- 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
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.
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
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
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 footballoutsiders.com. 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.
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
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
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
Bengals at Bills
- (Katz) Line: BUF -6.0 Total: 44.0
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
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.
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
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.
Dolphins at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: DAL -21.5 Total: 47.5
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 FootballOutsiders.com.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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’
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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’
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.