Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 2 Recap: Immediate fantasy football takeaways from Monday Night Football

2MAG591 New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (12) warms up before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Nick Chubb was carted off the field with a knee injury: Chubb suffered an injury bad enough that ESPN wouldn’t show the replay, which puts the rest of his season in doubt.

Jamaal Williams suffers a hamstring injury: Williams also left his game early in the second quarter and didn’t return.

D.J. Chark Jr. makes his Carolina Panthers debut: Chark played his first game with the Panthers after missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury but didn’t light up the box score.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2023.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

Monitor the health of Jamaal Williams: Williams suffered a hamstring injury early in the second quarter. He was initially ruled questionable to return, but it wasn’t long before he was downgraded to doubtful.

  • The Saints were already pretty thin at running back. Alvin Kamara is still suspended for one more game, while Kendre Miller was limited in practice with a hamstring injury and was ultimately inactive.
  • Tony Jones Jr. was called up from the practice squad earlier in the day and took over as the primary running back for the rest of the game.
  • Taysom Hill led the team in rushing yards, but nearly all of his backfield snaps came at quarterback rather than from a running back position.
  • Fullback Adam Prentice was used throughout the preseason — and in the regular season at times — on third downs, which continued in this game.
  • Next week, the Saints have a favorable matchup against the Green Bay Packerswho have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season. A healthy Kendre Miller would be the top priority if Williams misses next week. Jones is closely behind. 
  • The Saints also have undrafted rookie Jordan Mims on the practice squad. He could also be a backup if the top running backs remain injured.

D.J. Chark Jr. makes his Panthers debut: Chark missed most of the preseason and Week 1 with a hamstring injury, but he was able to return for this game.

  • As was expected, he overtook Terrace Marshall Jr. for the Panthers' third WR spot, but Marshall was still the primary backup.
  • Carolina used Jonathan Mingo and Adam Thielen significantly, both out wide and in the slot. Chark and Marshall were largely restricted to playing outside, and Laviska Shenault Jr. was mostly in the slot or the backfield.
  • Chark caught his only target for 15 yards as Thielen and Mingo dominated targets.
  • It’s worth holding onto Chark in fantasy leagues to see if he can gain more chemistry with Bryce Young and if his playing time increases as his hamstring improves.
  • After a few weeks, if we continue to see production like this, he can be dropped.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The Panthers’ usage of Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard was very similar to last week, with Sanders dominating early-down snaps and Hubbard dominating late downs.
  • Hubbard had been used in short-yardage situations last week, which led to a few carries, but the Panthers were never in short-yardage situations in this game.
  • Hayden Hurst can probably be dropped from fantasy leagues between how much the Panthers’ tight ends were rotated in and out and the fact that the Panthers’ tight ends weren’t targeted until the fourth quarter.
  • The Saints’ wide receiver and tight end rotation was nearly identical to last week, with the exception of Taysom Hill seeing more playing time. Hill received snaps at quarterback, running back, outside wide receiver, slot receiver and tight end.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers

  • George Pickens: 4 receptions, 127 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Jerome Ford: 16 carries, 106 yards; 3 receptions, 25 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

Nick Chubb suffers serious knee injury: Chubb was carted off the field and immediately ruled out after the injury.

  • The Browns already fear Chubb’s season is over, but he will need to undergo more tests before that is confirmed.
  • Jerome Ford took over as the primary running back for the rest of the game.
  • Former New England Patriot Pierre Strong Jr. became the new backup. Strong played in more short-yardage situations, but those short-yardage snaps occurred after Ford ran the ball for a 69-yard gain, after which Ford likely needed to rest.
  • Strong is the slightly bigger back, so he may play in more short-yardage situations going forward.
  • Hassan Hall is on the practice squad and is the favorite to be the team’s new third running back, but it’s natural to connect former Brown Kareem Hunt to the team, as Hunt is still available.
  • Ford should definitely be targeted off the waiver wire, even if Cleveland adds another running back, but don’t spend too much FAAB on him in case they add Hunt or someone else.

Amari Cooper plays in a slightly limited role: Cooper tweaked a groin injury late in the week but ended up playing.

  • Reports on Sunday indicated he was unlikely to play in the game, but those reports became more optimistic on Monday.
  • Cooper still played most of the snaps but was substituted more often than usual.
  • This was primarily in some run formations, but Cleveland also ran a 10-personnel grouping that used Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman and Marquise Goodwin as the four wide receivers.
  • Cooper ended up leading the team in targets (10), receptions (7) and receiving yards (90).

Calvin Austin III replaces Diontae Johnson: Austin steps in for Johnson, who landed on injured reserve last week, but the Steelers changed Austin's role with a full week to prepare.

  • When Johnson left last week’s game, Austin replaced Johnson and received almost all of his snaps on the outside, even though slot receiver is his ideal role.
  • This week, Allen Robinson II remained the primary slot receiver, but there were also plenty of snaps with Robinson out wide and Austin in the slot.
  • The Steelers have historically rotated wide receivers in and out of 12 personnel to help keep their receivers fresh, which continued in this game. Austin played nearly as many snaps in 12 personnel as Robinson.
  • While Austin replaced Johnson in terms of playing time, George Pickens replaced Johnson in terms of being the Steelers' top wide receiver target.
  • Austin can be an intriguing option in dynasty leagues or deeper leagues, but it might be some time before we consider Austin in fantasy starting lineups.

Jaylen Warren leads the Steelers backfield in yards: Warren and Najee Harris were the closest to a 50/50 split we’ve seen in a game with a relatively neutral script.

  • Warren had one game where he outsnapped Harris last season, but it was a game the Steelers lost 38-3, so it was understandable that the passing-down back played more.
  • Warren has slowly but surely gained more playing time on early downs, bringing their playing time closer together.
  • Harris was the more successful runner tonight, with 43 yards on 10 carries compared to 20 yards on six carries for Warren. Warren more than made up for it as a receiver, with 66 receiving yards on four receptions compared to 0 receiving yards on Harris’ only catch.
  • It wouldn’t be surprising if this were the new normal for Pittsburgh, with the two running backs seeing close to a 50-50 split depending on the game script.
  • Warren should not be on the waiver wire in any league, as his explosiveness could lead to an increase in opportunities over time.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • It might be time to consider benching Pat Freiermuth. His playing time hasn’t noticeably changed, but he’s caught only two passes for 5 yards over his last three games.
  • Elijah Moore only ran the ball once for 5 yards, but that was enough to move him up to fourth in terms of rushing yards by a wide receiver this season at 24 yards.

Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.


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