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Inside the Matchup
Week 3

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



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:

CAR @ ARI | NYG @ TB | HOU @ LAC | PIT @ SF | NO @ SEA | LAR @ CLE



- ITM for all games will be available on Friday.
- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Titans at Jaguars - (Scott)
Line: TEN -1.5
Total: 39.5

Passing Game Thoughts: It will likely come as a surprise to many fantasy owners who own Titans, but they have been a top-ten offense so far this season. Predictably, their passing game (16th in offensive DVOA) has lagged behind their running game. Mariota currently has the 16th most fantasy points through Week 2, so their passing game has been consistently average. Considering, Mariota’s stats were propped up by the 75-yard touchdown pass on a screen play to Derrick Henry in Week 1, this passing offense isn’t something fantasy owners should be relying on.

Mariota completed only 11 passes to wide receivers in Week 2, for a total of 97 yards (Week 1 – 105 yds). He simply prefers to throw to tight end Delanie Walker, or his running backs. This is a large concern when it comes to trusting Corey Davis or A.J. Brown. They are talented receivers, but it would be wise to look another direction until this passing offense gets going.

The Jacksonville defense that has been terrible so far. They are 21st in defensive DVOA against the pass, despite having Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye at cornerback. They also seem to be falling apart internally, with Ramsey requesting a trade this week. Still, it’s hard to trust Mariota and the Titans lukewarm passing attack on the road.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry averaged 4.4 and 5.4 yards per carry in Weeks 1 (CLE) and 2 (IND) respectively. He also scored on the ground each week and received 15+ carries in both games. Now the Titans get to face a Jacksonville defense that has been truly awful against the run to start the season. After two weeks they rank 28th in defensive DVOA against the run. They did lose Malik Jackson, who was decent against the run last year and while Myles Jack is coming into his own and should help them improve, this looks like a TEN strength on a JAX weakness.

Although Henry has dominated the production in the Tennessee backfield, he has only out-snapped Dion Lewis 54% to 46%. If the Titans ever fall behind in a significant manner, expect Lewis to see a lot more work. It is certainly possible the Titans will fall behind in this game with how conservative they are on offense, but it seems unlikely with Gardner Minshew at quarterback. Look for Henry to find success against a defense in turmoil.

Value Meter:
QB2: Marcus Mariota (low end)
RB2: Derrick Henry
TE1: Delanie Walker (low end)
Bench: All receivers (until they start seeing more volume), Dion Lewis

Passing Game Thoughts: After losing starting quarterback Nick Foles in Week 1, rookie Gardner Minshew has been doing an admirable job as the Jags starter. Last week, against a decent Houston defense, he bested Deshaun Watson and posted a 97.2 QB rating (22-33, 213 yards, 1 TD). He led the team on a game-tying drive that fell short of victory on a failed two-point conversion (inches short). Minshew ran the ball for 56 yards on 6 attempts increasing his floor. That said, this week he faces a very tough test. The Titans defense ranks fifth in passing DVOA and held Jacoby Brissett to 146 yards, and intercepted Baker Mayfield three times in Week 1. They have a stacked secondary, including Kevin Byard, Adoree Jackson, Malcolm Butler, and Logan Ryan.

Both D.J. Chark and Chris Conley have had very nice starts to the season. Dede Westbrook saw has the most snaps of the wide receivers (84%), with 86% of those coming from the slot. Perhaps Minshew is less comfortable dissecting coverages in the middle of the field and sticks to his outside receivers because he gets a clearer read on the defense. Whatever the reason for Westbrook’s quiet start, he should be avoided until he and Minshew develop a rapport.

It seems likely that the Jags will try to establish the run since the Titans have been so stout against the pass, but it is also likely that the Titans will get a lead at some point, forcing the Jags to pass more. If you need Chark or Conley this week, they are likely to get targets, but they are also difficult to trust against such a stellar pass defense.

Fournette has been more involved in the passing game so far this season, receiving 6 targets in each game (18% of target share). He could be a frequent check-down target for Minshew in Week 3.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: The Jaguars have been very average on offense so far this season, and that includes in the run game. They rank 19th in offensive rushing DVOA, and their offensive line has ranked 14th in run blocking through two weeks. Fournette has looked good at times; he looks lighter and more explosive than last season. But particularly since Foles went out, he has not had much room to run. Defenses are focusing on the run as the view Fournette as the most dangerous part of this offense. Unfortunately for him (and his fantasy owners), that is likely to continue unless Minshew really begins threatening the pass defense.

If there is a beatable aspect to the Titans defense, it is against the run. They did hold Nick Chubb to 17-75 in Week 1, but much of that was due to the Browns abandoning the run when they fell behind. In Week 2 they gave up 142 yards rushing to the Colts although 55 of those yards did come on one rush by Jordan Wilkins. Either way, they only currently rank 21st against the rush according to If the Jaguars offensive line can get healthy, Fournette will have a much better chance to put up some big rushing games. It looks like they will get both Cam Robinson (starting left tackle) and swing tackle Cedric Ogbuehi back for this game, so we may see an improved rushing offense by Jacksonville in Week 3.

Value Meter:
RB2: Leonard Fournette
Flex: Chris Conley, D.J. Chark
Bench: Gardner Minshew, Dede Westbrook, Geoff Swaim

Prediction: Titans 24, Jaguars 16 ^ Top

Ravens @ Chiefs - (Caron)
Line: KC -6.5
Total: 54.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The breakout fantasy season continued for Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson this past week as Jackson added to his five touchdown game from Week 1 with another two touchdown day, but he also got back to contributing on the ground in a big way by adding a ridiculous 120 rushing yards to his 272 passing yards. Sure, it was against a bad Arizona defense, but that’s the kind of dynamic weapon that Jackson is and it’s why he should be looked at as a borderline elite fantasy quarterback going forward. We can’t expect that he’s always going to find his pass catchers for multiple touchdowns in every game, but his rushing ability gives him such an incredible added value that he just needs to not be a completely horrible passer in order to be a viable weekly fantasy starter against just about any defense, but especially one as porous as Kansas City’s.

Through two games, rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews are the only real contributors in the pass game. They lead the team with 18 and 17 targets respectively while no other Baltimore pass catcher has been targeted more than six times. This usage makes it much easier to trust Brown and Andrews in fantasy lineups but no other Baltimore pass catcher should be considered until we see more passes going their way.

Andrews is currently the top-scoring tight end in fantasy with a touchdown and over 100 receiving yards in each of his first two games and has to be considered at least a mid-level TE1. Meanwhile Brown is still a bit risky given the Ravens’ struggles in the past with passing the ball, but he can still be rolled out as a low-end WR2 or Flex play this week against a Kansas City secondary that shouldn’t scare anyone.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: The Ravens weren’t quite as dominant running the football with their running backs in Week 2 against the Cardinals as they were in Week 1 against the Dolphins, but Mark Ingram still contributed 77 total yards, although he failed to reach the end zone. The team may end up relying on him a bit more this week as they’ll be facing a Chiefs defense that gave up 99 rushing yards on just 12 carries to Oakland rookie running back Josh Jacobs in Week 2. While it’s true that Ingram hasn’t even played half of the Ravens’ snaps so far this season, he’s been by far the most productive runner of the group and surprisingly leads the backfield in receptions despite Justice Hill playing 1/4th of the team’s snaps.

Ingram is just an RB2 right now, but he’s one that we can trust to see decent volume in what has been a good offense. He’s a safe player even if he lacks the high-ceiling to become a regular RB1.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson
RB2: Mark Ingram
WR2: Marquise Brown
TE1: Mark Andrews
Bench: Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead, Hayden Hurst

Passing Game Thoughts: Most of us expected at least a bit of a drop off from quarterback Patrick Mahomes now that Tyreek Hill was out with an injury, but it certainly doesn’t appear that will be the case. Mahomes continued right where he left off in Week 1, firing four touchdowns with 443 yards against a bad Oakland secondary. Mahomes remains the QB1 for fantasy and that is true even against one of the league’s best defenses this week as the Chiefs host the Ravens.

Travis Kelce is also still the best fantasy tight end in fantasy is a no-brainer starter in any matchup, even the Ravens. Kelce has caught 10 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown through two contests and is showing no signs of slowing down.

The real question in the Kansas City passing game has to do with the other pass catching weapons, specifically the wide receivers. We saw some struggles from wide receiver Sammy Watkins in Week 2 after his monstrous Week 1 performance, but the signs still point to him being the top receiver in the offense. Watkins was targeted 13 times against the Raiders in Week 2 and that’s enough to make him a low-end WR1 or high-end WR2 for now. He might have only caught six of those passes for 49 yards but the volume is there and that’s what we should remain excited about.

The other two receivers to look at in Kansas City are rookie Mecole Hardman and veteran Demarcus Robinson. Hardman contributed the first fantasy-relevant game of his career in Week 2 as he caught four of the six targets that came his way for 61 yards and a touchdown. He was also the victim of a penalty-negated touchdown which would have put him way over 100 yards on the day with two scores. Hardman isn’t seeing enough volume to be trusted as a weekly starter at this point but he does have ridiculous explosive play ability and he’s playing with one of the most skilled passers we’ve ever seen. That alone makes him a viable flex play here in Week 3, even against a good Baltimore secondary. Robinson also broke out in Week 2, but his numbers were much more impressive on paper as he caught all six of his targets for a shocking 172 and two touchdowns. Robinson became one of the most-added players on waiver wires this week and while Hardman is getting more fanfare due to his status as a breakout rookie, it’s actually Robinson who’s played significantly more snaps than Hardman over these two weeks without Hill. Robinson is also a flex-worthy option this week, but understand that it might only be a matter of time before Hardman takes over the role as Kansas City’s WR2 while Hill is sidelined.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: Running backs Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy both missed practice on Wednesday with what has been reported to be non-serious injuries, but the two top backs in this offense being banged up only adds to an already murky backfield situation.

