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Inside the Matchup

Week 3

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | HC Green
9/23/20; Updated: 9/25/20



Sunday Early:


LV @ NE | SF @ NYG | CIN @ PHI | HOU @ PIT

Sunday Late:

NYJ @ IND | CAR @ LAC | DET @ ARI | TB @ DEN | DAL @ SEA | GB @ NO



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

Dolphins @ Jaguars - (Swanson)
Line: JAX -3.0
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Tua Tagovailoa era of Miami Dolphins football has yet to start as the team continues to roll out Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB. Through two weeks of the season, the Dolphins rank 22nd in total yards per game, and Fitzpatrick is 24th in fantasy points scored at the QB position.

With just two passing touchdowns to go along with three interceptions, the Fitzmagic we have all grown to love over the past few seasons has not materialized in 2020. The Dolphins receiving corps of DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Jakeem Grant, and Isaiah Ford have combined to score the 8th fewest points in fantasy.

Parker scored a receiving touchdown last week to salvage what has been a somewhat disappointing start for fantasy owners. A nagging hamstring injury and two difficult matchups against the Bills and Pats limited Parker’s production so far in 2020. Hopefully, a plus matchup against the Jags in primetime this week will be the first monster game of the year.

Jacksonville gave up two passing touchdowns to the Titans last week, including an impressive catch in the back of the end zone by Corey Davis. With 60 points allowed in two games, the Jacksonville defense is primed to allow another big game to the Dolphins offense.

Only the Panthers and Bucs have given up more receptions to running backs this season. Second-year RB Myles Gaskin has taken hold of the starting running back role in the early part of the season, including working as the primary passing downs back. Gaskin is second behind Alvin Kamara for catches by RBs and should be active in the passing game again this week.

After a disappointing 3/30 game to start the season against the Patriots, tight end Mike Gesicki stormed back for eight catches for 130 yards and a score on 11 targets. Only the Eagles and Browns have given up more points to tight ends. Fire up Gesicki this week against the Jags with the projection of around 75 yards and a possible score.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: The Dolphins were dead last in fantasy production by running backs in 2019. They were the only team to fail to rush for 1000 combined yards, no running back posted a receiving touchdown, and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ended up leading the team in rushing yards.

The team signed Jordan Howard to a free agent deal and traded for Matt Brieda to help improve their ground game. Although Howard has given the team an option a the goal line with a rushing touchdown in each of his first two games, but he has 11 yards on just 13 carries, making him a touchdown or bust start.

Brieda has been much better with 59 yards on 12 carries, but he has not received enough work to be fantasy viable.

The running back to roster and start on the Dolphins is Gaskin, a second-year, seventh-round pick from the University of Washington with 36 carries as a rookie with the Phins last year.

Gaskins saw 63% of snaps Week 1 against the Patriots and 65% against the Bills and is the primary receiving back. If you are dealing with injuries from last Sunday’s ridiculous spree of ACL tears and knee strains, Gaskins in this matchup against the Jags could be a nice flex option.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ryan Fitzpatrick (High-End)
RB3: Myles Gaskin (High-End)
WR2: DeVante Parker (High-End)
WR3: Preston Williams (Low-End)
TE1: Mike Gesicki (Low -End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Minshew mania looks like it might be here to stay. Through two weeks of the season, Gardner Minshew has scored more fantasy points than Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Deshaun Watson. He has completed just over 75% of his passes and is doing an excellent job spreading the ball around to his receiving options.

The Jaguar wide receiving corps has combined to score the sixth-most points on the young season, led by Keelan Cole with 11/105/2.

The biggest disappointment so far for the team has been the low usage for breakout candidate D.J. Chark. After posting seven games of at least eight targets last season, Chark has seven total targets in two games. He has made the most of those targets with seven catches for 109 yards and a score, but he is not getting the volume needed to be a WR1 in fantasy.

The Dolphins entered the season with an upgraded secondary that looked to be a much better unit compared to the one they rolled out in 2019. Adding Byron Jones to play opposite of Xavien Howard appeared to be a nice tandem to go along with safety Bobby McCain and rookie SS Brandon Jones.

While they look better on paper, Stefon Diggs and John Brown made them look foolish last week as Josh Allen threw for 417 yards and four scores. While I don’t anticipate Minshew posting a week like that, Miami is not a team to fear right now in the passing game, and this could be a high scoring game.

Tight end Tyler Eifert was much more involved last week that Week 1 against the Colts, with three catches for 36 yards and a touchdown against the Titans. I would not expect more than five targets this week, but his three red zone targets last week indicates he is going to be a favorite target for Minshew when the team gets close to the end zone.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: Rookie James Robinson took over the starting running back role in camp, effectively ending the Leonard Fournette era of Jacksonville Jaguars football. Robinson has been one of the best waiver wire pickups of the young season and currently ranks 13th in points scored by running backs.

His 5.1 yard per carry average on 32 attempts has been impressive, and he has seen a decent amount of work in the passing game despite the addition of third-down back Chris Thompson.

Miami enters the game giving up the 9th fewest points to opposing running backs, but those numbers are deceiving, as it does not include the 75 yards and two touchdowns given up to quarterback Cam Newton.

You can run on the Dolphins, and Robinson should be in your lineup. Thompson will get some work if the game script turns against the Jags, and his snap count jumped from 24% to 41% last week, but he is no more than a flex play right now in PPR formats.

Value Meter:
QB2: Gardner Minshew (High-End)
RB2: James Robinson (High-End)
WR2: D.J. Chark (Low-End)
WR3: Keelan Cole (Low-End)
TE2: Tyler Eifert (Low -End)

Prediction: Jacksonville 28, Miami 24 ^ Top

Bears @ Falcons - (Swanson)
Line: ATL -3.0
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Bears signed Nick Foles to create a quarterback competition with Mitchell Trubisky. Either Trubisky would improve his game and deliver on his first-round draft pedigree, or the team would move on with Foles and look for the QB of the future in next year’s draft.

While we won’t commit to saying Trubisky has done enough through the first two weeks of the season to make the Bears believe he is the long-term solution, Chicago is 2-0 with wins over the Lions and the Giants, and Trubisky ranks 14th in fantasy points scored at the position.

From a fantasy perspective, the Bears passing game has been a dud, despite two excellent matchups against two of the league’s worst pass defenses. Allen Robinson enters Week 3 as the No.56 ranked WR with eight catches for 107 yards and no touchdowns, while Anthony Miller followed up his 4/76/1 game against the Lions with a goose egg last week vs. New York.

On a positive note, the Falcons present an excellent opportunity for Robinson and Miller to bounce back with big performances. Only the Seahawks, Vikings, and Dolphins have given up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than Atlanta.

Both Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb logged 100 yards, while DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett hit 95 and 92 yards, respectively, in Week 1.

Jimmy Graham scored a touchdown in his first game with the team in Week 1, with three catches for 25 yards and a score. He followed that up with just one catch for 18 yards last week against the Giants. Starting Graham could pay off with a TD, but you could also get burned.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: Matt Nagy is thought of to be one of the better offensive-minded head coaches in the NFL after working under Andy Reid and Doug Pederson. Whether or not you agree with that sentiment, it is hard to argue that his usage of Tarik Cohen in 2020 has been a head-scratcher.

The team signed Cohen to a 3-year extension before Sunday’s game against the Giants, only to give the dynamic running back six total touches. Cohen has proved to be one of the best pass-catching backs in the league and deadly in open space, yet Nagy has given Cohen three total targets in two games.

With that change this week against the Falcons? Assuming the Falcons continue their offensive barrage, Nagy will likely have no other option than to throw the ball often in the second half, opening the door for Cohen to get more work.

David Montgomery battled through a groin injury to score 26.1 combined fantasy points in two games to start the season. His 5.0 yard per carry is well above his 3.7 from last season, and his work in the passing game makes him even more valuable. Look for the team to lean on Montgomery with the goal of controlling time of possession and limiting the number snaps for the Falcons offense.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mitchell Trubisky (High-End)
RB2: David Montgomery (Low-End)
WR2: Allen Robinson (High-End)
WR4: Anthony Miller (High-End)
TE2: Jimmy Graham (Low -End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan is on pace to throw the ball 720 times for 5784 yards and 48 touchdowns. While we doubt he will finish with those gaudy numbers, we do know two things about the Falcons.

First, their defense is terrible, and they play in a difficult division, which will likely force Ryan to throw a ton of passes this year. Second, Ryan boasts one of the better receiving corps in the league, and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter uses a pass-heavy scheme. If you were smart enough to wait on a QB and draft Ryan, kudos to you.

If you drafted Julio Jones in the first 15 picks of the draft, not so much kudos in your direction. There is no doubt Jones is one of the most physically gifted wide receivers in the league, but he continues to be anemic in the touchdown department. It also doesn’t help that it sounds like Jones has joined the injury club that is taking over the top wide receivers in the NFL (see Michael Thomas and Davante Adams).

With Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage eating up targets against the No.2 and No.3 cornerbacks, it makes sense for Ryan to target them when defenses focus on Julio. The problem is it looks like Jones might be out this week after further straining his hamstring against the Cowboys, which will vault Ridley into No.1 WR status and a matchup against Kyle Fuller.

