Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz enters Thursday’s matchup
against the Packers as the No.10 ranked QB in fantasy. Considering
Wentz did not have Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson last week,
and defacto No.1 WR Nelson Agholor still has brick hands, fantasy
owners should be happy with the performance of Wentz up to this
Wentz has at least 22 fantasy points in each of his first three
games, including a 28-point performance at home against the Redskins
The Eagles do face their most difficult challenge to date against
a rebuilt Packers team that ranks 13 in total defense. Only the
Patriots, Rams, and Broncos have allowed fewer points to opposing
quarterbacks, with only Kirk Cousins managing to throw a passing
touchdown against them in the first three games.
The young but talented secondary of Jaire Alexander, Kevin King,
Darnell Savage, and Adrian Amos have played great so far this
season, while the front seven, led by Preston Smith, Montravius
Adams, and Za’Darius Smith rank 4th in the league in sacks
Green Bay is playing with a swagger on defense and will have
a rowdy Lambeau Field crowd behind them in what could be a matchup
between two playoff teams.
On a positive note for the Eagles, the Packers released a lengthy
injury report on Monday that included multiple defensive starters.
Monstravius Adams missed practice with a shoulder injury, while
Kenny Clark, Kevin King, Blake Martinez, and Rashan Gary all were
Alshon Jeffery was a limited participant with his calf injury
on Monday and was a full participant in the team’s walkthrough
practice on Tuesdasy. DeSean Jackson has been ruled out, and JJ
Arcega-Whiteside (heel) is expected to play.
The injuries to the wide receiving corps and the fact that the
Packers have excellent players in their secondary could result
in Doug Pederson and the Eagles relying even more on Zach Ertz
and their running backs in the passing game.
Although Green Bay has technically allowed the fewest points
to tight ends, they have faced three teams who rank in the bottom
ten in tight end targets, and the Eagles will be their first solid
test at defending the position.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: The running game of the Eagles has been
a disappointment up to this point, with Miles Sanders and Jordan
Howard each ranked outside the top 40 in fantasy points at the
Sanders has yet to score his first NFL touchdown, and his 3.1
yard per carry average has been surprisingly low. Howard has not
done much better with 99 rushing yards and one score in three
On a positive note, Sanders did log 126 total yards in the loss
against the Lions on Sunday, hopefully signaling an increase in
receiving production in the future.
Look for the Eagles to lean heavily on the run, as the Packers
allow the fourth-most points to opposing running backs this season.
Both Dalvin Cook and Phillip Lindsay posted 25-point games against
the Pack, with Royce Freeman adding another 63 yards on the ground
Game Thoughts: The fantasy demise of Aaron Rodgers continues
with the future first-ballot Hall of Famer throwing for less than
250 yards for the third time this season. Rodgers has never been
a huge volume passer in his career, but provided elite fantasy
production with one of the best all-time touchdown rates.
Rodgers is not throwing touchdowns this season (just four in
three games), and he is on pace to throw just 496 passes for 3450
yards and 21 touchdowns. The Packers are a different offense right
now, and their defense is playing at a level that does not require
Rodgers and the offense to press things. If you can sell Rodgers
for 75 cents on the dollar, it might be a wise move.
If you cannot sell him, this might be the week in which you can
get some value from your early-round investment.
The Eagles defense has not been good this season, allowing the
seventh-most points to opposing quarterbacks and the fourth-most
points to opposing wide receivers. The decline in passing volume
and touchdowns by Rodgers has not only killed his value, but those
owners who used a first-round pick on Davante Adams are beyond
disappointed as well.
Start all three players, along with MVS in this game, as it could
be one of the best opportunities for fantasy points this season.
Tight End Jimmy Graham missed practice with a groin/quad injury
on Monday, while both running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams
were limited with shoulder and neck injuries respectively. All
three players are expected to play, but Graham’s injuries
are a concern based on the chance of him aggravating the injury
in the game.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Aaron Jones enters this game as the No.10
ranked running back in fantasy with three rushing touchdowns in
two games. While Jones owners are happy that their player has
three rushing touchdowns, Jones has been less than efficient with
a 3.8 yard per carry average, and head coach Matt LaFleur continues
to use Jamaal Williams to the point that he is limiting the value
of both running backs.
If you take away the two somewhat flukey rushing touchdowns against
the Broncos, Jones would be a bust at this point based on his
yardage and lack of usage in the passing game.
It may not get better for Jones owners this week, as the Eagles
have been stout against the run this season. They are allowing
less than four yards per carry, and no opposing running back,
including Kerryon Johnson, Devonta Freeman, and Derrius Guice
have reached more than 50 yards on the ground.
Don’t be surprised to see the Packers torch the Eagles
in the air and not on the ground, as the Eagles continue to struggle
in coverage. Jones may see a boost in receiving yards, but don’t
expect a big game on the ground.
Game Thoughts: The Patrick Mahomes show makes its next
stop in Detroit to take on the Lions. Mahomes continues to be
the cheat code in fantasy, and hopefully, many of you read my
pre-draft article on why the fantasy industry is wrong on Mahomes,
and why you should take him in the second round of drafts.
After three games this season, including two of the top defenses
in the league in Baltimore and Jacksonville, Mahomes is on pace
for 6,300 yards and 53 passing touchdowns. It does not matter
who he plays, the weather conditions, or the location of the game,
Mahomes is the QB1 and will be for the foreseeable future.
The matchup against the Lions is juicy for Mahomes and all the
skill position players of the Chiefs, as the Lions rank 17th in
points allowed to QBs and 12th to wide receivers. Add in the fact
that Lions may be without top cornerback Darius Slay, and you
have the makings of another Mahomes gem.
The Chiefs wide receivers have scored 120.5 combined fantasy
points in three games, with Sammy Watkins leading the way with
49.1 points (16.8 per game). After a monster three-touchdown game
to start the season, Watkins has been somewhat quiet with 11 catches
for 112 yards on a team-high 21 targets in the last two games.
The targets are there for Watkins, but the production has not.
Look for that to change this week, especially if Slay is on the
Demarcus Robinson comes in as the No.12 ranked WR in fantasy
with three touchdowns and 215 yards in his last two games. Robinson
is a nice WR3 play, along with Mecole Hardman, but Watkins and
Travis Kelce continue to be the target monsters in this offense,
making both Robinson and Hardman big-play dependent.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: With Damien Williams out with a knee contusion,
LeSean McCoy and Darrell Williams carried the load against the
Ravens. McCoy was excellent, with 80 total yards and two touchdowns,
while Williams added 109 total yards on 14 touches.
It looks like Damien Williams may miss the game against the Lions
with a knee injury and could have been passed on the depth chart
regardless. Darwin Thompson, the rookie who created quite a buzz
in the preseason, rushed the ball four times for eight yards and
can be dropped in all formats.
Both Williams and McCoy are excellent plays this week against
a Lions team that gives up the 5th-most points to opposing running
backs. All three opponents of Detroit this year have managed to
post at least 55 receiving yards out of the backfield, with David
Johnson, Austin Ekeler, and Miles Sanders all surpassing double
digits in fantasy points.
Bottom line in this game: Start all of your Chiefs and hope that
Matthew Stafford and the Lions can put up some points of their
own to make this a shootout.
Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford came back down to Earth
a bit last week with 201 yards and one passing touchdown against
the Eagles, a team that had been lit up in their two previous
matchups. Although the Lions won, Stafford struggled by completing
just 56% of his passes to finish as the No.28 QB on the day.
This projects to be a bounce-back game for Stafford, Kenny Golladay,
and the entire Detroit Lions offense, as they will need to score
points in bunches to keep pace with Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Look for Kenny Golladay to have a big game this week after posting
two catches for 17 yards on eight targets. The volume was there
but the catches were not. Marvin Jones had a bounce-back game
with 101 yards and a score on nine targets. I anticipate Jones
will continue to be involved, but I would not be surprised to
see him return closed to the five target average he saw in the
first two games.
Lions’ fans were sprinting to their computers to buy T.J.
Hockenson jerseys after the first year player set an NFL record
for a rookie with six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown in
his first NFL game. Unfortunately, Hockenson has five combined
targets in his last two games, including a one-catch for one-yard
dud last week. The matchup indicates a big game is in the cards
for Hockenson, but he could also give you another dud.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: Matt Patricia finally came to his senses
and made Kerryon Johnson the workhorse running back against the
Eagles after the team released C.J. Anderson. Johnson did not
look great and managed just 36 yards on 20 carries, but he did
reach the end zone to salvage his day.
