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Inside the Matchup
Week 2
9/12/19; Updated: 9/13/19

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | Kevin Scott



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:




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

Buccaneers @ Panthers - (Scott)
Line: CAR -6.5
Total: 49.5

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jameis Winston (low end)
WR2: Mike Evans
WR3: Chris Godwin
TE1: O.J. Howard (low end)
Bench: Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber, Dare Ogunbowale

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Cam Newton (high end)
RB1: Christian McCaffrey (high end)
WR2: D.J. Moore
WR3: Curtis Samuel
Bench: Greg Olsen (questionable, back injury)

Prediction: Panthers 34, Buccaneers 20 ^ Top

Cardinals @ Ravens - (Swanson)
Line: BAL -13.5
Total: 46.5

Passing 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 of action.

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 Dolphins.

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 Humphrey.

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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Kyler Murray (Mid-Range)
RB2: David Johnson (Low-End)
WR3: Larry Fitzgerald (High-End)
WR3: Christian Kirk (Low-End)
TE2: Charles Clay: (Low-End)

Passing 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 goldmine.

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 percentage.

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 the Ravens.

Start Ingram with confidence and Edwards as a flex in deeper leagues.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson (Elite)
RB1: Mark Ingram (Low-End)
RB3: Gus Edwards (Low-End)
WR3: Marquise Brown (Low-End)
WR4: Miles Boykin (Low-End)
TE1: Mark Andrews (Mid-Range)

Prediction: Baltimore 30, Arizona 14 ^ Top

49ers @ Bengals - (Swanson)
Line: CIN -1.5
Total: 45.0

Passing 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 the ball.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jimmy Garoppolo (Low-End)
RB2: Matt Breida (Low-End)
WR4: Marquise Goodwin (Low-End)
WR5: Dante Pettis (Low-End)
TE1: George Kittle (Elite)

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Andy Dalton (Mid-Range)
RB2: Giovani Bernard (Low-End)
WR2: Tyler Boyd (Low-End)
WR3: John Ross (High-End)
TE2: C.J. Uzomah (Low-End)
TE2: Tyler Eifert (Low-End)

Prediction: San Francisco 28, Cincinnati 24 ^ Top

Chargers @ Lions - (Swanson)
Line: LAC -2.5
Total: 47.5

Passing 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 Chiefs.

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 Chargers.

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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Philip Rivers (High-End)
RB2: Austin Ekeler (High-End)
RB3: Justin Jackson (Low-End)
WR1: Keenan Allen (Mid-Range)
WR3: Mike Williams (High-End if he plays)

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Matthew Stafford (Low-End)
RB2: Kerryon Johnson (Low-End)
WR2: Kenny Golladay (Low-End)
WR3: Danny Amendola (Low-End)
TE1: T.J. Hockenson (Low-End)

Prediction: Chargers 34, Lions 28 ^ Top

Vikings @ Packers - (Swanson)
Line: GB -2.5
Total: 44.5

Passing 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 Week 1.

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 like Cook.

Value Meter:
QB2: Kirk Cousins (Low-End)
RB1: Dalvin Cook (Mid-Range)
WR1: Adam Thielen (Low-End)
WR2: Stefon Diggs (Low-End)
TE2: Kyle Rudolph (Mid-Range)

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (Low-End)
RB2: Aaron Jones (Mid-Range)
WR1: Davante Adams (Low-End)
WR3: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Low-End)
TE1: Jimmy Graham (Low-End)

Prediction: Packers 17, Vikings 13 ^ Top

Jaguars at Texans - (Scott)
Line: HOU -8.5
Total: 44.0

Passing 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 yardage.

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.

Value Meter:
RB2: Leonard Fournette (high end)
WR3: Dede Westbrook
Flex: Chris Conley
Bench: Gardner Minshew, D.J. Chark (until he shows he can hold off Marqise Lee)

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson:
RB2: Duke Johnson:
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins:
Flex: Will Fuller, Keke Coutee
Bench: Carlos Hyde (not enough volume)

Prediction: Texans 37, Jags 20 ^ Top

Patriots at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: NE -19.0
Total: 47.5

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (mid-range)
WR2: Antonio Brown (high end)
WR3: Josh Gordon
WR3: Julian Edelman
Flex: James White, Sony Michel
Bench: Rex Burkhead

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
Flex: Kenyan Drake
Bench: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kalen Ballage, DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Mike Gesicki

Prediction: Patriots 38, Dolphins 14 ^ Top

Bills at Giants - (Katz)
Line: BUF -2.0
Total: 43.5

Passing 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 matchup.

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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Josh Allen
RB2: Devin Singletary (mid-range)
WR3: John Brown
Bench: Frank Gore, Zay Jones

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
RB1: Saquon Barkley (mid-range)
TE1: Evan Engram (high end)
Flex: Sterling Shepard (concussion)
Bench: Eli Manning, Golden Tate (suspension)

Prediction: Giants 23, Bills 22 ^ Top

Seahawks @ Steelers - (Swanson)
Line: PIT -3.5
Total: 46.5

Passing 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 strike.

