AFC Recap: Week 2 Preseason Musings
AFC Recap: Week 2 Preseason Musings
Here we are back for the AFC recap of Week 2 of the NFL preseason. The publishing has been pushed back a day this week because we had a Monday Night Football game containing teams from both conferences. The schedule will resume to Tuesday and Wednesday again next week as there is no Monday Night Football game in Week 4 (game 3 for all but those that participated in the Hall of Fame Game).
The Week 1 recaps are available by clicking on the conference links for both the AFC and NFC. Week 2 highlights from the AFC included Emmanual Sanders returning to action for the first time since tearing his ACL eight months ago and Justice Hill showing well yet again for the Baltimore Ravens. Teams will be broken down by division standings from last year, as usual. Let us get started with our fantasy-relevant news from Week 2.
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots upended the Tennessee Titans by a final of 22-17 on Friday night. Last weeks highlighted player, Jakobi Meyers continues to impress. The undrafted free agent put up another 6 catches for 82 yards on 6 targets. Meyers added a 2-point conversion for good measures. FFStatistics own Nick Farabaugh digs a little deeper on Twitter.
Jakobi Meyers has the juice man. These quick feet at line on his release freeze this DB and all he does is eat up cushion. The sharp, fluid cut easily allows him to win inside here on the slant. Great release to win this rep. He's a real fun player. pic.twitter.com/QzPidXfC4X
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) August 20, 2019
The Miami Dolphins were edged out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a final of 16-14 on Friday night. Formerly highlighted player Preston Williams had a night to forget with some bad drops and securing just 1 of 6 targets for 7 yards. This will likely derail the hype train, at least for another week. Perhaps Ryan Fitzpatrick running over a Tampa defender was the play of the night on offense for the Dolphins.
Ryan Fitzpatrick? More like Ryan FitzTRUCKSTICK.pic.twitter.com/H56wZxWpto
— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) August 17, 2019
The Buffalo Bills easily handled the Carolina Panthers on Friday night with a 27-14 victory over their non-conference foe. Preseason darling Devin Singletary chipped in through the air more so than on the ground, reeling in 3 balls for 25 yards on 5 targets but rushing for just 6 yards on 2 carries. Singletary owned the end zone in college as noted by his Market Share Rushing Touchdowns by Age courtesy of FFS. He should certainly be on everyone’s radar in dynasty formats.
New York Jets
We close out the AFC East Preseason Week 2 recap with the New York Jets. The Jets made easy work of the Atlanta Falcons with a 22-10 victory on Thursday night. Ty Montgomery received a team-high 7 carries, rushing for 36 yards and a touchdown. Montgomery is an interesting name to monitor this preseason with Le’Veon Bell not playing at all yet.
Montgomery did see 56 targets in 2016 and averaged over a point per opportunity that season. If Bell were to go down, you have to figure an even split between the Stanford grad and Elijah McGuire. When given the opportunity, Montgomery has shown he can make the most of his opportunity.
The Baltimore Ravens handled the Green Bay Packers with ease Thursday night, winning by a score of 26-13. As mentioned in the introduction, Justice Hill had another nice showing. The only disappointing part of the performance was that there were no targets in the passing game. Hill did scamper for 49 yards on 10 carries and found pay dirt one time. Hill has seen his ADP steadily climb in dynasty leagues in the early going of the preseason.
The Pittsburgh Steelers held off the Kansas City Chiefs by a final of 17-7 on Saturday night. James Washington continues to impress, catching 4 of 5 balls from Josh Dobbs for 78 yards. One has to wonder if Washington just has a special chemistry with Dobbs that lacks with Ben Roethlisberger. After all, the Quarterback Rating for Roethlisberger when targeting the speedy wideout last year was just 70.6 on 36 targets, good for 12th of 15 on the squad.
The Cleveland Browns were barely victorious over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night, winning by a score of 21-18. Rashard Higgins continues to be effective and efficient, catching all 4 targets for 34 yards. D’Ernest Johnson is making a strong bid for a roster spot and rushed for 53 yards on 10 carries and hauled in all 3 targets for 26 yards and a score. If something were to happen to Nick Chubb, you may be able to catch lightning in a bottle here.
Johnson spent his first year in pro football in the now-defunct AAF. Johnson was third in the league in rushing when the AAF shut down on April 17. He rushed for 372 yards in eight games, adding 22 receptions for 220 yards. The South Florida Bull also finished as the all-time leader in all-purpose yards for the school and also holds the running back receiving record with 79 receptions for 909 yards.
Ending up the AFC North Week 2 preseason recap, we had the Cincinnati Bengals handing the Washington Redskins a 23-13 defeat on Thursday night. Ryan Finley has made a strong case to be the backup quarterback with his play this preseason. The North Carolina State grad has been super-efficient this preseason, leading the league in passing yards.