Both McCoy and Williams have had their moments so far with neither player really taking over as the clear better choice for fantasy purposes. That often leads to neither player being particularly great for fantasy and that’s what we’ve seen thus far, with Williams struggling mightily on the ground but contributing as a pass catcher. Meanwhile McCoy has looked like the much better runner but has only added 12 yards in the receiving game. Williams missed practice Thursday so we need to keep an eye on practice reports as another missed practice on Friday could land him on the inactive list. Obviously, McCoy will see an uptick in touches if Williams misses, but Darwin Thompson would also likely play a role.

Both are better Flex plays than they are RB2s here in Week 3 against a very good Baltimore defense that has conceded just 28 rushing yards to opposing running backs through two games this season.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
WR1: Sammy Watkins
Flex: LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson
TE1: Travis Kelce
Bench: Damien Williams, De’Anthony Thomas

Prediction: Chiefs 30, Ravens 24 ^ Top

Bengals at Bills - (Katz)
Line: BUF -6.0
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: In the absence of A.J. Green, the Bengals’ passing attack has been producing amidst less than ideal circumstances. Andy Dalton has attempted 93 passes through two games. He actually attempted more in Week 1 in a neutral game script than he did in Week 2 in negative game script. As six point underdogs in Week 3, Dalton should be throwing once again.

With Tyler Boyd being moved around the formation and lining up frequently in the slot, he should be able to get away from Tre’Davious White. He can leave that job to John Ross, whose 4.22 speed can burn even the best of cornerbacks. Both Boyd and Ross have been clear fantasy starters through two games.

The Bills have only allowed 198 passing yards per game, but they’ve also faced Sam Darnold and Eli Manning. Dalton is a much tougher test and while the Bills do have a strong pass defense, projected game script and Dalton’s performance over the first two weeks suggests he is a viable streamer this week. This might even be a week to consider Tyler Eifert. He’s no longer an every down tight end, but he is still a red zone target and a mismatch for the Bills’ linebackers.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: It has been a disastrous start to the season for Joe Mixon. Mixon still doesn’t have double-digit fantasy points through two games combined. The good news is Mixon looked healthy and showed no limitations due to his sprained ankle. The bad news is he didn’t go anywhere last week when he touched the ball. Mixon out-snapped Giovani Bernard 38-28 and that should only increase, another week removed from his ankle sprain.

The Bills were shredded by Saquon Barkley, but the Bengals have the league’s worst offensive line that is now missing yet another starter. It is difficult to have any level of confidence in Mixon after what we’ve seen, and with the Bengals being so pass heavy, it could just be a lost season for Mixon. Let’s see if he can get going this week because if you have him, you likely have to start him.

Value Meter:
QB2: Andy Dalton (high end, viable streamer)
RB2: Joe Mixon (low end)
WR2: Tyler Boyd (low end)
WR3: John Ross
TE2: Tyler Eifert
Bench: A.J. Green (ankle), Giovani Bernard

Passing Game Thoughts: Josh Allen is still an inaccurate passer but he can’t be stopped on the ground. Allen has thrown for and rushed for a touchdown in each of his first two games. He is a legitimate fantasy option and this is not an imposing matchup against a defense that was just shredded by Jimmy Garoppolo. The Bengals have allowed 31 points per game this season and five passing touchdowns. They did hold Russell Wilson to eight rushing yards on four carries in Week 1, but Pete Carroll wasn’t really letting Wilson drop back to pass. Allen should drop back close to 40 times this week and take off plenty, but there was a noticeable change in passing plays from Week 1 where the Bills had to come back against the Jets to Week 2 where the Bills led the Giants wire to wire. As touchdown favorites, the Bills may lean on the run more, but there should be plenty of rushing to maintain Allen’s floor.

The only wide receiver of consequence is John Brown. The Bengals gave up 42.54 PPR points to 49ers wide receivers last week. Brown has seen 18 targets through two weeks and looks like an every week WR3. You can feel comfortable about inserting Brown into your lineups.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: After looking like he was taking over the Bills’ backfield in Week 1, Devin Singletary played second fiddle to 88 year-old Frank Gore last week. Gore played 59% of the snaps to Singletary’s 33%. Adding to the concern is the fact that Singletary limped off late with a hamstring strain and is unlikely to play this week. The Bengals are allowing 4.9 yards per carry to opposing backs. If Singletary can’t go, Gore is a legitimate starting option and even T.J. Yeldon becomes relevant as Gore is not going to get every running back touch. Yeldon hasn’t played much this season, but would be the change of pace and passing down back if Singletary is out.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (low end)
WR3: John Brown
Flex: Frank Gore
Bench: Devin Singletary

Prediction: Bills 27, Bengals 19 ^ Top

Dolphins at Cowboys - (Katz)
Line: DAL -21.5
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: I don’t know how to write about the Dolphins’ offense for an entire season. We are potentially looking at the worst team in NFL history. Through two games, Ryan Fitzpatrick has completed 50% of his passes for 274 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Unsurprisingly, he is now the backup as Josh Rosen will make his Dolphins debut. The Dolphins have scored 10 points in two weeks.

The Cowboys have one of the league’s best defenses despite having allowed 19 points a game thus far. As 21 point underdogs, negative game script will not play in Miami’s favor - it hasn’t through the first two weeks. DeVante Parker saw seven targets last week and didn’t catch one of them. He will be completely erased by Byron Jones or whoever the Cowboys put on him. Preston Williams has been the Dolphins’ best wide receiver, but he’s nothing more than a desperation fill in. There seems to be no hope with anything Dolphins this season. Avoid everyone.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: The negative game script forces the Dolphins to abandon the run early. They only ran the ball 14 times last week for a total of 36 yards. The Cowboys’ run defense stats don’t tell the full story through just two games. Last week, Adrian Peterson’s 25 yards on 10 carries is more of what to expect. Kalen Ballage continues to start for the Dolphins but has nine carries for five yards through two games. That is almost unfathomable to even consider. He does not need to be owned in even the deepest of fantasy leagues. Kenyan Drake hasn’t been much better, but at least he is used in the passing game. It would behoove the Dolphins to matchup Drake against the Cowboys’ linebackers in at least an attempt to create a mismatch. Drake has a decent PPR floor due to the Dolphins constantly throwing and him being the pass catching back, but no one on the Dolphins has any sort of ceiling.

Value Meter:
Flex: Kenyan Drake
Bench: Josh Rosen, Kalen Ballage, Preston Williams, Mike Gesicki, DeVante Parker (please drop him)

Passing Game Thoughts: Through two weeks, only Lamar Jackson has been a better fantasy quarterback than Dak Prescott. The Dolphins have allowed the aforementioned Jackson to throw for five touchdowns and followed that up with surrendering 43 points to Tom Brady and the Patriots. After only two games, it is too soon to definitively conclude that Kellen Moore is the catalyst behind the new look Cowboys offense, but something is definitely working. Prescott is only averaging 31 attempts through two weeks, but he has been remarkably efficient, completing over 80% of his passes with seven touchdowns.

Amari Cooper’s job just got even easier with the Dolphins trading away Minkah Fitzpatrick. Cooper should have no trouble winning one on one with Xavien Howard. The only concern is if the Dolphins double him without the threat of Michael Gallup on the other side. Gallup partially tore his meniscus and will miss the next month, elevating Devin Smith to the flanker opposite Cooper with Randall Cobb remaining in the slot. The reality of this week is that the Cowboys are going to win by a lot. You want to start Prescott and Cooper, but don’t be surprised if Ezekiel Elliott steals all the scoring.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: After needing one week to get himself back in NFL mode, Zeke is once again a true workhorse. He touched the ball 25 times last week and scored for the second consecutive game. His role in the passing game appears diminished, but the Cowboys have yet to play a competitive game. It will be no different this week. The bad news is Zeke will likely only play three quarters. The good news is Elliott can do a whole lot of damage in those three quarters. The Dolphins are one of just three teams to have allowed four rushing touchdowns already this season. They are the only team to have allowed two 40+ yard rush plays. Elliott is going to feast. And if you’re desperate, Tony Pollard might be a legitimate option in deeper leagues given the likelihood he sees double-digit touches as the Cowboys milk the clock late.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott (high end)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (high end)
WR2: Amari Cooper (high end)
Flex: Tony Pollard (desperation play)
Bench: Michael Gallup (knee), Randall Cobb, Jason Witten

Prediction: Cowboys 45, Dolphins 7 ^ Top

Broncos @ Packers - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: Joe Flacco has quietly been a serviceable option in two-quarterback leagues, with more fantasy points per game than Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Cam Newton, and Jameis Winston. He completed 31-of-50 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown against the Bears last week and clearly has an excellent rapport with Emmanuel Sanders and Cortland Sutton.

He will never blow you away with his athleticism or decision making with the football, but in certain weeks against the right opponent, he can be a surprisingly effective fantasy option. This week’s matchup against the Packers on the road at Lambeau is not one of those weeks.

The revamped Packers defense allows the seventh-fewest points per game to opposing quarterbacks and the ninth-fewest to opposing wide receivers. Mike Pettine’s team held the Bears to just three points on the road on opening day and Kirk Cousins and the Vikings to just 16 last week, leading us to believe that the Broncos and Flacco will find it difficult to move the ball effectively on Sunday.

With 20 targets in two games, Emmanuel Sanders is worthy of a start based on his volume and ability to get a touchdown (one in each of the first two games), but the key to everyone in the Broncos passing game will be how well the team runs the ball against a Packers team that gave up 154 yards and a score to Dalvin Cook. If the Broncos can run the ball, stay out of long passing downs, and utilize play action passes to Sanders and Courtland Sutton, Denver will be able to stay in this game.

Conversely, if the tandem of Phillip Lindsay Royce Freeman struggle to move the ball on the ground, the Packers will dial up blitz packages that will force Flacco to make bad throws and force passes.

