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The Lowdown – Week 2

The Nerd approach to controversy, NFL ratings, and the Interesting Players of the Week– all in this week’s Lowdown.

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Welcome to The Lowdown for Week 2. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay awhile!

Laughter and Tears

Without getting too political (I leave that for my Riot show), it’s weird to see so many people upset at the NFL. What started with the election of Donald Trump and the whole Colin Kaepernick situation has evolved into a full-scale war. I’ve never seen such a “cancel culture” war against a major U.S. sport in my life– although I wasn’t alive in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier. So many people are allegedly not watching the NFL due to their social activism– although the TV ratings for last two NFL seasons have gone up year-over-year.

My take on the whole situation is that American football is the greatest sport on the planet. Nothing else comes close (with the possible exception of Aussie Rules football). Why in the world would I give up something that brings me so much joy? Is the airing of opposing viewpoints so disturbing to these folks that they’d rather give up the joys of the NFL rather than potentially face some ugly truths?

Nerds inherently love to be challenged intellectually; the constant evaluation of one’s long-held beliefs for errors or biases is a hallmark of great thinkers. I’m not telling you to be pro- or anti-BLM, pro- or anti-Trump; I’m telling you to open your minds to the possibility that your core beliefs might be misguided or even wrong. Don’t be afraid to challenge your own beliefs, and certainly don’t be afraid of others challenging your beliefs.

Then sit back and enjoy the games!

Interesting Players for This Week

Straight from the flawless algorithms of all the Nerds come the top match-ups at every position for this weekend’s games …

Note: Computers don’t deal in “hunches”; all projections are data based… so only players who have at least one game of statistics are considered in our AI-based models.

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins (#1 QB this week)
Allen had a great Opening Day against the Jets last week, displaying a well-rounded game. The fumbles are still a bit of a concern, but unless your league deducts points for fumbles lost, it’s nothing that you need to worry about. The Bills are the trendy pick to win the AFC East, but if they want to go deep into the playoffs, they’ll need Allen to win a few games (instead of merely not losing them) and play good defense. The defense seems up to the challenge, and the initial reviews are looking good on Allen. Expect another good game for Allen, both on the ground and in the air, against a Dolphins squad that’s still trying to find itself.

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts (#7 QB this week)
Cousins had a very mediocre Week 1 against the Packers, throwing for 259 yards and 2 TDs. As we were looking over the game log, one interesting things popped up: the lack of completions to RB Dalvin Cook (one reception) and TEs Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. (three catches between the two of them). Cousins has the reputation of being a film rat– he will realize that he has some decent pass catchers operating close to the line of scrimmage. If he decides to hit some of those check-downs instead of taking sacks, he’ll find his stats on the way up. I think he finds some of those gimmies against the Colts, and his passing yardage will creep closer to the 300 yard mark.

Running Backs

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots (#6 RB this week)
Carson’s Week 1 was the classic bad news/good news. First, the bad news: Carson logged just six carries for 21 yards on the day. The good news: the Seahawks kept Carson involved in the passing game, as he reeled in six receptions for 45 yards and two scores. Despite being stonewalled on the ground, Carson ended the day with 24.6 points in PPR leagues– a good sign, in my opinion, that the Seahawks will use any means necessary to get the ball into the hands of Chris Carson 15-20x a game. This week’s contest against the Patriots feels like it’ll be a grinder, they type of game that benefits a hard-nosed runner with good hands.

David Johnson, Houston Texas vs. Baltimore Ravens (#7 RB this week)
Raise your hand if you thought David Johnson’s career was over… c’mon, don’t be embarrassed. You know you did. In Week 1 against the Chiefs, Johnson made the most of his limited touches, generating 77 yards (on 11 carries) and a TD on the ground and three catches for 32 yards. If Johnson can stay healthy, he will be used by HC Bill O’Brien until the wheels come off. Which sucks for Johnson, but it’s great news for fantasy players.

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Nerd John is a 25+year veteran of fantasy sports journalism. John’s Fantasy Forecast series has won the prestigious Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for Best Series, and he’s been nominated as an FSWA Award finalist on nine occasions.

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