Game Thoughts: When you factor in the loss of rookie
camps, mini camps and preseason games, Joe Burrow's Week 1 performance
was impressive. The numbers don't necessarily bear that out --
he completed 23 of 36 passes for 193 yards, 0 TDs and an INT --
but outside of a couple bad plays he looked composed and in control.
This was especially true on the game's final drive where offensive
pass interference erased a potential game-winning touchdown strike
to A.J. Green.
Speaking of Green, he hauled in five passes for 51 yards in his
first game action since Dec. 2, 2018. Early returns suggest that
Green (nine targets) is Burrow's top option with last year's leading
receiver, Tyler Boyd, catching four of five targets for 33 yards.
Last season, Boyd totaled 10 catches for 134 yards in two meetings
with the Browns, though that was obviously without Green or Burrow.
For this Thursday, Green should be a high-end WR3 while Boyd is
more of a flex option in Cleveland.
Three others matched Boyd's five targets: C.J. Uzomah, John Ross
and Gio Bernard. Of that group, Uzomah is the only one to keep
an eye on as TEs are often security blankets for young signal
callers. Cleveland was pretty much hapless against Lamar Jackson,
who threw for 275 yards and 3 TDs in Week 1, and they won't be
getting Greedy Williams (shoulder) or Kevin Johnson (abdomen)
back Thursday. There's a case to be made for starting Burrow as
a QB2, though it'd be a somewhat risky proposition.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: After not fumbling in either of his previous
two seasons, Joe Mixon put the ball on the ground late in the
Week 1 loss to the Chargers, setting up what proved to be the
winning points. It was the low point of an inauspicious start
to 2020 as his 20 touches (19 runs, one reception) garnered just
71 yards. Mixon will look to rebound against a Browns team he
gashed last year, rushing the ball 49 times for 308 yards and
3 TDs. Cleveland did a nice job against Baltimore's RBs in Week
1, but Mixon still offers solid RB2 value with upside.
Game Thoughts: Week 1 under new head coach Kevin Stefanski
looked a lot like the 16 games played under Freddie Kitchens as
Cleveland was blown out by the Ravens, 38-6. While not all of
that falls on Baker "Hulu has live sports" Mayfield,
the third-year pro was poor, completing just 21 of 39 passes for
189 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT -- that was below his modest 2019 average
of 239 yards per game and 59.4 percent completions. Despite the
weapons around him, Mayfield needs to show something before he's
worth putting in a fantasy lineup again.
To be fair, Mayfield got little help from Odell Beckham Jr. in
Week 1. OBJ had just three receptions for 22 yards on 10 targeted
balls, including a critical drop when the outcome was still in
doubt. Now there are reports that the Browns are shopping Beckham.
It's just a mess in Cleveland. Easily the steadiest performer
in the passing game is Jarvis Landry (hip), who led the way in
Week 1 with five catches for 61 yards, and is a reliable WR3 if
he plays. Beckham, meanwhile, is a low-end No. 2 or strong No.
Austin Hooper caught two passes for 15 yards in his Browns debut
and generally took a backseat to David Njoku (knee), who caught
four passes for 50 yards and a TD before suffering a sprained
MCL that landed him on IR. Cincinnati played surprisingly well
against the Chargers in Week 1 given their depth of talent, but
how much of that was the Bengals' defense and how much was Tyrod
Taylor's struggles is unclear.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: If there was a bright spot for the Browns
in Week 1 it was the play of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The duo
combined for 132 yards on 23 carries, with Hunt (13-72-0) actually
outpacing Chubb (10-60-0). Don't read too much into it. The snap
split was nearly identical, and playing from behind favored Hunt,
who is the superior receiver. Cincinnati allowed the combo of
Austin Ekeler and Justin Kelley to combine for 144 yards on 31
carries this past week, and now they'll be without DTs Mike Daniels
(groin) and Geno Atkins (shoulder). Expect the Browns to attack
on the ground where Chubb rates as an RB2 and Hunt is a high-end
Game Thoughts: The first game of the Teddy Two Gloves
Bridgewater era of Carolina Panthers Football was a mixed bag
of positive and negative signs.
On the positive side, the defense of the Panthers is every bit
as terrible as we all predicted which will undoubtedly result
in the Carolina offense chasing points. Teddy looked comfortable
running the offense, the wide receiving corps combined to score
the 10th most fantasy points on the week, and Christian McCaffrey
is still a workhorse threat in the air and on the ground.
On the negative side, owners who used a third-round pick on D.J.
Moore might have some buyer’s remorse. Although Moore did
lead the group of WRs with nine targets, Robby Anderson and Curtis
Samuel each garnered eight targets of their own as Bridgewater
spread the ball around.
Moore is still the top player to own in the passing game but
based on what we saw Week 1, Anderson and Samuel might have more
of a role than Moore owners anticipated.
The Bucs present a difficult matchup for the receivers and Bridgewater.
Tampa Bay’s young and upcoming secondary shut down the receivers
for the Saints in Week 1 to the tune of eight catches for 53 yards
and a score. That is not the stat line for Michael Thomas or Emmanuel
Sanders. The Bucs held Drew Brees and his wide receivers to 53
receiving yards and a score, despite New Orleans winning the game
CMC will still get his targets and is a must-start. You are going
to want to start Moore based on the draft capital used to get
him, but don’t be surprised if he delivers another disappointing
performance. Of the three, look for Anderson to sneak behind the
defense for a long score, as the Saints are an aggressive secondary.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: CMC delivered a ho-hum, 130 yards and
two touchdowns against the Raiders to open the season. Although
his use in the passing game was quite a bit less than we saw over
the previous two years, he came through with the No.2 performance
on the week and lived up to his draft capital once again.
Look for him to get more involved in the passing game this week
against a Tampa Bay team that is stout against the run. Don’t
let last week's performance by the Saints fool you. The Bucs do
have one of the better run defenses in the league, and were, in
fact, the only team last season that did not allow 100 yards rushing
on the ground.
CMC is a must-start regardless of format, and he will provide
ample fantasy value this week as long as Bridgewater gets him
more involved in the passing game.
Game Thoughts: Tom Brady’s first start for the
Bucs did not go as planned, as the future first ballot hall of
fame threw just two touchdown passes, with 239 passing yards on
23 of 36 passing. Brady threw two interceptions, one of which
was returned for a touchdown by Janoris Jenkins.
Look for Brady and the Bucs to bounce back big time this week
against a terrible Panther defense that was thrashed to start
the season by the Raiders. If there were ever an opponent who
provides an opportunity for a get-right game, it would be the
Brady and the passing offense should use this opportunity against
a subpar defense to get their timing fixed, as it was clear that
he did not have a strong rapport with his receivers. A matchup
to watch will be Mike Evans (if he is able to play) outside against
rookie Troy Pride Jr. Evans caught just one pass for six yards
and a touchdown in garbage time against the Saints. Look for him
to get back on track this week if his hamstring continues to improve.
There were whispers out of Bucs training camp that Scotty Miller
could be a sleeper wide receiver after gaining the favor of Brady
in practice. Those whispers turned out to be correct, with the
former 6th round pick form Bowling Green putting up nearly the
identical receiving line to Chris Godwin, with five catches for
73 yards on six targets.
Miller is an interesting waiver wire add in deep leagues and
could be an excellent flex option this week if the Bucs jump out
to an early lead and rest Evans and his hamstring.
Although Rob Gronkowski played in 77% of snaps compared to 53%
by O.J. Howard, the former looked slow and ineffective. He is
always a threat to score, but two receptions for 11 yards on three
targets makes him a wait and see play.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin is currently in the concussion protocol.
Should he miss the game, look for Brady to lean even more on Miller
in the passing game.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: The addition of Leonard Fournette proved
to be a dud, at least for the first week of the season, as the
Bucs combined to score the fifth-fewest points at the running
back position. Considering the fact that the Saints are a stellar
run defending team, it was not a surprise. What was a surprise
was the fact that Fournette played in just nine snaps on the day.
He may have value later on, but he is a must bench right now until
we see a more defined role in the offense.
