Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

 Log In  | Sign Up  |  Contact      

Favorites & Fades

Week 3

By: Nick Caron | HC Green | Eli Mack | John Fessel
Updated: 9/24/23


Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:





- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
- Lines and totals updated Sunday morning

Giants @ 49ers - (Fessel)
Line: SF -10.5
Total: 43.5

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

No Brainers: n/a

Favorites: n/a

On the Fence: TE Darren Waller

Coming off a 6 reception, 76-yard game, Darren Waller looks healthy and dangerous. Yet, despite unsurprisingly leading the Giants in targets through two weeks (13), he'll have his work cut out for him against Niners team that has given up just 6 receptions on 15 targets to tight ends through the first two games of the season. Both Pat Freiermuth (1 reception for 3 yards) and Tyler Higbee (3 receptions for 12 yards) - two respectable tight ends - were smothered by the 49ers linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner. The 49ers weren’t kind to TE's in 2022, allowing the 8th fewest points to the position, and just 9 yards per reception. Warner was particularly prolific in that effort, allowing 0 TDs in coverage and just a 73 passer rating against.

There are a couple of positives to cling to if you’re banking on Waller. In Week 1, Freiermuth did at least salvage a TD against the Niners, and the distinct possibility that the Giants will be throwing a lot from behind - especially without Barkley - is a plus. Waller, easily being Daniel Jones' most talented target, could benefit from the negative game script. Still, a quiet day for Waller would not be a shock.

Fade: QB Daniel Jones, RB Gary Brightwell, RB Matt Breida, All Giants Wide Receivers

The Giants started the season allowing 60 points before the offense even got on the scoreboard, which makes the situation for Jones even more unnerving. They did at least rally in historic fashion to scrape out a W versus the rebuilding Cardinals. Jones turned out a huge performance by the time the dust had cleared (327 yards passing, 59 rushing, 3 TDs and 32.7 fantasy points) and is currently No.8 in QB scoring through two weeks (with 20.6 FPts/G). That should help ease long term concerns, but against a vicious 49er defense this week, it might be best to turn to someone else.

Going out with a banged up and struggling offensive line versus a 49ers defense that has registered 6 sacks (and had 44 last season), mere survival might be a victory for Daniel Jones. But survival won't earn him any fantasy points and the Niners aren't in the habit of dishing them out either, allowing just 15 FPts/G thus far and only 16.3 FPts/G last season.

Meanwhile, this might be shocking, but the 49ers are also difficult to run against. They've allowed just 89 yards rushing on 23 carries through two games. With Barkley out and a Gary Brightwell / Matt Brieda split apparent, that means managers can’t bank on either back to reach double-digit carries. And,cconsidering that Brieda nor 6th rounder Brightwell are exceptional rushing talents, we can’t expect high efficiency.

If there is an upshot, it is that the 49ers have surrendered 16 receptions to RB’s – largely due to a lot of garbage time, which may happen again this week (though they’ve given up just 4.8 yards per reception). Still, a lot of negative game script, a split between two back up running backs, and a menacing 49er defense that allowed the least fantasy points to RB’s last season makes this a hard pass for either Brieda or Brightwell.

With no Giants wide receiver having standout capabilities nor seeing more than 11 targets through two games, all Giants receivers are best sat, as well.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

No Brainers: RB Christian McCaffrey, TE George Kittle

Favorites: WR Deebo Samuel

In a game where the Niners are possibly going to be without Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel stands to be one of the considerable benefactors. Additionally, Samuel's contributions in the run game (7 rushes 46 yards and a TD through two games) make him likely to produce results even when the 49ers are in total control the of the game. Samuel finished No.2 in WR scoring in 2021 with 1770 total yards and 14 total touchdowns, before falling to No.34 last season (864 yards and 5 TD in 13 games). With reports out of camp that Samuel was in better shape than ever, it seemed reasonable that he would at least fall somewhere in between his 2021 and 2022 seasons, and likely on the healthy side of it. Thus far, at No.15 through two weeks, it appears to be the case. The Giants have talent on defense, but have been disappointing thus far. They could start to get in sync this week, but Samuel is likely going to be WR1 and he has a lot of ways to hurt a defense. He's an excellent option this week with WR1 upside.

On the Fence: WR Brandon Aiyuk (shoulder)

Brandon Aiyuk ranks No.8 among wide receivers and already had 2 touchdowns, after securing 8 while ranking No.14 last season. The Niners could see a lot of the red zone this week, but as alluded to above, Aiyuk appears to be a game time decision due to a shoulder injured incurred last week, so he's as truly on the fence. Keep a close eye on reports early on Thursday evening, and have a plan B ready. It may even be wise to pass up on Aiyuk completely even if he does play, as the 49ers may tread lightly with him if they feel they can quickly get control in this game.

Fade: QB Brock Purdy, WR Jauan Jennings

Brock Purdy has been very efficient to start 2023 (67% completion rate, 7.9 yards per attempt, 3 total TDs and 0 Ints), but like his predecessor Jimmy Garoppolo, lack of volume minimizes how much good that'll do fantasy owners (just 27 pass attempts per game in 2023 and under 26 per game thus far in Purdy's career). Purdy is merely No.18 among QBs despite two nearly stainless games for the 49ers.

Facing the Giants may not help, even if he has another statistically efficient performance. Giants’ opponents have not had a lot of volume (just 28 pass attempts and 2 rushes per game). New York having given up just 14.8 fantasy points per game to QBs and 6.6 yards per pass attempt; can Brock Purdy - especially if he's down Brandin Aiyuk - provide starter value? Less than likely.

Meanwhile, Jauan Jennings made four starts last year (while Deebo Samuel was out) and never finished with more than 6 targets or 8.2 fantasy points (both in Week 1 of 2022 against a relatively poor Bears defense). Jennings amassed just 14 catches and 0 touchdowns in his starts, despite seeing more than 80% of snaps in three of them. With San Francisco able to feature Samuel, Kittle and McCaffery in a limited passing volume attack, there's not a lot of reason to overly involve Jennings. He's realistically little more than an afterthought, even as a starter. CB Deonte Banks is expected to line up across from Jennings, having allowed just 30 total receiving yards in his first two career games.

Prediction: 49ers 24, Giants 16 ^ Top

Chargers @ Vikings - (Green)
Line: MIN pk
Total: 54.5

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

No Brainers: RB Austin Ekeler (ankle), WR Keenan Allen, WR Mike Williams

Favorites: QB Justin Herbert

While Herbert is generally viewed among the upper tier of quarterbacks, the numbers haven’t been there for a while now. Dating back to last season, the Oregon product has accounted for more than two TDs in a game just once in the past 17 games. Plus, after averaging 268 yards and 4 TDs on the ground over his first two years, Herbert has run for just 164 yards and 1 TD combined in 2022-23. He has a great matchup this week, though, as the Vikings boast a shaky defense and a strong offense, setting up another possible shootout like what we saw with Miami and LA in Week 1. This is a good week to get Herbert in your lineup.

On the Fence: N/A

Update: Austin Ekeler has been ruled out.

Fade: RB Joshua Kelley

Coming off a strong effort in Week 1 alongside Ekeler, Kelley didn’t have much success filling in for the talented back last Sunday. His 13 carries went for just 39 yards, and he was a nonfactor as a receiver. It’s unclear whether Ekeler will return from his ankle injury in Week 3. If he does, that will push Kelley back into a complementary role, and even though he did well in that spot in the opener, there’s not enough sample size to rely on a similar timeshare in Week 3. If he doesn’t, Kelley just struggled in the top job, which should give you pause even though the Vikings got run over by Philadelphia. He’s a potential RB3/flex.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

No Brainers: WR Justin Jefferson, TE T.J. Hockenson

Favorites: QB Kirk Cousins

With the Vikings absolutely unable to run the ball thus far, the burden of moving the offense has fallen squarely on Cousins, who has thrown for 300-plus yards and multiple TDs in both games -- by comparison, the veteran hit that statistical combo only twice all of last year. Los Angeles has been awful defending the pass, getting shredded by Tua Tagovailoa and then making Ryan Tannehill look competent. At home against a shaky defense, Cousins is a mid-range No. 1 quarterback.