Rookie Ty Johnson did lead the team in targets and does appear
to be in the mix on passing downs, but Kerryon owners should not
worry too much about the rookie taking volume at this point.
You can run on the Chiefs, and if Mark Ingram’s three-touchdown
performance last week is any indication, you can also score rushing
touchdowns in bunches. It would also make sense for the Lions
to try and slow down the game and play ball control with their
running game in hopes of limiting possessions for Mahomes. Both
factors favor Kerryon Johnson, making him a high-end No. 2 running
back this week.
Game Thoughts: It's never a good sign when your backup's
name is trending on Twitter, but such was the case last Thursday
night as Marcus Mariota authored an uninspiring performance against
a Jaguars club in disarray. His final line (304 yards passing,
34 rushing) doesn't accurately convey the feebleness that was
on display, even if it wasn't his fault—those nine sacks
certainly didn't help. If things go south again in Atlanta this
could be the week we see Ryan Tannehill.
With no time in the pocket it's not surprising that underneath
targets such as Delanie Walker and Adam Humphries got the bulk
of the looks against J-Ville. Outside threats Corey Davis, who
has be unable to build on a solid sophomore campaign, and rookie
A.J. Brown have done precious little since Brown's 100-yard debut.
Dion Lewis has also become a complete nonfactor.
Despite Atlanta's slow start, the defense has actually been quite
good, allowing 211.3 passing yards per game (eighth in the NFL).
How much they'll miss S Keanu Neal, who tore his Achilles' in
Week 3, on the back end remains to be seen. Still, with Desmond
Trufant and Isaiah Oliver playing solid football, this doesn't
feel like the kind of matchup to bank on for the Titans' passing
game to get rolling.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: A year ago, the Titans fancied the combination
of Derrick Henry and Lewis to be thunder and lightning. In 2019,
it's all thunder. Henry has 42 more carries than Lewis and just
one fewer reception, and the bruising back has tallied four of
the team's seven offensive TDs. Tennessee has been unable to duplicate
the formula that led to Lewis' success in New England, and his
days of being worth carrying on fantasy rosters are about done.
Defensively, the Falcons rank 12th in rushing yardage allowed
(100 per game) and sixth in yards per carry (3.6). You can bet
Dan Quinn will stack the line of scrimmage to slow down Henry
and force Mariota to beat them. Even with the attention, Henry
is the lone surefire Week 4 fantasy starter on the Titans.
Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan's performance through three
games is a textbook example of the difference between NFL success
and fantasy production. The Falcons have looked mostly poor, but
falling behind big in Weeks 1 and 3 has allowed Ryan to generate
300-plus yards passing and multiple scores each week. His six
INTs lead the NFL, though, and are very uncharacteristic after
throwing seven all of last season.
Of course, the passing game revolves around the singular brilliance
of Julio Jones, who, given quiet starts from the likes of DeAndre
Hopkins, Davante Adams, Odell Beckham Jr. and others, is arguably
the top overall fantasy receiver based on production, reliability
and consistency. Calvin Ridley is a solid complementary piece
and was off to a quick start before being held to a single catch
Mohamed Sanu is among the NFL's top No.3 WRs, but he doesn't
do enough to be a reliable start, and his presence erodes some
of Ridley's value. Austin Hooper is another nice target for Ryan
in the passing game, and his two-TD showing against the Colts
was a reminder of what he's capable of.
Tennessee should provide a stern test for Atlanta's passing game,
as only New England and Carolina have allowed fewer passing yards
per contest this year than the Titans' mark of 189.7. On the fast
track indoors, though, there's no reason not to roll out the quartet
of Ryan, Jones, Hooper and Ridley in all but the shallowest formats.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: After rushing for 41 yards in the first
two games combined, Devonta Freeman broke out for 88 yards on
16 carries in Week 3. He could be asked to carry a bigger load
than usual given Tennessee's stout pass defense and the potential
absence of Ito Smith (concussion) who was limited in practice
on Thursday. The Titans have allowed 4.8 yards per carry through
three games, and this seems like an area OC Dirk Koetter will
look to attack.
Browns @ Ravens
- (Swanson) Line: BAL -7.0 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: The addition of Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem
Hunt, and Freddy Kitchens taking over as head coach and play caller
had the fantasy community buzzing this summer regarding the potential
of Baker Mayfield.
That potential has yet to come to fruition through the first
three games of the season, with Mayfield ranking 22nd at the position
in fantasy points per game. The first overall pick in the 2018
NFL Draft is on pace for just 16 passing touchdowns, and his 56%
completion percentage is the lowest of any QB who has started
all three games in 2019.
The offensive line is a big reason why Mayfield and the Browns
offense has struggled, and the play-calling by Kitchens and offensive
coordinator Todd Monkin has not been great. Mayfield is constantly
running out of the pocket and throwing on the run, and big plays
downfield to OBJ and Jarvis Landry do not have time to develop.
It is difficult to see how things are going to improve for Mayfield
and the Browns this week with a difficult road matchup against
the Ravens. Baltimore ranks 16th in total defense, with the front
seven averaging nearly three sacks per game.
The Ravens allow the 20th most points to opposing quarterbacks,
although that number is somewhat skewed because of Patrick Mahomes
and the Chiefs last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kyler Murray were
held to just one total passing touchdown in the first two games
Mayfield will need to get the ball out quickly to limit the pass
rush of Marlon Humphrey, Chris Wormley, Parnell McPhee, and Patrick
Onwuasor. Hopefully, Monknen and Kitchens will adjust their scheme
to include more screens and kick passes to get the ball in the
hands of their playmakers.
Beckham Jr. enters Week 4 ranked as the No.19 wide receiver in
fantasy - not exactly what fantasy owners were hoping for when
they used a top-15 pick on him this summer. Although the targets
have been there with an average of 10 per game, OBJ has averaged
just 10 yards per reception in two of his three games and he has
yet to garner a red zone target from Mayfield.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb enters this week’s game
against the Ravens as the No.13 ranked running back in fantasy,
with 233 rushing yards and a touchdown on 58 attempts. Chubb’s
yard per carry average is down 1.2 yards from last year, but he
is on pace for 58 receptions for 430 yards.
The Browns will need to rely heavily on Chubb to give balance
to the offense and keep the Baltimore pass rush from keying in
on Baker Mayfield and the much-maligned Browns offensive line.
Finding room to run against the front line of Brandon Williams,
Michael Pierce, and Chris Wormley is not going to be an easy task
for Chubb on Sunday. The Chiefs managed to rush for 116 yards
last week, but prior to that the Ravens all but shut down David
Johnson and Kenyon Drake.
If you drafted Chubb early, you are starting him every week,
along with Odell Beckham Jr. Unfortunately, the offense is not
moving the ball as expected, and they face an uphill battle this
week. Play both players and hope for a touchdown, but don’t
be surprised if they do not have big games this week.
Game Thoughts: Lamar Jackson has been everything and
more for fantasy owner so far this season, with 863 yards and
seven passing touchdowns to go along with a league-leading 172
rushing yards and a touchdown on 27 attempts.
Not only has Jackson not thrown an interception, but he has also
completed 63 of his passes and his making smart decisions with
the football. Although he failed to complete a touchdown pass
last week in the shootout against Kansas City, he rushed for 46
yards and a touchdown to finish with a respectable 24 fantasy
This week should be an excellent matchup for Jackson and all
of the skill position players on the Ravens against a bruised
and battered Browns team playing on a short week. It was a bit
surprising to see how well the Browns secondary of four subs played
against the Rams, limiting Jared Goff to 269 passing yards and
I doubt they will be as successful on the road against the Ravens
and Jackson, who will force them to make decisions on helping
out the ground game while also guarding Hollywood Brown and tight
end Mark Andrews.
It will also be interesting to see how the Browns try to counter
Jackson’s elite rushing ability with top linebacker Christian
Kirksey on IR. Joe Schobert is a smart player and very athletic,
but he will have his hands full covering the tight end duo of
Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst, along with trying to spy Lamar
Rookie first-round pick Marquise Brown has been a huge addition
to the Ravens pass attack, giving them a burner down the field
and someone who can take it to the house on any play like Tyreek
Hill. Although Brown managed just two catches for 49 yards against
the Chiefs, his snap count percentage has gone from 18 % to 75%
in the last three weeks, making him a must-start WR2 in all formats.
