Week 2 Underperformers: Fluke or Truth
Author: Jair Oglivie
Youtube: Fantasy Football Advice
Another wild week of NFL action is in the books. If this is your first time reading the series, welcome! This is a series, as it’s name describes, about fantasy players, mostly the big timers, who have been performing below expectations. It’s my job to tell you whether to accept the current state of your stars as reality or to hang tight and accept a bad game as just that. With that said, let’s jump in!
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Line: 13 carries, 48 yards. 1 catch, 3 yards. 6.1 points (PPR)
Now, before you click away, you didn’t go to the week 1 article by mistake! Sadly, this is a repeat appearance for Arizona’s star runningback on this series. A trip to Los Angeles proved uneventful for Johnson and the Cardinals in a 34-0 drubbing. Johnson recorded only 6.1 points (ouch) in a performance that is causing many owners to panic. Yes, I am the guy that told you to stick with your bellcow and that the inefficient opener against Washington was a fluke! Well, and this may surprise some, I’m sticking with that conclusion!
We all know that Arizona is dysfunctional. This offense is toxic and Sam Bradford looks like he forgot to play football. Playing that Rams defense will do that to a team. The important thing to remember is that you likely spent a top 5 pick on Johnson to be your star. That does not mean you lose faith in him after two weeks. Unless you can flip him for a Todd Gurley or Zeke Elliott, he better be in your starting lineup every single week. The upside is unmatched.
I will warn you, next week Arizona hosts Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears. This matchup will likely scare lots of people. I say stick with him! Arizona, most likely, will lose that game. However, David Johnson is still the guy on this offense, no matter how dysfunctional. DJ will get the ball. You saw it in the game against Washington, even when they fell behind. In what would normally be a negative game script for a running back, Johnson continued to get touches and targets. The Rams game is an outlier. This game, and future games on their schedule, will not be like that. The cardinals will only face two more top defenses (Minnesota, Denver) in the coming weeks, and the rest of their match-ups should be ripe for production.
Something I mentioned in my last article that I will again stress, Sam Bradford is not long for the starting job. Call me crazy, but he hasn’t exactly been impressive. I would be surprised if Rosen wasn’t starting against the 49ers in week 5, maybe even week 4 at home to Seattle. Young quarterbacks tend to stick to security blankets they develop trust in. There are really only two players on offense Rosen could rely on: Fitz and DJ. Stay strong my friends, DJ will be putting up big numbers again soon.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington Redskins
Line: 11 carries, 20 yards. 3 catches, 30 yards. 8 points (PPR)
After an eye opening performance in Arizona in Week 1, the AD hype train was full steam ahead.
It crashed. (Press F to pay your respects)
I fell victim to it too. I saw those 22 points on my bench, saw the tasty (or so it appeared) matchup ahead against a Colts defense that allowed Joe Mixon to run riot and quickly threw Peterson into my flex with confidence.
Boy, did that backfire.
It was quite the disappointing day for Peterson and the Redskins in general. They were expected to win this game and underachieved in typical redskins fashion. Though it has only been two weeks but I believe it is already clear the kind of usage we will get from Peterson. In game where they fall behind a score or two, he will completely disappear from their gameplan. Conversely, early in the game and in games they are ahead, he will see the traditional bellcow role. He should have been drafted as a flex style player so hopefully none of you are relying on him to be an every week rb2. Given his role and the general difficult nature of predicting the redskins from week to week, owning Peterson might be a bit frustrating this season. I would recommend starting him in games that the redskins are expected to win where that is when he perform the best. His runningmate and receiving specialist, Chris Thompson, provides much more consistency week to week.
I know I’m going out on a limb here, but I think Washington gets behind early once more to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. If you can, I’d recommend sitting Peterson this week as I imagine the game script will not go his way for the second week in a row. Hold on to him though, and be smart about when you deploy him because he will legitimately some weeks for you.
As for the fluke or truth declaration, I don’t think this is a fluke as I expected him to utilized less in losing efforts, just didn’t think one of those would come against Indy. Oh well. This will be considered truth, with the caveat that he is still very valuable when the game script is right.
Trey Burton, TE, Chicago Bears
Line: 4 catches, 20 yards, 1 touchdown. 12.2 points (PPR)
It’s been a quiet start to the season for the former Eagle of “Philly Special” fame. The touchdown on a pretty nifty play design by Matt Nagy bailed Burton out of a second straight single-digit point total to start the year. All offseason, all we heard was how Burton was going to be utilized as the “move” tight end in the Bears offense. Many people like myself salivated at the idea of Burton stepping into a Travis Kelce type role and leading this Chicago offense. So far? nada. With 5 catches for 35 yards in 2 games for the Bears, Burton has yet to establish himself as the force he was expected to be. There is certainly a chance he turns it around, establishes rapport with Mitchell Trubisky, and becomes the monster we thought he’d be, but I’m skeptical.
I watched the game against Seattle. You can see the influence and creativity of Matt Nagy but I just don’t trust Trubisky. Sorry, Bears fans, but I just don’t. A massive amount of the targets are going to Allen Robinson and Trubisky in general just seems like an average quarterback. I don’t trust him to spread the ball around and that hurts Burton and his numbers. If this trend continues he’d be extremely touchdown dependent to be relevant and that is impossible to predict.
There’s hope for Burton, but be smart about how you deploy him. If there are scraps out on waivers then keep on with him and hope for the best. If you can get an upgrade, however, it’s at least worth considering.
Thanks for reading! The next edition of this series will be back next week. Until then, be smart, don’t panic, and hit that waiver wire.
See ya next week!
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*All statistics taken from ESPN Fantasy