- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Buccaneers @ Panthers
- (Scott) Line: CAR -6.5 Total: 49.5
Game Thoughts: Jameis Winston struggled mightily last
week, going 20-36 for only 194 yards. He also threw three interceptions
and looked out of sorts. The 49ers are not known as a tough passing
defense, so it is hard to know why Winston looked so bad –
especially at home. Now on the road to a Carolina team that only
allowed Jared Goff to pass for 186 yards and 1 touchdown in Week
1, Winston’s struggles may continue.
The Bucs offensive line protection was not good in Week 1, evident
by how many plays O.J. Howard had to stay in to block. He was
on the field 80% of the time but only ran a route on 55% of his
snaps. That is something to monitor for Howard’s upside.
Mike Evans had a terrible game (2-28-0), and it may have been
in part due to his illness. He looks to rebound in a matchup against
Donte Jackson and James Bradberry, and if Winston gets time, he
could certainly beat them for some long gains. Chris Godwin ran
62% of his snaps out of the slot, which is advantageous and he
also gets matched up with a lesser corner (Ross Cockrell), whom
Godwin should not have difficulty getting open against. In the
end, the success of Winston and all three of his pass catchers
depends on the offensive line holding up against an improving
front line of the Panthers.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: Certainly the offensive
line’s struggles also plays into the success of the running
game, or lack thereof. In Week 1 Ronald Jones was the most dynamic
runner, taking 13 carries for 75 yards against a decent 49ers
front line. Peyton Barber was also adequate, rushing for 33 yards
on 8 carries.
Neither is a particularly good play this week against a solid
Panthers front which features Kawann Short, Dontari Poe, and Gerald
McCoy. If Barber or Jones busts through that front, Luke Kuechly
is waiting. Last week against the Panthers, both Todd Gurley and
Malcolm Brown had success, averaging 6.9 and 4.8 yards per carry
respectively. However, that came behind a superior offensive line,
with more dynamic personnel in the run game. If you have better
rushing options, use them. I am generally avoiding this Bucs committee
backfield, especially on a short week against a good defense.
Game Thoughts: Whether because the Panthers coaching
staff was protecting Cam Newton’s shoulder or his foot,
he did not throw the ball deep much in Week 1 (25-38 for 239 yards).
He faced a lot of questions about his ability to throw deep from
the media post-game, but I think the coaches chose to have him
throw quicker, shorter passes to protect his ankle, and keep him
from taking hits. Since he was going against Marcus Peters and
Aqib Talib, it is also understandable that he did not attempt
many long passes to his receivers.
In this matchup with the Bucs, Newton will face a much less daunting
duo of cornerbacks in Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis. Though
the Bucs secondary did hold their own against the 49ers, only
allowing 7 receptions to the receivers, much of that is likely
due to the poor receiver unit the 49ers put on the field. I expect
the Panthers to attack this secondary with a game plan calling
for Cam to push the ball downfield. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel
were on the field for virtually all of the offensive snaps and
are clearly the first and second options downfield, though McCaffrey
commands about 25% of the target share. Newton did not throw a
touchdown pass in Week 1, this matchup suggests multiple touchdown
passes in Week 2 are likely.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: Christian McCaffrey has
become a dominant offensive force, both in the rushing and the
passing game. He was one of two running backs (Le’Veon Bell)
who was on the field for 100% of snaps. That is especially interesting
after offseason comments from offensive coordinator Norv Turner
about getting McCaffrey more rest during games. When a player
is as good and effective as McCaffrey, it is just difficult to
take him off the field.
If the Bucs defense has a personnel strength it is definitely
in the run-stopping area. Up front they have the newly-signed
Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, and William Gholston. Their first-round
rookie linebacker Devin White joins Shaq Barrett, Deone Bucannon,
and Carl Nassib at linebacker. I anticipate the Panthers will
still run the ball to keep the defense honest but will lean on
McCaffrey through the air even more than normal in place of runs
up the middle. This is a much-improved defense now coached by
Todd Bowles. They did a solid job shutting down the 49ers rushing
offense last week, holding Matt Breida to 2.5 yards per carry
(4.8 career yards-per-carry average) but McCaffrey is the center
of the offense and nothing will change in Week 2.
Cardinals @ Ravens
- (Swanson) Line: BAL -13.5 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: Kyler Murray’s NFL debut last week
could not have started off worse for the Arizona Cardinals and
the reigning first overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Murray
completed just six of 16 pass attempts for 41 yards in the first
half against the Lions, with one interception and three sacks.
The entire Arizona offense, both passing and rushing suffered
as Murray struggled to find open receivers and the Lions did an
excellent job containing Murray’s scrambling threat.
Luckily for fantasy owners, Murray turned things around with
154 passing yards and two touchdowns the fourth quarter, including
a game-tying touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald in the final minute
The Cardinals managed to salvage a tie against the visiting Lions,
despite getting outplayed on both sides of the ball for the majority
of the game.
Any feel-good thoughts about this offense will likely be extinguished
this week when the team heads to Baltimore to take on a talented
Ravens team that just scored a franchise-record 59 points against
The difference between the Lions defense and the Ravens defense
on the road is going to be a rude awakening for Murray and all
the skill position players for the Cardinals, especially when
you consider the fact that the Ravens are well versed in handling
running quarterbacks after a summer of working against Lamar Jackson.
Baltimore held Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen to 190 combined
passing yards and one touchdown. Both quarterbacks were under
constant pressure, as Wink Martindale's defensive unit finished
with three sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery.
Like the Dolphins, the Cardinals have one of the worst offensive
lines in the league and will no doubt struggle in opening holes
for David Johnson and protect Kyler Murray. Starting Murray or
any of the skill position players for Arizona is a risky proposition
in what could be an ugly game for the Cardinals.
On the injury front, starting cornerback Jimmy Smith suffered
a knee injury against the Dolphins and will miss this game. Veteran
Brandon Carr will likely get the start for Smith opposite of Marlon
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: The first game of David Johnson in the
Kliff Kingsbury era of Arizona Cardinal Football was a smashing
success, with Johnson posting 137 total yards and a receiving
touchdown on 24 touches. Johnson moved around the formation and
did not run exclusively into the back of his offensive lineman
like he did last year.
His six catches for 55 yards has Johnson on pace to catch 95
balls on the season, which would return him back the usage he
enjoyed with Bruce Arians.
Like Murray and the other skill position players in the passing
offense, the matchup against the Ravens is not at all attractive.
Miami rushed for a whopping 12 yards on 10 carries last week,
with Kalen Ballage and Kenyon Drake utterly ineffective due to
a negative game script and poor offensive line play.
Although Johnson did play well for fantasy owners, the offensive
line was not very impressive, and the defensive front of Brandon
Williams and Michael Pierce will likely have a field day against
the interior lineman of the Cardinals.
You are starting Johnson due to his touchdown upside and the
fact that he will catch passes, but don’t expect similar
production to what he managed Week 1 against the Lions.
Another reason why we should still start Johnson despite the
difficult matchup is the way Kingsbury used him in the passing
game. Johnson lined up 15 times as a wide receiver in the game,
something he did not do enough last season under Mike McCoy.
Game Thoughts: Five touchdown passes and the first 300-yard
game was more than a breakout performance for the Lamar Jackson,
it was a shot across the bow to other defensive coordinators in
the league who thought Jackson could not throw the ball.
While the performance needs to be taken with somewhat of a grain
of salt when you consider the Dolphins are a dreadful defense
and a team trying to lose for the first overall pick, you can’t
deny the fact that Jackson adding the ability to legitimately
post passing stats along with his elite rushing make him a fantasy
Fire up all of your Jackson shares this week as the Cardinals,
like the dreadful Dolphins, are void of any playmakers on their
defensive unit. Matthew Stafford completed 27-of-45 passes for
385 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinals to finish
as the No.3 ranked QB on the week behind only Dak Prescott and
Lamar Jackson. Players were continually running free in the Arizona
secondary, including rookie T.J. Hockinson, who set an NFL rookie
record for receiving yards in a game.
Mark Andrews, fresh off a 100-yard performance of his own, should
be considered a high-end start against Arizona’s linebackers.
Although the Ravens do have a collection of tight ends and Andrews
was only on the field for 43% of snaps, his is clearly the favorite
pass-catching tight end for Jackson and should be a top-12 play
at the position.
Hollywood Brown made quite a splash in his first NFL game, with
two touchdowns and 147 yards on five targets. Considering he was
on the field for only 14 snaps, he is the epitome of a boom or
bust play. Owners of Brown will be hard-pressed to not play him
this week against the Cardinals, but he will need to be hyper-efficient
again this week for him to avoid being a bust at that snap count
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: The Ravens used a three-headed monster
of Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill against the Dolphins
Week 1, with Edwards receiving the most carries at 17. Ingram
did the most with his 14 touches, rushing the ball for 107 yards
and two touchdowns.
Look for the team to once again use all three backs on Sunday,
with a relatively even spilt between Ingram and Edwards, and Hill
worked in on certain packages. Game script could also play a significant
role in how each player is used.
