One of the main issues I face each week is that everyone wants all the information about the week that was on like Monday or Tuesday when the fact is that’s impossible if you want to review things correctly, as I do. I need at least three days to absorb what happened, and that includes studying all the data AND watching all the games – which takes a ton of time. So I’ll usually have a lot more insight and information very late in the week, and with people loving my “Good Vibes/Bad Vibes” I thought it would be a good time to share my thoughts on the first two weeks in “Vibe Form.”
I’ll try to do this once every few weeks at least to keep readers abreast of what I’m seeing, hearing, and thinking with all 32 teams.
The vibes are pretty good here, and there’s room for things to get better with WRs John Brown and Michael Floyd doing very little. Floyd, in particular, should start heating up soon. Last October, Larry Fitzgerald told me that defenses were focusing on stopping the big plays, and that he was cleaning up underneath. Shortly thereafter, things dried up a little and Floyd got hot.
I’ve been trashing them a little because I don’t like the roster still, and I hate how they are using their RBs. It’s like they’re pulling names out of a hat. Last week, Devonta Freeman lost, so he didn’t get any targets – yet he led them in carries. Overall, they’re hanging in there, but I still don’t think Matt Ryan is playing as well as people think. I’m also worried about Julio Jones holding up for 16 weeks, and his general health has been an issue several times already this year.
They can’t run the ball at all, but that could clear a path for Kenneth Dixon later in the season, but otherwise things should improve as the OL gels and gets better as the season progresses. Otherwise, I love what I see from Mike Wallace, Steve Smith looks fine, Breshad Perriman looks like a useful piece who’ll only get better, and Dennis Pitta may catch 70 balls if he’s healthy. It all means that Joe Flacco is looking sneaky good this year. Not sneaky to us, of course, since he was our top “Mr. Relevant” QB this summer.
I was not high on Tyrod Taylor this summer and thought he was being overrated by the masses, and I wasn’t exactly pushing Sammy Watkins, either. Taylor’s not going to hit many 70+ yard TDs again this year, so I’m not feeling good. If Watkins can’t make big plays down the field, then this passing game will be grounded because Taylor can’t do much else other than run and throw it deep. LeSean McCoy is set to get 20 touches a game, so the main question there is can he stay healthy and fresh.
Cam isn’t playing particularly well this year, but he did face Denver for four of his eight quarters, and Kelvin Benjamin looks good. Overall, they are fine. Cameron Artis-Payne looks like their long-term guy and even their short-term guy, as they have made it clear that they prefer Fozzy Whittaker as a changeup.
Not good. We gave Jeremy Langford some love the last 2-3 weeks of the preseason, and he was fine in Week 1 with 95% of the snaps. But I already think that he’s not noticeably improved and that rookie Jordan Howard is already coming on strong. So it’ll ultimately be what we thought it would be in May, June, and July, and that’s a 2-man backfield. I don’t think Howard will dominate touches, but he’s clearly going to be a large factor (Ka’Deem Carey isn’t particularly good, as we’ve outlined from Day 1). Bad vibes otherwise here, so Alshon Jeffery owners need to hope he can stay healthy. Kevin White looks like he has a piano on his back, and Jay Cutler is, well, Jay Cutler.
They’ve had some bad matchups for the running game, so they’re running it only like 25% of the time. That’s not helping Jeremy Hill, and neither are his brutal matchups to open the season. But I’d be patient with Hill. Their lack of solid weaponry is a little concerning now, but they’ll get Tyler Eifert back soon, and Tyler Boyd has been solid. So we’re in decent shape here.
The Browns have issues, of course, not that I was every into their players this summer. The hope with Cody Kessler is that he’ll get the ball to Gary Barnidge and Duke Johnson, but we’ll see about that because we are not Kessler fans at all. I wasn’t high on the WRs, but if Josh McCown were healthy, they’d actually be really intriguing, so we’ll see if McCown can get healthy. Of course, Corey Coleman is down 4-6 weeks. I would not be optimistic on Josh Gordon if it’s Kessler, but Gordon from all accounts has been good the year.
