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Inside the Matchup
Week 2
9/14/17; Updated: 9/15/17

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | Jake Gordon



HOU @ CIN | MIN @ PIT | CLE @ BAL | DET @ NYG

BUF @ CAR | CHI @ TB | ARI @ IND | NE @ NO

TEN @ JAX | GB @ ATL | PHI @ KC | NYJ @ OAK

MIA @ LAC | SF @ SEA | WAS @ LAR | DAL @ DEN


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

Texans @ Bengals - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: Head coach Bill O’Brien pulled starter Tom Savage in favor of rookie Deshaun Watson after Savage and the Texans offense failed to score a first half point against Jacksonville Week 1. It was not a surprising decision for O’Brien, a head coach known for having a quick hook with his quarterbacks. Savage did struggle with some of his throws and his decision making, but the main reason for the Texans anemic offense was subpar play from the offensive line, particularly turnstile left tackle Chris Clark, who did a less than adequate job in the absence of starter Dwayne Brown.

All signs point to Watson getting the call for the first start of his young career on Thursday. Watson starting over Savage would be great news for DeAndre Hopkins owners, as Watson targeted Nuk on nearly 50% of his throws Week 1. It would be silly to expect that ratio to continue throughout an entire game, especially with the likelihood of Bengal cornerback Adam Jones shadowing Hopkins. But it should be noted that Watson prefers to target Hopkins and a double-digit target game is not out of the question.

The loss of starting tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and wide receiver Bruce Ellington to concussions will likely enhance Watson’s reliance on Hopkins, making an already must start wide receiver even more attractive in PPR formats.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: A negative game script created by a lopsided start to the Jacksonville game limited Miller’s production against the Jags. Miller still managed to post 97 total yards on 18 touches, although his 3.8 yard per carry average was less than impressive. O’Brien may look to rely heavily on the run to avoid exposing his young quarterback to long passing downs, while at the same time exploiting a Bengal defense that allowed nearly 200 total yards and a score against Baltimore Week 1. It should be noted that O’Brien did mention that he would like to give rookie RB D’Onta Foreman more carries against the Bengals. Foreman should not be considered a start in any format, but fantasy owners should keep an eye on his usage and production and keep him in mind for a possible speculative add.

Value Meter:
QB2: Deshaun Watson (Low End)
RB2: Lamar Miller (High End)
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins (Low End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The red rocket crashed and burned to the tune of four interceptions and a lost fumble in Cincinnati’s opening week loss at home to the Ravens. A play-by-play examination of the film highlighted a quarterback who made numerous bad choices, including throwing a ball into triple coverage in the end zone instead of hitting a wide open Tyler Eifert on a shallow cross.

As much as I would like to predict that the boo birds will not come out again in Cincy on Thursday, the fact that Dalton has a history of struggling on TNF (only five touchdown passes in five games), mixed with a hungry Texans team looking to bounce back, and you have a recipe for another disappointing performance from the Bengal passing offense.

A.J. Green is a must start in all formats and a second consecutive week of double digit targets can be expected. A big game from Green may not be in the cards due to the fact that Houston has been successful over the past two seasons at limiting No. 1 wideouts from monster games. Despite this fact, Green is a must start along with tight end Tyler Eifert, who was limited to one catch for four yards last week.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: We learned Week 1 that Marvin Lewis, at least in the short term, still believes in his incumbent tandem of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, and rookie Joe Mixon has a way to go before becoming a bell cow running back for the Bengals. The fantasy community as a whole believes that eventually talent will win out and Mixon will take over the role at some point in the season, but until that happens, starting Mixon is a dicey proposition.

The rushing distribution of 21 carries was split nearly evenly with Mixon receiving one more carry than Bernard. Bernard was the most efficient of the three backs with 40 yards, including a shifty 23-yard scamper to remind us all that he has returned from his season-ending ACL injury in 2016.

The Texans were thought of as one of the better defenses entering the season, with the return of JJ Watt bolstering a solid front seven. That narrative did not playout in the first game of the season, with Leonard Fornette and the Jags ground game posting 142 yards and a score on 36 rushes. With Dalton’s struggles with turnovers and the Texans looking somewhat vulnerable on the ground, don’t be surprised to see Lewis and the Bengals lean on the run in this contest.

Value Meter:
QB2: Andy Dalton (Mid-Range)
RB3: Joe Mixon (High-End)
RB4: Jeremy Hill (Low-End)
WR1: A.J. Green (Mid-Range)
TE1: Tyler Eifert (Mid-Range)
Flex: Giovani Bernard (Low-End)

Prediction: Bengals 24, Texans 10 ^ Top

Vikings @ Steelers - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: With a competent offensive line, a dynamic ground game with rookie Dalvin Cook, and a season and off-season to build rapport with Adam Theilen and Stephon Diggs, quarterback Sam Bradford played arguably the best game of his professional career. The former first overall selection was accurate, made quick decisions, and to the delight of Diggs owners, he stretched the field instead of relying mostly on short and intermediate throws.

If he can stay healthy, Diggs proved once again on the primetime stage that he possesses elite level route running and ball skills. He will look to build off his stellar opening weekend performance against a Pittsburgh secondary of Artie Burns and veteran Joe Haden. Haden looked impressive in his first game with the Steelers, posting four tackles and a sack against his old team. Haden will face a much more challenging task in shutting down Diggs, a wide receiver that is more athletic and runs better routes than Kenny Britt.

After a relatively quiet game that was salvaged with a late touchdown reception, look for tight end Kyle Rudolph to be more active against a Steelers defense that ranked in the lower third in yards allowed to tight ends last season, while allowing 62 receiving yards to Browns tight ends last week.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: Rookie Dalvin Cook broke Adrian Peterson’s team record for rushing yards in a game to start a career, with 127 yards on 22 carries, capped by a 33-yard scamper to help close out the game in the fourth quarter. The former Florida State star looks every bit the real deal that we witnessed in the preseason and should be started with a decent level of confidence. Although Pittsburgh allowed the seventh-most points opposing defenses last season, they limited the Isaiah Crowell to just 33 yards on 17 carries last week. The Browns did have success moving the ball through the air to their trio of tailbacks, which is certainly something Cook and the Vikings will look to do on Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB2: Sam Bradford (Mid-Range)
RB1: Dalvin Cook (Mid-Range)
WR1: Stefon Diggs (Low-End)
WR3: Adam Thielen (High-End)
TE1: Kyle Rudolph (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers return home to Heinz Field after sneaking out of Cleveland with a 21-18 win over the Browns. Big Ben once again put up pedestrian numbers on the road. However, he did manage to throw for 263 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn’t an elite level performance by any means and the Steeler offense looked out of sync for the first half of the game. Le’Veon Bell was held back in his first action of the season to help ease him into game form and mitigate the chance of injury. The lack of a full complement of Bell out of the backfield and a surprisingly strong performance from the Browns on defense limited the Steelers to just 21 points.

Although the Vikings have a much better defense than the Browns in nearly all aspects of the game, Big Ben has averaged just over ten-more fantasy points per game at home than on the road, and I anticipate he will finish the week as a top-10 fantasy QB. In his last 12 home games, Roethlisberger has failed to finish as a No.1 QB only twice, and that was without his full complement of weapons.

The matchup of Xavier Rhodes on Antonio Brown will be the most interesting game within the game on Sunday, as Rhodes is one of the better shutdown corners in the NFL. Brown will still get his targets but look for this to be a Martavis Bryant game, with the physically gifted wideout taking advantage of matchups against 39-year old Terrance Newman or Trae Waynes.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: The Steelers limited Bell last week with the hope of easing him into game action after missing all of the preseason due to a contract holdout. After participating in just over 70% of the team’s offensive snaps, a return to bell-cow status for arguably the most talented RB in the game is all but a certainty.