The Cardinals did a surprisingly good job of shutting down Kerryon
Johnson and C.J. Anderson, with the two combining for just 90
total yards rushing on 28 attempts. Considering the fact that
the Ravens have a far superior offensive line and running scheme,
I don’t expect Arizona to have similar success limiting
Start Ingram with confidence and Edwards as a flex in deeper
Game Thoughts: The San Francisco 49ers beat the Tampa
Bay Bucs 31-17 Week 1, but it was not all smiles for the 49er
faithful due to another subpar performance by Jimmy Garoppolo
and the passing offense. Jimmy G completed 18-of-27 passes for
just 166 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. The interception
turned out to be a pick-six on a bad throw to the sideline to
Tevin Coleman. The throw was late and ill-advised; something Garoppolo
has been doing all summer and preseason.
The wide receiving corps, at least through one game, looks to
be a barren wasteland for fantasy owners with Garoppolo spending
the ball out evenly between Richie James, Deebo Samuel, Kendrick
Bourne, and Dante Pettis.
Pettis was the most disappointing of the wide receivers, with
just one catch for seven yards on a whopping two snap counts.
The second-year wide receiver entered the year as a favorite breakout
target for many fantasy owners and writers, but at this point
he appears to still be in the Kyle Shannahan doghouse and not
worthy of a start.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is tight end George Kittle,
who played in 91% of snaps and appears to be the focal point of
the offense once again. Although his eight catches for 54 yards
was not a monster performance, Kittle was second on the week in
targets (10) at the position and he had two touchdown receptions
called back due to penalties.
The Bengals did a surprisingly good job defensively this past
week against the Seahawks on the road, limiting Russell Wilson
to 196 yards and two touchdowns. The Cincy defense sacked Wilson
four times on the day but did not force a turnover.
The 49ers offensive line looked a bit shaky at times against
the Bucs, who forced multiple bad throws by Jimmy G, with two
forced turnovers and a sack. The play of second-year right tackle
mike McGlinchy will need to improve this week as Carlos Dunlap
and Sam Hubbard are talented outside rushers.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: The three-headed monster of Matt Breida,
Raheem Mostert, and Tevin Coleman combined to rush for 100 yards
on 30 carries, with the latter suffering a high-ankle sprain that
will likely keep him out for multiple weeks. As is typical with
Breida, the third-year back left the game and headed to the locker
room, only to return to action in the second half.
The Bengals did a stellar job limiting the vaunted rushing attack
of the Seahawks last week, limiting Chris Carson and Rashad Penny
to just 64 total rushing yards on 21 carries. Carson did manage
to find the end zone on the ground and through the air, but overall
the Bengals did an impressive job against the run.
With Coleman on the shelf, both Breida and Mostert will get a
bump in usage and should be considered as low-end No.2 RBs or
flexes. They may not log massive rushing totals, but their value
in the passing game will make up for any deficiencies running
Game Thoughts: The first game under the Zac Taylor era
of Cincinnati Bengals football was a success despite the fact
that the team lost on the road to the Seahawks. Andy Dalton threw
for 418 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, John Ross came through
with a monster two-touchdown performance, and most importantly,
the team is no longer running the antiquated offense that Marvin
Lewis ran for the last decade.
The team used multiple five wide receiver sets, and Dalton spread
the ball around to Ross, Tyler Boyd, Damion Willis, and Alex Erickson.
Both C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Eiffert were also active with a combined
nine catches for 93 yards, and Dalton used Gio Bernard and Joe
Mixon in the passing game to the tune of four catches for 49 yards.
When A.J. Green has been out of the lineup, John Ross has been
an excellent fantasy player, with seven of his eight career receiving
touchdowns posted when Green is on the shelf. With Green out again
this week and a 49er defense that allowed the third-most points
to receivers last year coming to town, Ross is in line for another
strong performance this week.
Don’t let the strong performance by the 49ers last week
fool you, as it is more of an indictment on Jameis Winston than
Robert Saleh’s defense. You can exploit the 49ers with speed,
and their aggressiveness jumping routes can backfire.
An area of strength for the Niners is their outside pass rush
of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, while the Bengals are weak on the offensive
line due to injuries at the tackle position. This matchup will
be a critical part of the game and will go a long way in deterring
the fantasy value of Dalton and the other skill position players
on the Bengals.
Bosa finished the game with six total pressures and a sack against
the Bucs, with an NFL best win rate of 28.5% on his pass rushes.
Ford was also excellent against Tampa Bay, with three pressures
and a sack of his own. Considering the Bengals allowed five sacks
of Dalton last week, Bosa and Ford could be in for another big
game Week 2.
It should be noted that Bosa missed practice on Wednesday due
to his sore ankle. It is believed to have been a maintenance day
for the rookie, but his absence from the game would be a boost
to Dalton and all the Bengals on offense.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon failed to do much on the ground
against the Seahawks and missed most of the second half with an
ankle sprain. Although he has not been ruled out as of yet for
Week 2, he may be a risky start to aggravate the injury and owners
should proceed with caution.
Giovani Bernard is a strong play in Mixon’s stead and should
be considered an excellent flex play in all formats. Ronald Jones
and Peyton Barber combined to rush for 108 yards and 63 receiving
yards last week vs. the Niners. Bernard is a far more talented
as a pass-catcher than Barber or Jones and could be a big factor
in the passing game to help mitigate and limit the pass rush of
Bosa and Ford.
Game Thoughts: The Chargers head into Ford Field on Sunday
1-0 after beating the Colts in an overtime shootout in Week 1.
Philip Rivers threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns to finish
the week as the No.7 ranked fantasy quarterback. The 37-year-old
QB overcame an injury to Mike Williams, questionable offensive
line play, and the absence of Melvin Gordon to post his biggest
fantasy performance dating back to Week 1 last year against the
Another strong performance is well within reach again this week
against a Lions team that gave up 300 yards and two touchdowns
to Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. After a slow start, Murray
torched the Lions for over 200 passing yards and a pair of scores
in the second half to force a tie.
The loss of Williams to a knee injury, who will likely be questionable
for this game, gave Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler more of a focus
in the passing game. The two combined for three touchdowns and
over 200 receiving yards. Considering the fact that the Lions
gave up six catches for 55 yards and a score to David Johnson
in the passing game, it would not be a surprise to see Ekeler
be a fantasy beast again in Week 2.
It will be interesting to see how the Lions respond after giving
up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to a rookie QB making
his NFL debut. For some reason, Matt Patricia did not make the
adjustment to move Darius Slay to Larry Fitzgerald until it was
too late in overtime. Perhaps he will learn from his mistake and
have Slay shadow Keenan Allen for most of the game against the
The revamped Lions defensive front that includes high-priced
free agent signee Trey Flowers did not impress much against the
Cardinals, although they did limit the rushing ability of Murray.
Flowers played it just 60% of the defensive snaps, logging two
solo tackles, with zero QB hits or rushed throws forced. For the
Lions to win this game, Flowers will need to come up big and take
advantage of a Chargers offensive line that does not include the
injured Russell Okung.
Tight end Hunter Henry caught four passes for 60 yards against
the Colts. It was a solid start to the season for the talented
tight end who will miss this next 4-6 weeks with fractured tibia.
The defensive front of the Lions, led by Snacks Harrison does
a solid job limiting runs up the middle and short-yardage plays,
making Virgil Green a possibility for a red zone target or two
off of play action.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: The tandem of Austin Ekeler and Justin
Jackson did not help Melvin Gordon’s case for a new contract
by torching the Colts for 219 combined total yards and three touchdowns.
Ekeler destroyed the Colts with 96 receiving yards and two scores
in the air and another 58 yards and a score on the ground.
The matchup of Ekeler in the passing game matched up against
a Lions defense that gave up 55 yards and a score through the
air to David Johnson is a key factor in this game. Jackson will
continue to be in the mix with Ekeler and could be a threat to
score a rushing touchdown, but it is Ekeler who fantasy owners
should trust and start in all formats, especially in those who
play in full point per reception leagues.
One of the reasons why the Lions struggled in coverage against
David Johnson was the loss of linebacker Jarrad Davis, who was
inactive with an ankle injury. Davis is once again going to be
questionable with that ankle injury and could miss a second consecutive
game. His absence would be a boost to Ekeler.
Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford proved to be a streaming
and DFS gem against the Cardinals, with 385 passing yards and
three touchdowns, and 22 rushing yards on three attempts. His
33.5 fantasy points were the most for the former first overall
pick dating back to 2015.
Stafford mixed in all of his receivers instead of overly targeting
one or two players as he has done in the past. Danny Amendola
caught seven of 13 targets for 104 yards and a score, while Kenny
Golladay added four catches for 42 yards and a TD as well.
The most significant addition to the passing game and a big reason
why Stafford may return to fantasy relevance in 2019 is first-round
pick, tight end T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson set an NFL rookie record
with six catches for 131 yards and a score in his first NFL game.
Similar to what George Kittle brings to the 49ers and Travis Kelce
to the Chiefs, Hockenson is a freak athlete and a size miss match
for anyone on the defense who lines up against him.