A matchup to watch will be back-up right tackle Elijah Wilkinson against the outside pass rush of Za’Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, and Montravius Adams. Denver ranks 20th in the league in sacks allowed with 2.5 per game. If Wilkinson struggles to protect Flacco, it will be a long day for the passing game of the Broncos.

On the injury front, rookie safety Darnell Savage is listed as questionable with a bone contusion in his shin.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: As we move into Week 3 of the 2019 season the Denver Broncos, a team that is built to run the ball, is one of seven NFL teams still looking for their first rushing touchdown.

Phillip Lindsay, the undrafted rookie sensation from a year ago has 79 total rushing yards on 24 carries, while Royce Freeman has 110 on 21 attempts. Both players are used almost equally in the passing game up to this point, with 53 receiving yards each on eight and six receptions respectively.

You can mark it up to difficult matchups, with the Bears and the Raiders (surprisingly), among the lead leaders in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. But you can also rack it up to poor running by Lindsay, as the Broncos ranked 11th over two weeks in run blocking efficiency according to

On a positive note for Lindsay and Freeman is the best way to move the ball against the Packers this season has been on the ground. No, I don’t anticipate they will gash the Pack like Dalvin Cook did last week. But do think Denver will be able to move the ball more on the ground this week than they did against the Bears in Week 2.

Value Meter:
QB2: Joe Flacco (Low-End)
RB2: Phillip Lindsay (Low-End)
RB3: Royce Freeman (High-End)
WR3: Emmanuel Sanders (High-End)
WR4: Courtland Sutton (High-End)
TE2: Noah Fant (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Packers are 2-0 on the season with impressive wins over divisional foes Chicago and Minnesota. The offense has looked sharp, the revamped defense looks to be a force all year, and Aaron Jones already has a rushing touchdown in two games.

All is well in Packer land unless you are an Aaron Rodgers fantasy owner. Rodgers has just three passing touchdowns and 412 passing yards through two games, and his on pace to throw only 512 pass attempts, which would be the fewest in his career for a full-16 game schedule.

Yes, the Packers played against two of the league’s best pass defenses to open the season. And yes, Rodgers has not thrown an interception. But his touchdown rate of 4.7% is once against alarmingly low and well off of his career average of 6.1, and the Packers appear to be moving toward more of a run heavy offense than in prior seasons.

This week’s matchup against the Broncos will be a familiar foe as former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio now as the head coach in Denver. Fangio understands Rodgers’ tendencies, perhaps better than anyone in the NFL after coaching against him twice in each of the last few years.

Through two weeks, the Broncos have allowed the second-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks and the 13-most to opposing running backs. This is not to say that the Packers will focus mostly on the run and Rodgers won’t throw the ball much, but if the Packers have success running the ball with Jones and Jamaal Williams and the defense shuts down Joe Flacco, and the Broncos pass offense, we could be in for another low volume day for Rodgers.

After a slow start to the season with four catches for 36 yards, Davante Adams bounced back with 106 yards on seven catches but is looking for his first touchdown of the year. The matchup of Chris Harrison and former Bear Bryce Callahan on Adams will be an interesting one to watch. Adams was successful posting numbers last season against top corners in the league, but shutting down Adams may be the focus of Fangio and the defense.
Callahan missed the first two games of the year with a foot injury. He is currently listed as questionable, but the team hopes to have him on the field for the first time when the team heads to Lambeau.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: The snap counts for Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are fairly close, with Jones owning a 58% to 47% advantage over Williams. In terms of snaps and touches, Jones has a 72% share of the teams’ rushes, with a near split in passing work.

Both players will be active on Sunday against a Broncos defense that ranks 13th in points allowed to the running back position. Josh Jacobs ran well against Denver with 85 yard and two touchdowns, while David Montgomery added 62 yards and a score last week.

Opponents average just 3.7 yards per carry, but three rushing touchdowns in two games bodes well for Jones’ chance of reaching pay dirt. Jones is an excellent run-cut runner who should have success running off tackle behind David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga.

The projected game script of the Packers leading for most of the game favors Jones over Williams based on the assumption that the former will get more carries closing out the game as opposed to the latter getting receptions in a come-back bid.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (Low-End)
RB1: Aaron Jones (Low-End)
RB3: Jamaal Williams (Low-End)
WR1: Davante Adams (Mid-Range)
WR4: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (High-End)
Bench: Jimmy Graham (injured)

Prediction: Green Bay 21, Denver 10 ^ Top

Falcons at Colts - (Scott)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Falcons have been poor as an offensive unit through the first two games. It is true that they have faced two good defenses (Eagles and Vikings), but still they have been surprisingly bad, currently sitting at 30th in offensive team DVOA. Matt Ryan did throw for 320 yards and three touchdowns in Week 2 against the Eagles, but he also threw three interceptions, and also could have had a couple more easily picked off. Both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley have scored in both of the first two weeks, but that has masked the general struggles the passing unit has faced.

This might be the week they break out of their funk. They are facing a Colts defense that has been very average thus far in 2019. Although they did hold Marcus Mariota down in Week 2, it seems Mariota holds himself down. The Colts currently rank 15th against the pass in defensive DVOA, and allowed Rivers to throw for 333 yards in Week 1. They face a similar offense to the Chargers this week, with a distinguished veteran quarterback, threats at receiver, and an up-and-coming tight end (Austin Hooper). The Colts are without their top cornerback Pierre Desir (bone bruise) and that will likely push rookie Rock Ya-Sin, who is highly regarded but is nonetheless very inexperienced, into a starting role. This may be a golden opportunity for the Falcons passing game to truly get on track.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: While the passing game hasn’t quite clicked to the level expected of them, the Falcons’ rushing game has been downright putrid. The offensive line that was supposed to be much improved has ranked 27th as a run-blocking unit through the first two weeks.

Devonta Freeman has looked out of sorts and a bit slow, but much of his struggle is surely related to poor blocking. In addition, he was injured for all but 2 games last year and is likely still working himself back into game mode. Ito Smith has looked improved from his rookie year, so the Falcons will likely continue mixing him into the gameplan. As mentioned above, the Falcons faced two of the toughest tests for the rushing game in weeks 1 and 2, but the Colts unit has been one of the worst through two weeks (30th in rushing DVOA). This appears to be an excellent opportunity to get the running game going for the Falcons, which in turn should open up cleaner opportunities for the passing game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (low end)
RB2: Devonta Freeman (low end)
WR1: Julio Jones
WR2: Calvin Ridley
TE2: Austin Hooper (high end)
Bench: Ito Smith & Mohamed Sanu (lack of volume)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Colts are known to have an excellent offensive line, but so far they have just been average. This has negatively impacted both their passing and rushing attack. As a pass-blocking unit, they currently rank 23rd and have given up 5 sacks. Brissett has been good thus far but doesn’t elevate the Colts offense like Andrew Luck did. However, he has been very efficient, throwing for five touchdowns to only one interception and completing 69% of his passes. He also faced the Titans excellent pass defense in Week 2. So perhaps there are brighter days ahead for this passing offense.

T.Y. Hilton is currently the seventh-highest scoring wide receiver in fantasy football, catching 12 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns. That touchdown rate is certainly not sustainable, so he will have to increase his yardage if he is going to continue producing statistically.

Outside of Hilton, the tight ends Ebron and Doyle have 12 targets on the season between them, but have not been able to do much with them. No other Colts receiver logged 50% of the snaps in Week 2, as the coaching staff continues to try to figure out who will step up and play alongside Hilton in two-receiver sets now that Funchess is out for the year. If they can get some stability at that position, it will undoubtedly help the passing offense overall.

The whole passing offense faces a stiff test in Week 3, as the Falcons rank 9th in defensive passing DVOA. Their cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Isaiah Oliver have been very good so far, and will likely focus on stopping Hilton in this matchup. The Colts will have to find a way to beat the Falcons through the air with their other receivers in order to win this matchup.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: The Colts may focus on the rushing game this week, ranking 4th in offensive rushing DVOA. The Falcons have been average against the run, despite having excellent linebacker Deion Jones in the middle of the defense. They did hold the Eagles run game in check in Week 2, but the Vikings gashed them in Week 1 with both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison.

If the Falcons focus on stopping the run because it is the superior aspect to the Colts offensive game, it will be interesting to see if the Colts double down and stick to their strength or if they switch gears to attack the Falcons through the air. I look for it be a slug fest when the Colts have the ball, without much scoring, but expect Marlon Mack (calf) to get loose for at least one long run behind this offensive line. Mack missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with a calf injury. If he can’t go, Jordan Wilkins would take over early-down duties.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jacoby Brissett (low end)
RB2: Marlon Mack (high end)
WR2: T.Y. Hilton (high end)
Bench: Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle, Nyheim Hines, Parris Campbell

Prediction: Falcons 34, Colts 31 ^ Top

Raiders @ Vikings - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: Derek Carr and the Raiders head north to take on the Minnesota Vikings at US Bank Stadium on Sunday a beaten and bruised bunch after last week’s 28-10 home loss to the Chiefs. Carr completed 23-of-38 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown pass to Tyrell Williams and is completing over 70% of this passes for the first time in his career.

Injuries to Williams and starting running back Josh Jacobs are a concern for the team as they take on the league’s 15th ranked defense of the Vikings. Williams is battling a hip pointer, and Jacobs suffered a groin injury. Also, starting left tackle Trent Brown is dealing with knee pain.

The Vikings rank in the middle of the pack regarding fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan each tossed two touchdown passes against Mike Zimmer’s defense, with the latter throwing two interceptions. Fantasy owners in anything other than deep two-quarterback leagues will want to avoid Carr, but it is important to point out that it is not impossible to throw touchdown passes on the Vikings.

Should Williams be able to go, he will likely match up against Xavier Rhodes on the outside. Rhodes is not the player he was a few years ago, but it will be a tough matchup for Williams, especially if the hip pointer continues to limit him.

