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Inside the Matchup
Week 3
9/19/18; Updated: 9/21/18

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | Justin Bales



Sunday Early:


NO @ ATL | NYG @ HOU | OAK @ MIA | SF @ KC | TEN @ JAX

Sunday Late:




- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Jets @ Browns - (Swanson)
Line: CLE -3.0
Total: 39.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Jet fans were ready to give Sam Darnold a key to the city after the rookie QB led New York to an impressive 48-17 road victory over the Lions Week 1. The hysteria surrounding Darnold as the greatest Jet quarterback since Joe Namath cooled somewhat when Darnold looked more like a rookie than a savior in Sunday’s 12-20 loss to the Dolphins at Met Life Stadium.

Hyperbolic jokes aside, Darnold does appear to be the real deal, and it seems as though the Jets do have their quarterback of the future. But expectations need to be tempered, especially when Darnold is asked to carry the team and throw the ball 41 times in a game. Unlike the lopsided win over the Lions, the Jets did not give Darnold a cushion with defense and special team plays and the running game did not provide Darnold and the passing game any help.

Things will not get easier this week for Sam and the Jets when the team heads to Cleveland to take on a Browns defense that held Drew Brees and the Saints without a touchdown for three quarters of the game on Sunday. Although they are still looking for their first win in over two years, Cleveland’s defense held Brees and Ben Roethlisberger to 578 yards and three touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season and will pose a difficult challenge for Darnold and the Jets.

Cleveland enters the game tied for third in sacks with seven, and Greg Williams’ defensive unit has forced a league-best five fumbles in two games. The matchup outside of Miles Garrett going against Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell will be a critical one for the success of the Jet passing game. Also, New York will need to place extra focus on defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, a second-year player from Charlotte who has been on fire this season with 11 combined tackles and three sacks.

The evolution of Quincy Enunwa as Darnold’s favorite target continued with seven catches for 92 years on 11 targets against the Dolphins. Look for Darnold to once again lean on his security blanket, especially if the Jets offensive line plays as poorly against the Browns as they did against the Dolphins. Miami gave Darnold very little time to throw the ball, with pressure from both outside and up the middle.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: Although veteran Bilal Powell earned the start for the second consecutive weak, he was ineffective with five rushes for six yards, with Isaiah Crowell earning 63% of the team carries for the game. Crow also struggled to the tune of 35 yards on 12 carries as the Jets as a whole failed to do much on the ground against the Dolphins.

At first glance, it would appear as though the Browns are an excellent matchup for Crowell and Powell based on the fact that Cleveland has allowed the eighth-most points to opposing running backs in 2018. But when you consider the fact that the two running backs who have faced the Browns are James Conner and Alvin Kamara, that stat line is not that appealing.

Cleveland did what most teams could not do in 2017, limiting Kamara to just 46 yards on 13 carries, with zero touchdowns and no big plays. By limiting the big plays to Kamara and getting steady pressure on Brees, the Browns were able to successfully hold one of the most prolific offenses to 305 total yards and only two touchdowns. Neither player is a great start in this game, but it forced to choose between the two, Powell’s receiving ability out of the backfield makes him more attractive.

Value Meter:
QB2: Sam Darnold (Low-End)
RB3: Bilal Powell (High-End)
RB 3: Isaiah Crowell (High-End)
WR3: Quincy Enunwa (High-End)
WR3: Robby Anderson (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Through two games of the 2018 regular season, veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor is the 17th ranked quarterback with 23.2 fantasy points per game. He is just .10 points behind Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, and ahead of other high profile fantasy assets like Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck, and Jimmy Garoppolo. Although the former Buffalo Bill has just two passing touchdowns during that span, he leads all quarterbacks with 103 rushing yards and one touchdown on 12 attempts.

Taylor and the Browns continue their season and quest for their first win against a Jets defense that allows the 19th-most points to opposing quarterbacks and the sixth-fewest points to opposing running backs. With just two games in the books, including a shocking four-interception debacle by Matthew Stafford Week 1, it is too early to gauge how well a defense like the Jets will match up against the Browns and running quarterback like Taylor. What we do know is that Ryan Tannehill did find success last week by limiting the number of throws (just 23 attempts) and using his legs to extend drives for the Dolphins (eight rushes for 44 yards).

The Browns will not be with the services of wide receiver Josh Gordon after the team traded the embattled star to New England for a conditional fifth-round pick. Jarvis Landry will continue to be a target hog and the primary wide receiving weapon for Taylor, but his availability for Thursday’s game against the Jets is in question after Landry was limited this week with a knee injury. Although I anticipate he will play, Landry is listed as questionable and owners need to monitor his status before kickoff.

On the injury front, starting outside linebacker Josh Martin is in the concussion protocol and has not been able to practice this week. He will likely miss the game, with Jeremiah Attaochu likely getting the start in his absence. The loss of Martin could present an opportunity for Taylor to exploit Attaochu in coverage with tight end David Njoku.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: The trio of Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson, and Nick Chubb have combined to score the 20th most fantasy points this season. With a rushing touchdown in each of the first two games, Hyde continues to be the primary back and the player to own in the Browns backfield, despite the fact that he is averaging a party 2.8 yards per carry.

Head coach Hue Jackson told reporters on Tuesday that the team needs to get Duke Johnson more involved in the passing game. After setting career highs in targets (93), receptions (74), receiving yards (693), and receiving touchdowns (2), Johnson has been missing in action this season with three catches for 15 yards on eight targets.

The Jets have allowed the fifth-fewest points to opposing running backs in the first two weeks of the young season, although Kenyon Drake had an excellent day against Gang Green on Sunday with 53 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries to go along with four catches for 17 yards.

With Landry likely limited with a knee injury and Gordon no longer on the roster, look for Taylor to focus more on Johnson in the passing game on screens and quick dump offs out of the backfield. Both the Lions and the Dolphins found moderate success using running backs in the passing game, and the Browns may follow suit if the offensive line is unable to open holes up the middle for Hyde.

Value Meter:
QB2: Tyrod Taylor (High-End)
RB2: Carlos Hyde (Low-End)
RB3: Duke Johnson (High-End)
WR2: Jarvis Landry (Low-End)
WR4: Antonio Callaway (High-End)
TE2 David Njoku (High-End)

Prediction: Browns 24, Jets 17 ^ Top

Bills @ Vikings - (Swanson)
Line: MINM -16.5
Total: 40.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The trial by fire rookie season for Josh Allen continues Week 3 in a difficult road matchup against a Vikings defense that allows the seventh-fewest points to opposing offenses this season after finishing as the No.1 defense in 2017. Only three quarterbacks have managed to throw for two or more touchdowns against Mike Zimmer’s defense dating back to 2016, and only Aaron Rodgers has managed to throw for more than three touchdowns vs. the Viking since 2015.

In his first two NFL games, the former first-round pick out of the University of Wyoming completed 24 of 48 passes for 319 yards, with one passing touchdown and two interceptions. Allen has flashed his elite arm at times and his above-average mobility with 58 yards on 12 carries, but he has also looked every bit the rookie with poor decisions and missed reads.

Allen’s top target is 6’5”, 240-pound wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, a former first-round pick in the 2014 draft out of Florida State. Benjamin secured the lone touchdown pass from Allen last week against the Chargers, but with 10 targets in two games and only 29 receiving yards, starting Benjamin in anything outside of a deep 14-team league is not advised.

From a pure scheme perspective, Zimmer is going to confuse and intimidate Allen with elaborate and complex blitz packages that will lead to numerous sacks and turnovers. If Zimmer and his defense can limit Aaron Rodgers to one touchdown and less than 300 yards passing on the road in Green Bay, one would assume that Allen will find it tough sledding on Sunday in front of 50k crazed Viking fans at US Bank Stadium.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Just like the in the passing game section, there are no skill position players on the Bills worthy of a start in anything but the deepest of large formats. Not only did the Vikings end the 2017 season allowing the fewest points to opposing quarterbacks, and wide receivers, Minnesota also allowed the fewest points to opposing running backs.

Starting tailback LeSean McCoy suffered a rib injury against the Chargers last week and his status is in doubt for Sunday. Marcus Murphy and Chris Ivory shared the backfield duties in McCoy’s stead, with Murphy rushing for 31 yards on six carries and Ivory adding a rushing touchdown on two carries for seven yards. From a pure volume perspective, Murphy is the likely lead back on first and second downs with Ivory working in as a short yardage and goal line option, but neither player is worth the risk in what could be a shutout for the Vikings and a lopsided loss for Buffalo.