Although it is only one game, Hockenson looks like he could be
the early front runner for steal of the draft and the second coming
of Kittle. The Chargers limited the Colts to just three catches
for 31 yards between the trio of Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, and the
monster himself, Mo Allie-Cox, and could present more of a difficult
matchup than what the Cardinals offered. Regardless, he should
be a mainstay in your lineup.
Kenny Golladay continues to get enough volume to make him a start,
and Danny Amendola quickly stepped in as one of Stafford’s
favorite targets with 13 on the day. The odd man out appeared
to be Marvin Jones, who was clearly the fourth option on a team
that wants to be a run-first offense. Not exactly what you want
from a fantasy option.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: The Kerryon Johnson hype-train reached
epic proportions this offseason with the second-year player climbing
up into the second round in many leagues. If Week 1 is any indication,
Johnson owners should be frustrated that not only did he fail
to run well against a team that allowed the most fantasy points
to opposing backs last year, but also the team had C.J. Anderson
more involved that many thought.
This was just one week, and it is not time to overreact, but
49 rushing yards on 16 carries was one of the more disappointing
performances of the fantasy week. Adding to the frustration of
Johnson owners, J.D. McKissic received two catches for 24 yards,
while Johnson managed just two of his own for 13 yards. Ty Johnson
and Nick Bawden also saw the field, making it clear that Johnson
will not be a true workhorse back.
On a positive note, the Chargers were torched on the ground by
Marlon Mack and the Colts to the tune of 174 yards and a touchdown
on 25 carries. The vaunted Colts offensive line manhandled the
Chargers at times, especially on the interior of the line with
Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly.
The play of second-year center Frank Ragnow and guards Graham
Glasgow and Kenny Wiggens against the front of Brandon Mebane
and Justin Jones will go a long way in determining if Johnson
will have a bounce-back game.
Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins threw just ten passes in
the Vikings Week 1 victory against the Falcons, as the impressive
run attack of Dalvin Cook and Mike Zimmer’s defense took
control of the game.
The 10 pass attempts were the fewest in his eight-year NFL career
and the lowest total for a starter in almost ten seasons. Cousins
salvaged the day for fantasy owners with a rushing touchdown and
a passing TD in the first quarter to Adam Thielen, but his 15.3
fantasy points placed if as the No.23 fantasy quarterback for
As one would expect with just 98 passing yards, the skill position
players on the team suffered mightily, as Thielen finished with
43 receiving yards on three catches, and Stefon Diggs caught two
passes for 37 yards. The latter entered the game questionable
with a hamstring injury, so hopefully, the majority of his owners
were able to pivot to another option prior to the game.
Cousins and the Vikings will find it tough sledding this week
against a well-rested and healthy Packers team that enters Week
2 1-0 after beating the Bears in Chicago on opening night. Mike
Pettine’s rebuilt defensive unit held Mitchell Trubisky
to just three points, and the vaunted running back group of Tarik
Cohen, David Montgomery, and Mike Davis to 37 rushing yards on
11 combined carries.
Cousins was a fantasy darling last season when the two teams
faced off Week 2 at Lambeau, with 425 yards and four touchdowns
passes. It was the biggest performance of the year for Cousins
and the most fantasy points scored since joining the Vikings as
a free agent in 2017.
While that may seem encouraging for Cousins’ prospects this
year, the Packers are a much deeper team this year, with additions
to the defensive line, linebacking group, and the secondary.
As good as the Packers were at limiting the Bears to just a field
goal, Allen Robinson shined with seven catches for 102 yards on
13 targets. Corners Jaire Alexander and Kevin King are good young
players, but they are not impossible to throw on, and the combo
of Diggs and Thielen should be fine for fantasy owners as long
as the Vikings offensive line gives Cousins time to throw.
Mike Pettine likes to throw multiple blitz packages at quarterbacks
throughout the game. Don’t be surprised to see the Vikings
counter that with more screens than normal, with Dalvin Cook busting
a screen pass for a long gain.
The injury to watch for the Vikings offense is starting guard
Pat Elfein who missed practice on Wednesday with a knee injury.
He is a key cog in the Minnesota ground game, and his absence
would be a hit to Cook’s value.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook entered the 2019 season as
a favorite breakout candidate for fantasy analysts with the caveat
that if he could stay healthy, he could be the leading rusher
in the NFL. With 111 yard and two touchdowns on 21 carries in
a blowout win over the Falcons last Sunday, those pundits who
promoted Cook this summer appear to be off to a great start.
Backup running back Alexander Mattison also ran well against
Atlanta, posting 49 yards on nine carries. Cook is obviously the
main guy, and a must-start in all formats, but owners should keep
a close eye on Mattison as he could be a stud should Cook succumb
to injury for the third straight season.
This week’s matchup against the Packers is going to be
more of a challenge for Minnesota. The Pack shut down the Bears
last week to the tune of 37 rushing yards on 11 carries, with
rookie sensation David Montgomery posting just 18 rushing yards
on six totes.
The Packers surprised many this summer with the release of run-stopping
defensive lineman Mike Davis, but Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry appear
to be picking up the slack just fine. The addition of linebackers
Za’Darius Smith, Preston Wilson, and Rashan Gary added some
much-needed speed on the outside to help deal with speedy backs
Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers completed 18-of-30 passes
for 203 yards and a touchdown Week 1 against the Bears. Although
the Packers went into Soldier Field and came out with an impressive
opening night win, fantasy owners of everyone on the team outside
of tight end Jimmy Graham we not happy with their results.
Davante Adams managed just four catches for 36 yards and no touchdowns
on eight targets, Aaron Jones rushed for just 31 yards on six
carries and loved just one catch for no gain, and MVS caught four
balls for 52 and zero touchdowns.
We all knew going into that matchup with Chicago that Packers
skill position players would not do well, based on how good the
Bears defense plays and the fact that Aaron Rodgers did not play
at all in the preseason and might be rusty.
Although the rust is now like gone for Rodgers, the team faces
another tough task this week against a Vikings team that all but
shut down the Falcons last week. Matt Ryan did throw for 304 yards
and a couple touchdowns, but the majority of those stats came
in garbage time with the outcome already decided.
Mike Zimmer’s defense sacked Ryan four times and forced
a fumble by running back Devonta Freeman. Atlanta converted just
two of eight first downs and rushed for a mere 73 total yards
as a team.
Rodgers threw for 281 yards and a touchdown last year when the
two teams faced off in Week 2 at Lambeau, with Adams catching
eight passes for 64 yards and a score against Vikings cornerback
Xavier Rhodes. Adams scored a touchdown in both matchups against
Rhodes last year and has a touchdown reception against the Vikings
in every matchup dating back to 2016.
Don’t expect a monster game from your first-round pick,
but don’t be surprised if he continues his trend of posting
a touchdown against Minnesota.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: Aaron Jones fantasy owners were likely
throwing things at their television screens on Thursday night
every time Jamaal Williams took the field for the Packers. Jones
is the better back, he is more explosive, and he can do things
with the ball that Williams cannot. But the team still believe
in playing Williams (41% of the snaps) due to his pass protection
skills on passing downs.
Hopefully, first-year head coach Matt LaFleur will look at the
game film from Week 12 of last season when Jones posted 93 total
yards and a score against the Vikings and plays Jones more than
he did last week (38 total snaps).
If there is a weakness in the Vikings pass defense over the past
12 months, it has been allowing running backs to catch the ball
out of the backfield. Zimmer’s defense allowed 81 receptions
for 733 yards and three scores last year, and Jones’ ability
to catch passes and make people miss in the open field could be
a key in this game.
Jaguars at Texans
- (Scott) Line: HOU -8.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: Nick Foles broke his collarbone on Sunday,
and rookie Gardner Minshew stepped in and looked fantastic. Facing
the poor Chiefs secondary certainly helped but Minshew showed
he is capable of running the offense. This week against the Texans
should be a tougher test. He will be on the road facing JJ Watt
and Whitney Mercilus who looked fantastic this past week against
the Saints. The Jags’ offensive line held up against the
Chiefs’ pass rush, and may be able to keep Minshew clean
in the pocket. The Texans’ secondary allowed Drew Brees
to pass for 370 yards and basically do whatever he wanted in Week
1. Minshew is not Brees, and in his second game action in the
NFL, on the road, should struggle. But if they get behind early
as I expect, he could still have some fantasy success piling up
Chris Conley received 7 targets last week and touchdown passes
went to Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark. All three of those receivers
were on the field for over 70% of snaps and look to be the primary
receiver group. Westbrook worked out of the slot on 85% of his
routes, with Chark and Conley on the outside.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Although Leonard Fournette only rushed
the ball 13 times, that was because Jacksonville got behind early
in the game and had to abandon the run. When he did touch the
ball, Fournette looked dynamic and fresh, averaging over 5 yards
per carry. Even more exciting for his owners is that he was on
the field for 86% of snaps, including on obvious passing downs.
He received 6 targets, second on the team, which is perhaps the
most promising sign of all.
The Texans gave up 7.4 yards per carry to the Saints’ running
backs, suggesting that Fournette could have a lot of success against
this front. Particularly if the Jaguars can build a lead, it could
be a big game for Fournette. However, with a rookie behind center
you have to believe the Texans will plan to stack the box against
Fournette and force the rookie QB to beat them through the air.
