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Fantasy Football: Key takeaways from NFL Week 2

Wrapping up Week 2 around the NFL and looking ahead to Week 3.

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Week 2 of the fantasy football season came and went with a handful of notable injuries. A total of four starting quarterbacks were shaken up and their upcoming status could have some major fantasy impacts. Several running backs will also be under the microscope, as the Minnesota Vikings’ Dalvin Cook, Los Angeles Rams’ Darrell Henderson and nearly the entire San Francisco 49ers backfield went down with injuries. With that in mind, here’s which players to monitor, as well as some major takeaways from Week 2.

Derek Carr’s success continues ... In all of 2020, Carr posted 19-plus fantasy points in just nine contests. Through two weeks of the 2021 season, he has eclipsed that number twice already, doing so against two top defenses from last season. Carr currently leads the league with 817 passing yards, as he ranks fifth in both vertical pass attempts and in percentage of passes thrown 15-plus yards downfield. He was banged up on a late/low hit in Week 2, but he is quickly becoming a top fantasy quarterback.

Pick up Justin Fields ... Fields was quiet while replacing veteran Andy Dalton on Sunday, but wasn't helped out from his wide receivers — as Allen Robinson dropped a would-be touchdown ball. Fields also flashed his ability with his legs, an aspect of his game that gives him top-10 QB fantasy potential. The potential is worth adding as he might not give Dalton his job back.

Tony Pollard flashes again ... It was a better week for Ezekiel Elliott after a disappointment in the opener, but it was Pollard who yet again looked like the best Cowboys running back. Pollard had 16 touches compared to Elliott’s 18 and made the most of them. He ran for over 100 yards and a score while adding three catches for 31 yards. Dallas won't give up on Elliott, but Pollard is making his case for an even bigger workload.

Cordarrelle Patterson’s red-zone success ... From fantasy football afterthought to entering lineups by Week 3. Patterson has firmly etched his role as Atlanta’s backup running back and has outscored Mike Davis in PPR leagues through two weeks. Patterson only played 23 snaps compared to Davis’ 42 in Week 2, but led the Falcons in red-zone snaps. He made the most of them, scoring twice on four touches. He has FLEX appeal against the Giants in Week 3.

Gronk stays hot, but it may be time to sell high ... The refreshed Rob Gronkowski scored two more touchdowns for the Bucs on Sunday, which may mean it’s time to sell high. Gronk only saw five targets on Tampa’s 40 passing plays, while running a route on just 25. With Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard knocking on the door for more snaps, it may be the perfect time to package Gronkowski for an upgrade.

Scout out Michael Carter ... As mentioned last week, the Jets’ backfield still isn't trustworthy in fantasy football, but the picture became clearer in Week 2. Tevin Coleman (seven snaps) took a backseat to Ty Johnson (33) and Michael Carter (33) — who both ran 15 pass routes. The rookie was more impressive than Johnson and was perhaps the best offensive player on the field Sunday for New York. He should continue to get a larger role as the season progresses.

Don’t worry about Brandon Aiyuk ... It was another disappointing effort from Aiyuk on Sunday, as he hauled in just one of two catches. However, now is not the time to give up on the second-year receiver. Aiyuk returned to the starting lineup for San Francisco this week, playing 38 snaps compared to Trent Sherfield’s 24. The speedster still seems hobbled by a hamstring injury, as well, so now is not time to dump him for free.

Rams’ running backs ... The aforementioned Henderson remained the Rams’ workhorse back in Week 2, but left the game in the third quarter after injuring his ribs. Even if Henderson does suit up next week, this will certainly open the door for a backfield committee with Sony Michel. Michel saw 10 carries (46 yards) after Henderson departed and will certainly handle the bulk of the work if Henderson is out. The bad news, however: Los Angeles has a date with Tampa Bay’s stout front. The unit has not surrendered more than 38 rushing yards to a back this season.

Stand pat with James Robinson ... It was another disappointment for 2020’s fantasy gem, but it at least appears that Urban Meyer has ditched the whole Carlos Hyde idea. Robinson out-snapped (41-to-14) and out-carried (11-to-2) Hyde, while also running more than double the amount of routes (22-to-9). The extra work still didn't result in a great fantasy showing as Jacksonville’s offense continued to struggle. Things should ease up over the next four weeks as the Jaguars face much more favorable run defenses.

Broncos’ wide receivers ... With Jerry Jeudy on IR, it was the Courtland Sutton show for Denver. The receiver looks fully healthy and like the clear No. 1 guy for Teddy Bridgewater. Beyond Sutton, Tim Patrick continued to operate as Denver’s No. 2 receiver and caught a touchdown for the second straight week. He only saw four targets again, but Denver has not needed to pass the ball much through two weeks.

That is all for this week’s recap. Leave a comment below or reach out on Twitter @iambrianhines with any and all questions about your fantasy team!