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Inside the Matchup

Week 2

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | HC Green



Sunday Early:


SF @ PHI | NO @ CAR | LAR @ IND | LV @ PIT

Sunday Late:

NE @ NYJ | MIN @ ARI | ATL @ TB | DAL @ LAC | TEN @ SEA | KC @ BAL



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

Giants at Football Team - (Katz)
Line: WAS -3.5
Total: 41.0

Passing Game Thoughts: A new season starts and immediately more evidence piles up that Daniel Jones will not be the Giants starting quarterback in 2022. Jones did throw for 267 yards and a touchdown, but a large chunk of that was in garbage time. Jones once again lost a fumble and showed very little pocket awareness.

Despite being out-targeted by both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, Kenny Golladay looked healthy and had a couple nice contested catches. Better days are ahead for him. As for Shepard, he’s just disrespected every season. He is always a high-floor/low-ceiling WR3. His 7-113-1 line might end up being the best he has all season, but Shepard deserves to be on fantasy rosters and is a viable starter that won’t kill you.

Evan Engram will miss another week making Kyle Rudolph the clear primary tight end, playing 77% of the snaps. He has no fantasy value though.

The Football Team held the Chargers to 20 points last week, but allowed Justin Herbert to throw for 337 yards. They still have a formidable pass rush and the Giants do not have anywhere near the caliber of offensive line as the Chargers have. It’s going to be a rough day at the office for Jones on a short week.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: The good news: Saquon Barkley looked healthy. Not quite 100%, but healthy and he came out of last week’s game unscathed. The bad news: the Giants offense is going to once again be a problem for him. I don’t know how you can trust Barkley this week. He played 48% of the snaps last week to Devontae Booker’s 39% and had 10 carries plus five targets. Unfortunately, he turned it into just 27 total yards of offense. It’s difficult to imagine him suddenly turning things around against Washington. I also worry that given his recent return from a serious knee injury and the Giants immediately playing on a short week, Joe Judge may take it extra easy on Barkley, give him 10 days to recover, and then fully unleash him in Week 3.

Value Meter:
WR3: Kenny Golladay
Flex: Sterling Shepard
Bench: Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram (calf), Darius Slayton, Kadarius Toney, Devontae Booker

Passing Game Thoughts: It was a brutal game for Washington as Ryan Fitzpatrick is lost for at least half the season due to a hip injury. Taylor Heinicke takes over and we remember him for almost beating Tom Brady in the first round of the playoffs last season. Heinicke is competent and isn’t too much of a downgrade for the team’s passing game.

The bigger issue is that despite the Giants being an overall bad team, they have a fantastic secondary. James Bradberry erased Courtland Sutton last week. I will not advise you to sit Terry McLaurin, but I am definitely concerned after he managed just 4-62 on four targets last week. Scary Terry will get going this season, but it may have to wait another week.

Opposite McLaurin was rookie Dyami Brown, who caught just one pass for -2 yards. The silver lining is he’s the clear WR2, playing 93% of the snaps. If you can hang onto him for another week, it might be worth it to see if his targeting increases.

Logan Thomas was targeted just three times last week, but he caught all of them for 30 yards and a touchdown. The Giants had a tough time dealing with Noah Fant last week as the Broncos elected to utilize the middle of the field with the Giants cornerbacks locking down the outsides. It could be a good Thursday night for Thomas.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: Antonio Gibson is going to be a stud and he is a true workhorse. Gibson played 65% of the snaps last week, carried the ball 20 times for 90 yards, and saw five targets. J.D. McKissic had one carry for eight yards and didn’t catch a pass. McKissic is still the third down back, but this is very clearly Gibson’s backfield.

The Giants contained Javonte Williams last week, but they succumbed to the repeated pressure placed upon their front seven when Melvin Gordon was able to rip off a late 70-yard touchdown run. The Giants are by no means a favorable matchup, but Gibson’s volume is strong and he’s an every week RB1.

Value Meter:
RB1: Antonio Gibson (low end)
WR3: Terry McLaurin
TE1: Logan Thomas (mid-range)
Bench: Taylor Heinicke, Dyami Brown, J.D. McKissic

Prediction: Football Team 20, Giants 16 ^ Top

Broncos @ Jaguars - (Swanson)
Line: DEN -6.0
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Teddy Bridgewater’s first game as the starting QB for the Broncos was exactly the type of performance head coach Vic Fangio wanted. Teddy completed 77% of his passes, threw a pair of touchdowns, and made a few plays with his legs. But the number Fangio likes the most from Bridgewater was the fact that he did not turn the ball over.

From a fantasy perspective, Teddy is not someone who should be thought of as a top-12 option based on the fact that he is not going to throw for a ton of yards, and the Broncos defense will likely keep the offense out of lopsided game scripts. However, he is good enough to make the skill portion players viable in all formats, and the passing attack will keep defenses honest against the run.

Unfortunately for Bridgewater and fantasy managers, he will not have his best skill position player for this game and for many to come after Jerry Jeudy suffered a high ankle sprain Week 1 and was placed on IR.

The absence of Jeudy makes Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler both viable options in this game against a Jags defense that was absolutely torched by Tyrod Taylor and the Texans last week. The Texans combined for 200 yards and a score against the Jags, with Brandin Cooks posting 132 yards on five receptions.

Look for the Broncos to try a few deep passes against the Jags secondary, especially with Hamler testing the safeties out of the slot. Hopefully, the speedy second-year WR won’t drop an easy TD pass this week as he did against the Giants.

Starting corner Tre Herndon missed last week against the Texans with a knee injury. He is questionable again this week and may miss the game.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams combined for 146 rushing yards and a score on 25 carries against a fairly stout Giants front seven. The carries were split fairly evenly, with Javonte getting 14 and Melvin posting 11, but Williams managed a pedestrian 45 yards on a 2.3 per carry average, while Gordon busted a long TD run and 101 yards.

For those managers expecting a Williams breakout right out of the gates, game one proved to be a disappointment. Gordon started, and Gordon looked like the better back, while Williams looked like an indecisive rookie. That all can change later in the season, but as of now, it looks like Gordon is the better value in drafts.

From a matchup standpoint, you could not ask for a better opponent than Jacksonville. The Jags gave up three touchdowns and 144 total yards to the trio of running backs in Houston, including former Bronco Phillip Lindsay.

Unlike the Giants, who have a talented defensive front, only the Falcons and Texans were ranked below the Jags entering the season according to's defensive line rankings.
Another positive for the Broncos running game is the likelihood of a positive running game script created by the Denver defense. We anticipate Trevor Lawrence will find it difficult to throw against the Bronco secondary, and Von Miller and Bradley Chubb (assuming he is back) will wreak havoc on the Jacksonville offensive line.

Value Meter:
QB2: Teddy Bridgewater (high-End)
RB2: Melvin Gordon (Low-End)
RB3: Javonte Williams (High-End)
WR2: Courtland Sutton (Low-End)
WR3: Tim Patrick (Low-End)
WR4: KJ Hamler (High-End)
TE1: Noah Fant (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: At first glance, you might think that Trevor Lawrence played well in his first NFL start. Hie scored more fantasy points than Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Ryan Tannehill.

His 332 passing yards were the 8th most on the week, and he tied for fifth on the day with three passing touchdowns. However, a closer look revealed a rookie who made questionable throws and was constantly under pressure, with the majority of his stats coming in garbage time. The context of his opponent should also be alarming, as he struggled against arguably the worst defense in the league.

Lawrence faces a much more challenging opponent this week in a Broncos defense that held Daniel Jones and the Giants to just 13 points last week. Jones managed to complete just 59% of his passband struggled under the pressure of the Broncos pass rush.

Fantasy managers should only consider starting Lawrence in the deepest of two QB leagues. His skill position players in the passing game do have more value, including D.J. Chark, who led all Jags with 12 targets. Sure, he only caught three of them, but he did have a nice game with 86 cards and a score. Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault each had nine targets as well, with Jones catching a late garbage TD in the closing seconds.

Cornerback Ronald Darby suffered a hamstring injury against the Giants and was placed on IR. His absence in the lineup will mean more snaps for rookie Patrick Surtain alongside Bryce Callahan and Kyle Fuller. Surtain played in just 16 defensive snaps last week and will be tested outside by Jones and Chark.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: There was no better story in fantasy football last season than the emergence of undrafted rooking James Robinson, who took the starting job once the team released Leonard Fournette. Robinson was a revelation, leading his team in rushing yards and finishing as an RB1 in all formats.

Then came Urban Meyer, and Robinson’s value appears to have been cut in half, as the Jags used a 60/40 split with veteran Carlos Hyde. The two combined for a disappointing 69 rush yards on just 14 carries in what turned out to be a surprisingly odd negative game script.

On a positive note, Robinson did Garner six of the team’s eight targets to RBs. On the negative side, he managed just three catches for 29 yards.

Considering that the Broncos are a far superior run defense to the Texans and just limited Saquon Barkley to less than three yards per carry, it is hard to get excited about Robinson or Hyde this week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Trevor Lawrence (high-End)
RB2: James Robinson (Low-End)
RB4: Carlos Hyde (High-End)
WR2: D.J. Chark (Low-End)
WR3: Marvin Jones High-End)
WR3: Laviska Shenault (High-End)
TE2: James O’Shaughnessy (High-End)

Prediction: Denver 28, Jacksonville 17 ^ Top

Bills at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: BUF -3.5
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: It was a lackluster start to the season for Josh Allen. He attempted 51 passes last week, yet mustered up just 270 yards and one touchdown. Fantasy managers shouldn’t fret as the Dolphins just let Mac Jones throw for 268 yards against them. In his career against the Dolphins, Allen averages 258.7 passing yards and just under three passing touchdowns per game. This is a prime bounce back spot.