The running back to start this week is Ronald Jones, who played
in 47% of the snaps in the game and carried the ball 17 times
for 66 yards. Josh Jacobs just torched the Panthers for three
touchdowns and a ton of all-purpose yards, giving hope to Jones
owners that their running back could bounce back this week.
Jaguars @ Titans
- (Swanson) Line: TEN -8.0 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: Gardner Minshew delivered one of the most
impressive performances in Week 1, with 22.3 fantasy points as
the Jaguars, a team many people picked to finish with the worst
record in the NFL, beat Philip Rivers and the Colts. Minshew completed
19 of his 20 pass attempts for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole, and rookie Laviska Shenault each caught
a touchdown pass from Minshew, with Cole leading the team in targets
with five. For owners who drafted Chark in the fourth or fifth
round, his three targets could be a concern, as many projected
Chark to take a massive leap into WR1 territory.
Minshew targeted his tight ends just twice on the day, with Tyler
Eifert and James O’Shaughnessy each receiving one pass against
the Colts. Neither is a great option this week until we see more
volume in the passing game.
The Titans at home project to be a difficult matchup for Minshew,
especially if pass rusher Vic Beasley is able to play opposite
of Jadaveon Clowney. The Titans held the Broncos to 216 passing
yards and one touchdown on Monday Night Football.
A matchup to watch is Chark against Jonathan Joseph and Malcolm
Butler. Chark caught four passes for 76 yards and a score in the
first matchup against the Titans in 2019 but managed just five
catches for 38 yards and no scores in the second.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie James Robinson was the only player
in Week 1 to receive 100% of his respective team’s rushing
attempts. Although he averaged just 62 yards on 16 carries, his
workload volume is attractive as a low-end RB2, and he also was
involved in the passing game with 28 receiving yards against the
The Chris Thompson blowout PPR game did not come to fruition,
and the former Washington running back burned fantasy owners to
the tune of two catches for six yards. Until we see him used more
in the passing game in negative game scripts he should not be
The Broncos managed to combine for 102 rushing yards and a score
against the Titans, a defense that ranked 15th in fantasy points
allowed to RBs in 2019. The matchup is not something that Robinson
owners should shy away from, and yet the undrafted rookie RB from
Illinois State could still be a low-end RB2.
Starting inside linebacker Rashaan Evans was ejected from the
MNF game for throwing a punch in a skirmish with tight end Jake
Butt. His return should help the Titan run defense.
Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill threw the ball more times
on Monday Night Football against the Broncos than in any game
last year. His 43 attempts were the fifth-most of any QB on the
week, yet he managed just 249 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Throwing the ball that often is not what the Titans want to do
on offense. Head coach Mike Vrabel wants to run the ball more,
and don’t be surprised to see the team lean more heavily
on Derrick Henry against a Jags team that is not strong against
A 66th overall finish for A.J. Brown is not what his owners expected
when they used an early-round pick on the second year WR. If there
were ever a game for Brown to get right, it would be at home against
the Jags. The volume was there with eight targets vs. Denver,
but Brown and Tannehill were not on the same page. Look for Brown
to break a long reception for a score this week against a Jacksonville
against rookie cornerback CJ Henderson.
An interesting development from Week 1 was the reemergence of
former first-round bust Corey Davis. Davis posted his first 100-yard
game since Week 10 of the 2018 season and looked to be a viable
second option for Tannehill in the passing game. Davis has disappointed
so many times in the past that it is hard to imagine him being
fantasy viable in 2020, but he is someone to keep an eye on and
a possible bench stash.
The Jags gave up the 22nd most fantasy points to wide receivers
last week in their surprising victory over the Colts. Some of
that success can be attributed to their performance, and some
should be placed on Rivers and the Colts, who looked off most
of the day and struggled with timing.
The Jonnu Smith breakout season looks to be off to a great start
with Smith posting four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown on
seven targets. Smith was on the field for 73% of the team’s
snaps and should be another TE1 this week against Jacksonville.
Update:Head coach Mike Vrabel
told reporters on Friday that A.J. Brown will miss Week 2 with
a bone bruise in his knee. The absence of Brown will likely lead
to more targets for Corey Davis. However, look for the team to
use Jonnu Smith more and continue to lean on the running game
with Derrick Henry. Smith is squarely in TE1 consideration, while
Davis now is a reasonably safe option as a low-end No.3.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry led all running backs in
carries with 31 totes Week 1 against the Broncos. Although his
3.7 yards per carry were a disappointment and he did not reach
the end zone, he did catch all three of his targets and is on
pace to catch 48 passes in 2020. I know it is a small sample size,
but it is encouraging to see him more active in the passing game.
Henry should have a monster game this week against the Jags at
home and should be considered an elite play. The reigning NFL
rushing champ posted 203 rushing yards and three total touchdowns
against the Jags in his two games last season, and that was against
a Jags team that had Calais Campbell on the defensive line.
Giants @ Bears
- (Green) Line: CHI -5.5 Total: 42.5
Game Thoughts: Dogged all night by the relentless pass
rush of the Steelers, Daniel Jones stood tall and delivered a
solid performance: 26 of 41, 279 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. That
he did it without veteran Golden Tate (hamstring) and a running
game that couldn't get out of neutral made it all the more impressive.
It was also encouraging that, despite the pressure, Jones never
put the ball on the ground -- that was a major issue for the then-rookie
in 2019 when he fumbled 18 times and lost 11 of them.
With Tate's status for Week 2 still unclear, Darius Slayton currently
looks to be the top option after he led the team in receptions
(six) and yards (102) while scoring both of their touchdowns.
Sterling Shepard matched Slayton's six catches, but they covered
just 47 yards, leaving him on the fringes of fantasy relevance.
Top-10 TE Evan Engram was targeted seven times against the Steelers;
unfortunately it resulted in just two catches and nine yards.
Still, it's not time to move the talented tight end out of your
Chicago allowed 297 passing yards and a TD to Detroit in Week
1, though a late dropped touchdown helped those numbers out, as
did the absence of Lions WR1 Kenny Golladay. The Bears still have
some playmakers in their secondary as well as in their pass rush,
but their play last Sunday shouldn't strike fear into the G-Men.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Fifteen carries, six yards. Those were
Saquon Barkley's totals against the Steelers. Incredibly, for
a back of Barkley's talent, this wasn't the first time he was
completely shut down. In fact, he ran 13 times for one yard last
November. He'll be looking to get going against a Bears defense
that allowed Adrian Peterson to run for 93 yards on 14 carries
less than a week after signing in Detroit. Expect a much better
showing from Barkley here.
Game Thoughts: Through three quarters, Mitchell Trubisky
was bad: he hit on 12 of his 26 passing attempts for 153 yards,
and Chicago had six points. Fox's halftime show openly campaigned
for Matt Nagy to pull the plug and go to Nick Foles. Instead,
Trubisky came alive in the fourth quarter, throwing for 89 yards
and three TDs. It likely saved his job, at least for now, but
don't overreact. Trubisky has always had the Lions' number --
nine of his last 20 TDs passes have come against Detroit -- and
they were dealing with massive injury problems in the secondary.
Most of the news out of Chicago this week has centered on Allen
Robinson, who is unhappy with his contract and may have requested
a trade. On the field, Robinson (5-74-0) is the team's top receiver
and only Trubisky's inconsistency keeps him from being a viable
WR1 week in and week out. Anthony Miller (4-76-1) had a good game
against the Lions. He's teased fantasy owners before, but it's
worth scooping him up if he's available on waivers. Jimmy Graham
(3-25-1) also scored.
Defensively, the Giants didn't give up a ton of yardage to Ben
Roethlisberger, who passed for 229 yards on 21 completions. Three
of those completions went for TDs, though, and most of New York's
success containing the Steelers came early on before Big Ben shook
off the rust.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: With 149 yards on 28 attempts, the Bears'
running game was quite effective in Week 1. David Montgomery led
the way with 64 yards on 13 carries, and Tarik Cohen gained 41
on seven. Neither back was involved much through the air, however,
which undercuts their value a bit. New York struggled to contain
backup Benny Snell (19-113-0) last Monday and could provide a
nice matchup for Chicago's backfield in Week 2.
