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Fantasy Football Week 2 Busts? Players Who May Disappoint Include Dak Prescott, Terry McLaurin, Joe Mixon, Jordan Love, more

Terry McLaurin - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season was far from pretty. In some games, it was downright ugly. For someone who writes a weekly busts column, it makes my life a little easier. But that's not at all fun for fantasy football, so let's go to bed and pray for more touchdowns and explosive plays in Week 2.

In what may be a bout of karma, I originally had Aaron Rodgers listed in this column before the start of Monday Night Football. The future Hall-of-Famer is now out for the season with a torn Achilles. While there aren't any Jets listed in this column (although I could make the case for Garrett Wilson) the entire Jets' offense takes a major step down with Zach Wilson under center.

As you prepare to set your lineups for a victorious Week 2, make sure potential fantasy landmines stay on your bench. Below are my 10 fantasy football busts for Week 2 of the NFL season.


Dak Prescott vs. New York Jets

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott busted in Week 1 against the Giants (13/24 passing for 143 yards and zero touchdowns) and may be slated for a repeat performance against the other New York team. This week, the Cowboys will host the Jets who just forced Bills quarterback Josh Allen into four turnovers.

Prescott didn't score well in Week 1 because the Cowboys dominated in all facets of the game. A special teams score followed by a defensive touchdown took away all the need for Prescott to push the ball down the field.

With Zach Wilson now at the helm for the Jets, the Cowboys' opportunistic defense may force turnovers early and often, just as they did against Daniel Jones. If that's the case, Prescott won't have to put the ball in the air enough to be fantasy-relevant.


Jordan Love at Atlanta

If you ask a casual football fan how Jordan Love did in his first start as the regular QB1 for the Green Bay Packers, they'd tell you that he had a great game. He led the Pack to a blowout win over the Chicago Bears. The stats tell a little bit of a different story.

Love's completion percentage sat at just over 55%. He did toss three touchdowns (including a beautiful fade to Romeo Doubs) but three scores on 27 attempts (11.1% touchdown rate) is not a sustainable season-long rate. Patrick Mahomes' all-time touchdown rate sits at 6.4%. Love's career touchdown rate (albeit in a small sample size) is 5.5%.

Last week, in an article I wrote about why you should not pick up and play Jonathan Mingo, I noted how the Falcons' pass defense against top wide receivers was particularly stingy at the tail end of the 2022 season.

Week Wide Receiver Yards
10 D.J. Moore 29
11 Darnell Mooney 29
12 Terry McLaurin 48
13 Diontae Johnson 60
15 Chris Olave 53
16 Sammy Watkins 40
17 Marquise Brown 61
18 Chris Godwin 55

That trend continued in Week 1, where all of the Panthers wide receivers (Adam Thielen, Terrace Marshall Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., and Mingo) had just two catches.

Romeo Doubs was limited to just 48% of the snaps in Week 1 due to a hamstring issue. The Packers told us prior to the game that he would be on a snap count. Green Bay's top wide receiver Christian Watson sat out with a hamstring injury of his own and may not play again in Week 2. Samori Toure, Jayden Reed, and Dontayvion Wicks did not do Love many favors during the season opener.

Injuries will be a major factor here. If Christian Watson is back to full speed and Aaron Jones is over his hamstring issue (it didn't appear serious), then Love can be a serviceable QB2. If he doesn't and has to rely on Luke Musgrave to score fantasy points, things could get ugly.


Joe Mixon vs. Baltimore

You don't run on the Baltimore Ravens. Since acquiring linebacker Roquan Smith last season, the Ravens have surrendered just over 85 rushing yards per game (nine games plus Week 1 of 2023). They also gave up the second-fewest points (14.6) in the final nine games of last season and followed that up by allowing nine points to Houston in the season opener.

Joe Mixon ran for a paltry 2.45 yards per carry when the Ravens and Bengals matched up in Week 18 of 2022. His day was salvaged with a touchdown and five catches in the passing game.

The Ravens' defense was flying around the field on Sunday and the Bengals' offense looked like a shell of what it once was. Hopefully, they can turn it around, but the Bengals under Joe Burrow have habitually started slow. In Week 1, Cincinnati scored just three points, Burrow threw for just 82 yards, and Mixon added 56 yards on the ground.


Khalil Herbert at Tampa Bay

Khalil HerbertD'Onta Foreman, and Roschon Johnson essentially split the Bears' backfield snaps in thirds in Week 1. Herbert started the game, followed by Foreman, and then the rookie saw game action. Herbert led the running backs with 27 yards on the ground and 37 through the air. Without a touchdown, that added up to 9.4 PPR points. Plus, Johnson ended up leading the backfield with the highest snap share out of the trio.


The Buccaneers didn’t allow more than one rushing touchdown to any opposing player last year and held the Vikings to 41 total rushing yards in Week 1. Facing a solid run defense and uncertain backfield splits, fade Herbert (and any Chicago running back) until the picture is clearer. Remember, this regime drafted Johnson and brought in Foreman. They were not around when Herbert was drafted in 2021.


Cam Akers vs. San Francisco

The good: Cam Akers received 22 opportunities in the Los Angeles Rams' season opener and scored a touchdown!