Value Meter:
QB3: Josh Allen (Low-End)
RB4: Marcus Murphy (Low-End)
WR4: Kelvin Benjamin (Low-End)
TE2: Charles Clay (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins has been worth every penny of his monster free agent contract with six passing touchdowns and 669 passing yards over the first two weeks of the season. At 30.3 fantasy points per game, including last week’s 425-yard, four touchdown performance on the road against Green Bay, Cousins enters week three as the No.4 ranked QB in fantasy football behind Big Ben, Patrick Mahomes, and the legend of Ryan Fitzmagic.

Coinciding with the monster start for Cousins is the stellar performance of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, two wide receivers targeted in the first three rounds of drafts who have both come through for fantasy owners. Diggs is ranked fourth among wide receivers with 12 catches for 171 yards and three touchdowns, and Thielen is not far behind as the No.8 ranked WR with 29.3 fantasy points through two games.

Both wide receivers and all skill position players on the Vikings for that matter are excellent plays this week against a Bills defense that has been so putrid through the first two games that starting cornerback Vontae Davis abruptly retired during halftime in the Charger game on Sunday. While I think it shows lack of charter for a player to quit on his teammates, Davis’ shocking move is a microcosm into the dumpster fire that is the 2018 Buffalo Bills.

A negative game script is the biggest threat to Vikings skill position players this week, as it is entirely possible that the Minnesota defense may completely stonewall Allen and the Bills, leaving little need for Zimmer to have his starters play the entirety of the game.

On the injury front, Dalvin Cook did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to a hamstring strain and right tackle Rashod Hill sat out with a foot ailment. Cook’s absence in the passing game, should he not be able to play or if the Vikings simply sit their star in what should be an easy win, may lead to more targets for Kyle Rudolph over the middle and Thielen out of the slot. After a disappointing first game with just one reception on two targets, Rudolph was very active in the Green Bay game with seven catches for 72 yards on eight targets.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Two weeks does not provide a large enough sample size to gauge the overall effectiveness of a defensive unit against the run. But when you consider the fact that the Bills finished last season as the worst team in the league in points allowed to opposing running backs and are once again ranked in the bottom three this season in that stat, it is safe to say that starting your running backs against Buffalo is going to be a wise move this year.

Unfortunately for Dalvin Cook owners, capitalizing on this matchup may not be an option if Zimmer and the coaching staff opt to give their second-year back a week off to heal his ailing hamstring. If active, starting Cook is a must regardless of any concerns about game script. Should Cook be inactive, Latavius Murray would be in line for an increased workload and would rise into strong RB2 consideration. Murray was somewhat ineffective against the Packers with four runs for 19 yards, but a workload of 15 to 20 carries at home against the Bills could make the former Raider a sneaky play on Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins (Low-End)
RB1: Dalvin Cook (Low-End)
RB2: Latavius Murray (Low-End) - pending Cook injury
WR1: Stefon Diggs (Low-End)
WR1: Adam Thielen (Low-End)
TE1: Kyle Rudolph (Low-End)

Prediction: Vikings 34, Bills 10 ^ Top

Bengals at Panthers - (Bales)
Line: CAR -3.0
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Bengals are only averaging 247 passing yards per game, but they have also thrown for six touchdowns this season while Dalton is averaging a healthy 35 passing attempts. He gets a matchup against the Carolina Panthers, who dominated the Cowboys, but allowed Matt Ryan to throw for 272 yards and two touchdowns (with two rushing touchdowns) last week. Carolina also ranks in the bottom-five of the NFL in completion percentage, allowing their opponents to complete 73.7% of their passes.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

A.J. Green has found the end zone four times this season, but he has only seen 17 targets through two games. He has recorded each of his touchdowns from the slot, but it’s unknown if Cincinnati will feature him out of the slot even more. Tyler Boyd is the clear number two receiving option last week, posting a 9/161/1 line on 14 targets. John Ross is the third option, but has failed to make an impact early this season, although he does come with boom or bust speed. Tyler Eifert, C.J. Uzomah, and Tyler Kroft have all split targets at tight end, and none of them are safe enough or come with enough upside to warrant consideration. This game is one that could quietly feature more points than expected, and Cincinnati’s offense is one that tends to fly under the radar.

Running Game Thoughts: Unfortunately, Joe Mixon is dealing with a knee injury and won’t be able to suit up in this game. Gio Bernard is expected to take over a larger role at running back, but rookie Mark Walton could steal some of his snaps. Bernard is an all-around back, who can play every down. Last week, he needed only 10 touches to score 8.2 fantasy points. I would expect him to play the majority of the snaps in this game with Walton playing a secondary role. Bernard is an exceptional receiver, and he should have a feature role even if Carolina runs away with this game - which I don’t expect.

Value Meter:
QB2: Andy Dalton
RB2: Giovani Bernard (high-end)
WR1: A.J. Green (high-end)
WR2: Tyler Boyd

Passing Game Thoughts: Cam Newton is a quarterback that always makes a great fantasy option for a number of reasons. Most importantly, he comes with tremendous rushing potential, adding to his floor. Through two games, Newton has run for 100 yards and one touchdown. He also threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns last week. He gets an elite matchup this week, facing off against Cincinnati, who is allowing 332 passing yards per game this season. They have only allowed four passing touchdowns, though, which is a bit of a concern.

The Panthers receivers are far from great, even though they are in a good spot this week. Devin Funchess saw an uptick in targets with Greg Olsen out last week, catching seven of nine passes for 77 yards. He will get a matchup against William Jackson, though, who is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Jarius Wright and Torrey Smith are the next top options, but they are simply boom or bust options in this offense. Ian Thomas is playing tight end with Olsen out, but he simply isn’t seeing enough targets to warrant interest.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Outside of Newton, Christian McCaffrey is the focal point of the Carolina offense. Through two games, he has seen 18 carries with 20 receptions on 24 targets. He has 10 targets more than Funchess, and his lack of carries isn’t concerning with his passing work. McCaffrey has also been a relatively consistent option with tremendous upside without finding the end zone this season. Similarly to the other backs in this article, McCaffrey is a player that can score fantasy points in any type of game script.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton
RB1: Christian McCaffrey
WR2: Devin Funchess (low-end)
Flex: Jarius Wright (low-end)

Prediction: Bengals 31, Panthers 24 ^ Top

Broncos @ Ravens - (Swanson)
Line: BAL: 5.5
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Denver Broncos head to M&T Bank Stadium riding a two-game winning streak to start the season after victories over Seattle and Oakland. Both victories for the Broncos were close games with a margin of victory of three or fewer points, with Case Keenum orchestrating a come from behind victory over the Raiders with 10 fourth-quarter points last week.

From a fantasy perspective, the Keenum era of Denver Broncos football has been less than impressive, as the journeyman quarterback ranks 17th overall with 14.6 fantasy points per game. Keenum’s 329-yard, three touchdown game on opening day was marred by three interceptions and numerous poor decisions with the football. He then failed to throw a passing touchdown against the Raiders, only to somewhat salvage his day with a rushing touchdown and 16 rushing yards on three carries.

Although Keenum has not been very impressive for fantasy owners, his presence has elevated the play of wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. The former enters Week 3 as the No.11 ranked WR with 231 yards and one touchdown, while the latter has 11 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 21 targets.

We would be remised not to mention the breakout performance of undrafted rookie running back Phillip Lindsay and his effect on both the rushing and passing game. The former Colorado Buffalo local product caught two passes for 31 yards and a touchdown opening day against the Seahawks and is currently just six yards behind Matt Breida for the league lead in rushing yards.

After shutting down rookie Josh Allen on a wet opening day game Week 1, the Ravens we torched by Andy Dalton and the Bengals to the tune of 265 passing yards and four passing touchdowns, with A.J. Green securing three of the four Dalton passing TDs. The Bengals found success exploiting the Raven secondary that is without Jimmy Smith for two more games. Brandon Carr is a skilled cornerback but lacks the quickness he once had, and Marlon Humphrey was simply unable to keep up with Green and Tyler Boyd in man coverage. Look for the Broncos to take a page out of the Bengal playbook and target Humphrey on play action passes, assuming the ground attack with Lindsay and Royce Freeman is working.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners and fantasy analysts assumed correctly this summer that the Broncos leading running back would be a rookie and not incumbent Devontae Booker. But very few, myself included, anticipated that undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay, and not third round pick Royce Freeman, would be the leading tailback on the team after two weeks. Lindsay is the first undrafted running back in NFL history to post at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first two career games.

