Welcome to Week 2 of the 2022 Footballguys Roundtable. Our intrepid panel of fantasy pundits discusses and debates who surprised us last week, the fantasy value of the 49ers' backfield, this week's free agent pool, and where how we'd value key players if fantasy drafts were held today..
Week 1 Surprises
Matt Waldman: What was the most surprising Week 1 development? What course of action do you recommend for fantasy GMs?
Jason Wood: The Rams' offensive line gave up seven sacks and looked like one of the league's worst units. Los Angeles was understandably a fantasy priority in drafts this year after winning the Super Bowl last year while fielding one of the NFL's top-scoring offenses. But outside of Cooper Kupp, who will get a massive target share regardless of the game script, the entire offense struggled.
It's very hard to field a functional offense when the line is giving up pressure on nearly every snap. That led to Matthew Stafford throwing three interceptions and having neither the time nor confidence to look for secondary threats, including Allen Robinson. Despite the preseason rhetoric, I had largely discounted Stafford's shoulder injury, but poor line play was not in the cards. Fantasy GMs are best served to put everyone but Kupp on their bench if they can, although that's a luxury most probably don't have. The good news is that very few defenses will be as menacing as the Bills.
Ben Cummins: The most surprising development to me was Irv Smith acting as the TE2 in Minnesota. Smith played on 31% of the offensive snaps, ran 15 routes, and saw 2 targets compared to Johnny Mundt’s 65% offensive snap participation, 16 routes run, and 3 targets.
Smith missed a lot of time during training camp and the preseason due to a thumb injury, so this usage isn’t worth overreacting to yet. But Smith was reportedly 100% healthy for Week 1, so Smith’s usage over the next few weeks must be closely monitored. Fantasy GMs should not cut Smith yet, but if this concerning usage continues into Week 2 and/or Week 3, we must readjust our priors, no matter how talented we think Smith is.
Joseph Haggan: One of the most surprising developments to me was the Giants' usage of Kadarius Toney. Toney is easily the most explosive of the Giants' wide receiver corps, though often injured. Toney played only 7 offensive snaps. That was 20 less than David Sills and 35 less than Richie James. Even with Wan'Dale Robinson leaving with an injury after nine snaps, an active Toney still didn't see the field.
Waldman: Toney was healthy, but Brian Daboll told the media after the game that Toney didn't practice enough to earn playing time. He's sending a clear message that Toney and the rest of the team must work to Daboll's standard to earn playing. As my buddy Eric Stoner texted me on Monday, Daboll has no draft-day ties to these players so he has even more opportunity to set expectations that send a message to the entire team that talent alone won't cut it. He'll let Toney go elsewhere and be someone else's headache if he doesn't figure it out. If he does, the Giants have an ascending star.
Haggan: It makes sense why James saw six targets, converting them into 5 catches for 59 yards even with Robinson getting hurt. With Robinson out in Week 2, if we don't see Toney on the field more often, I would be extremely worried about his value in New York.
Dave Kluge: After Cam Akers laid an egg in a primetime Thursday Night Football game, expectations for James Robinson were understandably tempered. Well, he out-touched Travis Etienne 12-6 and scored twice. He appears to be just fine. It’s too early to freak out about Travis Etienne. He was drafted knowing that he’ll receive the high-value touches through the air and near the goal line, and that should still happen.
The advice for fantasy managers is to operate under the assumption that the old Robinson is back and fully healthy. Robinson has averaged nearly 16 fantasy points per game throughout his career. With Doug Pederson preferring to deploy a committee of running backs, expect touches to be split between Robinson and Etienne going forward. Although Etienne’s ceiling is still higher, Robinson is instantly worthy of RB2 or flex consideration.
Waldman: I agree, Dave. I profiled the film and data on these two this week and arrived at a similar conclusion. I'm a bigger fan of Robinson for his craft at the position, but I respect Etienne's role and big-play ability — even if there are more trapdoors to his developing craft at this time.
Sean Settle: We knew there was going to be a major downgrade at wide receiver for Green Bay, but the entire offensive performance was lackluster at best. A.J. Dillon out-touching Aaron Jones should be a crime, and Aron Rodgers was visibly frustrated the majority of the game. There is a lot of football left to be played, and we saw Rogers and company bounce back after a similar disappointing performance in week1 last year against the Saints. The Jones and Dillon dynamic will work itself out, but I am watching Rogers and these receivers closely and avoiding the reigning MVP until they get into some sort of rhythm.
Waldman: A crime? I agree Jones is an excellent back. I also know Dillon is closer in ability than many realize. They are a strong 1-2 punch, which frustrates fantasy GMs.
Kevin Coleman: The re-emergence of Michael Thomas as a legitimate WR1 option in leagues was one of the most surprising developments in Week 1. Everyone knows that when Thomas is healthy, he is one of the best players in the league; the question has always been about his ability to stay healthy. Heading into the week, Thomas was dealing with a hamstring injury that threatened to sideline him for a third straight season, but Thomas was active and made the most out of his opportunity. He had the second-most targets on the team with eight and would finish with five receptions for fifty-seven yards and two touchdowns.
Those numbers were good enough to make him WR8 for the week. Based on his pre-season ADP, Thomas could be the type of late-round ceiling play that helps managers win their league. He is now a must-start every week, and if, by chance, Jameis Winston is available in your leagues, he’s a worthy addition to your redraft rosters. Winston is someone I highlighted in last week's roundtable that could be a sleeper to finish as a top-12 quarterback in 2022, and with a healthy Thomas, it could become a reality.
Jordan McNamara: The Philadelphia Eagles dropped back to pass 42 times in Week 1, good for 67% of their plays. This is similar to the dropbacks the team had in the first half of last year, before turning their offense into a run-focused approach. The addition of A.J. Brown signaled a potential turn towards a pass-heavy offense, and Week 1 is confirmation. I'm bullish on Hurts, Brown, and Dallas Goedert and would particularly recommend testing the Goedert market in your league.
Elijah Mitchell is out for at least eight weeks. By all accounts of mainstay beat writers since May, Jeff Wilson earned the vast majority of reps as the replacement. Tyrion Davis-Price and Jordan Mason have compelling speed and power, but they are inexperienced rookies. What's your advice for fantasy managers about this backfield that has one of the best offensive lines and run games in the league in terms of design?
- Who is your priority addition?
- Are you dropping anyone?
- Any situations where you're keeping multiple options?
- Do you have half a mind to avoid all of it?
Continue reading this content with a PRO subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, ESPN