- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
Panthers @ Texans
- (Swanson) Line: CAR -8.0 Total: 43.0
Game Thoughts: Perhaps all Sam Darnold needed was a fresh
start and a new coaching staff to help him live up to his early
draft capital. Or perhaps he is just the latest in a long string
of players who improve once they are no longer under the gravitational
pull of Adam Gase and his dreadful play calling.
Whatever it is, you can’t deny the fact that Darnold is
playing the best football of his career in the small sample size
of two games with the Panthers. The former USC star is completing
nearly 70% of his passes with just two turnovers in a pair of
wins against the Jets and the New Orleans Saints.
This week Darnold and the passing weapons of the Panthers get
a choice matchup against the Texans, and rookie Davis Mills, who
is going to start at QB with Tyrod Taylor placed on short-term
IR. Mills managed to complete just eight of his 18 passes against
the Browns in reserve of Taylor last week, with a touchdown and
The game script could heavily favor Darnold with the Panther
offense benefitting from more than a few short fields, making
D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall Jr., and especially
Christian McCaffrey very strong plays.
On paper, the Texans have only given up the ninth-most points
to opposing wide receivers, but those numbers are a bit skewered
when you consider the Browns lost Jarvis Landry last week and
were already without OBJ which made them an even more run-centered
D.J. Moore continues to be the top receiver and the one you want
to play in the Panthers wide receiver corps. Moore posted 80 yards
in Week 1 and followed with 79 and a score last week. Robby Anderson
has now posted two consecutive games of three or fewer receptions
and has just one deep touchdown on the year. If he has another
dud game this week, fantasy managers will need to make the adjustment
and look elsewhere until further notice.
Not that you need me to tell you to start Christian McCaffrey,
but it should be noted that he is on pace for 127 receptions in
the 17-game season. He has yet to hit the end zone with one of
those receptions, but his volume on the ground and in the passing
game make him an elite option. It also doesn’t hurt that
despite leaving last week’s game early, he is not listed
on the injury report for Monday or Tuesday.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: CMC is great and continues to be an elite
start in all formats. He was limited to just 71% of the snaps
in Week 1, but that was due to some cramping, and he returned
to the field to score his first touchdown late against the Saints.
The Texans are a plus-matchup for CMC after giving up the 4th
most points on the season to opposing running backs. The Browns
lit them up for three touchdowns last week after the Texans did
a decent job shutting down Carlos Hyde and the Jags Week 1. The
Jags only ran the ball 14 times that game because the Texans jumped
out to a big early lead. I don’t think that will be the
case in this matchup, and CMC should smash.
To make things even more attractive for the Panthers, starting
defensive backs Justin Reid and Terrance Mitchell were DNPs on
Tuesday with knee and head injuries, respectively. On a short
week, both players are strong possibilities to miss this Thursday
Game Thoughts: A thigh injury forced the Texans to put
starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor on IR. Instead of making Deshaun
Watson active, the team announced that rookie Davis Mills would
start at quarterback against an up-and-coming Panthers defense
that just shut down the Saints.
Mills looked very much like a rookie quarterback filling in for
Taylor in the second half of last week, completing just 8 of his
18 passes for 100 yards and a pick. He did hit Brandin Cooks with
a touchdown pass, with Cooks logging an impressive nine catches
for 78 yards and a score on 14 targets. You can start Cooks based
on his 21 targets over the first two games. Just don’t be
surprised if most of it comes in garbage time in a lopsided loss.
The list of who to play in the Texans passing game begins and
ends with Cooks. Rookie Nico Collins joined Taylor on IR with
a shoulder injury, and Danny Amendola was a DNP on Tuesday with
a thigh issue.
If you want to start a pass-catching back for the Texans, David
Johnson could be a play in very deep PPR formats, but his six
targets in two games are enough to make you vomit in your mouth.
Corey Davis managed to post 5/97/2 against the Panthers in Week
1, but the team responded well by shutting down Marquez Callaway
and all of the Saints receivers last week. Rookie Jaycee Horn
on Cooks should be an interesting match to watch, with a savvy
veteran WR going against a physical young DB.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26
Running Game Thoughts: The running backs for the Texans have
combined to score the third-most fantasy points through two games,
trailing only the Browns and the Titans. There are fantasy points
to be had on the team (at least when Tyrod Taylor was under center),
but they are spread between four veteran running backs.
For two weeks in a row, Mark Ingram was the starter and received
the most touches. And for the second week in a row, he underwhelmed
with a YPC average of less than 3.4. He salvaged his Week 1 performance
with a rushing touchdown, only to burn those chancing the points
last week on the road against Cleveland.
Phillip Lindsay is second with 13 carries through two games,
and David Johnson leads the team with 40 receiving yards for running
backs. Nothing here is impressive and not exactly a team you want
to target with a rookie quarterback starting on a short week.
If you have options, it would make sense to avoid starting a
Texan running back in this game. The Panthers shut down the ground
attacks of both the Jets and the Saints, including limiting Alvin
Kamara to five rushing yards on eight carries.
Chargers at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -7.0 Total: 54.5
Game Thoughts: Justin Herbert has gotten off to a slow
start this season as he’s thrown for just 675 passing yards,
2 TD, and 3 INT while adding just a measly 11 rushing yards. This
past week’s performance against a mediocre Cowboys defense
has to be particularly disheartening as it looked very likely
that the game would turn into a shootout between two high-powered
offenses and that just didn’t happen. Still, there’s
plenty to be hopeful for and he now faces a situation where he’ll
likely need to pass quite a bit, on the road against the Chiefs.
Kansas City got exposed on the ground by Lamar Jackson in Week
2, but they’ve otherwise held opposing QBs in check for
the most part throughout their first two games. Jackson and Baker
Mayfield combined for 570 yards and just one passing touchdown,
while throwing three interceptions. Of course, the Browns and
Ravens are two of the most run-heavy offenses in the league so
it makes sense that they’ve done a good job of containing
teams through the air. Look for the Chargers to implement a much
more pass-heavy offensive strategy in this game.
If the Chargers are going to be passing quite a bit, keep an eye
on wide receiver Mike Williams who is currently Los Angeles’
leader with 22 targets, 15 receptions, 173 yards and two touchdowns.
He’s scored in each game and has been a surprising breakout
player. The Chiefs don’t really have much in the way of
big, physical cornerbacks who can match up with him on the perimeter,
so this could be another heavy target game for the big man.
As always, fellow wide receiver Keenan Allen remains a consistent
PPR beast, having already seen 21 targets, 13 receptions, and
208 yards. He’s been over 100 yards in both games and remains
as reliable as ever.
Tight end Jared Cook’s disappointed in what should have
been a smash matchup against the Cowboys when he made just three
catches for 28 yards. He did have a decent Week 1 and should bounce
back a bit in this one, but he’s still unlikely to be a
big time contributor at the position this season. Similarly, wide
receivers Jalen Guyton, Joshua Palmer and KJ Hill are all nonexistent
fantasy contributors so far and shouldn’t be in fantasy
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Austin Ekeler only carried the ball nine
times against the Cowboys, but was effective with a six yards
per carry average. Some were a bit worried after Week 1 when he
was a non-factor in the passing game, but got back to his PPR
stud way in Week 2 against the Cowboys when he caught nine passes
for 61 yards. Ekeler is now up to 24 carries, 111 yards and a
touchdown on the ground thus far and he’s one of very few
backs throughout the league who completely dominates his team’s
running back touches both as a runner and as a receiver.
Larry Rountree III and Justin Jackson were both non-factors in
Week 2, combining for just six touches. There was some concern
that Ekeler’s preseason injury would carry into the regular
season, but we now see that this is Ekeler’s backfield without
The Chiefs defense has given up the third-most fantasy points
to opposing running backs thus far, but it’s worth noting
that they’ve also faced two of the most run-heavy teams
in the league in the Browns and Raiders. Nevertheless, they’ve
conceded a total of 260 rushing yards and four touchdowns to opposing
backs, along with seven catches for an additional 62 yards. This
is a good matchup for Ekeler, who should be in line to take pretty
much all of the touches in this contest.
Game Thoughts: The Chiefs came up just short on the road
against the Ravens in Week 2, but fantasy owners of quarterback
Patrick Mahomes have to be happy with the results. Mahomes has
already thrown for 680 yards and six touchdowns with just one
interception, while adding an additional 21 yards and a touchdown
as a runner. He remains one of the absolute elite options in all
of fantasy football and is capable of putting up week-winning
performances in any matchup.
Tyreek Hill was held to just three catches for 14 yards against
the Ravens in Week 2 and that can sometimes make it easy to forget
that he was coming off of a 15-target, 11-catch, 197-yard performance
with a touchdown against the Browns in Week 1. Don’t let
this past week’s disappointing performance steer you in
the wrong direction - Hill is a bonafide super-stud for fantasy
football and needs to be in your lineup even in what is a difficult
on-paper matchup for him here in Week 3. Hill was targeted 11
times, catching five of those passes for 99 yards and a touchdown
when he most recently faced the Chargers this time last year.
Demarcus Robinson got into the end zone in Week 2, but remains
a very low volume option in this Kansas City passing game. He’s
been targeted just six times through two games and has been out-snapped
by Mecole Hardman thus far in 2021. Hardman’s eight targets
against the Ravens in Week 2 was double that of any other Chiefs
wide receiver, including Tyreek Hill, but he remains a very risky
fantasy play as we just haven’t seen him be consistent with
either target volume or production.