Although Lindsay is smaller than Freeman and projects to be more of a pass catching and change of pace back, he has been exceptional running between and outside the tackles in his first two pro games. Freeman has not been bad, with 99 yards and a rushing touchdown on 23 carries, but Lindsay clearly has more of a bounce to his step and appears to have given the Broncos a shot in the arm.

Both players will play, along with Booker on third down, against a Ravens defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points per game this season. It should be noted that a negative game script in the Buffalo game somewhat skewed Baltimore’s ranking this young season, as LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, and Marcus Murphy were limited to just 16 total carries Week 1.

In 2017, the best way to attack the Ravens defense was on the ground and not the air, with Baltimore ending the year allowing the 11th-most points to opposing running backs. Opposing running backs scored a touchdown in three of the final games of the regular season, including a two-touchdown game against Pittsburgh Week 14.

Value Meter:
QB2: Case Keenum (Low-End)
RB2: Phillip Lindsay (Low-End)
RB3: Royce Freeman (High-End)
WR2: Emmanuel Sanders (High-End)
WR3: Demaryius Thomas (High-End)
TE2: Jake Butt (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Joe Flacco has been a pleasant surprise this season as the No.11 ranked QB with 612 passing yards and five passing touchdowns in his first two games. The addition of a trio of new wide receivers in Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead has given Flacco a nice variation of pass-catching options skilled at exploiting different parts of the defense areas of the field. In addition, Flacco’s trio of tight ends gives him an excellent threat in the middle of the field, and the return of Marshal Yanda at guard has afforded the former Delaware quarterback time to throw the ball.

Flacco’s Week 3 matchup against the Broncos will be arguably his most difficult task to date, although Denver has allowed the 14th-most points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Russell Wilson threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns against Denver Week 1 and Derek Carr completed 90% of his passes for 288 yards and a score last week.

Denver’s defense is good, especially with the outside pass rush of Von Miller, but they are nowhere near the Super Bowl winning team with Peyton Manning. Look for Flacco to test the side of the field opposite of Chris Harris, while also focusing on the middle of the field with his tight ends, as Denver allows the fifth-most points to tight ends in 2018 and ranked as the third-worst against tight ends in 2017.

With a receiving touchdown in each of this first two games with Baltimore, John Brown appears to be the wide receiver to own on the Ravens in 2018. Although technically listed as the No.2 WR on the depth chart, Brown is a skilled deep threat and an underrated route runner. Of the three wide receivers to start this week against Denver, Brown is unquestionably the one to start, with the possibility of a deep touchdown on play action in play.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: Owners who invested a third or fourth round pick in Alex Collins are likely regretting their selection after a pedestrian 16 rushes for 48 yards and one touchdown for the second-year player from Arkansas. Although Collins did manage a rushing touchdown Week 1 against Buffalo, a fumble and negative game script limited him to just seven attempts.

Kenneth Dixon and Buck Allen have been active in the backfield along with Collins, with Allen working in as the goal line and primary receiving back in the Marty Mornhinweg offense. On a bright note for Collins owners, Dixon will be on the shelf for a while with a knee injury, which should open the door for more carries for Collins.

Aside from a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run in which beast mode and the Raiders offensive line bull rushed the entire Denver defense for a scrum touchdown last week, the Broncos have done an excellent job limiting opposing running backs to just 3.6 yards per carry in 2018.

When healthy, guard Marshal Yanda is one of the premier run-blocking guards in the league and his presence in the middle of the Baltimore offensive line is critical to the success of the running game. The matchup between Yanda and nose tackle Domata Peko is one to watch in this game. If Yanda and center Matt Skura can control the middle of the line of scrimmage, Collins should be able to find some running room.

Value Meter:
QB2: Joe Flacco (Low-End)
RB2: Alex Collins (Low-End)
RB3: Javorius Allen (Low-End)
WR3: John Brown (High-End)
WR3: Michael Crabtree (High-End)
TE2: Nick Boyle (Low-End)

Prediction: Ravens 28, Broncos 21 ^ Top

Packers at Redskins - (Katz)
Line: GB -3.0
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers doesn’t need two working knees to be productive, but you kind of wish he had them. Rodgers attempted 42 passes last week and spread the ball around between Davante Adams (8-64-1), Jimmy Graham (6-95) and Geronimo Allison (6-64). The Redskins shut down the woeful Cardinals Week 1 and mostly contained Andrew Luck in Week 2. Luck did get them for two touchdowns, but only threw for 179 yards. The Redskins have allowed their opponents’ top receiver to catch seven balls in back to back games. That bodes well for Adams, who is Rodgers’ clear top target. Rodgers should attempt at least 35 passes so there should be plenty left for Randall Cobb, who is coming off a down game (4-30). Look for the split to flip again as Cobb reestablishes himself as the second option and Graham/Allison take more of a backseat. Regardless, both Graham and Allison have proven they are weekly starting options.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: Jamaal Williams has had a two-game audition to prove he is worthy of the starting job. Suffice it to say, I don’t think he’s going to get the part. Williams has amassed just 106 yards on 31 carries and has been a zero through the air (3-12). Ty Montgomery has been more efficient with 38 yards on seven carries, but it’s the seven carries that’s the problem. Montgomery is seldom used in this offense, including in the passing game where he also has just three receptions through two games. Enter Aaron Jones returning from his two-game suspension and may very well get an opportunity to supplant Williams as the primary early-down back. Jones is the more talented player, but there is still the legitimate concern that Green Bay goes from a two-man backfield to a three-man backfield with none of these players possessing much fantasy value. The Redskins let Jordan Wilkins run for 61 yards on 10 carries last week so the matchup is less than imposing, but the Packers are just a pass first, pass second offense making any of the Packers RBs uninspiring options.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (mid-range)
WR1: Davante Adams (low end)
WR3: Randall Cobb
TE1: Jimmy Graham (low end)
Flex: Geronimo Allison
Bench: Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones

Passing Game Thoughts: The Alex Smith that finished as the overall QB2 last year is long gone. It’s almost like not having Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce as weapons has a negative impact on a quarterback’s production. Smith’s top two receivers have been Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson, who have combined to catch just 13 passes for 133 yards through the first two weeks of the season. Jamison Crowder has been a complete no show, fooling everyone who thought he would mesh will with Smith. Jordan Reed is still this team’s WR1, but he’s had a quiet start to the season with 10-103-1 through two games. The good news is he’s still healthy. The Packers just allowed Kyle Rudolph to go off for 7-72 and in a game where I expect the Redskins to have to throw, Reed could have a big day.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: The leader in targets for the Redskins is not even a wide receiver; its running back Chris Thompson and it’s not even close. Thompson has 21 targets through two games, but the more impressive number is the 19 receptions for 155 yards. Thompson leads the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards through the first two weeks. He played 42% of the snaps in Week 1 and 68% of the snaps Week 2 making him the clear primary back in this offense. Unsurprisingly, Adrian Peterson fell back to earth in Week 2. Against a laughably bad Colts run defense, AP managed just 20 yards on 11 carries. He did chip in with three receptions for 30 yards, but make no mistake, Peterson is done. He will surely have another spike week at some point, but a 33 year-old washed up RB cannot be trusted in fantasy lineups.

The Packers gave up nothing to Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray last week (14-57 combined) and while they struggled against Jordan Howard Week 1 (15-82), Peterson is more Cook/Murray in this scenario than Howard. This is a game that should feature negative game script for the Redskins, resulting in a lot more Thompson than Peterson – just like last week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Alex Smith (low end)
RB2: Chris Thompson (high end in PPR)
TE1: Jordan Reed (mid-range)
Bench: Adrian Peterson, Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson, Josh Doctson

Prediction: Packers 27, Redskins 20 ^ Top

Colts at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: PHI -6.5
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: I think it’s a legitimate question as to whether Andrew Luck ever returns to being an elite quarterback. He certainly hasn’t looked the part through two weeks this season. In Week 1, he threw 1.5 games worth of passes. In Week 2, he threw for just 179 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Luck peppered T.Y. Hilton with 11 targets and he scored his second touchdown in as many games. Even against a strong Eagles secondary, Hilton is a great option. The next man up in the passing game is Jack Doyle. Even though Eric Ebron has scored in each of the first two games, Doyle has run more routes and remains Luck’s preferred option so don’t be fooled into chasing Ebron’s touchdowns. Outside of a fluky 75-yard touchdown to O.J. Howard last week, the Eagles have held opposing tight ends to just five receptions for 45 yards through two games. So Doyle may be the next best option in the Colts passing game, but the reality is its Hilton or bust for fantasy owners. Just be sure to monitor the statuses of both Hilton (quad) and Doyle (hip) as neither had practiced as of Thursday. Hilton claims he is fine, but we know better than to take players at their word on their own health.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: Marlon Mack returned last week and played just 30% of the snaps. He was involved early, but then gave way to Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines. We found after the game that Mack is still working his way into game shape and this was done to not gas him. Mack should see increased usage going forward because Wilkins is slow and largely ineffective despite his 10-61 line and Hines is purely a pass catcher. However, we can’t know for sure when Mack will assume more than a 50% opportunity share and against the Eagles front-seven, I won’t gamble that it’s this week. The presence of Mack vaporizes any value for Wilkins or Hines, making this an undesirable fantasy situation. Throwing an additional wrench into the fold is the fact that Mack (foot, hamstring) missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday. With the Eagles being the number one run defense in the league through the first two weeks of the season, allowing just 2.9 yards per carry, even if Mack sits, neither Wilkins nor Hines has any serious upside.

