Week 2 is coming up fast for the NFL and we are back with the complete NFL DFS Game by Game Breakdown Week 2! There are going to be some pretty chalky spots but there’s at least one that fully deserves it. Let’s talk about that and potential pivots through every game!
QB – It was a very uninspiring start for Josh Allen and the vaunted Buffalo offense, but it looked like they weren’t clicking that well with almost no action in the preseason. It didn’t hurt that the Steelers’ defense really played well either. Looking at a metric our man Jared brings every week in his article, Allen will likely be just fine –
Allen was one of the biggest “losers” in terms of unrealized air yards in Week 1. Buffalo ran 11 personnel around 90% in Week 1, which was up almost 20% from last season. That made sense to try and spread the field against the Steelers’ secondary. If Allen can put up 18 DK points in a pretty poor game, that tells you the ceiling is still very much the same as 2020. Miami was only 13th in DVOA against the pass in Week 1 and that was a rookie quarterback with some questionable weapons. Allen is a dynamite GPP play this week because I doubt many go that route and his ceiling simply hasn’t changed. My (admittedly small) concerns about his rushing attempts in the RZ were not realized since Allen had four last week and had another 44 yards on the ground total.
RB – It was a pretty large surprise to see Zack Moss inactive in Week 1 but it did open the door for Devin Singletary to rack up 11 rush attempts and three receptions. Miami got hammered on the ground in their first game, giving up 119 yards rushing, and they also got tagged for 75 yards through the air on nine receptions. Now, Singletary is not to be confused with James White of New England but it was fascinating to see the Dolphins get blasted on the ground against a rookie quarterback. You would have thought they would totally load the box but it flat out didn’t matter. Now, the Bills don’t run the same style of offense (or even close to it) so it’s not apples to apples. Singletary could be an option for builds where you prioritize WR or TE with your salary. We don’t get backs that play 64 snaps at this salary very often.
WR – All three of Stefon Diggs, Emmanuel Sanders, and Cole Beasley played over 90% of the snaps, and Diggs and Beasley ate up significant targets. Diggs was targeted on 32.6% of the routes he ran and finished fourth in air yards on the week. He’s similar to Allen in that if the down week is 9/69, we’re in business. The matchup with corners like Xavien Howard and Byron Jones isn’t always ideal but it didn’t matter last season. Diggs dropped one game over 32 DK against this secondary and he did kick into the slot almost 20% in Week 1. There’s no reason to not view him and Allen as elite plays this week.
Corner Nik Needham played 35 snaps last week and might well be right back in the slot role for Miami. That wouldn’t scare me off Beasley and he is very cheap for DK since it’s full PPR. Needham played strong last year but he was further down on the depth chart to start this game. I don’t think Beasley is going to see 13 targets per game but his role is cemented in a very good offense and he’s a very solid cash play at the salary for DK. Manny Sanders suffered from the same issue that plagued Josh Allen (no shocker) because Sanders had 102 unrealized air yards. That was fifth among receivers coming out of the week. That’s another player that is just way too cheap even though the matchup is very difficult.
TE – Dawson Knox is one of those tight ends that if you fall on as the last man in, you can hope he scores but he might have a slightly more stable floor. The target share wasn’t anything great at just 8.2% and he only ran 17 routes, but at least 25% of his snaps came from the slot. We always love to see that from our tight ends and he played 55% of the snaps. For a team that has a lot of talent at receiver, Knox isn’t the worst option at this salary.
D/ST – I think Miami is still good for a runner or two but Buffalo wasn’t anything to write home about in Week 1. The pressure rate was there around 28% but I’m not sure this is the spot to rack up some sacks. Miami gave up one of the lowest pressure rates of any team in Week 1 and I think we can try for other options.
Cash Plays – Beasley, Singletary
GPP Plays – Allen, Diggs, D/ST
Out – Will Fuller, WR
QB – It doesn’t look like much, but Tua Tagovailoa was in a tough spot last week against Bill Belichick in New England. This week is going to be different since the offense will be Fuller (insert dad joke meme, we’ll get to that in a second) and Buffalo’s defense isn’t quite as good as New England. The Pats only ran a blitz about 17% of the time, daring Tua to beat their coverage. Buffalo ran about 28% so he should see more blitzes this week. My fear with Tua even at the low salary is he did not push the ball downfield with only 98 intended air yards. That’s…not great but I’m not ready to throw him under the bus totally yet. He’s about to get one of the league’s premier deep threats to line up and it’s a good time to take chance on that stack for what could be the lowest price of the season.
RB – It seems a lock that Myles Gaskin is not going to be the exact same workhorse he was last year with just 54% of the snaps, but he did have 14 touches and that’s not horrible. The salary is just kind of “meh” on DK at $5,900 as he really doesn’t have a ton of upside past maybe about 20 DK. Perhaps the largest point of concern is he only got nine carries and that is not a whole lot to bank on. Buffalo gave up the third-fewest yards on the ground in Week 1 and I don’t have any strong feelings on Gaskin being a need in cash or GPP this week.