Veteran Willie Snead saw his snap count percentage jump over
70% for the first time this year against the Chiefs, while Miles
Boykin saw fewer snaps (27) compared to Week 2 (38). Those changes
could have been just based on game flow and the opponent, but
it is something to keep an eye on for Boykin owners.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: Mark Ingram is on the field for just over
50% of the offensive snaps for the Ravens this season and has
yet to rush the ball more than 16 times in a game. He also has
just six catches for 62 yards on the season, with zero receiving
His limited usage and lack of production in the passing game
is an afterthought, as the 10-year vet leads the league in rushing
touchdowns with five and has topped the century mark in rushing
yards in two of his three games.
It appears as though all four starting defensive backs for the
Browns are questionable again this week, but run-stopping lineman
Larry Ogunjobi is not listed on the injury report and should help
control the middle of the line of scrimmage with fellow defensive
lineman Sheldon Richardson.
You can run on the Browns, but you can also take advantage of
them in the passing game. Ingram is a nice play this week, just
don’t expect another multi-touchdown game.
Bottom line is Ingram is a stud, and a must-start, even against
a Browns defense that has allowed just one rushing touchdown on
the season and just 3.7 yards per carry.
Patriots at Bills
- (Katz) Line: NE -7.0 Total: 42.5
Game Thoughts: Is Tom Brady actually back to being an
elite fantasy option? I believe this is the week we find out.
Brady has yet to face a real defense and the Bills have allowed
just 211.7 passing yards per game and recorded more interceptions
(four) than touchdowns allowed (three).
Both Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon were banged up in last week’s
contest. Gordon is dealing with a finger issue, but he will be
fine. Edelman is another issue. In the Patriots’ two games
without Antonio Brown, Edelman commanded a total of 21 targets
- back to being a PPR monster. However, it remains to be seen
whether his chest injury will keep him out of this week’s
game. The matchup is much better for Edelman than it is for Gordon,
who will see a lot more of Tre’Davious White, who just doesn’t
let receivers get open with his 0.70 yards of separation allowed
Opposite Gordon will be Phillip Dorsett, who is a legitimate
starting option in the post AB era. Dorsett has scored in both
non AB games and is the team’s primary deep threat. As with
many deep ball WR3s, Dorsett is a bust risk, but you can do much
worse than taking the guy playing with the greatest quarterback
of all time.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: James White missed last week’s game
to witness the birth of his child. He will be back this week so
don’t go chasing Rex Burkhead’s usage. Burkhead touched
the ball a season high 17 times but expect that number to drop
back to the 10-12 range. With White commanding more targets and
Burkhead still not the goal line guy (just one goal line carry
this season), he can be ignored in fantasy leagues.
Someone else you should ignore is Sony Michel. Michel has seen
a light front or a base front on a whopping 82.2% of his carries,
yet is only averaging 2.4 yards per carry. The Patriots lead the
league in game script, which is supposed to favor Michel but he
has one target on the season, which was a glorified throw away
and has only been on the field for 34.8% of the team’s snaps.
He’s managed to fall into the end zone two weeks in a row,
but even a touchdown can’t salvage his fantasy value.
The matchup with the Bills isn’t ideal as they are 22nd
in points allowed to opposing running backs, but White is pretty
much matchup proof. He will see his targets in the passing game
and get a handful of carries. White is the only Patriots running
back you want.
Game Thoughts: Josh Allen has been a decent streaming
option through the first three weeks of the season. He’s
also faced the Jets, Giants, and Bengals. He gets his first real
test against the Patriots’ top ranked defense. The Patriots
haven’t played anyone yet either, but any way you slice
it, allowing a total of 17 points through three games is scary
good. Stephon Gilmore has looked like the league’s best
cornerback and the matchup with him is enough for me to recommend
sitting John Brown wherever you have a viable alternative.
TE Dawson Knox had a nice game last week, but still only saw
four targets. It is possible his usage increases with Allen looking
to avoid throwing at Gilmore, but he is not a recommended streaming
option. Cole Beasley could have a sneaky good PPR day, but Allen
doesn’t really like to check it down and Beasley is only
playing 59.6% of the snaps. This is a week to avoid the Bills’
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Devin Singletary returned to practice
on Thursday, but is still no lock to play this week. Frank Gore
was a great streaming option last week in a favorable matchup.
This week – not so much. Gore is nothing more than a reliable
body. He will go as far as the matchup takes him and it is nice
to have the possibility of a touchdown on the table. That is not
the case against the Patriots’ league best rush defense
that has allowed just 2.3 yards per carry and zero rushing touchdowns
on the season. In fairness, they have only faced 48 carries as
teams are forced to abandon the run early, but we have no reason
to expect anything different this week.
T.J. Yeldon will be in the game more often as the passing down
back, but won’t see enough usage to be productive himself;
he will merely render Gore ineffective. If Singletary is able
to go, you can’t start him given the uncertainty with how
healthy he will be, the usage split between him and Gore, and
the elite nature of the Patriots’ defense.
Game Thoughts: Kyle Allen opened some eyes by passing
for four TDs starting in place of an injured Cam Newton (foot)
in Week 3. With Newton already ruled out for this Sunday, and
possibly beyond, Allen will be under center in Houston. The obvious
question is how much of Allen's success was due to his ability,
and how much was due to playing the Cardinals?
Allen accounted for three TDs (two passing, one rushing) in his
only other NFL start, but that was against New Orleans' "B"
team in a meaningless Week 17 affair in 2018 so the jury remains
out. The Texans allowed another inexperienced QB, Jacksonville's
Gardner Minshew, to throw for 213 yards and a score in Week 2.
Those aren't great numbers, but if you're hard up you could give
Allen a look.
Houston hasn't held up well against star wideouts Michael Thomas
(10-123-0) or Keenan Allen (13-183-2), but the Panthers don't
have anyone of that caliber. D.J. Moore is the top target, or
at least he was with Newton. Last week, Moore was targeted just
twice, well below the seven targets both Greg Olsen and Curtis
Samuel saw. It's dangerous to read too much into one game, though,
so Moore is still the top play outside while Olsen has re-established
himself as a solid TE1.
Running Game Thoughts: In a time of RBBCs, Christian McCaffrey
is the only game in town for the Panthers, having logged 59 of
the team's 65 handoffs this season. He could be in for a big game
against the Texans, who have struggled against the run despite
names like J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus up front, allowing 7.0
yards per carry in Week 1, 4.9 in Week 2 and 4.1 this past weekend.
McCaffrey is a must start.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson shook off a disappointing
Week 2 showing against the Jags to pass for 351 yards and three
TDs in a win over the Chargers. The ongoing issue is protection,
as Watson continues to get pummeled week after week—the
trade for Laremy Tunsil has not stabilized that line.
Perhaps the most interesting development through three games
is that Watson has looked to spread the ball around rather than
force-feed DeAndre Hopkins, who has been targeted 15 times the
past two weeks combined after seeing 13 balls in Week 1. While
Kenny Stills and Will Fuller have nearly identical numbers, Fuller
has been targeted more often and seems higher up on the food chain.
It could be a tough go against Carolina's CB tandem of James
Bradberry and Donte Jackson, who, along with Eric Reid and Tre
Boston, have allowed the second-fewest passing yards per game
(166.3) this season. Watson and Hopkins are must starts, whereas
Fuller could offer low-end WR3 or Flex value.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: After three games, there's little doubt
that Carlos Hyde (40 carries) is the focal point of the running
game over Duke Johnson (23 touches). Hyde may be asked to carry
a sizeable load in Week 4 against a Panthers defense that has
allowed 4.6 yards per carry (20th in the NFL) and 129 per game
(24th) to date. Like the Texans, the Panthers struggles are occurring
even with perennial Pro Bowl selection Luke Kuechly healthy and
anchoring the defense.
Raiders @ Colts
- (Green) Line: IND -7.0 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: You have to feel for Derek Carr, who is
experiencing the trickledown effect of having a true No.1 receiver,
Antonio Brown, depart and drag everyone up the depth chart into
roles they're not suited for (i.e., Tyrell Williams is a fine
second or third target, but he's not a true No. 1). The result
has been a whole lot of high percentage, short-yardage completions—a
big reason TE Darren Waller has nearly twice as many grabs (26)
as anyone else on the team (Williams; 14).
