I’m glad Week 2 is over.
Not because I had a bad week or the fact that I’m completely sleep deprived, but because there was just so much variance. We saw injuries, players and teams not perform up to expectations, and offenses completely fall apart in seemingly good matchups.
Putting Week 2 in the rear view mirror, let’s move on to something (maybe) a little less frustrating: the AFC Targets and Touches Report. I’ll caution readers that we are still dealing with small samples early in the year and these reports will only deal with players that have a shot at fantasy relevancy. No offense to Browns’ FB Malcolm Johnson, but I’m not sure his one Week 2 target screams fantasy importance.
Let’s get to it.
Analysis: Steve Smith is and will continue to be a target hog until Breshad Perriman (PCL) is healthy and is infused into the offense. Justin Forsett is the clear-cut No. 1 RB in Baltimore, but Lorenzo Taliaferro saw 10 touches on 31 snaps against Oakland while Forsett earned 19 touches on 45 snaps. Taliaferro earned his No. 2 job back over rookie Javorious “Buck” Allen in Week 2.
Analysis: Sammy Watkins was actually a major part of the Bills’ offense against the Patriots – he posted a 6-60-1 line on eight targets – and will go to Miami in Week 3 to face a ‘Fins secondary that was just gashed for 6-155-2 by Allen Robinson. We’ll see if Watkins can maintain some fantasy consistency, but he’s still best suited as a WR3 in re-draft fantasy leagues.
RB Touches: Jeremy Hill (19, 11) and Gio Bernard (14, 23)
Redzone Carries: Jeremy Hill (8, 0) and Gio Bernard (2, 6)
Analysis: Jeremy Hill was benched after losing two fumbles early in the second half in Week 2 and Gio Bernard subsequently took over and out-touched Hill (23:11). Hill is still the starter, but the backfield split may draw closer between the two in the immediate future. Cincinnati was 58.1% run-heavy in Week 2 – in part due to Bernard’s success on the ground (20-123-0) – which explains the relative low-volume of targets A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, and Marvin Jones saw against San Diego.
Redzone Targets: Andrew Hawkins (1, 0)
Redzone Carries: Isaiah Crowell (2, 2)
Analysis: Duke Johnson out-snapped Isaiah Crowell in Week 2 (26:24) but has inexplicably not been involved in the pass-game to this point. Catching balls out of the backfield was one of Johnson’s strong suits coming out of Miami. Again, I’ll re-iterate this week: Johnson and Crowell are the only two players on the Browns’ roster worth monitoring closely in 10- and 12-team fantasy leagues. Travis Benjamin is worth monitoring in deeper leagues, but I am not chasing his three touchdown (2 receiving, 1 punt return) outburst.
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Analysis: Demaryius Thomas saw 39 redzone targets (2.45 per-game) in 2014. He hasn't seen a single redzone target through two games in 2015. I am betting that changes by a significant margin in the very near future. After TNF, RB C.J. Anderson (toe/ankle) had a total of ten days to get healthy. Clearly not 100%, Anderson still out-snapped Ronnie Hillman (42:31) in Week 2. Through two weeks, sophomore WR Cody Latimer has played just nine snaps.
Analysis: My mouth fell open when I saw Ryan Mallett attempted 58(!) passes in Week 2. Houston was 71.1% pass heavy in Week 2, playing from behind in the second half in Carolina. DeAndre Hopkins will see a ton of weekly volume but will have to find a way to be somewhat efficient in an inefficient passing offense. Also, Houston sorely misses Arian Foster. Chris Polk, Alfred Blue, and Jonathan Grimes will continue to split work until Foster returns.
Analysis: The Colts turned the ball over five times (three Andrew Luck INTs, one Luck fumble, and one Frank Gore fumble), averaged 5.62 yards per play, and scored one offensive touchdown in their home opener on MNF. Better days must be ahead, but the Colts are last in the league in points scored through two weeks (21).
While T.Y. Hilton is nursing a knee injury, Donte Moncrief was the lone bright spot for the Colts offense on MNF securing seven of his eight targets for 122 yards and a score. He also led the team in routes run against the Jets (38), while Hilton ran 36, Andre Johnson (31), and Phillip Dorsett (11).
