Week 2 of the NFL season kicked off Thursday night with a classic rivalry showdown as the New England Patriots took on the New York Jets. Though the games between these two are usually pretty entertaining, Thursday night’s contest wasn’t pretty. To be blunt, both teams played horribly. If punting awarded points it would have been the game of the week, possibly of the decade. Punt enthusiasts across the country must have been going wild since it seemed like roughly 90% of the game was made up of third-down fails and the ensuing punts. But in the midst of the horror, we learned some important things that carry some serious fantasy football implications.
Lesson 1: Contrary to popular belief, Tom Brady actually can’t just take any three guys and turn them into his own personal stud-unit.
What did the Patriots actually lose this summer? Just Wes Welker, really. And Aaron Hernandez too, I suppose. I guess they also lost Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, Danny Woodhead and several more pieces of Rob Gronkowski‘s forearm. They lost a lot! I’m really happy for them for signing Danny Amendola, even though he’s probably somewhere out there right now with a bone breaking because the wind is blowing too hard.
Sarcasm aside, the harsh reality of his situation punched Brady in the face last night. With Gronkowski still not quite ready to play and Amendola out with a groin injury, Brady struggled to get on the same page with his rookie receivers, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins. Between miscommunications on routes and far too many dropped passes, the two did little to help their quarterback out. Brady seemed to connect well with Julian Edelman, hooking up with him 13 times on a whopping 18 targets. Not that crazy, considering nobody else could hold onto the ball and the running game was virtually non-existent.
There are a few things at play here. First is that Thompkins and Dobson can’t be relied on to produce for their owners consistently. They both might have decent lines here and there, but in general there are going to be a lot of growing pains with these two. They’re nothing more than back-end flex options at this point.
Edelman is going to be a PPR stud until Amendola returns, having earned the trust of Brady and because there’s no one better to throw to right now. Once Amendola returns, Edelman’s fantasy stock will certainly take a hit and put him back on the bubble but for now he’s a must-start in all formats. Even when Amendola does come back, Edelman should still at least stay on fantasy benches because his stock will skyrocket every time Amendola gets hurt.
As we well know by now, it’s not a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “when” with Amendola. He’s missed 21 of his past 34 games, proving he can’t stay healthy for any sort of lengthy periods of time. Yet, when he’s on the field there’s no questioning his talent. He had 10 catches for 104 yards last week despite sitting out for part of the game with that groin injury. Any time he’s on the field he’ll come up big for his owners.
As for Brady, he’ll be fine once he gets his main men back but in the meantime it could be tough sledding on Sundays. Getting Gronkowski back in the near future will certainly do wonders for him, but that will of course depend on Gronk staying healthy as well. This season Brady will be a high-risk/reward quarterback similar to Michael Vick, the difference being that Vick’s production will depend on his own health and Brady’s will depend on the health of his teammates.
Lesson 2: Geno Smith isn’t terrible, but he’s definitely not good.
Smith ended up having a rough night, throwing three picks and no touchdowns. He showed flashes of promise here and there on a couple of well placed deep balls, but unfortunately there was much more bad than good with him. He held onto the ball far too long, failed to find open receivers a number of times and made some poor decisions that led to his picks.
This one’s simple — with poor quarterback play and no eye-popping talent on the team, the Jets have nothing to offer the fantasy world but pain. Avoid players from this roster at all costs!