The Vikings stifled the Saints on Monday Night Football to the tune of just 55 yards on 20 carries, but the New Orleans trio of Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara, and Adrian Peterson did manage 74 yards on nine catches. Obviously, Bell is an elite-must start player as evident by the fact that he is ranked No.1 this week in our FFtoday.com rankings, but don't be surprised if he gets a majority of his points in the passing game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ben Roethlisberger (Mid-Range)
RB1: LeíVeon Bell (Elite)
WR1: Antonio Brown (Elite)
WR2: Martavis Bryant (Low-End)
TE3: Jesse James (Mid-Range)

Prediction: Steelers 28, Vikings 14 ^ Top

Browns @ Ravens - (Swanson)

Passing Game Thoughts: A dominant defensive performance by the Ravens allowed head coach John Harbaugh to limit Joe Flacco in his first live game action since suffering a back injury this summer. Flacco threw just 17 passes against the Bengals Week 1, a whopping ten fewer passes than any quarterback that played an entire game opening weekend. I anticipate that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will open up the offense a bit more Week 2 against a Browns team that allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season.

Flacco averaged 25 fantasy points (FFToday default scoring) in his two games against Cleveland last year, highlighted by a 27-point performance week ten. Although it is likely Flacco throws the ball more than 17 times this week (by far the least amount of passes in a full game in his career) a negative game script caused by the relentless Baltimore defense will likely limit his value to 280 yards and a couple of scores.

Buck Allen assumes the receiving down back role for the oft-injured Danny Woodhead, who will miss a good chunk of the season due to a severe hamstring injury. The receiving back in the Ravens offense is a valuable fantasy commodity, especially in PPR, making Allen an excellent No.2 RB or flex play. Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace were to two players most adversely affected by the lack of passing attempts last week, and both should see an uptick in targets against the Browns. But expectations should be tempered on both players, as the negative game script that could bring down Flacco’s value will hurt both players as well.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: Terrance West quietly posted a No.1 RB performance Week 1 against the Bengals with 19 carries for 80 yards and a score. As one might expect of West, the game film was not special ad West is an average running back who happened to find himself in the right situation. His role as the early down back in the Ravens offense should continue, and a similar stat line is in the range of outcomes for the former third round pick from Towson, with the ceiling of a double-digit touchdown game fueled by multiple opportunities near the goal line.

The Browns were surprisingly effective against Le’Veon Bell Week 1, limiting the pro bowler to 32 yards on 10 carries and only 15 yards on three receptions. The success on limiting Bell is partly attributed to solid play up front by the Cleveland D-line, and partly to the fact that Bell was limited in his workload and was not able to get into the flow of the game. A full 30-touch game from Bell would likely have resulted in a typical monster game for the Steelers tailback.

As the new receiving back in the Baltimore passing offense, Buck Allen vaulted into fantasy relevancy in all formats and could out produce West in PPR leagues. Baltimore running backs combined for 10 receptions in each of the last two contests between these two teams, and Allen looks primed to be the recipient of most of them.

Value Meter:
QB2: Joe Flacco (Low-End)
RB2: Terrance West (Low-End)
WR3: Mike Wallace (High-End)
WR3: Jeremy Maclin (Low-End)
Flex: Javorius Allen (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Rookie DeShone Kizer impressed with both his arm and his feet in the opening week loss to the Steelers, completing 20-of-30 passes for 222 yards and a score while adding 17 yards and a rushing touchdown on the ground. His 22.8 points were more than Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins and Tom Brady, in what turned out be a down week of production from most “elite players”.

The former Golden Domer will face a tougher task this week on the road against a Ravens team that forced five turnovers from Andy Dalton. If Kizer can post similar numbers this week in Baltimore, he should be considered a viable low-end fantasy option going forward, despite his youth and inexperience.

Kenny Brick Hands Britt had the opposite start to his Browns career, catching just one of his three targets for 13 yards. His poor play earned the ire of his coach, who threatened to limit his playing time going forward if he doesn’t pull his head out of his backside. One of the primary beneficiaries of Britt’s Week 1 turd was Corey Coleman, who caught five of his six targets, including a contested grab at the goal line for a touchdown. Of the two wide receivers, only Coleman is worthy of a start, as his rapport with Kizer and his volume from Week 1 should not be ignored.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: The Isiah Crowell hype train slowed down a bit after Crow managed just 33 yards on 17 carries last week. His 1.9 yards per attempt was the lowest of his career (minimum 10 attempts), yet he did catch two passes for 33 yards. On a positive note, Duke Johnson Jr. received zero carries while relegated to the slot role in the passing offense, with Matt Dayes getting only three carries in relief. It is clearly Crowell’s backfield, and he has every opportunity to succeed as the bell cow in a young and improving offense. It remains to be seen if he will be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

Baltimore allowed the seventh-fewest points to opposing running backs last year, despite facing top backs Le’Veon Bell (twice), Ezekiel Elliott, and Jay Ajayi. Nearly all of Baltimore’s pieces from last year are back and healthy, which could make it difficult for Crowell to move the ball on Sunday.

Head coach Hue Jackson told reporters that he still considers Johnson a running back and not a wide receiver, despite the fact that President Trump had as many carries on Sunday as Johnson. Duke’s perceived value entering the season was as a third-down and receiving back who would line up from time to time in the slot. As a slot receiver who receives less than five targets a game, Johnson has next to no value in most leagues. Week 2’s game against Baltimore will go a long way in helping Johnson owners know if they should hang on to the former Miami Hurricane or let him go for an RB with more upside.

Value Meter:
QB2: DeShone Kizer (Low-End)
RB2: Isaiah Crowell (High-End)
WR3: Corey Coleman (High-End)
WR4: Kenny Britt (Low-End)
Flex: Duke Johnson Jr. (Low-End)

Prediction: Ravens 21, Browns 10 ^ Top

Lions at Giants - (Katz)

Passing Game Thoughts: After one week of NFL action, Matt Stafford sits as your number two fantasy QB. He’s slightly behind Alex Smith and ahead of Sam Bradford, Trevor Siemian, Carson Wentz, Tyrod Taylor, and Deshone Kizer. That’s the top seven you envisioned right? Stafford heads to the Meadowlands for a date with a Giants pass defense that completely locked down Dez Bryant. Notwithstanding their all too enjoyable loss to the Cowboys, the Giants are actually a good football team with a very good defense. This is an awfully tough spot for Stafford and his receivers. Golden Tate is fresh off of a 10-catch, 100-yard game and should mostly avoid Janoris Jenkins similar to how he avoided Patrick Peterson last week by venturing into the slot.

The outside is reserved for Marvin Jones, who I suspect will not be long for fantasy rosters and rookie sensation Kenny Golladay, who seems to have a nose for the end zone. Golladay’s size and massive catch radius make him an ideal red zone target. His usage may not be consistent, but he can push for eight touchdowns on the season. He can’t be trusted yet, but he should be owned.

