Fantasy Week 2 is in the books. Here are the soaring storylines from 2 weeks of football, with valuable information and musings from the mind of Theo Gremminger (@TheOGfantasy on Twitter/X).
Puka Nacua Mania
The Puka Nacua show continues, and the sequel is even better than the original. Nacua followed up his incredible NFL debut with an even bigger showing in Week 2. Nacua’s targets went from 15 up to an earth-shattering 20. His 15-catch, 147-yard game leaves him in rarefied air. Nacua set the NFL record for most receptions ever from a rookie WR in one game and also a two-game span (25). He achieved that feat despite playing one game against the 49ers, one of the best defenses in football. Any doubts about Nacua have to be pushed aside now. He cannot continue at the same pace rest of season, but he is a target hog and will remain a huge part of the Los Angeles offense. Salute to the Fantasy Managers who drafted him or were able to add him last week on the waiver wire.
Fantasy points per game:
Puka Nacua: 26 (WR2)
Kyren Williams: 22.9 (RB2)
Tutu Atwell: 16.5 (WR15)
Sean McVay is a boss.
— Dwain McFarland (@dwainmcfarland) September 18, 2023
Nacua Is Not the Only Name In Los Angeles
Cam Akers was a healthy scratch. That paved the way for Kyren Williams to continue his strong start with 100 combined yards, six catches, and a TD in Week 2. Tutu Atwell again joined Nacua and Williams, showing up prominently in the box score. Atwell added another 77 receiving yards for a two-game total of 196. Two months ago, fantasy famers were betting on a Cooper Kupp-Cam Akers-Tyler Higbee trio pacing the Rams attack. Kupp is on the IR, Akers is on his way out, and Higbee has been a non-factor. The offensive shakeup in LA is one of the most rapid and dramatic changes we have seen in recent seasons.
The Rams Lost, But San Francisco and CMC Are ROLLING
Two games on the road and two wins. San Francisco followed their impressive opener in Pittsburgh with a win in L.A. For the second straight Sunday, the 49ers dropped a 30-burger. The Kyle Shanahan-Christian McCaffrey team-up is clicking in ways few could have foreseen. McCaffrey played every snap, ran all but one route, and rushed for 116 yards and a TD. For the second straight game, he had a 50-plus yard run. Expect the receptions to add up when the 49ers are challenged. They should be 4-0 heading into a MASSIVE matchup against Dallas in Week 5.
D’Andre Swift Steals The Show
Kenneth Gainwell Week 1 victory laps were the talk of Fantasy Twitter last week, but the plot quickly thickened. Gainwell suffered a rib injury in the opener, and with the Eagles having to make a quick turnaround to play Thursday night, he was ruled out. Enter D’Andre Swift. Swift was the highest-drafted Eagles RB this past offseason. Philadelphia traded for the fourth-year back during the NFL Draft, but surprisingly only gave him one carry in Game 1.
The Swift narrative has shifted with an absolute smash game – 28 carries for 175 yards rushing and a TD to go along with four receptions. This was one of Swift’s finest games as a pro. Third-stringer Rashaad Penny only added nine yards on three carries and had a costly holding penalty that negated a long TD by AJ Brown. How Philadelphia will handle the RB touches when Gainwell returns remains a mystery, but it will be tough for them to avoid using Swift, at least in a 50/50 (or more) split.
T.J Hockenson TE1 Overall
Justin Jefferson did his usual damage, and Jordan Addison looked impressive with his second TD grab in two games, but there is a shocking lack of buzz around T.J. Hockenson‘s strong start. Hockenson leads all TEs in Fantasy scoring. Through two games, Hockenson has 15 receptions and two TD catches. He is averaging a Kelce-esque 18.6 PPG. The Minnesota target tree is very condensed right now, and despite the target competition from the WRs, Hockenson has a path to finishing the season where he is right now: the No. 1 spot.
TJ Hockenson is now up to 11 catches on 12 targets in a little over 5 Quarters this season. Great start for HockenSZN pic.twitter.com/ZMkP3Fg3db
— TheOGfantasyfootball (@TheOGfantasy) September 15, 2023
Mike Evans Revenge Tour
Mike Evans caught 77 passes for 1,124 yards and six TDs in 2022 but was dismissed this past offseason. Drafters pushed Evans down to the WR4 range, with fears of a Tampa Bay offensive nose dive without Tom Brady. He looks like this year’s version of 2022 Amari Cooper and Tyler Lockett– a veteran WR with a large sample size of fantasy success passed over by drafters.
Evans exploded with six catches for 171 yards and a TD in Tampa Bay’s win over Chicago. Evans has 12 catches for 237 yards receiving and two TDs through two games. He went from a potential backup or flex play to an every-week starter. Much has been made of Evans’ impending free agency and his potential to be on a new team in 2024. If he can maintain this torrid start, it doesn’t matter where Evans lands next season. He will be getting paid a lot of money to be there.
Sam Howell moves to 3-0 As A Starter
Sam Howell and the Commanders rallied from an 18-point deficit to win in Denver. Washington trailed 21-3 in the second quarter, only to rally back for a 35-33 win. Washington fans held their breath, surviving a late Hail Mary by denying the game-tying two-point conversion. Howell passed for two TDs and 299 yards. Howell and Washington have some momentum, heading into a two-game gauntlet: Buffalo at home followed by an away game in Philadelphia. It will officially be Howell Mania in the DMV if he can go 2-0 in those two games.
The Bijan Robinson Show
The Falcons moved to 2-0 and Robinson had 170 combined yards. Robinson is sensational and the focal point of the Atlanta offense. Tyler Allgeier is not going away, but Robinson out-snapped him 59-36. Robinson is now on pace for 85 catches. The RB1 overall over the past 10 seasons has averaged 80.2 catches. Robinson is the biggest challenge to a CMC RB1 overall season.
Injuries Mar an Exciting Sunday of Football
Anthony Richardson rushed for two TDs and looked like he was on his way to a SMASH game before exiting with a concussion. His availability against Baltimore is up in the air. David Montgomery left the game with a thigh injury. We will know more this week. Davante Adams had to leave the Raiders’ loss to Buffalo with a potential concussion. The most significant injury of the day was to Saquon Barkley, however. The Giants returned from a 21-point deficit to win 31-28 in Arizona. Barkley suffered an ankle injury and is most likely out Thursday versus San Francisco. Fantasy gamers hope the injury does not linger for multiple weeks.
Baltimore Moves to 2-0
Baltimore rallied after losing JK Dobbins last week. Mark Andrews found the end zone in his return from injury, and Baltimore won in Cincinnati. The Ravens are now in the driver’s seat in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson ran for 54 yards and passed for two TDs on 237 yards passing. Baltimore should be 3-0 after facing the Colts in Week 3, and then head into a MASSIVE Week Four tilt in Cleveland.
A Fantasy DUVAL Bummer
Jacksonville-Kansas City looked like a potential fantasy-friendly shootout…only to result in a 17-9 grinder of a game. Fantasy gamers walked away with a massively disappointing game. Calvin Ridley fell back to earth with only two catches for 32 yards. Travis Kelce had a pedestrian season debut with only four catches for 26 yards, but did catch a TD pass. There will be brighter fantasy days ahead for both teams.