Williams has helped his profile by catching a TD pass in each
of the first three weeks, and though his three targets in Week
3 trailed both Hunter Renfrow (four) and J.J. Nelson (five), Williams
remains the only viable weekly fantasy receiver option. Waller
caught 13 of his 14 targeted balls this past Sunday and is emerging
as a midrange TE1 at a shallow position. Even with the dinking
and dunking, rookie Josh Jacobs has caught just one pass this
season with the team vowing to get him more involved.
Indianapolis has faced two dynamic passing attacks in the Chargers
and Falcons with the Titans in between. The Colts have been mid-pack
in passing yards allowed (244.3 per game) and only three teams
have surrendered more aerial TDs than Indy's seven. Malik Hooker
(knee) won't play Sunday, thrusting fourth-rounder Khari Willis
into the starting lineup. This looks to be a decent matchup for
the Silver and Black.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Although he hasn't gotten involved as
a receiver, Jacobs is averaging 5.1 yards on 45 carries this season.
Meanwhile, DeAndre Washington (11 carries) and Jalen Richard (five)
have scarcely been used. This looks like a good week to feed Jacobs
the ball as only three clubs have allowed more yards per carry
than the Colts (5.3) this season. Expect Jacobs to be a central
part of the game plan.
Game Thoughts: After a pair of efficient, low-yardage
games to open the season, Brissett looked more dynamic in Week
3 with 310 yards via the air to go with his third consecutive
multi-TD performance. That he did it with leading receiver T.Y.
Hilton (quad) forced to the sidelines by a lingering quad injury
is further evidence of his growth as the shock of Andrew Luck's
retirement starts to wear off.
Coming off a 66-750-13 season, Eric Ebron has started slowly
in 2019, scoring just once and catching three passes or fewer
in every game this year. Despite that, Ebron is clearly the second-best
fantasy option in the passing game, and his value would shoot
up if Hilton and his wonky quad can't answer the bell. Hilton
has missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. In that scenario,
your best bet would be to steer clear of nominal contributors
Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal and Deon Cain, though if you're forced
to roll the dice I'd advocate going with Campbell.
Through three games, Oakland's pass rush is only marginally improved
with their five sacks ranking tied for 23rd in the league. The
secondary was also dealt a blow when first-round pick (and salmon
mispronouncer) Johnathan Abram (shoulder) was lost for the year
in Week 1. Thus far, the Raiders are 24th in passing yards allowed
(286.3 per game). If Hilton gets the green light Brissett could
be a nice value play.
OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: As with Oakland, the Colts have a true
featured back in the person of Marlon Mack. The 23-year-old is
third in the NFL with 299 rushing yards, though much of that came
in Week 1. He'll occasionally be spelled by Nyheim Hines or Jordan
Wilkins, but Mack is the only player of note in Indy's backfield.
Oakland has been decent against the run (112.3 yards per game;
4.1 per carry), but their overall lack of speed defensively makes
them perpetually susceptible to big plays.
Chargers at Dolphins
- (Katz) Line: LAC -16.0 Total: 44.5
Game Thoughts: What can be said about the Dolphins that
hasn’t been already? They’re the worst team in the
NFL and it’s not close. The Dolphins have allowed a league
worst 10 passing touchdowns and the only reason they’re
not the worst in yards allowed is because the games aren’t
competitive enough for teams to keep throwing. They still have
allowed 291.3 passing yards per game.
Philip Rivers put up QB1 numbers Weeks 1 and 3 and face-planted
in Week 2. The only concern for Rivers this week is whether the
touchdowns happen to all come on the ground.
Keenan Allen leads the NFL in target share and total targets.
With Hunter Henry out and Mike Williams banged up, Rivers keys
in on Allen and it has paid huge dividends in fantasy. Williams
will likely play through his back and knee injuries, but is tough
to rely on, especially in a game where the team simply won’t
need him. I feel obliged to mention TE Sean Culkin as I’ve
heard his name come up as a deep streamer. Do not start Sean Culkin.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: With Melvin Gordon reporting on Thursday,
this may be the last hurrah for Austin Ekeler as an elite RB1.
While it is unlikely Gordon is thrust into a huge workload immediately,
he is going to be the lead back. But that’s next week.
For now, Ekeler gets a shot at the league’s worst rush
defense allowing 5.4 yards per carry and a league worst six rushing
touchdowns. We know Ekeler will produce. The real sneaky play
here is Justin Jackson. The Chargers are 17 point favorites and
will likely get a chance to just sit on a lead in the second half
much like the Cowboys did last week. Tony Pollard actually managed
RB1 numbers because he pretty much had the entire fourth quarter
to himself with Ezekiel Elliott resting. Jackson is already a
much larger part of the backfield than Pollard, playing 37% of
the snaps last week. Jackson has had a weekly PPR floor of about
6-8 points. His stat line should look even better, but he’s
had two touchdowns called back due to penalty. His floor remains
the same, but he has a much higher ceiling given the likelihood
he can touch the ball 10-12 times this week. Jackson is a talented
runner, leading the league in breakaway run rate and second in
yards create per carry. After this week, you’re dropping
him. This week, you’re starting him.
Game Thoughts: Josh Rosen took over for Ryan Fitzpatrick
last week and actually looked competent. Rosen is clearly a superior
option to Fitzpatrick, which isn’t a very high bar. You’re
never starting Rosen, so let’s shift the focus over to the
Preston Williams has seen his snap share rise in each game this
season, culminating in 100% of the snaps last week. Even with
Albert Wilson on track to return, Williams is the WR1 on this
team. With the Dolphins in a perennial state of negative game
script, Williams is actually a legitimate flex option/bye week
filler on a Dolphins team that has run the eighth most pass plays
this season. I cannot in good conscience recommend anyone else.
Mike Gesicki has been a popular name in the past due to his elite
athleticism, but he is so devoid of any ability to actually play
football that he should not even be rostered in dynasty leagues.
The aforementioned Wilson should have a decent receptions floor,
but if you’re looking for that, you’re better off
with someone like Trey Quinn or Cole Beasley.
The Chargers have allowed the 16th most fantasy points to opposing
wide receivers, so they are middle of the road.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: For three straight games, Kalen Ballage
has started ahead of Kenyan Drake. You will be hard pressed to
find a running back worse than Ballage. I don’t mean currently
in the NFL; I mean ever. Fortunately, Drake has consistently led
the team in snaps, playing 63.8%, which actually ranks 13th in
the league (which goes to show how few true bellcows actually
exist). Drake has yet to produce better than RB3 numbers, but
he is averaging five targets a game as the receiving back for
a team constantly trailing. Drake is talented and has splash play
ability. He has a solid PPR floor with strong RB2 upside if he
can find the end zone.
Redskins at Giants
- (Katz) Line: NYG -3.0 Total: WAS 48.5
Game Thoughts: I am a bit surprised that Case Keenum
is still starting, but wouldn’t be surprised if he had a
pretty nice game this week. Even in a tough matchup against the
Bears, Keenum threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns. He is averaging
over 300 yards passing per game and now faces the league’s
worst pass defense by far. The Giants have allowed 332.8 passing
yards per game, which is 30 more than the next worst team. Constantly
staring down negative game script, Keenum is on pace for 660 pass
attempts making him a nice streaming option this week.
As for his top receiver, that’s Terry McLaurin, and he’s
scored a touchdown in every game of his career so far. McLaurin
is averaging 2.49 fantasy points per target and now gets a Giants
secondary that can’t stop anyone. He has graduated from
streamer to every week starter.
The only other pass catcher I’m interested in is Vernon
Davis and only because of the decrepit state of the tight end
position that is exacerbated with George Kittle on bye. If you
need a Kittle replacement, Davis is averaging five targets per
game, which is at least passable. The Giants have allowed the
seventh most fantasy points to the position.
Paul Richardson is also playing 85% of the snaps and scored a
touchdown last week, but Keenum is not supporting two viable receiving
options. He’s a desperation streamer at best.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: Adrian Peterson is always a threat to
fall into the end zone, but even touchdowns can’t salvage
his fantasy value. AP is going to get 10-12 carries a game and
get you 20-40 yards. The real value lies in Chris Thompson, who
has logged a 56% snap share this season and leads all running
backs with 23 targets. CT is a low ceiling player, but with a
dearth of reliable running backs this season, you can do worse
than a guy averaging four carries and seven targets a game. His
value is exclusively in PPR.