Darren Waller continues to be a focal point of the Raiders’ offense with six catches for 63 yards on seven targets last week against the Chiefs. Although Waller has yet to reach the end zone, his rapport with Carr is evident and the possibility of Williams missing time could mean even more volume for Waller, a top-10 tight end in all formats.

Another sneaky option this week in PPR formats is slot receiver Hunter Renfrow. The diminutive rookie receiver from Clemson saw his target volume jump from three to eight last week, and the ferocious pass rush of the Vikings could force Carr to rely on more quick passes to Renfrow.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: After shutting down the Falcons to just 50 total rushing yards on 14 carries Week 1, the Vikings allowed 144 yards on the ground, 47 receiving yards, and a touchdown reception to the backfield tandem of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. It is difficult to run on the Vikings, but the Packers proved that it is not impossible as long as you mix up your run scheme and take advantage of Minnesota’s aggressiveness with counters and draws.

The Raiders enter the game ranked as the No.14 unit in fantasy points from the running back position, led by rookie tailback Josh Jacobs. Jacob’s 184 yards on the ground in two games is fourth in the league behind Dalvin Cook, Saquon Barkley, and Marlon Mack. Curiously, despite having excellent receiving skills, Jacobs has just one target in two games.

Should he be able to play through his groin injury, the Raiders will need to get Jacobs more involved in the passing game if they have any hope of stealing a win on Sunday from Minnesota.

If Jacobs is not able to play, look for the Raiders to use a combination of DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard to carry the load, with the former working on early downs and the latter acting as the primary receiving back. If forced to choose between the two, I would go with the latter based on a likely game script of the Raiders chasing points.

Value Meter:
QB2: Derek Carr (Low-End)
RB2: Josh Jacobs (Low-End)
WR2: Tyrell Williams (Low-End)
WR4: Hunter Renfrow (Low-End)
TE1: Darren Waller (Mid-Range)

Passing Game Thoughts: After throwing just ten passes for 98 yards and a touchdown Week 1 against the Falcons, Kirk Cousins threw 32 times for 230 yards and a touchdown against the Packers. Unfortunately, Cousins completed only 14 of those 32 attempts, with two of his passes getting picked off by the Green Bay defense.

The Vikings told us all offseason that they want to be a run-first team and play smash-mouth football. They have lived up to their word with Davin Cook leading the league with 265 yards rushing on 41 attempts. The hope for fantasy owners of Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kirk Cousins that a reduction of pass attempts and an increase in rushing yards by the offense would result in more efficiency by Cousins. That proved to be true against the Falcons Week 1, but not at all the case Week 2 against the Packers’ rebuilt defense.

Perhaps the Vikings and Cousins will bounce back against a Raiders team that Ranks 8th in the league in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Mahomes torched the Raiders for 443 yards and four scores last week, providing some hope that Cousins will bounce back and make Thielen and Diggs top 15 plays at the wide receiver position.

Thielen, a consensus top-4 round pick this summer has eight catches for 118 yards and a score this year. Not terrible stats, but not exactly the type of production his owners hoped for based on what he has done in the past.

Diggs might be more of a concern, with three catches for 86 yards and a touchdown on the year. Aside from a 46-yard touchdown grab last Week, Diggs and Cousins have not been on the same page with a 33% catch rate.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph ranks 28th in the league at the position with three catches for nine yards on six targets. Sure, he is a touchdown threat every game he plays, but he also is more likely to give you a one-catch for 15-yard performance on a given week.

Teams have found it easier to move the ball in the air against the Raiders than on the ground, with Oakland having yet to give up a rushing touchdown this season despite playing against to above-average running offenses in the Chiefs and the Broncos. The Vikings will continue to run regardless of the opponent, but don’t be surprised to see them find more success passing the ball on Sunday than between the tackles.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook has been nothing short of spectacular this season for the Vikings, with back to back 100-yard rushing games and three touchdowns through two weeks of play.

You do not need to be told to start Cook, as he is a must-start in all formats regardless of the matchup. But you should know that both the Chiefs and the Broncos, two teams who have above average rushing attacks, did not have the most success running the ball against Jon Gruden’s defense.

Oakland has allowed the fourth-fewest points to running backs and limited LeSean McCoy to just 23 yards on 11 carries. Cook is still a great option; just don’t be surprised to see the Vikings attack more in the passing game than what they did against the Falcons in Week 1.

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

Prediction: Minnesota 30, Oakland 14 ^ Top

Jets at Patriots - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: I wasn’t entirely sure that Trevor Siemian was any sort of massive downgrade from Sam Darnold but I’m pretty confident that Luke Falk is not supposed to be starting football games. Through two games, the Patriots have allowed a grand total of three points. They have the best defense in the league and Falk is not the guy to breach it.

Robby Anderson’s fantasy value is all but dead as a downfield threat playing in an anemic offense with quarterbacks that can’t throw downfield. The only hope lies in Jamison Crowder gobbling up receptions from the slot. Crowder has run 70.2% of his routes from the slot and will avoid Stephon Gilmore, who will be busy potentially holding Anderson catchless. The Jets may not score in this game.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: Le’Veon Bell can’t be pleased with the plight of his new team, but he is still locked into massive volume, which works for fantasy. Bell touched the ball 31 times last week. While he’s going to be inefficient by virtue of being on the Jets, he continues to matriculate. The splash plays are not coming (nor were they were really part of his repertoire), but Bell just tacks on a point here and a point there and before you know it, he’s got 20 fantasy points. Bell is an RB1 even when he doesn’t score so consider the touchdowns just a bonus. There is little to gain by looking into the Patriots’ run defense as the massively positive game script they’ve had has resulted in opponents abandoning the run quite early. If Bell can’t do it on the ground, he will do it through the air.

Value Meter:
RB1: Le’Veon Bell (mid-range)
WR3: Jamison Crowder
Bench: Luke Falk, Robby Anderson

Passing Game Thoughts: The Patriots are still the running Patriots so the concerns about Tom Brady’s volume have not been assuaged one bit. Fortunately, that doesn’t really matter because passing volume does not correlate with fantasy success. The only thing that matters is touchdowns and Brady has scored three of them in each of his first two games. The Patriots are going to do whatever they want against the Jets as three touchdown favorites. Given that New England was still throwing the ball in the fourth quarter against the Dolphins, we can presume they have no interest in taking the foot off the pedal. There will be four or five touchdowns to go around this week so hopefully for Brady owners; he throws at least two of them.

Antonio Brown is back to being a strong WR1 for as long as the NFL lets him play. He’s not going to have those consistent double-digit target games he did in Pittsburgh, but the quality of his targets will be so good that he will be just fine. Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman are both going to suffer from AB’s presence. Edelman needs volume and it’s just not there on the running Patriots featuring Brown. Gordon is nothing more than a complementary piece. He will need a touchdown or a splash play to produce. The good news is opportunity should be aplenty against the Jets.

Update 9/20/19: Following the news of Antonio Brown's release, Julian Edelman vaults back to the top as Brady's primary target. The volume that Edelman needs is now more likely to be there. As for Gordon, his piece of the pie increases as well. Both move up a full level with Edelman going from WR3 to WR2 and Gordon from Flex to WR3. Phillip Dorsett should slide back in as the Patriots' third receiver and is worth a look in deeper leagues, but is not a starting option this week.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: Sony Michel is a replacement level talent but through two weeks, it looks like Michel is there grind it out guy. There will be immense positive game script here and plenty of scoring opportunities. You know the deal with Michel. Either he falls into the end zone or he doesn’t. He is and always will be a touchdown dependent RB2.

James White scored last week, but his usage has been nowhere near what it was last year. With AB, Edelman, and Gordon, Brady just has no need to constantly check it down to White nor are there more than a couple of plays drawn up specifically for White. With Burkhead still in the mix and the Patriots unlikely to need to utilize White, this is a spot to go in a different direction if you have the depth to do so.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (high end)
RB2: Sony Michel (touchdown dependent)
WR2: Julian Edelman
WR3 : Josh Gordon
Flex: James White
Bench: Rex Burkhead

Prediction: Patriots 38, Jets 7 ^ Top

Lions at Eagles - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s only been two games, but after all the talk about Matt Patricia wanting to be a running football team, Matt Stafford is on pace for 600 pass attempts and the Lions have only experienced positive to neutral game script thus far. With the Lions touchdown underdogs in Philly this week, projected negative game script will likely lead to more passing from Stafford, who is averaging over 300 yards passing and 2.5 touchdowns a game.

No wide receiver has seen more deep targets than Kenny Golladay’s seven through two weeks. The Eagles have allowed the second most fantasy points to wide receivers and have no hope of stopping Golladay without a double team. Opposite Golladay will be distant No.2, Marvin Jones. The veteran receiver is a safe, floor option, but otherwise uninspiring.

Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson is still not a deliberate part of the offense. He is ceding about 25% of the snaps to Jesse James and was barely used last week. It appears as though Hockenson’s Week 1 explosion was largely a product of just being left open by the Cardinals rather than design. The Eagles have been average defending the tight end so you can certainly do worse than Hock, but he is not a preferred play.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: It has been a disappointing start to the season for those expecting the Lions to go all in on Kerryon Johnson. He’s posted just a 57% snap and opportunity share through the first two weeks. The good news is C.J. Anderson was clearly being fazed out as evidenced by the Lions releasing him earlier this week. I can’t believe I am about to talk about Paul Perkins again. I spent plenty of 2017 complaining about how the Giants continued to put him on the field when he didn’t belong in the NFL. I view Perkins as a warm body but he is worse than Anderson – a lot worse.

Rookie Ty Johnson touched the ball eight times last week and should be the complementary back to Kerryon going forward. If this backfield is going to be just the two Johnsons, that is best case scenario for both of their fantasy values. Ty is an explosive athlete and capable pass catcher. He could be borderline fantasy viable as the 40% guy in this committee with tremendous upside if Kerryon were to get hurt.

