NFL picks
Photo credit: Thomas J. Russo, USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 of the National Football League has come to an end. Fantasy football owners now must go back and see what decisions were correct or the choices we made that cost us a chance to win our matchups. While we can never expect to be accurate on all of our predictions, we can always learn from what happened. With that said, let’s take a look at some surprising outcomes and try to decide what to do moving forward. 

As a note moving forward, all fantasy scoring will be for one point per reception leagues.

Cam Newton

Week 2: 25 for 51 (65.8%) for 239 yards and 0 touchdowns 

Cam Newton in week 2 looked like a shell of his former 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player self to put it bluntly, amassing only 5.4 fantasy points. Newton said it himself in his post-game press conference quote “It’s time for me to look myself in the mirror” and if you own him you might want to do the same.

One of the great things about Newton’s value is his increased floor due to his rushing upside inside the five-yard line, but we don’t see that currently. So far in two games, Newton has a total of zero red zone rushes. On top of his missed rushing stats is his lack of production throwing the ball, currently leading the league in uncatchable passes at 34.2% per PFF Adjusted Completion while having no touchdowns and one interception on the season. 

Coming into the 2019 season, the news of Newton’s injured shoulder and new throwing mechanics were all over the Carolina Panthers storylines. This news helped to push down his Average Draft Position to a late eighth or early ninth-round pick, which was valued by those who follow the waiting on drafting a quarterback philosophy as a great buy. 

For owners, it seems it is time to cut bait and move on from Newton if you have other options available. If you have a deep enough bench to absorb the spot he will take up and want to stash and hope it turns around; you’re fine to do so. Moving forward, however, he can not be trusted as a QB1 any longer for fantasy football in his current form. 

Marlon Mack

Week 2: 20 carries for 51 yards 0 touchdowns with 2 receptions for 12 yards 

Coming into Week 2, Marlon Mack gave the Indianapolis Colts and fantasy football owners high hopes coming off a career-high week one performance against the Los Angeles Chargers. In Week 2, however, the Tennessee Titans rush defense found a way to keep him in check for the entire game only, allowing 20 carries for 51 yards and zero touchdowns. 

One of Mack’s limiting factors is his usage in the passing game, consistently relinquishing targets to Nyheim Hines. In Week 2, Mack saw three targets, completing 2 for 12 yards, sticking right to his 2018 average of 2.2 targets per game. 

It is no secret that the Colts are a different team with Jacoby Brissett under center than they are with Andrew Luck. This much is evident in their playcalling. Through two weeks, Indianapolis is rushing on 52.76% of snaps which is a drastic increase from 2018 when they averaged only 38.4%. This trend tells us that Mack is going to continue to see a large volume share of rushing attempts moving forward behind a top-five graded offensive line. 

While we may have seen his high water mark for the season already, you can feel safe with Mack as your RB2. Mack will be looking to get back to form next week as Indianapolis has their home opener against the Atlanta Falcons. 

Donte Moncrief

Week 2: 1 target for 0 yards and 0 touchdowns

Do you remember after Week 1 when Donte Moncrief said: “That was the worst game of my career”? I wonder what he would call his Week 2 performance against the Seattle Seahawks then. The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver flat out didn’t show up to the field on Sunday.

Moncrief was on the field for 18 snaps, and honestly, I don’t think anyone noticed other than beleaguered fantasy football owners who gave him another chance and wondering Steelers fans. Week 1 gave Moncrief believers something to hope for, seeing Ben Roethlisberger continue to provide him with opportunities even though he wasn’t converting them. 

An overarching question of the Steelers offseason was if JuJu Smith-Schuster could replace Antonio Brown. However, another issue that went under talked about was who would step into the number two role that JuJu vacated. The signing of Moncrief in the offseason led people to believe he could step into that role where he can use his quickness for short routes which Roethlisberger loves to target. Although I have a feeling, his current 0.64 average depth of target is a bit shorter than anticipated. 

The loss of Roethlisberger, which was covered here by Ryan Gosling, mentions that Mason Rudolph will take over at quarterback for the rest of the season — making things worse for Moncrief. During the preseason, Rudolph showed the chemistry between himself and former Oklahoma State teammate James Washington who on 16 targets caught ten passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. 

At this point, Moncrief shouldn’t be on a roster in standard fantasy leagues. Feel free to drop him, move onto another player you have your eyes on and try to forget this ever happened. 

Dante Pettis

Week 2: 0 targets, 0 yards, and 0 touchdowns

Where do I even begin to talk about the recent performance of Dante Pettis? After a forgettable Week 1 in which he entered nursing an injury and played two snaps, he managed to do even less while being on the field for 49% of the San Francisco 49ers plays.

I have to be fully transparent here for a moment; I missed this one. During the offseason, I fully believed in Pettis as a player you could get in the middle of drafts that could be a fantastic depth piece and had an outside shot at being a top 24 WR in fantasy football. If I am honest here, I’m still unsure of why this has happened as well.

In 2018, he showed us glimpses of a dynamic player who once he catches the football can take a 7 yards slant to the endzone on any given moment averaging 17.3 yards per reception. So far in 2019, Pettis hasn’t given us any of those moments. After a Week 1 performance in which he only saw the field for two snaps, Pettis came back in Week 2 and played on 35 snaps but was targeted precisely zero times. However, he did manage to complete a pass if that is any consolation to owners. 

The increased snap count is a positive sign, but the complete lack of production is alarming. At this point, Pettis is unusable in fantasy until better chemistry can develop between him and Jimmy Garoppolo. While Pettis could have a good game in the future, trying to predict it will be maddening so moving on is advised until we see something different.

O.J. Howard

Week 2: 0 targets 0 catches and 0 yards

Bruce Arians had never had a tight end before like O.J. Howard. We heard this said all offseason since he agreed to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after they decided to move on from Dirk Koetter. The thought of Arians coming in and working with Jameis Winston tantalized fantasy football analysts during the offseason. Entering the draft season, Howard was viewed as a top-five tight end in the majority of rankings and was drafted as such with an average draft position of 77. 

After an injury-shortened 2018 where Howard collected 34 catches for 565 yards and five touchdowns, the thought of a full 16 game season gave fantasy football owners hope for 2019. The third-year pro has yet to catch on in this new offense under Arians. 

When asked after their Week 2 win over the Carolina Panthers “You’d have to ask him,” Arians said. “He’s got so much talent and can play a heck of a lot better than he’s playing.” 

It’s safe to say Arians, like most of us, are frustrated with Howard’s performance so far in 2019. However, there are brighter days ahead for Howard. The talent is there and if Winston can be an average NFL quarterback, Howard can be a productive weapon for Winson and the Buccaneers. 

If you have a better option, feel free to start them until both Howard and Winston can begin to play better, otherwise, be prepared for more frustrating performances like we have seen. 

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football as well as a wondering Steelers fan. You can follow him @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.