Tight end Travis Kelce remains at the top of the mountain at the
position. He’s now caught 13 passes for 185 yards and three
touchdowns through two games. He didn’t play against the
Chargers in Week 17 this past season due to the Chiefs sitting
their starters, but Kelce beat up the Los Angeles defense for
nine catches, 90 yards and a touchdown on a season-high 14 targets.
He’s the top tight end option on the board this week, as
he is almost every other week.
The Chargers injured Ryan Fitzpatrick early in Week 1, then held
Taylor Heinicke to just 122 yards and a single touchdown on the
ground. They then contained Dak Prescott, allowing him to throw
for just 237 yards. They also held Prescott out of the end zone
while intercepting him once. Of course, the Cowboys quarterback
did complete 23 of his 27 total passes on the day against the
Chargers, but Los Angeles’ defense does appear to be better
than some expected it would be. It’s wise to still trust
your Chiefs studs here in Week 3, but don’t get greedy by
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: Fantasy owners of Chiefs running back Clyde
Edwards-Helaire had to be frustrated this past week when they
saw him come off the field near the goal line, leading to a touchdown
for backup Darrel Williams. This type of goal line sniping does
happen from time to time and it is extremely frustrating from
a fantasy standpoint, but it’s important that we don’t
allow a single play to dictate how we feel about a player.
Edwards-Helaire has been disappointing from a fantasy points perspective
as he’s now been held to under 50 rushing yards in both
contests this season while catching just three passes, and he’s
yet to score a touchdown. With that said, his peripheral numbers
have actually been fairly good, especially from the standpoint
of percentage of team running back touches. Edwards-Helaire has
30 touches through two games, while backups Darrel Williams, Jerick
McKinnon and Michael Burton have combined for just seven touches.
Sure, we want to see better production out of the touches, but
the usage is there and there’s plenty of reason to believe
that he should be in line for some positive regression over the
next few weeks.
Kansas City has played some tough defenses in Cleveland and Baltimore,
but this week they face a Los Angeles defense that has already
given up three fantasy-relevant games to running backs Antonio
Gibson, Ezekiel Elliott and even Tony Pollard. Sure, Edwards-Helaire
hasn’t given us much to be excited about yet, but this is
an exploitable matchup for him, especially given that the Chargers
pass defense has actually been quite good thus far. Look for Edwards-Helaire
to continue to dominate backfield touches in one of the league’s
best offenses, making him a mid-level RB2 here in Week 3.
Ravens @ Lions
- (Green) Line: BAL -8.0 Total: 50.0
Game Thoughts: Winless in three career starts against
the Chiefs, Lamar Jackson appeared well on his way to a 0-4 mark
early on when two of Baltimore’s first three drives ended
in interceptions, the first of which was a pick six. Jackson was
able to weather the storm, however, and lead the comeback with
two fourth-quarter TD runs and a fourth-down conversion to seal
the game. The passing numbers weren’t great (239 yards,
1 TD, 2 INTs), but Jackson again showed why he’s one of
the league’s most dangerous players with a 16-107-2 line
on the ground.
Probably the most encouraging development early on has been the
play of third-year wideout Marquise Brown (ankle), who is averaging
a 6-91-1 mark over the first two weeks -- that's well up from
last season’s 3.6-48-0.5, though obviously across a much
smaller sample size. Mark Andrews (5-57-0) continues to maximize
his opportunities, catching all five of his targets, but he needs
some red-zone work. While Sammy Watkins (4-44-0) serves as a capable
tertiary target behind Brown and Andrews (5-57-0), he’s
only worth rostering in deeper leagues.
It's been all aboard the struggle bus thus far for the Lions
defensively, and an already suspect secondary has been thinned
further by losing Jeff Okudah (Achilles) and Ifeatu Melifonwu
(thigh) to the IR in consecutive weeks. To date, Detroit has allowed
269 yards (21st) and three TDs (tied-28th) via the air per game.
Jackson and Andrews are solid No. 1s at their respective positions,
and Brown is playable as a WR3 despite a sore ankle.
DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: Even in a game they trailed throughout,
the Ravens still ran 41 times compared to 26 passes. Ty’Son
Williams (13-77-0) checked in with another solid outing outside
of his goal-line fumble that fortuitously bounced to a teammate
for six. Latavius Murray (9-36-1) scored for the second time in
as many weeks, and veteran Devonta Freeman debuted with a 31-yard
scamper. Detroit has held firm against the run, giving up just
3.8 yards per carry, but Williams is still a borderline RB2/RB3
with Murray holding flex value due to his red-zone work.
Game Thoughts: For the first half of Monday Night Football,
Jared Goff and the Lions moved the ball and took a 17-14 lead
into the break. Once the rain started to fall, however, they did
a convincing impression of the Wicked Witch of the West. Green
Bay decided to ramp up the pressure as well, and Goff responded
with a pair of fumbles and an interception. The former Ram finished
with 246 yards, 2 TDs and the pick, and while he did lead the
team in rushing (46 yards) that’s not his game.
In fairness to Goff, his available options consist of T.J. Hockenson
(8-66-1), running backs in the flat, and a mix of unproven youngsters
and journeymen. The Lions placed Tyrell Williams (concussion)
on IR this week, leaving Quintez Cephus (4-63-1) and rookie Aman-Ra
St. Brown (3-18-0) atop the pecking order. To date it’s
been Cephus that has shown the most promise with a pair of TD
grabs; the Wisconsin product is worth adding if you’re thin
at the position.
Baltimore has been torched though the air in 2021, ranking dead
last in the NFL in passing yards allowed at 376 per game. Given
the strength of the run defense, this is likely where Detroit
will try to attack. Hockenson is a stud and is in the conversation
for best fantasy TE after Travis Kelce and Darren Waller. Beyond
that, you’d be betting the strength of the matchup, not
the player with the likes of Goff and Cephus.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: D’Andre Swift had a dozen touches
in Week 2, gaining 78 total yards. Jamaal Williams’ return
to Lambeau Field was quiet, as he managed 37 yards on a combination
of seven carries and three receptions. As noted, the Ravens are
tough versus the run (72 yards allowed per game, 3.7 YPC), which
figures to limit what Detroit’s backfield tandem can do
as runners. Both are accomplished receivers, though, making Swift
an RB2 play and Williams as No. 3 back or flex.
Falcons at Giants
- (Katz) Line: NYG -3.0 Total: 47.5
Game Thoughts: Matt Ryan was giving out touchdowns like
Oprah Winfrey gives out cars. Ryan threw a touchdown to each of
Calvin Ridley and Cordarrelle Patterson before throwing two to
Mike Edwards. The problem, of course, is that Edwards is not on
The Falcons were passing all game with Ryan attempting 46 passes
and throwing for 400 yards. With their defense unable to stop
anyone, the Falcons are going to be in constant negative game
script and I expect it to be the case again this week.
Ridley isn’t posting the same video game numbers we saw
last season, but he’s leading the team in targets and doing
what he’s supposed to. Bigger games are ahead.
Kyle Pitts may very well be generational, but he’s still
a rookie tight end playing with an ageing quarterback. Pitts’
usage and routes run is encouraging. Five catches for 73 yards
is solid, but you drafted him to do more than that. Hopefully
for Pitts’ managers, the Giants overcommit to Ridley, which
opens up the middle of the field for Pitts.
Russell Gage and Olamide Zaccheaus are not fantasy viable, even
if Gage misses this week’s game due to injury.
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: The Mike Davis passing game usage is keeping
him afloat right now. Davis had just 25 yards receiving last week,
but caught all seven of his targets. It sure looks like Davis’
ADP tumble over the summer was warranted.
Cordarrelle Patterson looked like the far better player last
week. Although he carried the ball seven times for just 11 yards,
he found the end zone both on the ground and through the air.
Patterson’s usage as a receiver is what I’m most interested
in. He caught five of six targets for 58 yards and a touchdown.
If he keeps playing well, he will continue to eat into Davis’
usage. If the Giants’ inability to stop J.D. McKissic last
week was any indication, it could be another big week for Patterson.
Game Thoughts: I’ve been pretty harsh towards Daniel
Jones’ ability to be a starter quarterback in the NFL, but
the Giants’ 0-2 start is not on Jones. He played well enough
to win last week. His defense did not.
Jones is averaging 25.4 FPts/g through two weeks and he is just
now getting to face an easy opponent. This feels like the Giants
first win and a week where Jones can really let loose.
I thought Kenny Golladay looked healthy, but just wasn’t
separating well. Now I’m not sure. Golladay was described
as “extremely limited” in Thursday’s practice
and I would consider him legitimately questionable to play, which
is very concerning coming off the extended break. Even if Golladay
does, play, with Sterling Shepard getting open at will, I’d
be surprised if Jones forced anything to Golladay. For now, I
Darius Slayton caught a touchdown last week and is making plays
downfield, but has caught just three balls in each of the first
two games. He’s off the fantasy radar if Golladay plays.
If Golladay sits, then Slayton would step in as the starter opposite
Shepard in two-receiver sets and become an intriguing flex option.
Evan Engram (calf) practiced this week and looks like he may
return. It’s unclear how his presence will throw a wrench
into the pass-catching hierarchy. Kyle Rudolph looks completely
cooked as an NFL player, though, so Engram will be a welcome sight.
I would wait a week before inserting him into lineups.
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: I’ve had this game circled on my
calendar since after Week 1. Not because I care some great amount
about these two teams. No, I’ve had this game circled as
the Saquon Barkley smash game. You can just sense it. In Week
1, Barkley played just 48% of the snaps. In Week 2, even on a
short week, he was up to 84%. Now with 10 days to rest, it’s
time for the Giants to fully unleash Barkley against a weak opposing
The one concern with Barkley is the decreased passing game usage.