If so, it is a much tougher path to success for Fournette.
Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson looked excellent against
the Saints, although his line did give up six sacks. Watson also
got banged up on a long touchdown run, landing awkwardly on his
back. However, he finished the game and almost led them to victory.
This week he will face a good Jaguars secondary featuring A.J.
Bouye and Jalen Ramsey at cornerback. Ramsey will likely shadow
DeAndre Hopkins, but he was not able to shut down Sammy Watkins
last week and likely will not be able to keep a lid on Hopkins
this week. Hopkins went 12-147-0 and 3-50-1 in their two meetings
last season. He received an amazing 43% of the target share in
Week 1, so even if that comes down to around 30%, targets won’t
be an issue in Week 2.
The linebackers of the Jags will be forced to cover both Duke
Johnson out of the backfield and Keke Coutee out of the slot (assuming
he plays). Myles Jack will be back after being ejected last week,
but he cannot cover them both. I think Watson will look to get
the ball to one of those guys repeatedly if his receivers appear
locked down by the secondary, and I think he will have an easier
time than he did against the Saints, both because they are at
home and because the Jags pass rush is much less daunting.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: The brand-new backfield Duke Johnson and
Carlos Hyde played well in Week 1 against a good Saints defense
combining for an amazing 7.4 yards per carry. The Saints were
likely keyed on the passing game and chose not to focus on stopping
the run, but that may happen again against the Jags. In particular,
I think Duke Johnson will have a big game receiving; he had 5
targets last game and I think that number will go up in Week 2,
as the middle of the field should yield plenty of openings against
this linebacker group.
Patriots at Dolphins
- (Katz) Line: NE -19.0 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: The simple truth about the Patriots’
passing attack is its success is entirely up to Bill Belichick.
Tom Brady is fully capable of attempting 40 passes a game and
having a monster season. The question revolves around what their
specific game plan is. Against the Steelers last week, they did
most of their damage through the air. Brady has historically smashed
against the Dolphins, but we are justified in worrying that a
team favored by three scores goes up big and just runs the ball
the entire second half.
In addition to the game plan concerns, we have the potential
return of Antonio Brown…but maybe not. AB was recently accused
of rape and could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt
list. He also could be suspended or released by the team if they
deem it appropriate. If AB plays, it is also fair to wonder if
he sees a full complement of snaps in a game they won’t
really need him given that he’s only been with the team
a week. When Brown is on the field, he certainly commands targets,
which takes them away from Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon. All
of this is good for Brady if the Patriots are throwing, but fewer
targets is never good for any wide receiver.
The Dolphins have CB Xavien Howard and not much else defensively.
There are whispers that the players don’t want to play for
a team that is clearly tanking. After getting torched by Lamar
Jackson, Brady will be able to do whatever he wants. The question
isn’t whether the Patriots score five touchdowns, it’s
whether they are on the ground or through the air.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: The most valuable Patriots running back
is often the cheapest one. This year, that was Rex Burkhead. James
White is still clearly the main guy. He led the team with a 47%
snap share last week in a game that was a blowout from the start
(much like this week will be).
Burkhead nearly matched White at 46% with Sony Michel bringing
up the rear at 33%. I have a difficult time believing Burkhead
will sustain any value, but we can’t deny that he led the
team in opportunities last week with eight carries and eight targets.
White only saw four carries and seven targets.
The Ravens also did whatever they wanted on the ground last week
against the Dolphins and the Patriots should have the same success.
This is a huge spot for Michel’s season long outlook. I
would argue he is already droppable because it is impossible to
ever have better game script than the Patriots experienced last
week against the Steelers. If Michel can’t produce when
the game is setup for him to succeed, when will he ever? With
that being said, he was a fourth round pick so it’s fair
to give him another chance in a game that should feature the same
positive game script with an even weaker rush defense. If Michel
can’t succeed this week, he’s an easy drop. But even
if he does, his complete lack of usage in the passing game is
a concern because without a touchdown, he will never be able to
put up passable fantasy numbers.
Game Thoughts: You’ve surely heard the famous adage:
If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything
at all. This Dolphins offense has no redeeming qualities. How
did Ryan Fitzpatrick only throw for 185 yards in a game his team
lost by seven touchdowns? This week is not going to be much different.
We know DeVante Parker is not the answer, especially given that
he will have to face off against Stephon Gilmore. Neither Allen
Hurns nor Jakeem Grant belongs anywhere near fantasy rosters.
The only potential fantasy utility could be in Preston Williams,
who was starting in two receiver sets last week and could take
on a bigger role with Albert Wilson out due to a calf injury,
but he’s just a back of the bench stash and not someone
you should be starting. Ignore all Dolphins.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Kalen Ballage started last week, which
was a surprise to many, including me. What was not a surprise
was Ballage’s performance. He is one of the worst running
backs on an NFL roster and it showed. The Patriots bottled up
James Conner last week before forcing the Steelers to abandon
the run. Expect much of the same this week.
Kenyan Drake is actually quite good at football and he led the
Dolphins’ backfield in snap share last week at 54%. Expect
that number to be even higher this week with Drake another week
removed from his foot injury and the Dolphins in comeback mode
before the game even begins. Drake is an option in deeper leagues
or as an injury replacement, but no one you should be forcing
into your lineup.
Bills at Giants
- (Katz) Line: BUF -2.0 Total: 43.5
Game Thoughts: Josh Allen is not a good quarterback however,
the Giants have one of the league’s worst defenses, particularly
their secondary. It remains to be seen whether Allen can capitalize,
but the matchup could not be easier. Allen is always a threat
to pad his stats with his scrambling ability. He rushed 10 times
last week for 38 yards and may have an even easier time against
the Giants. Despite Allen’s struggles as a passer, John
Brown was able to thrive in Week 1. He looks to be the primary
option in the passing game and is worthy of consideration in this
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Frank Gore started last week and will
likely continue to start for the foreseeable future. The good
news is that the running back that happens to be on the field
for the first snap is not meaningful at all. Devin Singletary
played 45 snaps to Gore’s 19 last week and if he hasn’t
definitively overtaken Gore as the primary back, he will in short
order. Singletary is far and away the Bills’ best running
back and will benefit from Allen’s scrambling ability. Singletary
saw six targets last week and has the potential to play on all
three downs. Against a weak Giants defense, he could break out
in Week 2.
Game Thoughts: The beginning of the post Odell Beckham
Jr. era was not pretty for the Giants. Eli Manning wasn’t
terrible, but still shouldn’t be starting with the Giants
having no chance at competing this season. Nevertheless, he will
be out there again this week targeting the inefficient Cody Latimer
and the apparent checkdown specialist, Sterling Shepard (concussion).
The lone bright spot on the Giants is Evan Engram, who corralled
11-of-14 targets last week for 116 yards and a touchdown. Engram
is the most athletic pass catcher on the team and the clear top
target. He should lead the team targets almost every week and
is always a red zone threat. The Bills are one of the league’s
best defenses and with shutdown cornerback Tre’Davious White
blanketing whoever the Giants line up outside, Manning should
once again focus on the slot and his star TE. It is also worth
noting that Latimer popped up on the injury report Thursday with
a calf strain. If he can’t play Sunday, it will be Bennie
Fowler and Russell Shepard. Engram might see 20 targets.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: There will never be much to say about
the Giants’ running game. Saquon Barkley is the best running
back in the league and the offense will run through him. Game
flow will be the only thing that can stop Barkley this season.
It reared its ugly head last week as Barkley only touched the
ball 15 times, but he still amassed 139 yards.
With the Bills nowhere near the offense of the Cowboys, despite
their strong front four, Barkley should easily surpass 20 touches
this week and is a good bet to be more involved in the passing
game. The Bills gave up nine receptions to Le’Veon Bell
last week and even though Bell was inefficient with those receptions,
fantasy owners have no issue with Barkley compiling his way to
RB1 numbers. Touchdowns will be a concern all season as the Giants
are not going to be in scoring opportunity often, but Barkley
is a threat to score on any play. You are never benching him.
Game Thoughts: Russell Wilson threw the ball just 20
times last week in Seattle’s 21-20 win over the Bengals,
completing 14 passes for 196 yards and two scores. Although the
Seahawks managed to run the ball just 21 times for 64 yards and
a score against the Bengals, it is clear that the team continues
to be a run-first team who sprinkles in passes to keep defenses
honest and to improve the effectiveness of the run.
To the surprise of many, Tyler Lockett received to just targets
from Wilson, with rookie D.K. Metcalf gardening four catches for
89 yards on six targets. It is difficult for any fantasy wide
receiver to be productive on a team with a quarterback who throws
the ball just eight times to his wide receivers. Luckily for Lockett
owners the one catch he did make when for a 44-yard touchdown
Lockett popped up on the injury report on Wednesday with a back
injury and could end being a game-time call for Pete Carroll.
Should Lockett be a scratch, look for Metcalf to earn a few more
targets on Sunday against the Steelers.
