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Fantasy Football Panic Meter: Week 2 (2021)

Sep 20, 2021

Starting, sitting, trading, waiting, and replacing are decisions that every fantasy football player must make all season. Information comes at us quickly, making it difficult to decipher when to change our lineups. This article series will be here weekly to help you make those pivotal calls. Welcome to the Panic Meter.

Each week, we will give you several players who underperformed and how panicked you should feel about that letdown. The scale (as seen below) will tell you exactly what to do with last week’s busts, whether it means running them back out there this week or sending them packing for the waiver wire.

Every player will get a Panic Meter grade between 0 and 4 — and each grade comes with a corresponding strategy to employ.

PANIC METER GRADE ACTION PLAN/STRATEGY
0 This week wasn’t great, but panic not, my friend! Start him again next week.
1 Wait and see mode activated. If you can replace him, it may be a smart move.
2 That was ugly. Something is wrong here. To the bench.
3 Hold at your own risk. This player isn’t reliable right now, consider moving on.
4 Stop. DROP. Shut ’em down. Open up shop! He gone.

Now that you understand the system, let’s bring on the panic!

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Week 2 Panic Meter

Alvin Kamara (RB – NO) | Panic Meter: 0
Kamara had eight rushes for five yards in Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers. With Jameis Winston throwing the ball to the other team, the Saints never established the run. However, Kamara was still involved in the passing game. He garnered six targets and turned them into four receptions on the day. His fantasy floor rests upon those catches. The big game is coming, and there is no need to panic.

DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI) | Panic Meter: 0
Smith went for 71 receiving yards on six catches and a touchdown in Week 1 but followed that performance up with a dud. His Week 2 stat line: 2/16/0. The Eagles couldn’t muster much of an offensive threat against the 49ers on Sunday. Jalen Hurts completed just 12 passes for 190 yards, and 91 of those came on one throw to wide receiver Quez Watkins. However, there is still plenty to like about DeVonta Smith, as he was the target on seven of Hurts’ 23 throws. Look for him to bounce back in Week 3.

A.J. Brown (WR – TEN) | Panic Meter: 0
The results haven’t been there yet. However, Brown is still Ryan Tannehill’s top target; he has had 17 passes come his way in two weeks. Under no scenario can you consider benching a player with Brown’s ability and role in Tennessee’s offense.

George Kittle (TE-SF) | Panic Meter: 0
George Kittle has just eight catches for 95 yards thus far. To say that production is underwhelming is an understatement. However, we don’t recommend panicking just yet. Tight end is a barren wasteland of a position, making anyone with upside a weekly lineup lock. For Kittle, the key is routes run. His route percentage in Week 2 was 85%, up from 62% last week. The 49ers are scheming him into opportunities, so continue trotting Kittle out there for your squad.

Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA) | Panic Meter: 1
Miami’s RBBC is a headache for fantasy players. While Gaskin has carved out a role in the passing attack (10 targets in 2021), he has averaged only 31 yards from scrimmage per game to start the year. Now that their quarterback’s health is in question, this offense will have to rally around the challenge. I hope that you have the option to bench Gaskin for a running back in a better offense. We fully expect Week 3 to be full of Gaskin versus “player X” in the start/sit inbox.

Joe Burrow (QB – CIN) | Panic Meter: 1
Cincinnati’s offensive line has done their franchise quarterback no favors in the early going. Burrow has been sacked a league-leading nine times over his first 66 dropbacks. He is also second in the NFL in interceptions (3) thrown behind Trevor Lawrence. All three of those came in consecutive attempts against the Chicago Bears, but Cincinnati’s porous offensive line has been a problem in both games.

You drafted Burrow as a borderline QB1, but his career stat line hasn’t backed that up. Expectations should be lowered based on each matchup as we advance. He isn’t a drop yet.

Robby Anderson (WR – CAR) | Panic Meter: 1
Anderson earned a this week. He failed to record substantial numbers, and teammate D.J. Moore looked like an alpha receiver. Anderson hauled in just three passes on the day, good for 38 yards. In contrast, Moore feasted, catching eight passes for 79 yards and a score. In the first two weeks, Anderson netted just four total catches. He has a role in the offense as a deep threat and mismatch, but with CMC healthy and Moore flexing his WR1 muscles, Anderson is a sketchy FLEX play at best heading into Week 3.

Mike Davis (RB – ATL) | Panic Meter: 2
Davis was pronounced an RB2 this draft season because Atlanta didn’t draft or bring in anyone else at the position worth noting. We all forgot about Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson had nine touches for 67 yards in Week 1 and topped that in Week 2 with 16 touches, 69 yards, and a score. Davis has never been a featured back, and his passing-down work is barely enough to justify a fantasy lineup spot. Until the Falcons commit enough touches to Davis, your team shouldn’t give him a start.

Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF) | Panic Meter: 2
The good news for Brandon Aiyuk’s fantasy managers is that he has run the third-most routes for the 49ers in 2021. The bad news is everything else. His coach has thrown him under the bus. His quarterback has only targeted him twice on the season. Deebo Samuel appears to be in the midst of a breakout campaign. The Niners are a run-first team. The list goes on and on. So if someone in your league still believes, get yourself something in return before the inevitable drop debate arrives.

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Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to a more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.

Aaron Pags is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Aaron, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyTriage.

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