We learned many things in Week 2, but mainly that the good teams are not that good and the bad teams are not that bad. We need at least one or two more games before we can be comfortable in assessing teams if that’s ever possible. No one was shocked that the Packers returned to form (though not until the second half…) and while the Saints weren’t going to throw five touchdowns every week, just one score would have been welcomed in Carolina.
The hunt for free agents is never-ending, and there will be players worth grabbing, but after this week, it will be as a function of injuries granting a new opportunity. By Week 3, backfields and wide receivers are largely set for the year until someone is hurt, or in a few cases, the team gives up on the starter and turns to the backup.
Let’s take a look at half a dozen guys I’m watching this weekend.
1.) RB Demetric Felton (Browns) – It doesn’t take much to set fantasy leaguers running to the waiver wire, and Felton did just that when he caught a 33-yard touchdown that showed a nifty spin move in the win over the Texans. He ended with two catches for 51 yards as the leading receiver. The 5-9, 189 pound USC hybrid played both running back and wide receiver at USC, where he totaled 233 carries and 99 receptions over his four years. He was drafted as a running back in the sixth round.
He fell in the draft with a 4.58 40-time, but his touchdown came as a slot receiver. He’s never going to dislodge Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt, and he’s No. 4 on the Browns official depth chart behind D’Ernest Johnson. But Jarvis Landry is out with an MCL injury, and Odell Beckham has yet to be in the lineup this year. The Browns need receiver help, and Felton is getting playing time in the process. This week matches against the Bears, and the next two games are on the road versus the Vikings and Chargers.
2.) WR Rondale Moore (Cardinals) – The 2.17 pick of the draft was the eighth wideout selected in a draft considered rich in receivers. On a team that contains Christian Kirk, A.J. Green, and DeAndre Hopkins, it was expected he’d take a bit of time to carve out a significant role. Not so. He is currently the No. 17 fantasy wide receiver, just behind No. 12 DeAndre Hopkins. The hype about A.J. Green being back to form has all but vanished. Christian Kirk opened the year with two scores but only caught three passes last week.
Moore faces the Jaguars this week but then goes against the Rams and 49ers. He’s the one to track in this offense. After just two games, he already leads the Cards in targets (13), receptions (11), and yards (182). Those are more catches than any other rookie receiver.
3.) RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Falcons) – The former wideout has played many roles in his nine years in the NFL, and at the age of 30, he is on his fifth team. That would typically mean he’d be ignored, but he just posted 69 total yards and two scores on the Buccaneers last week. So sure, he’s back off the waiver wire again. He’s been a wideout mostly, though with fewer than 32 catches in a season since 2016. His use as a rusher peaked last year in Chicago when he carried 64 times for 232 yards.
He’s fallen short of fantasy relevancy for his career. But he might be a piece to the rebuilding Falcons, if only for this year. Mike Davis only rushed for a 3.6-yard average. Patterson only gained 11 yards on seven runs but ran in a score, plus caught five passes for 58 yards and the second touchdown. More importantly – his seven targets were second only to Calvin Ridley (10) and more than Kyle Pitts (6). We’ll see if last week was just an aberration.
4.) TE Pat Freiermuth (Steelers) – Rookie tight ends are rarely fantasy relevant. Freiermuth was drafted 2.23, the next best tight end to Kyle Pitts for 2021. And while he only caught four passes for 36 yards in the loss to the Raiders, he did not miss any of his four targets. The ex-Penn State star also was the only Steeler tight end with a catch. Eric Ebron failed to snag either of his passes. The Steelers appear likely to head into a blow-up of the roster next year, so highly-drafted Freiermuth would already be worth tracking. But by Week 2, he was thrown twice what Eric Ebron received, and he caught all of his. Ebron caught none.
5.) Packers receivers – It’s only two weeks, so relax. R-E-L-A-X. Aaron Rodgers failed to show up in Jacksonville when he played the Saints, but he roared back with 255 yards and four touchdown passes versus the Lions as expected. There was hope that Marquez Valdes-Scantling might see more work this season. Randall Cobb returned so they could rekindle their chemistry from 2011 to 2018. They even drafted a wideout (Amari Rodgers – no relation) with their 3.22 pick.
Again – just two weeks. But so far, only Aaron Jones, Robert Tonyan, and Devante Adams have done anything. Cobb is the next best receiver with only three catches for 58 yards total. No wideout, including Adams, has scored this year. Facing the 49ers and then the Steelers, the Packers will find it more challenging to move the ball if they only have to cover a couple of people.
6.) Saints receivers – This is another team with vastly different results over two weeks. Week 1 saw Jameis Winston nearly perfect with five touchdowns spread over the wideouts, old running backs, and new wide receivers. That all fell apart in Carolina when there were only 11 completions for 111 yards. The Panthers are better this year, to be sure. But which Saints team is the real one?
Marquez Callaway played well enough in the preseason that he seemed likely to step up this year. Maybe even become Winston’s new BFF, at least until Michael Thomas shows up. Callaway totals three catches for 22 yards and no scores. Almost every receiver had just one catch. There is fantasy value here – at least potentially – but Game 3 should give a better idea if the Saints will bounce back or crumble. A road game to play the Patriots is just what this offense needs to show their true colors.