Daniel Jones seems more inclined to take off than check it down.
However, I’m hopeful that with Barkley getting closer and
closer to 100%, there will be more designed screens for him. Regardless,
Barkley should be able to get it done on the ground this week.
I advised benching him last week. No such thing in Week 3. We
are full steam ahead on Barkley smash week.
Saints at Patriots
- (Katz) Line: NE -3.0 Total: 42.5
Game Thoughts: I sure hope Week 1 Jameis Winston didn’t
fool anyone into thinking this version of Winston was any different
than the Tampa Bay version. The Saints went on the road against
a sneaky tough Carolina defense and got stomped.
There is one primary difference between this Winston and the
Bucs version – pass attempts. Old Winston would just air
out with reckless abandon. New Winston has just 42 pass attempts
through two games. As a result, not a single member of this passing
attack is worth starting.
Marquez Callaway led all Saints wide receivers in targets with
four. Last week, Corey Davis, who is better than Callaway, managed
just two catches for eight yards against this strong Patriots
pass defense. Deonte Harris, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Chris
Hogan, and Juwan Johnson all caught one pass each…which
is one more pass than Adam Trautman caught. Not a single one of
these players is even a must roster, let alone startable.
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara led the Saints in targets
last week with six. We like to see that. He also rushed eight
times for five yards. We don’t like that. Kamara will undoubtedly
be better this week, but this could be the lowest scoring game
of the week. It’s going to play slow and both teams may
struggle to move the ball.
The good news is that Kamara is playing the highest rate of snaps
of his career. Tony Jones may have won the backup job over Latavius
Murray, but he is not getting anywhere near the usage that Murray
got. Even in a tough matchup for a player that evidently has an
extremely low weekly floor, you are not sitting Kamara.
RB1: Alvin Kamara (low end)
Bench: Jameis Winston, Marquez Callaway, Adam Trautman, Tony Jones
Game Thoughts: The Patriots’ game plan is very
clearly to control the ball and play low-risk football. Mac Jones
is being treated like early career Tom Brady. No, I’m not
comparing Jones to Brady in terms of talent, but rather just drawing
a parallel to the game manager Brady was in the pre-Randy Moss
Jones is completing 74% of his passes and not turning it over.
He’s thrown just a single touchdown pass. Jakobi Meyers,
Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith, and Hunter Henry are all worth spots
on fantasy rosters. Unfortunately, it’s anyone’s guess
as to which one will have the best week on any given week. Last
week, it was none of them as the Patriots just dominated on the
The Saints shut down the Packers in Week 1, but had no answer
for D.J. Moore in Week 2. This week should be somewhere in the
middle, but with the Patriots lacking a clear top target in the
passing game, none of their pass catchers are startable.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: Okay, maybe one pass catcher is startable;
he just doesn’t play wide receiver or tight end. James White
caught all six of his targets last week for 45 yards and added
20 yards and a touchdown on five carries. He played 50% of the
snaps, 9% more than Damien Harris. The Patriots may not have a
startable pass catcher, but they have two startable running backs.
White’s passing game usage will keep him PPR viable, while
Harris’ throwback ground game makes him an every week touchdown
dependent RB2. Harris has 39 carries and three receptions through
two games. Through two weeks, the Saints are allowing just 66
rushing yards per game. It’s too early to tell if they have
an elite run defense, but early signs are encouraging for them…not
so much for Harris. Regardless, I doubt you have a better RB2/Flex
option than Harris.
Game Thoughts: Who knew that if Mark Sanchez refers to
you as an “alpha male” on the broadcast that you transform
into the “The Sanchize,” much in the same way the
Monstars once did in Space Jam? OK, perhaps that isn’t what
happened, but Joe Burrow did a damn fine Sanchez impression in
Chicago, absorbing five sacks and firing interceptions on three
consecutive pass attempts. He salvaged some value with a late
rally, throwing two touchdowns in the game’s final five
minutes, but ultimately it was a disappointing showing.
Despite Burrows’ struggles, the trio of Tee Higgins (6-60-1),
Ja’Marr Chase (2-54-1) and Tyler Boyd (7-73-0) all managed
to deliver respectable value. After looking like he might be getting
phased out of the offense in Week 1, Boyd bounced back with nine
targets, which more than doubled Chase’s four. Higgins led
the way with 10 and still feels like the most valuable of Cincy’s
wideouts with his combo of reliability and upside. He’s
playable as a borderline WR2/WR3. Chase has scored in each of
the first two weeks but remains a work in progress. He’s
a WR3. Boyd can be played as a flex.
A week after limiting Buffalo’s high-powered offense to
16 points, the Steelers couldn’t keep up with Las Vegas’
aerial attack as Derek Carr threw for 382 yards and two TDs while
averaging a whopping 10.3 yards per attempt. The in-game injury
to T.J. Watt (groin) didn’t help matters, and it’s
unclear if he’ll suit up in Week 3. Despite some encouraging
trends, Burrow struggled in his lone meeting with Pittsburgh (213
yards, 1 TD) and is coming off a tough week. Keep him benched
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: In something of a statistical rarity,
Joe Mixon accounted for all 20 of Cincinnati’s rushing attempts
last week, gaining a modest 69 yards (nice). A strong run defense
is a tradition in the Steel City, and after two weeks Pittsburgh
ranks 10th at 84.5 yards per game on 3.4 yards per carry. Mixon,
who missed both of last year’s matchups with the Steelers,
retains RB2 value in large due to his high usage.
Game Thoughts: Despite their offseason efforts, the Steelers
continue to rely on the arm of Ben Roethlisberger (pectoral),
who attempted 40 passes in last Sunday’s loss to Las Vegas.
There was slightly more aggression than last season (7.4 yards
per attempt in Week 2 versus 6.3 YPA in 2020), but it wasn’t
hard to see similarities. Big Ben also picked up a left pec injury
in Week 2 and is expected to forego practice to undergo as much
treatment as he can. Given Roethlisberger’s toughness you
should expect him to be under center against the Bengals, but
he could be diminished.
Roethlisberger isn’t the only injury of concern for the
Steelers as Diontae Johnson (knee) injured his knee late in Week
2 and hasn’t practiced this week. Johnson has been the team’s
top receiver thus far and is a possible WR2 if he can answer the
bell. If not, look for more out of the duo of JuJu Smith-Schuster
(6-41-0) and Chase Claypool (3-70-0), both of whom are WR3s now
but could push toward WR2 territory with Johnson on the sidelines.
Eric Ebron, who caught 56 balls a season ago, has just one catch
through two games this year and can be dropped in most leagues.
Cincinnati sits ninth in pass defense after authoring two divergent
performances to open the season -- Minnesota passed for 362 yards
in the opener, but Chicago managed just 116 yards. The Steelers
skew closer to the Vikings than the Bears in terms of passing
prowess, but there are injury-related question marks surrounding
their top receiver and triggerman. As such, this is a difficult
matchup to gauge.
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28
Running Game Thoughts: It’s been a rough beginning to an
NFL career for Najee Harris, who has carried the ball 26 times
for a meager 83 yards (3.2 YPC). At least he showed some spark
as a receiver in Week 2, hauling in five passes for 43 yards and
a score. He could be relied on more heavily this Sunday if Roethlisberger’s
injury requires the team to modify its approach. Even then he’s
no more than an RB2 against a Bengals defense that has played
well against the run early on (95.0 yards per game, 3.4 YPC).
Colts @ Titans
- (Swanson) Line: TEN -5.5 Total: 48.0
Game Thoughts: Carson Wentz suffered dual sprained ankles
against the Rams Week 2 and will likely miss this matchup against
the Titans. If he is out, second-year player Jacob Eason, a 4th-round
selection in the 2020 draft, or Brett Hundley will get the start.
Not exactly the news head coach Frank Reich and the Colts wanted
to share, especially with the Colts taking on their division rival
Titans and Derrick Henry.
On a positive note for Eason and the skill position players in
the passing game, the Titan secondary is terrible and gives up
the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks. But that is somewhat
skewed because they played against Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson,
two of the best QBs in the league. Eason is nowhere near their
level and could struggle this week.
Wentz is not the only Colt in the passing game hurting. Parris
Campbell missed last week and is questionable again for this matchup,
and T.Y. Hilton is still on injured reserve. That leaves Zach
Pascal and Michael Pittman Jr. as the starting WRs, with rookie
Mike Stachan also likely to get more reps.
Pascal is not flashy, but he does have nine receptions for 81
yards in two games and is tied for the league lead with three
receiving touchdowns. You have to keep riding him until the wheels
come off, especially in this matchup that could be a high scoring
Pittman Jr. posted his best game as a pro last week against a
potent Rams secondary, with 123 yards on eight catches. He is
a good start in this game and should be in most lineups.
According to ProFootballTalk.com, Brett Hundley took the majority
of snaps on Thursday and could get the start over Eason. Neither
option is a great start for fantasy, and Hundley does not have
a great history of helping fantasy wide receivers. Should Hundley
start, I would downgrade Pittman Jr. and Pascal a notch.
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: Jonathan Taylor enters
Week 3 as the No.25 running back in FFtoday.com half-point PPR
scoring. He has yet to reach the end zone and averages 3.3 yards
per carry on his first 32 rushes for the season. Not exactly the
type of production you wanted from your first-round draft pick,
especially considering he failed to produce against the same Seattle
defense that Derrick Henry just torched last week for 182 rushing
yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Taylor has not looked very impressive, and to make matters worse,
Marlon Mack was active against the Rams last week and saw five
carries. He also saw a decrease in snap percentage from 55% to
Taylor has seen eight goal-to-go carries in two games and has
yet to reach the end zone. If he continues to struggle, don’t
be surprised to see more Mack in high leverage situations.