It is difficult to assess how good or how bad the Steelers defense
is based on the showing they delivered on Sunday Night Football
against the Patriots, as Tom Brady has never lost at home against
Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger is always terrible on the road
The wide receiving group of Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon, Julian
Edelman, and Jakobi Meyers combined to catch 14 passes for 273
yards and three scores against the Steelers. The volume of passes
isn’t as much of a concern for the Steelers as is the fact
that they were continually burned on play action passes out of
the I-formation. Russell Wilson is one of the best play action
passers in the league and will look to take advantage of the Steelers
over committing to the run.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Seattle enters Week 2 with a 1-0 record
after beating Cincinnati at home last Sunday. Although the team
came away with the win, Pete Carroll and his coaching staff are
likely not pleased with the lack of success the team had running
the ball. Chris Carson rushed for 46 yards on 15 carries for a
pedestrian 3.1 YPC average, while Rashaad Penny was terrible with
18 yards on six carries.
In terms of rushing yards allowed against the Patriots, the Steelers
did allow 4.3 lads per carry, but they shut down Sony Michel to
just 14 yards on 15 carries. Runs between the tackles on early
downs were not very effective against the Steelers, which is somewhat
of the bread and butter of the offense run by Brian Schottenheimer.
The ability of the Seahawks to run between the tackles on first
and second down will be key for Chris Carson’s success running
If he struggles to gain yards between the tackles, fantasy owners
will need to rely on him making up the difference in the passing
game. Carson did catch a touchdown pass against the Bengals and
should continue to see an increase of volume this season in the
Pittsburgh was strong against pass-catching backs last season
(7th fewest points allowed), but they did allow 10 catches for
97 yards to Rex Burkhead and James White last week.
On the injury front, the Steelers left New England a bruised
and beaten down team. Starting cornerback Joe Haden missed practice
on Wednesday with a shoulder injury, safety Terrell Edmunds was
limited with a glute strain, and linebacker T.J. Watt was limited
with a hip issue. Haden will likely miss with his sprained AC
joint, but Watt and Edmunds will likely be a go.
Game Thoughts: Death, taxes, and Big Ben and the Steelers
playing terrible football against the Patriots in Foxboro are
three things we can all count on in life. Roethlisberger is 0-7
against Tom Brady and New England on the road and looked out of
sorts once again this past week in the season opener.
The good news is the Steelers and Big Ben return home to Heinz
Field this week to take on a Seahawks team that gave up 418 yards
and two passing touchdowns at home to Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
Although Seattle did sack Dalton five times, he was able to find
his receivers down field, and the Seahawk secondary did not do
a good job making tackles in the open field.
The first game of JuJu Smith-Schuster as the No.1 wide receiver
for the Steelers was not great, but not terrible, as the third-year
WR from USC caught six passes for 78 yards. He struggled at times
against Stephon Gilmore, and Big Ben did not get much help from
Donte Moncrief, who caught just three of the 10 passes thrown
his way for seven yards.
Luckily for Big Ben and JuJu, the Seahawks do not have as good
of a secondary as the Patriots and JuJu should find more room
to roam against Seattle, assuming his inured toe does not limit
him too much.
2019 is going to be the breakout party for Vance McDonald, or
so many fantasy pundits and analysts predicted this offseason.
With two catches for 40 yards on only four targets, that breakout
season has yet to get going. Perhaps a return home to the friendly
confines of Heinz field and a somewhat limited JuJu Smith-Schuster
(toe) is what McDonald needs to take off.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: James Conner was the lead back for the
Steelers with 83% of the team’s rushing yards for the week
against New England. Unfortunately for Conner owners, he saw just
10 rushes for 21 yards, and four catches for 44 yards - not exactly
the type of production fantasy owners wanted when he was drafted
in the late first round.
After one week, we can assume that Jaylen Samuels is no more
than a handcuff with no stand-alone value. Conner is the one running
back in Pittsburgh worthy of a start and should be played in all
Seattle limited Joe Mixon to just 10 yards on six carries before
Mixon left with an ankle injury. Giovani Bernard fared a bit better
with 21 rushing yards on seven carries and 42 yards on two catches.
The struggles running the ball by the Bengals are largely due
to the fact that their offensive line is terrible and did not
open many holes for Mixon and Bernard. The Steelers, on the other
hand, boast one of the best offensive lines in the league and
should be able to give Conner more room to run.
Colts at Titans
- (Scott) Line: TEN -3.0 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: Although many expected the worst for the
Colts with Jacoby Brissett at the helm, he was surprisingly effective
and efficient in Week 1. His yards per attempt was only at a 7,
as he only threw for 190 yards. But he went 21-27 and was extremely
well-protected by that stout offensive line. The game plan seems
to focus on getting the ball out of his hands quickly, with balance
in the run and pass game. Although the Colts lost a thriller,
they looked prepared and it doesn’t appear the passing offense
will fall apart without Luck.
Leading receiver T.Y. Hilton will go against Adoree Jackson,
although the Colts like to start Hilton in the slot (41% of his
routes from the slot in Week 1), which may put him against a nickel
corner. However, Hilton runs many of the same types of routes
that Odell Beckham Jr. runs (20% of his routes from the slot in
Week 1), and the Titans did an excellent job against Beckham last
week (7-71-0). The Colts may have to rely on their other options
in the middle of the field, like their tight ends Ebron and Doyle,
or one of the secondary receivers - Deon Cain, Parris Campbell,
or Chester Rogers.
In a matchup between a balanced offense and a very good defensive
secondary, I give a slight edge to the Titans and think the Colts
will struggle to move the ball through the air for much of the
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Marlon Mack did not do much in the first
half against the Chargers, but then exploded with a 63-yard touchdown
run in the third quarter which got him rolling. With such an excellent
offensive line in front of him, Mack could hit it big in any game
he plays. This week he will face off with a Titans defense that
is good against the run, at least from what we saw in Week 1.
Although Chubb did have 4.4 yards per carry, they held him in
check for most of the game and did not give up any long gains.
The Titans front seven is far more beatable than their secondary,
and I think the Colts will focus on the run in Week 2. Mack should
find holes, particularly when they run to the outside against
37-year-old Cameron Wake, but also against young players like
Jayon Brown and Harold Landry, if they miss an assignment or over
pursue. If the Colts are able to get an early lead, they should
also pound the run to keep control of the game. Nyheim Hines received
4 carries and got 4 targets in Week 1, and the Colts will likely
give him a few looks, but he’s no more than a secondary
Game Thoughts: From a brief glance at the box score,
it appears the Titans turned a new leaf in their pass game. That
is not accurate. They only threw the ball 24 times, and the yardage
was pumped up when Derrick Henry took his lone reception 75 yards
for a score. Per Dwain McFarland of FootballGuys, 69% of Mariota’s
yardage came after the catch. In other words, Mariota again dinked
and dunked, and struggled at times in the game. He completed only
14 passes, but three of those went for touchdowns (two also to
Delanie Walker). On the positive, they did have about an even
split between designed run plays and pass plays, and Mariota seemed
to have a solid connection with rookie A.J. Brown.
But make no mistake: the Titans are a run-first team, and that’s
how they like it. They will run to set up the pass. The matchup
with the Colts seems favorable for the passing game, as the Colts
gave up over 300 yards passing to the Chargers in Week 1, including
123 to Keenan Allen and 60 to Hunter Henry. If the Titans wanted
to target their receiver not matched up with DB Pierre Desir,
or Delanie Walker, they’d likely have success. The only
way I see that happening in a meaningful way is if Tennessee gets
down early and need to play catch up.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Last week the Titans gave it to Derrick
Henry 19 times on the ground, and he ran against a decent Browns
front-7 for 84 yards and a touchdown. Against the Colts front
that gave up 6.4 yards per carry to the Chargers running backs
in Week 1, Henry should be in line for another nice game. Henry
is very dependent on game flow doing most of his damage when in
positive game scripts. When they trail, Dion Lewis will be on
the field so much of Henry’s success in this game will depend
on who gets the early lead. Henry’s averaged 6 yards per
carry against the Colts over the last five meetings between these
Cowboys at Redskins
- (Katz) Line: DAL -5.0 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: I’m usually not one to overemphasize
coaching, but the Cowboys looked like a new offense in Week 1.
Kellen Moore used more pre-snap motion and play action with complex
route combinations to scheme open Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup,
and Randall Cobb. It worked as well as possible leading to Dak
Prescott’s second career 400-yard game.
This week, Prescott faces a Redskins defense that just allowed
300 yards and three touchdowns to Carson Wentz. Josh Norman no
longer has the speed to keep up with burners like DeSean Jackson.
Amari Cooper runs a 4.42 and if Moore is savvy enough, he will
send Cooper deep in an attempt to exploit Norman’s weakness.
If the Redskins bracket Cooper, it will open things up for Michael
Gallup, who looks poised to have a breakout year. He is entrenched
as the WR2 in Dallas and looks like a weekly fantasy starter.
Jason Witten and Blake Jarwin both scored last week, but Witten
cannot move anymore. He is well off the fantasy radar, but his
presence alone keeps Jarwin from breaking out.