On the Fence: WR Jordan Addison

Over his first two NFL games, Addison has seven receptions, 133 yards, and two TDs. That’s not bad at all. It is worth noting, however, that the rookie has touchdown grabs of 39 and 62 yards, and outside of that his five catches have covered 32 yards total. With so much of his value coming from one play each week, it creates a scenario where he’s threading the needle in terms of fantasy appeal. It’s a strong matchup, giving Addison WR3 potential, but he’s not as reliable as his overall numbers suggest.

Fade: RB Alexander Mattison

There’s no denying that Dalvin Cook’s play slipped last year. Through two games, however, Mattison has looked woefully unprepared to take over as a lead back. The long-time understudy has rushed 19 times for 62 yards to go with six receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown. He also lost a fumble in Philly and would’ve lost a second one had the Eagles not lined up offside. While newly acquired Cam Akers may not play much this Sunday, relying on Mattison as more than an RB3/flex is unwise.

Prediction: Chargers 34, Vikings 30 ^ Top

Bills @ Commanders - (Caron)
Line: BUF -5.5
Total: 42.5

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

No Brainers: QB Josh Allen, WR Stefon Diggs

Favorites: RB James Cook

We weren’t certain that James Cook’s Week 1 usage of 16 touches would continue, but we got further clarification that Cook is indeed the team’s top back when he saw 21 touches against the Raiders in Week 2. Sure, it was disappointing that both Damien Harris and Latavius Murray ended up scoring touchdowns while Cook stood on the sidelines, but at least we can lean on the fact that Cook has now caught four passes in each of his first two games.

The Bills have been one of the league’s most pass-heavy offenses over the past few seasons, even when they’ve been ahead in games, and we shouldn’t expect that they’re suddenly going to become a run-first offense, but Cook’s usage looks great so far. He’s currently a low-end RB1 and even better fantasy says could very well be on the horizon.

This week he faces a Commanders defense that has done a fairly good job of containing opposing running backs, but they’ve also played against two offenses that are still struggling to find consistency in the Cardinals and Broncos. The Bills haven’t yet hit their stride, but they are certainly the best overall offense the Commanders have faced thus far and that should give Cook a good chance to see 15 or more touches again this week, making him a borderline RB1/2.

On the Fence: TE Dalton Kincaid

Rookie tight ends in fantasy football are rarely productive so it’s tough to recommend any of them, but one player who has already begun to look the part of a future high-end fantasy TE1 is Bills first-round draft pick Dalton Kincaid. Kincaid has caught nine of the 10 targets that have come his way over his first two professional outings and while he’s failed to get into the end zone or have a truly productive fantasy day yet, he might have his best opportunity to do so yet when he faces the Commanders this week.

Fellow tight end Dawson Knox has been dealing with a back injury and has not practiced this week as of Thursday, putting him in serious question to play on Sunday. Even if he does suit up, there’s a good chance that Knox won’t see his usual snap share, which should mean more opportunities for Kincaid. Knox and Kincaid have played on a fairly similar percentage of snaps thus far, with Knox slightly ahead in that category, but look for Kincaid to become an even better part of the offense if Knox is unable to play.

Snaps alone don’t always lead to targets, especially at tight end, but the Bills have targeted this duo 19 times through two games and their other tight end, Quintin Morris, has not yet seen a pass come his way. There’s a real chance for Kincaid to push for 10 targets in this game particularly if the Commanders are able to keep up on the scoreboard, which would make Knox a strong bet as a low-end TE1.

Fade: WR Gabriel Davis

Gabe Davis’ Week 2 effort reminded us that he’s still capable of delivering some very useful fantasy performances. His six receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown on seven targets is what fantasy managers would love to see more often, but unfortunately, we just get stuck too often with games similar to what he did in Week 1 when he caught two passes for 32 yards and no scores on just four targets.

Davis is one of the biggest boom-or-bust players in the league. He’s ideal for best ball formats where you don’t have to try to guess when those big games are going to come, but he’s extremely frustrating to try to predict in normal redraft leagues. Leagues with deeper starting rosters could also consider starting Davis because he does have the boom potential, but he’s also very capable of dropping a complete dud so he’s tough to start unless you’re in a league where you’re starting three or more receivers.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Brian Robinson Jr.

Through three weeks, the top three running backs in total carries are Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, and Tony Pollard. None of that should be surprising, as all three of them were first or second-round fantasy draft picks. But what could be surprising to some is to hear that one of the players who’s tied for fourth in carries at the moment is Commanders’ running back Brian Robinson Jr. Robinson has already carried the ball 27 times, picking up where he left off in 2022 when he established himself as the early-down workhorse in this Washington offense. That strong usage has allowed Robinson to get out to an extremely hot start and he’s a top-five fantasy back in most formats so far.

His Week 3 matchup against the Bills looks scary at first glance. The Bills could get out to an early lead and that’d make it tough for the Commanders to stay true to their ground-and-pound offensive scheme. We saw that happen when they played the Raiders in Week 2 and Josh Jacobs was held to nine carries for NEGATIVE-TWO yards! But the Commanders have shown a willingness to continue to feed Robinson even when they’ve been behind in games. He saw 12 or more carries in seven straight games for the Commanders to end the 2022 season and the Commanders were 3-3-1 in those seven contests. In fact, they lost all of their final three games of the regular season, by a total of 39 points, and Robinson still saw 58 carries in those contests.

He still isn’t utilized much in the passing game so that’s not fun, but there are very few backs in the league who have a safer per-game carry workload right now than Robinson.

On the Fence: QB Sam Howell

Howell has now thrown for 501 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception, while also rushing for 24 yards and a touchdown through two games. He’s been a quietly productive QB2 and has even snuck into QB1 territory in some formats. Not only that, but he looked better in Week 2 than he did in Week 1, so things are actually looking up for both Howell himself and this Washington offense as a whole.

But things get much more difficult in Week 2 when the Commanders have to head to Buffalo to face the Bills and their excellent pass defense. Buffalo has given up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season and while they’ve compiled those numbers against the likes of Zach Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s also true that they were also quite good against opposing quarterbacks in 2022 when they finished seventh-best and 2021 when they were the best defense against the position. Simply put, this is a difficult matchup against a team that likes to scheme up pressure, particularly against inexperienced quarterbacks and Sam Howell is just that.

There’s still a possibility that Howell ends up having a decent game just due to pure volume and some potential scrambling opportunities, but he’s a player who does not seem to do well with pressure and he’s been holding onto the ball far too long. This could be an ugly game if things go wrong. He’s not a QB1 this week and is probably more of a low-end QB2.

Fade: WR Terry McLaurin, WR Jahan Dotson

The Commanders wide receiver duo might end up being one of the more frustrating ones throughout the league this season. We’ve seen both Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson look good at times, but they have just one touchdown between them through two games and neither player has reached even 100 receiving yards.

Those looking for a silver lining may find it in that tight end Logan Thomas could be out due to a concussion that’s held him out of practice throughout the week, but Thomas typically doesn’t operate deep down the field anyway and that’s what we’re hoping to get from both McLaurin and Dotson. If anything, Thomas being out might lead to more work for Curtis Samuel or even Antonio Gibson, both of whom have already been a thorn in the side of those hoping to get production from this Washington Commanders wide receiver duo.

Better days are ahead for McLaurin and Dotson, but this is a week where you can feel okay about starting some of the other players who’ve broken out early in the year over either of the Washington wide receivers.