The Eagles have been stifling against the run this season, allowing just 2.8 yards per carry, but opponents also haven’t really tried to run against them; they’ve seen just 30 carries by opposing rushers. Even so, Kerryon’s involvement in the passing game should increase as well, making him a strong option in the post C.J. Anderson era.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (low end)
RB2: Kerryon Johnson (mid-range)
WR1: Kenny Golladay (low end)
WR3: Marvin Jones (floor play)
Flex: Ty Johnson (desperation play)
Bench: Danny Amendola, T.J. Hockenson

Passing Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz looked phenomenal in Week 1 and then totally faceplanted in Week 2. That has been consistent throughout Wentz’s career. He has flashes of brilliance followed by bouts of incompetence. I am worried about his outlook this week against a surprisingly stout Lions pass defense that ranks 17th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Even that number is misleading because much of it came during the fourth quarter and overtime of Kyler Murray’s furious comeback in Week 1 when the Lions were gassed. Against the much slower paced Chargers, the Lions shut down Philip Rivers.

Wentz is definitely going to be without DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert this week and will likely be down Alshon Jeffery as well. That leaves him with Nelson Agholor as his WR1 followed by journeyman Mack Hollins and rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Suffice it to say, 2018 Zach Ertz is going to return for at least one more week. We saw that guy last week after Jeffery and Jackson went down with Ertz commanding 16 targets by necessity. Ertz is not a special talent, but he is reliable and Wentz will lean on him in the absence of his playmakers.

The Lions have allowed the second fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, but they also haven’t faced a team with a tight end of consequence. Start Ertz with supreme confidence and consider Agholor a strong spot starter as well.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: The three-man committee is not going anywhere as once again, no Eagles running back reached the 50% snap plateau. Miles Sanders is undoubtedly atop the committee, but Darren Sproles and Jordan Howard continue to combine for nearly 60% of the snaps. You can complain about it all you want, but Sanders is not taking over this backfield. He also hasn’t played particularly well, looking to bounce runs to the outside, chasing the splash play over the guaranteed yardage, resulting in 53 yards on 21 carries.

As good as the Lions have been against the pass, they’ve been the opposite against running backs, getting absolutely torched by David Johnson and Austin Ekeler. Both DJ and Ekeler did a ton of damage through the air, which either means Sanders is in for a nice PPR day or we are going to see a whole lot more of Sproles than anyone wants. Either way, if Sanders can’t get it going this week, it may be time to look elsewhere in your flex.

Value Meter:
QB2: Carson Wentz (high end)
RB2: Miles Sanders (low end)
WR3: Nelson Agholor
TE1: Zach Ertz (high end)
Bench: Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles, DeSean Jackson (abdomen), Alshon Jeffery (calf), Dallas Goedert (calf), JJ Arcega-Whiteside (inability to get open)

Prediction: Eagles 23, Lions 20 ^ Top

Panthers @ Cardinals - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Cam Newton has been one of the most disappointing fantasy players in the league so far this season as he’s failed to pass for a single touchdown in two games while throwing for just over 500 yards. Most importantly, though, is that Newton has been a complete non-factor in the running game. That trait alone has made Newton one of the most valuable fantasy quarterbacks in the past, but his foot injury remains a major concern and has obviously hampered his mobility. Without healthy legs, Newton is a below-average fantasy quarterback. It appears Newton is headed for the Inactive list in Week 3.

If Newton is unable to play, the Panthers would seemingly be best served to turn to rookie Will Grier, who they selected in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft, but coach Ron Rivera has indicated that it will actually be second-year quarterback Kyle Allen who will get the start if Newton is out. Allen did start one game in replacement for Newton in 2018 - a Week 17 blowout win over the Saints’ in a game that New Orleans rested their starters in. Allen was productive in that game as he threw for 228 yards and two scores, adding an additional touchdown on the ground, but we do have to consider the situation.

No matter who the quarterback is, though, this Week 3 matchup against the Cardinals is a juicy one for fantasy production in this passing game. The Cardinals have given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season and they’ll still be without cornerback Patrick Peterson. That should bode well particularly for second-year wide receiver D.J. Moore who has dominated the targets in Carolina, catching 16 of his 24 targets for 165 yards. Moore hasn’t yet found the end zone but that type of usage is a great indicator of future fantasy production. The only other receiver who fantasy owners should even be looking at is Curtis Samuel who himself has been targeted 17 times. He’s only caught eight of those passes, but he’s turned it into 123 yards and he’s running a lot of routes deep down the field - it only takes one of those to turn into a big fantasy play. Still, Moore is the better fantasy play of the two and can be put in as a WR2 even if Newton is out. Samuel is more of a Flex play if Cam is in and would be a borderline Flex play if he’s out.

Tight end Greg Olsen is still battling a back injury but showed up in a big way in Week 2 as he caught six passes for 110 yards. Olsen had not gone over 100 receiving yards in a game since Week 15 of the 2017 season, but his high usage suggests that this might not be the only productive fantasy game he’ll have this season. Olsen was targeted nine times again in Week 2 after being targeted nine times in Week 1. He’ll have an elite matchup here in Week 3 against an Arizona defense that has struggled for years to stop opposing tight ends and has already given up the league’s most receptions, yards and touchdowns to opposing tight ends.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Week 2 was a frustrating experience for Christian McCaffery owners as the superstar running back was held in check by the Buccaneers as he rushed for just 37 yards on 16 carries. Even worse was that he caught just two passes for 16 yards. Certainly McCaffery has shown that he’s someone to start in any situation and this is just a blip on the radar, but there is certainly some concern to be had that opposing defenses could key in on him if Newton is unable to play. They may even focus more on him anyway given that Newton is as unhealthy as he is.

The Cardinals have been good against opposing running backs this season but they also haven’t played an elite-level talent at the position yet. With Newton hobbled or entirely out, look for the Panthers to lean heavily on McCaffery both as a runner and as a pass catcher, which should lead to at least 20 touches for him in this contest. That alone makes him an RB1 for fantasy.

Value Meter:
RB1: Christian McCaffrey
WR2: D.J. Moore
TE1: Greg Olsen
Flex: Curtis Samuel (if Newton plays)
Bench: Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, Chris Hogan, Jarius Wright

Passing Game Thoughts: The Arizona passing game looked substantially more effective in Week 2 than it did for the first three quarters of Week 1. Kyler Murray finished Week 2 with 349 yards passing and while he failed to throw a touchdown pass, he also didn’t throw an interception. Murray completed five or more passes to three different receivers - Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald and Damiere Byrd, all of whom played 93 percent or more of the Cardinals’ offensive snaps.

Murray has now attempted 94 passes, leading the league in that category, which puts him on a 16-game pace for 752 pass attempts, which would shatter the all-time single season record of 727 set by Matthew Stafford in 2012. Even if Murray doesn’t keep up this pace, the point is that he’s going to pass the ball a lot this season, in every game, no matter the situation. That type of volume has huge implications on the rest of the offense and we’ve now seen four Cardinals receivers targeted 12 or more times over two games.

The two target leaders are Fitzgerald and Kirk who have 24 and 20 targets respectively and they both went over 100 receiving yards this past week against Baltimore, one of the league’s best secondaries. Fitzgerald has actually been over 100 yards in both games and is seemingly the top target in this offense, albeit only slightly over Kirk who is also a valuable piece.

The Cardinals do face a difficult pass defense this week in the Panthers who have only allowed one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver so far this season, but it’s worth noting that the touchdown came this past week against Chris Godwin who plays most of his snaps out of the slot, as do both Fitzgerald and Kirk.

Fitzgerald and Kirk are both low-end WR2/Flex this week with Murray checking in as a low-level QB1, but the other members of the Arizona passing game should remain on your bench in what could be a difficult matchup.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: It was a very quiet day for running back David Johnson in Week 2 as he was held to just 14 rushing yards on seven carries with only one catch for zero yards, but he did save his fantasy day a bit by sneaking into the end zone. While this is obviously the low end of Johnson’s usage, it does illustrate that the Cardinals are running an extraordinarily pass-happy offense that doesn’t necessarily benefit Johnson in every game. Still, by spreading out the opposing defense with four-wide sets as often as the Cardinals do, Johnson has the opportunity to run the ball against weak defensive fronts that are often times not well-equipped to contain his elusiveness.

The Panthers have given up 241 rushing yards and three touchdowns to opposing running backs already this season and while they’ve kept opposing backs in check in the passing game, there’s still hope that Johnson will see an increase in touches this week given that the Cardinals could be ahead on the scoreboard especially if Newton doesn’t play. Johnson will be a risky RB1 each week but he’s an RB1 nevertheless.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray (low-end)
RB1: David Johnson
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald (low-end)
Flex: Christian Kirk
Bench: Chase Edmonds, Damiere Byrd, Michael Crabtree, KeeSean Johnson, Andy Isabella, Maxx Williams, Charles Clay

Prediction: Cardinals 27, Panthers 16 ^ Top

Giants at Buccaneers - (Scott)

Passing Game Thoughts: The torch has officially been passed, with Eli Manning heading to the bench and Daniel Jones making his first NFL start. It is an understandable move, since the Giants currently rank 24th in passing efficiency. Manning was only able to pass for two touchdowns in the first two games, while he turned the ball over three times (2 interceptions, 1 fumble). However, it is also true that he was working with mostly replacement-level talent at wide receiver, since Sterling Shepard went down with an injury in Week 1 and Golden Tate is currently suspended. If the Giants benched Manning without considering what he had to work with, they might be disappointed in the results with Daniel Jones.