That’s also good news for Stefon Diggs. A 9-69 performance is fine, but not good enough for a borderline first round fantasy pick. What fantasy managers should focus on is not the fantasy point total, but the target count: 14. Diggs will be just fine.

The Bills WR2 is undoubtedly Emmanuel Sanders. Even at 34 years old, Sanders can still play. He saw eight targets last week and should’ve scored a long touchdown, but Allen overthrew him despite several yards of separation.

Cole Beasley remains the primary slot receiver and saw 13 targets last week. Beasley is a floor play and will rarely fail you, but you are not getting spike weeks from him.

Gabriel Davis is a fantasy pundit favorite and the touchdown he caught last week is only going to add fuel to that fire. Do not start Davis. He’s the WR4 and just saw five targets last week. In fact, he doesn’t even belong on fantasy rosters in standard sized leagues.

Dawson Knox caught all four of his targets for 41 yards last week. Tight end is a disaster beyond the top few guys but if you need someone to get you 5-7 points, Knox is your guy.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: What running game? The Bills don’t run the ball. Last week, Allen threw the ball 51 times and scrambled nine times. Devin Singletary and Matt Breida combined for just 15 carries. The more relevant number is five, which is the amount of targets Singletary saw. Singletary is unlikely to score much and is not a splash play guy, but with Zack Moss rightfully deactivated for being awful at football, Singletary is a lock for 12-15 opportunities a game. That keeps him in weekly RB3 territory. The Dolphins allowed 125 rushing yards to the Patriots last week. Singletary is probably going to settle in the 8-12 fantasy point range unless he scores a touchdown. Breida is just a backup.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (high end)
WR1: Stefon Diggs (high end)
WR3: Emmanuel Sanders
Flex: Cole Beasley, Devin Singletary
Bench: Matt Breida, Gabriel Davis, Dawson Knox

Passing Game Thoughts: It was a win for the Dolphins, but an uneventful season debut for Tua Tagovailoa. He attempted just 27 passes, which is the type of offense the Dolphins want to run. The Bills may have lost to the Steelers last week, but Ben Roethlisberger threw for just 188 yards. This is not a good matchup for Tua.

The biggest positive from last week has to be Jaylen Waddle. The rookie caught four of six targets for 61 yards and a touchdown. Most excitingly, he was actually used down the field. It remains to be seen how targets will be divided up with Will Fuller returning from the final game of his PED suspension this week. My guess is Waddle and Fuller are the top two targets with DeVante Parker third. Parker had a respectable 4-81 line last week, but he will likely be the least reliable of the three. Tua cannot support three fantasy viable pass catchers.

The good news for the wide receivers is they are the only pass catchers that matter. Hopefully, Mike Gesicki truthers are finally over it as he was a t-shirt and shorts superstar. The man is incredibly athletic, but he just isn’t a good football player and is being phased out of the offense. He played just 39% of the snaps last week, well behind Durham Smythe. Gesicki can be dropped in all formats.

Editor's Note: Will Fuller has been declared Out due to a personal matter.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: It appears concerns about a timeshare in this backfield were warranted. In 2020, Myles Gaskin played at least 61% of the snaps in every game he was active. Last week, that number was 54%. Malcolm Brown was at 30% and Salvon Ahmed 20%. Gaskin is the clear lead runner, but he will not be the volume hog he was last season.

The Bills completely shut down Najee Harris last week, holding the entire Steelers offense to just 75 yards rushing. The Dolphins will certainly try and get things going on the ground, but I’m not optimistic. Gaskin feels very much like a low RB2/Flex play with a very low weekly floor.

Value Meter:
WR3: Jaylen Waddle
WR3: Will Fuller
Flex: Myles Gaskin
Bench: Tua Tagovailoa, DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki

Prediction: Bills 31, Dolphins 17 ^ Top

Texans @ Browns - (Green)
Line: CLE -12.5
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Expectations for the Texans were incredibly low entering this season, but for at least one week they exceeded them. Tyrod Taylor threw for 291 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and he also added 40 yards on the ground. DeShaun Who? Amirite!? The journeyman’s outburst was the most yards he’s passed for in a single game since Dec. 24, 2016, when Barack Obama was still President. That’s a long-winded way of saying not to expect that level of production to continue -- unless the NFL elects to have Houston play Jacksonville each week to spare fans of the other 30 teams.

Taylor does have at least one legitimate NFL receiver to throw to in the person of Brandin Cooks, who turned his five receptions into 132 yards. Cooks has topped 1,000 yards in five of his last six seasons while playing for four different clubs, so he’s proven he knows how to get his. After that it’s pretty dicey with retreads like Danny Amendola (5-34-1) and Chris Conley (2-27-0). Unless someone emerges from the quagmire Cooks is the only one to own. He can be played as a weak WR2 or strong WR3 this week.

Cleveland allowed 337 yards and three touchdowns through the air last Sunday in a hard-fought loss to the Chiefs. That’s to be expected when facing the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, who posted an 11-197-1 line. Look for a more conservative approach from Houston in this one and keep Taylor benched.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: Tell the truth, did you even know that Mark Ingram was on the Texans before he carried the ball 26 times against Jacksonville? The veteran turned those carries into just 85 yards, a paltry 3.3 yards per carry, but did score once. Fellow “Ghosts of Fantasy Past” members Phillip Lindsay (8-25-1) and David Johnson (3-10-0) both scored as well with Johnson’s coming on a reception. Cleveland owns a stout run defense, and they showed that once again in Week 1 when they allowed 3.2 yards per carry against KC. Ingram could fill a flex spot. Ignore the others.

Value Meter:
RB3/Flex: Mark Ingram
WR2/WR3: Brandin Cooks
Bench: Tyrod Taylor, David Johnson

Passing Game Thoughts: It was another interesting day of statistical football from Baker Mayfield last Sunday as he threw for 321 yards, ninth-most in the NFL, but was one of just four QBs not to have a touchdown pass. He also undid a lot of good work with a terrible interception that effectively ended the game. No wonder security still doesn’t recognize him (“Sorry Parker, just doing my job.”). A year ago, he went 12-for-20 for 132 yards and no TDs against the Texans.

Mayfield spread the wealth versus KC with forgotten man David Njoku leading the way with 76 yards on three grabs -- it’s not time to consider adding Njoku, but you can put his name on the watch list. Jarvis Landry (5-71-0) paced the team in receptions and is likely to do so once again with Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) already ruled out as he works his way back from last year’s knee injury. Austin Hooper (3-27-0) has never recaptured the form he showed in Atlanta, but he can be carried on your reserve roster.

Houston’s defense is populated by wayward veterans, and the secondary is no different with a pair of former Browns (Terrance Mitchell and Eric Murray) at safety. The Texans picked off Trevor Lawrence three times in his NFL debut before ultimately giving up 332 yards and three TDs as a result of extended garbage time. None of that should worry the more experienced Mayfield, but a ground-heavy attack is still likely. Landry is playable as a WR3 with Mayfield no better than a QB2.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: The combination of Nick Chubb (15-83-2) and Kareem Hunt (6-33-1) remains the strength of Cleveland’s offense with the former serving as the early-down bruiser and the latter as more of a change-of-pace back. Last season against Houston both players topped 100 yards on the ground with Chubb scoring that game’s lone touchdown. Don’t read anything into the Texans holding Jacksonville to 76 yards rushing as the Jags all but abandoned the run after digging an early hole. Get Chubb and Hunt in your lineup.

Value Meter:
QB2: Baker Mayfield
RB1: Nick Chubb
RB2: Kareem Hunt
WR3: Jarvis Landry
Bench: Austin Hooper, Odell Beckham Jr. (inj-knee)

Prediction: Browns 34, Texans 16 ^ Top

Bengals @ Bears - (Green)
Line: CHI -2.5
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: By completing 20 of 27 passes for 261 yards and 2 scores, Joe Burrow laid a lot of fears to rest about his return from a torn ACL. He did take quite a few shots as Minnesota sacked him five times, and he only ran once, but elusiveness and willingness to take off should return as he rounds into form. With three talented wideouts at his disposal and a decent matchup on tap, Burrow could fill a low-end QB1 role this Sunday.

While the biggest questions surrounding Cincinnati’s offense were about Burrow, there were definite concerns about Ja’Marr Chase (5-101-1) after an offseason filled with dropped balls. He hauled in five of his seven targets, though, and that included a 50-yard touchdown. Tee Higgins (4-58-1) also found paydirt on a short ball and was the team’s second-most targeted receiver. Veteran Tyler Boys (3-32-0) was the odd man out, at least for one week. His four targets were tied for third, and he finished behind C.J. Uzomah in yards.

Despite a reputation as a strong defense, the Bears often looked lost in their Week 1 setback against the Rams with Matthew Stafford connecting on a couple of deep balls that featured poor coverage from Chicago’s secondary. By the end, the Bears had given up 312 yards and three touchdowns to Stafford while applying minimal pressure. That’s good news for Cincinnati’s receivers with Higgins checking in as a WR2 and Chase as a borderline WR2/WR3. Boyd can be played as a flex or left inactive.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Another player returning from a season-ending injury last weekend was Joe Mixon, who carried the ball 29 times for 127 yards and a score. It was a far cry from 2020 when Mixon was stuck in neutral throughout September, managing 164 rushing yards combined for the month. Chicago was solid against the run, allowing 70 yards on 16 carries to Darrell Henderson in the loss. If the Bengals can maintain their offensive balance Mixon should offer RB2 value.