WR – There might not be a higher ceiling receiver at $4,800 than Will Fuller. Perhaps the lack of time in actual game action hurts the chemistry between Fuller and Tua since Fuller was suspended from last year. I’m pretty sure I don’t care because Fuller is wildly talented and shouldn’t be under $5,000 even in this scenario. Fuller was 10th in yards per reception last year at 16.6 and he’s wildly explosive. He has a strong speed advantage over both Tre White and Levi Wallace and if he gets on Wallace and his 4.6 40-yard dash, Fuller can scorch him. DeVante Parker led in targets last week but the Dolphins only had two receivers on the field a lot of the time. I would rather play Jaylen Waddle as I believe Fuller will be a deep threat and Waddle will be closer to the line and in the intermediate game to accentuate his YAC ability. The Fuller/Waddle combo is crazy cheap even if the jury is still sort of out on Tua.
Update – Well, Fuller is out due to a personal matter and we hope that everything is alright off the field, which is most important. Waddle and Parker take a small step up as far as safety go, but they don’t turn into needed players.
TE – It’s very difficult to feel comfortable at all with Mike Gesicki this week. He only ran 14 routes on the day, drew two targets, and now Fuller is back in the offense. If there were encouraging metrics, I’d be on board for a rebound. He only played 38.5% of the snaps total and that was with Adam Shaheen out with Covid. It saddens me greatly that Gesicki is a part-time player but we have to recognize what the Miami staff is doing with him.
D/ST – The Dolphins are cheap enough to consider a bit because even though I don’t think they keep Buffalo from scoring some points, there is sack and turnover equity. Allen was sacked three times and pressured and the third-highest rate in Week 1, and has been know to fumble the ball on running plays.
Cash Plays – Gaskin, Fuller
GPP Plays – Waddle, Tua, D/ST
QB – Look at this man Tyrod Taylor getting it done for fantasy! The Texans are not going to be good this year but he does still have a weapon or two at his disposal and if he keeps tacking on 40 yards rushing, he could be interesting. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not playing him because I’d play Tua at the same price. He did finish seventh in intended air yards on the first week, which was a surprise as well. It’s almost impossible to decipher the matchup since Cleveland played Patrick Mahomes. That will wreck the curve early in the season and I doubt Cleveland finishes 29th in DVOA against the pass. He’s almost sure to be in a negative game script but I’m not buying into Tyrod just yet.
RB – We normally say that volume is one of the only factors that matter for running backs and Mark Ingram had that in spades on Sunday with 28 carries. There’s a couple of caveats that leave me fairly uninterested. One, the Browns are not the train wreck the Jaguars are so projecting the Texans to lead this game like they did last week would be foolish. Secondly, the Browns defense is much more stout than the Jaguars unit and this sure looks like it would be a trap. Maybe Ingram gets the bulk of the carries, but in a game script that gets flipped, he could be uninvolved. David Johnson got the most targets of the running back corps at four but I’m not interested in paying $5,200 just for that facet of the game. No running back played more than Ingram’s 46% of the snaps.
WR – They didn’t need to throw a lot but seeing no receiver for the Texan other than Brandin Cooks see more than five targets is not great. We all wanted Nico Collins to take off but Danny Amendola swooped in and stole five targets along with a touchdown. He’s not very much over the minimum and he only played 22% of the snaps so if his snaps increase, he and Cooks could be the 1-2 in this offense, even though that seems kind of crazy. Cooks continues to be one of the most underrated receivers in the game, producing 132 yards on just five receptions. Cooks ate up a 44% air yard share which was 10th and the 132 yards were the fourth-most of the week. Denzel Ward doesn’t really shadow and I’m not saying Cooks = Tyreek Hill, but Hill just ran wild on this secondary. Cooks is the best play from the corps by a lot.
TE – I’m not particularly looking to chase the Pharaoh Brown game from last week. First, be cautious with Cleveland’s ranking against tight ends. Of course, it looks bad after defending Travis Kelce. Second, he only ran 19 routes altogether and that likely goes up this week as a heavy underdog, but his metrics as far as snaps and routes look almost the same as Jordan Akins. Brown was just the player that got targeted. It seems like it could be a coin flip and an easy way to tilt. If we play a cheaper tight end, I want one that’s not in a timeshare with another cheap tight end.
D/ST – The doubt the Browns gift them three turnovers again and I will pass easily.
Cash Plays – Cooks
GPP Plays – Taylor
QB – Last week was about exactly what to expect from Baker Mayfield. He was super efficient on 21-28 passing for 321 yards but didn’t throw a touchdown and then threw a crushing interception to seal the game. Mayfield wasn’t really throwing the ball downfield, barely cracking the top 20 in air yards in Week 1 and it would be nice to see him get Odell Beckham back sooner than later. Cleveland led last week until the end, and he threw under 30 passes. Considering they are one of the heaviest favorites on the slate this week, we shouldn’t expect a lot more volume and you’d need 2-3 touchdowns to make it all work.
RB – If you told me that the Browns would jump out to a lead against the Chiefs last week, I would tell you that Nick Chubb would see more than 52% of the snaps and 15 carries, but here we are. Now the positives are that those 15 carries were 71% of the running back carries and he had six RZ attempts to just three for Kareem Hunt. Houston was absolutely gouged on the ground last year by running backs as they gave up the most rushing yards by almost 300 yards and they gave up 21 touchdowns. I almost don’t care what the DVOA is for this season or what their results were from last week. Even at just 15 carries, Chubb has 100+ rushing yards and multi-touchdown upside. Chubb actually saw two targets as well which isn’t much but he only saw 16 receptions last year through 12 games. We’ll take anything he gives us in the passing game and this spot is about as great a play as a back could be without a lot of receiving work. He should not be under $8,000 at home as a 12.5 favorite.