The matchup with the Bucs secondary is not terrible, so perhaps that played into the decision. Tampa gave up 333 yards passing to Cam Newton, and he seemed to be less than 100%. Both Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis are beatable, but who Daniel Jones is throwing to will depend on if Sterling Shepard is able to return to the lineup after his concussion in Week 1. If so, that would be a big boost to the offense. It is likely Jones will depend on Barkley and Evan Engram, particularly if he feels pressure.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: The Bucs rushing defense has quietly been among the most improved groups in the league so far this season. They currently rank first in defensive rushing DVOA after two games, and held the 49ers and Panthers (two good running teams) from doing anything on the ground. A front seven featuring Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, William Gholston, rookie Devin White, and Shaq Barrett has improved dramatically under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

This means strength against strength, because the Giants have a much-improved offensive line, featuring Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, and Kevin Zeitler – with phenom Saquon Barkley running behind them. The Giants currently rank fifth in offensive rushing DVOA, so it will be interesting to see who wins this battle. I would anticipate the Giants will look to lean on the run even more than normal with rookie Daniel Jones making his first start at quarterback, so this rushing matchup could go a long way to determining the outcome of the game.

Value Meter:
RB1: Saquon Barkley (high end)
TE1: Evan Engram
Flex / Bench: Sterling Shepard (concussion)
Bench: Daniel Jones (until we see him perform), all other receivers

Passing Game Thoughts: This is a juicy matchup for the Bucs’ passing game, and a great opportunity for them to get back on track. The Giants defense has been rolled in the first two weeks, giving up 405 yards and 4 touchdowns to Dak Prescott and the Cowboys and then 253 yards to Josh Allen and the Bills. Janoris Jenkins is still playing well at cornerback, but rookie corner DeAndre Baker has looked outmatched. With the secondary having to try to defend both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, it should be a good matchup for the Bucs. However, Winston seems to find a way to underperform (currently the offense is 31st in passing DVOA), so nothing is guaranteed.

Speaking of Winston, he is an enigma. After a putrid game against the 49ers (20-36, 194 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT) he performed fairly well on a short week against the Panthers (16-25, 208, 1 TD, 0 INT). He has a great opportunity to play well in this matchup as it’s unlikely the Giants get up big early, and he won’t be facing much of a pass rush. The Bucs should be able to go with a mix of run and pass plays to keep the defense guessing. Winston needs to look in the direction of tight end O.J. Howard more often, particularly when he faces pressure, but Howard has had to stay in to block too often due to the poor performance of the offensive line (rank 27th in pass protection per Football Outsiders, given up 6 sacks). I look for Howard to get more targets in this game and to climb out of Bruce Arians’ doghouse.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Partly because of the poor offensive line, the running game has not been particularly stellar (3.3 yards per carry in Week 2, one total rushing touchdown this season). In Week 1 Ronald Jones was better (13 carries for 75 yards), but then in Week 2 head coach Bruce Arians gave the work to Peyton Barber (23 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown). Perhaps Barber is better at not missing assignments, so Arians stuck with his more reliable back on a short week. Whatever the reason, his sub-4 yards per carry is about what we’ve come to expect.

If the Giants defense has a strength, it is likely their linebackers (Markus Golden, Alec Ogletree, Lorenzo Carter), but if the Bucs get the pass going, they will likely have a tough time stopping the run when the Bucs mix it in. I anticipate a decent game for Barber or Jones, whoever happens to get the majority of the work.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jameis Winston
WR1: Mike Evans (low end)
WR2: Chris Godwin
TE2: O.J. Howard
Flex: Peyton Barber (only if desperate)
Bench: Ronald Jones (until he gets more work)

Prediction: Bucs 26, Giants 17 ^ Top

Texans @ Chargers - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Houston’s passing game certainly struggled this past week as DeAndre Hopkins was blanketed by Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Unfortunately, things won’t get much easier here in Week 3 as the Texans head to Los Angeles to face a good Chargers defense and lockdown cornerback Casey Hayward. Hopkins will see enough targets and is a good enough receiver that he’ll still most likely produce quality fantasy numbers, but his upside is certainly capped in this very difficult matchup.

That could mean more opportunities for depth wide receivers Will Fuller and Kenny Stills, who have combined for just 16 total targets through the first two games of the season. Keke Coutee did also get on the field after missing Week 1, but he played just 44 percent of the team’s snaps and really just adds to the difficult-to-predict situation in this passing game after DeAndre Hopkins.

The nice thing is that all these players, including Duke Johnson out of the backfield, give quarterback Deshaun Watson the best set of weapons that he’s ever had as a pro. Watson himself did struggle to contribute much of anything as a passer in Week 2, but he did save his fantasy day by getting into the end zone as a runner. That’s the type of floor that Watson provides - even when he has lower-volume games as a passer, he can still do damage with his legs. When those two things come together, we have games like Week 1 when he threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns while also adding 40 rushing yards and a touchdown. Watson is an easy QB1 in any matchup.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners who invested in Duke Johnson continue to be frustrated as the back has now been out-touched 31-to-19 through the Texans’ first two games of the season. Worse yet, he did not see a single target in the passing game in the Texans’ Week 2 win over the Jaguars despite the Texans’ narrow 13-to-12 victory. Certainly a negative game script where the Texans on the scoreboard would be more likely to lead to a higher usage for Johnson but for now it appears as though Hyde is the primary ball carrier in neutral or positive game script situations.

Negative game scripts are difficult to predict especially for middle-of-the-pack teams like the Texans, so it’s wise to avoid putting Johnson in your lineup for now. Hyde, on the other hand, is seeing enough carries to at least be in consideration for a Flex role, especially in non-PPR formats where his lack of passing game contribution can be negated.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
Flex: Carlos Hyde (non-PPR), Will Fuller
Bench: Duke Johnson, Kenny Stills, Keke Coutee, Jordan Akins, Darren Fells

Passing Game Thoughts: Wide receiver Mike Williams dealt with an injury throughout the week of practice in Week 2 which led to lots of questions regarding his availability heading into the game. He was benched by many fantasy owners and ended up playing the third-most snaps at wide receiver for the team, but he did make a few athletic catches including an important grab deep down the field with little time left in the first half which led to a Chargers field goal attempt. Williams appears to be healthy now as we head into Week 3, though, and he’ll get a matchup against a Texans secondary that has already given up five or more receptions to five different receivers through just two games.

Keenan Allen should be in line for another huge target day here in Week 2. He currently leads the entire league with the highest percentage of his team’s targets and he’s already made 16 catches for 221 yards and a touchdown. The Texans don’t have a defense to worry about when it comes to Allen, so feel free to lock him in as a solid WR1 in this one.

Philip Rivers should be looked at as a fill-in this week for those who might be without their normal starting quarterback, but his low weekly upside isn’t particularly appealing as an every-week starter.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: Rumors of Melvin Gordon’s return continue to swirl around but the backfield still belongs to Austin Ekeler for the time being. Ekeler has been absolutely dominant through the first two weeks of the season and he leads all running backs in fantasy points scored. He’s scored four touchdowns, caught 12 passes and contributed 287 total yards for the Chargers already this season.

We can’t expect that type of production to continue all season but there’s little reason to believe that Ekeler will suddenly take a big step back as a fantasy contributor. He’s enough of a pass catching weapon that he can be utilized if the Chargers fall behind on the scoreboard in games and he’s built well enough to carry the ball between 12 to 18 times per weeks as a runner. That type of usage is usually exclusive to elite-level fantasy backs and Ekeler is certainly making a case to be included in that conversation. He’ll get a Texans defense that Alvin Kamara carved up to the tune of 169 total yards in Week 1, thus he’s a mid-level RB1 in this contest.

While Justin Jackson has been extremely productive with the carries he’s been given, he’s simply not seeing enough volume to be a fantasy-relevant player. If Ekeler were to go down, however, he becomes an instant high-priority waiver wire target.

Value Meter:
QB1: Philip Rivers (low-end)
RB1: Austin Ekeler
WR1: Keenan Allen
Flex: Mike Williams
Bench: Justin Jackson, Travis Benjamin, Virgil Green

Prediction: Chargers 24, Texans 21 ^ Top

Steelers @ 49ers - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: There have been a lot of quarterback injuries and changes throughout the past seven days, but perhaps no team is more equipped to transition to a new leader than Pittsburgh. The Steelers lost Ben Roethlisberger for the season and they now turn to second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph who actually looked pretty good in fill-in duty for Big Ben this past week. Rudolph completed 12 of his 19 pass attempts for 112 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. That’s two more touchdowns than Ben Roethlisberger threw over his 62 attempts this season.

Sure, Rudolph might not be an amazing player right away, but if we’re being honest, he’s replacing a quarterback who was struggling and there’s a real chance that this offense doesn’t see a significant drop-off in efficiency. Of course, if the Steelers coaching staff doesn’t trust Rudolph nearly as much as they did Roethlisberger then we could see a much slower pace and thus fewer pass attempts overall, which would hurt the pass catching weapons in this offense.

For now, we have to assume that the Steelers will remain a relatively high-volume passing game and that should mean that plenty of targets continue to go toward wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster hasn’t scored a touchdown yet but his pace would put him in line for an 88-catch, nearly-1,300-yard season. He’s been a bit unlucky thus far so that pace might even be less than what he finishes with. Don’t panic on JuJu - he’s still at least a low-level WR1 as the top target in this passing game.

Tight end Vance McDonald was also productive with Rudolph behind center this past week. He caught both of Rudolph’s touchdown passes and caught seven total passes on the day. He’s not likely to see a high enough target share to become an elite TE1 but he’s one of the better low-end fantasy TE1s who has nice weekly touchdown upside.

The battle for the Steelers’ second wide receiver job appears to finally be settled as the team finally opted to bench Donte Moncrief after five dropped passes through two games. That means that second-year receiver James Washington should play the second-most snaps for the Steelers and that makes him a player to watch this week. We shouldn’t start him in anything other than the most desperate of situations, but if he’s targeted at a reasonably high rate this week then we can make him one of the more high-priority waiver wire adds heading into Week 4.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Pittsburgh running back James Conner is currently dealing with a knee injury and has not been practicing throughout the week as the Steelers prepare to face the 49ers. While Conner has said that he believes he’ll be ready to play, these teams do play in the late-afternoon games which would give fantasy owners fewer options to replace him with if he ends up not being able to go. Backup Jaylen Samuels is still available in quite a few leagues and is a must-add for most Conner owners in case the star tailback is not on the field.

