead of focusing on the players who busted due to injury, I’ll focus on those who failed to meet expectations despite their clean bills of health. Players will get a grade from 0 to 5 that corresponds to my strategy of choice.
|0||No fear. Keep starting this player.|
|1||A little worried. Consider benching them if you have a better option.|
|2||Wait-and-see. Bench them across the board.|
|3||On the block. Bench this player and try to sell.|
|4||Sell now. Take whatever you can get, but don’t drop them.|
|5||Droppable. Send them to waivers.|
So with the panic meter laid out, let’s get started!
Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN): 2.5
Cousins tossed three picks against a team without their best starting cornerback, Rock Ya-Sin. In most formats, he totaled negative points. That’s unacceptable from either a QB1 or a QB2, but Cousins has shown enough upside in the past for us to know that this is an outlier.
But even if this is an outlier, Cousins’ Week 2 performance demonstrated that the Vikings have a much worse passing offense without Stefon Diggs. An aging Adam Thielen, a developing Justin Jefferson, and Bisi Johnson might not be enough for Cousins to return QB1 value consistently.
Cousins is a must-bench in any 1QB leagues, and honestly, he’s droppable in that format. While he’s a hold in 2QB formats, I don’t know if I would start him against Tennessee’s defense in Week 3, and you should be able to pick up either Justin Herbert or Nick Mullens as an alternative.
Daniel Jones (QB – NYG): 5
Not only did Jones struggle with turnovers on Sunday, but he also lost his best offensive weapon, Saquon Barkley. Barkley’s loss will hold the Giants back significantly through the rest of the season, as opponents won’t have to take their running game seriously, allowing them to focus on exploiting Jones’ weaknesses.
The Giants get a beaten-up 49ers team in Week 3, but even without some of their key players, San Francisco still demolished the New York Jets. You should expect more of the same come Week 3.
That said, Jones retains some value in 2QB leagues as a high-upside rotational piece. Like he did last year, Jones will randomly dismantle a weak opponent and finish as a QB1. But he has no weekly floor, so the only way I keep him on my roster after this week is as my QB3.
David Johnson (RB – HOU): 0.5
Johnson totaled 50 yards on just 13 touches in Week 2, and he failed to reach paydirt. But even if Johnson cost you your Week 2 matchup, you shouldn’t be concerned — he just happened to play against the fifth-best defense versus the run.
I’m giving Johnson a 0.5, not a zero, because he has another tough matchup next week. The Texans visit the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3, and they rank first against the run. Sure, they just allowed Melvin Gordon to run for 70 yards against them, but they limited Saquon Barkley to just six, and Denver has a better offensive line than Houston.
So while I would leave Johnson on my bench for Week 3, he’s an easy start in every game after that. He should redeem himself by running roughshod over the Vikings (Week 4) and Jaguars (Week 5).
Zack Moss (RB – BUF): 2.5
Buffalo’s offense became a bit clearer this Sunday, and Moss came out as a loser. The Bills continued to emphasize the pass even when ahead, and Devin Singletary looked like the preferred passing option in the receiving game.
Moss played on 28 snaps to Singletary’s 33. While Moss drew almost all of the red-zone snaps in Week 1, that didn’t happen in Week 2, as he split that work with Singletary. Moss’ goal-line usage was supposed to make his snaps more valuable, but if he isn’t even getting all of the red-zone looks, then he carries much less fantasy utility.
While you shouldn’t drop Moss, you certainly shouldn’t start him next week, either. I might try to gauge trade interest in him as well.
Ronald Jones (RB – TB): 3
Uh oh, Jones. A messy fumbled snap may have led to some dramatic changes in this backfield.
43-year old Tom Brady jumped right in the pile to try to get it back.pic.twitter.com/r6CrV6KrtQ
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 20, 2020
Leonard Fournette got the bulk of the work afterward, and he was far more efficient than Jones with his carries. Seriously, Jones averaged 3.3 yards per carry, but Fournette averaged 8.6! Sure, that number includes a 46-yard run, but even without it, Fournette still averaged 5.18 yards per carry.
That said, I fully expect Bruce Arians to play the hot hand, and Jones might find his way out of the doghouse soon enough. You should bench Jones for Week 3, but I would wait for him to have another big week before you trade him — that way, you can sell high.
Nyheim Hines (RB – IND): 5
Hines was a popular waiver-wire add for Week 2, yet he played on a whopping nine snaps against the Vikings. Everything that he can do, Jonathan Taylor can do a little better, so I wouldn’t expect to see Hines frequently used moving forward.
Drop Hines back to waivers unless you’re in a deep PPR league. If you are, hold onto him as a high-value handcuff to Taylor.
Julio Jones (WR – ATL): 0
Jones busted hard against the Cowboys. Despite the final score of 40-39, Jones only caught two passes for 24 yards. He earned just four targets, too, fewer than Calvin Ridley (10), Russell Gage (9), and Hayden Hurst (8).
Although it wasn’t a good week for Jones drafters, his Week 2 performance is just a small bump in the road. The Falcons are still a high-volume passing offense, so Jones should rebound in Week 3 against the Bears. It’s worth noting that Jones blamed his struggles on a hamstring injury, so his status is something to monitor for next week.
We would need to see two or three more weeks like this one for moving on from Jones to become a consideration.
Preston Williams (WR – MIA): 0
Williams drew Tre’Davious White in coverage on Sunday, and, as expected, the star cornerback shut him down. Williams’ one-catch performance says much more about White’s prowess than it does about Williams’ receiving ability.
Remember, Williams led the Dolphins in targets Week 1. He out-paced teammate DeVante Parker, and he’ll do so again when the Dolphins play the Jaguars in Week 3. Jacksonville just allowed Ryan Tannehill to throw for four touchdowns against them, so I’m excited about Williams’ upside next week.
*Will Fuller (WR – HOU): 2.5
I said that I wouldn’t list players here who got hurt, and it appears that Fuller’s awful showing in Week 2 had to do with an injury. That said, the team never officially stated that he was hurt, so we’re stuck speculating about the nature and extent of his injury.
From images of the sideline, including some of Fuller stretching his leg, it’s probably something to do with his hamstring. Soft-tissue injuries have plagued Fuller throughout his career, and it’s incredibly frustrating to see him dealing with one again.
Fuller is a bench until we get a better sense of his injury status. He has incredible upside when healthy, so I wouldn’t drop him, but it would be smart to sell him if you don’t want to deal with the headache.
Mark Andrews (TE – BAL): 0
Andrews was always going to be a touchdown-dependent tight end. If you didn’t know that when you drafted him, you should’ve — he earned the fewest targets among this year’s top-five tight ends in ADP.
So while he’ll pop off for two scores every so often, as he did in Week 1, he’ll also disappear from the box score in other weeks. The Ravens are run-first offense, and they aren’t forced to throw to him very frequently.
That said, Andrews managed a TE1 finish with this kind of workload last year. You’re in for a rocky ride with him as your TE1, but such is life, and he could easily drop two scores against the Chiefs next week.
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