The bad: None of those touches were in the receiving game and he only mustered 29 total yards.

Akers' longest run on Sunday went for 12 yards. For all other of his 21 carries, he managed just 17 yards. Coach Sean McVay also got Kyren Williams involved in the offense. The second-year back received 15 carries of his own for 52 yards and two scores.

Next up, the Rams face the rival San Francisco 49ers, a team they've lost to eight straight times in the regular season. The Niners jumped out to a big lead early in their matchup against the Steelers in Week 1, which forced Mike Tomlin and Matt Canada to abandon the run game. Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren combined for nine carries and had forgettable fantasy games.

If the same game script happens to the Rams, fantasy managers that start Akers will be in the danger zone. In negative game scripts, some running backs thrive in the passing game. Sean McVay's offense does not call for targets to his backs. In 30 career games, Akers has only caught 27 passes.


Terry McLaurin at Denver

Are we seeing a changing of the guard in our nation's capital? Wide receiver Jahan Dotson tied for the team lead in receptions (five) in Week 1 and finished second in targets (seven) behind tight end Logan Thomas. Terry McLaurin garnered just four targets and two catches.

It's impossible to tell who the true WR1 is with such a small sample size. Regardless, this is the most competition the fifth-year pro has had for targets in his career. Quarterback Sam Howell showed some promise in the preseason but has underwhelmed in the passing game in both of his regular season starts. In Week 1, the ex-Tar Heel threw for 202 yards on a 61% completion rate.

McLaurin will regularly draw the attention of Denver cornerback Pat Surtain in Week 2. When he was matched up against Davante Adams in the season opener, Surtain was dominant.


George Pickens vs. Cleveland

There's a new (temporary) WR1 in the Steel City. Diontae Johnson will spend a few weeks on the bench with an injured hamstring, leaving George Pickens, Allen Robinson, and Calvin Austin III to pick up the slack. The former finished fourth on the team in receiving yards (5 catches for 36 yards) in the Week 1 contest against San Francisco.

It's not an ideal stat line, but it was the 49ers, who have, at worst, a top-3 defense in the NFL. Unfortunately for Pickens, it doesn't get much easier in Week 2. Cleveland cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greg Newsome II collectively held Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins to five catches for 39 yards (Chase accounted for all of that).

Pickens is a wideout who already struggles with separation. In 2022, he ranked 94th among qualifying wide receivers in that category. He'll have a hard time getting open in Week 2 being the primary focus of the Cleveland corners.


Puka Nacua vs. San Francisco

Puka Nacua showed that he can be a legitimate option for fantasy managers this season. The rookie out of BYU is tied for first in the league in targets (15), tied for second in catches (10), and tied for fourth in yards (119) after one week. That's quite a debut for a fifth-round pick.

Wide Receiver Targets Catches Yards
Tyreek Hill 15 11 215
Puka Nacua 15 10 119
Stefon Diggs 13 10 102
DeAndre Hopkins 13 7 65
Justin Jefferson 12 9 150

I'll be the one to tap the brakes on the Puka Nacua hype train. It's difficult to trust anyone against the San Francisco defense, let alone a rookie. The fantasy community was buzzing about the potential of the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense in 2023 and the Niners made them look exactly like they did last season.

If Nacua is still on the waiver wire in your league, he's more than worthy of being on a roster. But be wary of the matchup in Week 2.


Drake London vs. Green Bay

Every morning we he wakes up, Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith reads his daily mantra. I believe it goes something like this:

I run the football in a boat.
And I would run the football with a goat...
And I will run the football in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
Running the football is so good, so good, you see!

On Sunday against Carolina, the Atlanta Falcons tallied 26 carries between Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, and Desmond Ridder. That number actually landed in the middle of the pack in the league in Week 1. However, they finished last in Pass Rate Over Expected, which aims to take game scripts out of the equation when calculating run/pass rates.

Ridder only threw 18 passes for 115 yards in the opener. WR1 Drake London saw just one of those attempts and he did not catch it. In fact, Desmond Ridder caught more passes (1) than London did on Sunday. Sometimes when playmakers have a quiet game, coaches vow to get them involved the next time around. Arthur Smith said the exact opposite.

All Smith cares about winning (which is probably all I'd care about if I was a head coach) and he did just that in Week 1. With a void of a passing game and a matchup against Packers' cornerback Jaire Alexander coming in Week 2, it's officially time to sound the panic alarm on London.


Hayden Hurst vs. New Orleans

Trivia time! Which four tight ends scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in Week 1?

Answer: Hunter Henry (16.6), Hayden Hurst (15.1), T.J. Hockenson (11.5), and Donald Parham Jr. (11.1).

With a lack of wide receivers to rely on, Panthers quarterback Bryce Young leaned on Hurst in the passing game. However, the 30-year-old played just over half of the snaps as both Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas got a share of the pie at tight end.

In Week 2, Hurts and the Panthers face off against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints surrendered the second-fewest points to tight ends in 2022. They also held Titans tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo to zero targets in Week 1, despite the sophomore playing 15 more snaps than his previous career high.

This bust is a classic case of avoiding chasing the points and digging deeper into the numbers and matchups.

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