Week Two Longshots and Callouts
What a return to football it was last week! Cleveland got dismantled after an offseason of hype, New England once again killed Pittsburgh, and the Arizona-Detroit game ended in a tie. And that’s not even mentioning some of the individual performances we saw – i.e. Lamar Jackson’s five TD performance vs Miami, or Sammy Watkins going for 198 yards and three TDs, or T.J Hockenson setting a rookie tight end record for most receiving yards in a game at 131.
As you’re getting ready to set your lineup for week two, let’s take a look at some more longshots and callouts I have for week two. But before I get into that, let’s take a look at how my longshots and callouts did last week.
For my longshots, I had Nick Foles at QB, Jordan Howard at RB, Cooper Kupp at WR, and Mark Andrews at TE. Foles got hurt and was replaced by rookie Gardener Minshew. Howard only got six carries, but that can be partially due to the fact that Philadelphia was unexpectedly down big early and needed to play catch-up. Kupp didn’t do much, but that was on odd game for the Rams and one in which no one really did much for Los Angeles. And finally, Mark Andrews balled out, going for 108 yards and a TD.
For my callouts, I had much more success. Russell Wilson at QB, Leonard Fournette at RB, Stefon Diggs at WR, and Jared Cook at TE. Wilson went for 196 yards and two touchdowns, but still finished well outside the top 10 among QBs. Fournette had 66 rushing yards, but was partially saved by having four receptions for 28 yards. Diggs only had two receptions for 37 yards, but he also was dealing with a hamstring injury (and not to mention that Minnesota only had 10 passing attempts all game). And speaking of two receptions for 37 yards, that’s exactly what Jared Cook did too.
And now with that little recap, who makes my longshot and callout article this week? Let’s take a look!
Derek Carr looked impressive on Monday night, as he completed a whopping 85% of his passes. Like last week with Jacksonville, Oakland should have to throw the ball a lot just to stay in this game. Streaming the QB who plays Kansas City this year should prove to be a good strategy for fantasy owners this year if they don’t have a super start at QB.
Devin Singletary showed flashes in limited work in week one. Even though coach Sean McDermott said that Frank Gore is the starter for them, it’s hard to believe that when Singletary was on the field much more than Gore. Singletary was also used in the receiving game, a role that wasn’t expected of him with T.J. Yeldon on the team. Expect more that nine touches he got in week one this week.
Third year receiver John Ross showed why he was the ninth pick in the 2017 draft. He has a real chance to make some noise with A.J. Green out indefinitely, he took full advantage in his first chance. With Tyler Boyd on the other side of the field, other teams (49ers this week) won’t devote their full attention to slowing Ross down. With Olympian speed, Ross is a threat to break a touchdown whenever he touches the ball. And against San Francisco, Ross is more likely to score a touchdown than just about everyone else.
I mentioned him earlier, and even after setting an NFL record, I’d start T.J. Hockenson. He can only go down after that debut, but even if he plummets, he can still be worth the start. One of the things that stuck out to me was that he was tied for second with Kenny Golladay for targets with nine. Maybe that’s a fluke, or maybe he already has the trust of Matthew Stafford. And going up against a Chargers defense who gave up two touchdowns to tight ends last week (and tends to have tight ends do work against them), I’d take my chances with the rookie.
Cam Newton running less plus having shoulder surgery this offseason equaled Newton have a bad week one. Yes, they are the home team on Thursday night playing a bad defense, but his shoulder scares me. Quarterbacks tend to take several weeks or even a full year to get back to 100% after having shoulder surgery, and most of them have higher bases as a passer than Newton. That coupled with Ron Rivera cutting back on Newton’s rushing, I won’t feel comfortable starting Newton until we see that he can still be an effective passer once again.
I think he’s the best running back in the league, but Todd Gurley didn’t impress me in week one. Something just looked off to me when I watched Gurley last week. Is he still hurt? Or maybe he just isn’t the same guy he once was? I don’t know, but I do know that part of the reason I liked Gurley this year was because of his use in the red-zone, and it was Malcom Brown who the Rams used when they got in close in week one. Maybe I’m overreacting, but Gurley already has me nervous.
I had him in this same spot last week, and I have him here again this week. I would not start Stefon Diggs if I had other viable options. His hamstring does seem to be healthy, but he does have a tough matchup this week. Green Bay’s defense is legit, and going to Lambeau is always tough. I’m expecting another ugly offensive game involving the Packers. I’d avoid not only Diggs, but other players for both teams if I can help it.
Road teams on the Thursday night game are always at a disadvantage, and nearly always have a disappointing week. And with the Buccaneers in this boat this week, I wouldn’t want O.J. Howard as my starting tight end this week. Part of the reason I wouldn’t want to start him is because he is on the road on the Thursday night game this week. But the bigger reason is because of his quarterback – Jameis Winston. Winston looked erratic in week one. Winston has always been boom-or-bust, and being on the road for Thursday night, I’d bet that Winston will put up a similar game this week. I’d want my tight end to have someone other than a short week Jameis Winston throwing him the ball.