A matchup that could produce some fantasy goodness will be Gage against rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson or Buster Skrine. Gage has 21 targets in his first two games, with 160 yards and a touchdown on 16 catches (He should also have a TD pass on the play Julio Jones dropped).

After a no-show against the Seahawks to start the season, free agent tight end Hayden Hurst bounced back with 5/72/1 on eight targets against the Cowboys. This game does not project to be quite the shootout as the Cowboy game, but the Bears have given up 13/120/1 to opposing tight ends this year, making Hurst a nice start.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: After giving up 115 rushing yards to the Lions to open the week, the Bears shut down the Giants to 48 yards on the ground. Of course, those numbers are somewhat skewed because of the unfortunate season-ending knee injury for Saquon Barkley. Barkley was off to a nice start with 28 yards on four carries before blowing out his ACL.

We don’t have enough data to get an idea of where the Bears stand on run defense. Through two games, they rank 20th in points allowed to opposing RBs after giving up the 17th-most last season.

One thing we do know is the first few games of the Todd Gurley experiment in Atlanta has not been impressive. Gurley is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry, and his complete lack of usage in the passing game is concerning. The team targeted Gurley five times against the Seahawks in Week 1, only to go without a single target in Week 2.

Gurley’s snap count went up from 46% week one to 64% in week two, but he failed to get a target in the passing game, and Ito Smith and Brian Hill combined to get eight rushes and two receptions against the Cowboys.

Perhaps the team is slowly integrating Gurley into the offense? Whatever the case, Gurley has been a disappointment so far for his fantasy owners.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan (High-End)
RB2: Todd Gurley (Low-End)
WR1: Calvin Ridley (High-End)
WR2: Julio Jones (High-End) - Injury Concern
TE1: Hayden Hurst (Low -End)

Prediction: Atlanta 28, Chicago 17 ^ Top

Rams at Bills - (Katz)
Line: BUF -2.5
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Through two games in 2020, Jared Goff looks much more like the 2018 version than the 2019 version. Goff struggled last year behind a collapsing offensive line, but has bounced back nicely to start this season. Goff is currently sixth in clean pocket completion percentage and eighth in pressured completion percentage, an area he particularly struggled with last season.

With all that being said, I’m not overly optimistic about the Rams passing attack traveling cross country to play a 1:00 game in Buffalo. The Bills are currently first in ESPN’s pass rush win rate, which combined with the presence of elite lockdown cornerback Tre’Davious White, spells trouble for Goff. It is unclear whether White will be primarily covering Robert Woods or Cooper Kupp. The answer is probably dependent upon play call. There may be plays where he covers Van Jefferson or Josh Reynolds. Regardless, White is capable of taking a receiver out of any given play and the Bills excel at not giving opposing quarterbacks time to go through progressions.

Woods always comes with a decent floor due to his weekly 1-2 carries a game and Kupp operating out of the slot, both will be usable, but temper expectations for any ceiling game. Tyler Higbee exploded with three touchdowns last week and could be in store for another strong game as the Bills have allowed 31.49% of receiving yards against them to go to the tight end position. Goff will continue to lean on his big three passing game weapons.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: There is tremendous uncertainty surrounding the Rams’ running back situation. Overreacting to Week 1 is not smart and reading into snap counts and usage from Week 2 is not helpful as Cam Akers left early with a rib injury and Malcolm Brown left in the second half with a pinky injury. Akers is week-to -week and not expected to play in Week 3, while Brown is reportedly preparing to play.

The healthiest running back is the guy who was banged up prior to Week 1, Darrell Henderson. I’ve lamented for over a year now about how much the Rams hate Henderson and while that fact hasn’t changed, they literally had no choice last week as he was the last man standing. Henderson rose to the occasion totaling 121 yards on just 14 touches. If Brown is good to go, he’s going to start, but perhaps Henderson can force Sean McVay’s hand as he is a far superior player to the plodding Brown.

The Bills are much more vulnerable on the ground than through the air and while running is nowhere near as efficient as passing, the Rams would be wise to see if they can take pressure off Goff by exceling on the ground. Even if Brown starts, Henderson is more 1A in this backfield while Akers is out.

Value Meter:
WR3: Robert Woods
WR3: Cooper Kupp
Flex: Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson
Bench: Jared Goff, Cam Akers (ribs)

Passing Game Thoughts: What a start to the season for Josh Allen. He was always going to be a good fantasy quarterback because of his rushing, but the key to Allen’s ascendance to greatness has been his passing. It’s only been two games, but Allen completing 70% of his passes is very much worth talking about. This is a guy that has never even sniffed the 60% threshold going all the way back to high school. Allen’s taken his own game to new heights and because of his improved passing acumen, he’s taking Stefon Diggs and John Brown with him. I never thought Allen could support two fantasy viable receivers, but here we are. Diggs has seen 22 targets through two games. That’s WR1 usage. It will be quite ironic if after the fantasy community finally sours on Diggs due to his situation that he lives up to the WR1 moniker we’ve been trying to make him into since 2016. Brown has 16 targets of his own through two weeks. It’s worth noting that Allen almost exclusively throws to Diggs and Brown. Dawson Knox is an afterthought and any WR3/4s are just random events.

Despite possessing Aaron Donald, the Rams rank 30th in pass rush win rate. A guy like Allen can use his athleticism to avoid pressure, but if the pressure isn’t even there, he’s going to be a real problem. With Diggs not really being used in the slot, Jalen Ramsey could be on him a lot. Whoever Ramsey covers between Diggs and Brown, the other guy is the one we want. There’s also a chance this is a rare Cole Beasley game. Regardless, Diggs and Brown have established themselves as weekly fantasy starters.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: Through two weeks, it’s pretty even split between Devin Singletary and Zack Moss (toe) at about 55-45. Singletary has the edge in the passing game with 10 targets against Moss’ four, but Moss has been the preferred goal line back. Neither has much touchdown upside because Josh Allen is the primary option near the goal line.

Moss is currently unusable due to his lack of passing game work and the fact that he’s been atrocious running the ball. Moss just has no feel for the game, constantly missing holes and not knowing where to go. With so many rookie running backs entering the league and immediately producing, it is very disconcerting that Moss is this bad.

Singletary may be the superior running back, but if he’s not getting volume, that doesn’t really matter. The Rams allow a 21.79% target share to opposing running backs so there’s some passing game upside with Singletary to at least have a PPR floor, but I’m not excited about starting Singletary this week even if the rash of injuries may force you into it. As an additional note, Moss did not practice on Thursday. If he ends up not playing, the Bills would likely activate T.J. Yeldon, but Singletary would definitely take on an increased role. Without Moss, Singletary moves firmly into the RB2 conversation.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (mid-range)
WR2: Stefon Diggs (mid-range)
WR3: John Brown
Flex: Devin Singletary (RB2 if Moss sits)
Bench: Zack Moss, Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox

Prediction: Rams 23, Bills 20 ^ Top

Washington @ Browns - (Green)
Line: CLE -7.0
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Last Sunday was the perfect encapsulation of the Dwayne Haskins Experience™. He completed 19 passes for 223 yards, wasn't intercepted, ran once for eight yards and was sacked four times. It was a day nearly indistinguishable from previous outings. Consider that in nine career starts, Haskins has averaged 181 yards passing and one TD on 58.4 percent completions. He's never completed more than 19 passes in a game. He's been sacked 32 times. He's a reluctant runner. There's just nothing there from a fantasy perspective.

When you're talking about perhaps the NFL's least explosive passing game it shouldn't come as a surprise that there's only legitimate playmaker involved. That would be second-year receiver Terry McLaurin, who caught seven passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in last week's one-sided loss to the Cardinals. Converted QB Logan Thomas has also made some early ripples at tight end with an 8-63-1 line in two games, but McLaurin is the only one you can plug into your lineup.

With a stout run defense in place, teams have attacked the Browns via the air to open the 2020 campaign. They've done so with some success as well with Cleveland allowing 277.5 passing yards per game, which ranks 27th in the NFL. CBs Denzel Ward (groin) and Greedy Williams (shoulder) are both banged up with Williams having missed the first two games of the season.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: After running 17 times in Week 1, Peyton Barber logged just a single carry last week and is clearly behind Antonio Gibson (13-55-1) and J.D. McKissic (8-53-0) on the depth chart. Gibson, a third-round pick this past April, is the current top option, which could pay dividends as the team is wont to put too much on Haskins. The Browns won't make it easy as they've given up just 89.5 rushing yards per game, and that includes strong work against the Ravens. That makes Gibson a middling RB3.

Value Meter:
RB3: Antonio Gibson
WR2: Terry McLaurin
Bench: Dwayne Haskins, Logan Thomas

Passing Game Thoughts: Last Thursday night saw Cleveland lean heavily on the ground game and turn Baker Mayfield into a glorified game manager. Whether or not that will be the new norm remains to be seen, but Mayfield was effective in the role, particularly early on as the Browns built a 28-13 lead. He finished 16 of 23 for 219 yards, 2 TDs and an interception -- it was a bad red-zone pick with over 11 minutes left in the fourth and wound up being his final pass of the game.

Fewer passing attempts means fewer opportunities, and Odell Beckham Jr. led the way with a modest 4-74-1 line (though refs missed a clear penalty on what might've been his second TD of the night and should've been PI). It also looked like Mayfield and Beckham were on the same page, which is an encouraging sign. Jarvis Landry caught all three of his targeted passes for 46 yards. Talent clearly isn't the issue for Landry, but if the team is going to feature the run his fantasy value could dry up. For this week, Beckham is a borderline WR2/WR3 with Landry better suited as a flex play.