Redzone Carries: T.J. Yeldon (1, 6)
Analysis: There’s the Allen Robinson we wanted to see. He saw volume to the tune of 12 targets and shredded the ‘Fins for 6-155-2. He’s a mid-WR2 for as long as he is the Brandon Marshall-esque focal point of the Jags’ passing attack. T.J. Yeldon is a full-time back. He received 28 touches and played on 84.9% of the Jags’ offensive snaps in Week 2.
Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: Kansas City’s offense is pretty straightforward beyond one fact we’ve all been screaming since last year: Travis Kelce needs more targets. He was seemingly not a huge part of the offense in Week 2 and still posted a respectable 4-58 receiving line.
CB Marcus Peters’ Week 2 counting stats don’t tell the full story. Peyton Manning had a 48.2 passer rating when throwing at Peters, while Phillip Gaines allowed a rating of 100 and Jamell Fleming allowed 124.8 rating, per PFF.
Analysis: Opportunity wise, there isn’t much to discuss here. Jarvis Landry is a target hog. Rishard Matthews has a stronghold on the No. 2 WR spot until DeVante Parker is ready for a larger role. Lamar Miller’s ankle injury is something to watch and he’s off to a slow start (67 rushing yards, no touchdowns) but he’s handled 88.5% of the Dolphins running back carries through the first two weeks. We'll see if Miami can improve their offense in the very near future -- but through two weeks, they're 24th in yards/game and 26th in points scored.
New England Patriots
Analysis: No one has more targets in the league this year than Julian Edelman (31). Dion Lewis has been the clear No. 1 running back through the first two weeks, playing 81% of the Pats’ offensive snaps. We’ll see if that trend continues in Week 3 when the Patriots take on the Jaguars. The matchup sets up as a textbook “Blount game” at home.
New York Jets
Analysis: While we await more details on the extent of Eric Decker’s knee injury he suffered on MNF, the Jets have been a fairly fantasy friendly offense through two weeks. Brandon Marshall is a shoo-in for eight or more targets per-game and will see double-digit looks if Decker does indeed miss time. Chris Ivory is the clear lead back while Bilal Powell mixes in on some passing downs, third downs, and in a change-of-pace capacity. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has also been near perfect inside opponents’ 20-yard line thus far: he’s 6-of-9 for 63 yards and owns a 4:0 TD-to-INT ratio.
Redzone Carries: Latavius Murray (0, 2)
Analysis: In a tight home matchup against the Ravens, the Raiders were 71.2% pass-heavy in Week 2 which led to a combined 27 targets (57.5% of Week 2 targets) for Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Latavius Murray was in on 75.7% of the snaps against the Ravens as opposed to 56.1% snap share in Week 1. Murray is the clear-cut workhorse back in Oakland.
RB Touches: DeAngelo Williams (22, 24)
Redzone Carries: DeAngelo Williams (6, 7)
Analysis: Antonio Brown is the building block of cash lineups in DFS every week. Through two weeks, Pittsburgh has run 24 plays in the redzone. On those occasions, 54.2% of the Steelers' redzone plays have been handoffs to DeAngelo Williams and Pittsburgh has called a run play on 9-of-11 snaps inside of the 5-yard line. Returning in Week 3, Le’Veon Bell is set up perfectly for massive numbers.
San Diego Chargers
Redzone Carries: Danny Woodhead (6, 1)
Analysis: After seeing absurd 17 targets in the opening week, Keenan Allen saw just four looks matched up against Bengals CBs Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick. Through two weeks, Danny Woodhead has out-snapped Melvin Gordon (75:64) and has handled all of the redzone touches. That trend isn’t a lock to continue, but Woodhead is going to have a significant role in the Chargers attack for the forseeable future.
Analysis: The Titans ran 74 offensive plays against the Browns in Week 2, but not much fantasy magic was made. Terrance West fumbled in the early 2nd quarter and only received one more carry for the rest of the game. Harry Douglas hilariously secured just one of his eight targets for nine yards. Marcus Mariota was sacked seven times in Week 2 and has been under pressure on 41.5% of his dropbacks this year per PFF, the fifth highest figure among qualified quarterbacks. The Titans will continue to be an up and down offense as long as Ken Whisenhunt is the head coach in Tennessee.