Falcons at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: DAL -4.5 Total: 54.0
Game Thoughts: It sure looks like a Matt Ryan year. One
of my favorite late-round quarterbacks showed exactly why he earned
that title last week throwing for 450 yards and two touchdowns.
While most of that production came in garbage time, that’s
going to be a theme for the Falcons this season.
If anyone remembers what the Cowboys did at home last season
against the Rams, that’s kind of the image I have for what
this week’s game is going to look like. The Cowboys offense
is going to make the Falcons have to throw a ton. Julio Jones
and Calvin Ridley are both going to continue to eat. Julio, Ridley,
and Russell Gage each saw 12 targets last week and while that’s
obviously not sustainable, all three have a real shot at 100 targets
with Gage looking like he’s the Austin Hooper replacement,
not Hayden Hurst, who was targeted just five times. With Leighton
Vander-Esch out for the Cowboys, Hurst could feasibly have a solid
game, but the Cowboys contained Tyler Higbee last week with no
problem. This smells like a monster Julio game with Ridley being
a solid secondary performer in a likely shootout.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: Todd Gurley didn’t look hurt at
all last week, but he did look slow and inexplosive. Gurley’s
fantasy value is going to rely heavily on touchdowns as he’s
just not dynamic anymore. Fortunately for him, the Falcons should
be in scoring position a lot. Gurley is pretty much Malcolm Brown
at this point, but we saw what Brown was able to do against this
Cowboys defense last week. Gurley can certainly at least match
that. The RB1 upside is not really there, but Gurley should remain
a solid weekly RB2 and has a great shot at double-digit touchdowns.
This week is no different.
Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott played fine last week in
a tough home loss to the Rams. If not for a phantom offensive
pass interference call on Michael Gallup late in the game, Prescott
would have likely eclipsed 300 yards passing. The Cowboys undoubtedly
were paying attention to how the Seahawks attacked the Falcons
last week. Expect a similar pass heavy approach with a lot of
first down throws. This is an absolute smash spot for the entire
Cowboys offense. With Blake Jarwin done for the season, look for
the Cowboys to go extremely heavy on 11 personnel and distribute
targets primarily to Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee
Lamb. Any doubts over Cooper’s alpha status should have
been put to rest last week with his 14 targets. However, Gallup’s
lackluster stat line doesn’t represent how well he actually
played. Meanwhile, Lamb looked great on his six targets, catching
five for 59 yards. Lamb is going to be an every week WR3 soon
enough. The Falcons were torched by Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf
last week. Cooper and Gallup will look to do the same. This is
the type of game fantasy players dream of.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Any concerns about Tony Pollard eating
into Ezekiel Elliott’s workload are over. Pollard played
just 10% of the snaps. This is Zeke’s backfield and he’s
sure looking like the guy that should’ve been the second
overall pick in fantasy leagues this season. Elliott looked as
good as I’ve ever seen him - making defenders miss and effective
in the passing game. He found the end zone twice in just an all-around
The Falcons really struggled to handle Chris Carson catching
passes out of the backfield and have notoriously struggled with
defending running backs as receivers. Elliott is a vastly superior
pass catcher to Carson. Surely Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore
are aware of this and will look to exploit it. Tyron Smith potentially
missing this game is definitely a concern, but Zeke, like the
rest of this offense, is poised to smash.
Game Thoughts: Under center for the first time since
a back injury cost him the final eight games of 2019, Matthew
Stafford appeared ready to lead his team to an opening week victory
over the Bears. Things fell apart in the fourth, though, including
Stafford going 8-for-17 and tossing a pick. Of course, his final
totals (297 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) would've looked much better if
rookie D'Andre Swift hadn't dropped what would have been the game-winning
touchdown on the game's penultimate play.
Stafford was also working without No. 1 receiver Kenny Golladay
(hamstring), who hasn't practiced this week and appears on track
to miss a second game. Without him, the duo of Marvin Jones (4-55-0)
and Danny Amendola (5-81-0) are the top two wideouts with T.J.
Hockenson (5-56-1) also heavily involved. Of that group, Jones
is the safest bet as a WR3, and if Golladay is active he'd slide
in as a WR2. Hockenson could also be deployed as a low-end starter
with risk/reward potential.
Green Bay put the clamps on Kirk Cousins for much of Week 1,
holding him to seven completions through three quarters while
Jaire Alexander intercepted a pass and recorded a safety. Once
the Packers went up 29-10 late in the third it was a completely
different story as the Vikings marched down the field for three
TD drives marked by bad coverage and worse tackling. We'll see
which group shows up in Week 2.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Signed six days before the opener, Adrian
Peterson stepped in as Detroit's top back last Sunday, rushing
14 times for 93 yards. It's both a testament to the 35-year-old's
conditioning and an indictment of Kerryon Johnson, who carried
just seven times for 14 yards. Swift had six touches in his debut
and scored a TD, but all anyone will remember is his late drop.
Green Bay allowed 134 yards on 22 rushes last Sunday and could
be without star DT Kenny Clark (groin). This seems like an area
the Lions will attack, and some of Peterson's best days have come
against the Packers.
Game Thoughts: It's anyone's guess how many articles
were written about Aaron Rodgers during the offseason regarding
his decline and/or the team's decision not to add to their receiving
corps. For at least one week, Rodgers told them all to relax as
he eviscerated the Vikings for 364 yards and four touchdowns --
this despite a dropped TD and a few other drops that would've
pushed him well above 400 yards. He looked confident in the offense
and his accuracy, an issue for much of 2019, was excellent. It
was a vintage performance from No. 12.
Davante Adams (14-156-2) had a monster game, even though he was
guilty of two of those drops, including the touchdown. While Adams
is a known commodity, Green Bay also got big contributions from
Allen Lazard (4-63-1) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (4-96-1). Lazard
emerged as a steady contributor down the stretch last year, whereas
MVS had struggled after an encouraging start. There's still work
to do with Valdes-Scantling, who dropped two passes of his own,
but I wouldn't leave him on waivers.
Much like the Packers, Detroit's secondary held up for three
quarters before falling apart late. One key difference, however,
was that Green Bay never took the field with less than a three-score
cushion while the Lions watched their lead evaporate. Injuries
to starting CBs Desmond Trufant (hamstring) and Justin Coleman
(hamstring) were part of the issue; Coleman has since been placed
on IR while Trufant hasn't practiced and looks unlikely to play
Sunday. Rookie Jeff Okudah (hamstring) could make his debut, but
this looks like a tough ask of Detroit's secondary.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: While no individual had a huge game on
the ground, the Packers as a team gained 160 yards on 30 attempts
(not counting two kneeldowns) against the Vikings. Aaron Jones
(16-66-1) saw most of the touches while Tyler Ervin (3-38-0) and
Lazard (1-19-0) keep the defense off balance with jet sweeps.
Jamaal Williams gained 42 total yards and rookie A.J. Dillon ran
twice for 14 yards. The Lions allowed Chicago to average 5.3 yards
per carry last week, though with the advantage Green Bay seems
to have via the air you wonder if they'll run less this week.
Vikings @ Colts
- (Swanson) Line: IND -3.0 Total: 48.0
Game Thoughts: Kirk Cousins and the Vikings passing offense
got off to a terrible start against the Packers, only to bounce
back in the second half to finish as the No.11 fantasy quarterback
of the week.
On a positive note, Cousins threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns,
and Adam Thielen dropped 110/2 to finish as the No.3 wide receiver
on the week. On a negative note, is a ton of that production for
Cousins came with the game already out of hand and in garbage
time. Yes, garbage time is good for fantasy, but it was clear,
at least early on this game, that the Vikings passing offense
was not as potent without Stefon Diggs.
We all thought that the Colts were one of the better first week
streaming defensive plays with Indy taking on Gardner Minshew
and the Jags. Although the Colts did come through with four sacks,
they did not force a turnover, and Minshew threw for a near-perfect
19 of 20 for 173 passing yards and three touchdowns.
A matchup to watch in this game is safety Xavier Rhodes going
against his old team. Rhodes will most likely cover Thielen exclusively,
with two former teammates going at each other like they did numerous
times in practice. Each player knows the other’s tendencies
and weaknesses. My money is on Thielen, but don’t be surprised
to see Rhodes make a few splash plays.