Value Meter:
QB1: Joe Burrow (low-end)
RB2: Joe Mixon
WR2: Tee Higgins
WR2/WR3: Ja’Marr Chase
Flex: Tyler Boyd

Passing Game Thoughts: Suffice to say that nothing the Bears passing game put on film Sunday night will quiet the drumbeat from fans wanting Andy Dalton to be replaced with Justin Fields. It’s anyone’s guess when that will happen, though the combination of factors is likely to involve further development from Fields and/or losses mounting for the club. We’re not there, yet, and Dalton will start again in Week 2. He was in pure game manager mode against the Rams with his 27 completions covering just 206 yards with a long of 19. Cincy’s defense isn’t nearly as formidable so they might open things up a bit, though that’s not enough to consider Dalton for your lineup.

Nobody could accuse the Red Rifle of not spreading the ball around. Five players caught between four and six passes, each of them finishing between 25 and 45 yards. That ought to tell you that nobody involved in Chicago’s passing game contributed much to fantasy owners. Allen Robinson (6-35-0) led the way with 11 targets and is clearly the best/only playable receiver right now. Considering his track record, he should remain active as a WR2. Beyond that the two names to know are Cole Kmet (5-42-0) and Darnell Mooney (5-26-0), though both are currently no more than roster depth.

With Cincinnati nursing a lead and doing a surprisingly effective job against the run, the Vikings took to the air to catch up last week. When the final whistle blew Kirk Cousins had passed for 351 yards and 2 TDs on a whopping 49 attempts. That suggests that the Bengals secondary is vulnerable, though whether the Bears possess the talent to take exploit it is unclear.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: Easily the most impressive player on offense for Chicago in the Week 1 loss was David Montgomery, who carried the ball 16 times for 108 yards (6.8 YPC) and a touchdown. He was also responsible for the Bears’ only play of more than 20 yards. We’ll see if there’s an uptick in Montgomery’s usage, especially after Damien Williams turned his 10 combined touches into a modest 40 yards. As noted earlier, the Bengals did a great job against Dalvin Cook, holding him to 61 yards on 20 carries and forcing a fumble. Despite that, Montgomery joins Robinson as Chicago’s only playable options. He’s a solid RB2.

Value Meter:
RB2: David Montgomery
WR2: Allen Robinson
Bench: Justin Fields, Damien Williams, Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet

Prediction: Bears 23, Bengals 21 ^ Top

49ers at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: SF -3.5
Total: 49.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Jimmy Garoppolo was extremely efficient last week, throwing for 314 yards despite attempting just 25 passes. He will never be a fantasy option due to the 49ers’ desire to run the ball as much as possible. His WR1, however, most certainly will be.

Deebo Samuel exploded for 189 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions. With Brandon Aiyuk playing just 47% of the snaps, there’s no debate over who the top dog is here. I’m not buying this Aiyuk (hamstring) injury story. If he was hurt, he would’ve barely played. 47% of the snaps is not barely playing. Samuel is a must start until further notice.

George Kittle is incredible at football. I still believe he is the best all-around tight end in the NFL. Unfortunately, that’s not a good thing for fantasy football. Kittle was never even remotely on the level of Travis Kelce or Darren Waller; he just blocks too much and is in a low volume passing attack. Hopefully, a road game against a sneaky good offense will lead to more than just five targets, but I’m not optimistic. Kittle remains better than the rest of the tight ends, but he’s closer to the “pack” than he is to the two alphas.

One final note on Trey Lance. He is seeing snaps and has a role in this offense. But as long as the 49ers keep winning, Garoppolo is not getting benched. Lance is going to be tough to keep on benches as there is no QB swap in sight.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: The 49ers spent a third round pick on Trey Sermon. So naturally after Raheem Mostert was lost due to a knee injury, it was sixth round pick Elijah Mitchell who took over because Sermon was inactive. Mitchell was the single hottest waiver wire add this week, and rightfully so. However, proceed with caution as we’ve seen this story before. Kyle Shanahan made Jeff Wilson into an RB1. Mitchell is going to start this week, but with Mostert out, Sermon will almost certainly be active. If he’s active, it means he’s getting carries. If he’s getting carries, he can pop.

The Eagles shut down Mike Davis last week, holding him to just 49 yards on 15 carries, but the 49ers are an elite rushing offense. If you were able to grab Mitchell, he’s worth starting. Just know that it could very easily be Sermon next week.

Value Meter:
WR2: Deebo Samuel (mid-range)
TE1: George Kittle (high end)
Flex: Elijah Mitchell
Bench: Jimmy Garoppolo, Brandon Aiyuk, Trey Sermon

Passing Game Thoughts: I was told Jalen Hurts couldn’t complete passes. He could’ve fooled me last week. Hurts completed 77% of his throws as the Eagles put it all on Hurts with the third highest neutral game script pass rate in Week 1. Hurts threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns while adding 62 yards on the ground. He’s an every week high floor/high ceiling QB1. The 49ers allowing Jared Goff to throw for 338 yards does not inspire confidence in their ability to stop Hurts.

Rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith instantly showed why he’s the team’s WR1. He led the team in targets (8), receptions (6), and yards (71). He scored, too. He sure looks like an every week WR3 at worst.

At WR2 was Jalen Reagor. He caught all six of his targets for 49 yards and a touchdown. I’m not sure what to make of this just yet, but he’s certainly a hold on benches.

Dallas Goedert played 73% of the snaps and was clearly ahead of Zach Ertz. Goedert will be inconsistent, but he’s the clear TE1 here. The 49ers just surrendered 97 yards to T.J. Hockenson. I like Goedert this week.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders is someone I had no interest in this season. After one week, that’s looking like a bad call. Sanders only played 66% of the snaps last week, but that’s a bit misleading as he was benched for most of the fourth quarter in favor of giving Kenny Gainwell some burn in a blowout. Sanders is the clear primary back and looking like a massive value this season. In closer games, as this one should be, Sanders is easily looking at 20+ touches. He’s a must start against a defense that was just shredded by Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift.

Gainwell is worth putting on benches as he’s the clear RB2, playing ahead of Boston Scott. However, he has no standalone value with Sanders healthy.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jalen Hurts (mid-range)
RB2: Miles Sanders (high end)
WR3: DeVonta Smith
TE1: Dallas Goedert (low end)
Bench: Jalen Reagor, Kenny Gainwell

Prediction: Eagles 27, 49ers 24 ^ Top

Saints @ Panthers - (Swanson)
Line: NO -3.5
Total: 45.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints embarrassed Aaron Rodgers and the Packers with a 38-3 win in which Winston threw five touchdown passes and completed 70% of his passes.

The game plan by head coach Sean Payton was brilliant. Play great defense, impose their will with the running game, and limit the passing attempts by Winston to high percentage passes to help the much-maligned quarterback succeed.

Look for a similar game plan this week against a young Panthers secondary that held the Jets to just 14 points last week. When your strength is your offensive line and running game, it makes sense not to force plays in the passing game, especially if you have a QB who threw 30 interceptions in his last full season as a starter.

The Marquez Callaway love that swept through the fantasy community crashed and burned last week, with Callaway garnering just two targets on his one for 14-yard performance. In all, the Saints threw the ball just five times to wide receivers in this game. Callaway will have some big plays, and long touchdown passes, but he is a risky start based on the volume we saw last week.

Juwan Johnson and Adam Troutman combine for six catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns against the Jets. Troutman was the target leader with six, but Johnson caught both touchdowns and looks to be a solid red-zone threat for Winston. The lack of volume makes Johnson a TD or bust candidate, and this screams of chasing touchdowns. But if he scores again this week, you have to start buying into him and plug him into your lineup going forward.

Starting Safety Juston Burris is questionable for the game with a neck injury but did log a full practice on Wednesday. The biggest injury concern for the Saints offense is starting center Erik McCoy, who missed practice with a calf injury. His status for the game is up in the air.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara has just three games of 20 or more carries daring back to 2018. One of those games came last week against the Jets, in which he logged 83 yards on 20 carries. Not a great day for him, but he did make up for it with a touchdown reception.

It clearly looks like Sean Payton is planning on leaning on the run game even more now that Drew Brees retired and Jameis Winston is under center.

Tony Jones performed well in his role as the new Latavius Murray, with 50 yards on 11 carries. Look for Jones to get between 10 and 15 touches again this week against a Panthers defense that did a solid job limiting the ground game of the Jets in Week 1. Ty Johnson, Tevin Coleman, and Michael Carter managed a paltry 45 yards on 17 carries and did not reach the end zone.

An injury to keep an eye on that could limit the overall effectiveness of the ground game is a calf injury to starting center Erik McCoy. If McCoy is out, look for Cesar Ruiz to move to center and Calving Throckmorton to move to right guard.

Regardless of who is snapping the ball, you are starting Kamara with confidence. He logged nearly 170 total yards against the Panthers last season in Week 7 and is a must-start in all formats. Jones does have flex consideration in deeper leagues.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jameis Winston (Low-End)
RB1: Alvin Kamara (Elite)
RB4: Tony Jones (High-End)
WR3: Marquez Callaway (Low-End)
TE1: Juwan Johnson (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: It wasn’t exactly a revenge game, but Sam Darnold and the Panthers did take care of business and beat the Jets to start the season 1-0. Darnold finished the week as the No.15 QB, with 279 passing yards, a passing touchdown, and a rushing score. Not great, but he did score more points than Lamar Jackson, Ryan Tannehill, Justin Herbert, and reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.

We all knew that someone in the Panthers passing offense would lose volume with the return of Christian McCaffrey. Based on what we saw in Week 1, it looks like Robby Anderson is the one with the red alert warning signs going off. Anderson saw just three targets but salvaged his day with a 57-yard touchdown reception.

The game script in this game could force Darnold to throw the ball more than he did in week one, which could result in more targets for Anderson.

