Truth or Bogus – Week 2 Recap

Injuries, trades, cuts… Week 2 of the NFL season had it all. It seems like every week there’s a big event that gets fantasy owners talking and analysts pumping out fantasy headlines.

In the reactionary world of fantasy football, some of these headlines are bogus. But how can you be sure? What if that story IS legit?

Welcome to “Truth or Bogus?!” my weekly foray into the quick-takes and reaction pieces. I don my thinking cap and try to break through the speculation to find the truth.

Let’s get into things!

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Bucs QB For All of 2018. Is Worth Rostering

TRUTH – In one of the wilder storylines to begin 2018, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the QB1 in fantasy.

Now, his chances of being the QB at the end of the season are painstakingly slim, but he’s definitely got himself into a groove and is in a good situation to keep it going.

The Bucs still don’t seem to have a solid answer at Running Back, and should keep moving the ball through the air as long as it keeps working. Fitzpatrick’s already carved up the Saints and the Eagles, and Week 3’s matchup against the Steelers has serious shootout potential. Beyond that, the Bucs schedule does have some exploitable matchups during popular bye weeks (Week 7 vs CLE, Week 8 vs CIN, Week 10 vs WAS, Week 12 vs SF)

As for Winston, he’s already on thin ice with the Bucs organization, and if Fitzpatrick can maintain his level of play for Monday’s game against the Steelers, then I don’t see why Koetter would hand the reins back to Jameis. Winston has long been considered the future of the Buccaneers franchise. But it looks like this suspension has hurt his prospects in more ways than one.

Fitzpatrick has been a fantasy asset before, and then fell into a bad offense and made sloppy on-field decisions. He might just be recapturing some of that 2015 Jets magic. Or is that Fitz-Magic…?

Josh Gordon Traded To The Patriots; The Re-Birth Begins Now

Sep 9, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) walks the field during warmups before the game at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

BOGUS – Honestly, I fully expect to be writing about Josh Gordon for all of 2018. It seems like every week there’s some sort of development with Gordon, and this week heralds one of the biggest thus far.

This has also been the hardest development to argue against, as it eliminates one of my biggest concerns for Gordon thus far; his QB situation. Joining forces with the GOAT definitely seems like a match made in heaven on the surface. But I’m still moving forward with a cautious approach.

I’ll freely admit, I could have this one dead wrong. I know that Gordon has potential, and the Patriots have overlooked character issues in order to acquire game-changing talent (Randy Moss anyone?).

For me, the biggest problem with Josh Gordon’s future is… well… Josh Gordon. There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding his announced release from the Browns and the events that preceded that announcement. It certainly seems to have something to do with the hamstring injury he showed up to Saturday’s practice with. A report from Adam Schefter came out claiming that a source identified the injury’s cause as part of a promotional photo shoot. Other reports and rumors mention speculation about his demeanor at the practice. Regardless, Gordon appears to have made a misstep on his road to redemption, and his re-birth won’t happen as a Brown.

As for his situation in New England, he’ll need to break into fantasy relevance as part of a very crowded receiving unit. In addition to Julian Edelman’s impending return, he’ll have to contend with Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, Philip Dorsett, James White, Sony Michel, and others.

Josh Gordon deserves a positive result here, and as always I am rooting for him. But for fantasy purposes, I just can’t endorse him.

David Johnson Held Under 50 Yards For Second-Straight Week. Trouble Ahead.

BOGUS – Understandably, the David Johnson owners and Cardinals fans alike are concerned with his production. But I do see this as a temporary hiccup in an otherwise solid performance in 2018 for DJ.

The problems with Johnson through 2 games are painfully evident. First, the Cardinals have not been competitive enough to lean on him. Secondly, McCoy has not been using DJ the way that he ought to be used. I’m willing to chalk up the latter to situational decision-making. The Cardinals have not been in enough situations that call for Johnson to handle the ball in situations where he is primed to perform.

DJ’s stats aren’t that glamorous either. He’s currently sitting at 3.9 YPC and has just 6 receptions. But I think that his low YPC can be explained, and he has brighter prospects on the horizon. I pulled the following charts from Sharp Football Stats’ Directional rushing tool, and I think they help show how DJ’s set to improve:

 

David Johnson has run the ball up the middle 16-out-of-22 carries, for a total of 72.7% of his carries

 

Denver RBs carries under Mike McCoy last season. Here, the ball is run directly up the middle 41.5% of the time, which is a much healthier number.

