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Warning Signs: Week 2 Review


With Week 2 in the books, it is clearer what to be afraid of and what was a one-week fluke.

David Montgomery the number two behind Mike Davis? Fluke. Oakland Raiders a good team? Fluke. But now it is time to turn to the situations which are seemingly staying the same. We need to find out what to get away from before it is too late and who to grab a hold of before they rocket into space.

Of course, a lot of things changed this week as well. Big Ben is gone for the season. Drew Brees is out for two months. But you can look to all the other great RotoBaller articles to get all the latest information on these situations. Here, I will concentrate on the warnings to concern yourself with after Week 2 of an already wild NFL season.

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Kansas City Chiefs Backfield

Even before Damien Williams came up gimpy late in Week 2 against the Raiders, the signs were becoming ominous.

LeSean McCoy was taking a lot of work away from him. We knew the relationship McCoy had with Andy Reid - and seemingly this means, for once, Reid will employ a committee back system. The fact that Damien Williams hasn’t been able to hold up through training camp or through two weeks of the regular season is probably a good thing for the team. But not so much for fantasy.

The two yards per carry in Week 1 was of major concern. Week 2 was no better for Williams, as he regressed to one yard per carry in his limited work against the Raiders folks. Of course, we knew the eight yards per carry Shady produced in Week 1 would not remain the same. It didn’t, as he also regressed to two yards per carry. But he also had three receptions, albeit for zero yards.

Moving forward the situation looks to be that of a 50/50 split. If you took Damien Williams in the second or third round, this is not what you want to read. But if you got McCoy in the eighth or ninth? This is music to your ears. Both should and could finish as fantasy RB2s, or at worst RB3s. But with their difference in draft price, you may be disappointed in one while over the moon with the other.

 

Cam Newton - QB, Carolina Panthers

Week 1? Ok, it was his first game back. Week 2 and against the Buccaneers? Now we need to be worried. Plus, with reports coming out Tuesday of his foot injury being reaggravated and possibly missing at least this week, the red flags are in full force.

Despite the outfits, people still loved Cam Newton coming into this season. He was just hurt at the end of last season and he would be better now. But he isn’t. And along with this, the rushing is not there either. Only -1 yards rushing through two games? That is Peyton Manning level, not Cam Newton.

Christian McCaffrey is quickly becoming the best three-down running back in the NFL. This will continue to limit the work Newton sees in the run game as well as the necessity of him throwing for more than 25 touchdowns in a season. D.J. Moore and this year's fantasy darling Curtis Samuel are good, but if they cannot get the ball they are useless. The shoulder still seemingly is an issue even if the Panthers say otherwise. I mean, it is not like a team has never lied about an injury before so take everything you hear with a big grain of salt.

If the season keeps going the way it is, Ron Rivera might be gone after the season. If this is the case, Newton might also be gone as the team moves forward with Will Grier. Hearing from some friends who are Panthers fans, this may be exactly what a lot of them are hoping for. This then does not bode well for his redraft value or his dynasty value going forward.

For your sanity and for the sake of your fantasy chances, it might be best to jump ship now. In dynasty leagues, trade him. In redraft leagues, trade him if you can. But somehow, get out from underneath the sinking ship one way or another.

 

O.J. Howard - TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Talent trumps situation. This may be true in most situations. But is it really something to worry about at a position like tight end?

Coming into the season, O.J. Howard was being ranked in the top four or five at the tight end position. Some like myself were nervous because of the reputation of Bruce Arians. But we still ranked him in the top-seven at worst. Now it looks like the worries were warranted.

It is true Howard is more talented than any tight end Arians has ever worked with. But this also means he has created his whole offense to exclude the position. At his age, he is not just going to change around his entire offense for a player who may or may not be uber talented. Sure, he could be Travis Kelce. But he hasn’t proven it yet. So why change for someone who could be but isn’t yet? Same can be said for Hunter Henry. But I digress.

He is a great blocking tight end. This is more so what he was known for coming out of Alabama. The key to a Bruce Arians offense is to get the running back out in the flat and hit receivers downfield. This means players like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and even dare I say Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones Jr. should have been the ones who were looked at harder as a breakout.

O.J. Howard was the most consistent tight end on the field last season. Everyone knows the stats so they will not be rehashed here. But he was also injured, and that consistency did not translate over an entire season. This is why we always say to watch out what stats you believe. All stats can be manipulated to fit a narrative. And people buy into those narratives each and every season, me included.

Instead of season-long stats let me hit you with numbers from last week. The Buccaneers won. Chris Godwin had a monster game and got 26 fantasy points. Peyton Barber got work and finished with 82 rush yards. You know what didn’t happen? O.J. Howard did not catch a ball. Not one. This means they can win without him. Maybe not each and every week but they can win. He is not going to be the breakout we thought. But he is still a solid tight end. In a two-TE league or a TE-premium league he has value. But it is slipping as week move from week to week and his production level drops further.

If you have him, hold on and hope for the best. After all, it is the tight end position so it's not as if there are a ton of better options. But if someone comes to you offering something good because they feel the turn around is coming? Take the deal and pick up someone to stream and get the same value as you would with Howard. The warning signs are there. All you need to do is read them and listen to them.

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