Eric Ebron’s poor week one can be attributed to the Cardinals being stout against the tight end position (2 TDs allowed last season), but also to the fact that Ebron is simply an average player and this idea that he was somehow going to break out this season was more wishful thinking than anything else. The Giants were below average against the TE last year, but I still can’t confidently recommend Ebron.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: I am not quite sure what people see in Ameer Abdullah. Here’s Abdullah’s profile: he’s not built to run between the tackles; he loses passing down work to Theo Riddick; he loses red zone work to Dwayne Washington. So we have a between the 20s RB that doesn’t catch passes and doesn’t score touchdowns. Where exactly are Abdullah’s fantasy points coming from? Abdullah touched the ball 18 times last week (15 rushes, three receptions) and came away with a whopping 41 total yards. Things are not going to get much better against a strong Giants run defense that finished top five in fantasy points against in 2016. Riddick is the preferred option over Abdullah as the Giants should force the Lions to go with a more pass heavy approach. Riddick only carried the ball once last week, but he saw seven targets, catching six of them for 27 yards and a score. Riddick won’t score often, but he also will average more than 4.5 yards per reception. He remains a safe high floor option in PPR leagues.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (low-end against a strong defense)
WR2: Golden Tate (mid-range)
Flex: Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah
Bench: Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay (too soon to trust weekly), Dwayne Washington

Passing Game Thoughts: If you told me that I’d be opening this Giants section defending Eli Manning, I’d have said you’re crazy. Anyone ready to bury Manning as done is doing so prematurely. There’s this irrational and unsubstantiated media bias against the Cowboys defense and Manning has been criticized for not performing well because the Cowboys defense is perceived to be bad. It is actually quite good. Byron Jones is one of the best safeties in the league and Anthony Brown is very underrated as a cornerback. Manning struggled to produce in an offense laden with checkdowns in the absence of Odell Beckham. If you want to point the finger at someone, look no further than fraud number two (and last week’s number one) WR Brandon Marshall. He looks visibly slower and is no longer able to separate from defenders. The Giants desperately need Beckham back but I think it is a terrible idea to bring Beckham back before he’s completely healthy this early in the season. Letting him sit an extra game even if he can probably tough it out would be the wise move. Last week, I was certain Beckham wouldn’t play. This week, I’m not so sure. He did practice on Thursday which was a very encouraging sign. It’s frustrating for fantasy owners that the Giants and Beckham opened the season with a Sunday night game followed by a Monday night game. If Beckham plays, you start him, which means you also need to have a Giant or Lion in the back pocket just in case.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: “The Giants don’t really have a running game. Their offensive line is still terrible and they have one of the worst starting RBs in the NFL in Paul Perkins.” That’s what I put in last week’s thoughts. I’m not sure how much longer that will be the case because it’s only a matter of time before Perkins is riding the bench. He managed 16 yards on seven carries against the Cowboys admittedly elite run defense however, Orleans Darkwa was able to rattle off 14 yards on his three carries. Shane Vereen didn’t even get a carry, but he did catch nine of 10 targets for 51 yards, albeit most of it in garbage time with the Cowboys playing back. Vereen is still the best bet for weekly production, but his value outside of PPR leagues is limited by his lack of touchdown upside. I expect a bit of a higher scoring affair this week and eventually the Giants are going to accept they cannot run and give more opportunities to Vereen. His arrow is pointing upward. Darkwa cannot be started, but he could be the first and second down guy as well as the goal line guy as early as next week. He’s a name to monitor.

Value Meter:
QB1: Eli Manning (low-end)
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr. (if he plays, I donít think heíll be a decoy)
Flex: Shane Vereen (PPR only)
Bench: Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard (a Flex if Beckham sits), Paul Perkins

Prediction: Giants 27, Lions 20 ^ Top

Bills @ Panthers - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Tyrod Taylor had only five multi-touchdown games in 2016 so the fact he already has one to his name this year is step in the right direction. He’s going to have a tougher time going up against Carolina on Sunday. Jordan Matthews and rookie Zay Jones work better on short to intermediate routes. Charles Clay might be the best all-around receiving option in the offense right now. He led the team with nine targets in Week 1 but may struggle to gain separation against the physical style of the Panthers. Overall, the passing game needs more time to gel and fantasy owners shouldn’t expect it to happen while playing on the road this early in the season. The limited potential for yardage makes everyone in the passing game a liability to start in all formats.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: LeSean McCoy is one of a handful of must starts at the RB position these days even in a tough matchup with the Panthers. Carolina gave up the sixth fewest rushing yards during the 2-16 regular season opened this year by yielding only 56 yards to the 49ers. As the nucleus of the offense, McCoy should see enough volume to be a useful RB2 with upside for more should the Bills get inside the twenty. The next best fantasy rusher in Buffalo is quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He logged eight official rushes and figures to be on the move in this matchup as well.

Value Meter:
QB2: Tyrod Taylor
RB1: LeSean McCoy
TE1: Charles Clay
Bench: Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Mike Tolbert

Passing Game Thoughts: Cam Newton is not going to put up a lot of yardage and he isn’t running nearly as often or as effectively as he did as a rookie. Low passing attempts and below average completion percentage are not going to win you many fantasy weeks so be careful starting Newton in a game against two teams that like to grind it out with the rushing attack. It’s all risk and little reward when it comes to Kelvin Benjamin these days. His one-catch performance in Week 1 continues to prove why he is amongst the most frustrating fantasy players to own in recent memory. Christian McCaffrey’s arrival has added another mouth to feed in an already limited passing game. He is going to have a negative impact on Benjamin and Olsen each week but Olsen’s steady hands will continue to make him a middle of the road fantasy starter at TE this week. With Ted Ginn Jr. out of the picture, Devin Funchess is the clear number two in the offense but he remains the fourth best option in the passing game.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: The Bills struggle against the run and are playing a team that thrives on a clock management style running game. That bodes well for both Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey. Stewart should be solid and steady throughout the early portion of the year and last week’s twenty touches, including a receiving touchdown, should give his owners plenty of confidence that he can continue to be a productive RB2 or flex option in Week 2. McCaffrey is going to eventually eat into Stewie’s playing time by the end of the year but for now he’s settling into a dual threat role that is well suited for him to be a fantasy star even as a backup. He had nearly an identical workload to Stewart in logging 18 touches, including seven targets in the passing game. His all-purpose yardage potential makes him a weekly flex option in all formats. Carolina will want to milk the clock and keep LeSean McCoy well rested so expect plenty of rushing attempts from the Panthers.

Value Meter:
QB2: Cam Newton
RB2: Jonathan Stewart
TE1: Greg Olsen
Flex: Christian McCaffrey
Bench: Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess

Prediction: Panthers 21, Bills 14 ^ Top

Bears @ Buccaneers - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: The big news coming out of Week 1 for Chicago is the loss of WR Kevin White for the year with a broken collarbone. The good news is that the Bears are accustomed to playing without White. The bad news is that Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton and Deonte Thompson top the depth chart for Mike Glennon. Wright has struggled to excel in the lead role, has his own injury risks (13 games missed over last three season) and is playing in a below average passing attack. Furthermore, Tampa has an underrated pass rush and should be more than capable of making things tough for their former backup quarterback. Wright may be in store for regular targets but he’s “fool’s gold” due to his lack of downfield ability and low scoring potential. Chicago will need to get creative with their passing game by using more two-TE formations and utilizing Tarik Cohen as a receiver out of the backfield. That means Zach Miller is in play as a low-end TE1 or solid choice in two TE leagues. Cohen’s evolving role in the passing game boosts his overall fantasy value but the Bucs will have a plan.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: N/A
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: N/A
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: N/A
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: N/A

Running Game Thoughts: The lack of downfield targets in the passing game leave the Bears’ rush offense exposed to loaded defensive fronts. As a result, Jordan Howard’s fantasy value takes a little hit as he firmly joins Todd Gurley and Lamar Miller as a high volume, lower output RB2 fantasy plays this weekend. As the main man in Chicago’s offense, Howard remains a must start in all formats but his ceiling is lower than you’d like in Week 2 so he may not be the best DFS option. Tarik Cohen will see a handful of carries in the running game. His dual threat capabilities will be a boon for PPR leaguers but his touch totals should give him Flex appeal in standard leagues.

