Top Fantasy Football Player Trends Week 2

Is Chris Johnson done? Will Peyton Manning keep up his top-flight play? Find out what the stats say about these and more inside.

It's already Wednesday, and it's time to take a step back and view the glory (or the wreckage) that is your team after week 1. Did I make it through without any injuries? (If you're a Fred Jackson owner, you get a strike.) Did my star players massively underperform? (Matthew Stafford or Chris Johnson owner? Strike two.) Did I bench someone that I shouldn't have benched? (Adrian Peterson not in your starting lineup? YOU'RE OUTTA HERE!)

Don't just look towards this coming week when viewing your team, though. Always be war-like in your approach - fantasy football is a series of battles that comprise the war. You're going to be fighting at the end only if you won a majority of battles, but that doesn't necessarily mean every battle. That's why, once a week here on numberFire, I'm going to be taking a look at some of the long-term prospects of some top fantasy players. After only one week to go on right now, it may be tough to draw too many conclusions. Still, there are still some important numbers to take away from that one week.

Top Fantasy Football Player Trends Week 2

Chris Johnson - Tennessee Titans
Week 1 Fantasy Points: 4

Perhaps you may have heard this by now, but CJmaybe.9K didn't exactly have the best week 1. Despite having the 4th highest projected numberFire point total among RBs last week, he ended up only having the 4th highest fantasy total among... people named "Johnson" behind Andre, Calvin, and Steve. In week 1, Johnson had less fantasy points at RB than both Joique Bell and Marcus Thigpen. Is this going to be a trend? For the most unsatisfying answer ever, both yes and no. I would take some solace in the fact that Jake Locker threw him the ball seven times, the second-most targets and most receptions among all Titans. They plan on getting Johnson involved in the offense however they can, even if his ground game isn't working. But on the flip side, Johnson had as many successful rushes increasing the Titans' scoring chances as I did on Sunday, and his NEP per rush was a "I didn't know it could get that low" -0.74. That means that every time he rushed the ball, Johnson was losing his team an average of three-quarters of a point in expected payoff. While I highly doubt we will see those low numbers ever again in his career, it still has to be somewhat worrisome moving forward. numberFire now estimates Johnson to have only 861.43 rushing yards for the rest of the year, a decrease of almost 150 yards from the initial projections. This week against the Chargers, he's only the #14 RB on our board, and that's about what I would expect moving forward until he proves otherwise.
Verdict: Trending Slightly Down

Peyton Manning - Denver Broncos
Week 1 Fantasy Points: 20

Manning had the 4th highest NEP per play value after week 1, but it's tough to draw any particular conclusions from that one game considering the three guys he was behind (Mark Sanchez, RGIII, and Joe Flacco) are not expected to be top-flight fantasy quarterbacks this season. With that in mind, the most important aspect for Manning may just be how well his new play-toys did, especially when compared to last season's receiving output with Tim Tebow under center. Last season, neither Eric Decker nor Demaryius Thomas were able to record a catch rate above 50%. Considering that the league average is around 60%, let's just say that's not good. Tebow simply couldn't deliver the ball to them at a consistent rate, and in turn, fantasy owners couldn't assess their real value. But with a QB like Manning getting them the ball? Both Decker and Thomas had a 71% (five for seven) catch rate on Sunday night, while Jacob Tamme went a perfect five for five on his targets and Brandon Stokley went two for three. Manning will keep delivering his balls on target, but if his receivers keep making catches the way they have been, it's going to be a good season for Manning fantasy-wise.
Verdict: Trending Up

C.J. Spiller - Buffalo Bills
Week 1 Fantasy Points: 20

C.J. Spiller might have been the surprise of week 1, coming in for an injured Fred Jackson and setting the Jets' defense on fire en route to a... 20 point loss. Well then. Spiller had 169 yards on 14 carries for a 12.1 yard per carry average. Before last Sunday, Spiller had finished with an 8.0 yard per carry average on more than five carries exactly zero times in his career, and he only hit the 7.0 ypc mark once - week 15 against the Dolphins, when he had 91 yards on 12 carries. Even Spiller's supposed electric ability is a bit overblown; before his 56-yard carry on Sunday, his longest in two NFL seasons had been only 38 yards. His rushing TD on Sunday now gives him a grand total of five in 31 career games played with 12 starts, and his 100-yard game was only the second of his career. Yet, everybody's anointing him top-five RB status... why exactly? I've never been to Buffalo, so I assume you would need something to get excited about up there, but this is clearly not it. Until he proves that he can be an every down back, I'm being extremely cautious with starting C.J. Spiller. He is the #23 RB on our board this week for a reason.
Verdict: Staying Static

Hakeem Nicks - New York Giants
Week 1 Fantasy Points: 3

Browsing the questions asked about Nicks on numberFire's questions board is like walking through Vancouver just after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup. Should I trade him in a deal that would only get me back Sidney Rice at receiver? Should I start Michael Crabtree over him? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? Stop it right now. It wasn't as bad as you think. Nicks still finished with a 66% catch rate despite some bad drops, and he was targeted the second-most times (six) on the Giants behind only Victor Cruz's 11. The only main difference between this and a normal Nicks game was the yards per catch sitting at 9.5 - for somebody whose career average is 14.9 ypc, I would expect a regression back to the mean soon. Don't jump off the floating ship just because you think you might vaguely see an iceberg in the distance. Nicks may be sitting out of practice right now, but long-term, he'll be exceptionally useful for your team.
Verdict: Staying Static