Dak Prescott hasn’t been perfect and has missed some big plays, but I do think everything I outlined on him late in the preseason has come to pass. In short, he’s been pretty darn good and should only get better. I think they have found their guy for the next 10 years, and if they are winning and he’s solid, I’d keep Tony Romo on the bench. Their OL hasn’t been very good this year, which is pretty shocking, but they did kind of underachieve last year. I’d think they’ll get better and better, though, since Zeke Elliott should get better and better. Dez Bryant is in solid hands with Dak, with whom he has nice chemistry, but Terrance Williams is worthless. That’s great news for Cole Beasley, though. Beasley could actually catch like 80 balls this year. Beasley has been a little week-to-week and matchup-specific in the past, but if he’s active again the next 1-2 games, then a break-out PPR season should be forthcoming for him.
Things aren’t looking wonderful for the passing game, but I believe things could at least be worse. And things are looking great for CJ Anderson, so the only question is his health. While he’s doing nothing, it’s a good time for all Anderson owners to try to secure his backup Devontae Bookereither on the WW or via a trade on the cheap.
The injury to Ameer Abdullah was a real shame, since he was looking very good this year. I thought Dwayne Washington actually looked very solid in Week 2 and believe he has a chance to collect a lot of touches going forward. I think it’s fair to view him as their lead runner, but there’s no question Theo Riddick’s upside is excellent now, think Danny Woodhead last year. Everything else looks good here, evenGolden Tate. Tate with a better throw could have had a 50-yard TD last week, and he also made a spectacular catch that that was called back and had a defensive PI called on a defender on an end-zone target. I’m liking what I’m seeing from Eric Ebron, but I can’t say I’m expecting him to stay healthy. But if he does, I think he’ll be a top-8 TE this year.
Green Bay Packers
I’m not overreacting to a couple of poor games from Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense; I’m rattled by what we saw from them in 2015 and what we’re still seeing in 2016, even with Jordy Nelson looking good. This looks like a week-to-week offense, so I’m fine with trading anyone here other than maybe Jordy while their values are relatively high. They could do well this week, but it’s getting scary with the Packers. Eddie Lacy looks like he’s gained 19 pounds the last 19 days, so the only good news for him is James Starks isn’t doing anything, either.
The vibes were looking good to me, but things changed in Week 3 when they played a strong team on the road. They were dominated by the Patriots, which is clear evidence that Brock Osweiler and company aren’t exactly ready for prime time. It’s hard to bail from Lamar Miller with all his touches, but a TD from him would be nice. DeAndre Hopkins should be fine, and Will Fuller is a serious force despite his poor game Week 3.
Let’s be honest; things aren’t looking wonderful here. The Donte Moncrief injury is a big buzzkill because they don’t have much of a margin for error offensively. Phillip Dorsett will have to step into a larger role, and while he’s a #1 pick, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s up to the task in terms of handling more of a full route tree. Frank Gore’s hanging in there for now, and TY Hilton’s targets should be going up, so at least that’s good news for him. But clearly, it’s fair to be skeptical of his offense against a top defense
Things aren’t looking great here, but at least Blake Bortles is putting up serviceable numbers. Their slow start is disappointing, but I do think Allen Robinson is about to explode, so this week may be your last time to buy low on him. Julius Thomas is doing well, but I’d have an injury replacement standing by if possible because he’s bound to miss time. It’s time for Chris Ivory to return and inject some life into this rushing attack because it’s not happening with TJ Yeldon, who is 1 TD from being the worst lead back in the league in terms of points per snap so far. These guys may be okay, but it’s worrisome how they have not looked sharp because a continued ascension was expected.
