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Fantasy Football Takeaways from Week 2 - Monday Musings

Puka Nacua - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

After an rather underwhelming Week 1 in which scoring was noticeably down, things did improve a bit in Week 2, as some fantasy managers had their studs wake up, while others realized they could be in for a long season.

It's natural to have instant reactions to the football we just watched on Sunday, so I wanted to give this Monday Musings article a try. In it, we'll discuss some of the biggest takeaways from Week 2.

This will be an article that features my initial reactions to the week's fantasy slate in somewhat of a free-flowing format. Hopefully, you guys find it interesting and fun to read, while also being helpful when considering your fantasy decisions for the week ahead. Let's jump into what went down in Week 2!

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Puka Nacua Is For Real (And So Are Some Other Rams)

A Week 1 waiver wire darling and destroyer of FAAB budgets, it appears that the juice was worth the squeeze with Puka Nacua. The rookie followed up an impressive season opener that included 119 yards on 10 catches, by topping it in Week 2. Despite a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, the BYU product reeled in 15 receptions for 147 yards on a ridiculous 20 targets.

Get ready to hear this stat a million times this week, but Nacua is the first player in NFL history with at least 10 receptions and 100 receiving yards in each of the first two games of his career. The rookie has done an exceptional Cooper Kupp impression, and with Kupp out of the lineup for at least two more games, there's no sign of Nacua slowing down.

Nacua hasn't been the only bright spot for a Rams offense that was abysmal in 2022. Fellow wideout Tutu Atwell has been Matthew Stafford's clear "1b" option. Atwell has been targeted 17 times across L.A.'s first two, totaling 196 receiving yards on 13 receptions.

We've seen some weird things with Cam Akers in the past and Week 2 provided another shocker, as the Rams starting RB was left off the active roster against the Niners. This opened the door for second-year back Kyren Williams to lead the L.A. backfield. Williams played a surprisingly large role in Week 1 and again performed well in Week 2 while looking like a legitimate dual-threat back en route to 52 rushing yards on 14 carries, six catches for 48 yards on 10 targets, and a pair of TDs. He should be a top priority on the waiver wire this week if he's still available.


Anthony Richardson Might Break Fantasy Football

The most raw of the top quarterbacks selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, Anthony Richardson broke the combine with his freakish athleticism. Two games into his NFL career, Richardson looks to be a legitimate fantasy football game-changer. The rookie has been a beast on the ground, already accounting for 75 rushing yards and three TDs, while also looking surprisingly effective as a passer.

The common scouting comp for Richardson coming out of the University of Florida was "raw Cam Newton" and he's looked every bit the part to this point. However - and this is certainly notable - Richardson has now left both games this season due to injuries. He missed just the last three plays of the season opener with a bruised knee, but was pulled in the first half of a Week 2 win over the Houston Texans to be evaluated for a concussion.

Through the season's first two weeks, A-Rich currently stands as the fantasy QB8, despite playing just over five quarters of football. If he's, somehow, still available in your league...grab him.


D'Andre Swift Shines...Finally

After an offseason trade that sent him to Philly, and a Week 1 stat line that included just one carry and two targets, it appeared that D'Andre Swift's star-crossed career would continue to flounder in the City of Brotherly Love. However, a funny thing happened on the way to fantasy irrelevancy, as the Eagles Week 1 starter, Kenneth Gainwell, was unable to suit up against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.

Swift made the most of the spot start, grinding out 175 rushing yards and a score on 28 carries while also reeling in all three of his targets through the air. The performance was a cathartic one for Swift truthers, who have pined for the dynamic back to earn a full workload for the better part of two years. While the Eagles have a history of playing "musical running back" - and Swift has a lengthy history of nagging injuries - his Week 2 performance should put him at the top of the Philly backfield for the moment.


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Bumbling Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals offense has been fantasy gold in recent years with players such as Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Joe Mixon being some of the best and most reliable fantasy producers in football.