Game Thoughts: What a debut for Daniel Jones. While Jones
didn’t play nearly as well as the box score indicates, he
immediately proved to be exponentially better than Eli Manning.
For himself, Jones might be an every week QB1 due to a nice rushing
floor. It remains to be seen if the rushing is going to be reliable
on a week-to-week basis, but he has 4.81 speed, which is good
for a quarterback, and demonstrated a willingness to take off.
More importantly is the fact that Jones breathed new life into
Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. Engram has been the overall
TE1 through the first three games, leading all tight ends in targets
with 30 and running routes on 84.5% of his snaps. That is what
you want from a super athletic tight end. Shepard broke out last
week with 7-100-1. He has run 66.4% of his routes from the slot,
which is where he does his best work. By remaining in the slot,
he will avoid Josh Norman, although that’s not necessarily
a good thing as Norman has looked like a shell of his former self.
Either way, with the Giants only possessing two legitimate pass
catching options, all the balls are headed to Engram and Shepard.
The Redskins have allowed nine passing touchdowns this season
and this game could be sneaky high scoring.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Despite the lift this team gets from turning
the offense over to Danny Dimes, the Giants still aren’t
a good offense. The reason this running game succeeded was because
Saquon Barkley isn’t human. After Barkley went down, Wayne
Gallman was the only Giants’ running back to touch the ball.
That’s good news for his volume and unless they add someone
relevant, which seems unlikely for this week, Gallman is positioned
to command a massive opportunity share. The problem is that Gallman
isn’t all that good. He has average speed and agility with
bottom of the barrel burst. He is the definition of replacement
The Redskins have allowed 4.8 yards per carry, but Gallman is
unlikely to match that number. Your hope in starting him is that
he can compile numbers and possibly pick up a few receptions along
the way. Any running back seeing significant volume is worth starting,
but expecting Gallman to be even 50% of Barkley is unrealistic.
Game Thoughts: The low rankings we’ve seen for
Russell Wilson are not necessarily indicative of a drop off in
his skill set, but more so how he’s being coached. The Seahawks
continue to be one of the league’s most run-heavy offensive
units and that simply does not help with Wilson’s fantasy
production. He needs to be extraordinarily efficient with the
passes he does attempt, which he does have the skills to do, but
it leaves much less room for mistakes and really limits his upside,
especially because he hasn’t been running nearly as much
in recent seasons as he did earlier in his career.
We’ve begun to see a shift in that philosophy in Seattle
this season, however, as the “Legion of Boom” is no
more and the Seahawks’ defense has taken serious steps back
toward the middle, if not the near bottom of the league. The Seahawks
were on the bad-end of a blowout early in their Week 3 game against
the Saints. That led to them practically completely abandoning
the run in favor of allowing Wilson to throw the ball 50 times
in the game, even though he had only thrown it 55 total times
in the two games prior. Wilson’s high usage resulted in
a 400-yard passing day, including a huge day for wide receiver
Tyler Lockett and even tight end Will Dissly.
Lockett is a WR1 this week against a Cardinals defense that got
abused by fellow slot receiver Danny Amendola in Week 1. Lockett
is by far the top target in the Seattle offense and in a game
where the Seahawks should be passing more than usual, he’s
a serious contender to turn in a top five wide receiver performance
here in Week 4.
The other wide receiver to note in Seattle, rookie D.K. Metcalf,
continues to produce big plays down the field, but he’s
doing it on a very small target share. He’s only been targeted
19 times so far this season but he’s already turned that
into 217 receiving yards and a touchdown. His usage isn’t
high enough to make him anything better than a WR3/Flex play in
PPR formats, but he’s the kind of player who could realistically
turn in a multi-touchdown performance or a game with zero catches.
The high volatility can be nice for DFS but it’s hard to
trust in seasonal formats.
Dissly will likely be very highly-owned this week in DFS as he
goes up against a Cardinals defense that has been historically
bad against opposing tight ends so far this season. Arizona has
already conceded 348 yards and five touchdowns to opposing tight
ends so far this season. No other team has given up more than
280 yards to the position and no team has given up more than three
tight ends to the position, so the Cardinals are by far the worst
in the league at covering tight ends. Dissly isn’t a high-end
TE1 because he doesn’t typically see enough targets to get
to that point but the opportunity is certainly there for him to
have a nice game this week and he could end up joining the party
and producing high-end TE1 numbers against this horrible Arizona
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: An injured Rashaad Penny was supposed
to lead to a huge fantasy day for Chris Carson this past week
against the Saints, but Carson fumbled in a crucial situation
and ended up seeing just one target in the passing game to go
along with his 15 carries. It ended up being a dreadful fantasy
day for Carson who has now fumbled in each of the Seahawks’
first three games this season.
While the Seattle coaching staff has remained publicly behind
Carson, the “old school” nature of this group of coaches
has to be concerning for Carson owners, as fumbles often lead
to less confidence and thus less playing time on teams like the
Seahawks. With Penny possibly back this week, look for Carson’s
touch share to drop a bit in Week 4. Veteran scat back C.J. Prosise
even got involved in the passing game this past week which is
something we’ll need to continue to monitor as Carson had
actually been used fairly heavily in Seattle’s passing game
over the first two games of the season. If he loses that role,
he becomes a much lower-floor fantasy asset who will continue
to be capable of dropping the duds we saw in Week 3.
For Week 4, we’ll need to pay close attention to Penny’s
status. If he’s out then we should feel confident putting
Carson in our seasonal lineups against a bad Arizona defense.
While Arizona is not specifically ranked poorly against opposing
running backs so far this season, they just got lit up by Christian
McCaffrey in Week 3 to the tune of 188 total yards and a touchdown.
Sure, they mostly shut down Kerryon Johnson and Mark Ingram in
Weeks 1 and 2, but there’s still plenty of hope for Carson
in what should be a high-volume game. If Penny does play, however,
Carson goes from being a high-end RB2 to more of a low-end RB2/Flex
Game Thoughts: Through three games this season, rookie
quarterback Kyler Murray has already attempted 137 passes. To
put that into perspective, Ben Roethlisberger led the league in
pass attempts in 2018 with 675 attempts. The NFL record for pass
attempts in a single season is Matt Stafford’s 2012 season
when he attempted 727 passes. Murray is currently on pace to break
that record with 731 pass attempts.
Volume isn’t everything, of course, because we still need
efficiency and that’s where the Cardinals have struggled
so far this season. Unless Murray is just truly terrible, eventually
all of these passes are going to result in fantasy points. Murray
has already thrown for 300-plus yards in two games and he contributed
nearly 70 rushing yards in the one game he didn’t get to
300 yards through the air, this past week against the Panthers.
It’s also worth noting that the Cardinals have faced some
of the best-equipped defenses in the league to stop their specific
brand of offense. That changes here in Week 4 as they host the
Seahawks, whose depleted secondary and lack of high-end pass rushers
could lead to a truly huge fantasy day for Murray and the Arizona
passing game. The Seahawks have given up two-touchdown passing
games to Andy Dalton, Mason Rudolph (in only about a half of football)
and Teddy Bridgewater already this season.
That’s why I’m looking heavily at wide receivers
Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk to have big PPR games here
in Week 4. Both players have seen a heavy target share so far
this season with Fitzgerald having seen 31 targets to Kirk’s
32 targets. Fitzgerald has been the more efficient of the two
from a fantasy standpoint as he’s scored twice while Kirk
has been held out of the end zone thus far, but both players could
see 10 or more targets this week and that makes them both WR2s.
Other players in this passing game will contribute and see targets
but it’s become very obvious through three weeks that these
two are far ahead of the rest of the pack when it comes to target
share in the NFL’s pass-happiest offense.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: The lack of run blocking in Arizona continues
to be a problem for the Cardinals and David Johnson has now been
held to just 51 rushing yards over his past two games combined.
Thankfully he’s snuck into the end zone in each of his three
games this season or this would be a really bad start to the fantasy
season for a player who was being drafted with a mid-first round
pick in most fantasy drafts this season.
The reality is that the Cardinals have not been in many positive
game scripts which has led to them passing the ball at an even
higher rate than they otherwise might, but that could change this
week as the Cardinals host the Seahawks who are not as well-equipped
to keep this offense in check.