The tight end duo of Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith produced no fantasy
worthy numbers last week against the Packers. Both players were
on the fire for 62% of the plays as the Vikings used 21 personnel
for the majority of the game. Until we see one emerge as a viable
fantasy option, it is best to look to other players with higher
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook got paid. Now he needs to
live up to his new contract with production on the field. Cook
put up a pedestrian 48 total yards on 13 touches against the Pack,
but salvaged his lack of yardage with two rushing touchdowns.
The team used Alexander Mattison on 37% of snaps compared to
58% for Cook. Was this just a game flow issue, or perhaps this
is a sign of things to come as the team looks to avoid overusing
their star running back? We will learn more as the season progresses,
but regardless, Cook is a top-10 running back regardless of format
and should be in your lineup.
Should Mattison continue to see 37% of snaps, he would have low-end
stand-alone flex appeal in most formats.
Only the Steelers and the Washington Football Team gave up fewer
points week one to opposing RBs than the Colts. Although rookie
James Robinson did post some solid runs, the Colts and their new
high priced defensive lineman DeForest Buckner kept the Jags from
scoring on the ground.
Game Thoughts: New location, same Phillip Rivers. While
he may have culminated enough stats to be considered a hall of
fame quarterback, Rivers continues to make risky throws that kills
his fantasy value in leagues that give negative points for interceptions.
Only Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers threw for more passing yards
Week 1, yet those two players combined for six passing touchdowns
and one interception. Rivers, on the other hand, threw costly
picks and only one touchdown to finish as the 16th ranked quarterback
on the week.
We saw some positive signs, with Parris Campbell getting nine
targets out of the slot. But we also witnessed T.Y. Hilton and
Rivers failing to connect well with just four catches for 53 yards
on nine targets. Rookie second-round pick Michael Pittman Jr.
was a dud and likely should not be started any time soon.
In addition to throwing picks, Rivers is widely considered one
of the better passers to running backs. This proved to be the
case with a whopping 17 receptions going to Colts running backs,
for 142 yards and a touchdown.
Nyheim Hines caught all eight passes for 45 yards and a score
to lead the team, but rookie Jonathan Taylor also got into the
action with six catches for 67 yards. Both players will continue
to have excellent stand-alone value in both formats, but even
more in PPR leagues.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: The crowded backfield of the Colts became
much clearer on Sunday with the unfortunate season-ending Achilles
injury for Marlon Mack, the starter of the game and a favorite
of head coach Frank Reich.
It was primarily Mack and Hines as the one-two punch before Mack
went down, but now Taylor will assume the role filled by Mack
and now should be considered a low-end RB1.
Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Tyler Ervin, and AJ Dillon combined
to rush for 138 wars and a score against a Vikings defense that
is a far cry from the dominant teams we have come to expect under
Mike Zimmer. Rodgers and company proved you can run and pass on
the Vikings, making both Hines and Taylor great starts this week
Linval Joseph is now a Charger, Everson Griffen is a Cowboy,
and Danielle Hunter is on IR with a neck injury. Start both running
backs and reap the rewards in Week 2.
Bills at Dolphins
- (Katz) Line: BUF -6.0 Total: 41.0
Game Thoughts: Josh Allen’s opening to the 2020
season was as Josh Allen as it gets. He had egregious misses and
was careless with the ball, fumbling twice. He also ran 14 times
for 57 yards and a touchdown while throwing for two more. What
was definitely new to the 2020 season was Allen’s completion
percentage hitting the 70% threshold. Allen’s recklessness
will always hold him back, but from a fantasy standpoint, he’s
looking like the guy that closed out the 2019 season.
It looks like Stefon Diggs and John Brown aren’t going
to be much different fantasy assets. Allen is not typically going
to support two fantasy viable performances in a given week. Whether
you get a Diggs week or a Brown week is anyone’s guess.
The Dolphins defense isn’t as bad as you think, but this
is still a favorable matchup for the Bills. We saw Cam Newton
run all over this defense last week and Allen is a better runner
than Newton at this point in their respective careers. The Bills
shouldn’t have much trouble moving the ball even on the
road. Outside of Allen, Diggs, and Brown, though, there’s
nothing going on here for fantasy.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: Devin Singletary played 59% of the snaps
last week while Zack Moss played 45% of the snaps. This is a classic
timeshare. Singletary’s passing game usage was encouraging
as he saw seven targets, but Moss was the guy in around the goal
line. Both backs struggled on the ground against the Jets tough
run defense. The Dolphins are a much easier matchup, but the Bills’
actual RB1 is Josh Allen. Both Singletary and Moss will retain
value due to their roles, but neither is a confident play on any
given week right now. I wouldn’t fade either this week,
but I wouldn’t advise going out of your way to get either
into your lineup if you have a better option. This backfield is
one you want to wait to see how it plays out.
Game Thoughts: Ryan Fitzpatrick is a lot of fun, but
he’s operating on borrowed time right now. Tua Tagovailoa
is healthy and there’s just no incentive for the Dolphins
to stick with Fitzpatrick if he continues to be ineffective. Even
against a tough Patriots defense, I expect more than 191 yards
and three interceptions.
The Bills have just as tough of a defense so this is not a great
week to start members of the Dolphins passing game. DeVante Parker
is dealing with a lingering hamstring injury and is questionable
to suit up. Those who roster Preston Williams should hope Parker
plays, otherwise Tre’Davious White will lock down Williams
rather than Parker. Williams led the team with seven targets last
week and looked fully recovered from his ACL tear. Williams has
legitimate upside in better matchups but this is not one of them.
As for Parker, it’s all about his health right now. Even
if he plays, I’m not interested in a banged up receiver
against a tough defense.
Mike Gesicki couldn’t get anything going last week and
while I’m not a big fan of his in general, I’m not
writing him off due to a down game. He’s a viable starting
option as the way to attack the Bills is to avoid throwing at
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: After bringing in both Jordan Howard and
Matt Breida this offseason, it only makes sense that the Dolphins
would play Myles Gaskin an overwhelming majority of the snaps.
Gaskin saw a 63% snap share while Breida played just 23% and Howard
15%. Simply put, there’s no way you can start any of these
running backs this week. We are probably a week or two away from
calling Howard and Breida drops.
The Jets managed just 52 rushing yards against the Bills last
week. While going by the Jets isn’t the best reference point,
the Bills have a good rush defense and the Dolphins don’t
have a good running game. Avoid.
Game Thoughts: In what should’ve been a smash spot
last week, Jimmy Garoppolo underwhelmed against the Cardinals.
Garoppolo managed to complete just 57% of his passes for 259 yards
and two touchdowns. It was a passable fantasy effort, but we’d
certainly like to see better.
Josh Allen completely eviscerated the Jets last week, but also
did a lot of work on the ground. Garoppolo is not exactly the
same athlete as Allen and he’s hampered by his lack of weapons.
With Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk out, he had to rely on Kendrick
Bourne, Trent Taylor, and ::gulp:: Dante Pettis, when he wasn’t
throwing to George Kittle. As if that wasn’t bad enough,
Kittle sprained his knee last week and is looking iffy for Week
2. Aiyuk is hopeful to return, which would be a welcome addition
for a very depleted group of pass catchers.
If Kittle can’t go, Jordan Reed is a legitimate streaming
option as he should play a full complement of snaps and share
with Aiyuk as Garoppolo’s primary target. It’s never
ideal for a quarterback’s top options to be a rookie who
has been hurt for weeks and a tight end one concussion away from
retirement, but this is where we are. Fortunately, the Jets look
like a dead team walking so Garoppolo is a fine streamer this
week. The only fear would be all the scores coming on the ground,
but that’s not something we can predict.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: Any concerns about who the lead back in
San Francisco is are over. It’s Raheem Mostert. He played
a team high 60% of the snaps and was actually utilized more in
the passing game with five targets. It is unclear whether Tevin
Coleman’s minimal usage was due to bad air quality or just
his role in the offense. Either way, he’s nowhere near a
viable fantasy option. Jerick McKinnon was the clear RB2 and he
looked fantastic. McKinnon only touched the ball six times, but
he matched Mostert with five targets and caught a touchdown as
well. If anything were to happen to Mostert, McKinnon is the clear
beneficiary. Until then, he’s just a bench stash, but you
could start him in a pinch and not get zero.