The Titans have given up the 13th-most points this season to
opposing running backs. No running back has topped 64 yards, but
Chase Edmonds and James Conner did combine for 116 in Week 1,
and Chris Carson reached the end zone twice last week. By no means
is this a matchup to avoid if you are a Taylor owner.
The solid production and surprising carry total that Nyheim Hines
saw in Week 1 did not carry over into Week 2 against the Rams,
with Hines gardening just one reception for 17 yards and one rush
for five. If Wentz is out, I would sit Hines for sure. And even
if active, Hines is not someone you can really trust based on
what we saw last week.
Game Thoughts: Although Ryan Tannehill has not done much
for fantasy owners over the first few weeks of the season, there
were two important developments in the passing game last week
that bode well for him going forward. First, he improved on his
completion percentage from the week prior, and he posted 347 passing
yards. Sure, he did not score a touchdown, but he did come through
with a solid passing day and added 27 yards on the ground.
Secondly, Julio Jones was utilized more in week two with 128
yards on eight targets. Jones also had a questionable call reversed
on what appeared to be a touchdown. A.J. Brown did have an off
game with 3/43, but he should bounce back in this game.
Both Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson had success against
the Colts this season, with the latter throwing for four touchdowns
and 254 yards in Week 1. By no means is this defensive secondary
one to worry about, especially when the linebackers are so focused
on trying to stop Derrick Henry and the running game.
Both Cooper Kupp and Tyler Lockett burned the Indy secondary,
including veteran Xavier Rhodes, and it would not surprise us
to see Jones and Brown do the same.
Brown was limited in practice on Wednesday and should be fine
for the game. Starting tackle Taylor Lewan missed last week’s
game vs. Seattle after sustaining a knee injury in pregame warmup.
He was listed as a full participant on Wednesday.
Starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes was out on Wednesday with a
calf injury. His status is up in the air.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: After a slow start to the season against
the Cardinals, Derrick Henry reminded everyone why his nickname
is King Henry, with a performance fit for a royal with over 200
total yards and three touchdowns.
Henry logged two 100-yard games vs. the Colts last season, including
27/178/3 in Week 12. The Colts rang in the middle of the pack
in points allowed to running backs, but Chris Carson had a nice
day with 117 total yards, and Darrell Henderson scored last week
for the Rams.
Start King Henry with confidence and hope that Jacob Eason is
QB. If so, the Titans will likely benefit from a positive game
script for running and another monster day of production from
Football Team at
Bills - (Katz) Line: BUF -7.5 Total: 45.5
Game Thoughts: Taylor Heinicke’s first start went
about as well as could be expected. He completed 74% of his passes
for 336 yards with two touchdowns and one (admittedly very bad)
interception. We learned that Heinicke knows where his bread is
buttered as he focused heavily on Terry McLaurin, targeting him
Through two games, the Bills have allowed the third fewest passing
yards per game, 161. But it’s a small sample size and the
Bills faced the corpse of Ben Roethlisberger and the combination
of Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett. McLaurin will be just fine.
As for Logan Thomas, he’s clearly not going to be the guy
he was last year. He’s not the next Darren Waller. He’s
a solid back-end TE1 that you hope scores a touchdown.
Dyami Brown’s production hasn’t matched the usage.
Brown played on 87% of the offensive snaps last week (93% Week
1). Heinicke probably can’t support a third fantasy-relevant
pass catcher, but Brown is at least one to monitor.
Adam Humphries had a solid PPR day last Thursday, but that was
more a product of game flow than anything else. He’s going
to disappoint more often than not.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: It’s been a tough start to the season
for popular breakout running back Antonio Gibson. He’s averaged
just 11.6 FPts/g through the first two weeks, just 1.0 FPts/g
more than J.D. McKissic. I wouldn’t panic, though. Gibson’s
usage remains excellent and game flow put the Football Team in
weird spots where it just made more sense for McKissic to be out
there when it would otherwise be Gibson. Better days are ahead,
but it may have to wait another week. The Bills have allowed just
73 rushing yards per game thus far. We need Washington to get
in position to give Gibson goal line carries. That’s been
the main thing missing so far. They will come and you are obviously
starting Gibson, but another down week might be in the cards.
Game Thoughts: It’s been two weeks and Josh Allen
quickly reminded everyone why going quarterback early can be risky.
Allen has been fine, but nowhere near the top talent he looked
like in 2020. The good news is the Washington defense doesn’t
seem nearly as imposing as we thought. Justin Herbert and Daniel
Jones both posted excellent fantasy days against them. Jones used
his mobility to cause a lot of problems last week and I expect
Allen to do the same.
Stefon Diggs scored last week, which salvaged an otherwise mediocre
outing. It’s only a matter of time before he blows up. Even
though Washington contained Kenny Golladay last week, they had
no answer for Sterling Shepard. Diggs plays much more like Shepard
than Golladay. I’m very excited for Diggs this week.
Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley remain serviceable WR3/4s.
They are there. They’re on the field. They won’t get
you zero. Occasionally one will find the end zone. That’s
the best you’re going to get from these two.
Dawson Knox caught a touchdown last week, which he does from
time to time. He’s a random tight end streamer that you
hope scores, much like he just did, but far from a reliable weekly
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: Part of why Josh Allen didn’t have
a monster game last week was the running backs stealing all the
touchdowns. Devin Singletary opened the game with a 40-yard touchdown
run. Then in the fourth quarter, Zack Moss stole two touchdowns.
Singletary is the clear lead back, playing 66% of the snaps to
Moss’ 28%. Even in a game where the Bills led wire to wire
in a 35-0 blowout, they threw 33 times against just 23 non-Allen
rushes. Washington completely shut down Saquon Barkley last week
and the Bills will be pass-heavy once again so avoid Singletary
Cardinals @ Jaguars
- (Swanson) Line: ARI -7.5 Total: 51.5
Game Thoughts: Kyler Murray leads all quarterbacks with
72.7 fantasy points in his first two games, with seven passing
touchdowns and two rushing TDs on designed runs. The hope for
Murray managers was that he would continue to improve as a passer
in his third year and eclipse or come close to 70% completions.
While it is certainly a small sample size, Murray has done just
that and continues to provide value with his legs.
One way that Murray has improved is by spreading the ball around
to his deep corps of receivers. DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk,
A.J. Green, and rookie Rondale Moore each have at least nine targets
so far this season. Moore provides a Deebo Samuel-like weapon
in the offense with his running after the catch, while Hopkins
continues to be an elite outside option.
From a matchup perspective, the Jags present a plus-plus matchup
that should be exploited by Murray and the passing game. Jacksonville
ranks 9th in points allowed to QBs and 14th to opposing WRs. The
only reason why you may not get the full production in this game
from your receiving weapon is a sideways game script created by
the Cardinal defense against rookie Trevor Lawrence.
Hopkins missed practice on Wednesday with a rib injury. We think
he will play, but he may not put in as many snaps as usual if
the Cardinals jump out early. He is a start, but volume may be
an issue. Another injury to monitor is starting lineman Kelvin
Beachum, who missed Wednesday with a Rib injury as well.
Both of the starting corners for the Jags are listed on their
injury report, with CJ Henderson, and Tre Herndon limited with
groin and knee ailments. Both are likely to play, but that leaves
just Shaquill Griffin as the only fully healthy Jags cornerback
going against the best passing offense through two weeks.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: The tandem of Chase Edmonds and James
Conner have combined to score the 9th-fewest points by running
back units in two games, which is not surprising when you consider
Murray has two rushing touchdowns on designed plays in the red
zone and the Arizona WRs lead the league in combined fantasy points.
Perhaps this is the game for head coach Kliff Kingsbury to get
his running backs going, as the Jags lack playmakers up front,
and the Arizona defense should create a game script conducive
If you drafted Edmonds, this is the game to play him. If he doesn’t
do well this week, chances are he is not going to live up to his
draft capital. Conner is likely going to also get around 12 carries,
including goal line touches. However, Murray is the best pure
runner on the team and could once again poach a read-option TD
Game Thoughts: Two games into the Trevor Lawrence experience
and the Jags are 0-2. Not surprising, as the Jags were unquestionably
the worst team last year and earned the right for the top pick.
From a fantasy perspective, Lawrence has more points than Matt
Ryan and just four fewer points than Aaron Rodgers.
As you would expect with a rookie, Lawrence is turning over the
ball at a high rate (5 INTs) and completing a subpar number of
passes (50%). He is on pace to throw for 3,825 yards, 34 touchdowns,
and 42 interceptions.
Obviously, he is not someone you want to start in your fantasy
lineup, but he has been effective enough for Jags wide receivers
to have value. Through two games, the WR receiving corps ranks
15 in fantasy points scored, ahead of the Steelers, Bills, and
Packers, among other top offenses. D.J. Chark and Marvin Jones
each scored Week 1 against the Texans, and Jones followed up with
another solid game (6/55/1) against the Broncos. Both players
are worthy starts in this game in what could be a positive game
script for the Jags to pass heavily in catch-up mode.
Laviska Shenault was a full participant on both Wednesday and
Thursday with a shoulder injury and should be active on Sunday.
He has yet to live up to the breakout status many had hoped, but
he is still a talented player and a decent flex option.
Starting cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. missed practice with an ankle
injury on Thursday and could miss this game, which could open
the door for rookie Marco Wilson to start. Look for the Jags to
exploit the rookie with a couple of deep passes to Jones and Chark.