In two games, he has completed 40 of 64 passes (62.5%) and compiled 531 yards through the air. The former Boise State transfer quarterback also has 2 touchdowns and no interceptions in two games. He was no stranger to piling up passing yards in college either, as evidenced by his Market Share Passing Yards by Age ratio.
The Houston Texans improved to 1-1 on the preseason with a 30-23 victory over the Detroit Lions on Saturday night. Buddy Howell led the way with 84 yards on 15 carries and crossed the goal line once. He was not involved in the passing game. Howell is looking to gain the number three spot on the running back depth chart behind Lamar Miller and Duke Johnson.
There is traditionally some value in being an RB2 in Bill O’Brien’s offense. The position offers more than an average amount of attempts in most years. Howell offers very little in the passing game, catching 10 balls total over four years while at Florida Atlantic. He would likely be the direct early-down backup for Miller if anything were to happen to him.
As mentioned above, the Colts fell to the Browns by a final of 21-18. The line that really stands out here belongs to Deon Cain. Cain led the team in targets with 9 and pulled in 7 of them for 80 yards. The Clemson grad is making a strong case for playing time. The concerning thing here is the steady decline in targets for the WR3 in Frank Reich’s offense for five straight years.
As covered in the AFC East Week 2 preseason recap, the Titans lost to the Patriots by a final of 22-17. Ryan Tannehill continues to push Marcus Mariota as the starter by continuing to be efficient. Neither quarterback offers much value outside of SuperFlex leagues. The duo has combined for just one top-10 finish between them throughout their careers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars fell to 0-2 on the preseason with a 24-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. There was very little to take away from this game as the Jaguars rested most of their first-string players on offense. Gardner Minshew was “meh” going 19 of 29 for 202 yards and zero touchdowns or interceptions.
The decision to draft the Washington State grad was an interesting one. Minshew came from an offense that averaged 50.9 pass attempts per game. Doug Marone has never eclipsed that mark over a 16 game season. In fact, Marone coached offenses only average 450 pass attempts per season. That is just 28.1 attempts per game, nearly half of what Minshew is accustomed to it. It is a strange fit for certain.
Kansas City Chiefs
As covered in the AFC North Week 1 preseason recap, the Chiefs were defeated by the Steelers with a final of 17-7. Mecole Hardman found pay dirt yet again in this one. Hardman has only seen a slight increase in ADP over the last month. People still seem to be sleeping on the rookie. Keep in mind, Sammy Watkins has not played a 16 game season since his rookie year of 2014 and has only played in 33 of 48 regular-season games over the past three seasons.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers were edged out by the New Orleans Saints by a final of 19-17 on Sunday night. 16 different players saw targets in this one, so not any one player stood out in the passing game. On the ground, Justin Jackson received a team-high 8 carries and converted for 33 yards. Austin Ekeler only saw 3 carries for 9 yards.
The Chargers seem to have a somewhat run-heavy approach under soon to be third-year head coach, Anthony Lynn. Here is a comparison of rushing attempts by week for three different AFC teams.
The Denver Broncos were defeated by the San Francisco 49ers by a final of 24-15 on Monday Night Football. The story in this one was obviously the return of Emmanuel Sanders. To quote FFStatistics very own MD Ethan Turner:
“Manny Sanders’ recovery is nothing short of sensational. To be back playing in just 8 months after an Achilles rupture is a testament to his work ethic and commitment to football. That said, this is just one preseason game. I’m cautiously optimistic on Sanders this season. He’s worth drafting in redraft if the injury discount remains, but I wouldn’t go reaching for him yet.”
Sanders rushed 1 time for 19 yards and caught 1 of 2 targets for 5 yards, but looked good doing so.
Eight months ago, Emmanuel Sanders tore his Achilles.
— NFL (@NFL) August 21, 2019
The Oakland Raiders outlasted the Arizona Cardinals by a final of 33-26 on Thursday night. Mike Glennon started at quarterback and rookie Josh Jacobs played limited action, converting 4 carries into 21 yards. The surprising stat of this game was Nathan Peterman going 8 for 8 with 41 yards through the air.
The concern for Jacobs here will always be the RB1 rushing attempts in a Jon Gruden offense. Those offenses are typically right at or below league average. The hype behind the Alabama grad is understandable, but we have little to go on from Gruden’s latest foray into the coaching industry.
This concludes the preseason AFC Week 2 recap article. Thank you for coming back for the fourth edition of the training camp fallout and preseason coverage series. Next week there will be the fifth update from both conferences that will bring you up to speed on the latest issues relating to fantasy. Be sure to keep a lookout for the AFC each Tuesday and the NFC every Wednesday. As we gear up for peak draft season, these are the issues we need to be paying the closest attention to.