Prediction: Bills 24, Commanders 16 ^ Top

Saints @ Packers - (Green)
Line: GB -1.5
Total: 41.5

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

No Brainers: WR Chris Olave

Favorites: WR Michael Thomas

Green Bay’s defense has one primary goal: keep everything in front of you. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Thomas get a lot of work on underneath routes. The veteran has been busy in the early going, being targeted 17 times, and catching a dozen of them for 116 yards, and he appears well positioned to continue to be a popular outlet against the Packers. You could pencil him in as a WR3.

On the Fence: RB Kendre Miller

With Alvin Kamara serving the final game of his suspension this Sunday and Jamaal Williams (hamstring) likely to miss time with a hamstring injury, the expectation is that the Saints will ask Miller (hamstring) to make his NFL debut after sitting out the first two games with an injury of his own. The Packers had no answers for Atlanta’s ground attack in Week 2, which provides plenty of upside for the rookie. On the flip side, Miller is unproven at this level, so he’s more of a lottery ticket than a reliable choice.

Fade: QB Derek Carr

A week ago, the Packers saw a Falcons team built to take advantage of how they want to play defense. Conversely, New Orleans plays into Green Bay’s hands with an immobile quarterback that they can get after and a desire to push the ball downfield. That doesn’t mean Carr won’t make some plays, but applying pressure and letting their cornerbacks hunt for wayward passes is what the Packers want to do. Temper your expectations for Carr, who has looked like a work in progress in the early going.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Update: Aaron Jones and Christian Watson are Questionable.

No Brainers: RB Aaron Jones (hamstring), WR Christian Watson (hamstring)

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: RB AJ Dillon

With Jones out of action, the Packers turned to Dillon to be the lead back in Week 2. It was a mostly disappointing showing as the powerful back had trouble keeping his feet in critical moments and ended the day with 63 yards on 16 touches. The hope here is that Jones could return Sunday -- his hamstring injury was not believed to be overly serious, and he was listed as questionable in the lead up to the Falcons game -- with Dillon moving back into a complementary role. With a young quarterback and a tough defense, Green Bay might ask more than usual of its backs. In that spirit, Dillon could overdeliver as a flex.

Fade: QB Jordan Love

It hasn’t been flawless by any means, but it’s hard to gripe too much about a first-year starter throwing six TD passes without a pick in two road games without his No. 1 receiver. While Love finally makes his Lambeau Field debut, he’ll do it against the best defense he’s seen thus far while perhaps missing the left side of his offensive line. Matt LaFleur knows this as well, so don’t be surprised if we see a modified approach this Sunday to take some of the pressure off Love. Despite his solid start, Love is better left on your bench.

Prediction: Packers 22, Saints 19 ^ Top

Falcons @ Lions - (Green)
Line: DET -3.5
Total: 46.5

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

No Brainers: RB Bijan Robinson

Favorites: RB Tyler Allgeier

Make no mistake, Robinson is the home run hitter. The Falcons don’t want to overwork their prized rookie, however, and that’s been leaving plenty of touches for Allgeier, who has run 31 times for 123 yards and 2 TDs over the first two games. Granted, that has come with Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) inactive with a thigh injury, but the converted wideout isn’t particularly suited to fill Allgeier’s role anyway. Heading into Detroit to face a dangerous offensive team, the Falcons are likely to lean heavily on their ground game to keep their defense off the field, much like they did against Green Bay. You can deploy Allgeier as a solid RB3.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: TE Kyle Pitts

No matter how talented Pitts is, the Falcons seem unwilling (or unable) to carve out a meaningful offensive role for the towering tight end. Through two games he has just four receptions for 59 yards, and 34 of those yards came on a single catch. On paper, the walking mismatch should be a top-five player at the position, but he’s just not used enough to justify any level of TE1 value most weeks. Sure, the upside is always there for a big game, but how many poor performances are you willing to absorb in hopes that this will be the week he delivers?

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

No Brainers: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (toe)

Favorites: TE Sam LaPorta

While you can debate the wisdom of trading T.J. Hockenson last season as he continues to shine with the Vikings, the Lions look to have found a potentially worthy successor in LaPorta. The rookie has caught 10 of 11 targeted balls through two games and averaged a healthy 12.6 yards per catch in Week 2. As previously noted, Detroit was inconsistent with their usage of Hockenson, which creates some trepidation about plugging LaPorta into your lineup. Given the state of the TE position in general, however, the former Hawkeye is a borderline top-10 selection.

On the Fence: WR Josh Reynolds

It’s still early, but thus far Reynolds has done much more than Marvin Jones opposite St. Brown. Granted, neither player has much of a long-term outlook with Jameson Williams set to return from suspension in Week 7, but Reynolds has done some nice things to start the season with nine catches, 146 yards, and two TDs. He had a nice three-week run in 2022 before fading into obscurity, so any endorsement of Reynolds comes with the caveat that he could easily disappear on any given Sunday. Still, his fast start is enough to make him worth the risk as a flex.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Lions 27, Falcons 23 ^ Top

Titans @ Browns - (Green)
Line: CLE -3.0
Total: 38.5

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

No Brainers: RB Derrick Henry, WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle)

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: QB Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill bounced back from a dismal opener, completing 20 of 24 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown -- he also avoided interceptions after throwing three in Week 1. The veteran added a 12-yard touchdown run for a solid day. Don’t expect him to build on that performance in Week 3. The Browns have a nasty defense, locking down Joe Burrow and doing much the same to Kenny Pickett on Monday night outside of a blown coverage on a 71-yard touchdown. Tannehill should be avoided here.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

No Brainers: WR Amari Cooper

Favorites: RB Jerome Ford

With Nick Chubb (knee) lost for the season following a gruesome knee injury, the Browns will turn to Ford as their lead back. The former Bearcat stepped in after Chubb was lost Monday night and turned 16 carries into 106 yards. He also caught three passes for 25 yards and a touchdown. It’d be unrealistic to expect Ford to be the equal of one of the NFL’s top backs, but you needn’t go too far back to see what unheralded D’Ernest Johnson was able to do for the Browns when pressed into action. Ford is a definite RB3 with RB2 upside, even with the signing of Kareem Hunt.

On the Fence: QB Deshaun Watson

Watson finds himself with an “on the fence” designation for a second consecutive week after an uneven and sometimes frustrating effort against the Steelers. He threw for 235 yards, rushed for 22 more, and had a TD pass while being sacked six times and turning the ball over on three occasions. Only four teams have allowed more passing yards on the young season than the Titans, so this is a plus matchup for Watson. At the same time, he’s yet to put up big numbers in eight starts with Cleveland. Consider him a risk/reward play as a fringe QB1.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Browns 23, Titans 15 ^ Top

Texans @ Jaguars - (Mack)
Line: JAX -7.5
Total: 43.5

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Nico Collins

Houston’s high volume passing game so far in 2023 is born of necessity because they are often trailing in games and have to open up the offense to keep up. The team is third in the league in pass attempts and fifth in passing yards. Nico Collins is a player who has benefited mightily from not only the high volume, but the efficiency of young signal caller C.J. Stroud. And although Collins is essentially even with fellow wideout Robert Woods in terms of receptions and yards, Collins is by far the more explosive of the two. Collins averages 6 more yards per reception than Woods, so Collins is the preferred choice. Plus, he’s coming off the best game of his career, finishing Week 2’s performance with 7 catches for 146 yards (both career highs), and one score. Collins should continue distinguishing himself as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 this season.

On The Fence: RB Dameon Pierce

Pierce’s productivity is being hindered because the team often plays catch-up, rendering the run game moot. But Pierce hasn’t done much with his limited carries so far in 2023 anyway, having only 26 carries and 69 yards through two games. His 2.7 yards per carry is eighth worst in the league and suggests a lack of explosiveness. Still, I’d start Pierce as a flex this week, but I’d keep my expectations in check.