An ankle sprain to starting TE James O’Shaughnessy will
leave the Jags without their top tight end for three weeks. Jacob
Hollister and Chris Manhertz will fill in at the position, but
neither is worth a start. Look for an increase in targets to the
receivers, including Shenault in short and intermediate routes.
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: Only the Giants have scored fewer points
at the running back position through two games than the Jaguars,
with Carlos Hyde and James Robinson averaging a pedestrian 13.5
total rushes per game. Head coach Urban Myer continues to use
each player in a timeshare with neither option getting enough
volume to get into a rhythm. And it is difficult to win any game
when you are always behind and averaging 13 carries per game as
This backfield is a mess, and this team is a mess. If you can
avoid paying either player this week, and for the time being,
it would make sense.
The Cardinals limited Derrick Henry to just 58 yards rushing
and no scores and kept Dalvin Cook to 15.8 fantasy points. If
both of those players were unable to reach the end zone and deliver
fantasy value, it is difficult to see how Robison or Hyde can
Game Thoughts: Since the moment Justin Fields was drafted,
Bears fans have been anxious to anoint him the savior of a quarterback-starved
franchise. Now, with Andy Dalton (knee) out due to a knee injury,
Fields will make his first NFL start. No pressure. Fields played
more than half of Week 2 in relief of Dalton, completing 6 of
13 passes for 60 yards and an INT. He also ran 10 times for 31
yards. Those are objectively terrible numbers, though being given
a full week with first-team reps and a gameplan tailored to Fields’
strengths should certainly help.
With Dalton and Fields combining to throw for 116 yards it was
a lean day for the team’s pass catchers with Darnell Mooney
(6-66-0) leading the way. Allen Robinson (2-24-1), long the only
reliable play in Chicago’s passing game, caught just two
passes and has managed 59 yards receiving this season -- a year
ago with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles, Robinson averaged 78
per game. Cole Kmet had one catch for zero yards.
Cleveland is in the lower half of pass defense this season (272
yards per game), but keep in mind that mark is skewed by a Week
1 meeting with Patrick Mahomes. Perhaps the insertion of Fields
will change the trajectory of this offense, but for now the only
one worth playing is Robinson, and even that’s based on
talent and potential rather than production at this juncture.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: In addition to Fields’ seven rushing
attempts (his other three were kneel downs), David Montgomery
carried the rock 20 times last Sunday, gaining a hard-earned 61
yards. Cleveland has yielded just 3.0 YPC on the year, and we
can expect to see a stacked box in Week 3 with the Browns looking
to shut down the run and put the onus on Fields to move the ball.
Look for a heavy workload for Montgomery, who checks in as a No.
2 back, and perhaps more involvement from Damien Williams; he
had just four touches last week but could be a speculative flex.
Game Thoughts: It was an efficient day for Baker Mayfield
in Week 2 as he completed 19 of 21 passes for 213 yards, 1 TD
and 1 INT; he injured his non-throwing shoulder during the interception
return but didn’t miss time. This is a formula we’ve
seen from the Browns quite a bit since Kevin Stefanski took over
with the running game in the spotlight and Mayfield unleashed
That figures to be Plan A once again in Week 3 with Cleveland
battling injury issues at the receiver position. Jarvis Landry
(knee) sustained a sprained MCL last Sunday and was placed on
IR, meaning he’ll miss at least three games. Odell Beckham
Jr. (knee) has missed the first two games as he works his way
back from last year’s torn ACL, and while he has practiced
in full it’s unclear if he’ll return against Chicago.
If both are out you can expect TEs Austin Hooper (5-40-0), David
Njoku (2-18-0) and even Harrison Bryant (4-49-0) to see more work
along with Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
After being torched in Week 1 by the Rams, the Bears bounced
back to make life tough on Joe Burrow in their home opener. Burrow
was sacked five times and threw three consecutive interceptions
at one point, including one that was returned for a score. Look
for Cleveland to go after the Bears on the ground with Beckham
as the only person of interest here. View OBJ as a WR3 if he suits
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: The one-two punch of Nick Chubb (11-95-1)
and Kareem Hunt (13-51-0) was at it again last weekend as Cleveland
controlled the line of scrimmage with the two RBs averaging 6.1
yards per carry as a duo. Run defense has been a Bears strength
early on with their 71.5 rushing yards allowed per game ranking
fifth in the NFL on an impressive 3.3 yards per rush. The Browns
may have the league’s preeminent backfield, though, and
Chubb is locked in as an RB1 with Hunt functioning as a low-end
No. 2 back or strong No. 3 choice.
Jets at Broncos
- (Caron) Line: DEN -10.5 Total: 41.5
Game Thoughts: Week 1’s performance against the
Panthers had some pundits falling in love with Jets quarterback
Zach Wilson, but things came crashing back to Earth in Week 2
when the rookie was completely destroyed by the Patriots, throwing
four interceptions in his first game in front of the fans in New
York. While he was somewhat mobile in college, we’ve yet
to see Wilson add much on the ground this season. This just isn’t
a good enough team to produce a weekly fantasy QB1 without Wilson
adding rushing yards and touchdowns.
Corey Davis’ huge debut performance against the Panthers
had fantasy owners excited heading into Week 2, but we got a dose
of reality when he was held to just two catches for eight yards
against the Patriots. While Davis should still be considered the
Jets’ top pass catching option, he’s a low-level fantasy
option, especially in games like this, which is not expected to
be a shootout. He’ll also face one of the league’s
top secondaries, so it’s probably wise to sit him this week
and wait for a much better matchup against the Titans in Week
Rookie Elijah Moore leads all Jets wide receivers in snap count
through two weeks. His eight targets in Week 2 were double what
he saw in Week 1, but he still only caught four of them for 47
yards. Moore is an interesting player to keep an eye on, but he
shouldn’t be in any fantasy lineups until we see the Jets
offense prove it on the field.
While Davis and Moore have been far more talked-about, the player
who actually leads the Jets in targets - by a fairly large six
target margin - is slot receiver Braxton Berrios. Berrios has
quietly been targeted 18 times through two games, converting them
for 12 receptions and 123 yards. He hasn’t yet hit the end
zone, but he’s been the Jets’ most reliable option
and should continue to be an important part of the offense. Fantasy
players in deep PPR formats should add Berrios or at least keep
an eye on him for better matchups than what he’ll face against
the Broncos here in Week 3.
Denver’s defense has been excellent thus far and they should
be one of the top defensive plays on the board against a mistake-prone
Jets offense. This isn’t an absolute “bench everyone”
situation, but it’s close.
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: We knew this New York backfield would be
a committee to start the season, but the fact that it’s
been almost an identical touch distribution split between Tevin
Coleman, Ty Johnson and Michael Carter has made it practically
impossible to use any of them for fantasy. A three player split
is not good in even the best offenses, but a low-volume offense
like the one in New York means that this split is simply catastrophic.
If you’re in an absolutely desperate situation and have
to start one of these backs, then the one who has seemingly had
the most trust from the New York coaching staff is Ty Johnson.
Johnson led all Jets backs in snap share in Week 1, doubling that
of Carter and Coleman combined, and he also tied with Carter for
the most snaps in Week 2. Coleman, meanwhile, saw just seven snaps
in Week 2 and appears to be the odd man out for the moment.
These backs should be avoided in Week 3, however, as they’re
facing a Broncos defense that has given up the second-fewest fantasy
points to opposing running backs so far this season, including
holding Saquon Barkley and James Robinson to just 73 combined
rushing yards and no touchdowns through two games.
Game Thoughts: One of the surprising fantasy performers
thus far in 2021 has to be Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
While he narrowly beat out Drew Lock for the starting job, it’s
been undeniable that the Broncos offense has looked substantially
more efficient under Bridgewater this season than it did under
Lock in 2021. Bridgewater has thrown for nearly 600 yards, four
touchdowns, and hasn’t thrown an interception yet, allowing
him to currently be ranked just outside of QB1 territory for fantasy.
While it’s hard to expect that this level of efficiency
will continue, Bridgewater is a very safe quarterback and one
who should continue to at least allow the other Broncos offensive
players to have some value. Bridgewater is more of a mid-to-low-level
QB2 most weeks and is probably more on the low end here in Week
3 against a Jets defense that has done a good job of containing
Week 2 allowed us to see what the Broncos passing offense looks
like without Jerry Jeudy and there were three main beneficiaries.
First, Tim Patrick made it two straight games with a touchdown
when he scored against Jacksonville and he has regained his place
as second in the wide receiver pecking order in Denver. He’s
a low upside option, but a player who should be owned in deeper
formats, who could have some weekly starter appeal against weaker
defenses in potential shootouts. That’s not what we have
here in Week 3 against the Jets, however, so keep him out of your
lineup for now. The other player who saw an increase in playing
time was second-year wide receiver KJ Hamler. Hamler finished
fourth on the team in WR snaps in Week 1, but played almost as
many snaps as any Broncos receiver in Week 2 with Jeudy out. Hamler
is a speedster with big play ability, but he’s unreliable
for fantasy due to his low target volume. The player who really
seemed to benefit from Jeudy’s absence was Courtland Sutton.
Sutton missed almost all of the 2020 season and didn’t do
much in Week 1 this year, but he reminded us of his potential
as an NFL alpha wide receiver in Week 2 when he torched the Jaguars
for nine catches for 159 yards on a team-high 12 targets. It’s
difficult to imagine a scenario where he’s seeing that many
targets on a regular basis in this Denver offense, but Sutton
should command the lion’s share of the targets for the Broncos
and that makes him a viable WR2 with WR1 upside.