WR – We know early this week that Odell Beckham will not play and we can take last week at face value for the Browns. What was super interesting is Jarvis Landry was matched in targets by rookie Anthony Schwartz with five each. Schwartz had an aDOT of 25.2 yards last week and an air yards share of 46.2%. He was 11th in unrealized air yards and ninth in air yards share in the first week. He put up a 3/69 line and certainly appears to have a very dangerous role in the passing game right now. $3,300 is super cheap for a deep threat like this. Landry played about 31% of his snaps in the slot and his day was boosted with 13 rushing yards and a touchdown. Projecting the game script means that I would rather take the chance at Schwartz and play Cooks instead of Landry in this game. Donovan Peoples-Jones picked up some sleeper steam but only saw one target all game.
TE – Cleveland played a lot of two-tight end sets with Austin Hooper and David Njoku on the field at least 59% of the time. Njoku saw five targets compared to Hooper’s three and it’s even scarier to pick between them because they both ran under 15 routes. I’m not super interested in trying to pick between them but I’d give a slight lean toward Njoku since his aDOT was over 20 yards and Hooper was under six.
D/ST – The Browns are one of the more affordable options that is facing a team that isn’t projected to score much. They only got to Mahomes for two sacks last week but Mahomes is a much different story. The pressure rate was 24.4% and Taylor was seventh in pressure rate last week. He was only sacked once but Myles Garrett could get home twice himself.
Cash Plays – Chubb, D/ST
GPP Plays – Schwartz, Landry, Hunt
QB – Cincinnati didn’t ask Joe Burrow to do a whole lot in his first game back from major knee surgery and that’s not a surprise. He only threw the ball 27 times but you don’t spend the capital they have on receivers to throw it under 30 times per game. The Chicago secondary was super vulnerable in Week 1 and even though the Rams offense is more polished, the secondary is not good at all and they should struggle to cover the Bengals options. Burrow came through this game looking comfortable and healthy, and the longer the season goes the more open this passing game should become. I doubt he’s under $6,000 for very much longer.
RB – As much as I love Chubb this week, Joe Mixon is only $800 cheaper and deserves a ton of attention. He was FED the rock with 29 carries and four receptions in the overtime win and racked up 150 scrimmage yards with a score. He was quite simply a monster, with 15.4% of the target share and he got 85.3% of the running back carries share. Mixon was credited with breaking eight tackles and that was the most on the week. It’s interesting because we’ve seen the Bengals play from behind so much over the past couple of years that we may not have realized just how involved Mixon could be. You can’t bank on 33 touches a week but he is the unquestioned RB1 in this offense and the Bears defense didn’t look special against the run on Sunday night.
WR – Welp, I missed out on Ja’Marr Chase in Week 1. I fell for the struggles through the preseason and missed the boat. He looked every bit the receiver we expected with a snap rate of 91%, a 26.9% target share, a 50.2% air yards share, and he finished 11th in yards per route. We saw the Bears’ secondary look poor and if Jaylon Johnson is the only above average player back there, it’s not going to be enough. Johnson played well and was the only member of the secondary that didn’t allow a 100% completion rate on Sunday. Chase likely sees some of him but it won’t be every play and I’m very bullish that he was the WR1 in basically all metrics immediately.
Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd both played the exact same amount of snaps and Higgins had one more target, so they were still close. Higgins held the edge where it mattered with two RZ targets and one EZ target with an aDOT of 8.2. Kindle Vildor is the other outside corner right now and he played all of 13% of the snaps last year, so this isn’t anyone to fear. I have them ranked Chase, Higgins, and Boyd based on what we saw in Week 1.
TE – With three receivers and Mixon to feed in this offense, C.J. Uzomah is not going to pay off very often. He played plenty of snaps at 76.1% but only ran 19 routes and saw just two targets. I don’t expect that to change very often this year.
D/ST – I don’t hate the Bengals’ defense after getting a look at the Bears’ offense. They were the only team that didn’t attempt a pass over 15 yards downfield and they ran a blitz over 37% of the time, seventh-most. The Bears only surrendered a 14% pressure rate but that’s not a surprise when you’re not throwing the ball downfield.
Cash Plays – Burrow, Chase, Higgins, Mixon
GPP Plays – Boyd, D/ST
QB – You can try and sell the revenge narrative all you want, but I’ll have nothing to do with Andy Dalton. Don’t get me wrong, the matchup certainly gets a lot easier for Dalton this week but he didn’t look up to the task on Sunday. It doesn’t help that Justin Fields rotates in and out of the game and could potentially steal some RZ touches/attempts. Dalton barely got over a 5.0 yards per attempt and it looked like there was not a sniff of upside to be had. We have much better plays.