Injuries to the Saints defense should also lend itself to a more conducive passing attack for the Panthers, as starting CB Marshon Lattimore is out with a hand injury, and two reserve defensive backs for the Saints are injured. Stud pass rusher Marcus Davenport is also likely out with a shoulder injury, which should lead to more time in the pocket for Darnold.

Rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. had a nice start to his career with three catches for 26 yards on six targets. Not exactly a monster fantasy performance, but he did lead the team with two red zone targets and could continue to do so in this game.

Christian McCaffrey logged nine targets in his return to action, catching all of them for a week-best 89 receiving yards.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

Running Game Thoughts: McCaffrey jumped right back into the mix as the RB1 in half-point and full point PPR formats, with 23.2 points despite not reaching the end zone. By comparison, Nick Chubb scored two touchdowns and combined for 101 yards against the Chiefs, but still scored fewer points than CMC.

The Saints boast one of the best run defenses in the league and did an excellent job shutting down Aaron Jones last week. Despite this fact, you are starting CMC with confidence based on his success against them in the past (150 total yards and two scores Week 12 in 2019) and the fact that the Saints are dealing with multiple injuries on the defensive side of the ball.

Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Davenport, two of their best defenders, are likely out, starting will linebacker Kwon Alexander is likely out, and reserve defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon may miss the game as well.

Value Meter:
QB2: Sam Darnold (High-End)
RB1: Christian McCaffrey (Elite)
WR2: D.J. Moore (High-End)
WR3: Robby Anderson (High-End)
WR4: Terrace Marshall Jr. (High-End)
TE2: Dan Arnold (High-End)

Prediction: New Orleans 34, Carolina 24 ^ Top

Rams @ Colts - (Swanson)
Line: LAR -3.5
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Matthew Stafford era of Rams football started off with a bang, with the former Lion posting an impressive 312/3 line at home against the Bears en route to offensive player of the week honors.

The Stafford/McVay fit seemed like a no-brainer, and it quickly proved to be true in game one and should continue this week against a Colts team that struggled against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing offense.

Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf combined for 160 yards and three scores last week vs. a Colts secondary that appeared slow and out of place at times. Although ranked the secondary unit 13th entering the season, they did not play like the 13th-best secondary last Sunday.

Cooper Kupp led all Rams wide receivers in targets with 10, converting those targets into 7/108/1 against the Bears. Robert Woods saw just three targets but did salvage his week with a late touchdown. Both players are solid plays this week and should be considered reliable No.2 WR options.

We all hoped that Tyler Higbee would step up in targets, with Gerald Everett moving on to the Seahawks in the offseason. Higbee did have five catches for 68 yards on six targets last week, and he appears to be locked in as a top-12 TE this season.

Indy gave up 5/57/1 to the Seahawk tight ends. I would not be surprised to see a similar stat line for Higbee this week, especially with stud linebacker Darius Leonard dealing with an ankle injury.

Other injuries to consider in this matchup on the defensive side of the ball are starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes is missed practice on Thursday with a calf injury, and starting safety Khari Willis is missed practice yesterday due to an illness.

It is never a good thing to have three starting defenders out of practice on Thursday before a game against a potent pass offense like the Rams.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: If last week’s game against the Bears is any indication of how coach McVay wants to use his runnings backs, Darrell Henderson is the lead back and is approaching workhorse status.

Henderson saw a 94% snap count compared to just 6% for Sony Michel while posting a solid 16/70/1 line against a strong Bears front seven.

Last season, the Colts gave up the 11th-fewest points to opposing running backs and did not give up a 100-yard game to a running back not named Derrick Henry. However, with injuries to Darrius Leonard and Khari Willis and the fact that Chris Carson posted over 100 total yards last week, this is not the worst matchup for Henderson.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford (Low-End)
RB2: Darrell Henderson (Low-End)
WR2: Cooper Kupp (High-End)
WR2: Robert Woods (Low-End)
TE1: Tyler Higbee (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz’s first game with his new team was not quite as impressive as Matthew Stafford’s, but from a real-life football perspective, Wentz did a serviceable job. He completed 25 of 38 passes for 251 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Zach Pascal.

Wentz did not push the ball downfield much (6.6 yards per attempt), and he was sacked three times in what turned out to be a subpar performance by what is widely considered one of the better offensive lines in the league.

Short passing games and poor pass blocking is a terrible recipe against a Rams defense that can get a ton of pressure on the QB and with cornerbacks who dare you to throw deep. If the Colts offensive line does not do a better job protecting Wentz, this could be an ugly game for the Indy pass offense.

Starting offensive linemen Quenton Nelson and Eric Fisher are both listed on the Colts injury report for Thursday. Nelson was a DNP with back and foot issues, while Fisher was limited with an Achilles.

The tight end duo of Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox were non-factors last week against the Seahawks with three combined catches for 21 yards. With the likelihood of Wentz being under constant pressure in this game, it would make sense for those two players to be utilized more, especially with Jalen Ramsey shutting down one side of the field for the Rams.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: One game is not a large enough sample size to get a clear picture of how players will be used throughout the season. However, fantasy managers of Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines have to be excited with the number of passes each player received in the passing game.

There was some concern that with Philip Rivers retiring, the number of pass attempts to running backs would go down. Based on what we saw against Seattle, both players will be active in the passing game, which should continue this week against the Rams.

Jonathan Taylor was the number one back on first and second down, but the 55% to 45% split with Hines is a bit concerning, especially the nine carries for Hines.

David Montgomery proved last week that you could run on the Rams, especially if the offensive line does a good job of using Aaron Donald’s first step against him and utilizing quick runs to his side.

On the injury front, the Rams starting nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day was a limited participant on Thursday with a knee injury and is questionable for the game. We think he is going to play, but he could be limited, which could help the efficiency of the Colts run game.

Value Meter:
QB2: Carson Wentz (High-End)
RB1: Jonathan Taylor (Low-End)
RB3: Nyheim Hines (Low-End)
WR3: Michael Pittman Jr. (High-End)
WR3: Zach Pascal (Low-End)
TE2: Jack Doyle (High-End)

Prediction: Los Angeles 30, Indianapolis 21 ^ Top

Raiders @ Steelers - (Green)
Line: PIT -6.0
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Not since early in the 2018 season had Derek Carr thrown for more than 400 yards in a game. That’s exactly what happened Monday night, though, when he torched the Ravens for 435 yards and two TDs in an overtime win. While the 400-yard threshold was unusual, his performance was the continuation of a trend that began last December as Carr has now passed for 300-plus yards in five of his last six games -- and the only time he didn’t came when he suffered a groin injury and departed after attempting just five passes.

Despite a lot of investment in the receiving corps, the passing game still revolves around TE Darren Waller. He was targeted an NFL-high 19 times on MNF, hauling in 10 for 105 yards and a touchdown. During the six-game period mentioned above, Waller has seen double-digit targets five times and totaled 53 receptions, 764 yards and five TDs. He’s 1a/1b with Travis Kelce at this point. Beyond Waller it’s still unknowns. Hunter Renfrow (6-70-0) is emerging as a solid slot receiver, and second-year pros Henry Ruggs (2-46-0) and Bryan Edwards (4-81-0) remain works in progress.

Tasked with going into Buffalo to slow one of the NFL’s top offenses, the Steelers came up big last Sunday. They bled some yardage but harassed Josh Allen (three sacks, two fumbles) and made the Bills settle for field goals. Pittsburgh now hosts Las Vegas on a short week with the Raiders coming off an emotionally draining win. Expect some major statistical regression this Sunday, leaving Carr with QB2 appeal and keeping everyone not named Waller on your bench.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: Outside of a 31-yard scamper by Marcus Mariota the Raiders managed just 51 yards on 20 rushing attempts. Josh Jacobs battled through turf toe to lead the way with 10 carries, 34 yards and two touchdowns. Offseason addition Kenyan Drake was stymied as a runner (6-11-0) but chipped in with 59 yards on five receptions. Pittsburgh is always a tough nut to crack when it comes to run defense, making Jacobs a shaky choice as your No. 2 back. Drake could serve as a flex.

Value Meter:
QB2: Derek Carr
RB2: Josh Jacobs (inj-toe)
Flex: Kenyan Drake
TE1: Darren Waller
Bench: Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow

Passing Game Thoughts: Coming off a year in which Ben Roethlisberger averaged over 42 attempts per game (including playoffs) it was obvious the team wanted to get back to some semblance of offensive diversity. To that end they added a running back, a tight end and two offensive linemen in the first four rounds of the draft. Last Sunday, the Steelers threw 32 times compared to 18 runs (not counting kneel downs) in a game that was driven by defense. It’s too soon to make sweeping judgments about Pittsburgh’s offense for 2021, but we’ll pencil Big Ben in as a midrange QB2 for now.

With the Steelers only passing for 188 yards, the receiving trio of Diontae Johnson (5-36-1), Chase Claypool (3-45-0) and Juju Smith-Schuster (4-52-0) all had quiet days. Or did they? Looking back to last year’s pass-happy offense, only Johnson was more than 20 yards off his per-game average whereas Smith-Schuster was dead on. All three are talented players with weekly upside, but none of them are matchup-proof locks. For now it feels like Johnson is the safest play with Claypool the most volatile.

Las Vegas allowed 235 yards passing on Monday, but that should be taken with a grain of salt as Baltimore has long been a run-first team. Looking at last year, the Raiders gave up 263.3 yards per game through the air, which ranked 26th in the league. Their lack of pass rush has been an issue for a while, though they did get to Lamar Jackson on three occasions. All three Steelers wideouts should be in the WR3 range.