Austin Hooper (2-22-0) did little for a second week in a row, further exasperating fantasy owners that enjoyed his exploits in Atlanta. There's still ample time for the new coaching staff to integrate Hooper so don't be too quick to jettison him. Defensively, Washington is tied for 17th against the pass (243 yards per game), but they've proven they can get after the quarterback. Their 11 sacks lead the NFL, and their defensive line is loaded with first-rounders.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb (22-124-2) and Kareem Hunt (10-86-1) are probably the top one-two RB combination in the NFL. Chubb is the more physical of the two, but he's not a plodder by any means. Hunt, meanwhile, offers tremendous speed around the edge and is an adept receiver, even if he's been underutilized in that area thus far. Washington is 12th in rushing defense, yielding 108.5 yards per game. It shouldn't be enough to deter the Browns, giving both backs RB2 potential.

Value Meter:
RB2: Nick Chubb
RB2/RB3: Kareem Hunt
WR2/WR3: Odell Beckham Jr.
WR3/Flex: Jarvis Landry
Bench: Baker Mayfield, Austin Hooper

Prediction: Browns 27, Washington 16 ^ Top

Titans @ Vikings - (Green)
Line: TEN -3.0
Total: 49.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Ryan Tannehill threw an uncharacteristic 43 times in Week 1. Last Sunday that number dropped to 24. Despite that, his output fell just 10 yards, from 249 to 239, and four of his 18 completions went for touchdowns. His work within the offense has quelled concerns that Tannehill and the team simply "got hot" down the stretch last year and portends that sustained success is viable. While he doesn't consistently produce QB1 numbers, Tannehill is a nice secondary option.

Tennessee's success in the passing game is made all the more impressive when you consider that No. 1 receiver A.J. Brown (knee) missed last week's game with a bone bruise. Unfortunately, it appears unlikely he'll return this Sunday. Without him, former fifth overall pick Corey Davis is the nominal alpha; he's off to a decent start with 10 grabs for 137 yards and a score. Adam Humphries is also a solid option out of the slot and has been more involved in his second year with the Titans.

Much of Tannehill's attention has focused on the tight ends, most notably Jonnu Smith, who already has 120 yards receiving and three TDs (the same number he finished both 2018 and 2019 with). Smith has moved up to fringe TE1 status, though there's some downside potential there, with Davis as a flex if Brown can't go. Whoever plays will be facing a Vikings secondary in disarray. They're loaded with inexperienced corners and currently sit 28th in passing defense (283.5 yards per game allowed).

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry has picked up right where he left off last year in terms of workload (his 56 carries lead the NFL). The chunk plays have been missing thus far, however, as he's averaging just 3.6 yards per carry (it was 5.1 last year) with a long of 14 yards and no TDs (he had 18 total TDs in '19). Perhaps those big plays will come this weekend against a Vikings defense that has yielded 154.5 rushing yards per game -- and that was before losing Anthony Barr.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ryan Tannehill
RB1: Derrick Henry
WR3: A.J. Brown (knee)
Flex: Corey Davis
TE1: Jonnu Smith (low-end)
Bench: Darrynton Evans

Passing Game Thoughts: While opinions about Kirk Cousins' prowess have varied wildly over the years even his harshest critics wouldn't rank him among the NFL's worst. To date that's exactly what he's been. Cousins completed just 11 of 26 passes a week ago for 113 yards, 0 TDs and 3 INTs in a blowout loss to the Colts. In truth, that was pretty on brand with what Cousins did in Week 1 except there he salvaged his numbers with 164 yards and 2 TDs in the fourth with his team down big. Take that out and Cousins has passed for 208 yards, 0 TDs and 4 INTs in his other seven quarters of action.

Somewhere in upstate New York, Stefon Diggs is chuckling quietly to himself. Outside of Diggs, the Vikings offense looks remarkably similar to last season personnel wise. While that doesn't explain everything -- OC Kevin Stefanski also left to become Cleveland's head coach -- they certainly miss Diggs' explosiveness. Adam Thielen (3-31-0) is by far the team's most accomplished wideout and remains playable as a WR2. Rookie Justin Jefferson (3-44-0) is also worth owning as an upside stash.

Irv Smith seemed to be coming on late last season, but he only has two receptions in two games. Veteran Kyle Rudolph has been similarly uninvolved. They'll try to get going against a Tennessee defense that has allowed 265.5 passing yards per game amid some injury issues with CBs Johnathan Joseph (calf) and Malcolm Butler (quad). If either of them can't go this Sunday it would be to Minnesota's advantage.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: In Seattle, it's "let Russ cook." In Minnesota, the Vikings have to be figuring out ways to let Dalvin Cook. Last season, Cook topped 100 yards in four of his first five games, rushing at least 20 times in three of them. This year, he has 113 yards and three TDs on 26 carries combined. Look for the team to lean heavily on Cook this Sunday with a bigger dose of Alexander Mattison (9-63-0 this year), provided the game remains close. Against a Titans D that sits in the bottom 10 against the run (136 yards per game) this may be Minnesota's best chance to save its season.

Value Meter:
RB1: Dalvin Cook
WR2: Adam Thielen
Bench: Kirk Cousins, Alexander Mattison, Justin Jefferson

Prediction: Vikings 23, Titans 20 ^ Top

Raiders at Patriots - (Katz)
Line: NE -5.5
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Derek Carr is completing an impressive 73% of his passes through two weeks, but he’s still not pushing the ball downfield. Carr ranks 29th in air yards per attempt, which does not bode well for Henry Ruggs III, who was a glorified decoy in the Raiders’ win over the Saints on Monday night. There will be games where Ruggs catches a long touchdown, but he is nowhere near the fantasy radar.

Bryan Edwards continues to play the most snaps alongside Ruggs, but isn’t being targeted. He’s off the fantasy radar. The only viable fantasy asset from this passing game is Darren Waller, who is proving that his 2019 breakout was all kinds of legit. Waller dominated the Saints, but we should temper expectations against the Patriots as Bill Belichick is notorious for taking away the opponent’s best weapon.

The Patriots pass defense is not the dominant force it was in 2019, but getting torched by Russell Wilson is to be expected. Carr is not Russell Wilson. With Stephon Gilmore locking down the outside receiver and Belichick likely using bracket coverage on Waller, the Raiders offense may come crashing back down to earth this week.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: Although it was a lackluster fantasy outing from Josh Jacobs last week, he’s locked in as an RB1 the rest of the way given his usage. Jacobs’ passing game involvement is up significantly from his rookie year, averaging 4.5 targets through the first two games compared to 2.2 for the 2019 season. The Patriots have allowed a very respectable 17.95% of opponents’ receiving yards to the running back position. Expect Jacobs to be utilized in the passing game as a way to counter Belichick’s defensive strategy. And let’s not forget that Jacobs saw 25 and 27 carries in each of his first two games. He’s a true bellcow in an era where not many exist. Jacobs’ yards per carry sits at a lowly 3.5, but that’s no reason for concern as the volume isn’t going anywhere. If and when the efficiency catches up, Jacobs will post big numbers with or without touchdowns.

Value Meter:
RB1: Josh Jacobs (mid-range)
TE1: Darren Waller (mid-range)
Bench: Derek Carr, Henry Ruggs III, Bryan Edwards

Passing Game Thoughts: The only question regarding Cam Newton entering the 2020 season was whether he was done. Verdict: not done. Not even close. Newton is not only back, but he’s running more than ever, which is a boon to his fantasy value. Newton has two rushing scores in each of his first two games and the Patriots are running the classic Newton goal line plays where the offense just spreads out and he “Supermans” it into the end zone. It failed on the final play of Sunday night’s thriller, but it’s been effective overall.

In Week 2, Newton showed that he can still do it via the air as well with 397 passing yards. The Raiders allowed Teddy Bridgewater to throw for 269 yards and Drew Brees to cross the 300 yard plateau. Newton should have no trouble with this defense. As for his pass catchers, it’s Julian Edelman and then WR2 roulette. Edelman still has it at age 34. With 18 targets through two games, it’s clear he’s Newton’s preferred option. It’s worth noting that N’Keal Harry saw 12 targets last week and Damiere Byrd nine, but Newton also attempted 44 passes, which is not something you will see every week.

I doubt Newton will have to throw more than 30-35 times to beat the Raiders. It is worth noting that both Harry and Byrd could be fantasy options in games where we project Newton to have to throw a lot. With projected positive game script against the Raiders, Edelman, who thrives on volume, likely will look more like Week 1’s 5-57 than Week 2’s 8-179 and the secondary options won’t be needed as much. It’s just Newton and Edelman this week.

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: The best running back on the Patriots was a late inactive due to a truly horrendous event that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. James White’s parents were involved in a car crash, which cost his father his life and seriously injured his mother. Our thoughts go out to White’s family. There’s no guarantee White returns this week. I certainly wouldn’t blame him for taking another week to grieve. If he does play, he will continue to rotate snaps with Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and JJ Taylor. White played just 30% of the snaps in Week 1. His usage will be heavily linked to game script and in this one, expect White to not be needed much. Whether White plays or not, you shouldn’t have any of the other Patriots’ backs on your roster. Michel is one of the least talented running backs in the past decade and Burkhead/Taylor are just rotational guys. Alvin Kamara torched the Raiders last week, but that’s because he’s really good at football. The Patriots’ leading rusher is going to be Cam Newton. Avoid all of these guys.

