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Jameis Winston’s 180

Does Jameis Winston contain multitudes? Or is he just not very good? So far he’s gone as his team has, and Sunday that was nowhere for the Saints.

After all the Saints’ issues were papered over in a suspiciously easy Week 1 victory against the Packers, they were ruthlessly exposed in Carolina. The Panthers caved Winston’s line in with ease, with his pass blockers posting a “win rate” of 36 percent, the lowest Week 2 mark in the league. Winston responded by panicking, tossing two awful interceptions and desperately trying to throw a third. Both of Winston’s miscues were the kind of decisions he was routinely mocked for in Tampa. For the first, he heaved the ball as he was falling backwards. It landed in a crowd of three Panthers. For the second, he climbed a collapsing pocket before confidently tossing the ball right to Jaycee Horn.

Winston’s picks would have been the post-game focus had the whole team not been the focus. He was merely the leader of a gang gone bad. We already know his blockers didn’t block, but his receivers didn’t catch, either. An issue more glaring than any one player’s performance was the absence of a targets hierarchy. Winston lacks a go-to player for basically any situation. There is no deep threat, no third-down chain mover, no blitz safety valve. This is a sorry group of pass catchers, one where coach Sean Payton appears to be making it up as he goes along.

As such, there is no space for Alvin Kamara, who also failed to create space of his own in Carolina. It was a hopeless assignment, but he failed nonetheless seven days after reaching 20 carries for only the second time in his career.

So is this an irredeemable situation? We didn’t overreact to Week 1, after all. Why do so to Week 2? And what looks like a points vacuum is often a land of fantasy opportunity. That’s true, and will probably remain so here. It’s just impossible to know where to start. Through two weeks, the one Saint with more than six targets is Kamara. We have no idea where this ball is going to be distributed, and there are higher-upside guesses in cities other than New Orleans.

As for Winston, Payton is accomplishing the seemingly impossible task of hiding both him and Taysom Hill. Expect the former to stay the same and the latter to change. Winston’s 42 attempts through two starts are what he would often post in one week as a Buc. Hill’s five touches are what he would frequently rack up in one half of spelling Drew Brees. Circumstance will probably lead the Payton doctor to order more Hill gadgetry and more Winston conservatism. There will be no fantasy value in this quarterback room for the foreseeable future.

Five Week 2 Storylines

Bears begin lurching toward Justin Fields era. With coach Matt Nagy unwilling to throw Fields into the fire even as his offense remains moribund, Andy Dalton’s knee tried to speed up the process. Dalton suffered a non-contact bone bruise, a bizarre ailment but not one that will sideline him for a significant amount of time. Fields entered late in the first half and failed to settle the matter, completing just six passes and contributing 10/31 on the ground as the Bears barely beat the Bengals. It’s that latter number that merits attention, as it is confirmation Fields will be cut loose on the ground once he finally takes over. As least temporarily, that could be as soon as Monday for Week 3 against the Browns.

Carson Wentz gets hurt yet again as Colts lose. In a first even for him, Wentz somehow injured both his ankles as the Colts clung to upset life against the Rams. Backup Jacob Eason entered and promptly threw a game-ending interception, highlighting that although life may not be easy under Wentz, it’s still the only choice. When he’s not injuring both feet, Wentz has shown improvement under master game-planner Frank Reich, hiking his efficiency and cutting down on his turnovers. The same is not yet true for his sacks. The problem is that even if he keeps trending in the right direction, the Colts lack the weapons to elevate Wentz beyond the low-end QB2 ranks. He is not a name that will be featuring much in re-draft, and DFS relevancy should be just as limited.

Darrell Henderson calls Rams’ durability bluff, injures ribs. After spending the offseason telling anyone who would listen that Henderson could not stay healthy on starter workloads, coach Sean McVay decided to give him an every-down role. It’s unclear what McVay was trying to prove, but it ended up being his summer point. Henderson departed against the Colts and trade acquisition Sony Michel immediately began ripping chunk gains after previously staying glued to the sideline. Now even if Henderson is cleared for Week 3, McVay has his proof for both Henderson’s durability woes and Michel’s fit in his offense. Neither back will be going anywhere vs. the Bucs’ run-erasing defense.