Tight end Noah Fant should continue to be a big part of the Broncos
offense, as well. He’s seen 14 targets through two games
and has the explosive ability to turn that type of usage into
some nice fantasy weeks. He’s been a borderline top five
option through two games and he has the ability to stay in that
range as long as he remains healthy.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: Most of us expected that the Denver backfield
would be an even split between Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte
Williams to start the season and that’s about what we’ve
seen. Gordon and Williams played an identical number of snaps
in Week 1 and while Gordon out-snapped Williams in Week 2, it
wasn’t by a very substantial margin. The touch distribution
has also been completely identical, with each back touching the
ball exactly 29 times through two games. Gordon has been a bit
more effective with his touches, particularly in the passing game,
where he’s caught five passes for 55 yards, and he did score
the team’s only rushing touchdown thus far, but this is
about as close to a complete time split as can possibly be drawn
up. With that being the case, it’s hard to trust either
of these backs as anything more than a Flex option for fantasy
right now. They do, however, have a decent matchup here against
the Jets in what could be a very run-heavy game.
The Jets have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing
running backs so far this season and while a Week 1 game against
Christian McCaffrey sort of skews that, they also gave up a decent
fantasy day to both Damien Williams and James White in Week 2.
This is a beatable defense on the ground and the Broncos backs
are in play for fantasy, especially in deeper leagues.
Dolphins at Raiders
- (Caron) Line: LV -4.0 Total: 44.0
Game Thoughts: Tua Tagovailoa has been ruled out for
Sunday’s game, which will lead to Jacoby Brissett making
his first start since 2019. Brissett took over for Tua in Week
2 and ended up attempting 40 passes, resulting in just 169 passing
yards and zero points scored by the Dolphins. We have to assume
that game planning around Brissett’s skill set will lead
to an improvement here in Week 2, but this is still likely a low
upside offense on the road against the Raiders.
On a positive note, we’ll get to see the debut of free agent
acquisition wide receiver Will Fuller. Fuller was the highest-selected
Miami pass catcher in fantasy drafts this offseason, so fantasy
players should be looking for even more target competition in
this already low volume passing attack.
DeVante Parker currently leads the team in targets and yards,
while rookie Jaylen Waddle has the reception lead along with being
the only Dolphins player who made a touchdown reception so far
this season. While Parker and Waddle have both scored some fantasy
points, neither player looks like a particularly reliable option
this week, especially now that Fuller is back and presumably in
line to demand a significant number of snaps and targets.
Tight end is also convoluted in Miami right now, as Mike Gesicki
has been splitting snaps with Durham Smythe, Adam Shaheen, Cethan
Carter and rookie Hunter Long. While Gesicki has been the only
one utilized much in the passing game at all, his lack of total
snaps has contributed to him seeing just eight total targets through
two games. Gesicki, for the time being, is unplayable in fantasy.
As if this whole Miami passing game wasn’t a crapshoot to
begin with, things are only made worse by the reality that the
Raiders defense is looking a lot better than most of us thought
they would. They held Ben Roethlisberger and Lamar Jackson to
just two total touchdowns between them and the average of 265
passing yards per game that they’ve allowed isn’t
enough for us to be excited about.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: Myles Gaskin has been the lead back, having
seen the field on just under 60 percent of the Dolphins’
snaps, but we’ve seen enough work coming from backups Salvon
Ahmed and Malcolm Brown that we have to be worried about Gaskins’
status as a true workhorse. As of now, the carry distribution
breaks down to just 14 for Gaskin, nine for Ahmed and 10 for Brown.
Gaskin has been by far the most involved player in the passing
game, catching nine of the 10 targets that’ve come his way
for 48 yards, but that alone isn’t enough to make him a
high quality fantasy asset thus far.
This week the Dolphins backs will face a Raiders defense that
has been effective at containing opposing backs on the ground,
but they have already given up 87 receiving yards on 10 catches
to the position through two games. With Brissett behind center,
look for the Dolphins to implement a low average depth of target
passing attack, which should benefit the Miami backfield and Gaskin
in particular. Still, this isn’t a very good offense overall
and it’s probably best to not look at Gaskin as much more
than a low-end RB2 or Flex option until we see him demanding a
higher share of the touches in this offense.
Game Thoughts: Very few people would have predicted that
we’d be talking about Derek Carr in the early season MVP
race, but here we are. The Raiders quarterback has been excellent,
having already thrown for 817 yards and four touchdowns with only
one interception, having played against two of the league’s
best defenses in the Ravens and Steelers. Now we’re looking
forward to Carr playing against a less difficult matchup, at home
against the Dolphins.
A quick glance at the box score would tell you that the Dolphins
defense must have played well this past week when they held Bills
quarterback Josh Allen to just 179 yards, but that is missing
the context that the game ended up being a 35-0 Bills blowout
victory. Buffalo simply did not need their quarterback to make
plays once the game was out of reach, so the volume was not there.
A better indication of the Dolphins defense might instead be the
Week 1 contest against the Patriots, in which they allowed rookie
Mac Jones to throw for 281 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut.
The Raiders aren’t likely to be a huge volume passing attack
in most games, but they could choose to pass the ball more heavily
in this game than usual in this one, simply because they’re
still looking unlikely to have running back Josh Jacobs back in
the lineup. Carr himself lacks the rushing ability or high pass
attempt numbers to really be a consistent QB1 for fantasy, but
he does deliver QB2 numbers fairly regularly and should continue
to do enough to provide multiple fantasy-relevant pass catchers
in most games.
Tight end Darren Waller notably saw an absurd 19 targets in Week
1, which he took for 105 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions.
His numbers came back down to Earth in Week 2 when caught just
five passes for 65 yards and no touchdowns on seven targets. While
that sounds like a disappointing game, it’s worth considering
that 65 yards per game would be a pace of over 1,100 yards in
a 17-game regular season - a number that only elite tight ends
ever sniff...and that was considered a “down” game
for Waller. He remains by far the best pass catching weapon in
Las Vegas and should be in line for another heavy target day here
in Week 3.
The real question in Las Vegas is which players, other than Waller,
will see targets. So far the most-targeted wide receiver for the
Raiders has been slot receiver Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow has actually
been targeted 16 times in two games, catching 11 of those passes
for 127 yards and no scores. He’s a low-upside PPR option,
but he’s someone who does offer a decent floor at the moment
if you’re in a pinch in deep PPR formats.
The upside plays remain second-year wide receivers Henry Ruggs
III and Bryan Edwards. Those two receivers lead the position group,
each having played 100 or more snaps through two games, with Edwards
narrowly edging out the former first-rounder in total snaps. The
target distribution, however, favors Ruggs, who has seen the ball
come his way 12 times to Edwards’ eight. Week 2 saw Ruggs
out-target Edwards eight to three, and he delivered on that opportunity,
catching five of those passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. It
was just the second 100-yard game of Ruggs’ young career
and it should give fantasy owners some hope for him going forward,
especially if he earned more of the trust from his coaches and
quarterback. The Dolphins secondary does have some talented players,
so this isn’t an easy matchup by any means, but it’s
one where you could look to Ruggs as a deep Flex option, hoping
that he’ll be able to build upon his breakout performance
from Week 2.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: The Raiders were without former first round
running back Josh Jacobs in Week 2, and they may again be without
him here in Week 3 as he continues to deal with foot injuries.
Many assumed that Jacobs’ absence would lead to a heavy
workload for backup Kenyan Drake, but that surprisingly didn’t
happen. While Drake out-snapped him 47 to 19, it was actually
between-the-tackles grinder Peyton Barber who out-carried Drake
by a margin of 13 to 7. Sure, Drake did have the better fantasy
day as he was involved in the passing game where he caught five
passes for 46 yards, but this split meant that neither player
was particularly useful for fantasy purposes as neither was able
to get into the end zone.
Assuming that Jacobs will be out again, look for the Raiders to
once again implement a split backfield. Neither Drake nor Barber
were efficient as runners in Week 2 so don’t expect much
of a shift either way in that regard. Drake should remain the
team’s primary passing down back which will allow him to
catch some passes and play more total snaps, but he’s still
not much more than a PPR Flex in this matchup.
Seahawks @ Vikings
- (Green) Line: MIN -1.5 Total: 55.0
Game Thoughts: For the first 30 minutes last Sunday it
seemed like Seattle would roll to a 2-0 record. That didn’t
happen. The Seahawks went off the rails in all facets, collecting
six points and five first downs in the second half and overtime
while allowing Tennessee to claim a come-from-behind victory.
Russell Wilson still finished with strong numbers (343 yards passing
and two TDs), but this wasn’t the first time we’ve
seen a Wilson-led offense inexplicably fall apart. We’ll
see what kind of answer the veteran has in Week 3 against the
Just like last year, it’s Tyler Lockett (8-178-1) that
has gotten off to the fast start as he’s currently second
in the NFL in both receiving yards (278) and TDs (three). Lockett
flamed out after Week 6 last season, topping 70 yards in a game
just once over his final 10, so we’ll see if he can better
sustain his production this time. DK Metcalf (6-53-0) has taken
a backseat so far, but we all know that won’t last as his
physicality and talent make him a more sustainable producer than
the slightly built Lockett.
Minnesota invested significant resources into overhauling their
secondary, but to this point the results have been uninspired.
The Vikings rank 26th in passing yards allowed (294 per game),
even with a reinvigorated pass rush (eight sacks; tied-2nd). Wilson
threw for three TDs against the Vikings last year, with two of
them going to Metcalf. Both, along with Lockett, are solid No.
1s at their positions this Sunday.