Value Meter:
RB2: Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen (PPR)
TE1: Zach Miller
Flex: Tarik Cohen (Standard)
Bench: Mike Glennon, Kendall Wright, Deonte Thompson

Passing Game Thoughts: Tampa Bay is coming off an early bye week to match up against a Bears defense that allowed over 300 passing yards to the Falcons in Week 1. Quarterback Jameis Winston has a deeper set of pass catchers this year with DeSean Jackson set to take over opposite Mike Evans and rookie TE O.J. Howard a solid backup behind Cameron Brate. Winston and the offense figure to see more plays than normal due to the lack of offense on the other side of the ball. Even if Winston struggles, his final line should be more than respectable due to volume of passes. It’s more likely that Winston airs it out as the team tries to take some of the pressure off the short-handed backfield allowing both Evans and Jackson to be useful fantasy options this week. Brate should be worked into the mix and could even see the end zone but his stats would suffer if Tampa gets up early and rides out the run game in the second half.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Jacquizz Rodgers gets the starting nod with Doug Martin suspended (Martin started serving a four-game suspension in Week 17 last season). Last season, Tampa Bay found plenty of success with Rodgers leading the way and they are surely confident that “Q” will get the job done against the Bears in Week 2. Rodgers stands an excellent chance of eclipsing twenty carries in this matchup and should be a viable RB2 in all formats. The Bears just placed ILB Jerrell Freeman on the IR leaving a gaping hole in their run defense so get Rodgers into your lineups this weekend. Charles Sims and Peyton Barber will be the backups. Sims offers some pass catching upside but neither is expected to see more than a handful of touches.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jameis Winston
RB2: Jacquizz Rodgers
WR1: Mike Evans
TE1: Cameron Brate
Flex: DeSean Jackson
Bench: O.J. Howard, Charles Sims, Adam Humphries

Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Bears 10 ^ Top

Cardinals @ Colts - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: If you waited to draft a quarterback and decided to put your money on the favorable schedule of Carson Palmer get ready to see some of the profit. The offense in Indy isn’t good so the already suspect defense is being asked to do more than it should. Enter a veteran quarterback on a team that just lost its star running back. Larry Fitzgerald saw 13 targets a week ago and it’s hard to see Palmer not feeding him another double-digit dose of passes as they use the short passing game to augment the run. John Brown also deserves to be upgraded this week if he can overcome a quad injury that has plagued him since the preseason. If he can’t shake off the injury then J.J. Nelson would become flex worthy in all formats (including DFS) so watch the injury reports as the weekend approaches. TE Jermaine Gresham is dealing with a rib injury that has prevented him from practicing this week.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: David Johnson is out and Kerwynn Williams has been tabbed the starter for Week 2. Ouch. Andre Ellington will get the passing downs and the team signed Chris Johnson, the guy formerly known as CJ2K, to be the next man up. Williams and Ellington are good enough to hold down the fort this week and if the passing game is without Brown and Gresham then they will certainly not abandon the run. With about 15 touches, Williams should be a low-end RB2/Flex in deeper formats. Ellington returns to the backfield after being utilized as a wideout. Ellington represents a potential mismatch opportunity coming out of the backfield and should be a sneaky good flex option for PPR owners.

Value Meter:
QB1: Carson Palmer
RB2: Kerwynn Williams
WR1: Larry Fitzgerald
WR2: John Brown (if healthy)
Flex: Andre Ellington (PPR only), J.J. Nelson (if Brown is out)
Bench: Jermaine Gresham, Chris Johnson

Passing Game Thoughts: Scott Tolzien made the Colts look foolish in their inability to get a better backup in place this preseason. Indy is already made the switch to Jacoby Brissett at quarterback and he hasn’t even been with the team two full weeks! T.Y. Hilton owners should have known he would likely suffer but catching only three of seven passes for a handful of yards wasn’t what they had in mind. The Colts pass offense is a mess without Luck and responsible fantasy owners need to take the keys away from Hilton and the rest of the gang while the Colts sort things out. Arizona was a top five pass defense a year ago but couldn’t figure out how to stop Mathew Stafford last week. I’m guessing they will have better luck against Brissett this week so keep everyone benched.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: At this stage of his career, Frank Gore just isn’t good enough to put the team on his back anymore. He’s not washed up by any means but he’s not in an ideal situation for fantasy success given the state of the passing game. The Colts aren’t set up to run the ball 30 times a game and even if they were, the Cardinals defense will be ready. As a result, it’s not advisable to start Gore because if things go awry quickly on the scoreboard, Indy may choose to spare their aging horse. As a result, we could be seeing a Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack duo take over in the second half.

Value Meter:
WR3: T.Y. Hilton
TE2: Jack Doyle
Bench: Frank Gore, Donte Moncrief, Scott Tolzien, Jacoby Brissett

Prediction: Cardinals 30, Colts 6 ^ Top

Patriots @ Saints - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Already playing without Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell, the Patriots are not likely to have Danny Amendola healthy for their Week 2 contest either. That leaves Tom Brady without much help beyond his starters Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Gronk. Phillip Dorsett and Dwayne Allen could make a splash ibut both are a true gamble. Brady should continue to use James White and Rex Burkhead in the passing game after the combo saw eight passes in the first week. White is looking like a solid PPR play with New England in a potential shootout but Burkhead could be an option for risk averse owners in deep formats. Meanwhile, Cooks returns to the face the team that drafted him. The added motivation for Cooks and Brady to get last week’s loss behind should serve fantasy owners well. The fact that these two defenses gave up the first and second most passing yards in Week 1 should make you feel even better.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: After scoring three touchdowns against the Chiefs, Mike Gillislee seems to be the choice near the goal for the Patriots and there should be a fair amount of scoring opportunities against the Saints. New Orleans gave up the fifth most rushing yards in the NFL last week and the Patriots certainly have the ammo to keep peppering New Orleans with the rush. James White’s role as the first choice to hold down two-minute and passing down packages makes him the best bet to be useful in PPR leagues. That might not leave many touches for Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. Then again, it is the Patriots and anyone in their backfield could score three touchdowns on any given week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady
RB2: Mike Gillislee
WR1: Brandin Cooks
WR2: Chris Hogan
TE1: Rob Gronkowski
Flex: James White (PPR)
Bench: Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, Phillip Dorsett, Dwayne Allen

Passing Game Thoughts: Two Hall of Fame bound quarterbacks squaring off in New Orleans make this one of the more intriguing games to watch this weekend. The fact that Alex Smith was able to light up the Patriots pass defense to kick off the season, raises the expectations for Drew Brees and the passing game for Week 2. Brees continues to spread the ball around and limit turnovers while orchestrating 300 passing games with ease. Michael Thomas is going up against another tough matchup after facing the Vikings secondary a week ago. His owners might have to wait another week before he truly puts up a game worthy of a WR1 but he is still worthy of WR2 billing so long as Drew Brees is dropping back for the Saints. Veteran Ted Ginn Jr. is doing what he can to take over the secondary receiver role with Willie Sneed serving a suspension. If the Patriots take Thomas out of the game, Ginn could easily double his output, pushing him to the top of the WR3 tier for Week 2. In recent years, Coby Fleener has a way of going long stretches between touchdown passes so those hoping for an encore performance should keep expectations in check.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: Week 1 did nothing to help fantasy owners figure out what to expect from the Saints’ backfield. Playing from behind likely had a hand in rookie Alvin Kamara leading the RBBC in carries so it’s too soon to for Mark Ingram owners to panic. There hasn’t been any news out of the bayou to suggest Ingram’s status as the starter and lead dog are in jeopardy. However, we should note HC Sean Payton’s confidence in giving the rookie plenty of snaps when the team is trailing. Tom Brady has a way of making teams play from behind so Adrian Peterson owners might have to endure another week with minimal use. Kamara is an interesting case for fantasy owners to consider. As we get ready for Week 2, Kamara may be the best handcuff to Ingram as he is one of several dual-threat running backs making waves following week 1.

