Fantasy Football Week 2 Observations: Cam Newton Has Stopped Running, Don't Sell Kareem Hunt

Fantasy Football Week 2 Observations: Cam Newton Has Stopped Running, Don't Sell Kareem Hunt


Fantasy Football Week 2 Observations: Cam Newton Has Stopped Running, Don't Sell Kareem Hunt

The full waiver wire recommendations will publish tonight for week 3. Here are some notes for week 2 action.

CAM NEWTON IS BANGED UP AND MISSING CHANCES: The Panthers are 2-0 and have largely been unchallenged in terms of needing to have the offense be productive. But Newton’s numbers coming off shoulder surgery, and now hurting his ankle, are troubling.

Here are Newton’s numbers since missing a game last year with a concussion, which includes playing several games in December with a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder.

  • Post-concussion: 13 games, 227 of 434 (52.3%), 15 TD, 10 INT, 72 rush attempts for 242 yards and 3 TDs.
  • Pre-concussion: 13 games, 242 of 414 (60.9%), 24 TD, 8 INT, 102 rush attempts for 496 yards and 8 TDs.

Cam Newton has completed barely more than 50% of his passes and missed some opportunities badly over the first two weeks this year. He had Christian McCaffrey for an easy touchdown toss last week and just overthrew him. For fantasy football purposes, right now it looks like recreating 2015 is not in the cards for awhile, and if he’s not running, then he’s not a top end quarterback.

VALUE KAREEM HUNT AS A TOP 5 BACK: I had someone asking me about trading Kareem Hunt, because they also had LeSean McCoy and Devonta Freeman and wanted balance at receiver. My thought: why trade away your best back in 2017?

We don’t know how the season will end and who will stay healthy, but I would absolutely put my RB preference, if I were ranking straight-up in a PPR list as follows, taking into account preseason expectations and performance/injuries through two weeks:

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Ezekiel Elliott
  3. Kareem Hunt
  4. Melvin Gordon
  5. Jay Ajayi
  6. LeSean McCoy
  7. Todd Gurley
  8. Leonard Fournette
  9. Devonta Freeman
  10. Ty Montgomery
  11. Carlos Hyde
  12. Dalvin Cook

Yes, Kareem Hunt’s a rookie, and yes, he’s probably not going to end the year with 40 touchdowns and over 2,500 yards from scrimmage. But his start is no fluke, and this offense is a running back dream with a difference maker at the position.

I whipped up a quick similarity score for Kareem Hunt’s start based on carries, catches, yards, and touchdowns. Here are the 10 most similar two-game starts since 1990, with how it ended up:

Duce Staley tore his knee up after five games. Everyone else on this list finished with over 230 fantasy points (non-PPR) and ranked in the top 10, with eight of them in the top 5  and the first three on the list finishing 1st or 2nd overall. Don’t sell Kareem Hunt as a fluke.

TIME TO MOVE ON: This is, of course, league size dependent, and depends on if anyone with a modicum of production is available. But if you are in a league with roughly 50 running backs and 50 wide receivers, then you should consider not continuing sunken costs on some guys.

WR Brandon Marshall2 catches, 27 yards, targeted 9 times through 2 games. Odell Beckham is working back, Sterling Shepard has been more productive, and Evan Engram has emerged. Right now, he’s the 5th best option on a struggling passing offense.

RB LeGarrette Blount: Blount played six snaps against Kansas City, getting no rush attempts. He’s at best in a committee where you will be guessing when to start him, and he could be getting passed by Wendell Smallwood.

RB Paul Perkins: he was nominally the starter for the Giants, and worth a shot to see if things would change. They haven’t. The line is terrible and Perkins isn’t going to make anything else happen. Shane Vereen is going to eat up receptions and Orleans Darkwa could eat into his touches. He’s yet to score a touchdown in the NFL. You will feel better taking a chance on a PPR back or an upside guy on a different roster who is currently a backup.

RB Adrian Petersonthere was some hope he would find a new life in New Orleans. No. He’s a platoon back who is the third wheel in a trio, and will provide nothing in the passing game. He plays for a team with an awful defense, and thus one that needs to pass in the second half a lot. Sure, he may come up with a random game at some point, but if you are holding on to him instead of clearing space for a Chris Carson, Javorius Allen, or Tarik Cohen, why?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 11: Adrian Peterson #28 of the New Orleans Saints is tackled with the ball in the first quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 11, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

WR Mike Wallace: 2 catches for 15 yards on only 4 targets. Jeremy Maclin is the clear #1, and Wallace has been non-existent through two weeks.

BUY LOW CANDIDATES: Here are some guys to target because they haven’t put up gaudy numbers- yet, but the underlying factors still say be patient (if you own them) or take a chance.

RB Christian McCaffrey: His workload distribution is pretty much what I expected. (21 carries, 9 catches through 2 games). He just has not had any big plays or touchdowns yet. That’s going to change. By the way, the Panthers play the Saints this week.

RB Jordan Howard: He might be out this week. He was clearly playing hurt with the shoulder injury. Tarik Cohen has been a revelation but is not a feature back, and the offense has holes everywhere and can support two productive backs. If you can get him healthy, I think Howard rebounds.

RB Ameer Abdullah: He’s had 35 touches through two weeks, but no big plays or TDs.

RB Isaiah Crowell: He’s faced two tough run defenses so far, but is the clear workhorse in this offense.

WR AJ Green: He’s the clear #1 option on this offense, and I suspect will get fed soon. The Bengals won’t average 4.5 points a game, I don’t think.

WR Larry Fitzgerald: He’s still getting targets, this offense is just not in sync right now. So far he’s caught fewer than half the passes his way.

WR Terrelle Pryor: If you drafted Pryor as a WR2 with upside, don’t worry. He just had a low usage game against the Rams as the team went run-heavy, but he’s still going to get his this year.

TE Martellus Bennett: Yes, he had a rough game Sunday night. He is still getting targeted so far and in a top offense, and is going to get more looks than guys on your waiver wire.

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