And finally, Johnson’s YPC by direction in 2016 when he was the RB1 in fantasy. His numbers rushing up the middle are mediocre, as to be expected. But Off Tackle he was a matchup nightmare.

What I take from all of these charts is that David Johnson has been struggling because he’s been placed in situations where he’s going to perform average at best. There are few backs in the league that could even pull off a 3.5 YPC up the middle, it’s a tough area to pick up yards, but a necessary part of establishing a balanced run game. So DJ’s low YPC are easy to identify right there. 72% of his rushes have been up the middle!

McCoy must get him going in other ways. Even if you don’t believe in Mike McCoy as an offensive coordinator, a broken clock is going to be right eventually. McCoy will have no choice but to get Johnson rushing off-tackle and handling screen passes and it’s expected that he’ll be in some receiver packages moving forward.

This is all just analyzing his rushing efficiency. Added to that, is his eventual increase in total touches both in the passing game and in the rushing game. Steve Wilks was quoted as saying that the Cardinals need to be “more creative” in using David Johnson, and that he trusts OC Mike McCoy to get the entire offense going.

The issue is clear to everyone, so it would be insanity not to start forcing the ball to Johnson. The rest of the offense will morph around him, including a potential change at QB which I personally think would open this offense right up.

All in all, the Cardinals will get DJ more involved, and his fantasy returns should increase with that added volume.

LeSean McCoy Has Rib Injury, Woeful 2018 Set to Continue

TRUTH – Shady McCoy already had the brutal Bills offense to contend with, now he’s looking at playing hobbled. This could get really bad for Shady owners.

Hey, to be fair, you all should have seen this coming. McCoy has been one of the most popular fades amongst analysts this summer, myself included. He’s playing behind a depleted O-Line for one of the most uninspiring offenses in recent memory.

Through 2 games, McCoy has only carried the ball 16 times and put up 5 receptions for 89 total yards and 0 TDs. That’s nothing short of dreadful for a starting running back in fantasy football.

Worst of all, this is bound to continue. There have been few, if any, bright spots for this Bills team, and there are not going to be many games where Shady’s going to get to kill the clock or be a part of long offensive drives. Then, you couple that with his rib injury, and things are looking bleak. In fact, speaking of this injury, it’s hardly going to move the needle on McCoy. That’s how low I am on him and his outlook for the rest of the season. It’s just simply further cause to leave him on your bench. Then, as if all that wasn’t enough, news resurfaced on Tuesday morning stemming from McCoy’s offseason personal drama. 

If you can find a trade partner, do it. I would definitely trade McCoy for the likes of Chris Thompson, Tarik Cohen, Matt Breida and Phillip Lindsay.

Chris Carson Out-Touched By Penny; Signifies Changing of the Guard

BOGUS – I must be absolutely insane to try and make sense out of Pete Carroll’s post-game comments on why Carson was benched in the second half. It started with misinformation that Carson was over-worked on Special Teams (he wasn’t), then he added that his previous quote was “inaccurate” and that he wanted to get Penny some carries.

Whatever. It was a complete mess. CJ Prosise got some work, Mike Davis got some work, Penny got some work, and Carson got a break.

So why in the world would I call this Bogus?

Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s just too bizarre to overreact to, if that makes sense. If Carson had been examined for an injury, then it would be understandable. But he wasn’t. If he had rushed poorly, his absence would make sense. But he hadn’t. Carson was the most efficient RB for the Seahawks on Monday Night, rushing for 4 YPC which was far better than Penny’s 3.0 and Mike Davis’ 1 YPC.

So what, if anything, can we glean from this nonsense? My best guess is that one of Pete Carroll’s later statements was close to being true. I think he made a mistake and sat Chris Carson because A) He assumed he was filling in on every special teams play (which would have been a lot), and B) He did actually want to see what Penny could do in a featured role.

Luckily for Carson owners, Penny was brutal. Again.

Carson remains the most talented back on this squad. Will that translate to fantasy value season-long? I doubt it. This is shaping up to be a committee backfield that is simply led by Carson.

The Seahawks’ season is off to a terrible start on offense. Regardless of Carson’s role being secure in my mind, handle him with caution moving forward.


That’s it for “Truth or Bogus?” this week. Be sure to follow me @DFF_MitchLawson for in-depth fantasy analysis all season long!

 

mlawson

@DFF_MitchLawson / Writer, Editor & Analyst for @DFF_Redraft & @DFF_Dynasty. #DFFArmy #FantasyFootball. Canadian. Occasionally witty, stay tuned

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