Value Meter:
QB1: Drew Brees
RB2: Mark Ingram
WR2: Michael Thomas
WR3: Ted Ginn Jr.
Flex: Alvin Kamara (PPR)
Bench: Coby Fleener, Brandon Coleman, Adrian Peterson

Prediction: Patriots 33, Saints 26 ^ Top

Titans @ Jaguars - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Marcus Mariota did a lot of things well last week but he failed to make enough big plays to push himself into the QB1 discussion. He faces a good defensive team in the Jaguars Week 2 and fantasy owners shouldn’t trust him in one QB leagues just yet. Part of that trust is dependent on the chemistry between Eric Decker and Mariota. Catching only three of eight targets isn’t ideal considering Corey Davis is quickly emerging as a legitimate threat to crack the starting lineup. Davis saw double-digit targets in his first game as a pro and looks as promising as any rookie wideout in the league right now. This is all good news for Mariota but it makes projecting the entire set of receivers tougher, especially with Tennessee’s desire to be a run first team.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: It’s too early to tell if DeMarco Murray’s lackluster Week 1 was the product of a good Raiders run defense (not as likely) or a poor effort from the Titans rush offense (more likely). I suspect there will be a better effort from the Titans when they travel to Jacksonville. Tennessee’s workhorse was held to less than 50 yards rushing. That’s not good news considering he ended the 2016 season with a similar stat line in three of the final games. For now, Murray is the starter and slated to see the bulk of the carries. Until he proves last season’s fade is behind him he remains a RB2. Derrick Henry scored his first touchdown against the Jaguars back in Week 8 last season but he remains a backup with limited touches heading into Week 2.

Value Meter:
QB2: Marcus Mariota
RB2: DeMarco Murray
WR2: Rishard Matthews
TE1: Delanie Walker
Bench: Derrick Henry, Corey Davis, Eric Decker

Passing Game Thoughts: The new blueprint in Jacksonville has been written. A whole lot less passing and a whole lot more running. It makes sense given the team’s depth at running back but it makes it awfully tough to trust Bortles to churn out fantasy production. Allen Robinson’s season ending injury may be a blessing in disguise as his owners can now move on with a replacement instead of wondering whether to start him each week… unless Robinson owners replaced him with another Jacksonville receiver! Doh. There will be useful weeks from Allen Hurns or Marqise Lee but you don’t want to roll the dice until the bye weeks come around to find out. Tennessee did give up two passing touchdowns against Derek Carr but the Jags are not on the same level. Lee and Hurns are both capable of being useful in the deepest of formats but it will be a crapshoot as to who will perform better.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette has already started winning people over after a solid debut against the Texans produced a 100-yard game and a touchdown for his owners. To put that into perspective, that’s the same number of 100-yard rushing games the Jaguars had in the entire 2016 season. Playing in a run heavy scheme, Fournette has a great shot at eclipsing the 20-carry threshold once again this week making him a low end RB1 against the Titans. Chris Ivory is still hanging onto a small backup role but his carries will go down now that T.J. Yeldon is set to return. Yeldon (hamstring) practiced this week and should be ready for a limited role this weekend.

Value Meter:
QB2: Blake Bortles
RB1: Leonard Fournette
Bench: Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee, T.J. Yeldon, Chris Ivory, Marcedes Lewis

Prediction: Titans 23, Jaguars 22 ^ Top

Packers @ Falcons - (Gordon)

Passing Game Thoughts: Aaron Rodgers overcame a tough defensive matchup last week to post respectable fantasy numbers. The best part is knowing that he won’t have to face the Seahawks defense for the rest of the fantasy regular season. He’s starting so there’s really not much else to say. Same goes for Jordy Nelson, he’s a fixture in your starting lineup and has scored in five of seven career games against Atlanta. The real crux of the Packers passing attack for fantasy owners lies with Davante Adams and Randall Cobb. The latter is healthy again and hauled in eight of 13 targets against Seattle in Week 1. Many of those targets were a result of quick throws on shallow routes to offset the Seahawks pass rush. That doesn’t mean they didn’t count though so Adams’ owners will certainly want to see how the passes are split against a vulnerable Falcons team that had its share of trouble stopping the Bears last week. All three of Green Bay’s main receivers are worth starting this week with a potential shootout looming.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: Over twenty touches and a score should erase any doubt Ty Montgomery owners had with his role coming into the season. He did miss a few plays with an injury scare but there isn’t much competition and plenty of scoring for a player who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. Regardless of what type of game plays out (back and forth shoot, close game, etc.) Montgomery can be used in a pivotal role. When these teams faced each other in the 2016 NFC Championship game Montgomery was a non-factor totaling just 19 total yards on four touches. That shouldn’t be the case this time around.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers
RB2: Ty Montgomery
WR1: Jordy Nelson
WR3: Davante Adams, Randall Cobb
TE1: Martellus Bennett

Passing Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan and the Falcons will open their new stadium Sunday night and it’s sure to be an electric atmosphere when the game kicks off. Ryan wasn’t horrible to open the season but he will need to play better if this offense is going to move on following the departure of Kyle Shanahan. Green Bay limited the Seahawks to a whopping 135 passing yards last week but they will have their hands full with Julio Jones and company in Week 2. Jones hasn’t had success against the Packers since he went off for over 259 receiving yards back in 2014 but you would be a fool not to start him in a game featuring two high powered offenses. Mohamed Sanu will likely see more targets than Taylor Gabriel but its Gabriel’s big play potential off the play action pass that should be on the fantasy radar in this matchup. Only three defenses in the NFL gave up more passing plays of over twenty-yards than the Packers in 2016. TE Austin Hopper had a couple of big plays against the Bears to give him 100 receiving yards on only two receptions. Despite the talent, he hasn’t carved out enough of a role in the offense to be an effective fantasy starter.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Atlanta dares its opponents to stuff their run game featuring Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. The Falcons need to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field to come out of this game with a ‘W’ and that should translate into a whole heaping load of running plays. Freeman should get his typical 18+ touches in high scoring affair making him an excellent RB1. Tevin Coleman is more than a passing down specialist and can score whenever he has the ball in his hands. The tough part is simply starting a guy who might only get a dozen carries. He’s probably not a staring option in shallow leagues but in deeper pools he’s worth the gamble as your flex starter.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan
RB1: Devonta Freeman
RB2: Tevin Coleman
WR1: Julio Jones
WR3: Mohamed Sanu
Flex: Taylor Gabriel
TE2: Austin Hooper

Prediction: Falcons 34, Packers 32 ^ Top

Eagles @ Chiefs - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: It wasn’t always pretty in Week 1 but Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz showed signs of returning to his early-2016 form when he looked to be on pace to be a candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year. The Eagles won a big road division game against the Redskins mostly due to the arm of their young quarterback who threw for over 300 yards and a pair of scores along with one interception. What’s perhaps most interesting, though, is how the passing game was distributed. It’s only one game, but just three targets to Torrey Smith is not a good sign for Smith’s short-term fantasy value, while even the seven that Alshon Jeffery saw seemed low.

