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Over/Under: Week 3 Reactions

@JoeWarrenFF investigates player performances from week two that could cause overreactions in your dynasty leagues and speculates whether it may be worth that reaction.

INTRODUCTION

Week two has wrapped up superbly. A 34-24 win for the Las Vegas Raiders in the first home game was a thrilling game to watch. Darren Waller had himself a game where he could not be guarded. He caught 12 receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown.

My favorite and somewhat heart-stopping game to watch was Dallas vs. Atlanta on Sunday. How the Cowboys came back from that deficit, I will never know. However, did you see Dalton Schultz and his mini breakout in the absence of newly extended Blake Jarwin? 9 receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown was enough to rank Schultz as TE7 this week. That is one spot ahead of preseason breakout candidate Hayden Hurst.

Was there a more impressive performance than Aaron Jones against Detroit? Putting up 46.6 PPR fantasy points, going off for 236 scrimmage yards, and two touchdowns – you will be hard-pressed to find someone better in Week 2.

However, this article is not here to highlight exceptional performances from exceptional players. Otherwise, I would end up writing an article about Ezekiel Elliott and Lamar Jackson each week. As a Cowboys fan, I would struggle to find enough Ezekiel Elliott content to write 17 articles about him.

A trend or a flash in the pan?

This article highlights whether specific individuals’ Week 2 performance is worth the potential overreaction it may cause—Demarcus Robinson 2019 as an example.

For instance, do you know the highest-scoring player in Week 2 of 2019? Not Demarcus and his 35.2 PPR fantasy points after going for 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns. It was, in fact, the New England Patriots defense. Yes, a defense ranked as the highest scorer in Week 2 of 2019.

If I was writing this article one year ago, I should have advised to, in fact, overreact to that scoring performance as they carried on with their fantastic fantasy showing for the whole season.

But I do not want to talk about defenses. Instead, I want to list players that have had stand out performances in Week 2. Or, moreso, massively outscored their projections. If you have any questions or any player you think I may have missed or got wrong after reading, please send me a message on Twitter via @JoeWarrenFF.

MO ALIE-COX

Credit: IndyStar

Alie-Cox is a tight end for the Phillip Rivers led Indianapolis Colts. A player who would usually be placed behind Jack Doyle and Trey Burton on the depth chart found himself thrust into a starting role last weekend against Minnesota.

And boy did he deliver. He was targeted six times, catching 5 of those balls for 111 yards. Mo Alie-Cox showed the ability to be the TE1 in Indianapolis.

We know that quarterback Phillip Rivers loves to throw to his tight ends. (See Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates, for example). Henry, in 2019 averaged 6.33 targets per game and finished as the TE9 in PPR formats. All while only playing in 12 games.

Antonio Gates had seasons where he was targeted 114 and 113 times by Phillips Rivers, with a finish as high as TE2 in 2009. Now, I am in no way saying Mo Alie-Cox is Antonio Gates. But he has clearly shown superb receiving abilities. He plays in an offense that made Eric Ebron TE4 in 2018. (He had never ranked in the top 12 before and has not ranked in the top 24 since).

An added dimension

Doyle caught three balls on four targets in week one and had a yards per catch average of 16.3. Compare that to Mo Alie-Cox’s YPC in Week 2 of 22.2, and he adds an extra dimension to the Colts offense.

If Doyle misses Week 3, Alie-Cox is a surefire TE1 option. Besides, if Doyle is beaten out for the TE1 job in Indianapolis, then Mo-Alie Cox could be a sleeper option at the position and a great addition to any dynasty rosters.

It is worth bearing in mind that Indianapolis can get out of Jack Doyle’s $7.1m per year contract in the offseason while only eating $1.5m in dead cap. If Mo Alie-Cox can continue to perform as well as he did in week 2, it may give general manager Chris Ballard food for thought.

VERDICT: TIME TO OVERREACT

CAM NEWTON

Credit: CBS Sports

Super Cam himself was quite impressive in Week 2. He put up 35.58 fantasy points, which ranked him as the QB3. Newton threw for 397 yards and a touchdown while adding two on the ground. His two rushing touchdowns totaled 4 for the season – already impressive numbers for a quarterback.

Cam Newton has not thrown for 397 yards since week 2 of his rookie season (in 2011). He has not thrown for 350 yards since week 11 of 2018 (admittedly, he was injured for 14 games in 2019).

I will annoy many Cam Newton truthers with the following take, but I am not buying into him just yet. The touchdown pass he threw against Seattle was Cam’s first touchdown pass in six games.

It is easy to look at a small sample size and take that as golden, but one touchdown in 6 games means he is on pace to throw for 3.75 touchdowns over a 16-game season. Again, I am not suggesting that it will happen, but it is hard to ignore the lack of production with his arm in the end zone.

Tough defense on the horizon

The New England Patriots come up against some formidable rushing defenses in their 2020 schedule. From weeks 7-10, they play San Francisco, Buffalo, New York Jets, and Baltimore. Cam plays Las Vegas next week, who have only allowed two touchdown passes this season.

If Cam Newton comes up against a defense like the ones he faces between weeks 7 and 10 – he could struggle. He ranked as the QB2 in 2017, but he threw for 22 touchdowns. In my opinion, Newton needs to show more as an effective red zone passer for me to buy into the hype.

I, for one, am glad to see the old Cam back. With injuries the way they are in 2020, it is good to see someone who has struggled with injuries the last two seasons look similar to his old self.

VERDICT: WAIT AND SEE

LEONARD FOURNETTE

Credit: tampabay.com

Fournette bounced back this week from a lot of criticism towards his game based upon his recent departure from Jacksonville.

Admittedly, his time in Jacksonville needed to come to an end. It made no sense for the Jaguars to pay Fournette a high salary for a team that is not planning on contending any time soon. I do not believe the ‘Robinson outplayed Fournette’ in training camp news – and as proven by his week two showing, Fournette still has the talent.

The former LSU running back ran for 103 yards on 12 carries, going for 8.6 YPC and two touchdowns. After ceding the lead back role in week 1 to Ronald Jones (out carried 17 to 5), he performed well in Week 2.

The upside. If…

Fournette has a clear top 10 running back upside. He had ranked inside the top 10 in two of his three seasons so far and ranked 12th per game average in 2018 when he played in only eight games. Leonard Fournette was the RB3 in week 2, posting 27.6 points – more than Nick Chubb, who people were applauding for his showing against Cincinnati on Thursday night.

The floor for Fournette is high if he can hold on to the lead back role in Tampa Bay. In 2019 Fournette saw 100 targets and 76 receptions. If we look at week two as a per season average, he would be looking at 80 targets and 64 receptions – that would have ranked 8th amongst running backs in 2019.

Ronald Jones is the argument against Leonard Fournette reaching his ceiling. Jones has been hyped up all offseason by Bruce Arians as the lead back. However, in week two, after an ill-timed fumble, Jones was effectively benched.

He saw seven carries for 23 yards at 3.3 YPC. Jones now averages a pedestrian 3.6 YPC on the season and has not shown much in the passing game (five targets with four receptions for 20 yards). It is possible that Fournette’s increased volume was a one-game thing. However, it is very plausible it is not – and this is a sign of things to come.

VERDICT: TIME TO OVERREACT

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