While Mostert did dominate touches, he only managed 75 yards
on his 18 touches outside of his 76-yard touchdown reception.
The Jets were a pass funnel defense last year, struggling against
the pass, but excellent against the run. Week 1 looked like more
of the same as they couldn’t stop Josh Allen, but the running
backs combined for just 41 yards on 18 carries. This game will
be a test to how committed the 49ers are to Mostert in the passing
game as it trends more like a McKinnon game.
Game Thoughts: If you object to the nomination of Dwayne
Haskins as the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, the next
candidate would be Sam Darnold. The Jets never had a chance last
week with Darnold’s inaccurate passes and tendency to feel
pressure that doesn’t exist. Darnold does not know how to
read a defense, which results in him not diagnosing where pressure
is going to come from.
Darnold’s prospects are not good against a solid 49ers
defense. However, with Richard Sherman out, that does make things
a bit easier. Jamison Crowder predictably led the team in targets
and that’s going to be a recurring theme with Denzel Mims
and Le’Veon Bell out. However, Crowder didn’t practice
Thursday with a hamstring injury. As we saw with Kenny Golladay
last week, straining your hamstring during a mid-week practice
doesn’t bode well for playing on Sunday.
Breshad Perriman is nothing more than a deep threat for a quarterback
that doesn’t have a good deep ball. Chris Herndon wasn’t
overly productive last week, but he saw seven targets and will
remain a starting option if he’s being targeted that frequently.
If Crowder is out, they may be starting Perriman, Chris Hogan,
and Braxton Berrios, in what is undoubtedly the worst starting
wide receiver trio in the NFL. This is shaping up to be a disaster
for the Jets.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Yikes. Can I just stop the analysis there?
It would be sufficient. This Jets running back situation is a
disaster. Le’Veon Bell was already trending towards being
a bust due to the Jets offense, but now it’s confirmed with
Bell out at least three weeks with a hamstring strain. In Bell’s
absence, 89 year-old Frank Gore will start. With rookie La’Mical
Perine still nursing an ankle sprain, behind Gore will be Josh
Adams and newly promoted Kalen Ballage. Adams is clearly the most
talented running back on the team at this point, which is more
of an indictment on the team than praise for Adams, but you don’t
want any of these guys on your roster, let alone your starting
Game Thoughts: Last week’s Sunday night game produced
awful fantasy results for Jared Goff, but he actually played quite
well. Goff completed 64% of his throws and looked relatively sharp.
The Rams scored only two touchdowns and Malcolm Brown took both
of them. Touchdown variance is impossible to predict so we have
no reason to believe Goff isn’t capable of throwing multiple
touchdowns against the Eagles this week.
We can’t measure the Eagles by what Dwayne Haskins did
last week but what we can take away is that the Eagles gave up
27 points to the Football Team. The Rams are a far superior offense
with two excellent receivers in Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp and
a quality pass catching tight end in Tyler Higbee. The Eagles
let Logan Thomas see eight targets and catch a touchdown. This
bodes well for Higbee’s chances of bouncing back. Woods
led the Rams with eight targets last week and surpassed 100 yards.
He’s clearly the WR1 in this offense and has fantasy WR1
upside in higher scoring affairs. Kupp picked up right where he
left off in 2019 with a low target, low yardage game, but I wouldn’t
get too discouraged just yet. Again, it was a defensive, low scoring
contest. All three of the Rams primary pass catchers are must
starts this week.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: Fantasy managers are likely discouraged
by Cam Akers’ production and Malcolm Brown’s involvement,
but it wasn’t as bad as it seems. While Brown is clearly
the 1A to Akers’ 1B, Akers did see 14 carries and one target.
In 2019, Brown looked like a real threat to Todd Gurley in Week
1 and then he faded into the abyss. I don’t expect that
to happen this season, but Akers’ role is going to increase.
His 33% snap share should work its way closer to 50%. Brown will
probably retain his goal line back status, though, which is going
to be a problem for Akers’ upside.
Although the Eagles played terribly last week, this is a road
game for the Rams, which should result in them having to throw
a bit more. That should create more opportunities for Akers in
the passing game. Both Brown and Akers are startable. If you’re
wondering why I haven’t talked about Darrell Henderson yet,
it’s because Henderson does not matter. The Rams have made
it very clear since early in the 2019 season that he’s at
the bottom of the depth chart. He can be dropped in all formats.
Game Thoughts: It was a truly embarrassing performance
for Carson Wentz last week in a game the Eagles should have won
handily. Wentz completed just 57% of his throws while turning
the ball over three times. He was admittedly under pressure constantly,
being down multiple starters on the offensive line, but he did
not step up in the face of it. The Eagles offensive line is not
getting any better so if Wentz struggled that much against the
Football Team, imagine what will happen when the best defensive
player in the NFL is running at him this week.
Adding to Wentz’s problems is the Eagles lack of consistency
at wide receiver. No wideout played a full complement of snaps
with Jalen Reagor leading the way at 59%. DeSean Jackson was at
54% while Greg Ward, John Hightower, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside all
played around 40%. Jackson is always a boom or bust WR3 as all
it takes is one play for him to return value. Reagor caught just
one of four targets. He will be the WR1 in this offense, but he’s
not there yet. The rest of the receivers are irrelevant.
This passing attack really runs through its most talented player,
Dallas Goedert, who played 79% of the snaps, and that other tight
end they have, Zach Ertz, who played 85% of the snaps. Both are
TE1s and should be viewed as the quasi top two receivers in this
offense. The Rams are a tough defense and there’s not much
we can glean from their performance against the Cowboys’
tight ends last week, but regardless, Goedert and Ertz are must
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: By no means did the Eagles lose last week
due to Miles Sanders’ absence. However, I’m sure Doug
Pederson thinks they would have been better off with Sanders on
the field. For that reason, I’m reasonably confident Sanders
returns from his hamstring strain this week and leads this backfield
in touches. Boston Scott played 56% of the snaps to Corey Clement’s
37% last week. Look for Sanders to hover around 60%, pushing Scott
to 30% and Clement down to around 10%. The matchup isn’t
ideal, but Ezekiel Elliott had no trouble running against the
Rams and look for the Eagles to try and utilize Sanders in space
and get him going in an effort to take some of the pressure off
Wentz. Scott isn’t completely off the radar, but he shouldn’t
be in lineups outside of double flex leagues.
Game Thoughts: Minus No. 1 receiver Courtland Sutton
(shoulder), Drew Lock looked like a game manager in the team's
Monday night opener. He completed 22 of his 33 passes for 216
yards and a touchdown. Lock wasn't sacked but did fumble twice,
though neither was lost. It's unclear if Sutton, or second-round
pick K.J. Hamler (hamstring), will return for Week 2. Without
a full complement of weapons it's hard to get a read on Lock's
upside for 2020, but he should remain benched this week.
Despite losing in Week 1, Denver wasn't without some silver linings.
At the top of the list was second-year TE Noah Fant, who caught
five passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. He's the one player
in the passing game you can absolutely plug into your lineup this
Sunday. Sutton, if he returns, would also warrant inclusion. With
him out, Jerry Jeudy caught four passes for 56 yards in an uneven
NFL debut. He's a nice stash candidate but would be a dicey starter
at this stage.
Pittsburgh allowed Daniel Jones to throw for 279 yards and 2
TDs in the earlier Monday night affair, though they made him pay
a physical price well beyond the three sacks. The Steelers also
picked Jones off twice and forced most of the action to happen
in front of them. They're well suited to make life difficult on
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: It was a rough start for the one-two punch
of Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay (toe). The former had an
early fumble while the latter left the game with turf toe and
is uncertain for Week 2. Gordon was better in the second half
and finished with 78 yards on 15 carries and a score. Meanwhile,
in Gotham, the Steelers were completely shutting down Saquon Barkley,
whose 15 carries gained six yards. This is a tough matchup for
Denver's ground attack.