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: With 45 yards on 16 carries (2.8 YPC), Najee Harris didn’t immediately announce his inclusion among Jerome Bettis, Le’Veon Bell and other greats of Pittsburgh’s storied past. It’s early, though, and the Raiders offer a more encouraging matchup than Buffalo did as Vegas was 24th in run defense last year and allowed 189 yards on the ground in Week 1. Deploy Harris as your No. 2 running back.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ben Roethlisberger
RB2: Najee Harris
WR2/WR3: Diontae Johnson
WR3: JuJu Smith-Schuster
WR3: Chase Claypool
Bench: Eric Ebron

Prediction: Steelers 30, Raiders 20 ^ Top

Patriots at Jets - (Katz)
Line: NE -6.0
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Mac Jones had a solid, yet unspectacular NFL debut. He completed 29-of-39 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown. It’s actually a very similar line to what the Jets allowed Sam Darnold to do against them last week (24/35, 279-1).

The Patriots want to play a slow-paced, ball control style of offense, but Jones attempting 39 passes last week is encouraging. Jakobi Meyers saw nine targets, while Nelson Agholor saw seven targets. Both are startable in fantasy lineups, but neither is a preferred option.

The Patriots ran a ton of two tight end sets as both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry played over 70% of the snaps. They each caught all of their targets (five for Smith, three for Henry) and Smith handled a carry, but neither appears to be clearly superior to the other. Both are viable fantasy options due to the lack of depth at the tight end position, but neither is going to be a weekly reliable option.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Make no mistake about it – Damien Harris is the lead back in New England. Although he fumbled last week, so did Rhamondre Stevenson. Bill Belichick cannot use that as a reason to bench Harris, and I don’t think he will. Harris carried the ball 23 times for 100 yards and Stevenson saw just two carries. This is Harris’ backfield.

It’s impossible to glean anything from how Christian McCaffrey fared against the Jets last week because, well, he’s Christian McCaffrey. The best we can do is assess usage and performance on the Patriots, both of which support Harris as a viable RB2. It’s also worth nothing he saw three targets, which nearly half of his entire 2020 total.

James White looks like he’s back to doing James White things. He was targeted seven times, catching six for 49 yards. White is the better comparison to McCaffrey due to each being heavily used in the passing game. If the Patriots scheme passes to White similar to how the Panthers did McCaffrey, White could have another useful PPR day.

Value Meter:
RB2: Damien Harris (low end)
WR3: Jakobi Meyers
TE2: Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry
Flex: Nelson Agholor, James White
Bench: Mac Jones, Rhamondre Stevenson

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s difficult to evaluate Zach Wilson’s debut. He completed just 54% of his passes, but had two nice touchdown passes to Corey Davis. He also had a dreadful interception. And all of this must be analyzed under the context of a quarterback that was pressured on 46.5% of his drop backs. Losing Mechi Becton for 4-6 weeks is not going to help his cause.

Davis tied with Braxton Berrios for the team lead with seven targets, but Davis was the one who found the end zone twice. He’s the clear WR1 on this team and is probably a must start, but this is a difficult matchup against either J.C. Jackson or Jalen Mills. With that being said, DeVante Parker and Jaylen Waddle were able to find room against the Patriots last week and it’s tough to fade Davis coming off such a strong Week 1.

Beyond Davis, the receiver that played the most snaps was rookie Elijah Moore. However, he caught just one of four targets for -3 yards. Add in the fact that both Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole are expected to return this week and Moore is well off the redraft radar for now. I would expect Crowder to take over Berrios’ role from last week, which makes him an interesting name in deeper PPR leagues.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: The Jets’ three-man backfield is every bit the nightmare fantasy managers expected it to be. Ty Johnson led the team with 54% of the snaps, followed by “starter” Tevin Coleman (26%) and Michael Carter (25%). Coleman will continue to start because he’s the veteran, but it’s nothing more than a formality. Given that Johnson was the guy out there on passing downs, he’s the most valuable of the three, but this is going to a very fluid situation week-to-week.

The Patriots allowed Myles Gaskin to average 5.44 ypc last week. One week is obviously far from a reliable sample size, but the Patriots may not have the strongest of run defenses. Nevertheless, the uncertainty and unreliability of usage in the Jets’ backfield makes it a complete stay away for fantasy purposes.

Value Meter:
WR3: Corey Davis
Flex: Jamison Crowder
Bench: Elijah Moore, Ty Johnson, Tevin Coleman, Michael Carter, Zach Wilson

Prediction: Patriots 23, Jets 17 ^ Top

Vikings at Cardinals - (Caron)
Line: ARI -3.5
Total: 50.5

Passing Game Thoughts: A 49-attempt Week 1 game from Kirk Cousins against the Bengals gave us a pretty good glimpse into what the Vikings have planned at least early in the 2021 season. The Minnesota QB threw for 351 yards and a pair of touchdowns - both to wide receiver Adam Thielen. Thielen also led the team in targets (10), receptions (nine) and yards (92) on the day, giving him one of the best fantasy performances of his career. Of course, second-year receiver Justin Jefferson was also heavily utilized with his nine targets, but he was only able to catch five of them for 71 yards. Both Thielen and Jefferson are must-starts this week as the Vikings head to Arizona, as they’re likely to lead the team again in targets in a game that could be a shootout. The Cardinals did a great job of containing the Titans top duo of A.J. Brown and Julio Jones in Week 1, holding them to just six combined catches, but much of that seemed to be due to the fact that the team could not protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The player who really jumped onto the fantasy radar for the Vikings in Week 1 was another second-year wide receiver, K.J. Osborn, who finished the day tied with Jefferson for second-most on the team with nine targets. He was able to convert seven of those for 76 yards, and perhaps most importantly was on the field for nearly 81 percent of all the Vikings’ offensive snaps. His emergence and success on the field should lead to more opportunities and while he’s not a player that fantasy owners should be inserting in their lineups quite yet, he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on and even add in deeper formats.

The Vikings tight end situation became clear in Week 1 after Irv Smith’s injury caused the Vikings to acquire Chris Herndon from the Jets. It was Tyler Conklin, however, who dominated the snaps, playing on 71.1 percent of snaps to Herndon’s 14.5 percent. Certainly it doesn’t help Herndon’s case for playing time that he’s such a fresh addition to the roster and likely isn’t completely familiar with the playbook, but the discrepancy should make fantasy owners at least a bit more confident in starting Conklin in Week 2, if you’re in deep formats. He should, however, be a bench TE in most fantasy leagues until we see something more from him.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: Early-first round fantasy pick Dalvin Cook didn’t deliver a touchdown in Week 1, but he ended up being one of the few backs taken in the first round of most fantasy drafts who actually delivered in Week 1. The Vikings running back carried the ball 20 times for 61 yards, but more importantly for PPR formats is the fact that he was targeted seven times in the passing game, which he converted for an additional 43 yards on six catches. Meanwhile, backups Alexander Mattison and Ameer Abdullah combined for just two carries and three targets against the Bengals, further signifying that the Vikings fully intend to use Cook as one of the few nearly-every-down backs in the NFL.

This week Cook faces a Cardinals defense that is fresh off of holding Derrick Henry to just 58 rushing yards on 17 carries. The bruising back did, however, appear to be a bit more active in the passing game than he normally is, which could be a good sign for Cook owners who are hoping for another high target day. Don’t expect Cousins to throw the ball nearly 50 times again, but this could be another heavy passing game for the Vikings offense which, in the end, is an okay thing for Cook who, as we’ve seen, is one of the better bell cow backs in the league when it comes to making plays as a receiver. Cook remains an obvious RB1 in all formats.

Value Meter:
QB2: Kirk Cousins
RB1: Dalvin Cook (high-end)
WR1: Justin Jefferson (low-end), Adam Thielen (low-end)
Bench: Alexander Mattison, K.J. Osborn, Tyler Conklin

Passing Game Thoughts: Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray broke out in 2020 and his red hot sophomore season seems to be bleeding into his third professional season after he torched the Titans in Week 1. The former No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick lit up the fantasy scoreboard with a 289-yard, four touchdown passing day while adding 20 yards and an additional touchdown as a runner. He did throw an interception, but fantasy owners were more than happy to concede that in order to have the huge day from their stud quarterback.

Murray now faces a Vikings defense that allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 75 percent of his passes against them in Week 1, including touchdowns to both of their top wide receivers: Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. While Burrow took five sacks on the day, Murray’s incredible ability to avoid pressure and extend plays makes him not only a beast for fantasy but also a nightmare for NFL defenses who are trying to contain him. Look for Murray to have another nice day in this one and he should be a locked-in QB1 in what could be a big game of offensive firepower.

If Murray is going to have another big day, look for more of the same from top wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who was the recipient of two of Murray’s Week 1 touchdown passes and is also coming off of a monster 2020. Hopkins’ eight targets led all Cardinals receivers in Week 1 and he remains a stud option, even if he finds himself locked up outside against Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. Peterson got absolutely humiliated by Ja’Marr Chase in Week 1 and Hopkins is a substantially more polished route runner than the rookie.

In addition to Hopkins, two other Cardinals receivers emerged in Week 1. Veteran Christian Kirk caught the other two touchdown passes from Kyler Murray, bringing his total to five catches on the day, which was good enough for second-most behind Hopkins. We’ve seen explosive games like this from Kirk in the past, only to be completely burned by him the very next week, so don’t go out and start him with confidence in this game, but do pay close attention to his usage here in Week 2. Additionally, rookie Rondale Moore immediately made his presence known as he caught four passes for 68 yards on five targets against Tennessee. Moore was a second-round pick by the Cardinals who has been making some big plays throughout camp, so it’s no surprise that he was a focal point of the offense in Week 1. Look for him to become even more involved as the season goes on, but he and Kirk are both still in the “wait and see” bucket for now.