Value Meter:
QB2: Andrew Luck (mid-range)
WR2: T.Y. Hilton (high end)
TE1: Jack Doyle (low end)
Bench: Chester Rogers, Ryan Grant, Eric Ebron, Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines

Passing Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz returns this week, rendering any information we may have been able to glean from the first two weeks largely irrelevant. I don’t think the Eagles passing offense can be much worse, but it is fair to wonder if it won’t take a couple games for Wentz to get back into the swing of things. This is his first real game action since tearing his ACL so he may be a bit tentative and struggle with accuracy. The good news is Wentz is walking into a great matchup against one of the worst secondaries in the league. The bad news is the Eagles may be able to control this game on the ground and mostly hide Wentz while he re-acclimates to playing football.

Even with Wentz at less than 100 percent, Nelson Agholor has come a long way from the guy I said shouldn’t be in the NFL back in 2016. Agholor has seen 22 targets over the first two games and Wentz should lean on him just as much. The Eagles did sign Jordan Matthews this week and are expected to insert him directly into the slot, pushing Agholor to the outside. It remains to be seen how that will impact his performance. Any concerns over Dallas Goedert eating into Zach Ertz’s value have been put to rest. Ertz leads the team with 23 targets and we know he and Wentz have an established rapport from last season. Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) returned to a limited practice this week, but I wouldn’t trust him even if he plays.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: The Eagles are still employing a rotating backfield, but the rotation may be thinner as Jay Ajayi went down with a back injury last week. Corey Clement will be the “main” back this week if both Ajayi and Darren Sproles miss. He won’t be a feature back because Doug Pederson doesn’t do that so Wendell Smallwood will undoubtedly see a decent share of the work while UDFA Josh Adams, recently signed from the practice squad, will mix in as well and hopefully make enough of an impact to carve out a role. The Colts were pasted on the ground by Joe Mixon (17-95-1) in Week 1 and the Eagles have one of the league’s premier offensive lines. Clement should see 12-15 touches and has legitimate upside this week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Carson Wentz (high end, wait and see if possible)
RB2: Corey Clement (low end)
WR2: Nelson Agholor (mid-range)
TE1: Zach Ertz (high end)
Bench: Alshon Jeffery, Jay Ajayi (back), Darren Sproles, Jordan Matthews

Prediction: Eagles 24, Colts 16 ^ Top

Saints at Falcons - (Bales)
Line: ATL -3.0
Total: 53.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Drew Brees has found plenty of success through two weeks, as he’s averaging 341 passing yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. He’ll be traveling to Atlanta for this game, but Brees has struggled at times on the road throughout his career, averaging 2.3 touchdowns per game at home, but only 1.7 touchdowns per game on the road. It should be noted that the Saints are averaging 40 pass attempts per game compared to only 28 rush attempts this season. Atlanta has historically been a better team at home, meaning New Orleans could be forced to throw the ball 35+ times again this week.

Atlanta is only allowing 219 passing yards per game, but those numbers are a bit skewed because of their matchups against the Eagles and Panthers, who are far from elite passing teams. Michael Thomas is the focal point of New Orleans passing offense, as he owns a 38% target share and has turned those 30 targets into 28 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Ted Ginn Jr. and Ben Watson are the other two options in the passing attack but they have only seen 13 and nine targets respectively. Ginn’s big play ability makes him a boom or bust option. Sean Payton recently stated that Tre’Quan Smith needs more touches, but he has seen only two targets this season, and it’s unlikely that number increases by a large amount this week.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara has been the featured running back for New Orleans, as he has totaled 58.3% of their carries. He gets a matchup against Atlanta, who is allowing 5.2 yards per rush attempt, which ranks in the bottom-three of the NFL. Kamara also ranks second on the team in targets (18), while turning those into a 15/165/1 receiving line. Mike Gillislee is the only other running back of note, but he’s averaging only 5.5 rush attempts per game without seeing any targets. This game should feature a plethora of points, and Kamara is an option that can find the end zone multiple ways, saving himself from any poor game script situations.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees (high-end)
RB1: Alvin Kamara (elite)
WR1: Michael Thomas (elite)
TE2: Ben Watson (low-end)

Passing Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan is known for being a better option at home, and he scored 31.7 fantasy points in his first home game this season. He gets an elite matchup this weekend against the Saints, who are allowing 326 passing yards per game this season. That ranks fourth last in the NFL, and they have also allowed five passing touchdowns. Atlanta is a better team at home, which is a bit worrisome for game script, but it’s difficult to believe Atlanta will take their foot off the peddle during this game.

Julio Jones owns a 41.8% target share this season, and he’s the only player on the Falcons with double digit targets. He’ll be shadowed by Marshon Lattimore, who is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. With that being said, Mike Evans found plenty of success against Lattimore in the first game this season and Jones is more than capable of winning this matchup. Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley are seemingly splitting targets, limiting both of their upside while Austin Hooper is second on the team with nine targets, totaling eight receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown. Hooper is nothing more than a risky tight end option.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: Devonta Freeman was expected to miss multiple weeks, but there are rumors suggesting he can play this week. However, that’s highly unlikely after he missed Thursday’s practice. Instead, Tevin Coleman should play the majority of the running back snaps. In his last game without Freeman, Coleman totaled 125 yards on 20 touches, but failed to find the end zone. New Orleans is also allowing 102.5 rushing yards per game, and Coleman is another running back that has multiple ways to find success, regardless of the way this game plays out.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (low-end)
RB2: Tevin Coleman (high-end)
WR1: Julio Jones (mid-range)
TE2: Austin Hooper (boom or bust)

Prediction: Falcons 31, Saints 27 ^ Top

Giants at Texans - (Bales)
Line: HOU -6.0
Total: 42.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Eli Manning has been extremely unproductive this season, but it hasn’t necessarily been his fault. The New York Giants feature one of the worst lines in the NFL, leaving very little Manning can do. He gets a matchup this week against the Houston Texans, who are allowing only 225 passing yards per game. It’s highly unlikely that Manning will have time to throw downfield, meaning he should struggle once again.

Odell Beckham Jr. dominated an elite Jacksonville defense the first week, but cooled down last week against the Cowboys (4-51). As mentioned above, the Giants offense has very little time to throw the ball, limiting Beckham’s upside. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram are the other two top options in the Giants receiving group, but they are in a similar situation as Beckham. This is an extremely high upside receiving group, but it’s impossible to trust them with this line.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley has shown flashes early this season, scoring 20+ PPR fantasy points in each of his first two games. His numbers were a bit skewed against Jacksonville, as he had a 60+ yard touchdown run. He only ran for 28 yards last week, but caught 14 of 16 targets for 80 yards. It’s clear the Giants want to quickly dump the ball off to Barkley, raising his floor. He’s one of the safer options in this offense.

Value Meter:
RB1: Saquon Barkley (low-end)
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr. (low-end)
TE2: Evan Engram
Flex: Sterling Shepard (low-end)

Passing Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson struggled in his first start with pressure, but that wasn’t the case last week. Watson threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans. He gets a matchup against the New York Giants, who are only allowing 164 passing yards per game this season, but have played two run heavy offenses (JAC, DAL). Watson has run for 40+ yards in each of his games this season.

DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are the top receiving options for the Texans, as they combined for 62.5% of the targets last week. In Week 1, Fuller was injured and Hopkins saw 11 targets against the Patriots. Hopkins and Fuller turned the 20 targets last week into 14 receptions for 223 yards and two touchdowns. It shows that both players can produce, although Houston is currently a -6 point favorite, and they may not need to throw late into the game. There aren’t any other passing options on this team, especially in a matchup where the Texans should be playing from ahead.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Lamar Miller has handled 56.7% of Houston’s carries this season, totaling 166 yards through two games. He saw 20 carries in his first game, and could see north of 20 carries if Houston gets an early lead in this game. Alfred Blue has stolen some of his work, but not enough to be considered in any leagues. Miller is still the workhorse running back, who is also seeing some passing work. Based on the Vegas line, Miller should be in line for plenty of work against Giants defense that is allowing their opponents to run for 5.2 yards per rushing attempt.

Value Meter:
QB2: Deshaun Watson (high-end)
RB2: Lamar Miller (mid-range)
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
WR2: Will Fuller

Prediction: Texans 28, Giants 17 ^ Top

Raiders at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: MIA -3.0
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Call off the search party. We’ve found Amari Cooper! After a dismal opening performance, Cooper gave fantasy owners a sigh of relief with a 10-116 outing against the Broncos. This week, he’ll match up against Xavien Howard for most of the game if he plays the outside. The Dolphins proved vulnerable to the slot as Quincy Enunwa (7-92) ate them up underneath last week. Jordy Nelson ran 52% of his routes from the slot in Week 2, but only saw four targets. I think Gruden was blowing smoke when talking about Nelson this offseason and given Nelson’s slow start, his time in the slot may not matter much this week. Cooper owners would prefer he see more slot work to avoid Howard. Regardless of who plays the slot, you cannot trust Derek Carr, even after a game where he threw just three incompletions. Jared Cook came back down to earth last week with four catches for 49 yards. That’s still a useful TE line, but anyone expecting a Week 1 repeat was fooling themselves. Martavis Bryant returned, but only played 40% of the snaps. He is off the fantasy radar.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: This is the Marshawn Lynch show. He touched the ball 20 times and fell into the end zone to provide solid RB2 value last week. That’s what Lynch is – a touchdown dependent RB2. The bad news is his volume is game script dependent. The good news is you know he’s getting the ball at the goal line. That will remain the same this week in a game that should remain competitive throughout. Doug Martin is next in line for backfield touches, but doesn’t see enough volume to warrant fantasy consideration. Ditto for Jalen Richard unless the gamescript gets away from the Raiders. The Dolphins gave up 35 receiving yards to Dion Lewis in Week 1 and 74 yards and a TD to Bilal Powell in Week 2.

Value Meter:
QB2: Derek Carr (low end)
RB2: Marshawn Lynch (low end)
WR2: Amari Cooper (low end)
TE1: Jared Cook (low end)
Bench: Jordy Nelson

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill has now thrown two touchdowns in consecutive games to start the season. Unfortunately, he’s on such a low volume passing offense (51 attempts through two games) and a team that isn’t good enough offensively to justify starting him. Volume isn’t all that important for quarterbacks as long as they are throwing touchdowns, but the Dolphins are a bottom half of the league offense so you cannot be confident they’ll be in a position to score on any sort of consistent basis. When he does throw, lacking a true number one receiver, he just spreads the ball around. Last week, no Dolphin saw more than five targets nor had more than four receptions. Albert Wilson and A.J. Derby scored the touchdowns, but neither is a reliable fantasy option. Kenny Stills is a deep man and Jakeem Grant can’t be trusted…yet. DeVante Parker might return after being inactive last week. The Raiders held Case Keenum to 222 scoreless yards last week and Ryan Tannehill isn’t much better than Keenum, if at all. There’s just nothing exciting about the Dolphins passing game.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: The good news for Kenyan Drake owners is he’s the clear goal line back. He punched in a six-yard score last week. The bad news is he’s in a 60-40 split with Frank Gore as that was literally the snap count share last week. Drake handled 11 carries to Gore’s nine. Last week, Drake was more efficient with 53 yards against Gore’s 25 and Drake also caught four passes, but without workhorse volume, Drake is nothing more than an RB2 at best. Through two games, the Raiders are giving up a league worst 5.7 yards per carry. Drake could be in line for his best game of the young season if the Dolphins are able to play from in front.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ryan Tannehill (low end)
RB2: Kenyan Drake (mid-range)
Bench: Frank Gore, Albert Wilson, Danny Amendola, Kenny Stills, Jakeem Grant, Mike Gesicki

Prediction: Dolphins 23, Raiders 19 ^ Top

49ers at Chiefs - (Caron)
Line: KC -6.5
Total: 55.0

Passing Game Thoughts: One of the hottest quarterbacks heading into 2018, Jimmy Garoppolo struggled of the gate this season, with a very difficult road matchup against the Vikings in Week 1 in which he threw three interceptions. Without rushing skills to fall back on, difficult matchups like that can lead to some ugly fantasy days, but Garoppolo bounced back in Week 2 with a solid performance against the Lions and he’ll now face one of the weakest secondaries in the league as the 49ers head to Kansas City to face the Chiefs.

The Chiefs have already given up an astonishing 876 yards and six touchdowns in two games, with the Chargers and Steelers combining for 111 pass attempts against them over the first two weeks of the season. With the KC offense clicking at the pace it has been, it would make sense that the 49ers could be in line to become the third straight quarterback to attempt 50 passes against the Chiefs. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin could be back this week which would help the passing game as a whole, but he’s still dealing with a thigh injury that might not allow him to be at full strength. Pierre Garcon likely will continue to fit in as the top target in the passing game this week but he’s only been targeted 11 times through two contests, so he’ll need to see a significant uptick in targets to produce WR1 fantasy numbers.

The player to watch in this matchup is tight end George Kittle who leads the team with 13 targets through two contests, which he has caught seven of for 112 yards. Kittle hasn’t made a trip to the end zone yet but facing a defense that just gave up eight catches for 164 yards and a touchdown to the tight end position a week ago against the Steelers, Kittle looks like a nice potential boom play in Week 3.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: The San Francisco backfield continues to be a committee situation but the separation of physical talent was certainly on display in Week 2 as Matt Breida blew up with a big game against the Lions while Alfred Morris was his usual plodding self, rushing for fewer than 4.0 yards per carry for the second straight game. With Morris’ usage in the passing game being practically nonexistent, it just makes sense for the 49ers to lean more heavily on Breida in the coming weeks, but we might not see that come to fruition on the field quite yet. For now, we have to approach this situation as roughly a 50-50 split which isn’t ideal for fantasy purposes, but Breida’s explosiveness does make him a viable fantasy option against a Chiefs defense that has been awful as a whole so far in 2018, giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs through the first two weeks of the season.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jimmy Garoppolo
RB2: Matt Breida
TE1: George Kittle
Flex: Alfred Morris (standard scoring), Pierre Garcon
Bench: Kyle Juszczyk, Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor

Passing Game Thoughts: There were supposed to be growing pains. There was supposed to be regression for the Kansas City offense. There was no way that Patrick Mahomes could even come close to what Alex Smith did during his MVP-level season in 2017.


Through two weeks, no player in the entire world of fantasy football has exceeded expectations more than Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes’ absurd 10 touchdown passes are reminiscent of the numbers he put up in the Air Raid offense at Texas Tech. Sure, some regression is practically inevitable, but the one thing we’ve learned is that the Kansas City offense is absolutely loaded and it will be very difficult to slow them down this season as long as the key players remain healthy. Mahomes’ favorite targets in the passing game are the same as Smith’s from a season ago, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, who continue to be set-and-forget top options at their position, but even KC newcomer Sammy Watkins had a huge game against the Steelers in Week 2, catching six passes for 100 yards.

The 49ers have already given up nearly 600 passing yards and five passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks while forcing no interceptions, which all contributes to making Mahomes and his weapons some of the strongest plays in Week 3. Roll out Mahomes, Kelce and Hill with confidence as some of the top players at their positions while Watkins is an interesting Flex play in what should be a high scoring contest.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: The Kansas City passing game has been absolutely dominating early this season and that has certainly hurt Kareem Hunt’s fantasy production, but he’s still a player who should be started as a solid option in almost all formats. Hunt has touched the ball 35 times through two games and there’s little reason to believe that will change anytime soon. Preseason concerns about Spencer Ware’s potential role in the offense look to be false advertising and Hunt is still clearly the workhorse back in Kansas City.