Johnson is still an RB1 for the time being given that he’s
getting touches near the goal line in a relatively high-powered
Buccaneers @ Rams
- (Caron) Line: LAR -9.5 Total: 50.5
Game Thoughts: Mike Evans reminded everyone why he’s
been one of the best fantasy wide receivers throughout his NFL
career as he turned in an absolutely monster performance against
the Giants, finishing with eight catches for 190 yards and three
touchdowns. Evans had struggled in Weeks 1 and 2 as he hadn’t
even reached 100 receiving yards in those two games combined,
but there’s absolutely no question that he’s still
a big play receiver who commands a high target share in an offense
that is expected to continue to be very pass-heavy.
Look for that to happen again this week as the Buccaneers head
across the country to face the Rams in Los Angeles. Unfortunately,
there is some concern as the Rams have been excellent against
opposing wide receivers, having conceded the second-fewest fantasy
points per game to the position. No wide receiver has scored a
touchdown against the Rams yet this season and only two players,
D.J. Moore and Michael Thomas, have had over 75 receiving yards
against them. Los Angeles continues to be a high-powered offense,
however, which should force Tampa Bay to pass again this week
and that makes Evans a strong WR1 in this game.
The other fantasy-relevant wide receiver in this offense is Chris
Godwin delivered two nice games in Weeks 1 and 2, only to turn
in a dud in Week 3. Godwin remains the WR2 in Tampa but he’s
a good enough player to remain a fantasy starter in most lineups
when he’s healthy. The problem with that, of course, is
that he’s not fully healthy right now. Godwin (hip) missed
practice Thursday and his status is up in the air for Sunday’s
If Godwin is out, look for additional targets to go Evans’
way, along with tight end O.J. Howard. Howard has been an afterthought
in the Tampa passing game so far this season but a lack of proven
offensive firepower would certainly give him a chance to get things
going if Godwin isn’t pulling 20+ percent of the targets
Jameis Winston is a quarterback who we should most likely be
avoiding this week in single-QB formats, especially if Godwin
is out. Yes, the Buccaneers may end up passing a good amount,
but those pass attempts would almost certainly be cut down if
the second-best passing weapon on the roster is out. Even if Godwin
plays, though, there are a lot of quarterbacks in great matchups
this week who have been more consistent than Winston so far this
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: The shared backfield in a typically lower-volume
Tampa Bay running game doesn’t bode well for fantasy production
for Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber this week. Jones and Barber
have continued to be the primary ball carriers but they’re
splitting touches roughly evenly and even conceding plenty of
snaps to Dare Ogunbowale.
The group will be against a Los Angeles defense that just gave
up a 131-total yard day to Nick Chubb in Week 3, but they’re
not considered a bad unit overall. The Buccaneers might be able
to come close to that as a group, but if it’s split between
three players then that becomes significantly less appealing from
a fantasy perspective. If you need to play one of them, make it
Jones, because at least he has some big play upside given his
Game Thoughts: Things appear to be looking up for the
Rams passing game overall as Goff has now thrown for over 550
yards over his past two games. The targets in Los Angeles continue
to be consolidated between their top three receivers, Brandin
Cooks and Cooper Kupp, but it’s been Robert Woods who has
surprisingly struggled a bit to start the season, having failed
to score a touchdown yet with only 13 catches for 143 yards through
the first three weeks of the season. He’s still second on
the team in targets, however, so fantasy owners should be looking
to add Woods if anything and take advantage of owners who have
only looked at his final score totals in Weeks one through three.
It does appear that Kupp is the most reliable option so far this
season in the Los Angeles passing game but this is still a very
small sample size of only three games so don’t overreact.
All three Rams receivers are viable WR2s or at least Flex options
in PPR formats.
One additional note is that tight end Tyler Higbee is expected
to be back on the field in Week 4 after missing last week with
a chest injury. Some believed that Higbee’s absence would
help boost fellow tight end Gerald Everett’s value a bit
this past week, but that wasn’t the case. Everett was targeted
just twice on the day and finished with only 16 receiving yards.
The Rams tight ends not only vulture one another when healthy,
but they’re a long distance behind the wide receiver trio
in target share, so they should be avoided for fantasy purposes.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley had fantasy owners feeling
at least somewhat optimistic about his performances through the
first two weeks of the season, but that optimism quickly turned
to skepticism this past week as the former fantasy football MVP
turned in a 43-rushing yard, zero touchdown, zero catch performance
against the Browns. It was an ugly fantasy day and perhaps somewhat
indicative of what we’re likely to see from the Rams going
forward regarding his usage.
The lack of carries is a bit of a concern but Gurley has had
at least 14 carries (though no more than 16 carries) in each of
his three games. The real problem is that he has just four catches
on the season. For a player who used to absolutely dominate in
the receiving game, that’s a serious problem. If Gurley
isn’t going to be a significant contributor in the passing
game then he essentially becomes a similar player to someone like
Nick Chubb or Josh Jacobs, only with his carries also seemingly
One positive note, if there is one, from this past week’s
game is that backup running back Malcolm Brown has now seen his
touches decrease in each of his three starts this season. He started
with 12 touches in Week 1 (including two touchdowns), then followed
it up with just seven touches in Week 2, only to finish Week 3
with a measly three touches. That pretty much eliminates any independent
fantasy value that owners thought Brown might have on his own
as long as Gurley is healthy and he should now be considered nothing
more than a handcuff if Gurley were to go down.
Still, the Rams simply are not using their running backs in the
passing game anywhere near as much as we’d like them to
be and that’s a concern going forward. It’s especially
a concern this week as they’ll be facing a Buccaneers defense
that has been excellent against opposing running games so far
this season. They have not allowed a single running back to exceed
40 rushing yards in a game against them so far this season and
they have not allowed any back to score a touchdown as a runner
or a receiver. That doesn’t bode well for Gurley’s
chances and while it’s easy to see how Gurley could still
have a quality fantasy day if he’s able to get into the
end zone, it’s hard to foresee him truly having the type
of big performance that he’d need to be the Todd Gurley
of old. He’s an RB2 this week and likely for the foreseeable
Vikings @ Bears
- (Swanson) Line: CHI -2.5 Total: 38.0
Game Thoughts: Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is a defensive-minded
coach who repeatedly said over the offseason that his team wants
to be a run-first offense and a hard-nosed defense.
Through the first three games of the season, Zimmer appears to
have exactly what he wants, with the Vikings and Kirk Cousins
throwing the ball an average of 21 times per game, with Dalvin
Cook and Alexander Mattison combining to run for the second-most
attempts in the league.
For fantasy purposes, the lack of passing volume has made Kirk
Cousins all but un-ownable in anything other than two-quarterback
leagues. At 21 pass attempts per game, Cousins would need to have
a touchdown percentage of close to 7% to make him a QB1, which
is not going to happen based on what we have seen so far and the
fact that he owns a career TD rate of 4.8%.
The lack of passing volume has trickled down to his receivers,
with Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Chad Beebe posting the fewest
combined catches (19) of any wide receiving corps in the NFL.
By comparison, Michael Thomas has 25 catches of his own during
the same span.
Unless things change, Thielen and Diggs will continue to be touchdown
dependent options who are better real-life receivers than fantasy
Perhaps this matchup against the Bears will force the Vikings
to alter their approach somewhat, as Chicago allows the fourth-fewest
fantasy points to running backs and is one of four teams who has
yet to give up a rushing touchdown. Conversely, the Bears rank
18th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers with three opposing
wide receivers reaching double figures, including Emmanuel Sanders’
11/98/1 game Week 2.
Injuries to the Bears defense could help the Vikings offense
move the ball more effectively on Sunday. Starting Safety Eddie
Jackson is questionable with triceps, and defensive tackle Akiem
Hicks is questionable with a knee injury. Jackson appears more
likely to play than Hicks.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook owners are riding high through
three games this season, as Cook has at least 100 yards and a
score in all three matchups. The third-year running back has looked
amazing this season, with four total touchdowns and a ridiculous
6.6 yard per carry average on 57 attempts.
This week’s matchup against the Bears is clearly the most
difficult one for Cook and the Minnesota offense. Chicago has
yet to allow a rushing touchdown and opposing running backs, including
Aaron Jones, Phillip Lindsay, and Adrian Peterson, have been held
to just over three yards per carry.
On a positive note, run-stopping defensive lineman Akiem Hicks
is questionable with a knee injury. His absence in the middle
of the Bears defensive line would be a boost for Cook.