Value Meter:
QB1: Cam Newton (high end)
WR3: Julian Edelman
Bench: Sony Michel, James White, N’Keal Harry

Prediction: Patriots 31, Raiders 17 ^ Top

49ers at Giants - (Katz)
Line: SF -4.0
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The version of the 49ers playing this Sunday couldn’t be more different than the Super Bowl runner-up we saw back in February. Jimmy Garoppolo tried to play through a high ankle sprain last week, but it just wasn’t happening. He was replaced at halftime by Nick Mullens, who will start for the next couple weeks until Garoppolo can return. Mullens closed out the 2018 season as the 49ers’ starter and was, at best, mildly competent. Mullens had a 13-10 touchdown to interception ratio and averaged 284.6 passing yards per game. He is well off the fantasy streaming radar as he may be missing most of his weapons.

Deebo Samuel is nowhere near returning. George Kittle traveled with the team, but is still likely to sit at least one more week. That leaves a backup quarterback throwing to rookie Brandon Aiyuk, journeyman Kendrick Bourne, and Jordan Reed. The once great tight end flashed his former self with 50 yards on seven receptions and two touchdowns last week. The Giants have only seen 12% of opposing targets to go tight ends, but Reed is more receiver than tight end and the circumstances surrounding the 49ers passing game should lead to him once again being the leading target. He’s on the streaming radar for as long as Kittle is out. Aiyuk and Bourne just aren’t reliable enough and with a backup quarterback, you want as little of this offense as possible.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman are both out multiple weeks with knee injuries. That leaves Jerick McKinnon as the last man standing. Who would’ve thunk it? McKinnon should lead the backfield in touches, but expect the 49ers to promote Jeff Wilson and JaMycal Hasty to the active roster. We’ve seen the 49ers push Wilson before and he has a real shot at being the goal line back. Look for a 50-40-10 split between McKinnon, Wilson, and Hasty.

The Giants let the Steelers led by Benny Snell and the Bears led by David Montgomery both rush for over 100 yards against them. They’ve also given up a respectable 17% of receiving yards against them to running backs. McKinnon was not targeted last week, but he saw five targets in Week 1. I’d be surprised if Kyle Shanahan didn’t deploy McKinnon more as a pass catcher given the injuries across this offense. For those scrambling to replace injured stars, both McKinnon and Wilson are considerations against a bad Giants team.

Value Meter:
TE1: Jordan Reed (low end)
Flex: Jerick McKinnon, Jeff Wilson
Bench: Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, George Kittle (knee), Nick Mullens

Passing Game Thoughts: I’m going to sound like a broken record as I repeat the same thing all season with Daniel Jones, but this is who he is. You give him an easy opponent and he will play well. You give him a tough defense to face and he will be a disaster. Against the Bears, Jones was a disaster. He threw for 240 yards and no scores with two turnovers. A matchup with the 49ers was expected to be another bad one, but the 49ers are dealing with injuries on both sides of the ball. The amount of injured players for these two teams is truly insane.

Jones will obviously be without his running back, but he’s also down Sterling Shepard. Evan Engram had a nice PPR game last week and should really benefit from the injuries to the 49ers’ secondary as well as Nick Bosa and the consolidation of targets for the Giants. It’s going to be Engram, Darius Slayton, and Golden Tate commanding the lion’s share of the targets. The 49ers have given up 84.84% of receiving yards against them to opposing wide receivers. That’s great news for Slayton and Tate, but it’s not bad news for Engram as he frequently lines up as a receiver anyway. The Giants may run more 12 personnel with Kaden Smith blocking and Engram acting as the de facto third receiver.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: For the second time in two seasons, I’m forced to discuss the Giants running game in a post Saquon Barkley world. It wasn’t pretty with Barkley due to the Giants’ 26th ranked run block win percentage. Whatever combination of Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman, and Devonta Freeman the Giants decide to deploy is not going to be the answer. Lewis played 100% of the running back snaps after Barkley tore his ACL last week, but that was because he was the only other running back active. Expect all three of the aforementioned backs to be active this week.

My best guess is Lewis and Gallman form a committee while Freeman gets up to speed and eventually he becomes the 1B to Lewis’ 1A. I want to tell you to keep all three of them far away from your lineups this week, but given how many players went down last week, it’s entirely possible you need to start one. Lewis is the preferred option right now, but this situation is quite malleable.

Value Meter:
WR2: Darius Slayton (low end)
WR3: Golden Tate
TE1: Evan Engram (mid-range)
Bench: Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman, Devonta Freeman, Daniel Jones, Sterling Shepard (toe)

Prediction: 49ers 19, Giants 16 ^ Top

Bengals at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: PHI -4.5
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Joe Burrow had a monster Week 2 due in large part to him attempting 61 passes. In general, Burrow looks the part and is clearly not overwhelmed by being thrust into a starting role as a rookie. Burrow will be without starting tight end, C.J. Uzomah, who tore his Achilles last week. After Uzomah’s exit, Drew Sample was peppered with targets and a hot waiver pickup, but I’m not really excited about an un-athletic catch and fall down tight end. A.J. Green’s massive target count is quite encouraging, but he’s not catching them. Green’s catch rate is 36.4% through two games. The optimist would argue that Green’s efficiency is bound to positively regress. The game watcher would say that Green looks done. He’s not the same guy he used to be. At age 32 after multiple injuries, his explosiveness and cutting ability just isn’t there anymore. I much prefer Tyler Boyd, who has an 84.6% catch rate.

68.54% of receiving yards allowed by the Eagles have gone to wide receivers, but 20.45% have gone to tight ends. Sample is a desperation start if you need him, which is possible given the state of the tight end position. With Green, you kind of have to chase the targets, but don’t get overzealous and play him over superior options. It’s worth mentioning that Tee Higgins saw his snap share increase from 22% to 65% from Week 1 to Week 2. You’re obviously not even remotely considering him this week, but it’s something to keep an eye on going forward, especially if Green continues to struggle.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: I have no idea why the Bengals paid Joe Mixon $48 million to ride the bench. During the game’s most important plays and for incredibly long stretches, upwards of 10 plays, Mixon is watching from the sidelines as ineffective Giovani Bernard puts on a display of bad football. Mixon was targeted four times in the first half last week and made a defender miss on every single reception. Zac Taylor’s reaction to that was to not target him the rest of the game. We just can’t deny reality at this point. With the Bengals offensive line still allowing Mixon to consistently get hit behind the line of scrimmage, Mixon is a game script touchdown dependent RB2. He will have his games where he racks up 25 carries and dominates, but an every week consistent producer he is not. Mixon has just a 55% snap share through two weeks.

Just 11% of the receiving yards allowed by the Eagles have gone to running backs, so don’t expect Mixon to suddenly be implemented in the passing game. The Eagles are a slightly below average run stopping unit, but the Bengals can’t block for Mixon anyway. You’re hoping he falls into the end zone here.

Value Meter:
QB2: Joe Burrow (high end)
RB2: Joe Mixon (mid-range)
WR3: Tyler Boyd
WR3: A.J. Green
TE2: Drew Sample
Bench: Tee Higgins, Giovani Bernard

Passing Game Thoughts: Remember when people were comparing Carson Wentz to Dak Prescott? Wentz has played so poorly to open the 2020 season that there are legitimately whispers about Jalen Hurts potentially taking over this season. That is extremely unlikely to happen, but it speaks to how bad Wentz has been. He is completing just 58.8% of his passes and has thrown two touchdowns against five turnovers. He should have even more given his league leading 11 danger plays and second most interceptable passes with nine. The good news is the Bengals are a very soft pass defense and the Eagles are home so Wentz has a great shot at a get right game here. If he can’t get things going this week, it’s time to really worry.

Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are both every down players and top 12 tight ends. Ertz played 94% and Goedert 89% of the snaps last week. 32% of passes attempted against the Bengals have gone to tight ends, the second highest rate in the league so look for Wentz to heavily feature his dynamic tight end duo.

DeSean Jackson hasn’t blown the top off anyone yet, but he’s still leading the team in wide receiver targets. He remains what he’s long been – a boom or bust WR3. Jalen Reagor saw his snap count shoot up to 85% last week. He caught all four of his targets and I fully expected him to become a viable fantasy starter at some point this season, but he just can’t seem to catch a break. Apparently Reagor tore his UCL in his thumb and will be out for a few weeks. When the Eagles decide to put a receiver other than DJax on the field, their choices are Greg Ward, John Hightower, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. These guys are barely NFL players. Even in a cupcake matchup, Wentz has his work cut out of him with an injured ravaged offensive line and depleted wide receiver group.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders returned last week after sitting out to Week 1 to ensure his hamstring was 100%. It was the right call by Doug Pederson and Sanders was immediately able to handle a full workload. Sanders touched the ball 23 times for 131 yards and a touchdown, relegating Boston Scott to purely a backup. It’s clear that the talks of Sanders being an every down back were legitimate. Sanders still has an issue with his decision making as a runner, refusing to take what the defense gives him and trying to turn everything into a big play. It costs him yards, but it’s not going to cost him snaps it appears. The Bengals were torched by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt las week as they racked up 210 rushing yards. Sanders is setup to smash this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Carson Wentz (low end)
RB1: Miles Sanders (high end)
WR3: DeSean Jackson
TE1: Zach Ertz (mid-range)
TE1: Dallas Goedert (low end)
Bench: Boston Scott, Jalen Reagor (thumb), Greg Ward

Prediction: Eagles 27, Bengals 23 ^ Top

Texans @ Steelers - (Green)
Line: PIT -4.0
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Through two games, Deshaun Watson has looked little like the player who has been mentioned in the same breath as Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson when discussing the NFL's top young signal-callers. Granted, adjusting to life without DeAndre Hopkins bears some of the blame, as his offseason trade to Arizona deprived Watson of a true No. 1 receiver. Without him, Watson is averaging 264 yards passing per game and has a 1:1 TD:INT ratio.