The biggest concern for Hunt owners right now is that he has been a very minimal contributor as a receiver, despite some monster performances from the Chiefs passing game. Thankfully he’ll get an opportunity in Week 3 to play against a San Francisco defense that has already conceded a shocking 21 receptions to opposing running backs, which is second-most by defense in football. We may need to reassess Hunt as an RB1 if he continues to be an afterthought in the passing game but for now he’s in what should be a good matchup against a bad defense and his usage remains high enough that he’s a mid-level RB1.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
RB1: Kareem Hunt
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce
Flex: Sammy Watkins
Bench: Spencer Ware, Chris Conley, De’Anthony Thomas

Prediction: Chiefs 34, 49ers 28 ^ Top

Titans at Jaguars - (Bales)
Line: Off
Total: Off

Passing Game Thoughts: Marcus Mariota (elbow) is still questionable, and Blaine Gabbert simply isn’t a good NFL quarterback. Jacksonville owns arguably the best passing defense in the NFL, and this isn’t a matchup to use either quarterback in, especially after Gabbert only threw the ball 20 times last week, while Tennessee ran the ball 32 times.

Corey Davis is the clear-cut number one receiver for the Titans, as he is the only player with double digit targets. He’s also averaging a healthy 10 targets per game, although this is not a matchup you can trust him in. The next healthy receiver (Tajae Sharpe) has five targets this season, and you can expected limited opportunities in the passing game once again. The only other thing to consider is that Jacksonville should be leading for the majority of the game, meaning Tennessee should be throwing the ball late.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry are essentially splitting snaps for the Titans. If Mariota is ruled out again, they will continue to see a major chunk of the offensive production this week. Overall, Lewis is averaging 18 touches per game, while Henry is averaging only 14 touches. Of the two, Lewis is the better option, as he will likely benefit from the negative game script. Lewis is seen as the passing down back, although he also plays early downs. It will be difficult for Henry to hit value outside of a touchdown in this game, and Tennessee will likely struggle to score points against this defense.

Value Meter:
RB2: Dion Lewis (low-end)
Bench: Marcus Mariota, Blaine Gabbert, Derrick Henry, Corey Davis

Passing Game Thoughts: Blake Bortles proved that he can take over a game if needed, as he threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns against the Patriots last week. He generally is not needed, though, and it’s tough to believe he will be against the Titans this week. The Titans are allowed 256 passing yards per game, but that has been in two relatively close games. The Jags likely will not need to throw that often this week.

The Jaguars receiving group is a bit difficult to predict, as they have four players with 10+ targets, but none with 15 targets. Keelan Cole is the best option, as he posted a 7/116/1 line against the Patriots last week. Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins all caught touchdowns last week, as well. Overall, expectations for this group need to be tempered, as it’s much more likely that Bortles throws for closer to 30 attempts (Week 1) than 45 (last week), especially if Leonard Fournette returns.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette has been limited in practice this week, but he’s expected to play. He saw 12 touches in Jacksonville’s first game before leaving with a hamstring injury in the first quarter. He was also playing a role in the passing attack. The only concern is that Jacksonville gets out to an early lead, and they rest Fournette because of his injury. T.J. Yeldon (ankle) and Corey Grant are two players that are being featured in the passing game, but they will likely play reserve roles if Fournette is healthy. Furthermore, Tennessee is allowing 4.9 yards per rush attempt, and Jacksonville should rely heavily on the run this week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Blake Bortles (low-end)
RB2: Leonard Fournette (high-end, if healthy)
WR2: Keelan Cole
TE2: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (if healthy)
Flex: Dede Westbrook

Prediction: Jaguars 24, Titans 9 ^ Top

Chargers at Rams - (Caron)
Line: LAR -7.0
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The first head-to-head matchup of the two new Los Angeles franchises features the Chargers going “on the road” to face the Rams in what could be the game of the week. Chargers’ Philip Rivers has come out of the gate strong, throwing three touchdowns in each of his first two contests with only one total interception, adding 680 passing yards to go along with those already impressive numbers. Rivers has found a weapon out of the backfield in Melvin Gordon while also continuing to feed the ball to top wideout Keenan Allen, but he’s also spreading the ball around the field in an impressive fashion. The Chargers have six different pass catchers who have caught at least five passes through the first two games, including second-year receiver Mike Williams who seems to be coming into his own and may soon establish himself as the clear second target in the Chargers wide receiver group. Tyrell Williams has actually out-snapped Mike Williams through the first two games but the younger Williams has seen more targets and been more productive with those targets. Both are likely to vulture targets from one another for the time being, but there’s little question that the Chargers hope to see their 2017 first round pick continue to develop on the field.

Unfortunately the Chargers do face a difficult Week 3 matchup against the Rams who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks through the first two games of the season. Of course, the QBs they’ve faced, Derek Carr and Sam Bradford, are not on the level of Rivers, but there’s still a decent possibility that Rivers and the Chargers passing game will be slowed down significantly in this matchup. We’re still rolling out Keenan Allen, but the other members of the passing game - including Rivers himself - probably can be left on many fantasy benches this week.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: He’s only touched the ball 24 times for 92 yards on the ground through two games, but preseason notes from reporters that the Chargers planned to use Melvin Gordon more in the passing game this season appear to be true. Gordon has already caught a ridiculous 15 passes through two games, putting him firmly in the top five at the position in that category. While there’s almost no way that he continues to catch this many passes, Gordon’s overall usage is encouraging and makes him a strong RB1 in practically any matchup, including against a solid Rams defense.

It’s obvious that we’re starting Gordon this week, but the other member of the Chargers backfield that has fantasy owners interested is Austin Ekeler. A talented pass-catching option, Ekeler has already touched the ball 24 times through two contests despite Gordon’s high usage, and he’s averaging over nine yards per touch. Ekeler won’t be supplanting Gordon as the Chargers’ lead back anytime soon but there’s no reason to believe that the team is suddenly going to completely go away from him, either. He appears to be here to stay and that might actually be a good thing both for the Los Angeles offense as well as the long-term health of Gordon. He’s only a deep PPR Flex sleeper at this point, but Ekeler is a player who should be owned in most leagues and started by owners who are in a pinch with their running backs.

Value Meter:
RB1: Melvin Gordon
WR2: Keenan Allen (high-end)
Flex: Austin Ekeler (PPR only)
Bench: Philip Rivers, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Antonio Gates, Virgil Green

Passing Game Thoughts: He’s only thrown three touchdowns through his first two games, but Rams quarterback Jared Goff continues to run one of the league’s most efficient offenses. His targets have been consolidated almost exclusively between four players, including running back Todd Gurley, which has helped make all three of his top wide receivers into fantasy-relevant players. The best of the bunch so far has been newcomer Brandin Cooks who leads the team in catches (12) and yards (246). While he’s yet to get into the end zone, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before he beats a defense deep. This week he faces a Chargers secondary that is considered to be talented but was absolutely obliterated by Tyreek Hill back in Week 1. Cooks is a great WR2 with top five upside this week while Cupp and Woods are reliable WR3/Flex plays in what could end up being an offensive shootout.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley barely cracked the 2.0 yards per carry mark in Week 2 against the Cardinals, but his three touchdowns certainly put a smile on fantasy owners faces as he makes his case to be the fantasy football MVP again in 2018. The Chargers are a solid run defense but there really aren’t any defenses in the league that would keep Gurley out of being ranked as a solid RB1. The usage in both the running and the passing game, particularly at the goal line, make Gurley one of the highest floor players in all of fantasy football while also giving him the elite upside that could make him the top scorer on the board in any given week.

Backup running back Malcolm Brown had a surprisingly high number of touches in Week 2, but much of that came well into the game after Gurley had been removed from the contest. Gurley was dealing with some minor cramping and the Rams were up multiple scores with the game well in hand, so it made sense for LA to preserve their prized back. Don’t expect that to happen in most games, especially here in Week 2 in a game that is likely to see quite a few points scored by both teams.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff (low-end)
RB1: Todd Gurley
WR2: Brandin Cooks
Flex: Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods
Bench: Jared Goff, Tyler Higbee, Malcolm Brown

Prediction: Rams 31, Chargers 27 ^ Top

Bears at Cardinals - (Caron)
Line: CHI -5.0
Total: 38.0

Passing Game Thoughts: It hasn’t been a particularly great start to the fantasy season for Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago passing game, but there have been signs of life for this once stagnant offense. Allen Robinson seems to be re-establishing himself as the target monster that made him one of the best fantasy football wide receivers back in 2015 and Trey Burton got into the endzone for the first time as a member of the Bears this past week. Burton, rookie Anthony Miller and the other member of this passing game are yet to truly break out so far this season but they’re doing a decent enough job of giving Trubisky some other options to throw to in the passing game.