Jarvis Landry injures MCL as Browns outlast Texans. Landry looked the healthiest he has in years in Week 1. So naturally he made it only one catch before departing against Houston. In his absence, none of Austin Hooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones or Anthony Schwartz stepped up to make an impact, with only rookie slasher Demetric Felton contributing anything at all. Landy’s potential loss comes as Odell Beckham’s (ACL) health mystery deepens. Baker Mayfield will be removed from QB1 streamer consideration for as long as Landry and Beckham are sidelined, and realistically he probably needs both. Despite his low-upside PPR game, Landry will be deserving of a fantasy I.R. spot if that’s where he ends up this week.

Derek Carr continues to make do with the weapons he has. Carr will get respect one day. I say this as one of his most frequent disrespecters. Sunday he did what Josh Allen couldn’t in Week 1, finding the seams against the Steelers’ elite defense. He also did something he failed to do in the opener, getting pass catchers not named Darren Waller involved. Henry Ruggs was sprung for a career day while Hunter Renfrow and Kenyan Drake combined for 13 looks. It was a necessary showing to enemy defenses that Carr has something in his back pocket if they take away his all-world tight end. You still shouldn’t come to the Raiders’ offense looking for ceiling, but Carr’s floor is well established. The Dolphins are a tough Week 3 test, keeping Carr in the QB14-18 range.

Don’t forget, for the latest on everything NFL, check out NBC Sports EDGE’s Player News, or follow @NBCSEdgeFB or @RotoPat on Twitter.

Five More Week 2 Storylines

Chaos reigns supreme for the 49ers’ backfield. If you can name a 49ers running back, they picked up an injury on Sunday. Week 2 waiver wire lightning rod Elijah Mitchell was the last man standing after JaMycal Hasty hurt his ankle and Trey Sermon suffered a concussion. Unfortunately for those who emptied their FAAB wallets, Mitchell had a day only Tevin Coleman could love, rushing 17 times for 42 scoreless yards. In between, he got stood up at the goal line and tweaked his shoulder. It’s possible Mitchell would not have remained in the game had Sermon and Hasty not gone down on consecutive plays. Mitchell will remain the Week 3 starter, but the 49ers are beginning to look like a veteran free agent destination.

Rondale Moore continues his emergence for the Cardinals. Moore played just 46 percent of the snaps against the Vikings but emerged the team leader in receptions (seven), receiving yards (114) and target share (22.2). Moore’s lethal after-the-catch ability was on full display throughout, most vividly on his 77-yard touchdown where Kyler Murray admittedly did most of the heavy lifting. Billed as the Cardinals’ potential missing piece, Moore has been just that through two weeks, stacking up YAC and creating instant offense. At least until his snaps increase, Moore will be a volatile fantasy option, but he is unquestionably a weekly consideration, and perhaps already forcing his way into the WR3 mix.

Falcons’ Cordarrelle Patterson sees another heavy workload in loss. Proving his Week 1 usage was not a fluke, Patterson piled up 12 touches, just four fewer than starter Mike Davis. It was Patterson, not Davis, whose number was called in seemingly every big spot, including near the goal line and critical short-yardage situations. He responded with two scores, a few heroic blocks and a couple of miscues, including a fumbled Wild Cat snap. He was a dictionary-definition change-of-pace back, throwing different looks at the defense and spelling Davis, who faded under big 2020 workloads. Patterson has been given this role before only to peter out, but he is worth a FLEX gander in every format of fantasy. The receiver- and running back-desperate Falcons need Patterson’s touches too desperately to abandon this plan any time soon.

K.J. Osborn leads the Vikings in receiving. Osborn has settled the debate of who is the Vikings’ No. 3 receiver. He has created new ones by drawing 15 targets through two contests, creating a scenario where 10 weekly looks may no longer be Justin Jefferson’s manifest destiny. It is hard to see consistent WR4 value developing behind Jefferson and Adam Thielen, especially since Dalvin Cook remains the foundation of this offense. Osborn’s first two weeks would be merely good instead of great if not for yesterday’s coverage-bust 64-yard touchdown. Add Osborn in Dynasty leagues and fret about him if you roster Jefferson, but don’t be making any re-draft plans. Big if true, I know.