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: Chris Carson (13-31-2) never really got
going last week but still delivered for fantasy owners thanks
to a pair of short touchdown runs. The bruising back ran for 52
yards and a score against Minnesota in 2020 on just eight carries
so we’ll see if Seattle can feed him the ball a bit more
often. Through two games, the Vikings are allowing 126 rushing
yards on 4.4 yards per carry. Carson has RB1 potential but is
better played as your No. 2 back.
Game Thoughts: A week ago, Minnesota’s offense
was balanced and efficient, averaging 7.0 yards per play and avoiding
the turnover bug completely... and they still fell short. Kirk
Cousins, who was plagued by interceptions last season, has thrown
for 595 yards and five TDs without a pick. Knowing Mike Zimmer,
it feels like an adjustment must be coming, and it could resemble
what the Vikings did against Seattle last year when they ran 41
times and possessed the ball for almost 40 minutes with Cousins
working underneath routes (27 completions for 249 yards).
Easily the biggest surprise for Minnesota this season is the
play of K.J. Osborn, who hauled in five passes for 91 yards and
a score in Week 2 -- he currently leads the team in receiving
on the year (12-167-1) ahead of Adam Thielen (15-131-1) and Justin
Jefferson (11-136-1). I’d still advise proceeding with caution,
though for Week 3 you could play Osborn as your flex with his
presence dropping Jefferson and Thielen to WR2s. As for Cousins,
he could fill a spot in two-QB formats.
Thus far the Seahawks have allowed a lot of yards through the
air (271.5 per game; 26th) but few scores (two TDs; tied-8th).
Their six sacks are tied for fifth in the NFL, but they’re
one of seven teams without an interception. There should be opportunities
here if needed, but it feels like the gameplan may center on running
the football, particularly after what Derrick Henry did against
Seattle in Week 2.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Watching Dalvin Cook (22-131-0) lie face
down on the field last Sunday with a stinger, and then later be
removed from the game with an ankle issue, one wonders just how
much his body can take. At 26, Cook isn’t old, but he has
endured heavy usage in his career and his latest ankle sprain
is keeping him out of practice this week. They’ll need Cook
on Sunday, as the Seahawks are currently 31st in run defense at
162.5 yards per game. Cook should be played as an RB1 barring
a change in his condition with Alexander Mattison (20-112-0 vs
SEA in ’20) on standby.
Rams - (Caron) Line: TB -1.5 Total: 55.5
Game Thoughts: It doesn’t seem fair, but 44-year-old
quarterback continues to dominate the NFL, having already thrown
for a league-leading nine touchdown passes. No other quarterback
has more than seven. His ability to distribute the ball to multiple
weapons has been on display once again, as he’s provided
effective fantasy days for all three of his top receivers with
Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown, as well as veteran
tight end Rob Gronkowski who has already scored four times in
The Buccaneers did, however, face some pretty weak defensive competition
in Weeks 1 and 2 as they were at home against the Cowboys and
Falcons. Things get much tougher here in Week 3 as the team heads
on the road to face a very good Rams defense. The Rams completely
dominated the Bears back in Week 1 when they held Andy Dalton
to just 206 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. They then
followed it up by punishing Carson Wentz and eventually backup
Jacob Eason, both of whom threw an interception. Certainly Brady
is a far superior quarterback to anyone the Rams have faced thus
far, but it’s worth considering that this is not likely
to be as easy for the Bucs as things were in Weeks 1 and 2. One
player who may specifically be in line for a tough day is wide
receiver Mike Evans. Evans, who primarily plays on the outside
in the Bucs offense, is likely to see plenty of attention from
elite cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey has been one of the best
defensive backs in the league for years now and it’s tough
to expect much out of any receiver who goes up against him. Evans
turned in a monster, two-touchdown performance against the Falcons
in Week 2 so it’s understandable that he’ll be in
most lineups, but don’t expect a huge game from him in this
Adding to what looks to be a difficult matchup is a COVID-19 situation
at wide receiver, specifically Antonio Brown. Brown is unlikely
to play on Sunday due to this and that should mean more playing
time for Scotty Miller, and potentially Tyler Johnson. Neither
player should be on fantasy radars in this difficult matchup,
If there’s a receiver who could see an uptick in usage due
to the Brown COVID situation and the Ramsey factor on the outside,
it’s Chris Godwin. Godwin plays out of the slot on about
60 percent of his snaps - one of the highest rates in the league.
This typically allows him to avoid opposing teams’ top cornerbacks,
who typically play outside. Godwin has exploited this matchup
in each of the two games he’s played against the Rams over
the past two seasons. He saw his highest target number of the
2020 regular season against the Rams when the Bucs played them
in Week 11, when he caught seven of his 10 targets for 53 yards
and a touchdown. Then in 2019, he had one of the biggest games
of his career when he was targeted 14 times, catching 12 of those
passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Godwin should see a higher
target share in general with Brown being out, but this is a quietly
good matchup for him and one that fantasy owners should take advantage
of in what could be an otherwise difficult day for the Buccaneers
Tight end Rob Gronkowski also looks like a must-start in this
one as the future Hall of Famer remains Tom Brady’s go-to
receiver in the red zone.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: The Buccaneers backfield remains one to
avoid for fantasy purposes at the moment, but at least for now,
things appear to still be leaning in the favor of Leonard Fournette.
Fournette has now out-carried Ronald Jones by a total of 20 carries
to 10 through two games, but more importantly than that is that
he’s out-targeted Jones by a margin of 11 to 3. Buccaneers
head coach Bruce Arians was asked about Jones’ role in the
passing game by a reporter this week and responded by saying that
Jones is not where he should be in that area. This just doesn’t
bode well for Jones’ fantasy value going forward and he
hasn’t done enough on the ground to justify giving him more
carries either. Meanwhile, Fournette has low upside in what has
been a very pass-heavy Buccaneers offense, but he has at least
turned in back-to-back double-digit PPR fantasy performances,
anchored in large part by nine catches. Fournette is a decent
receiver out of the backfield and appears to be far more trusted
as a pass protector so he’s likely to continue to hold the
starting job here in Tampa for the time being.
Either way, this isn’t a great backfield to target for fantasy
purposes. The Rams are a very good defense overall and, with the
exception of a 41-yard run by David Montgomery in Week 1, they’ve
held opposing backs in check. This past week they held Jonathan
Taylor to just 51 yards on the ground on 15 carries. All of this
lends itself to the idea that both Jones and Fournette should
be on most fantasy benches, but Fournette is someone who could
be used as a very low-end RB2 or Flex if you’re in a tough
Game Thoughts: The Rams have now passed for nearly 600
yards in two games with Matthew Stafford having thrown for five
touchdowns in two Los Angeles victories. While he isn’t
likely to reach MVP level from a fantasy standpoint, there’s
little question that he has been a huge upgrade from Jared Goff
and the Rams appear to be legitimate contenders in the NFC. They
do have their first real test of the season here in Week 3.
While they’re considered by most to be a good defense, Tampa
Bay has already given up 703 passing yards and five touchdowns
through two games. They have forced four interceptions so it hasn’t
all been bad, but there is definitely some potential for a shootout,
and that should interest fantasy owners, especially those invested
in the passing games for these teams.
Los Angeles’ top two pass catchers continue to be Cooper
Kupp and Robert Woods, with Kupp currently ranked as the top PPR
wide receiver in fantasy football. He’s already been targeted
21 times, catching 16 of those passes for 271 yards and three
touchdowns. Meanwhile, things have been quiet for Woods on the
outside, who has caught eight of the 13 passes that have come
his way, for 91 yards and a touchdown. He hasn’t delivered
any boom weeks yet, but Woods has at least delivered double-digit
PPR points in each game. Both Kupp and Woods remain must-starts
for fantasy right now, with Kupp being a low-end WR1 and Woods
being a low-end WR2.
While the target consolidation to Kupp and Woods remains good
for those two players, it has certainly not been good for other
wide receivers in Los Angeles. DeSean Jackson and Van Jefferson
are the only other wide receivers who have even seen a single
target this season, and they only have eight between the two of
them. That low volume just isn’t enough to make them viable
Tight end Tyler Higbee is the only other fantasy-relevant pass
catcher here in Los Angeles, but we saw in Week 2 that he remains
a fairly volatile option, as he was targeted just once against
the Colts. Tight end is such a difficult position to find fantasy
production from anyway, though, so it’s not surprising that
Higbee is going to give you some dud weeks from time to time.
We did see that he can produce some decent fantasy numbers, as
he caught five passes for 68 yards in Week 1 against the Bears.
This week he’ll be against a Buccaneers defense that hasn’t
given up a touchdown to a tight end yet, but they have given up
19 total catches to the position through two games. Look for him
to have some opportunities in this game, and he should be in most
lineups as a low-end TE1.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Darrell Henderson dominated
the snaps and touches in the Los Angeles backfield for the second
straight week prior to suffering a rib cartilage injury which
allowed backup Sony Michel to see a spike in playing time and
touches in Week 2. The Rams sound hopeful that they’ll have
Henderson in Week 3, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet
and there’s a chance that his playing time will be limited
even if he’s available. This ambiguous situation makes it
tough to trust either Henderson or Michel, as long as Henderson
is active, especially considering that this is a late-afternoon
game and we may not learn about Henderson’s availability
until it’s too late.
If we do find out that Henderson is going to be active in advance,
then we can probably assume that he’s a low-end RB2 in this
matchup against a good Buccaneers defense. If we find out that
he’s inactive, then Michel would bump up into the low-end
Packers at 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -3.0 Total: 50.0
Game Thoughts: The Packers got things back on track with
a dominant victory over the Lions in Week 2, and reigning MVP
Aaron Rodgers lit up the scoreboard with four touchdowns. While
not everything was perfect, particularly in the first half, it
was good to see Green Bay bounce back from what was a disastrous
start to the season in Week 1 when they got blown out by New Orleans.