Whether it’s Conner or Samuels, however, this backfield could be in for a tough day against a San Francisco defense that completely shut down the Bengals running game in Week 2, holding Joe Mixon to just 17 yards on 11 carries and Giovani Bernard to just six yards on six carries. They did allow over 100 total rushing yards to the Buccaneers backfield in Week 1, but they’re still yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing running back this season.

We do have to believe that the Steelers running game will get things going at some point this season, but this might not be the week with Conner injured and the team facing a relatively good run defense. Conner is still an RB2 if he plays and Samuels would be a Flex option if Conner is unable to play.

Value Meter:
RB2: James Conner
WR1: JuJu Smith-Schuster
TE1: Vance McDonald
Flex: Jaylen Samuels (if James Conner is inactive)
Bench: Mason Rudolph, James Washington, Donte Moncrief, Ryan Switzer

Passing Game Thoughts: Jimmy Garoppolo finally got things going in Week 2 as he tossed three touchdowns along with 297 yards and one interception against the Bengals. He still struggled a bit with accuracy at times, but things looked better for the most part than they have throughout the preseason, training camp and Week 1.

The primary beneficiary of Garoppolo’s success in Week 2 was rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Samuel now leads the team in percentage of snaps played at wide receiver and is second in targets, only trailing superstar tight end George Kittle. Samuel was a hot waiver wire add after Week 1 but is still on the waiver wire in a lot of leagues. He should be owned in just about every format and can be a Flex option against the Steelers, who have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers so far this season.

Tight end George Kittle hasn’t gotten into the end zone yet but we shouldn’t worry about him just yet. He’s still an elite TE1 for now.

One additional note to consider is that the Steelers did trade for former Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick this week, which will certainly help with their pass defense. Fitzpatrick was widely touted as one of the best slot cornerbacks to come out of college in 2018, but is expected to immediately start at free safety for the Steelers.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: The injury to Tevin Coleman was supposed to make this backfield easier to predict, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. While it was Raheem Mostert who led the team in snaps in Week 2, he did so by playing fewer than 40 percent of San Francisco’s offensive snaps. Mostert also led the team with 13 carries which he turned into 83 rushing yards and he caught three passes for 68 yards and a touchdown, but it was Matt Breida who led the team with 121 rushing yards on 12 carries and Jeff Wilson who got into the end zone twice with two goal line carries.

Needless to say, this backfield is a total crapshoot. Fantasy owners of all three players had to be happy, but the problem is that they don’t play the Bengals every week. Here in Week 3, they’ll face a Pittsburgh defense that held Chris Carson to just 60 yards on 15 carries and Sony Michel to 14 yards on 15 carries. They’ve struggled against pass catching backs, but none of the 49ers backs are particularly effective pass catchers so that isn’t all that helpful for fantasy purposes this week.

The players who we should have the highest hopes for are Breida and Mostert - in that order - but they could easily vulture one another’s touches and that’s not very enticing in what could be a difficult matchup. It’s too early to call Wilson the 49ers’ “goal line back” because we haven’t seen a large enough sample size to determine if that was situational or scheme but it’s enough of a concern to push both Breida and Mostert down the weekly fantasy rankings for now.

Value Meter:
TE1: George Kittle
Flex: Matt Breida (high-end), Raheem Mostert (low-end), Deebo Samuel
Bench: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jeff Wilson, Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Richie James, Kendrick Bourne

Prediction: 49ers 24, Steelers 20 ^ Top

Saints @ Seahawks - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: With Drew Brees out for the foreseeable future, the New Orleans offense now goes from being one of the most advantageous situations in fantasy football to one of the least predictable. The Saints are still stacked with offensive firepower, but the drop off from Brees to either Teddy Bridgewater or Taysom Hill - whoever the team chooses - will be noticable.

Sean Payton still has not named a starter, but there could be dramatically different fantasy consequences depending on which one is chosen.

Bridgewater, who filled in for Brees in Week 2, threw for 165 yards on 17-of-30 passing with no touchdowns and no interceptions, was nothing special but also didn’t look completely lost behind center. He targeted the team’s top pass catching weapon Michael Thomas heavily, which is often times the case when a starting quarterbacks go down, but no other Saints wide receiver saw more than three targets. Even tight end Jared Cook was only targeted seven times in Week 2, which he caught just two of for only 25 yards. A Bridgewater quarterback start would likely mean that Thomas remains a WR1, but the other wide receivers on this team become droppable. There’s still hope for Jared Cook given his target share but he was a low-end TE1 anyway. Bridgewater himself would have to be considered among the worst fantasy QBs so he’s really only rosterable in two-QB formats where he’d only be borderline QB2 starter anyway.

Taysom Hill, on the other hand, brings some interesting possibilities to the New Orleans offense. While he’s not the passer that Bridgewater is and certainly nowhere near the passer that Brees was, he’s by far the most athletic QB on the roster and would immediately add serious fantasy potential with his legs. Of course, Hill being behind center would be a clear downgrade for everyone in the offense, possibly even bumping Thomas down to being a low-end WR1, but Hill himself could be considered as a QB2 in two-quarterback formats.

We know that the Seattle defense is substantially worse this season than it has been in recent years so this should be a relatively nice ease-in for the new Saints offense no matter who the quarterback is. If they struggle badly against this defense, though, it’s likely a sign that this Saints offense is one to avoid until Brees gets back.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: Anytime a quarterback gets injured, there’s a narrative that goes around fantasy circles which tries to paint the picture of the offense suddenly “relying more on the run.” While this is often true from a ratio standpoint, it’s often not true from the standpoint that we should care about; that being total volume. Simply put, if an offense is less effective overall with their backup quarterback then the offense will not have as many sustained drives and thus will not be in a position to run as many plays, most importantly plays within the red zone which can result in touchdowns. So yes, the Saints will almost certainly use a higher percentage of run plays now than they did with Brees behind center, but that doesn’t necessarily mean great things for their running backs from a fantasy standpoint.

Thankfully, the Saints do have one of the league’s most dynamic young offensive weapons in their backfield with Alvin Kamara. Kamara is a dual-threat back who is essentially game script-proof. If the team is ahead on the scoreboard then he can get carries. If they’re behind then he’s more than capable of catching passes. That makes him a relatively safe option in fantasy even without Brees and while his touchdown upside is certainly much lower now, he’s still a solid RB1 for fantasy.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Latavius Murray who has only touched the ball 14 times so far this season. He remains a decent handcuff in the case that Kamara would go down with an injury but he’s practically useless if Kamara is healthy on a team that isn’t expected to score many points.

Value Meter:
RB1: Alvin Kamara
WR1: Michael Thomas
TE1: Jared Cook (low-end)
Bench: Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill, Latavius Murray, Tre’Quan Smith, Ted Ginn Jr.

Passing Game Thoughts: A surprisingly high-scoring game in Week 2 against the Steelers led to Russell Wilson attempting 35 passes. That was 15 more than the 20 he attempted in Week 1, which had many fantasy owners panicking, and rightfully so. Certainly Wilson remains one of the game’s most efficient passers when he does get the opportunity, but to put things into context, Wilson’s 55 pass attempts through two games are only one more than Kyler Murray’s pass attempts from Week 1 alone.

Volume remains the big question in this Seattle passing game and it’s something that we have to be concerned about here in Week 2 as the Seahawks aren’t likely to face much offensive pressure from a Brees-less Saints team. That could mean lots of running from both teams which unfortunately doesn’t give Wilson a very high ceiling. The Saints have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterback so far this season so there’s still hope for Wilson owners, but they’d better be hoping for New Orleans to put up a fight offensively or it could be another 20-attempt day for Wilson.

The passing game weapons in Seattle have been consolidated enough that we can at least give them looks here for fantasy in Week 3. Tyler Lockett has now seen 14 of Wilson’s 55 targets for more than a 25 percent target share and right behind him is rookie D.K. Metcalf whose 13 targets have been converted into seven catches for a team-high 150 yards. Both receivers have also scored touchdowns. Lockett remains the top pass catching weapon in Seattle given his role in the offense which makes him a WR2, especially given that he runs a high percentage of his snaps out of the slot which helps him avoid the opposing team’s top cornerbacks, but Metcalf is still worthy of Flex consideration here in Week 3. The Saints aren’t particularly deep in their secondary so he could end up getting targeted on a high percentage of passes again this week.

The last remaining weapon we should talk about in the Seattle passing game is tight end Will Dissly. Dissly flashed red zone ability early in 2018 as a rookie but suffered a season-ending knee injury after just four games. Dissly is not a particularly athletic tight end but he has now scored four touchdowns in just six career games. Be careful, though, as Dissly has only been targeted seven times this season and that essentially makes him a touchdown-or-bust type of player. That’s nothing new at the tight end position as most players are like that, but it’s worth noting that this high touchdown rate isn’t likely to continue unless he sees a large uptick in targets.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: He hasn’t been particularly efficient with his carries, but Seattle running back Chris Carson continues to get a heavy enough workload that we need to be optimistic that big days are on the horizon, especially against a New Orleans defense that has given up 100-plus yard rushing days to opposing teams’ running backs in each of their first two contests. Carson also has the benefit of playing the Saints when they’ll be without Brees and won’t likely be able to put points on the scoreboard nearly as frequently as they usually do.

Seattle has made it clear that they’d like to lead the league in rush attempts this season and this is exactly the game to tote the rock a ton. That should mean more carries than usual for Carson even if backup Rashaad Penny is more involved than he has been through the first two games in the season. It’s also worth noting that Seattle has lived up to their offseason claims that they wanted to get Carson more involved in the passing game. He’s already seen 10 targets come his way which is a massive per-game increase from the 24 total targets he saw throughout the 2018 season. Even if he’s not a great after-the-catch receiver, his huge usage increase in the passing game absolutely makes him a better fantasy option and he can be trusted as a low-end RB1 here this week.