If there was an encouraging sign in last week's lopsided loss to Baltimore it was the involvement of Brandin Cooks (5-95-0) and Randall Cobb (5-59-0) after the pair combined for four receptions and 43 yards in the opener. Unfortunately, it was two steps forward and one step back as Will Fuller, who went off in Week 1, struggled with a hamstring issue and wasn't even targeted. The oft-injured Fuller was not listed on the injury report and should be good to go Sunday where he and Cooks offer similar low-end WR3 or flex consideration.

Pittsburgh ranks 14th in passing defense, allowing 238.5 yards per game, though they've faced inexperienced QBs Daniel Jones, Drew Lock and then Jeff Driskel after Lock was injured; nobody in that group is close to the caliber of Watson. Only New England has more interceptions than the Steelers this season, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, who had five picks in 2019, doesn't even have one, yet.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Given that they've played from behind for most of the season it's no surprise that the Texans rank 30th in rushing offense. David Johnson (22 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD) has accounted for most of it, in part because Duke Johnson (ankle) has been bothered by an ankle injury that kept him out of Week 2. His status for this Sunday is still TBD. Whichever Johnsons play figure to be in for a rough afternoon against the NFL's top-ranked run defense (66.5 yards allowed per game). Consider other options before committing to David Johnson as an RB3.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson
RB3: David Johnson
WR3/Flex: Brandin Cooks (quad)
WR3/Flex: Will Fuller
Bench: Duke Johnson (ankle), Jordan Akins

Passing Game Thoughts: As expected, the Steelers look like a vastly different team offensively with Ben Roethlisberger once again taking the snaps. He played well in Week 2 against the Broncos, completing 29 of 41 passes for 311 yards and 2 TDs. Big Ben did make a couple questionable throws, one of which was intercepted (and the other should have been), but he deserves some leeway still after missing so much time. He looks to be back among the QB1 crowd.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (7-48-0) had a fairly quiet follow up to his two-TD performance in Week 1 as he took a backseat to emerging options Diontae Johnson (8-92-1) and Chase Claypool (3-88-1). Both Smith-Schuster (knee) and Johnson (toe) missed practice on Wednesday; Johnson returned Thursday while Smith-Schuster remained out, though it's still too early to worry about his status for Sunday. With so much talent outside it's no surprise the tight end position has gone dormant with Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald managing six receptions combined this season.

Houston ranks near the top of the NFL in pass defense (190 yards per game) but don't read too much into that. Both Kansas City and Baltimore found so much success on the ground that they rarely tested the Texans secondary. Don't expect Pittsburgh to shy away from challenging Houston's corners, giving Smith-Schuster WR1 value and Johnson as a fringe WR2 or strong WR3. As for Claypool, he's worth stashing on your bench if he's available on waivers.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: Knocked out of Week 1 by an ankle injury, James Conner ran 16 times for 106 yards and a score against the Broncos. His production was unwelcome to the multitude of owners that scooped up Benny Snell after he ran for 113 in relief of Conner in the opener -- Snell gained one total yard on four touches last week. It's Conner's show when he's healthy, and he could be in for a big day against a defense that's allowed 198 rushing yards per game (31st in the NFL).

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger
RB2: James Conner
WR1: JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee)
WR2/WR3: Diontae Johnson (toe)
Bench: Benny Snell, Chase Claypool, Eric Ebron

Prediction: Steelers 34, Texans 24 ^ Top

Jets @ Colts - (Swanson)
Line: IND -10.5
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Jets offense is a wasteland of barren value only to be ventured upon in the deepest of leagues. Free agent acquisition Breshad Perriman is week-to-week with an ankle injury, Jamison Crowder missed last week with a hamstring injury and is a long-shot to play this week, and second-round WR Denzel Mims is on IR.

Look for Chris Hogan, Braxton Berrios, and Josh Malone to start this week against the Colts, a team that just shut down the Vikings and limited Adam Thielen to three catches for 31 yards and no scores.

Tight End Chris Herndon is the only player who should garner consideration this week, but it will take some intestinal fortitude to start Herndon after his one catch for five yard-performance against the 49ers.

The bottom line is this passing attack should be avoided at all costs.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: The running game is not much more attractive than the passing game, with senior citizen Frank Gore leading a band of misfits that includes Kalen Ballage, Josh Adams, and La’Michal Perine. The latter of the group has some promise, but he too is now injured and should not be considered a fantasy option.

If you are in a league that awards points for carries Frank Gore is a consideration, otherwise he should be avoided as well. The Colts have given up the fifth-fewest points to opposing running backs. Although Dalvin Cook managed to post 14/63/1 against Indy last week, the Jets don’t have a running back close to the skill set of Cook, and the Colts should have little trouble jumping out to an early lead.

Value Meter:
QB2: Sam Darnold (Low-End)
RB3: Frank Gore (Low-End)
WR4: Chris Hogan (High-End)
WR4: Braxton Berrios (Low-End)
TE2: Chris Herndon (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Colts passing attack has yet to take flight, despite some promising developments at tight end and wide receiver. TY. Hilton’s picture has been on a milk carton in each of the last two weeks as Philip Rivers cannot seem to connect with the speedy wide receiver.

An unfortunate knee injury to Parris Campbell last week against the Vikings opened the door for rookie second-round pick Michael Pittman Jr. to post four receptions for 37 yards on six targets. Look for Pittman Jr. to continue to build rapport with Rivers as the season progresses.

There are three things we know about Rivers. He will be among the league leaders in interceptions, he loves to throw to running backs, and he has a penchant for throwing to his tight ends.

With Jack Doyle out last week against the Vikings, former basketball player Mo Alie-Cox, a beast of a man who has great hands and a body to box out defenders, caught a career-high five catches for 111 yards on six targets. If Doyle is out again this week, look for Allie-Cox to be a sneaky play against a Jets team that just gave up two touchdowns and 50 yards to Jordan Reed.

Now that Jamaal Adams is in Seattle, the Jets do not have a player capable of matching up with Doyle/Alie-Cox in the middle of the field. If you are a Kittle owner looking for an option should George sit out again, one of these Colts tight ends might be your play.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: On the positive side, we got a glimpse of what Jonathan Taylor can be as a workhorse back. He carried the ball 26 times for 101 yards and a score against the hapless Vikings.

On the negative side, Nyheim Hines, the waiver wire darling from the previous week, nearly goosed his owners with one reception for four yards. The Colts ran the ball early and often against the Vikings, with Taylor and Jordan Wilkins combining for 35 rushes for 141 yards and a score.

Rivers threw the ball just 25 times, as the defense took care of business and the Colts cruised to victory. A similar game script could be in play this week, as the Colts are likely going to blow out the Jets, and the Indy defense will limit Sam Darnold and the New York offense.

For this reason, Hines might be a risky play once again in Week 3.

Value Meter:
QB2: Philip Rivers (High-End)
RB1: Jonathan Taylor (High-End)
WR2: T.Y. Hilton (Low-End)
WR3: Michael Pittman Jr. (Low-End)
TE1: Mo Alie-Cox (Low-End)

Prediction: Indianapolis 34, New York 14 ^ Top

Panthers at Chargers - (Caron)
Line: LAC -6.5
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: A blowout loss and an injury to the team’s top offensive weapon led to a 42-attempt game for Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in Week 2, and there’s certainly a possibility that continues again in Week 3 and beyond. The Panthers quarterback has now thrown 76 passes in two weeks and while his 600-plus total yards passing are an encouraging number, the fact that he’s only thrown one touchdown pass with two interceptions and a fumble is not particularly exciting for fantasy purposes.

While Bridgewater himself is not much of a fantasy asset, D.J. Moore got on the board with a nice fantasy day in Week 2 when he caught eight passes for 120 yards, re-establishing himself as one of the game’s top young wideouts after a mediocre Week 1. But it’s been the newly-acquired Robby Anderson who has actually been the best fantasy contributor for the Carolina passing game so far this year, having delivered back-to-back 100-yard games with his new franchise.

Unfortunately, it looks like Curtis Samuel and tight end Ian Thomas have to be on fantasy benches for the time being as they’re just not seeing the volume that many of us had hoped.

