The week 2 slate is my favorite of every season. It offers the best chance for sharp minds to jump on bounce backs players and teams. The public often overvalues a single game sample. Using data to attack these angles involves looking back at 2018, evaluating changes to personnel/coaches, and combining those facts with the week 1 data we have available.
There were of course some misses in the week 1 evaluation, but there were big time hits in the articles as well including:
- Derek Carr’s success if the Broncos couldn’t get pressure
- Saints vulnerability to the deep ball
- 49ers secondary better than believed
- The Lions passing game upgrade
- Dak Prescott’s deep ball
- Mike Williams and Corey Davis downgrades
- Lamar Jackson as the potential QB1 for the week
- Redskins success versus the TE position
This isn’t to pat myself on the back. It is my challenge that as we eliminate down the amount of data discussed from every game to only the premier finds that I can become even more successful on a weekly basis. This week there are only five data points, but each one can provide a unique perspective to take advantage of this week.
In 2018 the Baltimore Ravens were 4th in total seconds per play in the NFL. They were faster when Lamar Jackson started. Last week, the Cardinals ran a play every 21.36 seconds, which was #1 in the league. I may be the lowest of all the experts at your favorite fantasy football website on Kyler Murray, but this may be the best chance of the season to play Murray in a perceived bad spot. The Ravens lost a multitude of talent on defense in the off-season, and Jimmy Smith to injury in week 1. This could be the game with the most plays run in regulation for the entire 2019 season. Kyler Murray can finish the week as QB1. If he doesn’t my personal odds on favorite to repeat is Lamar Jackson. We touched on the Arizona secondary last week, and they haven’t gotten any better. This game has a chance to go way over the total and be an absolute shoot out.
Much has been made of the Texans soft coverage that allowed Ted Ginn Jr. to get the Saints into field goal range and win in the MNF opening game during Week 1. The culprit of this play, on the field, was Aaron Colvin. Colvin was subsequently released after the game after signing a large deal during the 2018 off-season. Colvin was a primary slot corner. Colvin not only allowed that impactful reception but was targeted 9 times in week one with an 11% success rate in pass coverage. This was the worst rate in the NFL for any corner targeted over 5 times. It is hard to believe that the Texans have anyone on the roster better equipped to play the slot corner than Colvin. The Jaguars are large underdogs who are starting a 6th round pick whose first name is something you do in your backyard, but Dede Westbrook (39th ECR WR on FantasyPros) is a must play in week 2. Lock him in your lineup with confidence.
- Browns Week 1 Pressure Rate… Used Two Ways (Source: SportsInfoSolutions and FootballOutsiders)
The Cleveland Browns were throttled at home last week. However, as badly as their brains were bashed in, they had a 50% pressure rate on defense (#1 in NFL). They have a monster pass rush and will line up against a terrible quarterback in Trevor Siemian, because Sam Darnold was playing training camp beer pong without water cups. There isn’t a playable option within the Jets WR corps, and I will be benching Robby Anderson everywhere. Expect a bounce back from the Browns.
It is important to note that the Titans were the team to allow this pressure rate a week ago. You can fire up the google machine and find a multitude of articles regarding how good Marcus Mariota is against pressure. This makes sense as he is quick to identify problems at the line and has an accurate arm. Mariota’s problem has always been a lack of arm strength and the inability to make throws downfield. That said, it is impossible to be successful as a passing offense allowing this amount of pressure, which is likely to continue sans all-pro Taylor Lewan for another 3 games. The Colts rushed just four defenders 76% of the time in 2018, while getting pressure 28.1% of the time. Though, in week 1, against another team with poor pass protection they pressured at a 37.5% clip. I am downgrading the entire Titans passing game and view the Colts as a superior team. The Titans shouldn’t be favored by 3, even at home.
- Raiders Offense Overall (Source: SportsInfoSolutions and FootballOutsiders)
In week 1 the Chiefs allowed, Gardner Minshew, to go for nearly 300 passing yards in less than a full game. They pressured at a rate of 14.3%. As noted in the week 1 article, Derek Carr is deadly when there is a lack of pressure. Carr is a priority stream this week in a game that will shoot out, as the Raiders are missing 50% of their starting secondary. The Chiefs were the worst team in adjusted line yards in the NFL in 2018 and were the 6th worst team in week 1. Josh Jacobs is in line for a huge day. While the Raiders are on a short week, playing both games in Oakland should offset some of the negatives that stem from less recovery and practice time.
- David Montgomery (Source: SportsInfoSolutions and FootballOutsiders)
I am sticking my neck out on this call for the week, but it could have the largest payoff of anything in this article. There is a heap of concern about David Montgomery within the fantasy community after a lack of snaps in week 1 (38.4%). There are going to be recommendations to sit him. People will overlook him in DFS. However, the Broncos allowed broken tackles on 17% of plays in week 1. They were in the bottom 10 in adjusted line yards in 2018. Matt Nagy is known to get cute, but in order to win on the road as a favorite he simply cannot rely on Mitch Trubisky. He needs to hammer the ball were the Broncos are susceptible. That is on the ground with his best running back. The Bears will be motivated and have a 4 day rest advantage on Denver, which should alleviate playing in elevation at Mile High.