Cardinals Giving Fantasy Owners Fitz

Here are some of Fantasy Expert Ricky Sanders’ DFS-relevant observations from Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season:

Trevor Siemian, Broncos – One good game appeared to be an anomaly for the Broncos offense but they followed that game up with an impressive 42-point performance against the Cowboys. The amazing part is the offensive line has not exactly dominated to this point. In fact, starting right tackle Menelik Watson has graded as the second worst pass protector in all of football thus far and right guard Ron Leary has the only player who has looked like anything special…well other than the team’s first round pick Garrett Bolles but the team is concerned he broke his ankle. Remember, the Cowboys completely shut down Eli Manning and the Giants (29-38 with 220 yards, one touchdown (TD) and one interception (INT)) in the opener so this defense did not exactly seem like a pushover. On Sunday, Siemian completed 22-32 of his passes (68.8-percent) for 231 yards, four TDs, one INT and an excellent 116.0 QB rating. Through two games, Siemian has thrown six TDs and run one in while completing 65.0-percent of his passes. Not only is the receiving core loaded (Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders) but the running game looks like a nice complement (will cover that later) also. All of a sudden, Siemian is bordering on QB1 status, although next week’s matchup against the upper-echelon Bills pass defense is another tough test.

 

Chris Carson, Seahawks – Both according to the “eye test” and statistics, Chris Carson is the best back in the Seahawks backfield and it is not even close. Even though Thomas Rawls, who topped the depth chart at the position, was cleared to play, he only ended up playing 16 snaps out of 82 plays total. Meanwhile, Carson dominated the snaps, playing 51 of them and rushing for 93 yards on 20 carries (4.7 yards per carry). According to Nate Jahnke on Twitter, seven defenders have missed tackles on Carson over the last two weeks, which is tied for the third most amongst all running backs (RBs). Running behind this nearly all-time horrendous offensive line, that is quite an accomplishment. While the big uglies up front are not going to do him any favors, Carson has shown the ability to make defenders miss, and that is exactly the skill set the Seahawks need from their RB. For that reason, he is here to stay in the rotation, and he looks like he has a legitimate spot to be the best fantasy back on this team as well. Moving forward, Carson presents an intriguing flex play (with the upside for more) week in and week out.

 

C.J. Anderson, Broncos – Obviously, the Broncos were an eye-opening team on Sunday, and the QB was not the only player to make an impact. Other than Tom Brady, who threw for 447 yards and three TDs, C.J. Anderson was the next highest-scoring player on FantasyDraft over the weekend. Out of 77 total plays, Anderson played 56 snaps to Jamaal Charles’ 20, so he is clearly the lead back. Last season, Anderson only was targeted 25 times in nearly half a season (seven games) and yet he caught three passes on three targets in Week 2. Siemian was looking down the field, as evident by his 7.22 yards per attempt (nearly identical to Aaron Rodgers’ total in 2016), but he relied upon his backs as security blankets. If Anderson can add pass-catching to his repertoire, he is going to be an extremely productive back because he looks fantastic running the football. As mentioned in the Siemian tidbit, the offensive line is the definition of mediocre, and yet Anderson has eclipsed 4.0 yards per carry (YPC) in back-to-back games to start the year. True workhorses are tough to come by this year, and the Broncos are beginning to look like a surprisingly good offense, so Anderson is locked in as rock-solid RB2. If there were any concerns about him heading into the year, they have since been silenced.

 

Jordan Howard, Bears – After Sunday’s beatdown at the hands of the Buccaneers, Jordan Howard was wearing a sling on his arm. The vibes surrounding Howard were negative prior to the injury so the sling was just icing on the cake. It is clear through two weeks that a negative game script is often going to be working against Howard’s potential fantasy value. Just a season ago, this was Howard’s show and the Bears were often competitive in games with Jay Cutler under center. Now, he is working in almost a 50/50 split for snaps with Tarik Cohen and Cohen is the superior pass-catcher. If/when the team falls behind virtually every week, that will lead to a diminished role for Howard and extended role for Cohen. The vibes here are poor and are now trending downward. Essentially, even if he proves to be healthy, he can be downgraded to a matchup-dependent low-end RB2. It has been a steep downward slope for Howard’s value in just two weeks.

 

Jarvis Landry, Dolphins – Apparently, switching quarterback (QB) was no big deal for Jarvis Landry’s output because the team targeted him like the year was 2016. When all said and done, Landry was targeted a whopping 15 times and caught 13 of them for 78 yards. On a site that rewards one full fantasy point per reception (PPR) like FantasyDraft, this is a meaningful accomplishment. Jay Cutler had never really targeted slot receivers heavily other than short stretches of Eddie Royal so the wait-and-see approach made some sense. However, with cornerback Jason Verrett deemed inactive for the Chargers, the team did not really possess the personnel to shadow Landry and DeVante Parker especially considering both Verrett and Casey Hayward shadowed receivers in the opening week. With one of them out of the picture, it freed up space for the team’s receivers to run free, and the Chargers chose to leave Landry this week. It remains to be seen whether Landry or Parker will be the more valuable receiver over the remainder of the season as matchups even out and Parker draws the superior individual matchup on occasion. Either way, Landry is back to being the PPR monster that he has always been and those who were worried about Cutler under center need not be any longer.

 

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Oof, the Arizona Cardinals offense looks lost and Larry Fitzgerald is the one who looks to be directly suffering. David Johnson was the heart of the offense and his absence leaves Fitzgerald as the primary focus of the offenses; both from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Since defenses are not overly concerned with the run any longer, they can key in on Fitzgerald. To make matters worse, Carson Palmer has been downright horrible for the second consecutive game, only completing 52.8-percent of his passes and one TD against arguably the worst defense in the league. After posting a 53.1 QB rating against the Lions, Palmer only managed an 82.2 QB rating against the Colts in Lucas Oil Stadium. Other than a 45-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals’ offense looked stagnant in a matchup they should have dominated. Since Fitzgerald is 34-years old, it is reasonable to infer he is in the latter days of his career, and may have lost a step. In 2016, Fitzgerald only averaged 6.8 yards per target (YPT) which was his lowest output since 2012. Through two games, Fitzgerald is averaging an awful 5.0 YPT which is awfully disheartening. With the offense looking weak, and Fitzgerald being the focus, he is going to have a tough time posting massive numbers or even anything close to last year’s 107 RECs, 1,023 yards and six TDs. Consider him a high-end WR3 moving forward at best with matchups dictating a slight nudge in projection either way for him.

 

Travis Kelce, Chiefs – Travis Kelce is officially matchup-proof. Props to Coach Andy Reid for moving him around the formation on Sunday because that negated the possibility for the defense to just match up a single player against him. Despite the Eagles possessing multiple elite linebackers in coverage (Jordan A. Hicks and Nigel Bradham), Kelce slashed the Eagles for eight RECs, 103 yards, a receiving TD and a position-leading 27.30 fantasy points. Following a season where Kelce led all tight ends (TEs) in fantasy points, it appears he does not feel like slowing down any time soon. While I advocated for him as a fade mid-week because of this daunting matchup, he is officially playable every single week from this point on.

 

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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