This is one of those weeks when I have to say right up front that I’m not really covering injuries here. This was a brutal injury week. There will not be any clarity on these players until Monday afternoon, and perhaps not until Wednesday when there are the first practice reports. With that caveat, on to Week 2…
Puka Nacua. Hakuna Matata. He set a new record for most catches in the first two games of a career. It was only the Niners defense, though. And Tutu Atwell did it again, too. It’s crazy how the Rams found these guys with no first-round picks. Kudos.
Kyren Williams looks to be the man now with the deactivation of Cam Akers and the reports he’ll be traded. Williams had 10 targets, a crazy number for a back in this offense, and probably a temporary adjustment to the opponent. Don’t expect a repeat.
Tyler Higbee season has been cancelled. Not even a pilot episode.
That was four-star tanking by the Cardinals.
Saquon Barkley seemed to be seriously hurt, but we await the news. It was in the final minute of the game on a carry to just run down the clock.
Daniel Jones not only salvaged what started out as a terrible game, but dominated in fantasy.
The Jets were completely outclassed on both sides of the ball by the Cowboys. The defense could not get off the field on third down. Zach Wilson was not the reason why they lost. It was a team effort.
If Sauce Gardner wants to be Revis 2.0 he has to shadow the best WR. You can’t let CeeDee Lamb eat up D.J. Reed, who is good but not great. Lamb is great.
Tony Pollard was a real grinder and had the kind of volume that is very projectable. He’s now a bell cow.
Brian Robinson is also a bell cow. I just hate myself for ranking Antonio Gibson higher. Horrible. I stepped into the receiving trap and the trap of trying to evaluate running back talent when really it’s just about touches.
There’s really not much for me to take away from an uncharacteristically explosive Denver offensive performance. The TD scorers did not get targets. Javonte Williams did not look good. Can we really expect that Russell Wilson running is predictive? I’m at a loss.
Jerry Jeudy did not have much of an impact but should have had the tying two-point conversion. He was wide open.
Aghhhh!! Russell Wilson missed Jerry Jeudy (#10) to tie the game!
Based off pre snap picture Russ could’ve known Jeudy would have most space and fewest defensive bodies in the area.
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) September 17, 2023
But everyone wants to talk about the pass interference on that play (set up by a miracle Hail Mary).
The Falcons really dominated Green Bay, irrespective of the score. They ran 29 more plays and gained 0.9 more yards per play. They had 27 first downs and just about doubled the Green Bay yardage. Jordan Love was pretty uninspiring despite the sterling passer rating. In fairness, he was again without Christian Watson, though that seems likely to be a persistent issue with Watson, not exactly “The Iron Horse.”
A.J. Dillon failed to assert himself in the absence of Aaron Jones.
On the Falcons side, two of their three stud skill players got involved. However 26 of the 45 rushing attempts went to non-Bijan Robinson, who does not seem to be a factor near the goal-line. Robinson is great though. Drake London had a solid game but doesn’t seem to have much of a ceiling. I was not at all impressed with Desmond Ridder in the first half when I was really focused on this game.
The Bills looked very sound on both sides. Their offense was multi-faceted and Gabe Davis really stepped up with a game that can give his managers confidence for at least the rest of this month. James Cook is valuable in full-PPR, and he’s a good player, but he’s not a factor on the goal-line — the most important part of the bell-cow triad.
The big story for the Bengals is that Joe Burrow re-injured his calf and could barely walk off the field. Again, maybe it’s not a big deal, but my guess is that he’s looking at an absence of about a month. I’d sign for that now if I had Bengals on my roster, actually. That would obviously cripple the Cincy offense, already the most disappointing unit in the NFL. Ja’Marr Chase was my No. 1 player once Burrow was reported healthy in camp and that pick right now is looking like a league loser. Chase is a forced hold now though. God speed if you roster him.
There was no clarity in the Baltimore backfield. I would expect Gus Edwards to be the goal-line back, so that gives him a higher floor. Gus Edwards catching a pass is one of the seven signs of the apocalypse.
Lamar Jackson had a fantastic bomb to Zay Flowers, a real laser that looked like an old-school Joe Namath highlight. Flowers really did nothing else. Oddly, the Ravens were never really desperate/forced to make a play.
I was ready to bury Geno Smith, especially without both starting tackles. But he looked great except for a total brain fart on a sack where he ran backwards inside his own 10 and nearly cost Seattle the game. DK Metcalf was out multiple series with a rib injury but seems okay. Smith just matriculated the ball down the field so methodically. There were barely any big plays. It was death by a hundred cuts.
On the Lions side, David Montgomery was carted off and his managers figured it was “Murder She Wrote” for him. But his injury is said to not be serious.
— DetroitSportsNation (@detsportsnation) September 18, 2023
Subsequently, Jahmyr Gibbs got hurt (ankle), and he needs to be monitored.
Jared Goff was also very good except for a Pick 6 (I know, HUGE exception). I wouldn’t be going out of my way to get Josh Reynolds but he deserves to be started somewhere in Flex 10 leagues. Everything may change after four more games, remember — Jameson Williams’ suspension ends.
The Chargers basically did everything right again on offense, including no turnovers, and their defense spit the bit against one of the league’s most hapless attacks. Such Chargering! Yet we expect big things. EVERY. YEAR. What is wrong with us?
Keenan Allen was great but the Titans may have the worst pass defense in football.
Man, Quentin Johnston is being eeeeeeased in. At this rate, he’ll be playable in 2029.
I was set to put Mike Evans out to Tall WR pasture but, boy, was I wrong. I figured if the height didn’t cripple him, Baker Mayfield would. I’ve traditionally been the biggest Evans fan, too. Such a model of consistency. Could not be happier he’s making me eat crow. Love the guy.
Justin Fields… 34 dropbacks, five sacks, two picks. That’s seven sacks plus picks (sacks are mini-turnovers because they almost always kill drives, even on early downs). So 21% of the time Fields drops back, it’s a 1970s disaster movie. Last year it was 18.2%.
With competent QB play, DJ Moore would have had 200 yards. He’s wide open and Fields just waits and waits and wa… Sack.
Patrick Mahomes has not been great. He was 4-for-13 on third down. There were few explosive plays, but how can there be? Still, he completely outclassed Trevor Lawrence, who was not ready for the spotlight. Travis Kelce gave it a go. Justin Watson may be is interesting, though he did fumble and one of his targets was a pick. Watson looks like a player out there though, at least to me.
Obligatory dad joke: Marquez Valdes-Can’tling. Amirite?
We were all fitting Calvin Ridley for the gold jacket last week but Canton does not await, it seems. He’s fine, really. Maybe the Chiefs defense is just very good.
Christian Kirk had a great bounce-back game but remember Zay Jones was hurt and Ridley also hurt his knee hitting the goal post, it was reported (though both played).
Anthony Richardson was concussed on his second TD run and self-reported symptoms. But remember, running QBs don’t get hurt. Only pocket QBs.
Zack Moss: Bell cow? Okay. I’m not going to fight you.
Dameon Pierce had no chance. This was not his fault.
C.J. Stroud can make all the throws, no doubt. We’ll talk about Nico Collins and Tank Dell in the “Market Share Report” on Tuesday. So hold your horses.
(Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)