RB – I’m not sure David Montgomery could have done much more in Week 1. He was constantly creating yards and finding holes to hit, looking every bit as good as he did towards the end of last season. He got 16 carries to just six for Damien Williams which was very encouraging but there is a knock on Monty and that was he only saw one target. Williams sucked up the passing game work with five targets and they both had two RZ carries each. I mean, Williams needed six carries for 12 yards while Monty rolled up 108 yards on his 16 carries. The bottom line here is Monty is very cheap but it was interesting to note that the Bengals held Dalvin Cook to under 70 yards rushing. Without the targets, Monty is a far less stable bet on an offense that doesn’t look strong with Dalton at the helm.
WR – If I’m Allen Robinson and I don’t get a target beyond 10 yards again this week, I might start a full revolt on the sideline. Look, I get that Aaron Donald and the Rams wreck a game plan but come on. This is Allen. Robinson. You can’t have him never run past 10 yards or the defense can defend anyone. Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple look like they’re going to start again with Trae Waynes doubtful and those corners can’t hang with the talent of Robinson. Can we just get this man a real quarterback for once?
Darnell Mooney played every snap and when you’re not throwing it downfield, you likely can’t accentuate his strengths all that well. He was targeted seven times and was the only receiver to get a RZ target. The aDOT of 6.1 was actually on the higher end for the receivers so if Chicago expands their vision this week, he’s still in play for GPP and pretty cheap.
TE – We’ve come to a cheap option that I do like to some extent in Cole Kmet because he played the eighth-most slot snaps, drew seven targets, and had a RZ target. As long as Dalton is the starter, he doesn’t seem interested at all to try and push the ball down the field so the ceiling isn’t super high. However, he tied for the second-most targets behind A-Rob and a lower aDOT of 4.4 yards helps secure receptions.
D/ST – Their front is still very good but until they fix the secondary, it’s hard to get too excited. They also only got an 11.1% pressure rate but it does appear that the Bengals still have offensive line issues. They allowed a 34.4% pressure rate and five sacks, which was the second-most of the week. They are cheap enough to consider but I do have concerns about the Bengals receivers in that secondary.
Cash Plays – Monty, Kmet
GPP Plays – Robinson, Mooney, D/ST
Questionable – Jonnu Smith, TE
QB – I didn’t really expect Mac Jones to throw the ball 39 times in his first game, but he certainly didn’t play poorly. The completion rate was over 74%, the yards per attempt was over 7.0, and he didn’t throw a pick. That’s not a bad day at the office against a defense that Miami can throw out there, and coach Brian Flores certainly tried his best to get after Jones. Only the Bucs blitzed at a higher rate than the Dolphins 52.5% but Jones showed well. The blitz rate likely doesn’t let up since the Jets brought one 38.9%, fifth-most in Week 1. With that secondary, it only takes a couple of plays to get burned and I think we can still consider Jones as a bottom-barrel discount option, even if I like others better this week. Jones also had a pressured completion rate of 78.6%, which was very impressive.
RB – You have to be a bit sketchy on using Damien Harris this week after a fumble that helped seal a loss last week. Coach Bill Belichick has not hesitated to reduce workloads for running backs who fumble but it will be interesting because the options are a little barren behind Harris. You have James White, who is not going to carry the ball 15+ as he’s utilized in the passing game (his seven targets were second on the team in Week 1). Rookie Rhamondre Stevenson fumbled and almost got Mac Jones killed when he got steamrolled in pass protection. The Jets are looking like they could be a vulnerable spot but I’m not sure if we can trust the roles heading into this game. White is easily the safest but the ceiling is likely not high even on DK.
WR – Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers are the only two receivers worth playing since we have two tight ends and a running back specialist all involved in the passing game. Agholor got the score but Meyers played almost every snap and was targeted nine times to seven for Agholor. Maybe that’s not a surprise because Meyers played 64% of his snaps from the slot and that is slightly easier for a rookie quarterback to find instead of testing the boundary. There is certainly no corner in this secondary that I worry about as the Miami guys were a way worse matchup. They both got a RZ target and Meyers had a lower aDOT. On DK, I’m going to side with him for the extra $300 and Meyers might finally score his first career touchdown.
TE – It looks like we’ll see a lot of two tight ends from the Patriots and that shouldn’t be a surprise. They spent big in free agency and both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry both played over 70% of the snaps. Smith saw five targets to three for Henry and Smith caught all of his for over 40 yards. He also saw one RZ target to zero for Henry so we have our answer of who is a priority if playing one of them. I think he’s a little too expensive compared to the rest of the position but he would be my pick from the Pats.
Update – Smith potentially sitting would help Henry, but he still wouldn’t move into my top eight or so tight ends I’d want to play.
D/ST – If they fit salary-wise, the Patriots are my favorite defense of the week. The Jets allowed six sacks last week which was tied for the most and they also allowed a massive pressure rate of over 46%. The offensive line for the Jets only got worse and I’m sure Belichick is going to be able to come up with ways to get to Wilson, which creates turnovers. They certainly aren’t the cheapest option but on paper, the upside is unrivaled.