Game Thoughts: Taking the field for the first time in
almost a year, Ben Roethlisberger needed a few series to shake
off the rust. After that, the 38-year-old started to find his
rhythm. His final numbers don't jump off the page -- 229 yards
and 3 TDs -- but after living through 14 games of Mason Rudolph
and Duck Hodges the return of competency to the position was a
breath of fresh air. He's not a weekly starting option anymore,
but Roethlisberger is a solid reserve/matchup play.
Big Ben's return was an especially welcome sight for JuJu Smith-Schuster,
who endured a miserable 2019. Although his six catches and 69
yards aren't WR1 numbers, those two TDs were big time. With a
couple more performances like that, Smith-Schuster could find
himself back among the top-10 receivers. Popular breakout candidate
Diontae Johnson was targeted a team-leading 10 times (6-57-0)
and is a viable WR3.
Defensively, the Broncos gave ground grudgingly through the air,
as the 29 completions they allowed covered just 249 yards. The
pass rush only got home once on 40-plus drop backs from Ryan Tannehill,
continuing a problem from last season and one that the long-term
absence of Von Miller (leg) won't help.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Injury-prone James Conner (ankle) carried
the ball six times before bowing out with an ankle injury. His
status for Week 2 is unclear. Given how Benny Snell ran the ball,
though, the team should elect a conservative approach. Snell racked
up 113 yards on 19 carries and profiles as a steady RB3 this Sunday.
He has a little upside too after the Broncos dealt with 31 punishing
carries from Derrick Henry in their Monday loss.
at Cardinals - (Caron) Line: ARI -7.0 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: It came as no surprise that second-year
receiver Terry McLaurin led the Washington Football Team wide
receivers in snap count, targets, receptions and yards in Week
1. McLaurin remains a strong candidate for a big season and he’s
a strong play against a weak Cardinals secondary here in Week
2. Sure, quarterback Dwayne Haskins is one of the lowest-upside
QBs in the game right now, but he has done a decent enough job
getting the ball to McLaurin in matchups like these.
What’s more interesting for Washington is actually the pass
catchers aside from McLaurin, namely fellow receiver Steven Sims
and tight end Logan Thomas. Sims was entrenched as the No. 2 receiver
in the offense in Week 1 and that should continue this week. He
was only targeted three times on the day, but he did catch all
of those passes for 50 receiving yards. With Arizona likely to
put points on the board this week, we could see Washington have
to lean on their passing game more heavily than they did in Week
1, which could make Sims a sneaky Flex option in deep leagues,
or a cheap DFS option with some upside.
Tight end Logan Thomas was a player that much of the fantasy football
community had their eyes on this offseason and we were not disappointed
in Week 1 when he caught four passes, including a touchdown. Thomas
is an athletic specimen who played 75 percent of the team’s
snaps in Week 1 and he has to be considered a startable tight
end this week against Arizona, who has been one of the worst teams
in the league at defending tight ends in recent seasons.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: We knew the Washington backfield would
be a confusing one to start the season, but it was even uglier
than most of us expected. Veteran pass-catching back J.D. McKissic
led the team with a 44 percent snap share, while plodder Peyton
Barber checked in at 41 percent and rookie Antonio Gibson played
on just 26 percent of snaps.
Washington’s game plan against Philadelphia certainly meant
a run-heavy approach and that might not be as possible against
Arizona who is capable of putting up some high point totals here
in Week 2. That could lead to more passing downs and a heavier
usage of McKissic and even Gibson, with fewer opportunities for
Barber. Barber doesn’t have much upside beyond the possibility
of scoring a couple of goal line touchdowns, but his presence
does limit the upside for the other two backs as well.
The Cardinals are a bad defense, but unfortunately Washington
just isn’t an offense that is likely to score a ton of points
and until Gibson or McKissic runs away with a heavier snap there,
there really isn’t much to like about this backfield from
a fantasy standpoint.
Game Thoughts: All offseason we were told to temper expectations
for DeAndre Hopkins. We were told that receivers going to new
offenses often need a year to really get used to their new home.
Well, that narrative came tumbling down right away in Week 1 as
Hopkins absolutely exploded in his Cardinals debut, catching an
impressive 14 of the 16 passes for 151 yards on the road against
a very good San Francisco defense. Hopkins re-solidified himself
as one of fantasy football’s most valuable weapons and an
unquestioned WR1 starter in any matchup for the foreseeable future.
What happened down the depth chart was a little more concerning,
as Christian Kirk caught just one of five targets. Of course,
the Cardinals may have schematically planned things that way as
it was actually Kirk who lined up primarily on Richard Sherman’s
side of the field in Week 1, allowing Hopkins to see more favorable
matchups on the other side. Most teams aren’t quite that
stacked defensively, especially secondaries as thin as Washington’s,
so don’t give up on Kirk quite yet. Sure, we have to be
concerned about his lack of usage, but the Cardinals are a smart
team and allowing Sherman to take their secondary pass catching
option out of the game while their primary weapon feasts is a
great decision. Washington doesn’t have that luxury, so
Kirk can be placed back in your lineup here in Week 2, especially
in PPR formats.
Veteran Larry Fitzgerald remains a quality contributor out of
the slot for quarterback Kyler Murray, but Fitz himself is no
longer much of a fantasy option. The trio of wideouts does help
make Murray one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the game,
however, in addition to his elite-level rushing which he showed
off in Week 1 when he added 91 yards and a touchdown against the
49ers. Murray is a top five option this week against Washington,
but keep in mind that this may be a game in which he struggles
to find time to throw the ball, as Washington’s front seven
is quietly among the best in the league and Arizona’s offensive
line still needs some work.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: One of the rumblings around fantasy football
circles this week is that running back Kenyan Drake just did not
look the same in Week 1 as he did toward the end of the 2019 season.
Of course, it’s a small sample size and we shouldn’t
overreact, but Drake did not look like a league-winning back against
the 49ers as he rushed for just 60 yards on 16 carries, adding
just two catches for five yards in the passing game in an Arizona
win. He did get into the end zone which saved an otherwise mediocre
fantasy day, but what’s most concerning is that backfield-mate
Chase Edmonds has been touted quite a bit this week by film grinders,
many of whom noted that he looked every bit as good - if not better
- than Drake in Week 1. Edmonds only had 26 rushing yards and
19 receiving yards, but he also scored a touchdown as a pass catcher
and may end up breaking into Drake’s workload more than
Drake enthusiasts would have hoped.
Either way, this isn’t a game where running the ball looks
like it’s going to be an extremely viable option, as Washington’s
defensive line and linebackers look to be among the best in the
league and Arizona’s front line just is not built to compete.
Look for Arizona to lean even more heavily than usual on their
passing game, which could play into Edmonds’ favor. Drake
is still a high-end RB2 and Edmonds is nothing more than a PPR-only
flex option in deep leagues, but this is certainly a situation
to keep an eye on.
Ravens @ Texans
- (Swanson) Line: BAL -7.0 Total: 50.5
Game Thoughts: Lamar Jackson and the Ravens passing game
toyed with the Browns in a lopsided 38-6 victory. The reigning
NFL MVP completed 20 of 25 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns,
including two scores to his favorite target, tight end Mark Andrews.
Although he did not provide as much yardage on the ground as in
previous matchups, his 30 points placed him at sixth overall on
The Marquise Brown breakout season that many in the fantasy industry
predicted looks to have started off well, as Brown and Jackson
connected for five catches for 101 yards on six targets. Willie
Snead added four catches for 64 yards and a score on four targets,
and Miles Boykin came in third on the team with three catches
for 37 yards.
Jackson owners should be licking their chops in this matchup
against a Texans team that gave up 34 points to the Chiefs on
opening night. Although the Chiefs only won by eight points, they
easily could have scored two more touchdowns if needed against
a subpar Texans secondary.
Jackson is a no-brainer, must-start, who is an elite play. Hollywood
Brown is another strong play who should take advantage of veteran
Vernon Hargreaves, who does not have the speed to keep up with
Brown on deep passes.