Before we anoint the new look Cowboys offense as elite, let’s
see them do it again. But either way, the Cowboys possess at least
three good fantasy options. Randall Cobb also had a nice game
last week, but he is not a fantasy starter at this time.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott only played on 54% of
the team’s snaps last week, but that low percentage was
largely due to the Giants being a completely inept football team
and the Cowboys content to use Tony Pollard to wind down the clock.
With a full week of practice and a game under his belt, it will
be a full workload for Zeke this weekend.
The Redskins struggled to stop downhill runner Jordan Howard
last week, which does not bode well for their chances against
one of the league’s best backs. Look for Elliott to touch
the ball 25 times tand be more involved in the passing game. I
don’t have to tell you to start Zeke.
Game Thoughts: Case Keenum lit it up last week to the
tune of 380 yards and three touchdowns. He will have a much tougher
time against a Cowboys defense that will hopefully have a returning
Byron Jones. Even without Jones, the Cowboys held the Giants to
just 10 points last week (before a garbage time score).
One area they were vulnerable was against the TE. Evan Engram
did whatever he wanted, which is encouraging for whoever starts
at TE for the Redskins this week. Jordan Reed is hoping to clear
the concussion protocol and return to action. If he does, he will
be in the TE1 mix given the Redskins’ lack of passing game
Terry McLaurin was the most productive receiver, but targets
were spread around evenly between McLaurin, Trey Quinn, and Paul
Richardson. It also reasonable to not expect Keenum to toss it
up 44 times again. The Cowboys have better cover linebackers than
the Eagles and a better secondary meaning the fantasy goodness
that came from the Redskins’ passing attack is unlikely
to repeat itself.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: I am ready to close the book on Derrius
Guice’s career as he can’t stay healthy. Adrian Peterson
was a healthy scratch last week and was quite disgruntled over
it. Hopefully, he is still motivated to play as he is going to
start this week with Guice out indefinitely. Peterson is a low
ceiling option against the Cowboys’ stout run defense.
Chris Thompson will also factor in a ton, especially if game
script turns negative, which is likely with the Redskins being
home underdogs. Thompson was targeted 10 times last week and although
a lot of those came later in the game, that’s not unrealistic
to project forward. Expect a 60-40 split with AP and CT making
the latter arguably the better play given the value of a target
over a carry.
Bears @ Broncos
- (Caron) Line: CHI -2.5 Total: 40.5
Game Thoughts: The bright lights of the NFL season opener
were too much for Mitchell Trubisky as the third-year signal caller
struggled to find any sort of consistency in Week 1 against a
seemingly much-improved Packers defense. Trubisky threw for just
228 yards and no touchdowns while throwing an interception in
the Bears’ loss, causing many Chicago fans to boo him throughout
The lone bright spot for the Chicago passing game in Week 1 was
the resurgence of former Jacksonville wide receiver Allen Robinson.
Robinson impressed, catching seven of the 13 targets that came
his way for 102 yards. It was his first 100-yard day since Week
9 of the 2018 season and only his second 100-yard day since 2016
after he missed almost the entire 2017 season with an injury.
We don’t want to overreact to one game, but Robinson looked
like his old self again as he not only created separation but
also fought hard for contested balls, which made Trubisky’s
day look a little better than it otherwise would have. Robinson
is really the only player we’re looking at as a fantasy
option right now in Chicago’s passing game, but he’s
a WR2 this week and going forward until we see otherwise. He will
likely see some coverage from cornerback Chris Harris but Harris
might not shadow him so there’s still hope that he’ll
get some more favorable matchups.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie running back David Montgomery was
one of the preseason’s biggest fantasy risers which caused
many fantasy owners to start him in Week 1. That turned out to
be a terrible decision as Montgomery saw the field for just 38
percent of the Bears’ offensive snaps, culminating in just
seven total touches on the day. While he did impress with the
touches he did get, Montgomery was seemingly the second option
in the Chicago backfield behind veteran Mike Davis.
Davis played 56 percent of the Bears’ offensive snaps but
out-touched Montgomery 11 to 7, including catching six passes
against the Packers. While he’s not an uber-talented player
from a physical skills standpoint, he seems to have the coaching
staff’s trust and that’s ultimately what matters most
for playing time. Unfortunately Davis wasn’t very productive
with the touches he saw as he turned those 11 touches into just
36 total yards, but he’s going to be a problem for Montgomery
owners. For now it’s probably best to bench both players
until we start to see the snap share - or at least touch distribution
- start to shift more dramatically toward one or the other.
The other “running back” - and I use that term loosely
- in the Chicago offense is Tarik Cohen, who didn’t get
a single carry in Week 1 but instead caught eight passes on 10
targets against the Packers. Cohen was on the field for 70 percent
of the Bears’ snaps, logging most of his playing time out
of the slot as a wide receiver rather than a running back. That
makes him an interesting fantasy asset as the Bears really don’t
have an established slot receiver on their roster, thus Cohen
could realistically end up being the player who fills that role
for them this season.
Perhaps even more interestingly, there’s even an outside
possibility that Cohen could end up gaining wide receiver position
eligibility on some fantasy services if he continues to see most
of his snaps come out of the slot. We’ve seen this happen
before with other players and it actually makes those players
slightly more valuable from a fantasy standpoint. That won’t
happen for a while if it even does, but it’s something to
keep an eye on. Either way, Cohen will likely be a focal point
of the Chicago passing game again this week and that makes him
a solid start as an RB2 in PPR formats. He could even still be
a Flex option in non-PPR formats.
Game Thoughts: The Broncos weren’t expected to
be very good this season but most NFL analysts certainly expected
that they’d beat up on the hapless Raiders in Week 1. That
didn’t happen, but it really wasn’t their quarterback’s
fault. Joe Flacco joined the Broncos this offseason to very little
fanfare, especially from the fantasy community, but he actually
looked surprisingly decent distributing the ball to the Broncos’
pass catching weapons in Week 1. Flacco completed 21 of his 31
pass attempts for 268 yards and a touchdown, but he did a great
job of keeping the Raiders defense on their heels as he targeted
five different pass catchers with at least four targets. That
makes things hard to predict from a receiving weapons standpoint,
of course, but it could make Flacco himself a viable streaming
option going forward. Unfortunately, streaming Flacco is not a
great choice this week as he’ll be up against a Chicago
defense that was elite in 2018 and kept that trend up by keeping
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing game in check in Week 1.
There were some other positives in Week 1 as it now appears that
the team’s top two wide receivers have been established.
Second-year receiver Courtland Sutton had one of the best games
of his young career as he caught seven passes for 120 yards, meanwhile
veteran Emmanuel Sanders added 86 yards receiving on five catches
including a touchdown. Sanders and Sutton have a very difficult
fantasy matchup here in Week 2, however, and are only borderline
Flex plays at best against a smothering Chicago secondary.
Some had high expectations for DaeSean Hamilton but it appears
as though he is now a distant third in the pecking order and thus
he can probably be dropped in most leagues.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Phillip Lindsay was one of the breakout
fantasy players of the 2018 season but offseason rumors were that
fellow second-year back Royce Freeman was going to see more touches
this season than he did this past season. We saw that come to
fruition in Week 1 as the two backs split both snaps and rushing
attempts almost equally. The only real difference was that Lindsay
was targeted six times in the passing game to Freeman’s
one target. Nevertheless, this looks like a full blown committee
and while both players were decently productive with their touches,
neither was significantly better than the other. That’s
fine for the Broncos, but it’s bad for fantasy.
We just don’t know that Lindsay or Freeman will see enough
touches to truly be productive on a weekly basis and that’s
especially true in very difficult matchups like the one they’ll
see here in Week 2 against the Bears. Chicago held the Packers’
running game in check in Week 1 and we may see that again here
in Week 2 even though the Broncos are typically a run-heavy offense.
Saints @ Rams
- (Caron) Line: LAR -3.0 Total: 53.0
Game Thoughts: Week 1 saw the Saints passing game picked
up right where it left off in 2018, with an extremely high target
share for stud wide receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas, of course,
made it count by catching 10 passes for 123 yards, once again
establishing himself as one of the best fantasy wide receivers
and a player who we trust as a WR1 in practically any matchup.
The question in New Orleans is more about the second wide receiver
job and we might have gotten an answer in Week 1, as the Saints
targeted Tre’Quan Smith just twice on the day while Ted
Ginn got seven targets - which he caught every one of - for 107
yards. Smith did catch a touchdown which helped save his fantasy
day but his limited usage is certainly concerning from a fantasy
standpoint. Neither Ginn nor Smith is a reliable fantasy WR but
Ginn does still have some appeal as a cheap DFS option given his
big play-making ability.
Tight end Jared Cook’s usage against the Texans in Week
1 was also concerning as the veteran free agency acquisition was
targeted just three times on the night. He doesn’t have
a particularly great matchup here in Week 2, either, as the Saints
will be on the road against a Rams defense that held the Greg
Olsen to just four catches for 36 yards despite being targeted
nine times in Week 1. Cook is a more physically talented player
than Olsen at this point in their respective careers Drew Brees
is certainly a more accurate passer than Cam Newton is, but this
is still not an ideal matchup for Cook, who is just a low-end
TE1 for now.