Instead, it was the team’s new slot receiver, Nelson Agholor, who led all Philadelphia wide receivers with eight targets, six of which he caught for 86 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Zach Ertz was also extremely efficient, catching all eight of his targets for 93 yards. Running back Darren Sproles also returned to his role as the team’s primary passing down back, catching five passes for 43 yards. All of these weapons should have some fantasy value this week but after the Chiefs went on the road and defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots in Week 1, there’s certainly cause for concern about the upside of everyone in this passing game.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: The Eagles’ running back snap distribution in Week 1 should be worrisome to owners of LeGarrette Blount. He saw just 23 snaps while Darren Sproles saw 33 snaps. Perhaps this kind of snap allocation would have been a bit more understandable if the team had been losing and needed to pass substantially more, but that’s not how things were. Sure, Blount did touch the ball on 15 of his 23 snaps which made him by far the most utilized back on the team, but he was only able to muster a measly 46 yards on those carries. While Blount did save his fantasy day with a one-yard receiving touchdown, wise fantasy owners have to be looking closely at this matchup against the Chiefs. While the Patriots were able to utilize Mike Gillislee in the “Blount role” in their offense at the goal line, it’s hard to believe that the Eagles are going to be quite that effective on offense. As such, Blount’s red zone touches are likely to be limited. He’s always a threat to score from in close, but Blount is simply not built to be an every down back at this point. Be careful about using him in what could be a difficult matchup, particularly if the Eagles fall behind on the scoreboard.

Value Meter:
RB2: LeGarrette Blount (low-end)
WR2: Alshon Jeffery
Flex: Darren Sproles (PPR), Nelson Agholor
Bench: Carson Wentz, Torrey Smith, Wendell Smallwood

Passing Game Thoughts: Alex Smith had one of the best games of his career in the first regular season game of the 2017 season as he and the Chiefs walked all over the Patriots. Smith has never been much of a fantasy asset and expecting him to suddenly become a QB1 seems reactionary, but what he showed that he can do is get the ball to his top target, Tyreek Hill. While tight end Travis Kelce was held to just 40 yards on the night, Hill absolutely dominated the Patriots defense to the tune of seven receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown.

Expect Kelce to return to his prominent role in the Kansas City offense in Week 2, but this is a tough matchup on paper as he will be up against a Philadelphia defense that gave up the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends during the 2016 season. Hill’s matchup is significantly more favorable on paper as he’ll be up against a Philadelphia secondary that conceded the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers in 2016. If Hill and Kelce continue to lead the team in targets as they did in Week 1, both players should be fine starters for your fantasy team in this game and going forward.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: Welcome to the NFL, Kareem Hunt! Hunt’s explosive Week 1 performance showed us what the rookie is capable of, but it also showed us the crazy return that a the feature back role in an Andy Reid offense can generate. Hunt led all running backs in fantasy scoring in Week 1, making plays as both a runner and as a receiver and he has already ascended into must-start status for the vast majority of fantasy teams. The Eagles held the Washington rushing attack in check in Week 1, but they’ll have a much tougher matchup against a more skilled and hungry runner in Hunt. If the Chiefs do get out to a lead, look for them to lean heavily on Hunt to close out the game which could mean another 20-25 touch day for the young tailback.

Value Meter:
QB2: Alex Smith
RB1: Kareem Hunt
WR2: Tyreek Hill (high-end)
TE1: Travis Kelce
Bench: Chris Conley, Albert Wilson, Charcandrick West

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Eagles 20 ^ Top

Jets @ Raiders - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: After one week, the train wreck that was expected to be the 2017 New York Jets appears to be right on path. Week 1 starter Josh McCown threw a pair of interceptions without a touchdown, passing for just 187 yards against the Bills, completing just one pass further than 10 yards down the field. This kind of performance led to other teams already turning to younger options at their QB position this season, but the Jets appear to be ready to start McCown here again on the road in Week 2.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

The Oakland secondary is far from great but it’s hard to believe that the New York passing attack is going to put up good enough numbers for any of these players to be anything more than borderline starters. If you’re looking for some sort of hope, it’s worth noting that the newly acquired Jermaine Kearse led the team in targets (10) and receptions (7) although he was only able to convert that to 59 receiving yards. Many believed that Robby Anderson would still be the team’s primary receiving option but that does not appear to be the case as he was targeted eight times, which he was able to turn into just 22 receiving yards.

Running Game Thoughts: Bilal Powell was one of the backs who saw his stock rise over the offseason but Week 1 showed us that the Jets are simply not ready to fully turn over the keys to the younger, arguably more effective Powell. Matt Forte was still heavily involved in the offense, touching the ball nine times to Powell’s 12, although neither player was particularly effective with their touches against the Bills. While Oakland’s defense is a step down from the one in Buffalo, heading on the road across the country is always a tough thing to do and it’ll be particularly tough for a team that lacks offensive firepower. Powell and Forte are both borderline Flex play options depending on your league format and size and unfortunately neither player is likely to have many opportunities to score so they’ll have to be extremely efficient with their chances in order to ever yield a “big” game.

Value Meter:
Flex: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte (low-end in PPR), Jermaine Kearse
Bench: Josh McCown, Robby Anderson

Passing Game Thoughts: It was nice to see Derek Carr back on the field in Week 1 after breaking his leg at the end of the 2016 season. Carr was effective in his 2017 debut, throwing for 262 yards and a pair of scores in a nice win over a quality Titans team. Wide receiver Amari Cooper scored his first touchdown of the season on what could only be described as a “Beast-Mode-like” run-after-catch in the red zone. This play was certainly a display of Cooper’s impressive skills, but it was a bit fluky and it should be noted that he still caught one fewer pass than fellow wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Cooper did, however, get 13 targets to Crabtree’s seven. It’s also worth noting that tight end Jared Cook caught all five of his targets for 56 yards in his Raiders debut, but he still remains the third option at best in this offense and has shown tremendous inconsistency throughout his career. While they did force one interception, the Jets gave up 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Tyrod Taylor and the depleted Buffalo Bills passing game in Week 1, so don’t expect them to be able to shut down one of the league’s more proficient passing attacks here in Week 2. Start your stud Raiders players and get Cook in your lineup if you’re weak at tight end.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: After a year away from the game, Marshawn Lynch returned to the field in Week 1, rushing for 76 yards on 18 carries while adding 16 yards in the passing game. Lynch’s value is likely going to be tied to his ability to get into the end zone this season and while he failed to do that in Week 1, he showed signs of still having the bruising power that made him one of the most entertaining players in the league to watch when he ran right over 300-pound defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. The Jets defense got absolutely embarrassed by LeSean McCoy and Mike Tolbert in Week 1, giving up over 200 total yards to the Bills running backs along with a goal line touchdown. Lynch is a great fantasy option this week against a bad New York team in a game that could lead to a very positive game script for him.

Value Meter:
QB1: Derek Carr
RB1: Marshawn Lynch
WR1: Amari Cooper
WR2: Michael Crabtree
TE1: Jared Cook (low-end)
Bench: DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard, Seth Roberts

Prediction: Oakland 28, New York Jets 13 ^ Top

Dolphins @ Chargers - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Hurricane Irma led to the Dolphins having a de facto Week 1 bye, which will certainly lead to some wear and tear down the stretch but for now it should mean that they are fresh and ready to head across the country to face the Chargers. Quarterback Jay Cutler will be making his debut for the Dolphins and already has fantasy owners of wide receiver DeVante Parker salivating after the comparisons Cutler made of him to Alshon Jeffery. If Parker becomes Cutler’s favorite down-field passing option, he could potentially catch on as a low-end WR1. Jarvis Landry’s situation is a bit more in flux as he had a great thing going with Ryan Tannehill but Cutler is not typically a quarterback who relies on short reads which allow his receivers to make plays after the catch. Both players are fantasy starters this week but the risk is certainly there until we see how things play out on the field. It’s particularly risky given that they’ll be matched up against one of the better cornerback groups in the league.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: With Jay Cutler behind center, it’s worth considering that the Dolphins would probably be completely okay with handing the ball to their running back, Jay Ajayi, 30 or more times per game. Obviously that’s not possible given the violence of the position, but there’s a real chance that Ajayi could be among the league leaders in touches this season at the running back position. The Chargers did keep the Broncos running backs out of the end zone in Week 1, but they also conceded 121 rushing yards on 30 carries. It wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see the Dolphins implement a similar gameplan, so expect to see a heavy workload of Ajayi, making him a solid RB1 in this contest.