The Texans get some help at the linebacking corps with the debut
of rookie Jonathan Greenard. Greenard will provide some much-needed
speed on the outside to help contain Jackson.
Defensive lineman J.J. Watt was limited in practice on Wednesday
but should be good to go.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: Rookie J.K. Dobbins entered week one as
the No.4 running back on the Ravens depth chart behind Mark Ingram,
Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill. Depth charts should always be taken
with a grain of salt, as Dobbins received seven carries for 22
yards and two scores. Mark Ingram rushed 10 times for 29 yards,
and Gus Edwards ran four times for 17 yards.
No Raven had much success in terms of yards per carry, but that
should change this week against the Texans defense that gave up
25/138/1 to rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Ingram owners are likely freaking out after the low usage Week
1. Was it only a result of a blowout? If so, will the team once
again use Ingram sparingly if this game too turns out to be lopsided?
You are likely playing him because of the draft capital used to
get him and the fact that he is always a threat to score. But
if he continues to only get ten touches, he might be a risky play
Game Thoughts: Deshaun Watson technically finished as
a QB1 last week with 25.4 fantasy points against the Chiefs. Those
who played him know that it was looking pretty dire for most of
the game, as Watson scored a garbage rushing TD and a passing
TD to salvage his day on what could have been a subpar start to
While David Johnson did look good, it was pretty clear early
on that Watson missed having DeAndre Hopkins as his favorite target.
Will Fuller did a decent job as the team’s No.1, but the
Texans lacked explosiveness and did not test the Chiefs deep much
in the game.
Look for the Ravens to take a page out of the Chief’s playbook
by playing two high safeties and forcing the Texans to throw underneath.
The splash plays that have made Watson a stud fantasy play were
absent last week because of the defensive scheme used by Andy
Reid and Kansas City.
An interesting matchup to watch will be Marcus Peters against
Will Fuller. Peters is an aggressive corner who often jumps routes.
Perhaps the Texans and Bill O’Brien will use that aggressiveness
against Peters with a few double moves.
Watson needs Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills to be more active
in the offense. Will Fuller saw 45% of the wide receiver targets
and 62 of the team's receptions against the Chiefs. That is good
for Fuller owners but not something that will lead to success
for the team long term.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: David Johnson was one of the more polarizing
players this offseason. Some fantasy writers in the industry predicted
a bounce-back season based on high volume and the fact that Johnson
had something to prove, while others in the industry pointed to
his terrible play in the second half of last year as a sign of
If Week 1 is any indication, Johnson is very much a viable fantasy
option in 2020. Johnson dropped 109 total yards and a score against
the Chiefs, including an impressive 20-yard touchdown reception
that featured his famous jump cut.
Duke Johnson left the game against the Chiefs win an ankle injury
and is questionable for Week 2. Although the Ravens present a
difficult matchup for David Johnson to find success running the
ball, his pass-catching, especially if Duke is out, could more
than make up for it, and he is squarely in the strong No.2 RB
Game Thoughts: It’s no surprise at this point that
the Chiefs are one of the most impressive passing games in the
history of professional football, so we won’t focus too
much on the obvious, other than to say that Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek
Hill and Travis Kelce continue to be among the very best fantasy
players at their respective positions. They need to remain in
all lineups in any matchup, so long as they remain healthy. Their
destruction of the Houston offense just solidifies that nothing
has changed this offseason regarding these superstar talents.
The more difficult to predict aspect of the Kansas City offense
continues to be the secondary and tertiary options in the passing
game. We’ve seen big games from pretty much every pass catching
weapon on this roster at some point over the past three seasons,
but the lack of consistency from any of them has made it extremely
difficult - and frustrating - to own any of them in fantasy football.
Week 1’s standout was Sammy Watkins, who did the same thing
in Week 1 of the 2019 season before flaming out immediately thereafter
and not returning to real fantasy relevance for the remainder
of the regular season before contributing a nice playoff stretch
for his Super Bowl-winning team. Watkins is, however, seemingly
entrenched as the team’s second wide receiver, as he played
80 percent of the Chiefs’ snaps in Week 1, finishing behind
only Hill who played 86 percent. The next-highest snap share in
the group came from Demarcus Robinson who played on just 48 percent
of snaps. Second-year receiver Mecole Hardman played on just 29
percent of snaps and while he’s capable of breaking off
for a long touchdown at any time given his speed, he’s going
to need to see more than the one target he got in Week 1 if he’s
going to be a player who we can trust in a matchup like the one
he’ll face here against the Chargers in Week 2.
Watkins is a player who should probably be on most benches given
his lack of consistency, but those desperate after some Week 1
wide receiver injuries could do worse than Kansas City’s
third option in the passing game.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: One of the biggest stories of Week 1 was
the debut of 2020’s only first-round rookie running back
Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire dominated the Chiefs backfield
with 25 carries to Darrel Williams’ seven. Edwards-Helaire
also scored a touchdown while dominating the goal line snaps.
What’s a bit odd is that he was actually off the field on
quite a few third down passing downs. Edwards-Helaire was widely
believed to be one of the best pass-catching backs in this class
so we have to assume that he’ll end up taking over the passing
down role eventually, however it might be a little longer than
expected before he becomes the every down back in Kansas City.
Nevertheless, his 25 carries were a sign of great things to come.
Edwards-Helaire should be looked at as a strong RB1 here in Week
2. The Chargers did do a fairly good job of containing Joe Mixon
in Week 1, but this is a substantially more established, stronger
offense and Edwards-Helaire has a real shot to get into the end
zone multiple times in this contest.
Game Thoughts: No one expected that Tyrod Taylor would
jumpstart the Los Angeles offense, but the fact that he barely
completed 50 percent of his passes against a very beatable Bengals
defense, while adding just seven rushing yards, is extremely concerning.
Taylor himself is really only a player who could be considered
a low-end starter in a two-QB league, but one positive is that
Taylor’s targets were extremely consolidated. Only Keenan
Allen (8), Mike Williams (9) and Hunter Henry (8) were targeted
more than twice by Taylor in Week 1. We’ve seen low volume
passing games like this still deliver decent fantasy contributors
simply due to the way in which they utilize their pass catchers.
It’s going to be tough to trust a player like Williams who
has been up and down throughout his career, but Allen should be
someone who can be relied on as at least a low-end WR2/high-end
WR3 due to the volume he should continue to see. Tight end Hunter
Henry plays a position that lacks many truly consistent playmakers
and we’ve seen him produce TE1 numbers in the past, so it
seems very possible that he continues to be a quality contributor.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: One of the more disappointing performances
from a fantasy standpoint from Week 1 was the performance of 2019
breakout running back Austin Ekeler. While he still rushed for
84 yards on 19 carries, which is a respectable number on its surface,
Ekeler’s lack of usage in the passing game has to be concerning
for those who selected him in the second round of fantasy drafts.
The change from Philip Rivers - one of the most checkdown-heavy
passers in the league, to Tyrod Taylor - who likes to run the
ball when plays break down - may be a bigger impact than any of
us could have predicted. Of course, it’s only one week so
we have to step back a bit and let things play out a bit more,
but it’s something we need to look out for here in Week
Another major concern for Ekeler owners is that rookie Joshua
Kelley saw a surprising 12 carries - including a goal line carry
which he converted for a touchdown - and he contributed 60 yards
on the ground in what was a close victory for the Chargers over
the Bengals in Week 1. Thankfully, it’s certainly more likely
that the Chargers will be behind on the scoreboard this week and
need to rely more on Ekeler in a pass-heavy offense here in Week
2 against the Chiefs.
Ekeler is a player who still has to be slotted in as an RB2, but
this might not be as obvious of a bell cow role as it appeared
to be just a few weeks ago.
Patriots at Seahawks
- (Caron) Line: SEA -4.0 Total: 45.0
Game Thoughts: Fantasy football is just better when Cam
Newton is healthy and we saw that in Week 1 when the former NFL
MVP made his debut for the Patriots, leading the team to a big
victory over the Dolphins. Newton didn’t contribute a ton
as a passer and he really didn’t need as he returned to
prime Cam Newton form by running the ball 15 times - which is
more than any other Patriots ball carrier - for 75 yards and two
touchdowns. Newton may not be quite as fast as he once was, but
he’s a smart runner with a huge frame and it appears as
though he could be back to being a QB1 for fantasy purposes, primarily
due to his legs.