The Packers wide receiver group remains thin, with really only
Davante Adams having any sort of weekly appeal at the moment.
Adams delivered a respectable five catch, 56-yard day even in
a down week for the Packers in Week 1, but he bounced back in
a big way in Week 2 with an eight catch, 121 yard day in Week
2. While he hasn’t yet scored a touchdown, expect that to
correct itself as Adams remains one of the top pass catchers in
the sport and an every week must-start.
Wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and Randall
Cobb are simply not involved enough to be viable fantasy options
at the moment, but it’s worth noting that Cobb has played
just 27 total snaps through two games, with Lazard and Valdes-Scantling
both playing about three times that many snaps.
Tight end Robert Tonyan is really the only other viable fantasy
option in this passing game, and even he is only a potential starter
because he plays such a thin position. His borderline elite year-ending
fantasy total from 2020 was heavily carried by an extremely high
touchdown rate which was unlikely to continue here in 2021, but
we’ll need him to see more than the seven targets he’s
seen over the first two weeks of the season if he’s going
to be a locked-in fantasy starter.
The 49ers defense gave up productive fantasy days to both Jared
Goff and Jalen Hurts this season, so Aaron Rodgers and the Packers
shouldn’t be in line for too difficult of a matchup on Sunday
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: A horrendous Week 1 had some fantasy owners
worried, but Aaron Jones bounced back in a huge way in Week 2
as he destroyed the Lions for over 100 total yards and four total
touchdowns. Certainly a multiple-touchdown day isn’t something
that we should be expecting on a regular basis, but Jones remains
one of the better fantasy backs in the league and is a must-start
in really any matchup.
While the 49ers defense has mostly contained opposing running
backs on the ground thus far, they’ve already given up 19
receptions to opposing backs through two games. Of course, the
Lions seemed intent on specifically targeting their tight ends
and running backs against the 49ers back in Week 1, so those numbers
are a bit skewed, but it’s worth noting that this is a potentially
exploitable matchup for the Packers and Aaron Jones via the passing
Game Thoughts: Two straight victories have the 49ers
quarterback situation looking pretty safe in the hands of Jimmy
Garoppolo. Garoppolo’s 503 yards and two touchdowns via
the air and one on the ground have him ranked as about a mid-level
QB2 right now, and unfortunately that’s about all that we
can expect from him as a fantasy contributor, given the 49ers’
tendency to run the ball.
This week he’ll face a Packers defense that got absolutely
torched for five touchdowns by Jameis Winston in Week 1, and even
allowed Jared Goff to throw a pair of touchdowns in Week 2, but
they’ve actually only allowed a total of 397 passing yards
through two games.
Jaire Alexander remains one of the top cornerbacks in all of football
and he’s likely to match up quite a bit with wide receiver
Deebo Samuel, who has been crushing early in 2021. Samuel has
been targeted 20 times already this season, catching 15 of those
passes for 282 yards and a touchdown. He’s been by far the
most valuable pass catcher in San Francisco and he’s the
only wide receiver on the team who’s even been targeted
more than four times. Assuming that the Packers have identified
the 49ers’ offensive scheme thus far, it would make sense
that Alexander lines up against Samuel on most snaps, which could
mean a lower-than-expected target share. Samuel could, however,
avoid Alexander, depending on how the 49ers move him around on
the field, and that makes him someone who can still be in your
fantasy lineup here in Week 3 - just understand that there is
some downside in this matchup, and he might drop an egg.
While Trent Sherfield and Jauan Jennings have each caught touchdown
passes, neither of those players should do much for fantasy owners.
The only other wide receiver we care about is 2020 first round
pick Brandon Aiyuk, who seems to have found himself in the dog
house early in the season. Aiyuk has played the second-most snaps
among 49ers wide receivers, but he’s still far behind Samuel
in snap share and he’s only been targeted twice on the season.
For now he has to be on fantasy benches until we see him break
out of this bizarre situation.
Tight end George Kittle has gotten off to a slow start, but there’s
little reason to believe that he won’t get back to being
at least a top five tight end. This week he’ll face a Packers
defense that has been giving up huge production to opposing tight
ends. They got beat for a pair of touchdowns by Saints tight end
Juwan Johnson in Week 1, before conceding eight catches for 66
yards and a touchdown to T.J. Hockenson in Week 2. It’s
not panic time quite yet for Kittle if he doesn’t light
up the scoreboard, but this is certainly a good matchup and one
that we should be expecting good things from Kittle in.
GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: It’s hard to imagine a team being
more snake-bitten by injuries at the running back position than
the 49ers have been over the past few seasons, but if there’s
one thing that’s undeniable, it’s that they’ve
always been able to bounce back and get the most out of whatever
players are active in the backfield on game day. This week the
49ers will be without JaMychal Hasty who suffered a high ankle
sprain, and they may also be without rookie Trey Sermon who suffered
a concussion in the 49ers’ Week 2 victory over the Eagles.
Sermon hasn’t been cleared to play yet, but he is practicing
in a no-contact jersey and Kyle Shanahan has said that it looks
like Sermon is trending in the right direction. Meanwhile, the
team’s Week 2 starter, Elijah Mitchell, has missed practice
with a shoulder injury.
This whole situation is made worse by the reality that the 49ers
and Packers are playing on Sunday night, which makes it increasingly
likely that we won’t have a clear picture as to who will
and won’t be active by the time we need to make lineup decisions
on Sunday morning. As such, unless you own more than one 49ers
back, or someone like Tony Pollard who plays on Monday night and
could get subbed in if your starter is inactive, it’s probably
wise to avoid starting any of these 49ers backs here in Week 3.
Of course, for the purposes of this article, we’ll rank
Mitchell the highest for now, as he’s likely to be the starter
again if all of the players are active, but this is an extremely
volatile situation that could even end in Kerryon Johnson being
elevated from the practice squad and shoved into a prominent role.
Eagles at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: DAL -3.5 Total: 51.5
Game Thoughts: Last week, Hurts regressed considerably
from Week 1, throwing for just 190 yards, but he still managed
QB1 numbers due to his rushing ability. In his one career start
against the Cowboys, Jalen Hurts threw for 342 yards while rushing
for 69 more on nine carries. Hurts is an every week must start.
DeVonta Smith splashed in Week 1, but disappeared along with
Hurts in Week 2. The Cowboys gave up nearly 200 receiving yards
to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams last week. Fire up Smith with
Beyond Smith, the only other potentially startable option is
Dallas Goedert with Zach Ertz currently on the Covid list. If
he can’t get cleared for Monday night, then Goedert might
actually play a full complement of snaps. Goedert averages 8.5
FPts/g with Ertz in the lineup against 11.9 FPts/g with Ertz out.
Jalen Reagor remains the Eagles’ WR2, but he’s not
a fantasy option. Quez Watkins is a name to keep an eye on, but
you’re not starting him just yet.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders has underwhelmed from a
fantasy standpoint through two games, but I’m actually encouraged
by what he’s done. Sanders is the clear lead back, playing
67% of the offensive snaps. He touched the ball 19 times in Week
1 and 14 times in Week 2. If Sanders had been able to find the
end zone, the perception on him would be much different. I have
a feeling he punches one in this week.
Kenny Gainwell deserves to be on fantasy rosters, too. He’s
the clear RB2, playing about 33% of the snaps. Gainwel had 11
touches in Week 1 and eight in Week 2. That’s enough usage
to at least know you can throw him in your lineup in a pinch and
not get zero
Game Thoughts: After completely abandoning the run in
Week 1, the Cowboys had a different plan to beat the Chargers
in Week 2. That resulted in Dak Prescott throwing for just 237
yards despite completing 85% of his passes. Expect Prescott to
throw a couple touchdowns in this one.
The bigger concern is Amari Cooper’s ribs. Jerry Jones
is hopeful Cooper will play, but it’s unlikely we have an
answer prior to you having to set lineups on Sunday. That puts
fantasy owners in a difficult predicament. If Cooper’s status
remains uncertain, you need to do one of two things. Either bench
him if you have a solid replacement or pickup Cedrick Wilson so
you have a plug-n-play option in the event Cooper doesn’t
play. The good news is Cooper was limited at Thursday’s
practice, as opposed to out. My early gut call is that he plays.
Regardless of Cooper’s status, CeeDee Lamb is ready to
smash as the best wide receiver on the Cowboys. Even though the
Eagles only allow 162.5 passing yards per game, that’s more
of a product of their opponents than anything else. This defense
is definitely improved, but they haven’t faced an offense
At tight end, Blake Jarwin is the preferred fantasy option over
Dalton Schultz, but the two are splitting time relatively evenly,
which makes neither a recommended option.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore are shockingly
embracing the fact that Tony Pollard is immensely more talented
than Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke is still the lead back as he totaled
97 yards of offense with a touchdown last week, but no one watching
that game would come away thinking he was better than Pollard.
The “backup” touched the ball 16 times and racked
up 140 yards of offense with a touchdown.
Unfortunately, I’m still not sure if Pollard can be trusted
given that he played on just 34% of the snaps. If the Cowboys
aren’t as run-heavy as they were, the touches would likely
come at Pollard’s expense. The Eagles allow 120.5 rushing
yards per game, so hopefully both Zeke and Pollard can eat. For
those who watched Pollard smash on their bench last week, I would
try and refrain from point chasing and see how things play out
before declaring Pollard an every week starter.