Cash Plays – Jones, Meyers, White, D/ST
GPP Plays – Agholor, Smith
QB – Zach Wilson showed some traits to be extremely excited about if you’re a Jets fan (I heard Brian all day Tuesday) and I do think he’s going to be fantasy-valuable in multiple weeks. This is absolutely not one of those weeks. Wilson and the Jets will be without Mekhi Bechton, their left tackle and best offensive lineman. New England is already licking their chops and I can see their blitz rate pick up in a hurry. I can also see a lot of different looks and coverages and this is a spot that just smells of multiple turnovers. We will have to wait a little while longer to play Wilson.
RB – Holy smokes this backfield was gross in Week 1. Veteran Tevin Coleman led the way with nine rushes while Ty Johnson had four carries and one reception. While Johnson was targeted two other times in the passing game, that’s not enough meat on the bone for an offense that struggled badly in Carolina. Johnson also saw 53.8% of the snaps to just 26.2% for Coleman so I think there is some potential for Johnson at some point this season for a cheap running back play. It’s not this week against a nasty New England front with a rookie quarterback facing Bill Belichick.
WR – We should expect Jamison Crowder to be back for this game and that really adds some instability to everything, even more so with Wilson facing Belichick. Corey Davis posted a monster game but we haven’t seen him and Crowder together, so it’s hard to predict the target share between the two. I would think that Crowder sees the majority of the seven targets that went to Braxton Berrios and Elijah Moore falls down the pecking order just a bit. Moore didn’t do a thing but he had a couple of chances with 93 air yards on four targets. The bottom line is the QB has to get the ball to the receivers and I’m not buying that this week, even though the Pats are still missing corner Stephon Gilmore.
TE – We thought Tyler Kroft might be the only game in town at the position but Ryan Griffin played about 48% of the snaps as well, drawing six targets to five for Kroft. I’m not heading to either player in this spot since I don’t rust Wilson at the helm against New England. We can keep an eye on the usage and potentially play them another day.
D/ST – If we’re punting defense, the Jets may well be the solution. Look, they aren’t the best unit on the planet but got a 22.2% pressure rate and ran a blitz almost 39% of the time. Jones proved last week he can handle blitzes but this is still a rookie quarterback in his first road start with questionable skill players. Even if we get six points, I’d be pretty happy.
Cash Plays – D/ST
GPP Plays – Davis
QB – I mentioned Mac Jones was sort of in play, but if you’re down this low I prefer Teddy Bridgewater. It’s an awful blow to this offense overall to lose Jerry Jeudy for an extended period, but that won’t derail the Broncos’ offense in this game. We saw Jacksonville get carved up by Houston and Denver is more talented even without Jeudy and we saw vintage Teddy Two Gloves in Week 1. He completed almost 78% of his passes for over 260 yards and threw two touchdowns with no interceptions. That’s not going to break a slate but for cash games at $5,400, you can do far worse and load up at the skill positions. Jacksonville left Week 1 19th in DVOA against the pass and gave up the 12th-most passing yards so Bridgewater has a pretty clear path to 20 DK once again.
RB – Melvin Gordon got the headlines with a 70-yard romp but I’m not convinced the disparity in salary is warranted between him and Javonte Williams. I’m not here to tell you MG3 is washed but he split the backfield evenly with the rookie on Sunday. It was an even split right down the middle at 505 each and Williams had more carries at 14-11 while MG3 had the edge in targets 3-1. If you give a back like Williams 15 touches against Jacksonville at $4,400, it’s not exactly hard to see where he can hit value. The Jaguars allowed 120 yards on the ground to running backs last week which was the fifth-most and that absolutely jives with what we’ve seen from them last season. Both backs are in play but the salary difference is very intriguing. We want to be on the breakout game for Williams, not one week behind.
WR – Man it’s a bummer that Jerry Jeudy got hurt so quickly. He and Teddy showed immediate chemistry but we move forward. Courtland Sutton played the most snaps at 80% but wasn’t targeted a whole lot with just three. K.J. Hamler and Tim Patrick saw four apiece and they all bring strengths from Week 1. Hamler and Sutton played the deep role, both with aDOT’s of at least 17 yards while Patrick saw two RZ looks out of his four targets. For me, I’d rather take the RZ looks since Bridgewater isn’t the most ideal quarterback for the deep pass. None of them played much in the slot and the Jacksonville corners can’t stop a college team. Given the roles that we saw and the salary, I’d have them as Patrick, Hamler, then Sutton. However, I think the best play from the passing game is up next.
TE – One of the premier plays at tight end this week is Noah Fant. With Jeudy out, he is the best candidate to lead the team in targets since he already did that last week. with eight. He drew the third-most targets in Week 1 with the fifth-highest target share and ran the seventh-most routes. Fant also co-led the team in RZ targets at two and Jacksonville doesn’t have a defense that can hang with him. If you’re not spending up, Fant makes so much sense with more of the passing game open to take over.
D/ST – No offense to corner Ronald Darby and I hope he heals up soon but letting Patrick Surtain into the starting lineup isn’t a bad thing. Denver passed on quarterbacks to sit Surtain on the bench for all but 16 plays last week and perhaps the largest surprise was they got almost no pressure on Daniel Jones. They only blitzed 13.6% and played a lot of coverage and the Jags turned it over a bunch against a much less talented defense. If the patriots would be chalky, Denver could be a strong pivot.
