Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 2
You ever drink hot sauce and beer at the same time? Neither have I. But it does seem bold.
Not to be confused with baldness, boldness would be sporting a mohawk at the ripe young age of 75. In an unrealistic football analogy, boldness would be trading the best receiver in football for a washed-up running back with a huge contract. Ehhh, no one would be that stup...oh, nevermind.
For this article, we'll focus the boldness on fantasy football. Think of this piece like Taco Tuesday -- it's better when it's spicy, but the spiciness is not what it's all about, it's there to add flavor. The point here is not to hit on 100% of the predictions, after all, I'm not a vomiting hippo. The goal here is to uncover insights that can help us win some dough in fantasy.
Now, let's go drink a bottle of Tabasco.
(All predictions are for half-PPR, and Yahoo scoring for quarterbacks.)
1. Josh Allen Finishes as the QB1
Josh Allen has faced the Miami Dolphins four times in his young career -- here's how he's finished in fantasy those weeks: QB1, QB2, QB10, QB1. In those four contests, Allen posted averages of 228.3 passing yards, 2.5 passing scores, 79.5 rushing yards, and 0.8 rushing touchdowns -- that'll play.
In Week 1, the always-adventurous Allen recorded a career-high 312 passing yards, while also carrying the ball a team-high 14 times for 57 yards and a score. Meanwhile, the Dolphins spent their opener allowing Cam Newton to truck for 75 yards and 2 scores on the ground, while also completing 80% of his passes through the air.
Miami did spend a lot of resources replenishing their defense, though they still ranked as the ninth-worst defense in terms of Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play in Week 1 -- this is still a spot we'll want to target on a weekly basis.
Look for an explosive performance from Allen in Week 2.
2. Deshaun Watson Places Outside the Top-15 at Quarterback
Last season, only the New England Patriots allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, only one passer (Patrick Mahomes) did not score fewer than 17.0 fantasy points against Baltimore last year.
According to our metrics, the Ravens ranked third in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play in Week 1, and only two signal-callers had a lower Passing Success Rate (i.e., the percentage of drop backs that lead to positive NEP for a team’s offense) than Baker Mayfield.
One of the passers to score fewer than 17.0 fantasy points against Baltimore last year was Deshaun Watson -- he totaled 5.0. Watson passed for 169 yards and rushed for an additional 12, and he also failed to score -- and that was with DeAndre Hopkins in the lineup. The Houston Texans have an implied total of just 22.0 points, which isn't a great sign.
3. Ronald Jones Finishes as an RB1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' head coach Bruce Arians wasn't lying when he said that Jones would "carry the load" -- Jones toted the rock 20 times (17 carries, 3 receptions) in their Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Now, if Jones carries the load again against the Carolina Panthers, he could be having Taco Tuesday on Sunday -- in other words, he'll feast. Carolina somehow surrendered 2,403 total yards and...wait for it...30 touchdowns to backs in 2019, and it's possible that they'll be even more generous in 2020. In their opener, the Panthers socially-distanced from Josh Jacobs and the Las Vegas Raiders to the tune of 203 total yards and 3 scores.
As of writing, the Bucs have the third-highest implied total on the slate, and they're favored by 9.5 points -- that is absolutely delicious news for a running back who should see the lion's share of the carries in that contest.
4. Mike Evans Totals 90+ Yards and 2 Touchdowns
Mike Evans managed a whole two yards in his first game with Tom Brady behind center -- you probably don't me to tell you that two yards is not very good. However, despite injury concerns coming into Week 1, Evans played on 93% of Tampa's offensive snaps -- that's encouraging.
Bruce Arians said on Tuesday that he "never wants to come out of a game without 10 targets to Mike" -- in this case, I believe him. While former Carolina cornerback James Bradberry often had Evans' number in their matchups, he's no longer there. It's hard to imagine any corner currently on Carolina's roster giving Evans much trouble.
Evans has recorded at least 90 yards in more than a third of his 91 career outings, and he's posted multiple scores 9 times. I think he can achieve both on Sunday.
5. D.K. Metcalf Finishes Outside the Top-40 at Wide Receiver
Last year, only six wideouts managed 70-plus receiving yards against New England -- five of them were slot receivers. Additionally, only four receivers scored against the Pats in 2019. The four scores New England surrendered to the position were the fewest in the league. In fact, only two other teams -- the Buffalo Bills (7) and Chicago Bears (9) -- allowed less than 10 tuddies to wideouts.
While his role has certainly grown since the beginning of last year, Metcalf did rank as the WR35 or worse 10 times in 2019. I think that'll happen again this week.