Value Meter:
RB1: Jay Ajayi
WR2: DeVante Parker
Flex: Jarvis Landry
Bench: Jay Cutler, Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas

Passing Game Thoughts: The Chargers were a missed field goal away from a big road division victory over the Broncos and much of that was because quarterback Philip Rivers tossed three touchdown passes. One of those went to wide receiver Keenan Allen who stepped back into his role as the team’s top receiving option after tearing his ACL in 2016. Allen’s 10 targets led the team and while he was only able to produce 35 receiving yards on those opportunities, it was against arguably the league’s best secondary, on the road, in his first game back. Allen is back to being a high-end WR2 in most contests with WR1 upside.

Meanwhile, Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin were the team’s other two most productive receiving options as they were targeted seven times and four times respectively, with Williams leading the team with 54 receiving yards while Benjamin was the recipient of a touchdown pass from Rivers. Interestingly, second-year tight end Hunter Henry was not targeted a single time in this contest, further drawing concerns that he will simply not be an important part of this passing game until Antonio Gates either suffers an injury or eventually retires. For now, neither tight end is a particularly strong start and both are essentially touchdown-or-bust options.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: N/A
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: N/A
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs:N/A
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: N/A

Running Game Thoughts: Los Angeles running back Melvin Gordon missed the final few games of the 2016 season but stepped back into his starting role to start the 2017 season. While he rushed for just 54 yards on 18 carries, a 3.0 yards per carry average against the Broncos in Week 1, he did add to his fantasy production by making five receptions and scoring a touchdown in the passing game. Gordon is the unquestioned starter in what is a good offense, so he’s locked in as an RB1 in most games, including this Week 2 contest at home against the Dolphins.

Value Meter:
QB1: Philip Rivers (low-end)
RB1: Melvin Gordon
WR2: Keenan Allen (high-end)
Flex: Tyrell Williams
Bench: Travis Benjamin, Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry

Prediction: Chargers 24, Dolphins 20 ^ Top

49ers @ Seahawks - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s too early to draw many conclusions, but Brian Hoyer and the 49ers offense did not look particularly good in Week 1, at home against a beatable Carolina defense. The Kyle Shanahan-coached offense scored just three points on the day, failing to get into the end zone in a blowout loss. The one positive in the passing game seems to be wide receiver Pierre Garcon who led the team with 10 targets, six of which he caught for 81 yards. While that stat line isn’t going to light up the fantasy points, it is at least good to know that the predictions we had of Garcon getting a heavy target share were on point.

In Week 2, however, this struggling offense will head on the road to one of the most difficult places to win in the league in Seattle. The Seahawks secondary continues to be one of the best in the league and while Richard Sherman does not typically “shadow” opposing top receivers, there is a good chance that Garcon will see a good amount of him, which will limit his fantasy upside in this contest. Garcon is really the only option in the passing game that anyone should be paying attention to, but he’s not much more than a Flex option in this difficult matchup.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Reports of Carlos Hyde falling out of favor with the coaching staff in San Francisco ran rampant this offseason, but Hyde appears to have a lock on the running back role for the 49ers at least at the start of the season. A negative game script led to Hyde getting just nine carries in the game, but no other back had more than four carries in the contest. Hyde was also used in the passing game as he caught six passes for 32 yards. He’s never been much of a pass catcher so it’s hard to believe that Hyde is suddenly going to be a PPR monster, but perhaps the Shanahan offense could be good for him as it saw both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman make significant contributions in the passing game in Atlanta.

The biggest problem for Hyde’s fantasy value is that the 49ers are just a terrible offensive team. Without many opportunities deep in enemy territory, Hyde is unlikely to have many “boom” games while his potential for “bust” games is very high. Still, he touches the ball enough that he’s going to be a viable RB2 in most contests, even in tough matchups like against the Seahawks who he scored a pair of touchdowns against while eclipsing 100 rushing yards in the only game he played against them in 2016.

Value Meter:
RB2: Carlos Hyde
Flex: Pierre Garcon
Bench: Brian Hoyer, Matt Breida, Kyle Juszczyk, Marquise Goodwin, George Kittle

Passing Game Thoughts: Week 1’s matchup against the Packers looked like one that could yield a huge fantasy total, but the reality is that the Seattle offense simply did not live up to their end of the bargain. Russell Wilson threw for just 158 yards, completing barely 50 percent of his passes. He did rush for 40 yards but did so on just two carries, which should be a concern for fantasy owners. Wilson does have a history of starting the season slow, however, so it might not be time to hit the panic button quite yet.

While the 49ers defense did give up two passing touchdowns to Cam Newton and the Panthers in Week 1, they were able to intercept him once and they also held him in check in the running game. Certainly the Seahawks offense has a chance of breaking out of their funk in this game, but it seems much more likely that this is going to be a low-scoring contest without much fantasy production. Other than wide receiver Doug Baldwin who remains a high-end WR2 or low-end WR1, tight end Jimmy Graham is probably the best fantasy option in the offense at the moment. Despite him catching just three passes for eight yards in Week 1, Graham led the team in targets with eight and remains one of the most physically dominant tight ends in the game.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No. 24

Running Game Thoughts: A big part of the reason that the Seahawks did so poorly offensively against the Packers is that their offensive line simply did not open up holes for their running backs. Of course, the running backs themselves did not play particularly well either, namely Eddie Lacy who looked slow and plodding in the few carries he had. Pass-catching specialist C.J. Prosise was used sparingly and actually didn’t catch any passes in Week 1, leading the way for rookie Chris Carson to lead the backfield in touches – albeit with just seven total touches.

Carson seemed to be the only player who showed any explosiveness whatsoever, but with Thomas Rawls likely to be back this week, there’s a real chance that Carson could again fall down to the fourth option in this dreadful “by-committee” rushing attack. Head coach Pete Carroll did express excitement in what he saw in Carson after the game, but it’s hard to believe that he’s suddenly going to start giving any of these players significant enough carries to be reliable fantasy contributors. This mess of a backfield is frustrating because it doesn’t allow fantasy owners to take advantage of what should be a good matchup against a 49ers defense that conceded nearly 170 total yards and a touchdown to the Carolina backfield in Week 1.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
WR2: Doug Baldwin (high-end)
TE1: Jimmy Graham
Flex: Paul Richardson
Bench: Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, Thomas Rawls, Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett

Prediction: Seahawks 30, 49ers 16 ^ Top

Redskins @ Rams - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins did not look good in Week 1, completing barely 50 percent of his passes against a decent but not great Philadelphia defense. Cousins missed his receivers a few times on what could have been big plays and while he certainly gets plenty of opportunities to throw the ball, it has to be worrisome that he is so inaccurate at times. On a positive note, Cousins did heavily target the newly acquired Terrelle Pryor who caught six of his 11 targets for 66 yards. Jamison Crowder only caught three passes for 14 yards – a terrible fantasy day – but his seven targets were third-most behind only Pryor and superstar tight end Jordan Reed who compiled just 36 yards on five receptions.