Fade: QB C.J. Stroud

Stroud has shown solid progress through the first two games of his career. His 626 passing yards is 4th in the NFL, and he distributes the ball nicely, with four players having between 11 and 20 targets. That said, Stroud is not yet a consideration to start in one-QB leagues. He’s played turnover-free football, and I would imagine the Texans are happy with him. But he has just two TDs and only 21 rushing yards in two games. He requires a spot on the bench until further notice, despite his promising first two games.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: QB Trevor Lawrence; RB Travis Etienne; WR Calvin Ridley

Jacksonville’s offense is as Jeckyl and Hyde as any team in the league. An offense that seemed to be humming right along in Week 1 hit a roadblock in Week 2 when many people expected a high-scoring game against the Chiefs. Players that produced solid numbers in Week 1 (Trevor Lawrence; Travis Etienne; Calvin Ridley) disappeared in Week 2, and a player who was invisible in Week 1 (Christian Kirk) showed up in Week 2. Kirk went from one catch in Week 1 to 11 receptions in Week 2. The up and down nature of this offense makes it tough to figure out.

Perhaps no other example illustrates Jacksonville’s unpredictable nature more than last year’s playoff game against the Chargers when Lawrence tossed four first half interceptions. He rebounded in the second half and led his team to victory, but the roller coaster ride this team takes its fantasy owners on is dizzying. Those who have Etienne and Ridley are starting them without question; Lawrence as well, more than likely.

On The Fence: TE Evan Engram

Tight end is the thinnest position in fantasy football, so if you’re lucky enough to have a productive one, consider yourself fortunate. Not many have done much through the first two games, yet Engram is an exception. He’s been the most consistent receiving threat for the Jags so far, and he’s third in the league in receiving yards at the position. Engram is the perfect complement to the receivers in Jacksonville, as his athleticism up the seam and across the middle of the field allows him to take advantage of slower defenders. As long as he continues his productivity, continue starting him.

Update: Zay Jones has been ruled out.

Fade: WR Zay Jones (knee)

As of Thursday evening, Jones has yet to practice this week with a knee issue and appears to be headed toward inactive status. Much like his teammates, Jones’ production in Week 2 fell off the table, going from 5 receptions in Week 1 to zero receptions last week. Even if Jones was fully healthy heading into this week’s matchup, it would remain difficult to suggest him as a starting option. Thankfully, his knee issue is making that decision for us.

Prediction: Jaguars 23, Texans 20 ^ Top

Patriots @ Jets - (Caron)
Line: NE -3.0
Total: 35.5

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Rhamondre Stevenson

Rhamondre Stevenson has gotten the job done for fantasy managers through two games despite the Patriots starting off at 0-2. His production hasn’t been excellent, but he’s seen exactly 18 touches in each contest, caught seven passes, and scored a touchdown. The per-game rush numbers are ugly and he’ll be facing a Jets defense that has been good thus far, so don’t expect a monster performance in this one, but Stevenson is about the only player in the offense who fantasy managers can expect to be involved regardless of the game script or pace.

On the Fence: TE Hunter Henry

The tight end position remains hideous throughout the league so even though Hunter Henry’s best days are probably behind him from a fantasy standpoint, it’d be tough to sit a player who’s scored in each of his first two games this season. Henry has also caught all but two of the 13 targets that have come his way and he should remain the team’s primary goal-line weapon in the passing game. Yes, Mike Gesicki has been breaking into his potential upside, but don’t overthink this - Henry is one of the better options at the position throughout the league right now.

Fade: QB Mac Jones, All Patriots WRs

The Jets are near the league average in fantasy points given up to opposing quarterbacks so far this season, but it’s worth noting that they’ve played against Josh Allen and Dak Prescott - two of the league’s more solidified and productive QBs. Now they face Mac Jones, who has historically underperformed against the Jets throughout his career. He’s averaging just 233 passing yards and has only thrown three touchdowns in four career matchups with the Jets. Given that this is highly unlikely to be a shootout, there just aren’t a lot of ways for Jones to truly deliver for fantasy managers in this game.

With Jones having a low ceiling, that also means bad things for the wide receivers in New England. Despite probably being the least exciting of the group, Kendrick Bourne is the one player who’s stepped up so far and been utilized in a significant fashion. He’s been targeted 20 times through two weeks, including an 11-target game in Week 1 which resulted in a pair of touchdowns. His usage remained strong in Week 2 when he was targeted nine times, but the conversion rate was significantly worse as he caught just four of those passes for 29 yards and failed to get into the end zone, resulting in an ugly fantasy day. JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte have all factored into the passing game as well, but none of these players have shown themselves to be anything other than a cog in the wheel that is the middling New England passing game. Stay away from them this week as they go on the road to face a difficult matchup against a good Jets defense.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Garrett Wilson

Fantasy managers who spent an early-round pick on Garrett Wilson were understandably assuming that they’d see his name under the “no-brainers” section each week, but we have to be honest and admit Wilson is no longer a must-start in all formats. Sure, he’s been able to scrape together some usable fantasy performances, having scored in both games he’s played thus far, but his two catches on eight targets this past week has to make fantasy managers concerned. It’s not just that he and Zach Wilson aren’t on the same page - it’s that Zach Wilson is flat-out bad. Not only that, but he’s now playing against a good New England defense that held Tyreek Hill to just 40 yards in Week 2.

Wilson should still be a solid mid-to-low-end WR2 in most games, so this isn’t to say that he’s completely unusable, but there’s a possibility that those in shallow leagues might have multiple better options given this matchup.

On the Fence: RB Breece Hall

Breece Hall’s explosive performance in Week 1 helped the Jets shock the world by defeating the Bills even after they lost Aaron Rodgers almost immediately. His impressive breakaway ability, particularly in comparison to Dalvin Cook’s mediocre performance, had most fantasy managers assuming that Hall would be unleashed in Week 2. But that didn’t happen. In fact, it almost couldn’t have been worse. Hall saw just four touches in the Jets’ Week 2 blowout loss to the Cowboys and fantasy managers - along with Hall himself - were left scratching their heads as to why the game was put on the shoulders of quarterback Zach Wilson who looked lost out there.

Now we’re headed into Week 3 and Hall is facing a matchup against a Patriots defense that just got done being lit up by Raheem Mostert on Sunday Night Football. This should be a smash matchup for Hall, but we just don’t have a good grasp on what this coaching staff is planning to do. Dalvin Cook out-snapped Hall in each of the first two games of the season and while the numbers were much closer in Week 2, it was actually Michael Carter who saw his share increase the most, essentially making things into an ugly three-headed backfield.

The running back position throughout the league has been devastated by injuries and disappointing production so you might not have a great option to replace him with, but Hall is certainly far from a must-start at the moment.

Fade: RB Dalvin Cook

The Jets’ most recent running back acquisition has led the team in snap share and touches in each of the first two games, but to say that his production has been underwhelming would be an understatement. Cook has rushed for a pathetic 2.4 yards per carry while contributing just 31 yards receiving and he hasn’t been able to find the end zone. Meanwhile, second-year back Breece Hall has looked significantly more explosive and has touched the ball almost as much as Cook despite playing fewer snaps.

It looks unlikely that these coaches are suddenly going to completely give up on Cook, who they paid handsomely upon acquisition, but 21 touches for only 71 yards over two weeks is just not going to cut it for fantasy purposes. He’s a player to avoid until this offense starts showing us that it’s good enough to give multiple scoring opportunities per game, and that Cook himself shows us that he still has something left in the tank.

Prediction: Patriots 20, Jets 17 ^ Top

Broncos @ Dolphins - (Caron)
Line: MIA -6.0
Total: 47.5

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: QB Russell Wilson

Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson still doesn’t look like his old self, but he’s certainly been significantly better for fantasy purposes so far in 2023 than he was in 2022. Wilson has thrown for 485 yards and five touchdowns with only one interception and he also added 56 rushing yards in his Week 2 game against the Commanders.

The Dolphins’ high-powered passing attack may mean that the Broncos will need to pass quite a bit in order to keep up on the scoreboard. That would mean more opportunities for Wilson and the passing game as a whole.

