Fantasy Football: Nine big questions heading into Week 2 about Brandon Aiyuk, backfield splits, and more

Week 1 of the Fantasy Soccer season brings us long-awaited first solutions to a few of our largest questions of the season, nevertheless it additionally creates much more questions that we hadn’t even thought of earlier than. Like, “Does Brandon Aiyuk have a job within the 49ers offense?” Or, “Is Mark Andrews even a top-five tight finish anymore?” Wager you did not assume anybody can be asking these questions again once you have been draft, huh?

A few of these questions are unknowable. Some are simply extremely troublesome to reply. However, that is our job as Fantasy analysts, so I took to Twitter Wednesday afternoon to ask the viewers for his or her largest questions heading into Week 2.

Listed below are these questions together with my solutions — or, a minimum of in some instances, my greatest guesses! Generally, that is all you are able to do at this level within the season.

What can we do about these six backfields?

The great factor about Week 1 is we really get our first tangible signal of how groups wish to use their operating backs. In some situations, like with the Rams and Darrell Henderson, that offers us a ton of readability — they clearly want Henderson to Sony Michel proper now. In different situations, we do not actually get a lot readability in any respect — or a minimum of the readability we do get would not give us an apparent reply. That was the case for the Broncos in Week 1, as Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon break up snaps evenly, with Williams getting an edge in carries solely on the ultimate drive to expire the clock.

By my depend there are six backfields the place you possibly can classify them as both a real timeshare or the place we simply do not actually know what to anticipate within the close to time period. Listed below are my ideas on these six:

49ers: Clearly, we’re assuming Elijah Mitchell is the lead again right here, with Jamycal Hasty and maybe Trey Sermon backing him up. Sermon was inactive for Week 1 whereas Mitchell rushed for 104 yards on 19 carries in Raheem Mostert’s place. The factor in regards to the 49ers is, they’d six totally different operating backs lead them in carries in 2020 and three in 2019, with the chief in carries averaging 15.1 per recreation in 2020 and simply 13.7 in 2019. If Mitchell is the lead again, he must be seen as a mid-range RB2 in most leagues, however given Shanahan’s historical past, we’ll need to re-evaluate this one on a weekly foundation. 

Ravens: Ty’Son Williams led the workforce in RB snaps in Week 1 and seemed rather more efficient than Latavius Murray, however Murray was on the sector for 14 dashing snaps, in comparison with 12 for Williams. And, whereas Williams had a 20-4 edge in snaps within the first half, that become a 17-14 edge for Murray within the second half. Which makes me assume Murray most likely has the sting for Week 2, although he’ll need to play higher than he did. It is potential he’ll, however I’d advocate avoiding this case until you want a flex or RB3 in non-PPR till we get extra readability.

Broncos: This can be a state of affairs the place we did get readability, and it seems like a real time share. Neither Gordon nor Williams ran the ball significantly nicely outdoors of Gordon’s 70-yard landing run, however they need to fare higher in Week 2 towards the Jaguars. Each are within the RB3 dialogue so long as this timeshare exists. 

BuccaneersRonald Jones discovered himself within the doghouse but once more in Week 1 following a fumble, however Bruce Arians gave him a vote of confidence in publicly naming him the starter for Week 2. This example stays because it has been since final season — Jones ought to get the primary alternative, and if he runs nicely, he’ll seemingly stay the lead again. However he has completely no margin for error, and Leonard Fournette is extra more likely to be requested to contribute within the passing recreation, too — although Giovani Bernard complicates that, as nicely. I will need to be fairly determined to begin anybody in Tampa. 

Jaguars: The excellent news for James Robinson is he did lead the workforce’s operating backs in snaps, 42-25. That’s, sadly, about the place the excellent news ends, as Carlos Hyde rushed 9 instances to Robinson’s 5 carries, and Hyde closed the snap hole within the second half. The silver lining is that Robinson ran 33 routes and was focused six instances, together with thrice from out of the slot. He is nonetheless the very best Fantasy choice right here and a fringe RB2 for me in Week 2, but when Hyde continues to get extra carries, that’ll drop Robinson into the Nyheim Hines territory within the rankings, if not decrease. 