Despite having that same core intact, the Bengals offense has gotten off to an ugly start in 2023. Cincy goes as Joe Burrow goes, and since signing an NFL-record extension prior to the season, Joey B. has been stuck in neutral. After throwing for a career-low 82 yards in a rain-soaked season opener against Cleveland, the $275-million QB didn't look much better in a Week 2 24-27 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

It's fair to wonder how much of the struggles we can chalk up to a calf injury that Burrow suffered during the preseason and has had obvious lingering effects, but after an 0-2 start against divisional foes, Cincinnati doesn't have the luxury of resting their prized quarterback. With tons of precious draft capital invested in the likes of Burrow, Chase, and Higgins, fantasy managers are in the unenviable position of simply riding this slump out.


Bijan Robinson Is The Real Deal

The fantasy community's hatred for Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith is well documented - and often warranted - but not even the hard-headed Smith can hold Bijan Robinson down entirely. Despite Smith's obsession with Atlanta back Tyler Allegeier that's resulted in the second-year RB garnering 31 rushing attempts across the first two weeks of the season, Robinson has proven himself talented enough to overcome any obstacle that's thrown his way.

The rookie was the most talented player on the field in the Falcons Week 2 win over Green Bay. Robinson demonstrated his elite dual-threat skill set by rushing for 124 yards on 19 attempts and snagging four of five targets for 48 receiving yards. Despite Allgeier's presence, the Texas product has produced an average of 18.3 fantasy points per game (Half PPR) across the first two outings of his career and currently stands as the overall RB6.

Yes, Smith and Allgeier will be a constant source of frustration for Robinson's fantasy managers this year, but the dynamic rookie appears up to the challenge of still producing for those that had the foresight to grab him in fantasy drafts.


Quick Hitters

Alexander MattisonYikes. Despite looking sharp in recent years when making spot starts for Dalvin Cook, Mattison's transition to the lead back in Minnesota has been tough to watch. He's averaged an anemic 3.3 yards per carry while accounting for just 15.3 fantasy points (Half PPR) through the Vikings' first two.

Zack MossThe Colts running back thrived in his first action of the season. Moss turned 22 total opportunities into 107 yards from scrimmage and a TD. With Jonathan Taylor still looming on Injured Reserve, Moss profiles as a short-term, though potentially effective, fantasy option.

Texans Passing Attack - The Houston Texans probably aren't going to be a very good football team this year but their passing attack should be on your fantasy radar screen. The Texans have already shown a willingness to let rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud put the ball in the air. Stroud responded by completing 30 of 47 pass attempts for 384 yards and two TDs against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. Stroud is working his way into the streamer conversation and Superflex consideration.

Houston wide receiver Nico Collins has been the primary beneficiary of this passing attack. Collins has been targeted 20 times across Houston's first two which has resulted in 13 catches for 226 yards and a TD. He's currently fantasy's overall WR7 and is a rock-solid must-start option at the moment. Texans rookie WR Tank Dell also put himself on the radar in Week 2, reeling in seven of 10 targets for 72 yards and a score. Dell developed strong chemistry with fellow rookie Stroud during the offseason and his fantasy stock is rising as a result.

(Poor) Garrett Wilson - The Jets' second-year wideout has the tools needed to be an elite receiver in the NFL. Unfortunately, after losing Aaron Rodgers for the year in the season opener, Wilson will again be forced to deal with horrid quarterback play in the form of either Zach Wilson or a veteran the Jets bring in off the street. The 23-year-old is talented enough to still make plays such as the 68-yard TD he dropped on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2, but those will, sadly, be rare with Z. Wilson under center. He drops from a potential WR1 with Rodgers to a WR3 with the Jets offense in its current form.

Saquan Barkley - After playing in every game in 2022 for the first time since his rookie season, the talented Giants running back appears to be hurt again. Barkley put forth a monster fantasy effort in New York's Week 2 comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals, posting 24.2 fantasy points (Half PPR). Unfortunately, Barkley also exited the game early with what the team is currently calling an ankle sprain. With the Giants slated to play on Thursday night, Barkley's managers could already be without him in Week 3.


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