Look for the Vikings to take advantage of the fact that teams
have found some success beating the Bears in receptions out of
the backfield. Chicago is tied of 17th in the league in receptions
allowed to running backs, as teams look to screen passes and quick
dump-offs to mitigate the Bears pass rush.
Game Thoughts: Mitchell Trubisky posted a breakout game
against the Redskins on Monday Night Football, completing 80%
of his passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns. It was nice
to see Trubisky take advantage of a great matchup and torch a
terrible Washington defense.
Prior to that game, Trubisky played against two much better defenses
in Denver and against Green Bay at home, completing under 60%
of his attempts and failing to throw a touchdown pass.
This week’s home game against the Vikings certainly falls
under the category of a difficult matchup for the third-year quarterback,
as Minnesota held Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Derek Carr to
two or less touchdown passes. Both Ryan and Carr padded their
stats in garbage time; otherwise, the Vikings would be a top 5
defense in fewest points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.
From a matchup standpoint, Mike Zimmer is going to throw different
looks and blitz packages to Trubisky with the hope of taking advantage
of the fact that the young QB struggles at time with pressure
and making reads. In his four career games against Zimmer’s
defense, Trubisky has yet to top 200 yards passing, with just
two total passing touchdowns.
Needless to say, you do not want to start Trubisky unless you
are in a deep two-quarterback league. Trubisky’s struggles
will trick-down to his receiving options, with a lack of volume
and a likely matchup against Xavier Rhodes for Allen Robinson.
Taylor Gabriel is in the concussion protocol and will likely
be forced to miss this game after posting three-touchdowns in
a quarter last week against the Redskins. His absence from the
receiving corps, along with the likelihood Trubisky not having
time to throw the ball downfield, could make Anthony Miller a
sneaky start in PPR formats as a flex.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Head coaches and “offensive gurus”
sometimes get caught up in their own schemes instead of heavily
using their more talented players in favor of exploiting possible
matchups. Like Sean Payton insisting on using Taysom Hill on gadget
plays, Matt Nagy continues to use Cordarrelle Patterson, along
with Mike Davis with and Tarik Cohen, instead of giving the ball
to David Montgomery on a more regular basis.
I’m sure on film Nagy sees something each time that makes
him want to use Patterson, or maybe he thinks by copying Bill
Belichick he is doing something right. Regardless, Montgomery’s
lack of usage has been frustrating for owners who made the mistake
of using a third-round pick on the rookie tailback.
Unfortunately, it is not going to get any better this week for
Montgomery owners, as the Vikings shut down the opposing running
games for both the Falcons and the Raiders. Aaron Jones did have
an excellent game with 116 yards and a rushing touchdown, but
both the Raiders and the Falcons had no luck moving the ball.
If you have Montgomery you are likely going to start him based
on the draft capital used, don’t be surprised if he is a
touchdown-dependent play who will likely lose more looks in the
receiving game to Cohen, with the Bears looking to pass more against
Jaguars @ Broncos
- (Caron) Line: DEN -3.0 Total: 38.5
Game Thoughts: The legend of Gardner Minshew continues
to grow and the Jaguars quarterback has now turned in three respectable
fantasy days in his three opportunities. The high-end upside probably
isn’t there for Minshew, especially against a good Denver
defense, but he doesn’t look like the complete disaster
that the Jaguars have been dealing with behind center for the
past few seasons.
The player who we should be most interested in with the Jaguars
passing game is second-year receiver D.J. Chark who has now exceeded
17 PPR fantasy points in each of his three games this season,
including a touchdown in all three games. Chark is a physical
specimen who didn’t contribute much as a rookie but seems
to be coming into his own as a second-year player and is now establishing
himself as the clear cut WR1 in Jacksonville. His target share
hasn’t been excellent but he’s seeing enough targets
to be a viable Flex option for the time being.
The other receivers in the Jacksonville passing game that have
some fantasy relevance are Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook who
have been less consistent contributors. They’re still seeing
enough targets to be low-end fill-ins for those in need, but should
probably be avoided in most formats as this is a relatively difficult
matchup and they’re clearly behind Chark in the pecking
order in a lower-volume passing game to begin with.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette’s fantasy value
continues to be a bit of a mystery as the Jacksonville running
back is seeing practically every snap for the team, but it still
hasn’t translated into any truly big games. In fact, this
past week, Fournette needed a huge, breakaway run near the end
of the game to even finish with positive rushing yards. That’s
concerning, but the volume Fournette is seeing is such a huge
indicator that better days are yet to come.
This week he’ll face a Denver defense that has given up
the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs so far
this season, including five touchdowns to the position already
this season. They’ve held every opposing back they’ve
faced to fewer than 100 rushing yards, but they’ve faced
two committee backfields in Green Bay and Chicago. The only true
workhorse back they’ve faced was Josh Jacobs in his first
ever NFL game and Jacobs ran over them for 85 yards, two touchdowns
and added 28 receiving yards. Look for Fournette to get plenty
of opportunities this week in a game that should be relatively
low-scoring. He’s a low-end RB1 with upside.
Game Thoughts: At 0-3, it’d be easy to blame Joe
Flacco for many of the struggles the Broncos have faced early
this season. However, those who have been watching the games would
tell you that Flacco has been one of, if not the best offensive
player the Broncos have had so far this season, at least with
the exception of the baffling interception he threw this past
week against the Packers. Denver wasn’t expected to be much
of an offensive powerhouse and they’ve lived up to that
label, with Flacco throwing for just two touchdowns through three
contests. That type of production simply isn’t enough to
make him a fantasy consideration.
It could be enough for his top pass catchers to be viable, however,
and that’s what we’ve seen thus far with veteran Emmanuel
Sanders and second-year wideout Courland Sutton, both of whom
have been surprisingly productive thus far despite the lack of
points that the Denver offense is putting up. Both Sanders (25)
and Sutton (22) are averaging over seven targets per week and
they’ve both already had turned in two games with more than
80 receiving yards. While they’ll need to get into the end
zone with more consistency in order to be more than a borderline
starter in most leagues, the upside is there for these players.
Unfortunately, Sutton will likely see a lot of cornerback Jalen
Ramsey this week as he works from the outside. That should leave
Emmanuel Sanders with lighter coverage working out of the slot
and that makes him an interesting Flex option this week in PPR
formats. Sutton could end up not being shadowed by Ramsey and
that would obviously lead to more opportunity for him, but it’s
a risky proposition and he’s not a player with a long enough
track record to be trusted by anyone other than the most desperate
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: The Denver backfield split was in full
effect in Week 3 as Phillip Lindsay got 25 touches to Freeman’s
19. If both players saw that many touches each week, we’d
be talking about them both as weekly starters for fantasy, but
the truth is that those numbers simply aren’t sustainable.
In fact, Lindsay touched the ball just 15 and 17 times in Weeks
1 and 2 while Freeman finished with 11 and 16 touches in those
games. This is truly a 60-40 split and it’s not even significantly
tilted toward Lindsay in the passing game as his 12 catches are
only a couple more than Freeman’s 10.
Needless to say, this can be a very frustrating backfield to
own players in because both players are seeing a decent number
of touches, but neither is seeing a high enough number of touches
to truly push to be a trustworthy RB1 - or even a strong RB2 -
on a weekly basis. Lindsay is the better option given that he’s
the higher end of this backfield share and he’s a low-level
RB2 this week, but he’s up against a fairly good Jaguars
defense that held Derrick Henry to just 44 rushing yards on 17
carries this past week so don’t go overboard in relying
on him in DFS. Freeman, meanwhile, is a Flex-worthy option but
he most likely needs a touchdown to return much value for his
Cowboys @ Saints
- (Green) Line: DA: -3.0 Total: 47.0
Game Thoughts: It's hard to know quite what to make of
Dak Prescott's early-season dominance because the competition
has been, in a word, abysmal—Dallas' three opponents have
a combined record of 1-8 and rank 32nd, 31st and 29th in passing
TDs allowed. Prescott wasn't especially sharp in a 25-point win
over Miami, which may be one of the worst teams in league annals,
but still accounted for three total TDs.