A couple of players who we don’t really need to worry about are veteran wide receiver A.J. Green who caught just two of the six passes that came his way for 25 yards on Sunday, and really any of the tight ends in this Arizona offense. Green didn’t look particularly impressive in his Arizona debut and he’ll likely be losing snaps to Kirk and Moore as the season goes on, especially if those players continue to outplay him on the field. The tight end position has long been a non-factor in Arizona and that doesn’t appear to be changing here in 2021.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: The Cardinals running back situation is one that had a lot of fantasy owners scratching their heads this offseason and unfortunately it didn’t get significantly clearer in Week 1. One thing that we did see is that the players were on the field for the roles that most of them expected to be, with Edmonds being the primary pass catching back (four catched, 43 yards) while Conner failed to see a single target against the Titans.

It was a bit of a weird game script for the Cardinals as they were far ahead on the scoreboard for much of the afternoon and that might have played a fairly substantial role in the carry distribution that is undoubtedly causing some Edmonds owners to be concerned as we head into Week 2. Conner actually out-carried Edmonds (16 to 12) but perhaps most importantly, it was Conner who was on the field, getting carries multiple times when the Cardinals were near the end zone. Of those two data points, the carries near the goal line appear to be more problematic for Edmonds’ upside here in 2021.

With that said, Edmonds’ usage in the passing game has to be convincing for those who were worried about him heading into the season. His four targets in a game where the Cardinals were up by multiple scores for most of the afternoon is a sign that this is probably closer to his floor in the passing game and probably not his ceiling. The Cardinals won’t be up double-digit points every week, so Edmonds should see more usage, particularly in the passing game, and potentially even more carries.

Conner owners should obviously be excited to see their back touch the ball 16 times in his debut, but the game script is something that the Cardinals aren’t likely to see all that often. They could, however, choose to use Conner as a grinder at the end of games and that could be enough to make him fantasy relevant even in PPR formats. He’s a player who fantasy owners should probably not be starting, however, until we get a better idea of what his usage is in a more neutral game script.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray
RB2: Chase Edmonds
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
Bench: James Conner, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, Maxx Williams, Demetrius Harris

Falcons @ Buccaneers - (Swanson)
Line: TB -12.5
Total: 52.0

Passing Game Thoughts: To say that Matt Ryan’s first game under new head coach Arthur Smith was a disaster would be an understatement. Only Andy Dalton scored fewer fantasy points on the week (minimum ten pass attempts), and Justin Fields scored more points in relief duty.

Ryan completed just 60% of his passes for 164 yards and zero touchdowns in a penalty-filled game in which the Falcons could not run the ball.

Now Ryan has to deal with a Bucs front seven that ranks among the league-best at stopping the run and forcing pressure. If Ryan thought last week was tough, the Bucs are going to show him a new level of misery. Hopefully, Ryan is able to survive the game and not leave on a cart.

The only two players worthy of a start in this game are Calvin Ridley because of his volume and excellent route running and Kyle Pitts because of his red zone threat ability. Ridley had mixed success against Tampa Bay last year, with one monster game of 10 catches for 163 yards and a score, followed by a less than stellar 8/52/0 in week 17.

Pitts managed just four catches for 31 yards last week against the Eagles at home. He is going to find it difficult to get open against arguably the best linebacking corps in the league. Despite this, you likely took Pitts high in your draft, and you likely don’t have any other option. Just pray for a garbage touchdown.

That is the end of the list for Falcons to play in this game. It is going to be ugly quick, and Atlanta will be chasing points from the first quarter on.

On the injury front, starting safety Jordan Whitehead missed practice with a hamstring and is questionable for the game.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: The Falcons used a two-headed back approach against the Eagles, with Mike Davis leading the way along with converted WR Cordarrelle Patterson. Davis rushed the ball 15 times for 49 yards and added three catches for 23 yards. Patterson rushed seven times for 54 yards and led the NFL in week one with runs over 10+ yards.

Neither player is a great option against a defense that just shut down Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys. The Bucs finished as the top run defense last season and started this year off where they left off in their championship year.

If you have another option, it is advisable to bench Davis, and Patterson is more of a flex play at best until we see multiple games of him getting volume.

Value Meter:
QB2: Matt Ryan (High-End)
RB3: Mike Davis (High-End)
RB4: Cordarrelle Patterson (High-End)
WR1: Calvin Ridley (Low-End)
TE1: Kyle Pitts (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Tom Brady is an ageless wonder with an embarrassment of riches. You can make a logical argument that no quarterback in the history of the NFL has been blessed with a better collection of three WRs and a TE than Brady has in Tampa Bay. Not to mention he has one of the best offensive lines and a defense that limits the run game and overall effectiveness of the opponents' offense.

Whether or not you think he is the GOAT, you cannot argue against the weapons he possesses and his ability to score fantasy points.

Start all your Bucs in this game and just hope that the Falcons can do enough that Bruce Arians does not pull Brady at halftime.

Of the three wide receivers last week, Mike Evans was the odd man out and earned praise from Brady for his unselfishness. That comment from Brady is all you need to know that he is going to make a point to target Evans in what will likely be a bounce-back game.

Look for at least eight targets for Evans and his first touchdown of the season. Both Godwin and Brown are also must starts, along with Gronkowski.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running back Giovani Bernard is listed along with Brown on the injury report with ankle and knee injuries, but both are expected to play.

From a matchup perspective, the Falcons are far more stout against the run than the pass, and we fully expect Brady to exploit his fact.

Running Game Thoughts: It didn’t take Ronald Jones much time to get back in Bruce Arians’ doghouse with a fumble on Thursday Night Football. Jones was MIA the rest of the game and could be seen shaking his head on the sideline.

Arians came out and said Jones is ready to roll and will start on Sunday. Can we take Arians at his word and throw Jones in our lineups? That is a risky choice based on Arians’ history of making false claims to the media, and Leonard Fournette looked to be the better back against the Cowboys.

If given a choice, we would recommend waiting a week before putting Jones in your lineup, but it may be tough considering the matchup. Atlanta is better against the run than the pass, but they are still a below-average run defense, and jones posted 78/1 against them at home last season.

Fournette is also in consideration as a flex. Although he saw just nine carries against the Cowboys, he was the better of the two early-down backs in the passing game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (High-End)
RB3: Ronald Jones (High-End)
RB4: Leonard Fournette (High-End)
WR1: Mike Evans (Low-End)
WR1: Chris Godwin (Low-End)
WR2: Antonio Brown (Low-End)
TE1: Rob Gronkowski (High-End)

Prediction: Tampa Bay 34, Atlanta 14 ^ Top

Cowboys at Chargers - (Caron)
Line: LAC -3.5
Total: 55.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The 2021 NFL season got off to a hot start on Thursday Night when the Cowboys nearly upset the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in Tampa, largely due to a huge performance from quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott threw the ball a whopping 58 times for 403 yards, three touchdowns and just a single interception. He tossed a pair of touchdowns to Amari Cooper and another touchdown to CeeDee Lamb, both of whom exceeded 100 receiving yards. They were also by far the target leaders on the team with Cooper’s 16 narrowly edging out Lamb’s 15. That kind of usage should give fantasy owners of these Cowboys receivers plenty of confidence as they head into what could be a shootout against the Chargers.

It’s worth noting that the Cowboys’ Week 1 passing output is not necessarily sustainable, but don’t be too quick to write it off as we’ve actually seen this trend over the past two seasons. Prescott missed most of the 2020 season, but he did start four full games. In those four contests, plus Thursday night’s game against the Bucs, Prescott is now averaging an absurd 51.8 pass attempts per game over his past five. That type of pass volume makes it almost impossible for him and these Cowboys receivers to not return plenty of fantasy value, even in difficult matchups.

With Michael Gallup now headed to the IR, the receiver who’s likely to see the biggest step up in usage is Cedrick Wilson. Wilson actually played 41 percent of the Cowboys’ snaps on Thursday night and should be a waiver wire add in deeper leagues, as well as someone to keep an eye on even in normal leagues. Wilson actually turned in a 107-yard, two touchdown performance in one of the games Prescott started in 2020, so it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that he emerges as a potential fantasy option this season. He is, however, someone who needs to stay on your bench for now until we see him put it together again in an actual game.

Tight ends Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz were also an interesting story from Week 1, as the snap share and target share didn’t exactly follow what fantasy football ADPs would have indicated that they should. Schultz out-snapped Jarwin and saw six targets to Jarwin’s four. Of course, this was Jarwin’s first game back after a season-ending injury in 2020, but it’s worth noting that Schultz looked substantially better on the field and was more efficient, catching all six of his targets for 45 yards. This situation is probably similar to what we saw from the Rams in recent years and even teams like the Browns this season where they have multiple pass catching tight ends who cannibalize one another’s opportunities, thus resulting in neither player being reliable for fantasy output. Pay attention to the usage this week and obviously prioritize the other tight end should one of them go down with an injury, but neither of these Cowboys tight ends offer a ton here in Week 2.

One other thing to keep in mind in this game is that the Cowboys will be without right tackle La’el Collins who will miss the next five games after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. This is a big blow for the Cowboys who have struggled in the past when their tackles have been out. On a positive note, they should be getting All Pro right guard Zack Martin back, who spent Week 1 on the COVID-19 list. Martin appears to be ready to go and will be a big boost to the Cowboys offensive line when the need it most.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: Week 1 was a nightmare-like scenario for fantasy owners of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott’s 11 carries for 33 yards were a humiliating stat line for the former All Pro back, and he didn’t add much in the passing game either as he checked in with just two catches for six yards. On a positive note, Zack Martin’s return should be a huge boost for the Cowboys running game in general as Martin is one of the league’s premier road graders. La’el Collins being out won’t be helpful, but this should still be a better run blocking offensive line than it was in Week 1.