On the Fence: RB Javonte Williams, WR Courtland Sutton

The Broncos finished 30th in the NFL in points per play in 2022, but new head coach Sean Payton has them off to a hot start in 2023 and they’re currently 10th in that category. Most of the production has come through the air, but there’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about running back Javonte Williams in this offense. For starters, Williams has now touched the ball 31 times in his first two games - both of which were losses - while backup Samaje Perine has just 16 total touches over the same span. Despite the fact that Perine technically out-snapped Williams in Week 2, the touch count was not close. Williams, in fact, out-carried Perine by a 12-to-1 ratio against the Commanders.

Sure, we need to be worried that a passing game shootout with the Dolphins could result in higher usage for Perine, but the running back position has a ton of turmoil throughout the league right now and he’s a player who’s shown lots of explosiveness. He should see 12 or more touches in this game and he has the potential for multiple scores if the Broncos get down near the goal line.

Sutton has been largely forgotten in fantasy circles, but he’s been fairly solid this season and seems to be functioning as the team’s top receiver - at least for now. His 12 targets aren’t anything spectacular, but he’s made nine catches on those targets, including a touchdown, and he’s been a double-digit PPR scorer in each game thus far. With the Broncos likely needing to be more pass-heavy than in previous weeks, look for Sutton to push for his first 10-target game of the season.

Fade: WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Marvin Mims

Jeudy was the Broncos’ highest-drafted fantasy wide receiver and Mims looks like the future, but unfortunately, we can’t rely on them quite yet in traditional seasonal leagues. Jeudy sat out in Week 1 before returning against the Commanders in Week 2, but he doesn’t yet look like his normal self. He commanded just five targets, making three catches for 25 yards, and may still need a week or two before he’s fully back.

Meanwhile, rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims has looked unbelievable in his limited opportunities. He’s been targeted just four times, but he’s made all four catches for a total of 122 yards and a touchdown, including a pair of huge plays this past week against the Commanders. While Mims has looked great when he’s been on the field, he’s currently fifth on the team in total snaps played at wide receiver. We have to assume that he’ll eventually get more playing time and his dynasty stock is certainly up, but this isn’t a player we should be counting on in redraft leagues until we see stronger usage.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

No Brainers: WR Tyreek Hill

Favorites: QB Tua Tagovailoa

With over 700 yards and four touchdowns, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has become the Vegas front-runner for NFL MVP through two weeks. The offense has been scheming ways to get the ball into their receivers’ hands, focusing on moving Tyreek Hill around the formation pre-snap and it has led to some serious mismatches and big plays. Meanwhile, the Broncos have given up four passing touchdowns and a total of 499 yards passing to quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Sam Howell through two weeks. While those quarterbacks both have some solid weapons, they themselves are not considered strong fantasy plays but still delivered for managers against the Broncos. Tagovailoa, red-hot through two games, should have plenty of opportunities to make big plays against this struggling defense and he’s a firm QB1.

On the Fence: RB Raheem Mostert

The biggest concern about Raheem Mostert as a fantasy asset has always been his health. When he’s on the field, he’s typically delivering at least usable fantasy numbers, sometimes even surprising us with a big game like the one he had this past week against the Patriots when he ran for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He looks healthy and with Jeff Wilson still out, Salvon Ahmed nursing a groin injury, and Devon Achane still getting acclimated to the NFL, there’s plenty of reason to believe that this will be another heavy usage game for Mostert. He’s always going to be tough to put into the RB1 range because the Dolphins are so pass-heavy with their offense, but Mostert is a solid RB2 who could again deliver RB1 numbers depending on how the game script ends up playing out.

Fade: WR Jaylen Waddle (concussion)

We’re only two games in so relax on hitting the alarm button, but Waddle has been a bit of a disappointment for fantasy managers thus far. Waddle has delivered on a per-target basis, having caught eight of the 11 total targets that have come his way for an impressive 164 yards, but the low target totals have meant that he’s been unable to deliver a truly difference-making fantasy performance yet and he’s sitting right around a low-end WR3.

Add in the fact that Waddle is dealing with a concussion that has kept him out of practice as of Thursday and there’s just a lot to be concerned about heading into this weekend’s games. There are certainly rosters where he has to be in your lineup and we do like his long-term outlook, but this just looks like a potentially frustrating situation for fantasy managers at the moment.

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Broncos 20 ^ Top

Colts @ Ravens - (Green)
Line: BAL -7.5
Total: 43.5

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Zack Moss

With Jonathan Taylor (ankle) confined to the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list for at least two more games, the Colts will again look to Moss to lead their backfield. The former Bills RB returned from a one-game absence of his own in Week 2 to rack up 107 yards of offense and a touchdown. Even with the Colts holding a big lead, the team never looked to Week 1 starter Deon Jackson to carry the ball, which tells you that Moss is the guy, pending resolution of the Taylor situation. That gives him RB2/RB3 appeal even against a tough Ravens defense.

On the Fence: QB Anthony Richardson (concussion)

Despite being removed early in the second quarter due to a concussion, Richardson still ran for a pair of touchdowns on three carries. He has a full week to clear protocol, which is no sure thing, so obviously if he’s ruled out you can forget we ever said anything. If the rookie does play, however, he has already shown the type of dual-threat skills that could deliver nice value to fantasy owners. Beyond his health, the other caveat here is that Baltimore should be as well prepared for someone like Richardson as anyone in the NFL given their time practicing against Lamar Jackson. There’s a QB1 ceiling here, along with a fairly low floor.

Fade: N/A

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

No Brainers: QB Lamar Jackson, TE Mark Andrews

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Zay Flowers

With Mark Andrews back in action following a one-week absence, Flowers’ targets dipped from 10 in Week 1 to five on Sunday. He did more with less, though, ending the day with a 4-62-0 line, which wasn’t far off his yardage output in the opener (9-78-0). The rookie continues to work ahead of WRs Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) and Rashod Bateman, though Nelson Agholor saw more targets (6) in Cincinnati. You can plug Flowers into your lineup as a low-end WR3 or flex.

Update: Justice Hill has been ruled out.

Fade: RBs Justice Hill (toe) / Gus Edwards

Life without J.K. Dobbins (Achilles) began last Sunday with Hill turning 14 touches into 53 yards, and Edwards gaining 62 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. With no clear favorite among that duo, their respective values remain low. Indianapolis has been stout against the run as well, ranking seventh in the NFL at 78.5 yards per game. Both backs could be used as flex possibilities, but there’s some downside baked into that as well. If Hill (toe) is ruled out, then Edwards will vault into Flex range but if you’re in a PPR league, be mindful that he doesn’t offer anything in the passing game.

Prediction: Ravens 27, Colts 17 ^ Top

Panthers @ Seahawks - (Fessel)
Line: SEA -5.0
Total: 42.5

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

No Brainers: n/a

Favorites: RB Miles Sanders

Sanders has 39 touches through two games (32 rushes and 7 receptions). Whether he can maintain that kind of volume over the long haul remains to be seen, but the Panthers should maintain a conservative approach for the time being, whether it’s Bryce Young at quarterback or veteran game manager Andy Dalton (this week’s starter). Sanders hasn’t turned these opportunities into big production, ranking No.27 in fantasy points at running back, but it’s encouraging to see high floor potential and facing the Seahawks this week could help him start to approach his ceiling. Crossing the goal line for the first time as a Panther would be ideal, and Seattle’s defense has already surrendered 4 rushing TDs in 2023 and gave up 18 total touchdowns to RB’s last season.

But there’s more. Volume meets volume here, as no team has surrendered more rushing attempts than the Seahawks (also No.2 in rushing attempts against in 2022), meaning that fantasy managers can both feel good about the Panthers RB1 approaching or surpassing 20 touches and spiking the ball in the end zone. As a side note, Sanders did get listed on the injury report after picking up a pectoral injury in Week 2. None the less, he did practice on Wednesday. There’s no indication he will miss any time, but monitor the injury report.