Cash Plays – Bridgewater, Fant, Patrick, D/ST
GPP Plays – Williams, Hamler, Sutton, MG3
QB – Let’s take a live look at Trevor Lawrence in Week 1.
He ate up all the garbage time production to wind up being the QB11 in DK scoring. The Denver defense is wildly more talented than Houston and while he may be replicating the game script, I’m not wild about solely chasing garbage time when so many quarterbacks can be played. The positives for Lawerence is he was not shy about chucking the ball downfield with the fourth-most air yards on the week. If he eliminates his mistakes, not really looking at him may look dumb but I expect the Broncos secondary to force at least one turnover and the pass rush is going to be tough to deal with.
RB – I want to be clear this is not a victory lap because even I was stunned at the running back usage last week, but this was (somewhat) my fear playing James Robinson. He only played 63% of the snaps and had five carries. That’s it, five. He did tack on six targets as the Jaguars were in comeback mode for most of the game and a 12% target share is nothing to sneer at….when there are carries to go along with it. Carlos Hyde had two targets and nine carries, which suggests a strong split backfield. Considering J-Rob is still sitting over $6,000 on DK, we can safely skip right over him. Urban Meyer is already sending strong signals that he may be overwhelmed in this job. I want nothing to do with this backfield right now.
WR – We talked about D.J. Chark having so many unrealized air yards in 2020 and it was the exact same story in Week 1. He went for 3/86/1 which was a strong return on the salary and would be again this week. Chark was second in unrealized air yards at 121 and he saw a monster 12 targets, he was the only player to hit double-digits. The corners for Denver are strong, as is their safety play but they’re not invincible either. Chark is a GPP special that legit has 30 DK point upside if he continues to see the volume and high-value targets he saw in Week 1.
Laviska Shenault plays the slot and the aDOT was 3.1, meaning he’s going to see a lot of manufactured touches and he’s a safe target if nothing special. Marvin Jones was sort of saved right a the buzzer with a touchdown but he also played 90% of the snaps and saw nine targets himself. I’m not looking to attack Denver in a major way and would likely stick to just Chark in GPP.
TE – I certainly didn’t expect to be writing about James O’Shaughnessy after Week 1 but here we are. He played over 85% of the snaps and drew eight targets coming from behind and he is dirt cheap. The aDOT was only 4.9 yards but that’s fine, we’re cool with the tight end being a security blanket for the rookie quarterback. Considering we can safely project the Jaguars to trail quite often this year, O’Shaughnessy showed early chemistry with Lawrence and at this salary, he could be the best punt at the position this week.
D/ST – This team couldn’t stop the Texans and put up the worst fantasy score of the week. Hard pass.
Cash Plays – None
GPP Plays – O’Shaughnessey, Chark, Shenault, Jones, Lawerence
Out – Dre Greenlaw, LB
Doubtful – Emmanuel Moseley, CB
QB – I never walk into a slate saying “I can’t wait to play Jimmy Garoppolo” but he did put up a big stat line in Week 1. It tends to help when 199 of your 314 passing yards come after the catch and that’s going to be the SF offense while he’s under center. Jimmy G is a ball distributor: he’s going to let his guys make the plays and just focus on delivering it to the right guy. Even with the 300-yard bonus on DK, he didn’t clip 20 points and his lone touchdown was a play that a receiver took 70+ yards to the house on a ball that wasn’t well-thrown. He only averaged 3.5 RZ attempts per game last year I tend to think that doesn’t change much. I’d rather go with Teddy B in this price range.
RB – Pour one out for Raheem Mostert who lasted all of two carries last week, but that has opened the door for rookies Elijah Mitchell and Trey Sermon. I understand that Sermon was inactive, but Mitchell took 63% of the snaps and 86% of the positional attempts. That’s a big number for a Kyle Shanahan-led offense and he produced with over 100 yards and a score. We can never be quite sure how Shanny will deploy his backs week-to-week but Sermon was beaten out by other players to be active in Week 1. It would be a stretch to see him taking the bulk of the carries this week. Typically, I would be hesitant against the Eagles but it has to be talked about that Philly got beat up on the ground a little bit by the Falcons. That’s notable because Atlanta’s offense was trash on Sunday but they still generated 116 rushing yards from their running backs. San Francisco was second in rush yards in 2019 and 15th last year despite not having a real quarterback. There is still potential for Mitchell to 3x his price tag in my eyes and I’m curious to see how the field treats him. We could also see Jamycal Hasty get involved but Mitchell has to enter the week as the main option.
Update – The 49ers have talked up Sermon this week in practice and I will not have Mitchell in my cash pool any longer. I don’t trust Shanahan at this juncture.
WR – Well….it’s pretty much Deebo Samuel or bust for the receivers. Unknown to anyone else, Brandon Aiyuk hasn’t been viewed favorably by Shanahan and the coaching staff,, helping lead to just 47% of the snaps and not one single target. Shanahan has continued to say this week that Aiyuk has to get better so you simply can’t touch him. Deebo is interesting because he got 12 targets but he actually had an 8.2 aDOT in Week 1. That’s a huge difference from last year and Deebo played 22% of his snaps in the slot. I’ll admit that Darius Slay and the Philly secondary played better than I thought last week but the 49ers know how to get their receivers the ball. He shouldn’t see shadow coverage from Slay but he feels pretty expensive and I would rather find the salary for the more elite receivers.
