We’re (mostly) two weeks into the NFL season, and boy howdy was this one a wild one! Tua Tagovailoa had six touchdowns! Jimmy Garoppolo is a starting quarterback again! The Bears ran 41 plays! The Jets won a game! Just like every week in the NFL season, there’s plenty to overreact about. We’re here with our Absurdity Checks to see if you’re going too far or if you’re not going too far enough. Let’s take a look at some of the developments from week two to see what exactly we can do with them going forward?
Oh, and since I don’t address it below: no, Tua Tagovailoa won’t throw six touchdowns per week.
Should We Worry About Rashaad Penny?
At the end of the 2021 season, Rashaad Penny finally had his chance to prove that he was deserving of a first-round pick so many years ago. He finished the last five games with 18.4 carries for 134 yards per game and was the running back on so many league-winning fantasy football teams. The Seahawks retained his services but added second-round running back Kenneth Walker III in the draft. And through two games, it seems as though it’s time to panic about Rashaad Penny. He has just 82 yards on 20 touches across two games, without a touchdown. Things were especially worrisome in week two against the 49ers, wherein he and Kenneth Walker both had six touches for fifteen yards, and Kenneth Walker outscored Penny in PPR since two of his touches came as receptions.
So, things seem to be headed in the wrong direction for Rashaad Penny… except Penny ran up against two of the biggest run defense buzzsaws in the NFL. In week one, he took on the Broncos, who allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs in 2021, and who held the Texans’ running backs to 86 yards on 19 opportunities in week two. Then he took on the 49ers, who allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to running backs last season, and who made David Montgomery (who had 15 carries for 122 yards) look downright awful in week one (17 carries for 26 yards).
So, better things are likely ahead for Rashaad Penny, though the touch situation is a bit troublesome. Luckily for those that roster Penny, he has two defenses (Detroit and Atlanta) that ranked inside the top-12 in fantasy points allowed to running backs in 2021. So, things should get better for Rashaad Penny, and it’s not time to worry… yet.
Is That Good For Amon-Ra St. Brown?
Amon-Ra St. Brown was one of the most hotly-debated off-season players in fantasy football circles. Many pointed to his lack of production in the first half of the season, and that his production came after D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson suffered injuries. But, he’s on his eighth-straight game of otherworldly production, after notching 184 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches and two rush attempts against the Commanders. The Lions won that game, something they couldn’t say in 2021 before they leaned into using Amon-Ra St. Brown. In the first 11 games of 2021, the Lions averaged 15.8 points per game and went 0-10-1.
Then, things changed. The Lions started giving Amon-Ra St. Brown double-digit targets per game, they’ve gone 4-4 while averaging 29 points per game. I would say that’s pretty good for Amon-Ra St. Brown. Amon-Ra St. Brown has also averaged 8.5 catches, 101 yards, and a touchdown per game, for a sweet, 19.6 PPR points per game. Justin Jefferson, WR4 last season? He averaged 19.4 PPR points per game. So yea, I’d say that’s pretty good for Amon-Ra St. Brown. And it’s unlikely it changes anytime soon. Congratulations on your top-12 wide receiver.
How Does Jimmy Garoppolo Change Things For the 49ers’ Weapons?
As a 49ers fan (and the owner of a Trey Lance jersey), this one hurts me to write. The 49ers’ starting quarterback will miss the remainder of the 2022 season, as he fractured his ankle in the first quarter of the 49ers-Seahawks tilt, and requires surgery. With him goes the 49ers’ chances of having a high-flying offense, but what does it do for everyone else involved with the 49ers’ offense?
First and foremost, let’s take a look at people who had Trey Lance. Don’t pick up Jimmy Garoppolo, go find someone else, maybe Carson Wentz? He is a better fantasy quarterback than Garoppolo and will do you far better than Captain Checkdown will, at least for the next two weeks, when they take on the Broncos and the Chiefs. You might be able to go back to Garoppolo in week five, as he gets the Panthers and the Falcons. But, you probably figure out something better in the meantime.
As for the remainder of the 49ers’ weapons… we already know what to expect from them with Garoppolo. The running backs will end up with the starting back getting 15-25 carries per game (at this point, that seems to be Jeff Wilson Jr., though Tyrion Davis-Price had double-digit carries against Seattle) and will have a good shot at a touchdown, and have backend RB2 floors. Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, should he ever play, both have major upside as Garoppolo’s favorite targets. Brandon Aiyuk gets a little spicy, as he and Garoppolo connected toward the second half of last season, when the 49ers turned to Deebo in a rushing role and made Aiyuk their #1 wide receiver. Unfortunately, however, Aiyuk loses a lot of overall upside. The ancillary pieces, namely Danny Gray, will likely lose absolutely all value, as Gray is a deep target and Garoppolo’s deep ball is… questionable.
So, the 49ers’ weapons will be pretty much exactly what they were in 2021. We were iffy on Lance, so luckily we are missing upside, but the floor hasn’t really dropped out of anyone, at least not yet.
Will Carson Wentz Bring Logan Thomas Back to top-12 Tight End Status?
If you know one thing about Carson Wentz, it’s that he loved to throw to tight ends in Philadelphia, helping along the careers of both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Well, what about his current tight end? As of publishing, there are two games left in the week, and unless Austin Hooper, Dawson Knox, Dallas Goedert, and Irv Smith all have massive games, Logan Thomas will finish inside the top-12 at tight end after two weeks. As of right now, he ranks tenth in fantasy points per game with only Dallas Goedert left to play and within spitting distance of passing in in fantasy points on the year so far.
So, is it for real? Well, that depends on your definition of “for real.” At this point, Logan Thomas has 11 targets, which is fewer than Juwan Johnson, and nobody considers him a big name must-add tight end. Thomas and Johnson have very similar seasons so far: Johnson has 6 catches for 83 yards on 12 targets, and Thomas has 6 catches for 82 yards on 12 targets. The main difference between the two? Logan Thomas has a touchdown, and Juwan Johnson does not. Logan Thomas has a track record of performing well when given targets, but as of right now, he’s not a locked-in top-twelve tight end. But, he’s made his way back to The Blob already, which has to count for something.
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