The matchup with the Chargers is not a particularly strong one, as the Chargers were able to keep the high-powered Chiefs offense in check for much of the game this past week. It’s probably smart to look at Moore as a WR2, Anderson as a WR3 and leave everyone else in this passing game on your bench.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: The loss of fantasy football’s top player has deep ramifications in any league, but the damage it’s going to do to this Carolina offense could be devastating. Christian McCaffrey will miss a number of weeks with an ankle injury and the team will now need to turn to backup Mike Davis. Davis quietly contributed eight catches this past week in relief of McCaffrey, most of which came in garbage time, and he was one of the top adds on waiver wires this week.

Obviously Davis is not anywhere near the player that McCaffrey is, but he’s not completely incompetent either. He’s a decent pass catcher out of the backfield and he’s capable of shouldering a full workload for at least the next few weeks. That’s good enough for him to be in the RB2 conversation this week, although he’s facing a Chargers defense that held rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire in check this past week.

Value Meter:
RB2: Mike Davis
WR2: D.J. Moore
WR3: Robby Anderson
Bench: Teddy Bridgewater, Curtis Samuel, Ian Thomas

Passing Game Thoughts: The story of Tyrod Taylor being taken out by his team’s own medical staff is completely insane in its own right, but the fantasy implications are deep as the team now turns to rookie Justin Herbert for at least the foreseeable future. Herbert actually looked great in his first professional start, especially when you consider that he was not prepared to play, as he threw for 311 yards and a touchdown, while also contributing a 18 rushing yards and scoring on the ground.

What was most encouraging to see from a fantasy standpoint is that Herbert was locked in on his top two pass-catching weapons, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry. Allen saw 10 targets in Week 2 with Herbert behind center while Henry was targeted eight times. Neither player got into the end zone, but that type of volume is exactly what makes them trustworthy fantasy assets here in Week 3 against a terrible Carolina secondary. While the Panthers have actually statistically been decent enough over their first two weeks, the personnel are bad and this could be a real smash matchup for both Allen and Henry. One thing to keep an eye on is Henry’s health heading into the game, as the tight end has been limited in practice throughout the week. It does look like he’s going to be good to play on Sunday, but it’s something we’ll need to keep an eye on.

Wide receiver Mike Williams is someone who could be considered in deep leagues, but he was only targeted four times by Herbert in Week 2. Certainly that’s too small of a sample size to draw much information from, but he’s a borderline enough player to begin with that it probably makes sense to just keep him benched.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: Fantasy football experts were mostly in agreement that the Los Angeles backfield was going to be Austin Ekeler’s this season. However, while Ekeler appears to still be a big part of what they’re doing in LA, the reality is that rookie Joshua Kelley is breaking into the touches at a much higher rate than most believed. Through two games, Ekeler has touched the ball 40 times, while Kelley has 37 touches. While that split is a bit skewed given the game script that the Chargers were unexpectedly enjoying this past week, the near 50-50 touch distribution has to be concerning for Ekeler owners.

This week the Chargers have what is expected to be an even stronger positive game script, which could mean another high touch day for Kelley, who is the between-the-tackles grinder of the backfield. The Panthers have given up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team this season and the six running back rushing touchdowns they’ve conceded are two more than any other team.

Ekeler is still a strong play this week, but it’s time that we temper our expectations a bit and call him a high-end RB2. Meanwhile, Kelley could be as good as a low-end RB2 for teams in need this week and he’s a very strong flex play, particularly in standard scoring leagues.

Value Meter:
RB2: Austin Ekeler (high-end), Joshua Kelley (low-end)
WR2: Keenan Allen
TE1: Hunter Henry
Bench: Justin Herbert, Justin Jackson, Mike Williams

Prediction: Chargers 24, Panthers 20 ^ Top

Lions @ Cardinals - (Caron)
Line: ARI -5.5
Total: 55.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Detroit’s top wide receiver Kenny Golladay is expected to be back in Week 3 and fantasy owners are hoping that the field stretcher’s presence will inject some much-needed electricity into this struggling passing game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn’t been terrible from a fantasy standpoint, but it’s been clear that he’s been missing his top wideout and the fantasy results haven’t been particularly strong for the other players in this offense.

Wide receiver Marvin Jones has been targeted 14 times thus far, catching eight of those passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Most expected that stat line to be particularly stronger in the absence of Golladay, given that there really aren’t any many other veteran pass catching weapons in this offense. Danny Amendola has arguably out-played Jones, with 102 receiving yards through two games, but don’t expect that to be the case going forward. Jones should return to being the secondary option that he’s more accustomed to now that Golladay is back in the field, while Amendola will be relegated to part-time slot duty.

It’s difficult to project exactly how Golladay is going to look after missing two games, but if he’s anything like he was in 2019, he should step back into being a solid high-level WR2 who has WR1 upside in any game. The Lions face an Arizona secondary that has played fairly well so far this season, albeit against Dwayne Haskins and Jimmy Garoppolo, both of whom are lacking in pass catching weapons. Still, Golladay’s health is still a major question mark and it could be a complete dud if he’s been rushed onto the field too early. Proceed with caution, but he’s probably worth putting in most lineups as at least a WR3/Flex.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson is a sneaky play this week who has serious upside. He’s already caught all nine targets that have come his way, for 118 yards and a touchdown, but he’s in line to face an Arizona defense that has been historically bad against the tight end position and who haven’t really made any significant strides toward stopping tight ends.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: The Detroit backfield was expected to be a complete crapshoot early in the season and so far it’s lived up to that billing.

Veteran Adrian Peterson leads the way with 21 carries for 134 yards, but he saw only seven total touches this past week in the Lions’ blowout loss to the Packers. As expected, Peterson appears to be extremely game script-dependent and likely won’t get much passing down work. With the Lions being on the road against an offense that has potential to put big points on the board, Peterson can’t be trusted as much more than a Flex play this week.

Kerryon Johnson has seen 15 carries thus far this season, but he hasn’t caught a single pass. Splitting rushing duties with Peterson can be okay at times, especially when he’s getting the red zone touches as he was a week ago, but Johnson really needs an injury to Peterson before he becomes fantasy relevant again.

Rookie D’Andre Swift is the player with the highest upside in this offense, but he’s really being used as almost a satellite back thus far. He’s carried the ball just eight times, while he’s also caught eight passes. In fact, he could have had nine passes and a second touchdown back in Week 1 if he was just able to squeeze the ball at the end of game. Nevertheless, Swift’s fantasy usefulness really relies on the team needing to pass the ball right now, and that’s very much in play this week against the Cardinals. If the Cardinals can get ahead on the scoreboard then it could be the D’Andre Swift show in this backfield and that could lead to a strong RB2 day in PPR formats. That’s all game script dependent, though, so it’d be tough to trust Swift as anything more than a PPR Flex play right now.

Value Meter:
QB2: Matthew Stafford (high-end)
WR3: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones
TE1: T.J. Hockenson
Flex: Adrian Peterson, D’Andre Swift (PPR only)
Bench: Kerryon Johnson, Danny Amendola

Passing Game Thoughts: The 2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year has continued to look strong, now in his second season. While he’s only thrown two touchdown passes with just under 500 passing yards, Kyler Murray leads all quarterbacks with 157 rushing yards through two games and he’s added three touchdowns on the ground. Those numbers have made fantasy owners happy as he was drafted as a borderline top five QB in most fantasy leagues.

This week Murray faces what should be the weakest defense he’s gone up against thus far in 2020, the Detroit Lions. The Lions have already given up a three-touchdown day to Mitchell Trubisky back in Week 1 and things would’ve likely been worse than the two touchdowns they gave up to Aaron Rodgers this past week if the Packers hadn’t been up multiple scores throughout most of the game. Needless to say, this is a predictably bad defense and one that the Cardinals should be in line to have a nice fantasy day against.

While Murray has excelled and should again be considered a strong QB1, the truth is that only one of his pass catching weapons - DeAndre Hopkins - has done anything that should make fantasy owners want to put him in their lineups. Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson, Darrell Daniels and every other member of this pass catching unit needs to be on your bench. The only exception is Hopkins, who has already converted a whopping 22 of the 25 targets that’ve come his way, for 219 yards and a touchdown. His target share is absolutely massive and there’s really no reason to believe that it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Lock him in as one of - if not the strongest WR play on the board this week.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: 36 carries in two games is probably more than most fantasy owners expected to get out of Kenyan Drake, but the fact that he’s averaging just over four yards per carry with only one touchdown isn’t exactly what we’d hope for in this offense. Worse yet, Drake has caught just four passes for 14 yards in two games after being looked at as one of the better pass catching backs coming into the season.

It’s still too early to be pushing the panic button on Drake, but Chase Edmonds continues to knock on the door and could end up being a spoiler for Drake owners. Still, Drake’s high usage seems like it should continue this week in what is expected to be an Arizona win. The Lions gave up the highest-scoring fantasy game of Week 2 to Aaron Jones, so there is a serious opportunity for Drake to finish as a top five back this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray
RB1: Kenyan Drake
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
Bench: Chase Edmonds, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson, Dan Arnold

Prediction: Cardinals 30, Lions 24 ^ Top

Buccaneers at Broncos - (Caron)
Line: TB -5.5
Total: 43.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Back-to-back weak passing performances from future Hall of Famer Tom Brady aren’t exactly what fantasy owners had hoped for here in early 2020, but that’s what we’ve seen so far. Thankfully this week the Buccaneers appear to be back at full strength with 2019 breakout wide receiver Chris Godwin expected to be back on the field. Brady’s lack of mobility in comparison to the majority of top fantasy quarterbacks immediately lowers his ceiling, but his floor is probably about what we got from him last week. Because the upside isn’t very strong, though, Brady is arguably not even a QB1 right now, even in what would seem to be a decent matchup.