TE – It was a disappointing start for George Kittle and I was ready to just chalk it up to variance. He played almost 95% of the snaps but he only ran 11 routes. ELEVEN. I would suspect that was because San Francisco ran so well and they were up by a much larger margin than the final score would lead you to believe. The Eagles should be able to keep this game much closer and the good news is Kittle drew five targets on 11 routes. When he’s available to catch a pass, Jimmy G was looking for him and that’s the metric we need to see. He’s a stronger spend than the 11.8 DK points last week tells you.
D/ST – Planted right between the Patriots and Browns is an interesting spot. I don’t have a strong need to play them because Philly could be a very low turnover and sack team. They only gave up one sack and a pressure rate under 18% and they had zero turnovers in the first week. The 49ers only got a 15.4% pressure rate last week but only ran a blitz 9.5% of the time. I’ll just play the Pats or Browns right in this range since the 49ers don’t offer me any savings.
Update – The 49ers are already very banged up and I’m not playing them at all. This game is actually a super sneaky one to target for a full stack with the later games taking center stage.
Cash Plays – Mitchell, Jimmy G, Kittle
GPP Plays – Deebo, D/ST, Sermon/Hasty
QB – We saw a little bit of everything from Jalen Hurts this past week, including his rushing cheat code and some significant upside in the passing game. There were definitely a couple of throws that made you queasy but he still completed 77% and didn’t have a turnover, a winning formula for fantasy. I’m really at the point where no matter what the matchup is if it’s rushing quarterback under $7,000…he’s likely a bargain. His rushing production alone was worth 1.5 touchdowns in DK scoring and that’s borderline irreplaceable. San Francisco was ranked ninth in DVOA against the pass but the results didn’t show that at all. Only four other teams gave up more passing yards than the 49ers (even though the game script was heavily slanted towards giving up passing yards) and the secondary is a real concern. Hurts and the Eagles are going to emerge as strong GPP plays with other players in their salary range carrying popularity.
RB – Overall, it was a fairly strong game for Miles Sanders as he played 66% of the snaps and had 19 touches, including four receptions on five targets. He piled up over 110 scrimmage yards and the only thing missing was a score, but those are obviously volatile. I know it’s only one game but the 49ers got blasted by running backs in the passing game last week, yielding a massive 16 receptions and 121 yards. We don’t want to overreact to any one aspect after one week but I don’t think many had San Fran pegged to give up over 200 scrimmage yards to running backs in Week 1.
Now they have to come back across the country and already lost corner Jason Verrett to an ACL injury. If Sanders continues to get fed nearly 20 touches per game, he’s not going to sit under $7,000 very long. Sanders is a very strong GPP play this week. Kenneth Gainwell needs some attention at the minimum price as well. If the 49ers continue to get ripped up through the air, Gainwell could be interesting. He had double-digit touches and three targets in a very positive game script. If Philly loses, Gainwell has even more potential through the air.
WR – I mentioned that the 49ers are already down one of their better corners and the first game for Devonta Smith was impressive. He played plenty of snaps, led the team with eight targets, had a 55.2% air yards share (third-most), and ran 2.45 yards per route. Even with a drop, he flirted with 20 DK points and San Fran has another corner questionable in Emmanuel Moseley. If they are down their top two corners, it’s going to be very difficult to not play Smith once again. Jalen Reagor paid off in spades for us (what’s up Ghost) and he is easily the number two receiver. He played 70% of the snaps and saw six targets, looking every bit like a first-rounder some folks may have given up on just a bit early. He played exclusively on the outside and was targeted on 28.6% of his routes. He did only run 21 routes but keep the score in mind. This game should be a lot more competitive and Reagor could still be virtually ignored against a secondary that is already missing vital cogs.
Update – I love Smith at this point, with SF likely down two of their best corners.
TE – I think that Dallas Goedert is going to be worth the extra $900 over Zach Ertz this week. Ertz is nursing a hammy (although he did come back in Week 1) but Goedert played 73% of the snaps and drew five targets, tied for the second-most on the offense. He didn’t run a lot of routes but his target rate on those routes was 35.7%, which is awesome to see. We can’t say with certainty that this will stick all year but the 49ers just got gashed by T.J. Hockenson last week. I do prefer other cheaper options but won’t fault you if you like Goedert and he could be a game stack piece.
D/ST – Philly got after the quarterback in Week 1 with a 33.3% pressure rate and got home three times. They finished tied for the third-most pressures as well and Jimmy G is the same kind of player as Matt Ryan in that he’s a pocket quarterback. He was only sacked one time but the pass rush for Philly is far superior to the one Detroit trots out. If you can’t stomach the Jets, I could see Philly at home but there’s a risk with both teams.
Cash Plays – Hurts, Smith, Sanders, Goedert
GPP Plays – Reagor, Gainwell
QB – One of the reasons I think Hurts gets practically no attention is Matthew Stafford killed it on an island game where everyone saw it. He went for 321 yards and three touchdowns and while two of those scores were of the very lucky variety (Van Jefferson not getting touched and securing glory for Stix, and then a blown coverage on another), Stafford looked spectacular. Maybe this is confirming prior thoughts but Stafford sure looked like a player that could unlock elements of the Rams offense that Jared Goff never did. The Colts finished 28th in DVOA against the pass in Week 1 and got lit up by Russell Wilson. They did only give up 254 yards but also only faced 23 passing attempts. I think that number climbs above 30 this week and the Rams receiving options are a mismatch.