On the Fence: WR Jonathan Mingo

While 2nd round rookie Jonathan Mingo hasn’t been particularly productive during his first two games (just 5 receptions for 43 yards), he has been Bryce Young’s most targeted receiver (13 targets). Young is out this week and it remains to be seen who replacement Andy Dalton favors but Mingo leads Carolina wide receivers with a 92% snap rate through two games. It may just be a matter of time before production follows opportunity.

There’s certainly risk, but Mingo could get a boost with the more experienced Andy Dalton tossing passes. And against a Seattle secondary that looks to be thin this week – with top corner Riq Woolen out and star safety Jamal Adams still working his way back from a 2022 injury – Mingo could line up across from some very beatable depth players and have his first booming day.

Fade: QB Andy Dalton

Bryce Young has been declared out for this Sunday due to an ankle injury, meaning Andy Dalton will take over behind center. Dalton was once a viable fantasy football starter, twice posting seasons of over 20 points per game, but he hasn’t bested even 15 points per game since 2019 (18.1 Fpts/G in his last season with the Bengals). More recently, he’s averaged between 12 and 14 points per game.

Dalton still has value on the actual football field, as his teams have posted better winning percentages with him than with the QB he replaced in each of the previous three seasons. It would not be surprising if history repeats itself, especially should Bryce Young miss extended time, but Dalton’s value at this point is more of a game manager, rather than someone who makes big plays. As such, it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to produce enough against Seattle to be worth a start in your league. Seattle has surrendered 300 yards passing to both Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff to start the year but at 36 years of age, Dalton just doesn’t have close to the arm talent of Stafford or Goff.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

No Brainers: RB Kenneth Walker

Favorites: QB Geno Smith, WR DK Metcalf, WR Tyler Lockett

After a shockingly quiet Week 1 against the Rams, Geno Smith and friends looked more like what was expected of them in Week 2. For his part, Smith finished with 328 yards passing and 2 TDs (also adding 20 rush yards). The Panthers sans Jaycee Horn are more beatable than their early numbers in 2023, and even with Horn healthy for much of last year they still gave up the 13th most points to opposing QB’s. Meanwhile, Smith has a 72% completion percentage to start the year after leading the league with a 70% completion percentage in 2022.

Smith’s prospects of an impactful, QB1 performance have been aided by the news that struggling rookie Bryce Young is out and Andy Dalton has been installed. The veteran is less likely to make the costly mistakes that would lead Pete Carroll and the Seahawks to sit on the ball, and we may see a competitive enough game to keep Geno Smith throwing. As such, a top 10 finish for Smith is well within grasp.

Metcalf is off to a respectable-but-hardly-blazing start (9 receptions 122 yards and a touchdown), and is dealing with rib injury coming into Week 3, but he’s fully expected to be available this weekend and the match up looks enticing for both him and Tyler Lockett.

The Panthers have given up the 2nd fewest points to the receiver position so far this year, but they faced the very anemic pass attack of the Falcons Week 1, and then lost stellar cornerback Jaycee Horn to injury (just a 62 passer rating allowed last season). Last week against the Saints, Chris Olave and Michael Thomas enjoyed a combined 20 targets, 13 receptions and 141 yards receiving. The similarly formidable Metcalf and Lockett seem poised to enjoy even better production while also reaching the end zone with a more aggressive red zone quarterback (CAR surrendered 16 touchdowns to receivers last season). Geno Smith has thrown 20 TD passes on 81 red zone attempts since the start of last year, versus 12 TDs on 70 attempts for the Saints Derek Carr. Metcalf and Lockett unsurprisingly own 41% of all Seahawks targets and should both be no worse than WR2’s this weekend.

On the Fence: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Smith-Njigba has managed to find his way to 11 targets through the season’s first two weeks, but has only seen an average depth of target of 2.3 yards and has 5.9 yards per reception. He may break off a slant into a huge gain at some point, but right now while playing 57% of snaps, he doesn’t appear to be getting utilized in a full route tree yet. If the Seahawks don’t become run heavy, he may find enough targets to make a big play and provide flex value, but starting him remains a significant gamble.

Fade: RB Zach Charbonnet

The news out of Carolina about their quarterback situation stands to have a positive impact on the production a lot of Seattle players, but Zach Charbonnet is unlikely to be one of them. Charbonnet’s snap count is moving in the right direction, with an increase from 12 to 19 in Week 2 (though some of that was due to the Seahawks having a much better share of the game clock than they had in Week 1), and opposing running backs have already taken the Panthers for 55 combined rushes and receptions, 240 yards and 5 touchdowns. That doesn’t count Taysom Hill, who spend some time at running back after Jamaal Williams was hurt for the Saints in Week 2.

During week 1, The Falcons enjoyed two RB1 performances against the Panthers, and Tony Jones finished with 15.4 points (good for RB15) in Week 2 after replacing an injured Jamaal Williams in the 2nd quarter. There’s certainly a question as to whether Charbonnet will see enough of a snap bump this week. There was greater potential for this to happen with a turnover-prone rookie starting at quarterback for the opposing Panthers than with the careful veteran Dalton. It’s wise to hold onto Charbonnet, but starting him this week is likely to be unfruitful.

Prediction: Seahawks 24 Panthers 16 ^ Top

Cowboys @ Cardinals - (Fessel)
Line: DAL -13.0
Total: 43.5

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

No Brainers: WR CeeDee Lamb, RB Tony Pollard

Favorites: QB Dak Prescott

Sam Howell and Daniel Jones both turned in top 10 fantasy production against the Cardinals, and Dak Prescott is inferior to neither of these two QB’s. Prescott has efficiently managed the Cowboys first two games with a 71% completion percentage and no interceptions. But he hasn’t produced much in fantasy football, opting to play keep away from Jets and Giants secondaries that are very capable of producing turnovers and allowing the Dallas defense to deliver. Prescott even went so far as to tell Jets star cornerback Sauce Gardner that he intentionally kept the ball away from him.

In Week 3, the Cowboys defense should again have it’s way facing Joshua Dobbs and company. But Prescott is likely going to open things up a bit and keep his receivers happy against a far less threatening Cardinals defense. Arizona has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs through two weeks.

On the Fence: TE Jake Ferguson

The Cardinals seem to make it a yearly passion to get torched by opposing tight ends, and those yearly winds are already starting to blow hot in 2023. Darren Waller hurt Arizona for 6 receptions and 76 yards in Week 2, and opposing TE’s have led their team in targets each of the first two weeks (Waller with 7 and Logan Thomas with 8 in Week 1). This is a great spot for Ferguson, but it’s mostly a question of whether he has enough physical ability as a pass catcher to fully take advantage (8.2 career receiving average in limited opportunities). On the upside, he did pick up his 3rd career TD on just 33 targets. He’s probably more of a play for those who don’t have a steady, reliable TE, in a spot where he could pick up another TD and perhaps a bit better line than the 3 receptions for 11 yards he had last week.

Fade: n/a

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

No Brainers: n/a

Favorites: n/a

On the Fence: RB James Conner, TE Zach Ertz

Conner came through for a team thin on offensive talent, posting 106 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Giants. Surprisingly, he was held without a catch but he still finished 14th among running backs with 16.6 points thanks to his big rushing day. It may be asking too much this week against a Dallas defense that seems on a mission to put itself among the all-time elite.

The Cowboys were not kind to running backs last year, giving up just 16.6 points per game – good for 5th fewest. In 2023, they’ve started out even more stingy, allowing just 7.6 points per game (2nd fewest). The Cowboys had the third most difficult run defense in 2021, so this is a long running theme. To further matters, they haven’t given up a receiving TD to a RB since 2021, and gave up just 6 rushing touchdowns last season. Conner’s biggest bread-and-butter is red zone action as a runner and receiver, and the Cowboys front is a brick wall between him and the goal line. Volume and little else may somehow get Conner into flex territory, but if he pulls it off, it won’t come easy and it won’t be pretty. It may just be too much to bank on.