Kansas City Chiefs
These guys are hanging in there, but things aren’t fantastic. They’ve had some OL issues, are looking at no Jamaal Charles again this week (Week 3), and their passing game hasn’t been that impressive thus far. Jeremy Maclin is at least getting a ton of targets, and he’s tied for second in the league with 22 through two games, although his points per target is below the league average right now. Considering how long it’s taken Charles to return, is sure seems like Spencer Ware could hold strong value all year. As for Travis Kelce, it’s much of the same, unfortunately. It’s not going to change much, so he’s going to have to get lucky with some short TDs if he’s going to produce consistently.
Los Angeles Rams
There’s not much hope here right now, and I’m not even sure I can say things will get better before they get worse, although that would be hard to do. Kenny Britt’s been decent, and Tavon Austin is at least getting targets. The OL hasn’t been good, and Todd Gurley hasn’t helped matters much. It’s bad, but at least with Gurley I find it hard to believe things will get any worse. Gurley owners needed to draft well otherwise this year because the Gurley pick in the 1st round is obviously not working out. And if you don’t, you may will be just fine long-term.
I am wondering if Ryan Tannehill is going to surprise with top-12 fantasy numbers this year, but I still expect to have trust issues with him and will likely view him as more week-to-week than anything. The RB situation is a disaster right now. Jarvis Landry is Tannehill’s guy and will always get targets, so the story here is DeVante Parker, who is currently boasting an impressive .31 points per snap (well above league average of .18). He looked great in Week 2, so the question is can he start to string together several impressive performances. Of course, he’s on the injury report this week so I’m keeping my expectations for him in check.
The Vikings are likely in trouble, but at least Sam Bradford was brilliant in his Viking debut. In fact, that might have been his best game as a pro, so he’s off to a great start in Norv Turner’s offense. Stefon Diggs is a star. Kyle Rudolph is clearly going to be a big factor with Bradford, so if he can actually start catching more of his targets, he could be a top-10 producer.
New England Patriots
Obviously, things are looking good for the 3-0 Patriots. They’ll get Tom Brady back after one game and they are pretty darn loaded on offense. It’ll be interesting to see if they stick with LeGarrette Blount as a bell-cow or if they throw on almost every down given that it’s Brady and they have what looks like an embarrassment of riches as receiver, assuming Rob Gronkowski is okay. This could be a solid sell-high moment for Blount, and buy-low time on Brady, Gronk, and potentially the intriguing Chris Hogan. Hogan’s great, but the issue with him is Danny Amendola hasn’t gone away.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have a little week-to-week to them given their underachieving OL, but overall these guys should be more than fine. It looks like Willie Snead will be more reliable than Brandin Cooks, but Cooks is obviously fine. The big buzz kill is Coby Fleener, who is not ready for prime time. I saw him drop a potential 25-yard catch in Week 2 (it would have been a tougher grab), but Brees missed him running open for a potential 25-yard TD, so there is some hope for Fleener long-term. I’d have to think the OL will improve as the season wears on, so I wouldn’t give up on Mark Ingram, especially since the defense doesn’t actually look horrible.
New York Giants
The biggest issue I see here is the OL isn’t blocking for the run well, and their running game has been stuck in neutral. But the good news is Victor Cruz looks like Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard looks very good, so Eli Manning has a great WR corps. The Giants defense also looks great, so things are looking up for this team.
New York Jets
Matt Forte is getting a sickening amount of work early-on, which is unsustainable. If I owned Forte, I’d do anything I could to get Bilal Powell, who could be a top-15 back if Forte is out. Powell should get more involved in the future, since Forte is on pace for 472 touches in 2016, which is insane. I really like Quincy Enunwa, who is lining up outside and all over, so Ryan Fitzpatrick has a nice trio of wideouts, all with great size.
Their defense is hot garbage right now, but the offense looks good. Latavius Murray is producing, but they are clearly working in RBs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, so Murray’s margin for error may be shrinking. Still, his outlook does look more promising than last year, since he’s running a little better and the offense is better overall. Otherwise, things are looking good for Derek Carr and their top receiving threats, which right now includes TE Clive Walford.