Amari Cooper continues to operate as the main man outside, and
the first-rounder they surrendered to bring him on now looks like
a pittance. Michael Gallup (knee) was off to a fast start before
tearing his meniscus, and he's expected to miss another week or
two. Veterans Randall Cobb (11-116-1) and Jason Witten (10-94-2)
are reliable underneath targets, and there's even been a Devin
Smith sighting after the former Ohio State star washed out with
On paper, this looks like a tasty matchup for the Cowboys as
New Orleans has allowed the third-most passing yards per game
(301.7) in the NFL this season. If I may channel my inner Lee
Corso, however... not so fast, my friend! The Saints have drawn
three top-level QBs in DeShaun Watson, Jared Goff and Russell
Wilson, and Wilson did tons of stat padding in the fourth quarter
that included a TD pass on an untimed down.
There's talent in the Saints secondary, led by Marshon Lattimore,
and a pass rush that's capable of getting after Prescott (their
nine sacks and tied for ninth in the NFL). This will most assuredly
be the sternest test of Dak and company to date.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Dallas brings the NFL's third-ranked rushing
offense to the Big Easy to face the 26th-ranked run defense. While
it's certainly advantage Dallas, the Saints' ranking is still
stinging from an awful Week 1. In the two weeks since, they gave
up 3.8 yards per carry against the Rams and 4.2 versus Seattle.
Ezekiel Elliott is the man that makes Dallas' offense go, and
he's likely to be in for a heavy workload after splitting carries
with rookie Tony Pollard last week—Pollard's 30 carries
through three weeks says more about the lopsided nature of the
scores than any plan to limit Elliott's touches. In competitive
games, expect Elliott to get the ball.
Game Thoughts: Things couldn't have gone much better
for the Saints in Teddy Bridgewater's first start. They scored
on special teams and defense, allowing them to adopt a conservative
style that played to Bridgewater's strengths. The result: 177
yards passing, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Those are eerily similar numbers
to what Bridgewater did during his time with the Vikings, and
it's unclear how high his ceiling is. He'll make his second start
this week as Drew Brees (thumb) continues to recover.
Nearly half of Bridgewater's 19 completions went to Alvin Kamara
(9-92-1), who Seattle seemed to have no answers for. Michael Thomas
hauled in five of his seven targeted balls for 54 yards and a
score, which was a step back after logging 20 receptions over
the first two weeks. That circles back to New Orleans' early lead,
though, and in a more competitive game Thomas almost certainly
would've been more heavily utilized.
Ted Ginn Jr. did little with his five targets, and Jared Cook
continues to be one of the most disappointing fantasy performers
in the early going. I can't see slotting either of them into your
lineup, even against a largely untested Dallas squad that has
allowed 246 passing yards per game to the trio of Josh Rosen,
Case Keenum and Eli Manning. Also of note, Tre'Quan Smith (ankle)
is likely to miss another game.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Early returns on the Kamara/Latavius Murray
pairing have not been great with Murray managing just seven carries
and nine yards over the previous two games combined. Mark Ingram
2.0 he is not. Look for Murray to be more involved this week with
Dallas allowing 4.7 yards per rush this season despite the tandem
of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esche. Kamara, meanwhile,
is a weekly RB1 averaging 130 total yards per game. You can bet
he'll be the focal point of Rod Marinelli.
Game Thoughts: If you were to poll 100 random football
fans on who is the second leading passer based on yardage behind
Patrick Mahomes, chances are most would not be able to answer
Andy Dalton. The Red Rocket is averaging 326 passing yards per
game, including his first 400-yard performance in over three seasons.
As the Bengals continue to struggle on defense, Dalton will likely
continue to pass the ball at a high rate in Zac Taylor’s
new offense. Although I don’t anticipate he will continue
at this rate, Dalton his on pace for 688 pass attempts and 5,216
passing yards, which would obliterate his personal best for 586
and 4,296 he posted in 2013.
Dalton is quietly posting the best fantasy season of his career
with 25.1 points per game and has a favorable schedule over the
next two weeks with the Steelers and the Cardinals. Pittsburgh
has allowed the 6th most fantasy points to quarterbacks to start
the season, with Russell Wilson and Tom Brady each torching Keith
Butler’s defense for 300 yards and three scores.
Pittsburgh looked to address their deficiencies in the secondary
by trading a first-round pick to the Dolphins for Minka Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick played well last week against the Niners, but the
sample size is too small to see how much of a change his addition
The increased volume in the passing game and the struggles of
the Pittsburgh defense has Dalton ranked as a favorite streaming
option this week. Owners should consider the fact that Dalton
is 3 and 12 all-time against the Steelers, with a completion percentage
six points below his career average. Dalton’s primetime
passer rating is 16 points lower compared to afternoon games,
although he did throw for four touchdowns against the Ravens on
Thursday Night Football last season.
After two big weeks to start the season with two, 100-yard games
against the Seahawks and 49ers, John Ross came crashing back down
to Earth with two catches for 22 yards and zero touchdowns against
the Bills. Brown’s decline in volume coincided with Auden
Tate jumping up to six catches for 88 yards on ten targets. Perhaps
this was more of an issue of the opponent playing a ton of zone
defense and Tate gives a bigger target over the middle. If Ross
delivers another game of six or fewer targets, owners may want
to look in another direction against the Cardinals next week.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon has been one of the biggest
busts of the young season with 19.9 total points in his first
three games, including 17 yards on 11 rushes against the 49ers
Week 2. He suffered an ankle injury in the opening week against
Seattle and was clearly not the same against San Francisco the
On a positive note, Mixon bounce back with 104 total yards and
a score against the Bills, arguably the best defense the team
has faced year to date.
Only the Dolphins and the Bengals have allowed more fantasy points
than the Steelers in 2019. The 49ers ran roughshod over the Steelers
last week to the tune of 165 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Not only can you run on the Steelers, but you can also find success
throwing to your running backs out of the backfield. No other
team in the NFL has allowed more receiving yard to running backs,
which could give Mixon another shot to reach the end zone on a
screen or pass to the flat.
Linebackers Anthony Chickillo and Vince Williams, along with
cornerback Joe Haden, all missed practice on Thursday and are
questionable for Monday Night. Should Williams, a starting inside
linebacker, miss the game, Mixon’s outlook would certainly
Game Thoughts: The first game of the Ben Roethlisberger-less
Steelers was a disaster, as Pittsburgh fell to the San Francisco
49ers 20-24 despite forcing five turnovers. The 49ers did everything
they could to give the game away to Mason Rudolph, but the second-year
player from Oklahoma State could not capitalize on the mistakes.
Rudolph completed 52% of his passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns,
with one interception and 15 rushing yards on four attempts. He
did make a few big throws, including a nice bomb to Diontae Johnson
and a slant that went to the house to JuJu Smith-Schuster, but
other than that his missed throws and looked overmatched.
Smith-Schuster salvaged last week’s game with a 76-yard
pass and run for a touchdown, giving him his first double-digit
performance and touchdown in 2019. Many thought the loss of Antonio
Brown would give JuJu even more looks in the offense and a solid
chance to lead the league in receptions. Instead, the third-year
wideout has yet to post double figures in targets, and he has
yet to top 84 receiving yards.
The Donte Moncrief experiment is hopefully over, with Moncrief
catching just three of his first eleven targets in the offense.
Johnson took over a starting role along with Smith-Schuster and
James Washington and could be a nice sleeper play against a Bengals
defense that allows the 20th most point to opposing wide receivers.
Both Marquise Goodwin and Deebo Samuel posted monster games against
the Bengals, and Tyler Locket and D.K. Metcalf combined for 132
yards and a score Week 1.
If there were ever a game for the Steelers offense to get back
on track it would be this one. Owners should start Smith-Schuster
with the hope that he and Rudolph can build upon what they did
last week, and one of the other two receivers will likely score
on a big pass. The question is guessing who that second receiver
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: This game projects to be a get-right game
for the Steelers offense, including running back James Conner,
who enters the week ranked 34th at the position with 22.7 fantasy
Conner’s 2.9 yards per attempt is well off his career average
of 4.5, and he has developed a bit of a fumbling issue that is
concerting to head coach Mike Tomlin. In addition to struggling
to run effectively, Conner’s 6.4 yard per reception average
is nearly three points less than his breakout performance last
year. He is clearly missing Big Ben, as the offense as a whole
is struggling to move the ball despite the fact that the team
still has one of the best offensive lines in the league.
If you are a Conner owner, you must plug him into the lineup
this week. Only the lowly Dolphins have allowed more fantasy points
to opposing running backs, with five running backs in three games
reaching double figures. If Conner can’t do it in this game,
he is not going to do it this season.
On the injury report, the Bengals may be without starting defensive
end Sam Hubbard, who is questionable with a foot injury.