JetsThis was only a mess in Week 1, with Tevin Coleman seeing 9 carries and Ty Johnson and Michael Carter every seeing two. Johnson was extra used within the passing recreation and led the workforce in snaps because of this, however you’d need to be actually determined to make use of anybody on this backfield till the offense seems higher than it did within the opener.

What’s Brandon Aiyuk’s function?

I imply, you definitely do not wish to see the top coach calling your fifth-round pick this early within the season. Shanahan is a finnicky coach, and he would not care a lot about draft inventory or perceived hierarchies; he is simply going to play who he thinks provides him the very best likelihood to win. I assume which means Aiyuk will see his function improve transferring ahead, however there are shades of Dante Pettis on this — Pettis, if you happen to bear in mind, entered 2019 because the projected No. 1 huge receiver and a well-liked breakout candidate however discovered himself in Shanahan’s doghouse following a disappointing coaching camp.

However to reply the query, you shouldn’t be dropping Aiyuk, and I view this as a really good shopping for alternative. Perhaps Aiyuk by no means will get again in Shanahan’s good graces, however he is additionally much more gifted than Pettis ever was, so I will guess on it. That being stated, I used to be skeptical he was going to be a must-start Fantasy choice earlier than this, and I am undoubtedly not sure he is a greater participant than Deebo Samuel, who seemed implausible in Week 1. 

Can we belief Juwan Johnson?

It is so laborious to take a lot of something from the Saints Week 1 recreation, as a result of it was so lopsided principally from the get-go. How a lot can we study from Johnson incomes three of 21 targets, particularly when two resulted in touchdowns? Adam Trautman was on the sector much more usually than Johnson and had three targets of his personal whereas operating 18 routes to Johnson’s 9. However Johnson is a developmental participant the Saints clearly like, so his function is not more likely to stay static all season. I would not really feel comfy beginning him but, but when he goes out in Week 2 and runs 50% of the workforce’s routes and earns a goal share over 15% once more, I will have to think about it.

Time to fret about Zeke and Julio?

I believe each shall be superb, however I am much more assured in Ezekiel Elliott than I’m Julio Jones for Week 2. Elliott will get Zack Martin again and the Chargers ought to current a better problem than the Bucs did — the Cowboys largely deserted the run in Week 1 very early on, and it isn’t laborious to see why given the opponent. He is nonetheless a must-start Fantasy choice.

As for Julio, I am nonetheless rating him as a WR2 for Week 2, however I undoubtedly wish to see him and Tannehill get on the identical web page shortly. That’ll be simpler when Chandler Jones hasn’t established semi-permanent residence of their backfield, so hopefully that is the week they determine it out. However I might be mendacity if I stated I wasn’t a little bit however fearful.

Ought to we fear about Mark Andrews?

Sure. I am superb buying and selling him for Higgins, however that is not as a result of I am significantly involved about Andrews. Positive, he was third on the workforce in targets, however the greater subject in Week 1 was that he simply wasn’t significantly environment friendly, catching three of them for simply 20 yards. That is by no means been a difficulty for Andrews earlier than, so I’ve no motive to assume it will likely be one this season. And, if you happen to’re in search of a motive to be optimistic about Andrews, how about this: He ran a route on 37 of 39 move performs, the next fee than any recreation final season. He’ll be simply superb, do not you are worried.

Ought to we fear in regards to the Falcons offense?

Not significantly, but, although I can not shake the considered how a lot they struggled final season when Julio Jones wasn’t taking part in. In seven video games the place Jones was inactive, Matt Ryan averaged 6.6 yards per try with a 4.0% landing fee, nicely under his profession charges of seven.5 Y/A and 4.6%. The addition of Kyle Pitts was supposed to assist mitigate a few of that, and I do assume Ryan goes to play higher transferring ahead.