Like Kenny Golladay and other players who’ve missed time so far this season, it’s tough to know exactly how healthy Godwin is, but he probably needs to be in most fantasy lineups as at least a WR2 this week. He was Brady’s most-trusted receiver in Week 1 and there’s little reason to think that won’t be the case again here in Week 3.

Mike Evans struggled in Week 1 against the Saints, but got back on track in Week 2 with a big seven catch, 104-yard, one touchdown performance. Evans may not be the only game in town anymore, but he’s still capable of having some big time performances and should be considered a WR1 in this matchup against a banged up Denver defense. The Broncos got smoked by Corey Davis in Week 1 and Diontae Johnson in Week 2, so look for the Bucs to target their top two wide receivers heavily in this one.

Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard simply need to be off fantasy rosters for the most part at this point. Sure, there could be a breakout at some point by one of them, but neither player is seeing significant targets right now and that was even true when slot specialist Chris Godwin was out in Week 2.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: Tampa Bay’s running back situation continues to be a confusing and frustrating one, as Ronald Jones’ 3.7 yards per carry just don’t seem to be cutting it. Jones led the team with 17 carries back in Week 1 and many fantasy experts were dancing on the grave of Leonard Fournette, but that bounced back in their faces in a big way in Week 2 when it was Fournette who led the team with 12 carries to Jones’ seven. More importantly, Fournette’s 103 yards significantly out-produced Jones’ 23. Of course, much of that came on a single long run, but that explosiveness is also part of the reason why Fournette looks like the stronger bet going forward in this backfield.

Jones is still listed ahead of Fournette on the depth chart, so it’s difficult to know which way the team will lean, but neither player is a particularly strong play this week given the lack of certainty and the fact that they’ll be going up against a fairly strong Denver run defense.

Value Meter:
QB2: Tom Brady
RB2: Leonard Fournette (low-end)
WR1: Mike Evans
WR2: Chris Godwin
Flex: Ronald Jones
Bench: LeSean McCoy, Scotty Miller, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard

Passing Game Thoughts: The Broncos came into the season with some high hopes for their passing game, but that seems to be fading very quickly now that wide receiver Courtland Sutton is out for the season and quarterback Drew Lock is out for at least the next few weeks.

The team now turns to Jeff Driskel, who was actually decent in relief of Lock this past week, throwing for 256 yards and a pair of scores, along with an interception, against a very good Pittsburgh defense. While his upside as a passer isn’t nearly as strong as Lock’s, Driskel might actually be a sneaky decent play this week in two-QB/superflex leagues, as he does possess more mobility than you might think. He made three starts for the Broncos this past season and he contributed a total of 151 rushing yards and a touchdown as a runner in those contests. Of course, he averages just 181 passing yards per start throughout his career, so the downside is certainly there as well.

From a receiver standpoint, there are really only two options who we should be considering for fantasy purposes in this offense - those being rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant. Jeudy leads the team with 15 targets, eight of which he’s converted for 118 yards. That’s not really a spectacular stat line, but it’s something that could improve with more experience and especially now that he’s seemingly the top outside pass catching weapon in this offense. He’s really only a deep WR3/Flex, but Jeudy does have some upside against a Tampa Bay defense that allowed both D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson to exceed 100 receiving yards against them in Week 2.

Noah Fant is already proving to be one of the better late-round fantasy tight ends this season, as he’s caught a touchdown in each game thus far, along with contributing a total of 138 yards through two games. Fant is a serious weapon at the tight end position and his breakout was probably imminent regardless of injuries around him, but now is really the time when he could start to see an uptick in targets. While they kept the Panthers’ tight ends in check in Week 2, the Bucs allowed Jared Cook to beat them for 80 yards on five catches back in Week 1. Look for Fant to finish at least second on the team in targets this week, which should be enough for him to be a solid low-end TE1 play.

One wide receiver to keep an eye on in this game, even though we’re recommending that he remain on your bench for the time being, is rookie KJ Hamler. Hamler saw seven targets in Week 2 and finished second in routes run for the team in the game. He’s a raw, but explosive play-making wide receiver who some have compared to DeSean Jackson. He’s not likely to contribute much at the moment, but he’s someone to stash on your bench in deep leagues.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: The Denver running back situation looked like it might be a full blown committee early in the season, but it’s been the Melvin Gordon show now that Phillip Lindsay is out. Gordon saw a total of 21 touches this past week, compared to Royce Freeman’s three, and he continues to play a bell cow role. It’s unfortunate that the Denver offense looks like it’s going to take a step back now that Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton are out, but Gordon should continue to see a heavy enough workload to warrant him being a solid RB2.

The Tampa Bay run defense was one of the league’s best in 2019, but they haven’t quite shown that thus far in 2020, as they’ve given up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs through two weeks. Of course, it’s worth noting that they’ve played against Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara, so those stats might be a bit skewed. Nevertheless, Gordon owners shouldn’t be quite so worried as he might not be as talented as Kamara or McCaffrey, but he’s currently playing a similar role in his offense.

Value Meter:
RB2: Melvin Gordon
TE1: Noah Fant
Flex: Jerry Jeudy
Bench: Jeff Driskel, Royce Freeman, KJ Hamler, Tim Patrick, DaeSean Hamilton

Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Broncos 20 ^ Top

Cowboys @ Seahawks - (Caron)
Line: SEA -5.0
Total: 55.5

Passing Game Thoughts: A huge performance from Dak Prescott carried many fantasy owners to a victory this past week as the Cowboys QB passed for 450 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for three scores in the Cowboys’ improbable come-from-behind victory over the Falcons. Prescott remains a top play this week against a weak Seattle defense that has already given up nearly 850 passing yards through two weeks, and who Cam Newton rushed for a pair of scores against in Week 2.

Prescott’s passing game weapons have been an interesting case study thus far, as he’s been distributing the ball to a number of different receivers. Most of us assumed that the addition of CeeDee Lamb would lead to a wider distribution of targets, but the fact that only Amari Cooper (23) has more than 15 targets while Prescott has attempted 86 pass attempts is a bit surprising. Lamb is actually second on the team with 15 targets, while Michael Gallup has seen only 10 targets thus far. It’s too early to say that Lamb has overtaken Gallup as the Cowboys’ second WR but it does appear as though the competition is closer than many had expected at this point in the season. Cooper remains a very strong WR1 play this week, while Gallup and Lamb are more low-end WR2/high-end WR3 plays.

Tight end Dalton Schultz also broke out this past week when he caught nine of the 10 targets that came his way for 88 yards and a touchdown. Schultz was an afterthought heading into the season with Blake Jarwin ahead of him on the depth chart, but it might now be Schultz’ opportunity to become a fantasy darling now that Jarwin is out for the season. Don’t expect another double-digit target day, but Schultz is a sneaky way to get exposure to this Cowboys offense here in Week 3.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: With Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley out, Ezekiel Elliott has taken his place at the top of most rest-of-season rankings at the running back position. Fantasy owners were a bit disappointed this past week when Dak Prescott “stole” three short rushing touchdowns from Zeke, but the running back has already scored three times this season, along with contributing 249 total yards in two games. It would’ve been nice to get those extra touchdowns to put the cherry on top, but there’s really nothing to complain about when you’ve got a top five back after two weeks.

Elliott should again be involved heavily this week, although the Cowboys are a five-point underdog this week against Seattle, so the team could again be in a negative game script. They did prove this past week, while trailing Atlanta 20 points after the first quarter, that they would continue to “feed Zeke” regardless of the score, however, as Elliott saw 22 carries in the game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott
WR1: Amari Cooper
WR2: Michael Gallup (low-end)
WR3: CeeDee Lamb (high-end)
TE1: Dalton Schultz (low-end)
Bench: Tony Pollard

Passing Game Thoughts: Whether it’s by design or by necessity, the Seahawks seem to finally be “letting Russ cook” this season and so far the results have been spectacular. The veteran QB has already thrown nine touchdown passes in two games, adding an additional 68 rushing yards for good measure. If his two 30-point fantasy outputs are any indication for where this team is headed, Wilson is in line to contend to be the top-scoring fantasy quarterback this season.

In Week 3 he’ll face a Cowboys defense that has been decimated by injury and wasn’t all that great to begin with anyway. The Cowboys were torched by Matt Ryan in Week 2 to the tune of 273 yards and four touchdowns and they could be in line for another long afternoon when they head on the road to face the Seahawks in this one.

Wilson is an obvious high-level QB1, while his top pass catching weapons, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, are both in contention to be low-end WR1s. We have to believe that Wilson will continue to pepper both players with targets and while the Cowboys were able to take away Julio Jones this past week, they were not equipped to stop two high-level receivers as they were completely humiliated by Calvin Ridley. It’s tough to know whether the Cowboys will again attempt to scheme one receiver away while essentially giving up on stopping the other one, especially given that Lockett and Metcalf are such different players than Jones and Ridley, but they’re both very strong fantasy options.