With Elliott having performed so poorly, it’s easy to assume that this must have meant that Tony Pollard played a relatively big role in the Cowboys’ Week 1 offense. That wasn’t the case, though, as Pollard was on the field for less than 25 percent of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps, compared to Elliott being out there for an impressive 84.3% of snaps. With the Week 1 game being a shootout, this should be one of the few good signs for Elliott owners as we come out of what was obviously a disappointing fantasy week for him.

Elliott and Pollard will now face a Chargers defense that struggled a bit to contain second-year back Antonio Gibson. Gibson ran the ball 20 times for 90 yards while adding an additional 18 yards on three catches, and that was in a game where Washington struggled to move the ball as a whole. With the Cowboys’ passing game clicking as much as it has been, there should be plenty of opportunities for the Dallas running backs to make plays as runners, pass catchers, and hopefully as goal line backs.

This is still the Ezekiel Elliott backfield for now, so keep Pollard on your bench, but it does feel a bit scary ranking Elliott as a low-end RB1 for fantasy in this contest. We’ll trust that Week 1 was a fluke for now, but if it happens again then it could be time to hit the panic button on this former superstar running back.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (low-end)
WR1: Amari Cooper (low-end)
WR2: CeeDee Lamb (high-end)
Bench: Tony Pollard, Cedrick Wilson, Dalton Schultz, Blake Jarwin

Passing Game Thoughts: It wasn’t the 58-attempt game that Dak Prescott got in Week 1, but second-year quarterback Justin Herbert was absolutely the leader of the Chargers offense as the team defeated Washington in Week 1. Herbert threw the ball 47 times for 337 yards and a touchdown. He also threw one interception, but he certainly funneled plenty of targets to his top few pass catchers.

Keenan Allen was the target leader against Washington, catching nine of the 13 passes that came his way for 100 yards. We’ve come to expect this kind of stat line for Allen who is just a consistent PPR machine with a low touchdown upside. Meanwhile, it was Mike Williams who surprised many when he got 12 targets, eight of which he caught for 82 yards and a touchdown. Only once in his first four years in the league has Williams seen more targets than he did this past week against Washington. In fact, Williams had only ever even seen double-digit targets in three games prior to this. If he’s even seeing six or seven targets per game, Williams could immediately become a weekly fantasy must-start. We’ve seen him rip off a double-digit touchdown season on just 66 total targets back in 2018, so he could certainly produce some big spike weeks if Herbert makes getting the ball to him a priority. The Cowboys couldn’t stop anything the Buccaneers threw at them in the passing game in Week 1, so Allen has to be one of the safest options on the board and Williams has some interesting upside as a WR3/Flex.

The only other Chargers receiver who we should be looking at for fantasy purposes at the moment is tight end Jared Cook. Cook was making his Chargers debut in Week 1 and he was targeted eight times - third most on the team - converting five of those passes for 56 yards. While those aren’t huge numbers, Cook has an excellent matchup here in Week 2 against a Cowboys defense that got absolutely rocked by Rob Gronkowski in Week 1. Gronk was targeted eight times, caught all eight of them, and delivered 90 yards with two touchdowns. Cook should be owned and started in practically every league this week.

To make matters even better for the Chargers passing game, the Cowboys announced earlier this week that their top pass rusher, DeMarcus Lawrence, broke his foot and will be out for the next six to eight weeks. The Cowboys were already depleted in the pass rush department and this will only make things worse for them. Start Herbert with confidence in what could be the highest-scoring game of the week.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: A hamstring injury had Austin Ekeler’s Week 1 in jeopardy early in the week, but the running back was on the field for the game, albeit likely not at full capacity. He saw the field for just 58 percent of the Chargers’ offensive snaps, whereas backups Larry Rountree and Justin Jackson combined for a near 41 percent snap share.

Perhaps it was his hamstring injury that hampered his usage in the passing game, but one of the most surprising stats in all of Week 1 for fantasy was that Ekeler didn’t see a single target. He missed much of the 2020 season, but Ekeler was actually the league leader among running backs in targets per game this past season. We’ll have to see how things play out here in Week 2, but there is some concern for fantasy right now that new Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi might just be less likely to draw up plays for Ekeler in the passing game. Even still, a slight downtick in targets could still mean that Ekeler is one of the league’s better pass catching backs, so don’t give up yet.

Even without his usage in the passing game, however, Ekeler delivered a decent fantasy day by rushing 15 times for 57 yards and a touchdown against a very good Washington defense in Week 1. He’ll face a substantially less-talented unit here in Week 2 and could very well have a huge performance in this one if he’s feeling healthy.

The Cowboys conceded just 46 rushing yards to the lowly Buccaneers running back duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, but Fournette was targeted seven times in the passing game. That doesn’t happen in a Tom Brady offense unless they feel like they have some sort of schematic advantage. Look for the Chargers to utilize Ekeler a good bit in the passing game in this one, while still relying on him to be their lead runner.

Value Meter:
QB1: Justin Herbert
RB1: Austin Ekeler
WR1: Keenan Allen
TE1: Jared Cook
Flex: Mike Williams
Bench: Larry Rountree III, Justin Jackson, Jalen Guyton, Josh Palmer, Donald Parham

Prediction: Chargers 34, Cowboys 31 ^ Top

Titans at Seahawks - (Caron)
Line: SEA -6.5
Total: 54.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Week 1 had to be a wakeup call for the Titans, who were perceived by many to be one of the league’s better offenses. With Derrick Henry struggling to get things going on the ground, the team had to rely heavily on their passing game against the Cardinals and needless to say, things did not go well.

Tannehill was under pressure all day from the Cardinals front seven, including taking six sacks. Pass rusher Chandler Jones turned in what will likely be the biggest single-game sack total of the 2020 NFL season as he brought Tannehill down a ridiculous five times. This constant pressure caused obvious timing problems with his receivers and Tannehill was only able to complete 21 of 35 passes for 212 yards and a single touchdown. He also threw an interception. Thankfully for those who started Tannehill, the QB did get into the end zone as a runner so his fantasy day was saved, but it was not a very inspiring performance overall.

Wide receiver A.J. Brown led the team with eight targets, catching four of them for 49 yards while also scoring the team’s only receiving touchdown of the day. The eight targets should allow us to remain confident in starting Brown, especially against a Seattle secondary that does not have much in the way of stud players at cornerback.

The real concern, however, was that Julio Jones, who was making his Titans debut, caught just three of the six passes that came his way for 29 yards. Certainly Jones will have better days, but this low volume output is something that fantasy owners need to pay attention to. We’ll hope that the Titans make some serious adjustments, particularly in pass protection and are able to give Tannehill some more time to throw the ball.

Other pass catching weapons of note for the Titans are wide receiver Chester Rogers who actually matched Jones’ target total of six in Week 1, but he had a slightly more successful day, catching four of those passes for 62 yards; and tight end Anthony Firkser who was held to just three catches for 19 yards. Both of these players are ones to keep an eye on, but neither player is useful for fantasy purposes at the moment.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: The concern for Derrick Henry has long been that if his team falls behind on the scoreboard then he becomes a very low upside option as he simply is not utilized much in the passing game. That game script happened in Week 1 as the Cardinals went up 17-0 early in the second quarter and were ahead 24-6 heading into the half.

The Titans stubbornly decided to continue to pound Henry much more than most rational coaching staffs would, but his 17 carries for 58 yards should instill at least some confidence in fantasy owners that this is about as bad as things could be for him. Henry did actually get a bit involved in the passing game, as well, as he was targeted four times, catching three of those for 19 yards. To put that into perspective, Henry was targeted four times or more just twice in the entire 2020 season and just once in his previous four full seasons before that. Henry is probably never going to become a particularly useful player in the passing game, but it’s good to see him at least stay on the field even in what was a significantly negative game script. Henry played 62.5 percent of the snaps to backup Jeremy McNichols’ 35.9 percent of snaps. That number would almost certainly have been even higher if the Titans were at least within striking distance at any point during the fourth quarter.

We shouldn’t completely discount what happened in Week 1, but Henry’s usage in the offense is undeniable at this point and he’s still a safe option even in PPR formats. If it was Henry who got the ball instead of Tannehill running the ball in from the one yard line then most fantasy owners probably wouldn’t be at all concerned about what happened against Arizona.

If the Titans can at least keep the score close against the Seahawks then there’s really no reason to believe that Henry won’t have a nice fantasy day here in Week 2.

Value Meter:
QB1: Ryan Tannehill (low-end)
RB1: Derrick Henry
WR1: A.J. Brown
WR3/Flex: Julio Jones (high-end)
Bench: Jeremy McNichols, Chester Rogers, Anthony Firkser

Passing Game Thoughts: A low volume pass attempt day from Russell Wilson is nothing new, and what’s also not new is his ability to get the absolute most out of those pass attempts. Wilson is already one of the NFL’s all-time leaders in touchdown percentage per pass attempt, but he improved on those numbers by throwing four touchdown passes on just 23 attempts against the Colts.

Wide receiver Tyler Lockett was Wilson’s best target as he caught four of the five passes that came his way for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Meanwhile, DK Metcalf also caught four of five targets for 60 yards and a touchdown of his own. The only other relevant pass catcher was tight end Gerald Everett, who was making his regular season debut for the Seahawks and hauled in a pair of passes for 20 yards and the remaining Wilson touchdown.

We know that the Seahawks passing game funnels targets to these top two receivers and that’s extremely helpful for fantasy because even when there’s a low volume day overall, it’s easy to project that Metcalf and Lockett will see around 40 to 50 percent of whatever passes do get thrown. Of course, on high volume days, that can sometimes lead to some huge spike weeks for them as those five to seven targets start to look more like eight to ten targets.