He does get a decent matchup here in Week 3 against a weak Arizona defense that has already given up over 600 yards passing through two games. Trubisky is still a low-end QB2 option, but his under-the-radar rushing ability does give him some upside. Robinson would typically be ranked a bit higher but he’s a low-end WR2 this week in what could be a difficult matchup if the Cardinals opt to shadow him with cornerback Patrick Peterson.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: Chicago running back Jordan Howard has been known as one of the top between-the-tackles grinders in the league so far in his young career, but he’s actually off to a bit of a slow start on the ground in 2018. Howard has averaged just barely over 4.0 yards per carry and he hasn’t yet strolled into the endzone. However, what should have fantasy owners double-checking the box score is his surprisingly high usage in the passing game. Howard caught just 52 total passes through the first 32 regular season games of his NFL career, but he’s already caught eight passes through the first two games of 2018, putting him on a pace for 64 receptions this season. Certainly Howard is not going to be the team’s primary pass-catching back - that role should eventually lean back toward Tarik Cohen - but the uptick in passing game usage has helped Howard remain a decent enough fantasy option even though he’s struggled a bit on the ground. This week he’ll get one of the best on-paper matchups possible as he goes up against an Arizona defense that has given up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season.

Howard is a viable low-end RB1 play in both standard and PPR formats this week, but Cohen should probably remain on your bench until we see more usage from him or at least a matchup that the Bears are likely to fall behind in and thus need to rely more on their passing game.

Value Meter:
RB1: Jordan Howard
WR2: Allen Robinson
TE1: Trey Burton (low-end)
Bench: Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel

Passing Game Thoughts: After an embarrassing blowout, shutout loss to the Rams in Week 2, it’s now time to start seriously worrying about the entire Arizona offense. We expected them to struggle, we expected them to lose, but we didn’t expect them to look completely helpless on offense. Head coach Steve Wilks confirmed this week that Sam Bradford will start again for the Cardinals this week, but if he struggles again, there’s plenty of reason to believe that the team could give rookie Josh Rosen a chance. That makes playing Bradford a serious risk even in two-quarterback formats.

The only player to even consider in this passing game at the moment is wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald who himself is currently dealing with a hamstring injury that has limited him in practice. Fitzgerald hasn’t produced many fantasy points yet this season but he’s caught 10 passes on 15 targets and should continue to be the lead pass catcher in this offense. It remains to be seen how valuable that will be, but for now he’s still worthy of a low-end WR2 start in PPR formats.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: Running back David Johnson was a consensus top five overall pick in fantasy drafts this offseason but fantasy owners are feeling very panicked after two awful games from their first round pick. Johnson himself hasn’t looked particularly poor, but the Cardinals offense has been so bad that he just hasn’t been given many opportunities. It’s hard to get much going as a runner when your team is getting blown out by a total score of 58-to-6 over its first two games.

But look, those games are in the past. We now realize that the Arizona offense is probably not good enough to make Johnson a fantasy MVP candidate, but the usage rates should still be good enough that he produces some quality fantasy production this season. He’s been given 28 total touches in two games and that number figures to go up in games where the Cardinals are at least able to stay relatively close on the scoreboard. That seems at least more likely to happen this week as the Bears offense hasn’t been great so far this season. The Chicago defense has been quite good, though, so high touch totals still might not lead to great production for Johnson if he’s unable to get into the end zone. Still, despite the early season worries, Johnson should still be in your lineup for now.

Value Meter:
RB1: David Johnson (low-end)
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald
Bench: Sam Bradford, Chase Edmonds, Christian Kirk, Ricky Seals-Jones

Prediction: Bears 24, Cardinals 17 ^ Top

Cowboys at Seahawks - (Caron)
Line: SEA -1.5
Total: 41.0

Passing Game Thoughts: In game with one of the lowest implied point totals for the week, the Dallas Cowboys head to Seattle to face the Seahawks in what is expected to be mostly a defensive battle. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has been unable to establish much chemistry with any of his pass catchers which has led to some weak fantasy days from him so far this season despite the fact that he’s yet to throw an interception. He still has some rushing ability which does give him a decently high floor as we saw this past week when he ran for 45 yards against the Giants, but Prescott’s ceiling as a passer appears to be about as low as any QB in the league at the moment. The Cowboys simply have no high-level pass catching options in their offense. Not a single Dallas receiver has double-digit receptions and only one (Cole Beasley) has more than 10 total targets through the first two games of the season. The Cowboys remain a run-first, ball control offense despite being without center Travis Frederick and that is unlikely to change. They’ve run the second-fewest offensive plays in the league so far this season and until that changes, the Cowboys passing game is one to avoid for fantasy purposes.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: We had concerns that Ezekiel Elliott would suffer the same fate that David Johnson has dealt with early in the season by playing in a low-powered offense, but Elliott just continues to be one of the elite fantasy players in the league. Elliott has scored a rushing touchdown in each of his first two games of the season but he’s also been targeted 10 times in the passing game. He’s caught eight of those for only 26 yards, but he has such a reliable workload that it seems almost inconceivable that he’d get fewer than 15 touches in any game this season as long as he’s healthy. That type of usage alone, even in tough matchups, makes Elliott a solid fantasy RB1. The Seahawks haven’t conceded a rushing touchdown yet this season, but there’s a good chance that changes this week against Elliott and the Cowboys.

Value Meter:
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott
Bench: Dak Prescott, Tavon Austin, Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, Deonte Thompson, Rico Gathers

Passing Game Thoughts: The criticisms of the Seattle offensive line are valid, but it’s getting to the point that it might be time to start looking at the quarterback position with a bit more of a critical eye as well. Russell Wilson has historically started off slow in a number of seasons throughout his career, but the disappointing play we saw from him against the Bears in Week 2 is seriously concerning. Sure, he’s still without his top receiver in Doug Baldwin, but Wilson looked completely lost at times as a passer and worse yet, he’s simply not using his legs like he has in the past. Wilson finished second among all quarterbacks with 586 rushing yards in 2017, which helped him become the highest-scoring player at the position. This season, he’s run the ball just five times for 24 yards through two games. Rushing yardage, particularly for quarterbacks, can often be game script-dependent and can also come in chunks, but for Wilson owners, it’s becoming a major concern that he’s not buoying his fantasy production with his legs.

It’s not all terrible for Wilson as he’s still been a mid-level QB2 through two games, but the problem is that we haven’t seen much that gives us much belief that it will get significantly better, at least until Baldwin is back on the field. Baldwin is still likely a few weeks from getting back, so for now we need to temper our expectations for Wilson, especially against a front-seven like Dallas’ that is capable of getting after the quarterback. The Cowboys have only given up one passing touchdown through their first two games and their defense has so far lived up to the billing of being much-improved this season.

Veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall currently leads the team with nine receptions, but he’s third on the team in receiving yardage. He’s playing just two-thirds of Seattle’s offensive snaps while Tyler Lockett has been on the field for almost every play so far this season. Lockett has just eight receptions so far but he’s scored in both games. Make no mistake about it - for now, Lockett is Seattle’s WR1 and is really the only pass catcher in this offense who has anything other than very deep league value. Yes, tight end Will Dissly has also scored in each game, but he’s a player that seems almost guaranteed for regression as he was not a productive pass catcher at the college level and he’s at best the third option in the Seattle passing game. You could do worse at tight end, but he’s a mid-level fantasy TE2 unless we see him continue to produce.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: It’s true that Chris Carson continues to be the “starting” running back in Seattle, but what does that really mean for fantasy purposes? Through two games, the answer appears to be pretty simple - not much. Carson has carried the ball just 13 times, caught just three passes and has failed to get into the end zone. While his yards per carry are so far substantially higher than his rookie teammate Rashaad Penny, it has been Penny who has out-touched Carson by a total of 21 to 16 through two contests. Projecting which way this backfield will go - if either way - is anyone’s guess, but the truth is that the Seattle offensive line, and the offense as whole, is simply not good enough to give either of these backs the opportunity to be a consistent fantasy producer as long as they’re stealing touches from one another.