Brees himself is always at least a viable fantasy starter given
his high completion percentage but the days of him producing monster
fantasy days in difficult matchups are probably over. He did have
a nice Week 1 performance in what ended up being a shootout against
the Texans, but don’t expect that here in Week 2.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara was a top three draft pick
in most fantasy leagues this offseason and he showed us why in
Week 1 as he turned in a huge fantasy performance even though
he was held out of the end zone. Kamara ran the ball 13 times
for 97 yards against the Texans, but also added seven receptions
for 72 receiving yards. He’s one of the few running backs
who is essentially game script-proof. If the Saints are up in
games then he’ll likely see a good number of carries, but
if they fall behind or end up in a shootout then he’ll almost
always be involved in the passing game. Either way, that’s
some great security as a fantasy asset and it makes him a weekly
high-end RB1 in just about any matchup and that’s where
we’ll have him here in Week 2 against the Rams.
The other New Orleans running back to note is offseason free
agency acquisition Latavius Murray. Some believed that the Saints
would end up giving Kamara a significantly higher touch volume
than he saw in his first two seasons now that Mark Ingram is off
the team, but Murray seems to be fitting in essentially as the
new Ingram in this offense. Murray got eight total touches, including
scoring the offense’s only rushing touchdown of the day,
against the Texans in Week 1. Murray will likely continue to be
a thorn in the side of Kamara owners and his volume isn’t
enough to make him an every week starter himself, but he does
have the potential to get into the end zone in just about any
game so he could be inserted as a low-end Flex for those in need,
particularly in non-PPR leagues.
Game Thoughts: The Rams offense has been one of the best
in the league since hiring Sean McVay but their passing game’s
late-season struggles in 2018 seemed to continue in Week 1 of
the 2019 season as Jared Goff threw for just 186 yards and one
touchdown with an interception against the Panthers. Goff has
now failed to reach 230 passing yards in seven of his past nine
games, including the playoffs, and he has thrown one or fewer
passing touchdowns in all but one of those nine contests. While
his final numbers looked just fine in 2018, it’s now becoming
a concern that he has been so unproductive for the equivalent
of over one half of a full season of football.
Those struggles for Goff have obviously affected his receivers
as well and Robert Woods has failed to reach 100 yards in any
of the Rams’ nine most recent games and he’s scored
just three touchdowns over that stretch. Meanwhile Brandin Cooks
has been more successful, including back-to-back 100-yard performances
in the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl, but he’s only
scored twice over that nine game stretch.
Week 1 against the Panthers saw the return of Cooper Kupp who
missed most of the second-half of the 2019 season with an injury.
Kupp was held to just 46 yards on the day but he did catch seven
passes and was targeted 10 times, which should be a good sign
for his fantasy owners as he seems to be fully back in the offense.
Woods, meanwhile, led the team with eight receptions for 70 yards
on a team-high 13 targets. He failed to get into the end zone
but it was still an acceptable fantasy day. The concern was Brandin
Cooks, who was targeted just six times, catching just two passes
for 39 yards. The yards-per-reception were impressive as has been
the story of Cooks’ career, but the lack of usage is certainly
something to be aware of.
We’ll have to keep an eye on how the Rams receivers are
used here in Week 2. We know that Cooks, Woods and Kupp will be
on the field for almost every snap, but Goff is going to need
to be significantly more efficient if all three are going to be
viable fantasy options. It might have just been a one week blip
on the radar for Cooks who is typically very good, so we’ll
still trust all of them as WR2s this week in what could be a shootout
against the Saints.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: The immediate reaction to the Rams running
back usage in Week 1 has to be surprising for most fantasy owners.
While most believed that Todd Gurley would see his usage rate
decreased this season, few could have expected that he’d
see just 15 of the Rams backfield’s 27 total touches in
Week 1. Perhaps even more shockingly to some was that it was veteran
Malcolm Brown - not rookie Darrell Henderson - who was the Rams’
No. 2 back. Brown saw 11 of the Rams’ 26 total carries,
turning two goal line carries into touchdowns, leaving Gurley
owners scratching their heads going into Week 2.
Certainly Gurley is still the Rams running back to own, but if
he’s not the workhorse back anymore and he’s not a
lock to get the goal line carries, then his upside is significantly
capped even in what is a great Los Angeles offense. He’s
still at least an RB2 given that he did play 70 percent of the
Rams’ offensive snaps, but we may have seen the last of
Gurley’s days as an every week fantasy RB1.
Malcolm Brown is a must-own in just about fantasy league right
now, but it’s going to be tough to trust him as a starter
unless Gurley goes down. If we see him in there at the goal line
again this week then we’ll have to reassess things going
forward, but for now Brown is just a high-upside stash.
Game Thoughts: The Kansas City passing game may have
a new look in Week 2 as the team will be without superstar wide
receiver Tyreek Hill for the foreseeable future. We saw this play
out a bit in Week 1 as Sammy Watkins took over as Patrick Mahomes’
favorite outside weapon, leading to a monster fantasy day for
the former first round NFL Draft pick. Watkins immediately shoots
up to being a borderline fantasy WR1 for the time being, which
is a huge bump for his fantasy stock. The consolidated target
share also likely helps tight end Travis Kelce a bit, who was
already the top player at the position but could see even more
opportunity for the time being.
The real question now becomes which other receiver will see the
field more now that Hill is out. The prevailing opinion is that
rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman will likely be deployed in
a role that is at least somewhat similar to the one which Hill
played. Hardman is one of the few players in the league who can
actually come somewhat close to matching Hill’s speed. He
doesn’t have the established production that Hill does,
but Hardman is absolutely a weapon that opposing defenses, in
this case the Raiders, will have to be aware of. Look for Mahomes
to look his way deep a few times in this game.
Mahomes himself sees a bit of a dip in his stock with Hill being
out, just because the two of them seem to have such great chemistry,
but Mahomes was the best fantasy quarterback in the league already
so he’s still a must-start for seasonal leagues.
If you’re looking for a cheap DFS play, wide receiver Demarcus
Robinson may play a bigger role here in Week 2 than most want
to admit. Robinson played 63 percent of the Chiefs’ offensive
snaps in Week 1 and while he only caught one pass, that’s
one more than Hardman caught despite Hardman playing 78 percent
of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps. The Raiders and other defenses
will certainly focus on limiting Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce,
so there is plenty of room for another receiver to step up.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Andy Reid and the Kansas City coaching
staff gave us mixed messages this preseason as to whether or not
Damien Williams would be a workhorse back this season. At one
point Reid seemed fully on board with giving Williams a full complement
of touches, but then Williams suffered a hamstring injury, the
team got rid of Carlos Hyde and brought in LeSean McCoy. At that
point the Williams fantasy stock fell through the floor as owners
seemed to lose confidence. So is Williams the guy? Through one
week, the answer is...sort of?
Williams played 66 percent of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps
while McCoy was on the field for just 29 percent of snaps. Rookie
Darwin Thompson, who can be released in most fantasy leagues,
played just two offensive snaps. The touch distribution fell in
line with these numbers as well, with Williams touching the ball
19 times to McCoy’s 11. Williams also scored the backfield’s
only touchdown on the day while being targeted six times in the
passing game to McCoy’s one target. The concern, of course,
is that Williams was substantially less effective with his rushes
on a yards-per-carry basis than McCoy was. While Williams mustered
just 26 yards on 13 carries, McCoy looked surprisingly explosive
and elusive as he rushed 10 times for 81 yards. This is too small
of a sample size to make any sort of definitive statements about,
it’s certainly a sign that McCoy is not completely washed
up and could end up seeing more touches as early as this week.
Still, Williams remains the back to own until we see otherwise.
McCoy can probably be started by those who are in a tough spot
at the position but Williams should still see more touches this
week and that makes him a viable RB2, especially in PPR formats
where his already relatively high target share could be even higher
this week with Tyreek Hill sidelined. The Oakland defense did
a relatively good job limiting the Broncos rushing attack in Week
1 but the Kansas City offense should be able to put their backs
in the position to score substantially more fantasy points.
Game Thoughts: The Oakland passing game was the talk
of Week 1 as Antonio Brown left the team, leaving open a huge
potential target share for the newly acquired Tyrell Williams.
Williams answered by delivering a huge fantasy day, catching six
passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Williams is the only player
in this entire passing game who has any sort of history of production
in the NFL making him a top waiver wire target in leagues where
he wasn’t already owned. Williams has an excellent matchup
here in Week 2 against a Chiefs secondary that had no answer for
the Jaguars passing game, thus he’s a WR2 with WR1 upside.
There isn’t really much to be excited about among the other
Oakland wide receivers as Ryan Grant was the only other Raiders
wideout who saw more than 30 percent of the team’s snaps
in Week 1. That includes rookie Hunter Renfrow who had impressed
in training camp but played just 28 percent of the Raiders’
offensive snaps and saw just three targets. Avoid this undefined
situation until another receiver establishes himself.