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 at Foxboro.

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 the ball.

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 passing game.

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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Russell Wilson (High-End)
RB1: Chris Carson (Mid-Range)
WR2: Tyler Lockett (Low-End)
WR3: D.K. Metcalf (Low-End)
TE3: Will Dissly (Low-End)

Passing 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 formats.

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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ben Roethlisberger (High-End)
RB1: James Conner (Mid-Range)
WR1: JuJu Smith-Schuster (Low-End)
WR3: James Washington (Low-End)
TE1: Vance McDonald (Low-End)

Prediction: Pittsburgh 30, Seattle 17 ^ Top

Colts at Titans - (Scott)
Line: TEN -3.0
Total: 44.5

Passing 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 game.

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 option.

Value Meter:
RB2: Marlon Mack
WR2: T.Y. Hilton
Bench: Jacoby Brissett, Nyheim Hines, Deon Cain & Parris Campbell (until we see their role without Funchess), Eric Ebron & Jack Doyle

Passing 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 teams.

Value Meter:
RB2: Derrick Henry
TE1: Delanie Walker (low end)
Bench: Marcus Mariota, Corey Davis & A.J. Brown (not enough volume)

Prediction: Titans 26, Colts 24 ^ Top

Cowboys at Redskins - (Katz)
Line: DAL -5.0
Total: 46.0

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott (low end)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (high end)
WR2: Amari Cooper (high end)
WR3: Michael Gallup
Bench: Jason Witten, Randall Cobb

Passing 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 options.

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.

Value Meter:
TE1: Jordan Reed (low end)
Flex: Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Terry McLaurin
Bench: Trey Quinn, Vernon Davis, Case Keenum

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Redskins 20 ^ Top

Bears @ Broncos - (Caron)
Line: CHI -2.5
Total: 40.5

Passing 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 game.

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.

Value Meter:
RB2: Tarik Cohen (PPR)
WR2: Allen Robinson
Bench: Mitchell Trubisky, Mike Davis, David Montgomery, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson, Riley Ridley

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
Flex: Phillip Lindsay, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton
Bench: Joe Flacco, Royce Freeman, DaeSean Hamilton, Noah Fant

Prediction: Bears 20, Broncos 16 ^ Top

Saints @ Rams - (Caron)
Line: LAR -3.0
Total: 53.0

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees
RB1: Alvin Kamara
WR1: Michael Thomas
TE1: Jared Cook
Flex: Latavius Murray
Bench: Ted Ginn Jr., Tre’Quan Smith

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff (low-end)
RB1: Todd Gurley (low-end)
WR2: Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp
Bench: Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson, Josh Reynolds, Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett

Prediction: Rams 27, Saints 24 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Raiders - (Caron)
Line: KC -8.0
Total: 53.0

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes (high-end)
RB2: Damien Williams
WR1: Sammy Watkins (low-end)
TE1: Travis Kelce (high-end)
Flex: LeSean McCoy, Mecole Hardman
Bench: Darwin Thompson, Darrel Williams, Demarcus Robinson (possible low-priced DFS play), De'Anthony Thomas

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB1: Derek Carr (low-end streaming option)
RB2: Josh Jacobs
WR2: Tyrell Williams
TE1: Darren Waller
Bench: Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Ryan Grant, Hunter Renfrow

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Raiders 23 ^ Top

Eagles at Falcons - (Scott)
Line: PHI -1.5
Total: 51.5

Passing 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 have expected.

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).

Value Meteer:
QB1: Carson Wentz:
WR3: DeSean Jackson:
WR3: Alshon Jeffery:
TE1: Zach Ertz:
Flex: Miles Sanders
Bench: Jordan Howard, Nelson Agholor

Passing 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.

Value Meter:
QB2: Matt Ryan
WR1: Julio Jones
WR3: Calvin Ridley
TE2: Austin Hooper
Flex: Devonta Freeman
Bench: Mohamed Sanu

Prediction: Eagles 31, Falcons 30 ^ Top

Browns at Jets - (Katz)
Line: CLE -6.5
Total: 44.0

Passing 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 interceptions.

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 worst secondaries.

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 spot.

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.

Value Meter:
QB1: Baker Mayfield (mid-range)
RB1: Nick Chubb (mid-range)
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr. (high end)
WR2: Jarvis Landry (low end)
TE1: David Njoku (low end)
Bench: Rashard Higgins

Passing 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 I guess.

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 RB1.

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.

Value Meter:
RB1: Le’Veon Bell (mid-range)
WR3: Jamison Crowder
Flex: Robby Anderson
Bench: Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian

Prediction: Browns 31, Jets 17 ^ Top