Well, my QB and TE picks didn’t offer much help last week. Broncos QB Case Keenum Couldn’t even make it into QB2 territory, while Saints TE Benjamin Watson finished outside the top 30 across formats.
Rather than just shrug and move on, though, I think it’s important to consider why things went wrong so that the misses might help us get more hits going forward.
One thing we’re dealing with early in the season, of course, is the lack of info on the matchups. Perhaps the Raiders will prove better against the pass this year than I’m expecting, but I’m certainly not ready to say I got that wrong. Keenum’s volume was fine: his 35 pass attempts tied for 14th on the week. And among the 13 ahead of him, only Joe Flacco, Nick Foles, Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, Andy Dalton and Sam Darnold join Keenum in streaming territory.
None of us would have predicted the game flow we got in Bengals-Ravens last Thursday night. Foles inflated his numbers by attempting 48 throws in a game that saw his team fall behind and lost Jay Ajayi for most of the 1st half. Darnold outscored Keenum by about 1 fantasy point despite throwing for 112 more yards (on an inefficient passing day otherwise), and Manning fared worse than Keenum despite 9 more attempts and 75% completions.
In hindsight, Bortles probably makes for a better option than Keenum in just about any week where his matchup’s not scary. His rushing raises the floor, and he and Keenum probably reside on the same floor of the passing-talent hotel.
The drastic difference in their Week 2 scoring, though? I’m chalking that up mostly to luck, at least until the matchup data points elsewhere.
As for TE, just 10 guys at the position drew more targets in Week 2 than Watson’s 5. So I got about what I expected there. And the only streaming-level TEs who got more looks were Denver’s Jake Butt, Philly’s Joshua Perkins (who?) and Arizona’s Ricky Seals-Jones. Among those 3, only Seals-Jones really would have contented for top-streamer status heading into last week. And RSJ’s 4-17 receiving line wouldn’t have helped your lineup much more than Watson’s 3-19.
What we’re learning here, though, is that the Cleveland defense just might be way better than it was last season. After matchups with Pittsburgh and New Orleans, the Browns sit 6th overall in Football Outsiders’ team-defense DVOA. They actually moved up 2 spots AFTER FACING THE SAINTS IN NEW ORLEANS. That’s nuts.
So, my main lessons from Week 2: Don’t underestimate Bortles (in fantasy). And beware the new Cleveland defense.
Now we shrug and move on to Week 3 ...