As regular readers and listeners know, we love Carson Wentz, and I’ve even placed him in my top-20 in terms of my confidence level among all QBs who’ve entered the league in my 22 years (probably 300+). He’s got a long way to go, obviously, but I’m already convinced that he’s going to be a star if healthy. Things aren’t looking fantastic for their receivers, as Wentz is still learning on the job, but this situation could be a lot worse, for sure. There’s also optimism that Nelson Agholor will actually be a solid producer for the Eagles and for fantasy (although his upside isn’t anything special). Also we’ll keep an eye on Trey Burton, who is very athletic. The running game is in Ryan Mathews’ hands and he’s doing well, but if he’s hurt, then it’ll be a tough situation to deal with, since there should be 2-3 RBs involved.
Things are looking good here, as the OL has been great and the defense really good. They’re not loaded at receiver, but Markus Wheaton is returning, and if he’s lining up in the slot, he’ll have some potential while also hurting Eli Rogers. They at least have options, since Sammie Coateshas been pretty adept at making big plays. Jesse James has been playing a ton of snaps and has done a nice job, so while his upside isn’t outstanding, he’s a viable asset for them and fantasy players.
San Diego Chargers
I still have some concerns about Melvin Gordon, who has been running behind a FB on nearly 70% of his runs this year, which is likely why he’s done well. The problem is that Philip Rivers is at his best in the gun with no FB, so there is a disconnect there. Gordon’s set for a ton of touches, though. Dexter McCluster can potentially handle about half of what Danny Woodhead has left on the table here. I’m very happy with Travis Benjamin, and he looks like a top-25 guy here unless he starts wearing down, and Tyrel Williams looks like he’ll be making some big plays here fairly often. I’m very worried about Antonio Gates falling off a cliff at this point, so rookie Hunter Henry is looking better and better.
I laid out my concerns about this offense in the summer, and they have quickly come to the surface yet again. I don’t know if they’ll be able to flip a switch midseason as they did last year, but that’s a tall order. They went from being almost laughable in the passing game early-on to one of the most efficient and productive offenses in the league. Can they do it again this year? That’s questionable, as is their backfield. This is a week-to-week situation right now.
San Francisco 49ers
They are pretty bad, as expected. I’m just not feeling good about Carlos Hyde, who can either be shut down by a solid defense or can hurt fantasy owners due to injury problems. Vance McDonald has made plays, but he’s not getting enough targets and catches. He’s hanging in there, at least. The WRs aren’t very appealing, but at least Jeremy Kerley might hold solid value all year in PPR.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m a little worried about the Bucs, who don’t have much at receiver after Mike Evans. It’s great news for Evans, though, as he should dominate the targets here. He could lead the NFL in targets this year, actually. Vincent Jackson may be done, though, and the TEs do nothing for me. Doug Martin is already hurt, but hopefully readers passed on him as we weren’t that interested in him this year. Charles Sims will get a chance to show us what he can do these next 2-3 weeks, so his value is obviously rising, but I don’t think they view him as being nearly as good a lead runner as Martin, which is fair.
The Titan OL isn’t dominating and they lack speed at receiver, plus I’m not overly impressed with Marcus Mariota, who is starting to look to me like an Alex Smith-type (decent, but not exactly consistent for fantasy). But things could be looking a lot worse for DeMarco Murray, for sure. So far, my expectations in this backfield have come to pass, which includes Derrick Henry being pretty worthless. If Murray is out with an injury, though, Henry would have clear value even though I don’t think he’s particularly good. Tajae Sharpe has been good and looks like the clear #1 WR, but the best receiver here is still clearly Delanie Walker.
Things do not look good here. Matt Jones did show some signs of life in Week 2, but he’s a week-to-week guy. Kirk Cousins is not playing well, so I don’t really trust him for now, especially on the road. His accuracy hasn’t been good, and he’s seemingly gun shy about letting it rip on downfield throws. DeSean Jackson may just be the same inconsistent guy he’s already been. Jordan Reed is fine for now and as long as he’s healthy, at least. And Jamison Crowder is really good. I do still think that Josh Doctson will be a factor, but Cousins and the passing game have been disappointments so far.