With neither player being much of an asset in the passing game, a matchup against the Cowboys defense that just held the Giants and Panthers backfields to a combined 117 rushing yards through two weeks does not look appetizing for either Carson or Penny. If you have to play one, it should probably be Carson as he’s shown a bit more juice on his touches so far, but avoiding this situation entirely seems like a much better option.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson (low-end)
Flex: Tyler Lockett
Bench: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise, Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown, Will Dissly

Prediction: Cowboys 20, Seahawks 17 ^ Top

Patriots @ Lions - (Swanson)
Line: NE -7.0
Total: 53.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Patriots made a splash this week by trading a conditional fifth-round pick to the Browns for wide receiver Josh Gordon. The jury is still out on whether or not the embattled young star will be a fit in a rigid team environment like the Patriots. Not only will Gordon be expected to be on time to meetings and accountable, but the New England offense is also notoriously complex and difficult to master.

Gordon will likely be active for the game against Detroit this week and could see the field in certain packages to provide Tom Brady a missing downfield threat. But it is unclear just how many snaps Flash will play or if he will be used much at all after just joining the team.

Brady may not need much help defeating the Lions, a defense that has been overmatched in two losses against the Jets and the 49ers, allowing their opponents to score on just over half of all offensive possessions. In addition to failing to get sufficient pressure on the quarterback, the Lions defensive front displayed poor gap discipline against the 49ers and Jets, allowing multiple long scoring plays.

A positive note for the Detroit defense is the fact that they have allowed only fifth-fewest passing yards (404) and only four passing touchdowns. The bad news is those stats are skewed by gaudy rushing numbers allowed and the fact that their special teams have allowed big plays and negative game scripts afforded opponents the ability to lean on the run. To make matters worse for the Lions, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be out to beat their former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia in what could be an ugly game for Detroit.

Patricia will likely employ a similar bracket coverage scheme that Jacksonville used last week to look to take away Rob Gronkowski. Look for Brady to respond with more targets to Hogan on the outside and James White out of the backfield, while also placing a heavy focus on running the ball against the league’s fourth-worst run defense. Look for New England to also target cornerback Darius Slay’s replacement outside if Slay is unable to play due to a concussion.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: The Patriots are one of nine teams in the NFL that has yet to score a rushing touchdown in the first two games of the season. That is a surprising stat considering that New England finished as a top-5 team in points scored by running backs in each of the past four seasons. Look for that to change this week as the Patriots will likely take advantage of a Lions defense that allowed long touchdown runs to Isaiah Crowell Week 1 and Matt Breida last week in San Francisco.

The million dollar question is which Patriot will be the beneficiary of the great matchup against the Lions, as Sony Michel, the team’s first-round pick this summer out of The University of Georgia, is now in the mix after missing the first game with a knee injury. Rex Burkhead and Michel played in 15 and 13 snaps respectively last week against the Jaguars, with pass-catching scat-bat James White playing on a team-high 34 snaps.

The play distribution in this game will likely be significantly different than how things played out in Jacksonville, as the Patriots were quickly behind and playing catch up with a 14-0 deficit. An inverse game script is likely in this game, and more touches for both Michel and Burkhead are likely in store.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady( Mid-Range)
RB2: Rex Burkhead (Low-End)
RB3: Sony Michel (High-End)
RB3: James White (High-End)
WR2: Chris Hogan (Low-End)
WR4: Josh Gordon (Low-End)
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (Elite)

Passing Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford appeared to be in a funk for the entire game against the Jets and the first half of game two against the San Francisco 49ers, with questionable throws after questionable throws as his team lost their first two games. Stafford finally started to get his confidence back midway through the Week 2 game at Levis Stadium and torched the 49ers for 347 yards and three passing touchdowns, nearly bringing the Lions back for a late come-from-behind victory.

Stafford will look to build upon that solid second-half performance this week against a Patriots defense that has allowed the eighth-most points to opposing quarterbacks this season, including a four-touchdown game by Blake Bortles last week in Jacksonville. Outside of Stephon Gilmore, New England does not have a player in the secondary that the Lions should avoid in their offensive scheme, and starting safety Patrick Chung did not practice on Thursday and is likely out again this week with a concussion.

The Lions boast three wide receivers who are startable assets in Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, and Kenny Golladay, giving Stafford more than enough firepower to attack the sub-par New England secondary. No longer just a deep threat, Golladay has 13 catches for 203 yards and one touchdown on 21 targets, making the second-year player a nice WR3 option with WR2 upside in all formats. Tate and Jones continue to have excellent value as well, with Tate leading the team in targets with 28 and Jones adding 108 yards and a touchdown through two games.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: The Lions are one of many running back committees that infuriate fantasy owners, as the three-headed monster of Kerryon Johnson, LeGarrette Blount, and Theo Riddick have just 115 combined rushing yards on 29 carries, with zero touchdowns posted in either game. Johnson and Blount each carried the ball eight times for 43 and 38 yards respectively last week against SF, while Riddick posted a game-high nine catches out of the backfield.

Of the first two early down backs, Johnson has been the most impressive, and he was far more active in the passing game than Blount last week. It is a shame that Johnson will not likely receive more than ten rushes against a Patriots team that is giving up nearly five yards per carry this young season.

Game script in what should be a high scoring game should give Riddick and Johnson ample work in the passing game and could make each player worthy of a start in PPR formats. Blount is a far more risky start, with the majority of his value coming as a td-dependent play in only deep leagues.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (Low-End)
RB3: Kerryon Johnson (High-End)
RB3: Theo Riddick (Low-End)
WR2: Golden Tate (High-End)
WR2: Kenny Golladay (Low-End)
WR3: Marvin Jones (High-End)

Prediction: Patriots 34, Lions 28 ^ Top

Steelers at Bucs - (Bales)
Line: PIT -1.5
Total: 53.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Ben Roethlisberger has looked elite this season, throwing for 787 yards and four touchdowns, while playing one game in terrible weather. He now gets a matchup against the Bucs, who have been getting in shootouts this season, allowing 377 yards and 2.0 touchdowns per game. Roethlisberger is also averaging over 50 attempts per game, and that could continue in what looks to be another shootout without much defense.

Antonio Brown is still the top option for the Steelers, leading the team with 33 targets (16.5 per game). He was also vocally upset this week, and Pittsburgh may be looking to get him the ball even more. The other top option is JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has recorded an 18/240/1 line on 27 targets this season. Tampa Bay doesn’t feature any cornerbacks that are going to be able to slow down this duo, and they should continue to post massive numbers together. Jesse James and Vance McDonald are stealing targets from each other, and while they both come with some upside, it is a situation best avoided.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: James Conner is the workhorse running back for Pittsburgh for as long as Le’Veon Bell is out. He has handled 49 of the 51 running back touches this season, totaling 257 yards and three touchdowns through two games. Predictably, Tampa Bay has slowed down their opponents rushing attacks because of their struggles against the pass. Conner should continue to play a major role in this game, and he’s a player that is guaranteed snaps in a game that should feature a plethora of scoring

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger (high-end)
RB1: James Conner (low-end)
WR1: Antonio Brown (elite)
WR1: JuJu Smith-Schuster (low-end)
TE2: Jesse James (boom or bust)

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Fitzpatrick has been playing at an other-worldly level through the first two games. He has totaled 819 yards and eight touchdowns on 61 attempts. He gets a matchup against the Steelers, who allowed Patrick Mahomes to throw for 326 yards and six touchdowns on only 28 attempts. While Fitzpatrick likely won’t see that type of efficiency, it still bodes well for his fantasy upside.

Mike Evans has been his favorite target, nearly doubling the targets of the next highest receiver. Evans has caught 17 of 19 targets for 230 yards and two touchdowns. DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin have been splitting targets, but this offense has allowed both players to produce. Jackson has posted a 100% catch rate, recording a 9/275/3 line through two games as the clear deep threat. Godwin has seen 10 targets, catching eight of them for 97 yards and two touchdowns. At some point in time, this offense will slow down, but this is a matchup they can take advantage of. Pittsburgh is going to score, meaning Tampa Bay will be throwing to match the pace.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: Peyton Barber is the lead running back for Tampa Bay, but he has struggled quite a bit this season. He’s averaging only 2.6 yards per attempt, but he’s also averaging 17.5 rush attempts per game. Pittsburgh is allowing 152 rushing yards per game this season, and Barber has the potential to breakout. He isn’t a player that you can trust, but he should be more efficient against this defense, while potentially finding the end zone.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ryan Fitzpatrick
RB2: Peyton Barber (low-end)
WR1: Mike Evans
WR2: DeSean Jackson (boom or bust)
Flex: Chris Godwin (boom or bust)

Prediction: Steelers 38, Bucs 31 ^ Top