Big stories of Week 2 were either injuries (there's a surprise) or ugly running back stat lines. LeSean McCoy, Ezekiel Elliott, Jordan Howard, Melvin Gordon and Christian McCaffrey, to name but a few, had comically low rushing totals. Just a few yards more than LeGarrette Blount, who didn't even get a carry.
A lot of those things will get ironed out; blocking issues and whatnot. But it's definitely a time to favor backs who are also getting the passing down work. Time to wonder if ones who aren't can even keep their spot in the lineup.
New Browns at Old Browns: DeShone Kizer knocked out of this game with a migraine, apparently, so Kevin Hogan came in and provided similar upside (scrambling ability) and downside. Major takeaway is the Ravens defense is indeed pretty good, and the Browns aren't as good as they mostly looked against Pittsburgh, since they made both Terrance West and Javorius Allen look great. Allen stopped just short of a second touchdown after a reception in this game. Duke Johnson back to getting 3rd-down running back snaps this week, a near TD. Big game for Ben Watson, one example that some tight ends age better than others.
Bills at Panthers: So the concerns about Carolina's offense remain. Really should have scored more than 9 points, although losing Greg Olsen (broken foot) early on was huge. Very fortunate to win at all, as Tyrod Taylor brought the Bills downfield in the final seconds and somehow Carolina left Zay Jones open near the goal line on fourth down. Pass was dropped/slightly overthrown depending who you want to blame. A little off-target, I guess. But a lucky win for Carolina. Late goal-line sequence: Stewart stuffed twice and open McCaffrey overthrown by Newton. Maybe groin injury bothering LeSean McCoy: 12 carries, 9 yards. (McCaffrey 8 carries, 10 yards.) Some passing game production for both, but, ugly.
Cardinals at Colts: Game was every bit as bad as you would think, and we had to get an extra series (and turnover) on one of those lame "timeout called right before last-second field attempt" plays. So Phil Dawson made the kick, missed the kick, and made it again in OT after a Colts turnover (natch). Sort of a breakout game for J.J. Nelson, but I'm not sure investing too heavily in the Cardinals offense is wise. Bad-looking offensive team. Colts got a Gore TD and nothing else. Chris Johnson turned out to be a lot better than Kerwynn Williams and I'd expect a depth chart change, but I don't think you want to start either one.
Titans at Jaguars: DeMarco Murray apparently had a hamstring injury in this one, helping Derrick Henry play more late, wearing the Jags down and scoring a touchdown and nearly another one (instead Delanie Walker ran it on an endaround, hard to project that one). Jags defense did make some nice plays early on, but Titans made more and look like the superior team. Some late cosmetic production for Jaguars with Hurns and Fournette scoring touchdowns, Fournette's after a Bortles scramble that looked like a TD. Whatever. Refs continually err on the side of calling guys short even though all scoring plays would be reviewed. Lots of offensive talent in Tennessee now, with big plays by Jonnu Smith and Taywan Taylor along the way. They should run away with the AFC South.
Eagles at Kansas City: Great game, as expected. Eagles appear to have a really good team aside from their lack of a running back (the LeGarrette Blount error appears to be over). Carson Wentz is playing great and the defense is too, but Kansas City has some difference-makers of its own, notably those guys Kelce and Hunt who chipped in highlight-reel touchdowns. Zach Ertz had a couple of highlight-reel grabs himself, particularly a long one that should have been picked off. Anyway, couple of good teams.
Patriots at Saints: With the Saints, let me just say that they really can't defend trading away Brandin Cooks -- or if they were going to, they needed to make sure they had better No. 2 and 3 options than Ted Ginn and Brandon Coleman. Each guy dropped good throws in and and around the end zone; a couple were contested but receivers need to make those catches. With Coleman I'm pretty sure he was targeted 3 or 4 times in the end zone and came up with one of them. So, good for his usage. But not a great receiver. And the running backs continue to be frustrating, I guess we shouldn't be surprised. For the Patriots, big outing for Tom Brady. It was a lot of Rex Burkhead in the passing game early, but he got hurt. Then it was some production for Philip Dorsett, the No. 3 wideout, but he also got hurt. Along the way Chris Hogan had a big game, Mike Gillislee punched in a touchdown, and Rob Gronkowski had his usual monster game. And got hurt. James White had a big game. Saints defense isn't any good, but clearly the Patriots will run up a lot of points against a lot of teams if they can keep fielding a healthy lineup. Get ready for a fun week of injury reports.
Vikings at Steelers: Dalvin Cook had a really nifty breakaway, tackle-shedding run late in this game. Looked like a touchdown, but no, a 30-minute review determined that his knee touched, I guess, with the ball at the 1 inch line. Instead of giving the ball to Cook on the next play, the Vikings let their fullback punch it in, naturally. Whatever. Vikings offense seriously missed Bradford, plus Pittsburgh's defense was really good. At least you got some nominal PPR points out of Thielen, though probably not as much as you hoped. Not as much out of Bell or Antonio Brown, either, so Martavis Bryant picked up the slack.