In the passing game, Ertz may be a constant parachute for Joshua Dobbs, who has frequently turned to him 18 times through the first two games, mostly as a check down option. Ertz recorded 12 receptions, though he’s averaged just 6.4 yards after managing just 8.6 yards per reception last season. Dobbs has only been sacked 3 times through the first two games, and if he wants to keep it that way, he’ll need to find the likes of Ertz near the line of scrimmage, if not behind it. Whether the Cowboys will allow Ertz to get enough yardage to make the targets at all meaningful remains to be seen.

Fade: Everyone else

WR Marquise Brown has 15 targets through two weeks, but regardless who’s in coverage, there’s not likely to be much space for Brown and Dobbs doesn’t have the arm talent to make frequent tight throws. Dobbs is also quite intent on not forcing the issue. No other wide receiver on the Cardinals has been particularly involved, with Michael Wilson a distant second at 7 total targets. The Cowboys have given up the fewest fantasy points to receivers (13.2) and that is unlikely to change this week.

Prediction: Cowboys 28 Cardinals 13 ^ Top

Bears @ Chiefs - (Fessel)
Line: KC -12.0
Total: 48.5

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

No Brainers: n/a

Favorites: n/a

On the Fence: WR D.J. Moore, WR Darnell Mooney

After a quiet Week 1 that saw D.J. Moore enjoy only 2 targets, Moore turned in a 104-yard performance on 7 targets in Week 2. Justin Fields ranks 26th in completion rate and continues to take sacks at an alarming rate (No.2 in times sacked after finishing 1st last year) means Moore’s opportunities may remain as inconsistent as they were last year in Carolina. To make matters worse, Moore faces a K.C. defense that erased Calvin Ridley last week (2-32-0 on 8 targets). Andy Reid and company may try to take away Moore and count on Fields not going through his progressions.

In this situation, the spotlight may be on Darnell Mooney (knee). Especially with Amon-ra St. Brown doing damage to the Chiefs out of the slot in Week 1, and then Christian Kirk calming panicked owners with an 11-catch performance against K.C. last week. But while Mooney has gone for 1000 yards once in his career, he’s not quite St. Brown and may not even be on the level of Christian Kirk. The biggest issue is whether Fields can find him on the field, as Mooney has just 7 targets and 53 yards in two games this year, and had just 493 yards receiving in 12 games last season. It’s a huge question mark, right now, and Mooney is no more than a boom-or-bust candidate, as is arguably D.J. Moore.

Fade: QB Justin Fields

Despite major investments in the offense around him (D.J. Moore, Chase Claypool, 1st round pick Tackle Darnell Wright), Justin Fields has definitely struggled through his first two games, though he did manage to muster out a QB12 finish in Week 1 thanks to some garbage time production (18.5 points). After finishing 18th in Week 2 in a game where he struggled immensely after the opening drive, things could start spiraling out of control, and he could even see himself benched as both the coaching staff and the fans in Chicago grow increasingly impatient with him. It’s best to see if he can sort himself out, rather than risk him against a guru such as Reid and what appears to be an improved Chiefs defense. The Chiefs gave up just 14 points to Jared Goff and then just 11.2 to a more mobile Trevor Lawrence in Week 2. It’s easy to imagine them doing similar harm to Fields in Week 3.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

No Brainers: QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce

Favorites: RB Isiah Pacheco (hamstring)

An 0-2 Bears team coming to town. An opposing QB who has thrown 3 picks, fumbled 3 times and been sacked 10 times in his team’s first two games. A Chiefs team that’s coming off of its second Super Bowl title in the last half decade. We’re looking at the recipe for a whole lot of positive game script for Isiah Pacheco. To be sure, the Chiefs have no problem throwing all day long, even with a lead, but Chicago’s turnover problems coupled with the fact that they can’t stop the run - 5th most fantasy points to RBs in 2023 after giving up the 2nd most last season – have the stars aligning for Pacheco.

On the Fence: WR Kadarius Toney (toe), WR Skyy Moore

The Bears have been hurt by opponent wide receivers thus far (32.1 fantasy points per game, ranked 8th most). That’s despite the Packers being without Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs (2 TD) having no choice but to play through his own hamstring injury in Week 1. In Week 2, Mike Evans 171-yard performance devastated the Bears secondary. Is there a Chiefs receiver ready to stand up? That’s the hard part of the equation.

Kadarius Toney rewarded Andy Reid taking bullets for him by coming up with a perfect 5 reception, 5 target day in Week 2. The yardage wasn’t sizable – 35 yards – but for the second week in a row Toney saw 5 targets on less than 20 snaps, an incredible rate. His snap total did increase a bit, from 16 to 19, but he’ll probably need a big bump from his 27% snap rate to make a big splash.

After producing cricket sounds week 1, Sky Moore made some serious noise with a 9-yard touchdown and then a 54-yard reception in Week 2, tallying 3 receptions in total for 70 yards and a score on 4 targets. His snap rated dipped a bit, though, from 69% to 58% and he finished 4th in targets behind Kelce, Toney and Justin Watson, but Kelce’s return may free up big play opportunities for him and the Bears appear vulnerable to them. It’s hard to say which, if any, of the Chiefs receivers will take advantage of the match up, but there is some boom potential.

Fade: WR Rashee Rice

The rookie Rice wasn’t stellar in his first game, but scored a touchdown on three receptions, for an at least somewhat intriguing start. But he appeared to be the biggest victim of Travis Kelce’s return (outside of Kelce’s fellow TE Noah Gray), seeing his snap count dip from 31% to 18%. There was no apparent reward for his Week 1 production, and it’s fair to say that he’s got a long climb up the depth chart.

Prediction: Chiefs 27 Bears 17 ^ Top

Steelers @ Raiders - (Fessel)
Line: LV -2.5
Total: 43.5

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

No Brainers: n/a

Favorites: RB Najee Harris, TE Pat Freiermuth

After allowing the 5th most points to running backs last season, the Raiders have given up 27.7 points per game to RB’s through the first two games of 2023 (3rd most). Neither the Broncos nor Bills boast elite running games, but they combined to rush for 5.4 yards per carry against the Raiders.

With the Steelers making moves to improve their offensive line, Najee Harris has averaged 4.6 yards per rush through the first two games, but the opportunities just haven’t been there with the Steelers struggling badly in the passing game. After facing difficult defensive opponents in Buffalo and Cleveland, all is poised to change against a vulnerable Las Vegas D. Look for the Steelers to attempt to establish the run, trying to control the tempo but also generate offense against a weak run defense with Harris (3.0 yards after contact through two games), who is still legitimately their best offensive player.

The Raiders gave up the 12th most points per game to TE’s in 2022 (10.6 FPts/G), and in 2023 have surrendered 12.6 FPts/G to tight ends thus far, good for 5th most. Mainly, they’ve been allowing a lot of work underneath (16 receptions for 112 yards): Enter Pat Freiermuth. The Steelers third-year tight end has been surprisingly quiet (2-5-1 on 5 targets), but he broke the 60-reception mark in each of his first two years and has often been a good security blanket. Look for the Pickett and the Steelers coaching staff led by Mike Tomlin to try and re-establish that connection in a welcoming matchup this week.

On the Fence: QB Kenny Pickett, WR George Pickens

Versus both the Broncos and Bills, the Raiders defense was willing to give up a lot of high percentage plays rather than risk allowing a big play. Russell Wilson completed 27 of 34 passes, but for only 177 yards, while Josh Allen completed over 80% of his passes, but for just 8.8 yards per completion. Combined, the two QB’s produced 5 passing TDs against no interceptions. Out of this, Wilson was not able to turn out a top 12 performance – 15.2 points, finishing QB17 – but Josh Allen’s 23.7 points landed him in the QB6 spot in Week 2.