Tua Tagovailoa’s would-be breakout campaign suffers another setback. After a summer of positive Tagovailoa feelings, everything that could go wrong has. With deep threat Will Fuller’s return delayed against the Bills, Tagovailoa got off to a shaky start before getting off the field altogether with a rib injury. Jacoby Brissett showed absolutely nothing in Tagovailoa’s absence, and the backfield remained a three-man quagmire where none of Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed or Malcolm Brown appeared interested in taking the lead. Now the Dolphins are 0-2 and wondering who the leader is in basically every offensive position group. The talent shortage is not as acute as it is in New Orleans, but the central problem is the same. Tagovailoa doesn’t know his go-to players for any given situation. If Tagovailoa is out there for Week 3, it will be against the Raiders’ overachieving defense. Any QB2 hopes fantasy managers harbored need to be put on hold until Fuller returns.


1. Is there some reason the official Jaguars Twitter account is already tweeting hourly affirmations that Urban Meyer is totally in this for the long haul?

2. What if Jon Gruden actually made good draft picks?

3. What if the Chiefs had drafted literally any other player besides Clyde Edwards-Helaire?

Early Waiver Look (Players rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)

QB: Justin Fields (@CLE), Daniel Jones (vs. ATL), Sam Darnold (@HOU), Teddy Bridgewater (vs. NYJ), Derek Carr (vs. MIA), Ben Roethlisberger (vs. CIN), Mac Jones (vs. NO)
RB: Cordarrelle Patterson, James White, Kenneth Gainwell, Michael Carter, J.D. McKissic, Ty Johnson, Darrel Williams, Justin Jackson, Tony Jones
WR: Darnell Mooney, Rondale Moore, DeVante Parker, Elijah Moore, Henry Ruggs, Zach Pascal, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, K.J. Osborn, Dyami Brown, Quez Watkins
TE: Cole Kmet, Jared Cook, Austin Hooper, Maxx Williams, Pat Freiermuth
DEF: Panthers (@HOU), Giants (vs. ATL), Falcons (@NYG), Raiders (@MIA), Titans (@IND)

Stats of the Week

Mike Williams’ 22 targets through two games already have him 25.8 percent of the way to his 2020 total.

23/183 and 31/136. The first is Tony Pollard’s touches/yards totals. The second is Ezekiel Elliott’s. Zeke has now underwhelmed in two entirely different game scripts.

54. That’s the percent of the 49ers’ snaps Brandon Aiyuk played. How exactly is this making your team better, Kyle Shanahan?

The Saints’ 128 yards of offense were their fewest of the Sean Payton era, and lowest since 1996.

Via ESPN Stats and Info: Zach Wilson is the fourth rookie top-five selection with zero passing touchdowns and four-plus interceptions in a game over the last 20 seasons. The most recent two to do it … Sam Darnold and Mark Sanchez.

Via Gregg Rosenthal: Brian Flores’ Dolphins are 0-5 against Sean McDermott’s Bills, surrendering an average of 39.2 points.

Awards Section

Week 2 Fantasy All-Pro Team: QB Kyler Murray, RB Derrick Henry, RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Cooper Kupp, WR Tyler Lockett, WR Terry McLaurin, TE Travis Kelce

Tweet of the Week, from Mr. A.J. Brown: Someone from my family told me I wouldn’t have caught COVID today if I tried to lmao

The Trashing Computers In A Dumpster Behind An Amazon Server Farm Award: Derrick Henry.

The I’m Folding Up My Chair And Leaving My Kid’s Soccer Game Award: The Falcons dialing up a 4th-and-2 Matt Ryan quarterback sneak.

Big Brain Play of the Week: David Culley declining a penalty that would have given the Texans a 3rd-and-10 in favor of keeping a 4th-and-2 and then punting.

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