Veteran tight end Greg Olsen could be on fantasy radars this week as Hayden Hurst did show up with a nice game against this Cowboys defense this past week, but don’t forget that the Cowboys did keep the combination of Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett to just four catches back in Week 1, and that Olsen was held catchless this past week. Nevertheless, the Cowboys linebackers and secondary are both banged up to the point that just about anyone is an option against them, so Olsen isn’t a terrible dart throw if you’re in need at tight end this week, although there are probably stronger options available on most waiver wires.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: It typically isn’t great for Chris Carson when Russell Wilson is passing as much as he has been throughout the first two games, but Carson has actually stepped up in a big way as a receiver, having caught nine passes for 81 yards and three touchdowns already this season. Shockingly, he’s only carried the ball 23 times through two games and he hasn’t yet found the end zone as a runner.

That rushing drought could be coming to an end this week, though, as the Seahawks are a fairly strong favorite at home over the Cowboys. That could mean an offensive gameplan that we’ve been more accustomed to from the Seahawks over the past few seasons and one that heavily favors jamming the ball between the tackles with Carson. Carson should only be looked at as a low-end RB1, but he’s an RB1 nevertheless.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson (high-end)
RB1: Chris Carson (low-end)
WR1: Tyler Lockett (low-end), DK Metcalf (low-end)
Bench: Carlos Hyde, David Moore, Greg Olsen

Prediction: Seahawks 30, Cowboys 24 ^ Top

Packers @ Saints - (Swanson)
Line: NO -3.0
Total: 52.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Packer front office received unanimous poor grades from NFL analysts after using their first-round pick on quarterback Jordan Love and their second-round pick on AJ Dillon. Love reportedly had a terrible camp and looks raw, while Dillon has just seven carries in two games.

Conversely, Aaron is on pace for 48 passing touchdowns and 4800 passing yards, and Aaron Jones is once again one the best running backs in the league. It makes you wonder just how good this Packers offense could be if the front office used those picks on wide receivers instead of back up skill position players.

The Saints pass defense has been surprisingly poor this season despite boasting two stellar cornerbacks in Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins. The team also resigned veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins to patrol the middle of the field.

New Orleans held Tom Brady to 239 passing yards and just two passing touchdowns Week 1 and picked off two of his passes, only to give up nearly 300 passing yards and three touchdowns to Derek Carr.

The Saints had no answer for tight end Darren Waller, and the front seven did not get enough pressure on Carr.

A huge factor in this game is the health of wide receiver Davante Adams. Adams missed most of last week’s blowout win over Detroit with a slight hamstring injury. A report surfaced after the game that the injury is minor, and Adams could have returned to action if needed, but he has yet to practice, and his availability is still up in the air.

If you are an Adams owner, you should consider pivot options for Sunday night or MNF.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: One of the most egregious mistakes made by the fantasy industry over the past decade was the overwhelming shared belief that Aaron Jones should not be a first-round pick in drafts this season, despite 19 total touchdowns last year. The failed narrative that the team would give Dillon a ton of work in the green zone based on his “draft capital” has proven to be terribly incorrect.

Jones is the No.1 running back in fantasy after two weeks with four touchdowns and over 300 total yards. If you were smart enough to draft Jones, you are sitting pretty and got the steal of the draft.

The Saints rank 19th in fantasy points allowed to running backs, with Josh Jacobs and Jalen Richard combining for over 100 yards and a score last week in the surprising win on MNF at the Death Star.

Running against the defensive front is going to be a challenge for Jones, but he will more than make up for it in the passing game. Look for the Packers to take a page out of the Raiders notebook by using Jones in the middle of the field like Las Vegas did with Waller last week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers (Low-End)
RB1: Aaron Jones (High-End)
WR1: Davante Adams (High-End)
WR3: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Low-End)
WR4: Allen Lazard (High-End)
TE2: Robert Tonyan (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Drew Brees and the New Orleans passing game is off to a poor start. Brees is completing just 64% of his passes and has struggled with passes downfield. The absence of Michael Thomas could not be more stark, Emmanuel Sanders has been a monster bust, and without the outlet of Alvin Kamara, Brees would have even worse looking numbers.

Losing Thomas is a huge blow for this team. It is possible that the all-pro wide receiver might return this week from his high ankle sprain, but how effective will he be is yet to be seen. Only the 49ers and the Eagles WR corps have fewer points than the Saints through two games, a shocking development when you consider how much success Brees has had over the years throwing to his wideouts.

Look for the Saints to use Jared Cook and Alvin Kamara as the two main passing threats against the Packers in this game. If Kamara finishes with fewer than 10 targets, I will be shocked.

Starting Emmanuel Sanders based on what we know so far is a risky proposition. Sure, he managed a touchdown against the Bucs Week 1, but he has just four catches on eight targets from Brees, with the two veterans struggling to get on the same page.

Tre’Quan Smith is the wide receiver to start if Thomas is unable to go. He will have a difficult matchup against Jaire Alexander, but he should have a decent volume of targets in what could be a high scoring game.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara owners do not need advice on whether or not they should start their stud running back. Kamara looks healthy again and is the dominant force we have come to expect.

Packers have given up three rushing touchdowns in their first two games and 88 receiving yards. Kamara is a strong play and could be in line for 10 plus targets to go along with his rushing work.

We have two games of data to use when evaluating Latavius Murray. In a game in which the Saints were up Murray saw 15 carries for 48 yards. In the second game in which the Saints trailed, Murray was not used much at all.

Based on how well the Green Bay offense has played up to this point, I would assume the Saints will not be up big, making Murray a speculative play at this point.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees (Low-End)
RB1: Alvin Kamara (Elite)
WR1: Michael Thomas (High-End) Injury Concern
WR3: Tre’Quan Smith (Low-End)
WR4: Emmanuel Sanders (High-End)
TE1: Jared Cook (Low-End)

Prediction: Green Bay 34, New Orleans 28 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Ravens - (Green)
Line: BAL -3.5
Total: 53.5

Passing Game Thoughts: It's hard to get a much bigger game in September than having the defending Super Bowl champs face last year's No. 1 seed on Monday Night Football. Under the spotlight will be Patrick Mahomes, the 2019 MVP, who took a pounding last Sunday in an overtime win against the Chargers. Mahomes shook off a slow start to lead his team to victory, amassing 302 yards passing, 54 yards rushing and 2 TDs. Things won't get easier against the NFL's top scoring defense, but you can't bench Mahomes.

As I've said many times in many places over the past few years, no matter how many weapons the Chiefs have in the passing game only Tyreek Hill (5-99-1) and Travis Kelce (9-90-1) are viable fantasy options. For all of the talent that Sammy Watkins (head) or Mecole Hardman possess they're just wildly inconsistent with high ceilings but very low floors. Opposing defenses know that Hill and Kelce are going to get the ball, and they can't stop it. Start them regardless of matchup.

Baltimore hasn't shown many weaknesses in rolling over the Browns and Texans to open the season, and they currently rank sixth in passing defense (210.5 yards per game) despite nursing large leads where teams often yield lots of garbage yards. You can bet they'll be fired up as well facing a Chiefs team they never got to face in the playoffs last year following the Ravens' upset loss to the Titans.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire (10-38-0) found the going much tougher in Week 2 after he burst on the scene with 138 yards on 25 carries against Houston. Viewed as a whole, it's been a solid two games for the rookie, though there are still areas to work on, including short yardage and involvement in the passing game. The Ravens sit seventh in rushing defense (94.5 yards allowed per game), though keep in mind teams tend to abandon the run when they get down early so Edwards-Helaire might exceed expectations.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
RB2: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce
Bench: Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins (head)

Passing Game Thoughts: Through two games Lamar Jackson almost seems to be on cruise control, posting pedestrian numbers by his lofty 2019 standards in a pair of easy wins. His 240 passing yards per game is actually up from last season, when he averaged 208, but his TDs per game are down from 2.4 to 2.0 and his running has dropped from 80.4 to 49.5 yards. Don't panic. The Ravens will face stiffer challenges as the season rolls along, starting this week, and Jackson remains the standard bearer for running QBs.

Much like the Chiefs, the Ravens are a two-man show in the passing game. At the top of the list is Mark Andrews, who had an uncharacteristically quiet performance in Week 2 when he caught just one pass for 29 yards. On the outside, it's Marquise Brown. The second-year pro leads the club in receptions (10) and receiving yards (143), though he has yet to score this season. View Andrews as a midrange TE1 on Monday and Brown as a high-end WR3.

Despite residing in the top-10 in scoring defense, the Chiefs have given a lot of ground before tightening the screws, ranking 24th in pass defense with 269 yards allowed per game. They have playmakers at safety with Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill, and rookie L'Jarius Sneed is off to a quick start with two picks. Still, there's nothing here to scare off the Ravens.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: The running back tandem of Mark Ingram (9-55-1) and J.K. Dobbins (2-48-0) was nothing if not efficient in Week 2 as part of Baltimore's 230-yard effort on the ground. Expect a lot more work Monday against a Chiefs defense that has surrendered 150.5 yards per game on the ground (27th) in an effort to control the clock and keep Mahomes on the sidelines. Ingram should be a reliable RB3 with upside while Dobbins is a riskier flex as his workload is less certain.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson
RB3: Mark Ingram
Flex: J.K. Dobbins
WR3: Marquise Brown
TE1: Mark Andrews

Prediction: Ravens 38, Chiefs 33 ^ Top