2023 Week 2 Absurdity Check: Puka Nacua, Hunter Henry, the G*ddamn Jets, & More!

Most of week two of the NFL season is in the books and to be honest with you? It was pretty good! We saw a lot of good things today, and a lot of stuff we expected to see. This Absurdity Check was somewhat difficult to write because the NFL just wasn’t all that absurd in week two. We have some questions about if Justin Fields is a good QB or not, but that doesn’t matter for fantasy. We also wonder about if Joe Burrow is healthy but, again, are you cutting Joe Burrow? Of course not. Like a Jake Moody kick, this week was seemingly straight down the middle. There are, however, some things about week two that are worth exploring. So, let’s dive in!

Are The Jets in Trouble?

Well, of course, they’re in trouble, they’re starting Zach Wilson and not Aaron Rodgers. But, their fantasy options seemed to reach a new level of desperation in week two taking on the world-beater Dallas Cowboys’ defense. Garrett Wilson led the way among all players, with 83 yards on two catches… with one 68 yard touchdown (and while doing it on eight targets). That play was more than any other Jet had on the day, in total. On the plus side, the team flexed its running back depth as backup RB Dalvin Cook led the running backs in yardage. The downside? Dalvin Cook led all Jets running backs in yardage… with 12 yards.

This isn’t really their fault, they weren’t supposed to be in this position. It wasn’t supposed to be Zach Wilson. They weren’t supposed to be flailing, struggling for an identity. But, that’s how things go in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers and the Jets spent the whole offseason in the smitten kitten new couple phase, and they hit the harsh reality hard, with Rodgers suddenly out of the picture and the Jets back to somehow maybe the second-best quarterback in the 2021 draft class. The truth is that the Jets are in trouble, and we have to downgrade everyone across the board… but the Cowboys’ defense has shown so far this season that they are on a completely different level than most competition, or at least most competition that calls MetLife home. They’re in trouble, but I’m still rolling out Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson until further notice. No other Jet deserves to be rostered.

What, Exactly, is Going on With Puka Nacua?

Through two career NFL games, Puka Nacua has 25 receptions for 266 yards, while getting 35 targets. I don’t have to tell you that those are either first or second among all three categories among rookies. This is a start to a career that we haven’t seen since Anquan Boldin started his career with 18 receptions for 279 yards in his first two games. The easy answer for what’s going on with Puka Nacua is that Cooper Kupp isn’t there, so he’s just taking the Cooper Kupp role. But, here’s the thing… while he’s taking the Cooper Kupp volume, he’s taking (and expanding on) the Tyler Higbee role.

When Cooper Kupp is at his best, he’s attacking the seam down deep, and making opposing defensive backs quake in his wake. Nacua’s attacking is different. His best skill is finding space in coverage, whether that comes via finding the holes in zone coverage or just leveraging and beating his man on an in-breaking route, he’s there to find the short targets for Matthew Stafford. Long story short: he has a role in this offense, even when Cooper Kupp returns. He’s just going to lose some of his volume, and to be honest? He has plenty to spare. He’s going to be a PPR machine in the rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown mold.

Is Nico Collins a Must-Start Wide Receiver?

Through two games this season, Nico Collins has 20 targets, 13 receptions, and 226 yards. He’s certainly quickly become one of rookie C.J. Stroud’s go-to targets, as his ten targets per game show. But, and this is the fun part: this is the continuation of a trend that started at the end of 2022, and that’s likely because he was (and is) the best wide receiver on the roster. Collins had a rough start to the 2022 season, playing in six games at a five-targets-per-game clip. He then suffered an injury and came back for a four-game stint (before the Texans lost him for the season again). In that stint, he averaged 9 targets and 5 catches per game. But, because the quarterbacks throwing to him were so illustrious that (1) the Texans picked second and (2) they slam-dunked a quarterback with that pick, I am willing to give his 44 yards per game in that span a mulligan. He’s a decent backend WR2 and a rock-solid WR3 until future notice. Many apologies to Tank Dell fans.

Has Hunter Henry Evolved Past the Blob?

If you’re unfamiliar with our oeuvre, we call “The Blob” the group of tight ends mostly interchangeable. They start somewhere around TE8 and end up somewhere around TE16 every year. While they may not occupy those slots exactly, they’re spiritually TE8 through TE16. They’re guys who, at their best, average four catches for 40 yards per game, and at their worst, drop down to three catches for 25-30 yards.

Dallas Goedert is generally what we consider to be the end of the non-Blob tight ends. While, again, it’s not always Dallas Goedert, it’s someone who is just slightly above the Blob tight ends, think a guy who consistently gets 5/60 or 6/50 lines. That nice 11-point floor is enough to make the player a trusted and recommended tight end on any given week, and through two weeks, Hunter Henry is making his way into that group… as Dallas Goedert works his way out. Hunter Henry finished with six catches for 52 yards, on seven targets in week two, which feels like a prime Dallas Goedert line, and getting 13 targets in two weeks doesn’t hurt. He also finished week one with 5/56 and a score… again, prime Dallas Goedert hours. He’s becoming what we loved out of Goedert for a while, and if you consider that becoming Dallas Goedert is synonymous with transcending The Blob, then yes… Hunter Henry has transcended The Blob.

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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