We could see that here in Week 2, as long as the Titans offense can protect Ryan Tannehill and allow him to get things going on the other side of the field. If that happens, look for Wilson to pass the ball quite a bit more in this one than he had to in Seattle’s Week 1 double-digit win over Indianapolis.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Seattle was ahead by multiple scores for the entire second half of their Week 1 game against Indianapolis and that led to the team milking quite a bit of clock. 16 carries for Chris Carson isn’t too bad, but we’ve seen higher volume days from him in the past. Still, this looks like it will be around his floor again this season, as he completely dominated the running back opportunities. No other Seattle back saw the field for more than seven snaps in the game.

Carson now faces a Tennessee defense in Week 2 that gave up a total of 116 rushing yards and 43 receiving yards to the Cardinals’ running back duo of Chase Edmonds and James Conner. If Seattle gets out to another lead, they’ll likely again lean heavily on Carson who remains a reliable option as a runner and has even begun being a bit more useful in the passing game. He’s still unlikely to catch more than a few passes per game, but he’s not a complete detriment in that area like he was early in his career.

It’s tough to rank Carson as an RB1 unless he just has an absolute monster matchup, but he’s one of the best RB2 plays on the board even in PPR formats. Trust him to deliver double-digit fantasy points with relative ease in this one, with the potential of a 20-point day if he’s able to get into the end zone.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
RB2: Chris Carson (high-end)
WR1: DK Metcalf
WR2: Tyler Lockett (high-end)
TE1: Gerald Everett (low-end)
Bench: Rashaad Penny, D’Wayne Eskridge, Will Dissly

Prediction: Seahawks 27, Titans 24 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Ravens - (Green)
Line: KC -3.5
Total: 54.5

Passing Game Thoughts: It took a little while for the Chiefs to get rolling in Week 1, but once they did the Browns had no answers. Patrick Mahomes finished with 337 yards and three touchdowns passing and added a rushing score as well. It’s what we’ve come to expect from Mahomes and, if history is any indication, we’ll get more of it Sunday night. Over his last three meetings with Baltimore, Mahomes has passed for 1,136 yards with 10 total TDs (nine passing, one rushing) and just one interception. He’s an elite QB1 for their fourth matchup in as many years.

While the peripheral names may change, the Chiefs passing attack continues to revolve around the duo of Tyreek Hill (11-197-1) and Travis Kelce (6-76-2). They caught 17 of Mahomes’ 27 completed passes, accounted for 273 of the 337 yards and were on the receiving end of all three scores. Mecole Hardman (3-19-0) tends to get the attention as a possible next man up, but there’s been little evidence to support that. Likewise, Byron Pringle (1-6-0) and Demarcus Robinson (1-9-0) were invisible stepping into the void created by Sammy Watkins’ departure. It’s still Hill, Kelce and not much else.

Monday night was not kind to the Ravens, and that included a rough performance from the secondary as Baltimore allowed 435 yards to Derek Carr with some terrible deep coverage. That’s going to be a problem Sunday. While KC’s trio of studs are all must-starts, Hardman totaled 178 yards and two TDs in his two previous games against the Ravens. That could be of interest for anyone in a desperate spot.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: For as good as KC’s offense is, the running game continues to scuffle with Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the top spot. The second-year pro ran for 43 yards, marking the sixth time in his last eight regular-season games that he has failed to reach the 50-yard mark. The Ravens handled Oakland’s rushing efforts (21 carries, 82 yards) but did cede a pair of scores to Josh Jacobs. With CEH chipping in as a receiver he could generate low-end RB2 appeal.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
RB2: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce
Bench: Mecole Hardman

Passing Game Thoughts: There’s always a lot on Lamar Jackson’s shoulders when it comes to Baltimore’s offensive success. With the team rolling out a skeleton crew at running back, though, his individual brilliance is more necessary than ever. So while he was by no means bad in Week 1, passing for 235 yards and running for 86 more, he had a pair of key fumbles that helped the Raiders prevail. His attempts to turn the page on that uneven showing won’t be easy, either, as the Chiefs have had his number. In three starts against KC, all losses, Jackson has accounted for just four total TDs.

Although the number and severity of injuries pale in comparison to what happened to the RBs, Baltimore’s receiving corps is also shorthanded, playing without Miles Boykin and first-round pick Rashod Bateman. Former Chief Sammy Watkins (4-96-0) led the way Monday night along with Marquise Brown (6-69-1). Both could carry flex or even WR3 potential some weeks but given Jackson’s history versus the Chiefs they’d make shaky options. Mark Andrews (3-20-0) had a quiet opener and has struggled alongside Jackson versus KC but is still playable as a top-10 fantasy tight end.

A year ago, the Chiefs held Baltimore to 97 yards passing. Over the last three years, Jackson has averaged 170 yards against Kansas City through the air. It’s not a very encouraging trend for their Sunday night showdown. Despite that, Jackson is the type of player you simply can’t bench. Keep him active as a QB1.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Baltimore’s injury woes in the backfield have been well documented and viewed through that lens they did a respectable job Monday night. Ty’Son Williams (9-65-1) brought a big-play element and veteran Latavius Murray (10-28-1) did the grunt work. KC had their issues with a potent Cleveland backfield, and though the Ravens lack that kind of raw talent, Jackson’s presence elevates the running game. As such, Williams could be used as a No. 3 back with Murray as a possible flex. Also of note, Devonta Freeman was elevated from the practice squad.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson
RB3: Ty’Son Williams
Flex: Latavius Murray
TE1: Mark Andrews
Bench: Marquise Brown (inj-ankle), Sammy Watkins

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Ravens 24 ^ Top

Lions @ Packers - (Green)
Line: GB -11.0
Total: 48.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Jared Goff’s debut was an eventful one, though not nearly as productive as his final numbers suggest. Yes, Goff passed for 338 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT against the 49ers; however, 246 yards and two touchdowns came after the Lions trailed by 28 points. While there’s credit due for continuing to fight, it’s debatable how much stock we should put into Detroit’s late push when San Francisco had clearly taken their foot off the gas. Unless you’re feeling highly optimistic, Goff should stay benched.

With 338 yards of passing to go around you’d think at least one receiver had a big day, but you’d be wrong. Kalif Raymond (3-50-0) led the wideouts as most of Goff’s damage came from the running backs and TE T.J. Hockenson (8-97-1), who deserves a little extra credit for scoring the only touchdown before the game got out of hand. Hockenson is the top fantasy option associated with the passing attack and is a weekly TE1. Among Detroit’s wideouts, Quintez Cephus (3-12-1) led the way in targets (six) and scored. He might be a watch-list candidate.

You could search far and wide and not find a more bizarre defensive stat line than what Green Bay did in Week 1. Only two teams allowed fewer yards (151) and just one gave up fewer completions (15), but their five passing TDs allowed were the most in the NFL and they were one of just two teams not to record a sack. Expect a considerably more aggressive approach from the Packers on Monday night.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: As runners, the tandem of D’Andre Swift (11-39-0) and Jamaal Williams (9-54-1) didn’t have huge games, but both players contributed heavily to the passing game. All told, Swift posted 104 total yards and a TD while Williams added 110 total yards and a score. The Packers got worn down by New Orleans’ running game in Week 1, allowing 171 yards on a reasonable 4.4 yards per carry. Pencil Swift into your lineup as an RB2 with Williams as a flex with upside in his return to Lambeau Field.

Value Meter:
RB2: D’Andre Swift
Flex: Jamaal Williams
TE1: T.J. Hockenson
Bench: Jared Goff, Quintez Cephus, Amon-Ra St. Brown

Passing Game Thoughts: Odious. Inexplicable. Abhorrent. Those are just some of the words that spring to mind based on Green Bay’s Week 1 loss to the Saints. The team looked utterly unprepared to play a professional football game, and the reigning MVP was no exception. Aaron Rodgers hit on just 15 of 28 passes for 133 yards; he threw a killer INT inside the 10-yard line when it was 17-3 and followed with another pick shortly thereafter that effectively ended the game. He’s still Aaron F’N Rodgers, though, and he posted six TDs against the Lions last year. Keep him in your starting lineup.

It seems almost comical to think the acquisition of Randall Cobb (1-32-0) was critical to No. 12’s return after an offseason of discontent as he was completely ignored. Of course, nobody did much. Even All-Pro Davante Adams (5-56-0) was quiet. The thing to keep in mind here is that the Packers had a similarly bad game in Tampa Bay last year and then never scored fewer than 22 points the rest of the season. This is a team loaded with talent that has been prone to some terrible isolated performances under Matt LaFleur. Don’t overthink it.

Detroit allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to throw for 314 yards on just 17 completions; that’s an incredible 18.5 yards per completion. As if that’s not bad enough, the Lions also lost Jeff Okudah (Achilles), the third overall pick in 2020, for the year to a torn Achilles. All the potential is here for a rebound performance. Obviously Adams remains a WR1, and Robert Tonyan can fill a TE1 slot, but you might even consider rolling the dice on a tertiary target like Marquez Valdes-Scantling if you feel like living dangerously.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: Aaron Jones (5-9-0) got only a handful of touches in the opener and did little with them, finishing with a combined 22 yards. A.J. Dillon (4-19-0) was a little better but likewise got precious few opportunities. Look for the Packers to rediscover their running game this Monday against Detroit, which gave up 131 yards on 28 carries to San Francisco. Jones tallied 236 yards and three TDs the last time the Lions came to town so be sure to keep him in your lineup as an RB1.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers
RB1: Aaron Jones
WR1: Davante Adams
TE1: Robert Tonyan (low-end)
Bench: AJ Dillon, Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Prediction: Packers 38, Lions 20 ^ Top