Kenny Pickett has failed to break the top 20 in either of his first two games, and barely squeezed inside the top 30 last week with 12.3 points, but an opportunity to mentally get over the hump by working a lot of pitch-and-catch underneath after two really difficult opponents might lead to better results in Week 3. Pickett is by no means anywhere near a lock to break the top 12, but if you’re short-handed, he’s one of the guys to consider this week.

Pickens may still need to expand his route tree, but his explosive, breakaway ability showed up big in a 4 reception 127-yard 1 TD performance in Week 2. Pickens has seen a total of 17 targets, including being a bit force-fed to a tune of 10 targets in Week 2. The Raiders defense seems poised to focus on preventing guys like Pickens from breaking off big plays, so with his limited route running it could be an uneventful game for Pickens despite being the de facto number 1 receiver sans Diontae Johnson (IR).

Fade: n/a

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

No Brainers: WR Davante Adams

Favorites: RB Josh Jacobs

Jacobs should be a No Brainer, but after producing negative rushing yards against the Bills and carrying just a 1.6 average and a mere 1.4 yards after contact through his first two weeks following a hold out, there are understandably concerns. Jacobs has produced 7 receptions for 74 yards on 9 targets, which is where some encouragement can be found. But the Steelers surrendering a whopping 333 yards rushing, including two 100-yard rushers (McCaffery and Jerome Ford) through two weeks offers far more encouragement and reason to look for Jacobs to “get healthy” this week. Trust him in a match up against a team that has given up more fantasy points to RB’s through two weeks than any other team in the NFL.

On the Fence: WR Jakobi Meyers (concussion protocol)

Meyers had a fine Week 1, finishing number 3 among receivers with 9 receptions 81 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 targets, before going out with a concussion late in the game. After missing Week 2, Meyers returned to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday, but still has to clear protocol before he can be activated for Week 3. Keep an eye on his status, but if he’s good to go, it’s not a bad idea to get him in at flex and see what he might have planned as an encore.

Fade: WR Hunter Renfrow

It’s hard to believe that Renfrow is only two years removed from a 103-reception season. Through two weeks he’s had just 1 target. Even with Jakobi Myers out in Week 2, and having played 65% of targets, 1 reception for 23 yards was all Renfrow could manage. Renfrow only played 22% of snaps when Myers was active Week 1, but it probably doesn’t matter whether or Myers ultimately takes the field this week. There’s no way to expect Renfrow to see much involvement.

Prediction: Steelers 23, Raiders 21 ^ Top

Eagles @ Buccaneers - (Mack)
Line: PHI -5.0
Total: 45.5

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

No Brainers: QB Jalen Hurts; WR A.J. Brown

Favorites: WR DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown have eerily similar numbers this year, which continues the trend from last year when only seven receptions separated the two at the end of the 2022 season. But so far in 2023, Smith has shown explosiveness and the ability to take advantage of Tampa 24th-ranked pass defense. I would imagine Hurts will focus on getting Brown involved early in this game since Brown seemingly expressed frustration during last week’s game when he wasn’t getting the ball. With Tampa being one of the toughest defenses to run on, we should expect a heavy dose of passing from the Eagles in Week 3.

On The Fence: RB D’Andre Swift; RB Kenneth Gainwell

As I mentioned above, Tampa is third in the league against the run, surrendering 34 yards on the ground to Alexander Mattison in the opener and a combined 67 yards to Chicago’s Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson last week. D’Andre Swift is coming off the best rushing performance of his career, running for 175 yards and a score last week against Minnesota. Tampa presents a whole ‘nother challenge though. The Eagles and Swift may find the sledding a bit rough compared to Week 2’s contest, and with Kenneth Gainwell expected to return to action after sitting out the Minnesota contest, Swift’s snap share may be affected.

Before we get too high on Swift after his incredible performance against Minnesota, we have to remember what his stat line looked like in Week 1 when both he and Gainwell were healthy. Swift finished with only one carry for 3 yards, with Gainwell outpacing both Swift and Boston Scott. If Gainwell is healthy and plays his usual percentage of snaps, that will certainly eat into Swift’s numbers. How well Gainwell produces after dealing with his rib injury remains to be seen.

Fade: N/A

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

No Brainer: WR Mike Evans

Favorites: WR Chris Godwin

Chris Godwin is as solid a WR3 in fantasy as you will find this year. Productive. Consistent. Reliable. Godwin is all those things, despite the obvious drop-off at the QB position from last year. That said, QB Baker Mayfield has been an asset to this offense, and he seems to understand the importance of keeping Evans and Godwin active and involved. Evans and Godwin account for 47 percent of Mayfield’s targets, so they ARE the passing game. Start Godwin with confidence.

On The Fence: RB Rachaad White

The Eagles are the top defense in the league against the run, surrendering only 104 yards on the ground through two games, and they have yet to allow a rushing TD. Suffice it to say, teams simply can’t run against them. Despite the tough matchup, fantasy managers may be forced to put White in their lineup. If so, expectations should be realistic regarding White’s prospects for success.

Fade: TE Cade Otton

As tough as the Eagles are against the run, they’re on the opposite end when it comes to defending tight ends. Philly is last in the league defending the position, and they just gave up 7/62/2 to T.J. Hockenson last week and 5/56/1 to Hunter Henry in Week 1. Cade Otton is a promising young player but too young and inconsistent to rely on for fantasy production at this time.

Prediction: Eagles 30, Buccaneers 17 ^ Top

Rams @ Bengals - (Green)
Line: CIN -2.5
Total: 43.5

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

No Brainers: WR Puka Nacua

Favorites: RB Kyren Williams

With Cam Akers traded, Williams’ place as the team’s lead back has been solidified. In that role last Sunday, he racked up 100 combined yards and scored both of LA’s touchdowns against a tough 49ers defense. Expect him to get the ball early and often against Cincinnati, which has allowed a whopping 384 yards on the ground through two games -- only Pittsburgh (386) has surrendered more. With no complement in the backfield, Williams looks like a potential emerging force for fantasy owners. He’s an easy recommendation as an RB2 this Monday with legitimate RB1 potential.

On the Fence: WR Tutu Atwell

While Nacua has gotten the headlines for his record-setting start, Atwell has quietly played the best football of his young career. The former second-round pick followed up a six-catch, 119-yard effort in Week 1 with a 7-77-0 line this past Sunday. He looks to have leapfrogged Van Jefferson, who has just five receptions this season, and is more of a vertical threat than the possession-oriented Nacua. Cincy ranks 10th in pass defense, though, and given how little he contributed during his first two years there’s still some concern about regression. He’s a WR3/flex option.

Fade: N/A

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

No Brainers: RB Joe Mixon, WR Ja’Marr Chase, WR Tee Higgins

Favorites: WR Tyler Boyd

With Joe Burrow aggravating his calf injury in Week 2, we could be in for one of two scenarios this Monday night: 1) Burrow sits and Jake Browning makes his first NFL start, or 2) Burrow plays, and the team adjusts to compensate for his balky calf. Either of those could play to Boyd’s favor, as the veteran is a true underneath target that’s adept at moving the chains. So, if the ball needs to come out quickly, Boyd could be in line for increased usage. That gives him some upside as a flex.

On the Fence: QB Joe Burrow (calf)

Typically, Burrow has found his name as a no brainer. Not this week. As noted above, the star quarterback is again dealing with a calf injury, and it’s unclear if he can play this week -- and if he does, at what percentage he’ll be. While not a huge part of his game, Burrow almost assuredly won’t do any meaningful running, and through two weeks, his arm hasn’t been carrying the load, either. It’s always tough to bench a top-tier player, but if you have a capable QB2 or can find one with a plus matchup this week you should give serious consideration to benching Burrow, even if he starts for the Bengals.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Bengals 24, Rams 20 ^ Top