Nonetheless, one factor to keep watch over is that, in conditions the place the purpose differential towards the Eagles was inside one rating both method (36 offensive performs), the Falcons ran the ball 53% of the time; they threw 62% of the time final season in such conditions. That was rather more in step with Arthur Smith’s playcalling in 2020 with the Titans, which is a bit regarding for the passing recreation.

Ja’Marr Chase: stud? 

Properly, let’s examine: He is one in all simply 5 huge receivers drafted within the highest 5 general picks within the NFL Draft over the past decade. That was after a school profession that noticed him put up 84-1780-20 whereas being 19 years previous for all the season. And he simply had 5 catches for 101 yards and a landing in his NFL debut, whereas the opposite 4 top-five decide WRs since 2012 mixed for 171 yards and no touchdowns of their respective debuts. 

Our prior must be that Chase was the actual deal all alongside, and we must always have wanted fairly compelling proof to vary that. Perhaps the preseason/coaching camp struggles have been sufficient to shift that for you, but when they have been, his efficiency in Week 1 is way stronger proof in his favor, particularly since he led the Bengals WR in snaps, routes, and targets. The Bengals handled him like their No. 1 WR, so why ought to I deal with him as anything? Each week will not be that good for him, however you must anticipate him to be excellent for Fantasy transferring ahead.

What in regards to the different Bengals receivers? 

To phrase the query a distinct method, as a result of I do not assume try to be dropping Boyd: With Chase taking part in like he did in Week 1, must you be fearful about Boyd or Tee Higgins? I am not able to say that. Higgins might be much less of a priority given his 15.8 factors in Week 1, however Boyd had simply 6.2 — three catches on 4 targets for 32 yards. Boyd is not an enormous play man on this offense, so he usually depends on quantity for his Fantasy worth. With Chase clearly pushing him down within the pecking order, can he nonetheless get that quantity?

Properly, one factor to bear in mind about Week 1 for the Bengals is it was Joe Burrow’s first recreation again from his knee harm they usually have been taking part in towards a fairly conservative Vikings workforce, so they’d the posh of taking part in a fairly conservative recreation plan, they usually took it. The Bengals had the fifth-lowest move fee of the week in conditions the place the purpose differential was inside one rating, throwing simply 47% of the time. And that break up grew as the sport went on — they threw the ball simply 38% of the time with the purpose differential inside one rating within the fourth quarter and extra time. Maybe as a result of Joe Burrow got here up favoring his shoulder after one late hit?

Regardless of the motive, that is an enormous change from the place they have been in 2020, when the Bengals threw 59% of the time in such conditions. I am anticipating there to be much more move quantity transferring ahead, and I am nonetheless anticipating the three prime huge receivers to see a really wholesome share, so I am not panicking about Boyd but. However, if you happen to drafted him as a WR2 in Fantasy, you are at a severe drawback in terms of upside. However you must have identified that coming in. 

What is going to we get from Clyde Edwards-Helaire?

I had two considerations about Clyde Edwards-Helaire coming into the season:

  1. That he would not have a goal-line function.
  2. That he would lose taking part in time on third down.

On the primary concern, we solely have a two-snap pattern from Week 1 the place the Chiefs have been contained in the 5-yard line, however Edwards-Helaire was on the sector for each; he was additionally on the sector for all 4 snaps from 10 yards or shorter. It is too early to say, however that looks like a win to me, albeit a small one for now. 

We’ve a bigger pattern on third downs, and it is a little bit extra blended there: Edwards-Helaire was on for seven of 13 snaps, with Darrel Williams on for the opposite six. The excellent news is Edwards-Helaire went out on a route for six of his seven performs, whereas Williams solely did so on three of six. Nonetheless small pattern sizes, and I’ve to anticipate Williams can have the sting in two-minute drills. Nonetheless, Edwards-Helaire ran 28 routes in comparison with simply seven for Williams general, so I am counting this as an enormous win for him.

I view Edwards-Helaire a lot as I did coming into the season: As a high-end RB2 with important upside past that. Week 1 did not change that view in any respect, it strengthened it. | Fantasy Soccer: 9 massive questions heading into Week 2 about Brandon Aiyuk, backfield splits, and extra


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