If Newton isn’t getting more than 19 pass attempts in a
game, however, it’s hard to believe that any of his receivers
will return starting caliber fantasy numbers. Thankfully we should
see Cam throw the ball more this week as he and the Patriots head
on the road to face the Seahawks, who themselves are one of the
league’s better offenses. If Newton throws the ball around
30 times, which is very possible, then he should be a QB1 and
Julian Edelman should be back to being a borderline WR2 in PPR
formats. Second-year receiver N’Keal Harry is also a player
who fantasy owners should keep their eye on. Harry was a disappointment
as a rookie and shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups at the moment,
but he did see over 31 percent of the Patriots’ targets
in Week 1 and could break out if given a higher total target volume.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: The Patriots backfield is always an adventure
for fantasy purposes and things started in that direction in Week
1. The Patriots gave four or more carries to four different running
backs, not including the 15 carries that Newton took himself,
in their victory over the Dolphins. It was Sony Michel who got
the sole touchdown out of the group, but let’s be honest
- Newton is the goal line back in this offense.
As of right now, the Patriots backfield is probably one to avoid
for fantasy purposes, unless you’re in a touchdown-heavy
league where you can play Michel as a low-end Flex, or a PPR league
where you could Flex James White in a desperate situation. Other
than that, there’s just too much happening in New England
to trust any of these players.
Game Thoughts: Russell Wilson finally got an opportunity
to cook and it was a glorious thing. The star quarterback completed
a ridiculous 31 of his 35 pass attempts for 322 yards and four
touchdowns with no interceptions. He also added 29 yards rushing.
In other words, Wilson had one of the most efficient games of
his professional career and not surprisingly, the Seahawks scored
38 points in a big road victory over the Falcons. The Seahawks
aren’t historically a team that will rely on Wilson nearly
that often, but this is the kind of upside that we love to see
from a fantasy standpoint. Both wide receivers Tyler Lockett and
DK Metcalf performed well, while newly acquired veteran tight
end Greg Olsen also contributed his first touchdown with his new
Certainly we shouldn’t expect that the Seahawks rely quite
as heavily on Wilson and the passing game this week against the
Patriots, but the performances we saw in Week 1 should give us
confidence in this passing game, particularly that Lockett and
Metcalf continue to be by far the most-trusted targets for Wilson.
While Lockett is the more established player, though, it could
be Metcalf who ends up seeing more coverage from 2019 NFL Defensive
Player of the Year, cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Lockett played
almost two-thirds of his snaps out of the slot in Week 1 and Gilmore
tends to play primarily on the outside. This could limit Metcalf’s
target upside, but Metcalf remains one of the most heavily-targeted
players in the league in the end zone, so there’s always
a decent chance that he scores a touchdown.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: The Seahawks have long been a run-heavy
offense and that has helped Chris Carson be one of the most consistent
fantasy players during his time as the team’s starter. However,
if Week 1 was any indication, things might be headed in a different
direction here in 2020. Carson was kept to just six carries and
while he did lead the team in running back snaps, it was only
his surprising contributions in the passing game that saved what
would have otherwise been a disastrous fantasy day.
The Seahawks might be more pass-heavy than in recent seasons,
but it still seems likely that they will get back to relying heavily
on their running game, which should mean that Carson touches the
ball 15-plus times per game most weeks, and that could start as
soon as Week 2 against the Patriots.
New England’s defense isn’t one that the Seahawks
are likely to light up with any facet of the game, but controlling
the clock against them would seem to be something that would follow
the usual Seattle offensive philosophy. Carson should be trusted
as a solid RB2 this week even in what is considered to be a fairly
Saints at Raiders
- (Caron) Line: NO -6.0 Total: 50.0
Game Thoughts: 18 of 30 for 160 yards is not a very Drew
Brees-like stat line, but that’s what we saw from the future
Hall of Famer in Week 1. However, even given this less-than-stellar
stat line, the biggest concern for the New Orleans offense has
to be that they’re now expected to be without superstar
wide receiver Michael Thomas for multiple weeks. Thomas suffered
an ankle injury in the Saints’ Week 1 victory and the team
will now have to turn to the likes of Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’Quan
Smith and tight end Jared Cook to fill in the gigantic hole left
in the offense.
Brees himself obviously takes a step down as a fantasy contributor
without Thomas. Brees was already a borderline QB1 in most leagues
given his lack of mobility, but now that line is even thinner
without Thomas. Certainly Brees is capable of finding other players
with the football, but the upside is just significantly capped
now that he doesn’t have his top weapon.
Meanwhile, Sanders and Smith become potential starters in deep
leagues, but they’re probably both still players that most
fantasy owners will want to bench for the time being. We could
consider putting Sanders in as a Flex, but it’s tough to
know exactly how the targets will be distributed now that defenses
will not have to focus their attention so heavily on stopping
Cook is still a player who should remain in fantasy lineups, however,
as he was heavily utilized in 2019, and in Week 1 of 2020. He’s
a big time red zone weapon with plenty of speed and size. He’s
not going to suddenly become Travis Kelce, but Cook should see
a heavy target share and could be a reliable fantasy TE1.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: While the Saints passing game wasn’t
particularly spectacular in Week 1, there has to be a real worry
that Alvin Kamara wasn’t more successful on the ground.
Kamara carried the ball 12 times for just 16 yards, while backup
Latavius Murray actually ended up seeing 15 carries which he converted
into 48 rushing yards. Of course, it was Kamara who got into the
end zone as a runner - and as a receiver, wherein he added five
catches for 51 more yards, so Kamara was still a highly productive
fantasy asset even in a game that he didn’t look particularly
The Saints will need him to get back to being productive on the
ground in Week 2, as they’ll be up against an Oakland defense
that gave up over 140 total yards and two touchdowns to Christian
McCaffrey in Week 1. Kamara is McCaffrey-like in a lot of ways,
but he doesn’t see nearly as high of a snap share, so he’ll
need to be more efficient on a per-touch basis if he’s going
to turn in a McCaffrey-esque fantasy performance.
Murray shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups right now, but he’s
someone that Kamara owners need to be aware of. He’ll likely
see more touches in games where the Saints are ahead on the scoreboard,
though, and this game should be more competitive than the Saints’
Week 1 game.
Game Thoughts: The Raiders passing game isn’t a
high-volume one and Derek Carr isn’t a very mobile QB, so
there isn’t much to be excited about right now from a fantasy
standpoint. There could be some upside once the team figures things
out, but right now there are just a lot of young players who lack
NFL experience and it’s just too difficult to trust any
of them to be in fantasy lineups.
The one exception is tight end Darren Waller who broke out in
2019 and seems to be picking up right where he left off. Waller
caught six passes for 45 yards in Week 1 against the Panthers,
but more importantly he was targeted a team-high eight times -
good enough for a nearly 27 percent target share. That’s
a very high number that even the best tight ends don’t typically
approach, but it does demonstrate just how high his upside is
in this offense. Waller is a top five option at the position,
especially in this matchup against the Saints who gave up a decent
fantasy day to O.J. Howard in Week 1.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: Josh Jacobs was one of the big fantasy
winners of Week 1 as he continued his momentum from 2019 and improved
upon it to start this season. Jacobs didn’t have a particularly
impressive day from a per-carry standpoint as he rushed for 93
yards on 25 carries, but he got into the end zone three times.
Not only that, but he also did something that many predicted that
he wouldn’t, by catching four passes for an additional 46
We knew that Jacobs would be the primary ball carrier for the
Raiders this season but what we weren’t sure of is if he’d
take the step forward in the passing game to move into the upper-echelon
of fantasy running backs. It’s too early to be certain that
he’s there yet, but Week 1 was an indication of what could
happen if he’s utilized in that manner.
Jacobs is an obvious RB1 in pretty much any matchup right now,
but especially against a Saints team that isn’t likely to
be as powerful on offense as they typically are. He should see
20 touches again this week and that makes him a very reliable
option with the upside to be an elite performer yet again.