The second week of football can often be one of the most important for dynasty and redraft managers. The surprises from week one still linger at the forefront of the consciousness. Will the fears caused by healthy scratches and poor performances be confirmed? Do the emergent players continue their ascension to greatness, or will they regress to the mean? It’s time to explore the biggest dynasty storylines from the NFL for week two.
The San Francisco Backfield:
One thing is certain - Kyle Shanahan is not to be trusted. Much like his father, Mike, he has shown the willingness to plug in whichever running back best suits the game plan for a given week, regardless of pedigree or position on the depth chart. Week one saw the 49ers scratch third-round back and expected co-starter Trey Sermon from the active roster completely. When starter Raheem Mostert went down with injured early in that game, it was sixth-round rookie Elijah Mitchell who stepped in and carried the ball 19 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. With Mostert going on injured reserve and out for the remainder of the season, it was unclear who might lead the backfield going forward.
Shanahan opted to activate Sermon for the game against Philidelphia this week, but nothing was confirmed about the pecking order or how the distribution of carries would be distributed. It was quickly clear that Shanahan had decided to keep with the strategy that had worked in the first week. Mitchell received almost all of the carries, going for 42 yards on 17 carries. JaMycal Hasty continued in his role as the chang-of-pace back, taking five carries for 38 yards and catching four passes for 21 yards. Unfortunately, the pair of rushers both picked up injuries in the contest and while Mitchell did eventually return, Sermon was gifted his first opportunity to carry the ball. He took his only chance of eight yards, proceeded to fumble the ball away, and was later ruled out of the contest with a concussion. It’s not the performance that any managers wanted to see. Going into week three, the backfield situation will continue to be murky. If Mitchell is healthy, he appears poised to retain his role as the starter. Managers that drafted Sermon this offseason can do nothing but hold and hope he earns another chance later in the season.
The Quarterback Carousel:
The dreaded season of quarterback injuries is upon us. In week one, Ryan Fitzpatrick was knocked out with a hip injury that sidelined him for multiple games. This weekend, Tua Tagovailoa, Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, and Carson Wentz were all forced out of their games with injuries. The backup quarterbacks that replaced them all had underwhelming performances. On top of injury, many other starters played poorly, leaving managers scrambling for some semblance of stability. With most dynasty leagues adopting the Superflex format, managers must have at least two competent, consistent starters. Quarterbacks such as Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Ryan, and Tom Brady should be trade targets for competitive teams needing a new signal-caller while still not breaking the metaphorical blank. Conversely, rebuilding teams should out some offers for high-upside starters that are currently struggling or injured. Players like Zach Wilson, Tua Tagovailoa, and even Trevor Lawrence are excellent options for this deal.
The New Orleans Nightmare:
Last week, the scoreboard suggested that New Orleans had transferred the quarterback reigns from Drew Brees to Jameis Winston seamlessly and were headed for a dominant season. This week, the team managed almost no offensive production and was deftly defeated by a theoretically weak Carolina Panthers team. Rather than the five touchdowns and zero interceptions he threw against Green Bay, Winston produced zero touchdowns and two interceptions while managing only 111 yards through the air. The entire offense was stagnant, and it leaves dynasty managers wondering whether any of the position players are worth investing in for the rest of the season. Winston has the starting job for now, but with a capable Taysom Hill at the ready, he will retain that role for how long? It seems that the Saints are quickly adopting the roles of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Alvin Kamara is an elite talent at running back, but at 26 and with no surrounding cast around him, his performances may be limited or inconsistent at best. The remaining offensive weapons on the team have proven to be wholeheartedly lackluster. Contending managers may want to hold players like Kamara, but rebuilding teams could consider moving him for a younger option if a fair deal can be brokered. Independent of fantasy implications, this team needs its other star playmaker, Michael Thomas, back as soon as possible.
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