The other player we’re interested in, though, is tight
end Darren Waller. Waller was one of the standouts of the Raiders’
training camp and became a bit of a star on the HBO TV series
“Hard Knocks,” but there were questions about whether
or not his offseason improvements would translate into on-field
production. It was only one game, but it appears as though Waller
has finally arrived in the NFL. Waller was targeted a team-high
eight times, catching seven of those passes for 70 yards in the
Raiders’ Week 1 victory over the Broncos. Denver has struggled
against tight ends in the recent past so we shouldn’t overvalue
what we saw but there’s certainly hope that Waller could
become a weekly fantasy starter this season. The tight end position
is mostly a wasteland so getting a player like Waller who might
be the second option in his team’s passing game has some
serious potential value for fantasy purposes. He’s a low-end
TE1 this week.
One of the more interesting quarterback streaming options this
week is Oakland’s Derek Carr. Carr impressed against a good
Denver defense in Week 1, throwing for 259 yards and a touchdown
with no interceptions, leading the team to a win in what was a
tumultuous week. Carr gets a great matchup here in Week 2 against
a Kansas City defense that made Gardner Minshew look like a seasoned
NFL veteran. The Chiefs may very well have the worst statistical
defense in the league this season and that could mean a much better-than-usual
fantasy day for Carr and the Raiders passing game.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie running back Josh Jacobs had an
excellent NFL debut as he ran the ball 23 times for 85 yards and
two scores, adding 28 yards as a receiver in what was a fairly
difficult match against a good Denver defense. Jacobs played 74
percent of the Raiders’ offensive snaps and all but three
of the team’s backfield carries. Perhaps most importantly
for his upside was that backup Jalen Richard was not really involved
in the passing game as he saw zero targets on the night and played
just 16 percent of the team’s snaps. If Richard is not going
to spell Jacobs very often then that makes Jacobs one of the few
true bellcow backs in the league.
Jacobs immediately becomes an every week RB2 with low-end RB1
upside. The concern in this game is that the Chiefs could very
well run away with this game, thus forcing the Raiders to throw
the ball a lot late in the game. That could mean a tough fantasy
day for Jacobs who is not much of an established pass catcher
and could end up conceding much more playing time to Richard.
Still, Jacobs should see a healthy workload in this game of at
least 15 touches, which is very difficult to find in today’s
NFL. Roll him out with confidence as an RB2.
Eagles at Falcons
- (Scott) Line: PHI -1.5 Total: 51.5
Game Thoughts: After a slow start against the Redskins,
Carson Wentz got rolling in the second half, connecting with DeSean
Jackson and Alshon Jeffery for three touchdowns. He threw for
313 yards (0 interceptions), including seven completions to his
tight ends Ertz and Goedert for 70 yards. Although the Redskins
have Josh Norman at corner, such a performance is what we should
This week the Eagles face a Falcons defense that surrendered
98 yards through the air in Week 1, but that is a deceiving stat.
The Vikings were in complete control of the game, and simply didn’t
have to throw the ball. When they did throw it, Cousins had a
nearly perfect QB rating (8-10 for 98 yards and a touchdown).
Thus, I expect Wentz, behind a better offensive line, should be
able to move the ball quite well against the Falcons defense.
The Eagles line up Jeffery, Jackson, and Agholor in 3-receiver
sets. Agholor and Jackson both played from the slot (Agholor on
74% of his routes and Jackson on 48%), with Jeffery virtually
always on the outside. Desmond Trufant and the other Falcons corners
should have a tough time trying to stop them all, not to mention
Ertz and Goedert in the middle of the field. If Wentz gets time
to work, I anticipate a lot of success through the air.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: Because the Eagles were trailing for the
entire first half and were in comeback mode for most of the game,
the run game never got rolling. However, when they did run the
ball behind this excellent line, they were successful. As a running
back group they ran for over 4.4 yards per carry.
Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, and Darren Sproles can be a dynamic
group, and this week they face a defense that gave up 160 yards
to the combination of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison (over
5 yards per carry). Deion Jones is an excellent linebacker in
the middle of the Falcons defense, but with as much as the Falcons
will have to respect the passing game of the Eagles, I expect
that when they do run the ball they will find room.
Miles Sanders got the most carries in Week 1, and also both goal
line carries. Once it is clear he knows what he’s doing,
he should continue to push for more touches, likely landing at
around 50% of the work (he got 33% in Week 1).
Game Thoughts: Being at home should help the Falcons
get back on track after a very rough Week 1 in Minnesota. Nothing
worked, and although Matt Ryan did finish with 304 passing yards,
most of that came in garbage time when the Vikings were playing
prevent defense. Julio Jones caught 6 passes for only 31 yards,
and TE Austin Hooper led the way with 77 receiving yards.
Unfortunately they face another good defense in Week 2. Although
the lack of crowd noise on offense will be helpful, Ryan must
still throw against cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones.
It should be a good matchup and Ryan should be far more successful
than he was in Week 1. Look for Julio to rebound, since he garnered
24% of the team targets in Week 1 (11 targets) and just could
not get on track against Xavier Rhodes. When the targets are there
for such a great player, the stats will follow.
Look for the Falcons to get Devonta Freeman involved in the passing
game in Week 2. He only had 4 targets in Week 1 and struggled
on the ground, so that would be an easy way to get him rolling.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: As mentioned above, Freeman struggled
last week. Like the Eagles’ backs, he also did not get many
attempts (only 8) because the Falcons fell behind early and were
in catch-up mode, abandoning the run. He also fumbled, causing
the coaches to bench him for part of the game and insert Ito Smith
(6 carries). Freeman and the running game simply didn’t
have a chance to get into a groove.
The Eagles have a strong front that shut down Derrius Guice in
Week 1, so unfortunately for Freeman he will not have an easy
go of it. Much of the run game’s success or failure will
depend on the offensive line. As rookie right tackle Kaleb McGary
gets healthy and in game shape after an offseason heart procedure
sidelined him, this group meld and have more success. If the Falcons
can be successful in the passing game, that should set up the
run game to get more space to work.
Browns at Jets
- (Katz) Line: CLE -6.5 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: What do we make of Baker Mayfield’s
disastrous performance at home in Week 1 against a team the Browns
were favored over by a touchdown? I’m not overly concerned.
Mayfield tried to make things happen and ended up throwing three
The Jets just lost a home game to Josh Allen and let John Brown
surpass 100 receiving yards. Expect Beckham to be used early and
often. He is setup to smash this week against one of the league’s
Jarvis Landry will remain a solid floor play. On weeks where
he finds the end zone, he will push WR1 numbers. David Njoku found
the end zone Week 1 and looks like the clear third option in this
passing game. Without any meaningful data on how the Jets perform
against tight ends, it is most prudent to just go on player talent.
Njoku is an incredible athlete and a mismatch against almost any
linebacker. Fire up your Browns this week in a huge get right
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Some might say it was a disappointing
opener for Nick Chubb. Sure, Dontrell Hilliard vulturing a touchdown
hurt, but Chubb’s usage was extremely encouraging, particularly
the four targets. The Jets gave up five receptions to Devin Singletary
last week and allowed the Bills to rush for 5.1 yards per carry.
Game script should not get away from the Browns like it did last
week and I expect the Browns to be within one score or lead the
entire way. With Hilliard in the concussion protocol, it is only
D’Ernest Johnson behind Chubb. This could be a week where
Chubb sees 25 touches and a posts a huge game.
Game Thoughts: Mere moments after I wrote a whole analysis
of how Sam Darnold would perform in this game, he was ruled out
due to mono. Trevor Siemian will start and this is bad news for
the entire offense. Siemian hasn’t started a game since
2017 when he ranked 21st in air yards per attempt. He is likely
going to be babied and asked to merely manage the game.
Robby Anderson’s best skill is getting downfield due to
his blazing speed but unfortunately, Darnold can’t hit him
consistently and neither will Siemian. That type of game plan
leads to Jamison Crowder seeing 17 targets. Obviously that won’t
happen every week, but Crowder is going to have a nice PPR floor
as a safety blanket for a backup quarterback.
With Quincy Enunwa done for the season and possibly his career
with a neck injury, the Jets traded for the washed up Demaryius
Thomas. Even if he plays this week, he has no fantasy relevance.
Anderson is worth consideration on the off chance Siemian finds
him downfield, but Crowder is the guy you want this week, if anyone.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: The most reliable Jet is undeniably Le’Veon
Bell. True to his word, Adam Gase eased Bell into action after
he hadn’t played football in nearly two years by limiting
him to…oh, he played every single snap. So much for that
Bell looked like the same player we saw in 2017. He’s a
reliable receiver who just matriculates fantasy points. There
are no splash plays, but when you look at the box score, Bell
just fills it up. With Trevor Siemian under center, it would be
surprising if Bell didn’t touch the ball as much as possible
this week. The Jets experienced positive or neutral game script
for the entirety of last week’s contest with the Bills and
Bell had nine targets. With the Browns a threat to explode offensively,
Bell should be heavily targeted again. And oh yeah, he can also
run the ball. Bell is an RB2 and a WR2 all wrapped in one elite
Bell did undergo an MRI on his shoulder Thursday but appears
good to go. If by chance he ends up having to miss Monday night’s
game, Ty Montgomery would enter the RB2 mix. Even though the volume
will be there, Montgomery is not Bell and is an uninspiring option
playing with a backup quarterback that you won’t know you
can use until Monday.