The truth is that while the Redskins passing game looked out of sync in this game, there’s reason to be hopeful, if for no other reason than that Cousins is likely to continue to get plenty of volume. The Rams defense looked great in an easy Week 1 matchup, but they were not particularly good a season ago as they gave up 31 touchdown passes while intercepting just 10 passes. It might be tough to trust this offensive unit after their pathetic Week 1, but this offense is too talented to not produce more in this matchup.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: The NFL is full of by-committee backfields but few are more frustrating than the one we see in Washington. Rob Kelley, who averaged just three yards per carry in Week 1, took 10 carries while rookie Samaje Perine did not even get on the field. When asked about the situation, head coach Jay Gruden referenced a fumble that Perine had back in Week 1 of the preseason as the reason that he was not on the field against the Eagles. So while Perine may at some point contribute this season, he is nothing more than a deep bench stash at this time. Perhaps the most interesting back in Washington is actually the newly re-signed Chris Thompson, who scored the team’s only touchdown on Week 1 with some brilliant moves after a catch. Thompson shows tremendous elusiveness and has been productive in PPR formats in the past, so it seems very possible that he could work himself into an even bigger role in this offense if Kelley continues to struggle.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins (low-end)
WR2: Terrelle Pryor
Flex: Rob Kelley (standard-scoring), Chris Thompson (PPR), Jamison Crowder
TE1: Jordan Reed
Bench: Samaje Perine, Ryan Grant

Passing Game Thoughts: He did it against one of the worst defenses in the league but there’s no denying that Jared Goff had one of the best games of his young career as he completed 21 of his 29 pass attempts for 306 yards and a touchdown. Goff spread the ball out extremely well, targeting four different receivers at least five times, including newly acquired Sammy Watkins, who caught all five of his targets for 58 yards. Rookie Cooper Kupp showed some impressive skills working out of the slot, catching four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, and he appears to be locked in as one of the team’s primary offensive weapons. Robert Woods, also new to Los Angeles, caught three passes for 53 yards and while he may not be a great fantasy option himself, he does do the job of alleviating some of the defensive pressure that might otherwise go toward Watkins or Kupp.

Meanwhile Tavon Austin touched the ball just three times in the game, including two carries, and has seemingly become nothing more than a gadget player, thus making him fantasy irrelevant at least for the time being. Looking forward to this week’s matchup, look for Redskins cornerback Josh Norman to be lined up against Watkins fairly often, although he is not a complete shadow corner. Still, Watkins makes for an interesting WR2 in this matchup while Kupp could check in as a potential flex play in PPR formats.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: A touchdown saved what would have otherwise been a dreadful day on the ground for Todd Gurley as he was only able to muster up 40 rushing yards on 19 carries in what should have been one of the better matchups that he’ll face all season. Gurley’s Rams were ahead throughout most of the game which led to him touching the ball fairly heavily, but his five receptions for 56 yards were really the only way that he was able to generate any positive yardage. The Rams offensive line continues to be among the worst in the league and while defenses are going to have to worry about the wide receivers a bit more this season, it’s very obvious that Gurley is still the focal point of the offense. He should be fine if he can continue to sneak into the end zone and make plays in the passing game, but there’s definite downside here. The Redskins held the Eagles running backs to just 2.6 yards per carry in Week 1 and it could be a tough day for Gurley on the ground.

Value Meter:
RB1: Todd Gurley (low-end)
WR2: Sammy Watkins
Flex: Cooper Kupp (PPR)
Bench: Jared Goff, Robert Woods, Tavon Austin

Prediction: Redskins 24, Rams 20 ^ Top

Cowboys @ Broncos - (Caron)

Passing Game Thoughts: Week 1 saw the 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year pick up where he left off in 2016. Dak Prescott threw for 268 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 24 yards in the Cowboys’ Week 1 rivalry victory over the Giants. Prescott’s numbers could have been way better if he hadn’t missed a couple of passes down near the goal line, including overthrowing a short slant pass to an open Dez Bryant in the end zone. That, and a couple other missed connections, led to a weak fantasy day for Dez, but he continues to be a huge focal point of the Dallas so there’s really not a lot of cause for concern in that aspect.

That being said, Bryant goes from one of the more difficult cornerback matchups in the Giants to perhaps the most difficult matchup with the Broncos in Week 2. Philip Rivers did throw three touchdown passes against this defense, but he was held to under 200 yards through the air and it doesn’t seem likely that the Cowboys will go out with the offensive gameplan of passing the ball 40-or-more times against this secondary. Certainly Bryant remains a must-start in most season-long leagues but his DFS upside is limited in this matchup. Fellow receiver Cole Beasley made a highlight-reel catch in Week 1 but was otherwise fairly unproductive, however he should have an opportunity to make some plays in Week 2 as the Cowboys will be more likely to try to get the ball out of Prescott’s hands quickly in order to avoid the tremendous Denver pass rush led by Von Miller. Tight end Jason Witten, steady as ever, scored the Cowboys’ only touchdown in Week 1 and should continue to be a low-upside but steady TE1. Prescott himself is in for maybe the toughest matchup he’ll face all season so be sure to look around your waiver wire for a potential one-week replacement if you can find anything.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: With a looming suspension still potentially on the horizon, the Cowboys would be smart to get as much out of Ezekiel Elliott as they can early in the season. If he is eventually suspended, it will give him the opportunity to rest up on the bumps and bruises that he will have accumulated in the early part of the season, such as in Week 1 when he touched the ball a whopping 29 total times for 140 total yards. He failed to score a touchdown, but much of that was due to some odd offensive play calling that saw the Cowboys pass the ball substantially more in the red zone than they normally do. Don’t expect that to happen again this week as the Cowboys’ clear path to victory, at least offensively, is through Elliott’s legs. Look for another huge workload for the young stud running back who is locked in as one of the premiere options in all of fantasy football.

Value Meter:
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (high-end)
WR2: Dez Bryant
TE1: Jason Witten
Flex: Cole Beasley
Bench: Dak Prescott, Alfred Morris, Terrance Williams, Brice Butler

Passing Game Thoughts: The quarterback controversy in Denver may have an answer for the time being as third-year QB Trevor Siemian showed up in a big way in Week 1, throwing for a pair of touchdowns while also running in a touchdown himself in a close victory over the Chargers. Siemian continues to primarily target his top two wide receivers, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who remain safe but unspectacular WR2 options most weeks, including this week against the Cowboys. While the Dallas secondary looked good in Week 1, the Giants were without Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the passing game just seemed to be completely out of sync. The Broncos aren’t a well-oiled machine on offense by any means, but they should be able to make some plays against a young and frankly unskilled Cowboys secondary. Look for Thomas to get some opportunities in the red zone if the team gets down there while Sanders should continue to be an effective middle-of-the-field receiver who is more valuable in PPR formats.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: The Denver running back situation isn’t particularly good for fantasy purposes and much of that is because the offensive line just isn’t very good. In addition to that, the lack of a downfield passing game has allowed many teams to stack the box and keep the backs in check. But most importantly, C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles just don’t look like the players they were a few seasons ago when they were helping fantasy owners win their championships. While it’s nice to see – at least for fantasy purposes – that the team has opted to just utilize those two backs to start the season, they’re essentially vulturing one another at every turn. Both players averaged almost 4.0 yards per carry on the dot in Week 1 and while Anderson got 20 carries, Charles’ 10 were enough to make it so that neither player had a particularly strong fantasy day despite the two of them combining for 121 rushing yards.

The Dallas defense doesn’t scare anyone personnel-wise, but it’s worth noting that they were quietly the NFL’s second-best run defense in 2016, allowing just 72 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs and conceding just eight rushing touchdowns on the entire season to running backs, which was sixth-fewest in the league. Anderson is still probably an RB2 in this matchup given the chaotic backfields that are happening throughout the league, but his upside is limited in this one.

Value Meter:
RB2: C.J. Anderson
WR2: Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders (low-end)
Bench: Trevor Siemian, Jamaal Charles

Prediction: Cowboys 23, Broncos 17 ^ Top