Value Meter:
RB1: Chris Carson
WR2: Tyler Lockett
Flex: D.K. Metcalf
Bench: Russell Wilson, Rashaad Penny, Will Dissly

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Saints 20 ^ Top

Rams @ Browns - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Rams enter Sunday Night’s showdown against Baker Mayfield and the Browns with a 2-0 record after wins over the Panthers and the Saints. After a poor showing in the first game against the Panthers in which he completed just 59% of his passes for 186 yards and a touchdown, Jared Goff returned to form last week with 283 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing) against the Drew Brees-less Saints.

The return of Cooper Kupp from an ACL tear last season has made an impact on the Rams offense, with Kupp garnering 19 targets in the first two games, and a game-high 120 receiving yards last week against New Orleans.
Robert Woods took a back seat to Kupp and Brandin Cooks, with just two receptions for 33 yards and no touchdowns in Week 2. Don’t be surprised to see Woods have a bounce-back game this week, especially if the Browns opt to put corner Denzel Ward on Cooks or Kupp most of the game.

The Browns have allowed the fewest points to opposing wide receivers this season, but that number should be taken with a grain of salt based on who they have played. The team was trounced Week 1 by Marcus Mariota and the Titans and Week 2 the Browns played against the Jets third-string quarterback.

The potent Rams pass offense will be a true test to see where Steve Wilks’ defense really stands.

The Browns returned home from Met Life Stadium victors, but the win came at the cost of more than a few important players on defense. Starting defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi and linebacker Christian Kirksey did not practice on Wednesday and are listed as questionable with undisclosed injuries.

Starting free safety Damarious Randall is questionable with a concussion, while SAM linebacker Adariaus Taylor is questionable with an ankle injury. The absence of Randall at free safety could be a huge boost for all players in the passing game, as the Rams are skilled at pass plays that take advantage of mistakes by safeties in the middle of the field.

Tight end Tyler Higbee is questionable with lung issues and could miss this game according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. With Higbee possibly out, Gerald Everett is primed to get more snaps and could be a nice streaming option and DFS play.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley scored his first rushing touchdown of the season as part of a 16/63/1 performance against the Saints. Gurley now has 30 carries for 160 yards and a touchdown in two games, for an impressive 5.3 yards per carry average. Malcolm Brown was once again involved in the offense, but not to the extent he was in Week 1, with six carries for 37 yards.

One area that the Rams have struggled is getting the passing game going for the running backs, which has always been a staple of the Sean McVay offense. Gurley and Brown have combined for five receptions for 18 yards on six targets.

Gurley is a strong play this week against a Browns team that gave up 160 total yards and two touchdowns to Derrick Henry, and 129 total yards to Le’Veon Bell last week.

Look for McVay to take advantage of a banged-up defensive front that might be without run-stopping defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. I also anticipate the Rams to get their passing game to the running backs going, considering no team has allowed more receiving yards to running backs that Cleveland this year.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff (Low-End)
RB1: Todd Gurley (Low-End)
RB3: Jamaal Williams (Low-End)
WR2: Brandin Cooks (Mid-Range)
WR3: Cooper Kupp (High-End)
WR3: Robert Woods (Low-End)
TE2: Gerald Everett (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Baker Mayfield explosion that everyone and their second cousin was predicting this offseason has yet to come to fruition. The second-year signal-caller currently ranks 19th among fantasy quarterbacks with 610 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with four interceptions.

Mayfield is completing just over 60% of his throws, and he has yet to add anything on the ground.

The passing offense got things going last week against the Jets with Mayfield throwing for 325 years and a touchdown on 35 pass attempts, with six catches for 161 yards and a touchdown going to Odell Beckham Jr. in his return to Met Life Stadium.

But despite the blowout win, Mayfield still did not look great. He is missing too many open throws and not getting other receiving options invited like Jarvis Landry. It also doesn’t help that tight end David Njoku (concussion, wrist) will miss the Sunday night game against the Rams. Perhaps his absence from the lineup will result in more targets for Landry who has seven catches for 99 yards this year in two games.

You are starting Beckham regardless. The 51 point over/under suggests that Mayfield will throw a ton which makes Landry a decent start.

The biggest concern for the Browns has been their lack of protection and how they will fare against Aaron Donald and the Rams front seven. Mayfield has been sacked an average of four times through two games, not counting a ton of pressures and QB hits.

Starting tackle Chris Hubbard is questionable with a foot injury and guard Joel Bitonio is questionable with an abdominal injury. The line has not played well as of yet this year and losing to starting players in this game would be a massive hit to the overall effectiveness of the offense.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb ranks 15th in fantasy points at the running back position after two games. Although he does have seven receptions on eight targets for 46 yards, his 3.9 average yard per carry on the ground is a bit concerning for a player many anticipated would be the breakout running back of 2019.

Volume is critical for a player like Chubb, and Freddy Kitchens mentioned the 20 touches per game Chubb has averaged so far is not enough. Look for the Browns to try and get Chubb more involved this week with the goal of counteracting the pass rush and aggressiveness of the Rams defensive front and limiting the time of possession for Jared Goff and the offense.

The Rams faced two of the top running backs in the league to start the season in Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. The Panthers and McCaffrey torched the Rams for 32.9 fantasy points in their 30-27 opening week loss, while the Saints managed just 60 total yards on 16 touches for Kamara after the Drew Brees thumb injury.

Once Brees went out the Rams played the run more aggressively and challenged Teddy Two Gloves Bridgewater and Taysom Hill to beat them in the air. Wade Phillips will not be able to do the same to Baker Mayfield, as the Browns will have the ability to challenge the Rams secondary with Beckham, Landry, and the other receiving options in Cleveland.

I anticipate a healthy dose of Chubb early and often in this game. The question is, can the beaten up offensive line of the Browns open holes and protect Mayfield. That is the key to the game and the key to fantasy success for all Browns in this matchup.

Value Meter:
QB1: Baker Mayfield (Low-End)
RB1: Nick Chubb (Low-End)
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr. (Mid-Range)
WR3: Jarvis Landry (Low-End)
TE2: Demetrius Harris (Low-End)

Prediction: Rams 34, Browns 21 ^ Top

Bears at Redskins - (Katz)

Passing Game Thoughts: There was a time when I believed Mitchell Trubisky was going to be a future elite quarterback. That is no longer the case. My bad. Actually, Trubisky is the one who is bad. The physical tools are there, but Trubisky struggles with bouts of inaccuracy and poor decision making. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown yet this season and Matt Nagy seems intent upon hiding Trubisky as best as he can. As road favorites against a Redskins defense that has allowed the fourth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, Trubisky’s productivity depends on who scores the touchdowns.

This is a great spot for Allen Robinson to bounce back after an uninspiring date with Chris Harris last week. No team has given up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Redskins and Josh Norman looks done. He just can’t hang with anyone anymore and Robinson has been playing excellent football this season. He looks the best he ever has and despite last week’s dud, still has seen a 28.2% target share. He’s the clear alpha in the Bears’ passing attack and with the lack of alternatives; Trubisky is going to lock in on his favorite receiver this week. Neither Trey Burton nor Taylor Gabriel warrant any consideration.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: After looking like the clear third man behind Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen in Week 1, David Montgomery had a mini breakout last week with 18 carries and three targets. Most importantly, the Bears finally reached the goal line so we got a peak at who the goal line back would be. It’s Montgomery. Finally matched up against a bottom of the barrel defense, Montgomery has a chance to really explode against a Redskins team that has allowed 5.2 yards per carry to opposing running backs. If he is going to dominate carries as well as see a handful of targets, he will end up being well worth his fourth round ADP.

Davis was never in the fantasy conversation, so we can safely ignore him. The question is what to make of Tarik Cohen? Why the Bears want to dial back the work of their most dynamic player, I cannot tell you. What I can tell you is that it’s happening. After playing 70% of the snaps in Week 1, Cohen saw his workload reduced to just 36% in Week 2. His PPR floor is all but evaporated and projected positive game script is not going to help.

Value Meter:
RB2: David Montgomery (mid range)
WR2: Allen Robinson (mid range)
Flex: Tarik Cohen
Bench: Mitchell Trubisky, Taylor Gabriel, Mike Davis

Passing Game Thoughts: If you didn’t know any better, you might think Case Keenum was worth fantasy consideration. He’s airing it out a ton with 81 attempts through two games and has thrown five touchdowns against zero interceptions. What he hasn’t done is face a defense as imposing as the Bears. While the Bears haven’t been forcing turnovers just yet, they’ve held each of their first two opponents to just a single touchdown. Terry McLaurin has been a revelation through the first two weeks, but he’s still a rookie wide receiver facing off against his toughest foe yet. McLaurin’s two game touchdown streak is likely coming to an end, making him an uninspiring floor play. It remains to be seen if Jordan Reed can clear the concussion protocol this week. I wouldn’t bet on it, making Vernon Davis once again a desperation streaming option on snap count alone.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Death. Taxes. Adrian Peterson being useless in negative game script. Once again, AP proved to be entirely dependent upon the Redskins leading. He did fall into the end zone last week, but otherwise managed just 25 yards on 10 carries. With the Redskins home underdogs, you do not want Peterson in your lineup. There should be a lot more Chris Thompson racking up receptions underneath. He is a viable PPR floor play albeit one with a low ceiling. The Bears are allowing just 3.0 yards per carry through the first two games and the Redskins have a much weaker running game than either the Packers or Broncos.

Value Meter:
Flex: Terry McLaurin, Chris Thompson
Bench: Case Keenum, Adrian Peterson, Jordan Reed (concussion), Vernon Davis, Paul Richardson

Prediction: Bears 20, Redskins 19 ^ Top