Bears at Bucs: Told everyone to picked up the Bucs defense this week and ranked them highly. If only I'd used them in a couple more leagues myself! But the Bucs did whatever they wanted on offense and defense and the Bears looked like they were quarterbacked by a Bucs castoff and starting special teamers at wideout. Saw Josh Bellamy drop multiple passes and Kendall Wright drop another at the goal line, though volume (and being the No. 1 by default) give him some value. Jordan Howard had a LeSean McCoyesque stat line (9 carries, 7 yards). Oh, and he might be hurt. Gonna be a long year for the Bears. Or already has been.
Dolphins at Chargers: I really feel badly for late-career Philip Rivers. How many heartbreaking losses can this team absorb? It was kind of a shock when they cut loose last year's kicker, who seemed to do OK, for this youngster (his name is actually Young! Younghoe anyway) who has now missed kicks at the end two weeks in a row. Kind of a shame, although the Chargers had plenty of other mistakes and missed opportunities along the way. Fantasy wise, nice production from Ajayi, Gordon, Allen, Henry, Landry and Parker, so you can't complain too much. Gordon turned in another of those ugly running back stat lines which are becoming an early-season trend.
Jets at Raiders: The Jets are a team of nomads that travel around the league helping other teams feel good about themselves. This week it was the Raiders, who granted are pretty good. Survivor pool players everywhere had a nice week I imagine between the Raiders, Ravens, Bucs and -- just barely -- Seahawks all winning. Only negative is that Michael Crabtree got everything (3 TDs) and Amari Cooper just 4 catches. Jermaine Kearse (2 TDs) had a big game, doubling his total for Seattle last season. Jets curiously not running the ball very much. Josh McCown defies the odds by still being healthy entering Week 3. I'm not trying to make a joke, I really didn't think he'd still be healthy.
Washington at Rams: This was a pretty entertaining game, where I made the mistake of thinking the Rams would win. They're clearly better than during the Jeff Fisher years, but they're not there yet. Still, pretty positive game for Todd Gurley, with a cool hurdling touchdown run. Nice grab to set up a touchdown but relatively quiet game for Cooper Kupp (even quieter for Sammy Watkins), and a dropped touchdown by Robert Woods. Might want to phase him out of the offense. Ugly game-ending interception by Jared Goff, but at least it's mildly surprising this year -- progress! Chris Thompson is Washington's best running back. He had 106 yards and 2 TDs on 6 touches. Robert Kelley (12 for 78) left with a rib injury, while Samaje Perine (21 for 67) came in and wasn't particularly effective. But it might be the Perine-Thompson show this week.
49ers at Seahawks: My hope is that we can now finally dispense with the idea that Thomas Rawls is a viable starting running back. If he ever has a good game again he'll probably get hurt walking to the locker room. If Pete Carroll starts Rawls over Chris Carson at any point going forward it's just because for a great football coach Carroll at times does a stupid thing or two. Setting that aside, Seattle has a major offensive line problem and that's a large part of why Russell Wilson is struggling along to lesser numbers so far. Fortunate to get a win, but that won't be good enough most weeks. Carlos Hyde looked great, again.
Cowboys at Broncos: Clearly C.J. Anderson fell way too far in most leagues. Pretty good back who is running like he realizes there's a great running back seeking touches behind him on the depth chart. No, not Devontae Booker! Jamaal Charles also looked pretty good, and you wonder if the Cowboys might have a run defense problem (some were fooled when the Giants struggled last week, but that was because they're the Giants). Some nice garbage production from Jason Witten, who I have everywhere because everyone apparently thinks he's old and washed up. He's old; that's it. Nice game out there for Trevor Siemian, working play action and making nice throws to Emmanuel Sanders. Rough outing for the Dallas offense, but maybe they were thrown off by the hour-long delay for lightning and the thun-der.
Packers at Falcons: Nobody wants to hear about my fantasy teams, but gotta lament that I lost a matchup by 5/100ths of a point -- a single extra yard for any one of my players would have won it -- and took a zero from injured Jordy Nelson. That's a bad beat. Green Bay continues to have defensive matchup issues with Atlanta, and now they're banged up on offense, too, with both Nelson and Cobb hurt. For Atlanta, lucky to win in Chicago last week, but pretty dominant last night. Hope you didn't blow the waiver budget on Austin Hooper.
Monday, Monday: Two teams who figure to be on the fringes of playoff contention meet when the Lions travel to face the Giants. I'm assuming Odell Beckham Jr. plays albeit maybe being limited. That pretty much describes New York's offense, but the Lions probably have an ordinary defense. I'm thinking it will be a close game and won't be surprised if Detroit wins; just not enough scoring punch with these Giants, it seems. I'll call it Detroit 20, N.Y. Giants 17.