A look at the fantasy players who stood out in Week 2 and who may be poised to put up big numbers moving forward.
The 2019 NFL Season came back with a vengeance in Week 2 and threatened to upend everything we thought we knew after Week 1. It was a week filled with surprises (happy/sad), and it was a week that saw multiple games be decided by just one score. We saw the careers of two sure-fire Hall of Famers brought into question, and we watched a dynasty stomp out a college team down in Florida.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at who impressed in Week 2:
DALVIN COOK (Minnesota Vikings)
A healthy Dalvin Cook is a dominant Dalvin Cook. The 3rd year running back has looked like the best rusher in the league through the first two weeks of the season, and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer couldn’t be more pleased.
Cook has eclipsed 20 carries in each of the Vikings two contests so far and he’s made the most of each one, shredding the Falcons/Packers run defenses for a combined 265 yards and 3 TD’s on the ground. He’s also made himself a valuable dual threat in the passing game for Kirk Cousins, catching 5 balls on 5 targets for 46 yards.
Cook has been nothing short of fantasy royalty through two weeks, and with an average ADP around the late 1st round/early 2nd, he’s looking like someone that could return top 3 value all season long.
JULIO JONES (Atlanta Falcons)
The Atlanta Falcons finally rid themselves of the Eagles curse that’s plagued them for the past three years. Head Coach Dan Quinn came into Sunday Night Football 0-3 against Doug Pederson’s team, but when the chips were down he was able to dial up a play to his superstar.
Julio Jones had been the stand-out player for Atlanta in each of the three previous Eagles/Falcons games, eclipsing 100 receiving yards each time (135 yards/101 yards/106 yards), and he continued that dominance in the games biggest moment. A savvy audible by Matt Ryan against an Eagles blitz freed up Jones on a quick swing pass that he proceeded to take to the house (while hitting a top speed of 20 mph).
Atlanta paid this man for a reason, and you drafted him in the first round for that same reason. He’s one of the elite wideouts in the league, and he shows no signs of letting up any time soon.
KENNY GOLLADAY (Detroit Lions)
Anyone who’s read my write-ups before is well aware of my fondness for Lions wide-out Kenny Golladay. The 2nd year WR has the size and talent to be a bonified breakout star in his sophomore campaign, and he showed off exactly what he can do against the Chargers on Sunday.
Matched against Casey Heyward, one of the better cover corners in the league, Golladay looked like a veteran. He battled Heyward all day long, and ultimately won, using his size to position himself perfectly for a 31-yard score that ended up being the deciding play of a game. In a game the Lions weren’t favored to win, Golladay stepped up and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
The man they affectionately call “Baby-Tron” in homage to former Lions great Calvin Johnson looks more than ready to bring honor to that lineage in the Motor City.
49ERS RUNNING BACKS
The 2-0 San Francisco 49ers have been one of the more pleasant surprises in the early going of the 2019 season, and Kyle Shanahan’s run game has powered them to victory each time out. A strong run game is a staple of Shanahan’s offense dating back to his time in Atlanta with the two-headed monster of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
Even with Coleman going down in Week 1 Shanahan didn’t bat an eye, he just proceeded to feed his other three backs against the Bengals. All three Niners RB’s (Matt Breida/Raheem Mostert/Jeff Wilson Jr) were fantasy relevant against Cincinnati’s porous defense, rushing for a combined 238 yards and 2 Tds. They also added a third TD through the air with Mostert going for almost 70 yards in the passing game.
The first two weeks haven’t presented the stiffest competition, but so far Shanahan’s Niners look like a team with a lot more fight in them than most predicted.
JOSH ALLEN (Buffalo Bills)
While we’re on the subject of surprising teams, say it with me “THE 2-0 BUFFALO BILLS!”. That’s right, the Buffalo Bills completed a clean sweep at Metlife Stadium this week, defeating both the Jets and Giants in succession and claiming sole possession of New York. A major reason for this success is the play of 2nd-year signal-caller Josh Allen.
With a cannon arm, and a devil may care approach to running with the ball Allen has positioned himself as the heart of a resilient Bills squad. His stats don’t jump off the page (2 TD/2 INT, 2 Rush TD’s), but when his team has needed him Allen has answered the bell two weeks in a row. From his go-ahead long ball TD to John Brown to seal the comeback in Week 1 to his rushing TD to put Buffalo up by two scores this week, Allen has been at his best in the biggest moments.
Bills fans get to enjoy their home opener this week against Cincinnati with a very real chance to start 3-0 for the first time since 2011.
TRAVIS KELCE (Kansas City Chiefs)
There are certain players that will just inevitably make their way onto this rundown due to their sheer brilliance on a weekly basis. I usually try to space appearances by this these players out to give others the exposure they deserve, but Travis Kelce was impossible to deny in Week 2.
In a juicy match-up on the road against a beaten up Raiders secondary, Kelce feasted. The man they call “Zeus” absorbed nine targets from Patrick Mahomes, catching seven of them for (107 Yards/TD). Kelce’s combination of size, strength, and technique have rightfully earned him the designation of TE1 for fantasy purposes, and he reminded everyone exactly what he’s capable of on Sunday.
CHRIS GODWIN (Tampa Bay Bucs)
In a game marred by awful quarterback play on both sides of the ball, Chris Godwin was a much-needed breath of fresh air. While Jameis Winston and Cam Newton struggled to figure out who had the worse deep ball, Godwin caught virtually everything that was placed within 5 yards of him.
The 3rd-year wideout was a savvy pick in drafts this year, coming off the board around the fourth round in most formats following a preseason filled with hype. He paid off that hype in this one, catching eight balls on nine targets for (121 Yards/TD) and setting career highs in both catches and yards in a game.
The rushing offense in Tampa Bay is looking questionable (to be polite), and Winston isn’t the most reliable guy under center (again, being polite), but Godwin looks like he just may be the break-out talent he was touted as in the preseason.
MY MAIN TAKEAWAY FROM WEEK 2
We’re witnessing a generational passing of the torch at quarterback.
With the exception of Tom Brady (so far), no Quarterback has ever been immune to the twisted machinations of father time. The slowing of the feet, the indecisiveness, and the enhanced pain from each hit have slowed each and every one of the greats in the end.
This week the NFL was rocked with injuries to two of the leagues most high profile quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. Both men have won Super Bowls, both are considered Hall of Famers by most, and both are the foundations of their respective franchises even in their late 30’s.
These injuries, coupled with the benching of Eli Manning in New York and the struggles of Philip Rivers in Los Angeles compound to paint a portrait that most people have seen coming for quite some time now. The old guard of Quarterbacking is coming to an end, and the new era is beginning to take the torch from their hands.
Looking at the premier Sunday match-ups from Week 2 you’ll find names like Goff, Wentz, Mahomes, Prescott, Jackson, etc. Most of the league’s winning franchises have moved on to their next phase with a younger quarterback, and the media hype has followed them on that path. Young QB’s aren’t sitting behind their veteran mentor for multiple seasons anymore, in most cases, they’re being drafted with the expectation to play NFL football in year one.
The age of Brees/Big Ben/Rivers/Manning has been one filled with a combined 5 Super Bowls, but it’s one that is coming to a close like all other before it. It won’t be easy to see some of these titans of the game walk away, and a few of them may even hang around for another year or two, but the sands of time halt for no one. The league-wide push towards youth at the QB position will continue, and we will welcome the new age of Quarterbacks full force within the next two years.