Biggest Fantasy Football Surprises in Week 2
Taking a look back at our Biggest Week 1 Fantasy Surprises, there were some hits and misses. Michael Vick came out and played like a man on fire... actually "burning up" on fire, with the frantic arm motions to go along with it. Vincent Jackson was indeed targeted on 42% of Josh Freeman's throws against a weak secondary in Carolina, but as we warned, he treated catching the football like it was filled with rattlesnake venom. But on the flip side, Shonn Greene went for almost 100 rushing yards and a touchdown, and Aaron Hernandez was a top five tight end and one yard shy of tying professional Fiesta Man Rob Gronkowski's output on the day.
So who are the major players rising up the week 2 fantasy projections? As always, we've got you covered.
Biggest Fantasy Football Surprises in Week 2
OK, so maybe this isn't as strong of a surprise as you were hoping for out of the gate. It's like having a surprise birthday party, except your significant other had everybody park right in front of your house and put balloons on your mailbox. But in a week where the top 10 in projected fantasy points almost directly corresponds to numberFire's top 10 QBs on our draft kit, RGIII's about the best I can do. After looking at his week 1, it makes sense why he's up that high. His +0.74 NEP per pass last week finished second in the NFL behind Mark Sanchez's anomaly of a day, and he had a 40% success rate in the 10 times he took off rushing the ball as well. This week, he plays numberFire's #27 defense in the Rams. Oh yeah, and he had the third most successful debut for a rookie QB of all time. I'd say those are all solid reasons to put him as a borderline fantasy starter for week 2.
It's rookie hour, live at numberFire! Doug Martin didn't have an exceptional week 1 like RGIII did - his 11 fantasy points against the Panthers put him in a four-way tie for 15th among all running backs. However, it was how he got those 11 fantasy points that was so impressive. His 95 rushing yards were seventh among all running backs, despite only having a long rush of 15 yards on the day. And even better for fantasy owners wondering if he would be an every down back: his 24 carries were fourth in the NFL, behind only Alfred Morris, Shonn Greene, and Arian Foster. Those wondering whether LeGarrette Blount was going to poach carries should worry no longer, as he only had three carries for eight yards on the day. Combine that with four passing targets from Josh Freeman, tied for second on the team, and you have a breakout RB candidate. If he had gotten into the end zone even once, lots of talk this week would be about Martin as a potential #1 back.
Call us believers in whatever magical age potion they have developed in Charlotte. You know, the one they also gave Joe Biden as the Democratic National Convention to make him look young again. Steve Smith must have been test case #1, and boy has it worked wonders. Even though the Panthers fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend, Steve Smith proved all of the doubters (*raises hand*) wrong. Seven catches and 106 yards later, he was one of 10 players (all wide receivers) to finish week 1 over the century mark in yardage. He was clearly Cam Newton's favorite target in week 1, being targeted on 33% of Newton's passes. That's a trend we expect to see continue - Smith received 25% of Newton's passes last season. And to top it all off, the Saints didn't exactly put on a defensive clinic last week. You only need to scroll up the page to see how they made RGIII look like DC's next Presidential candidate last week.
Usually, a player is a surprise because of his advantageous match-up; the guys already on this list aren't exactly playing lock-down defenses in the Rams, Giants, and Saints. However, that could be what makes Finley as the fifth-best tight end so surprising: he's playing numberFire's #3 defense tomorrow night when he takes on the Chicago Bears. What gives? For one, Finley should be expecting a high number of targets. He already led the Packers in week 1 with Aaron Rodgers looking his way 11 times, the most on the team. That 26% of targets should even be a higher percentage this weekend, now that Greg Jennings has been ruled doubtful for the game. In those 11 targets, Finley caught the ball seven times, a 71% catch rate that sits right in between his surprisingly low 59% rate last season and his absurdly high 80% rate from 2010. Although the Bears defense only allowed two offensive skill position players to have over 50 yards in week 1, one of them was tight end Coby Fleener. Fleener had six catches and 82 yards on 10 targets on Sunday, numbers that Finley should easily be able replicate. Don't look at the match-up and assume a down game for Finley. You may be costing yourself some easy points.