RB – In honesty, it is kind of hard to get a full read on Darrell Henderson after one game. The Rams didn’t lean into the run game that much until it was towards the end of the game and I would have to imagine his 94% snap rate isn’t going to hold up. The longer Sony Michel is in the system, the more involved I believe he gets even if we don’t know how involved that is. Henderson was strong in his work for the most part but only saw one target. That’s something I expect to keep up because the Rams simply have so many other playmakers, they don’t need to use Henderson a lot. Seeing as how we talked about the secondary playing poorly last week, I expect a very heavy dose of the passing game and have no real need for Henderson this week.
WR – Maybe it’s just a one week deal but based on what we saw, Cooper Kupp is the very clear number one option in the offense over Robert Woods. Kupp played 94% of the snaps and drew a team-leading 10 targets running 44% out of the slot. He was also third in target rate on routes run at 45.5%. Kenny Moore played a ton of slot last year and would likely be tasked with it again for this matchup. He allowed a 65.2% catch rate and I don’t have a slight concern there. It’s not like Kupp would see him every play anyways.
Woods only saw four targets but he did still have two RZ and EZ targets. scoring late. I do prefer Kupp but we saw last week that the Colts’ secondary could have a very tough time with talented receivers. Woods should see more of Xavier Rhodes on the outside, provided Woods plays but he’s no longer a corner we have to worry about. We all went nuts for Van Jefferson last week thanks to Stix but keep in mind – he played 38% of the snaps and saw three targets. He’s the definition of volatile.
Update – Rhodes is out, weakening the defense for the Colts even further.
TE – I’m not sure we could be happier with Tyler Higbee in this offense. He played every single snap, had a 14% slot rate, drew a 23.1% target share, and finished in the top eight in receptions, yards, and yards per route. He also ran a route on almost every single Stafford drop back and is totally cheap for the role in this offense. He and Fant are a coin flip for me and I really like both players.
D/ST – We talked about this last week but we don’t pay for the top salaried defense. The Rams take a big chunk out of your cap, almost 10% and you can play multiple teams that are $800-$1,200 cheaper and has very similar outcomes. I won’t have the Rams in any lineup since they are so expensive.
Cash Plays – Kupp, Stafford, Higbee
GPP Plays – Woods, Jefferson, Henderson
Out – Xavier Rhodes, CB
Q – Parris Campbell, Michael Pittman, WR and Eric Fisher, Quenton Nelson, OL – Keep an eye on this injury report as it could change the complexion of the offense in a hurry Sunday morning.
QB – I’m pretty willing to cast aside Carson Wentz quickly in this one. He should have been able to put up a big game with the Colts in trail mode early and often, but he only ranked 18th in air yards. I don’t expect that to change much in this start and other options are only a couple of hundred dollars more. The Rams ran the sixth-highest blitz rate and Wentz was pressured over 31% of the time in Week 1. That’s not a good mix for him. With Bridgewater right there against the Jags, Teddy B just makes way more sense to my mind in cash and you’d only play Wentz for a ceiling that he doesn’t appear to have.
RB – If I’m playing a running back from this team this week, it’s Nyheim Hines because he is far too cheap in this spot. Since we talked about the blitz and pressure rates, I think it’s more than fair to expect Wentz to continue to be Captain Checkdown. Last week saw Hines and Jonathan Taylor combined for eight and seven targets, and Hines tacked on nine carries on top of that. We’re talking about a back who should exceed 15 touches for under $5,000 and is a borderline lock for five receptions. I don’t foresee the Colts stopping the Rams’ offense, which should put them in a pass-heavy script. LA can pin their ears back to get after the quarterback and Wentz will just get the ball out of his hands. Save the $2,500 and play Hines and full credit to Ghost for being on this very early in the week. He’s dead on the money.
WR – Michael Pittman and Zach Pascal are the top dogs in this receiving corps as they played over 90% of the snaps and Pascal looks like the man to play since he scored twice, had two RZ targets, and had the higher aDOT. The truth is the game script demanded the Colts pass early and often, and yet these two players combined for nine targets. That doesn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone and Jalen Ramsey will be patrolling the other side. We talked about thinking we see a ton of check-downs from Wentz and I will happily play a lot of other receivers.
TE – This is a pretty ugly timeshare with Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox as both players had a snap rate over 51% last week. That’s likely to happen again because they’ll need help blocking the Rams Alie-Cox ran just 14 routes and Doyle was at 22 but had only four targets. I think that the backs are going to continue to have a large share of the passing game, making either tight end a super-thin play.
D/ST – After watching this Rams offense and the lethal passing game they possess, I will have zero Colts defense. They shouldn’t even be on our radars.
Cash Plays – Hines
GPP Plays – Taylor
O – Richie Incognito, OL, Josh Jacobs, RB
Q – Carl Nassib, Yannick Ngakoue, DL
QB – Ladies and gentlemen, your leader in air yards after one game…Derek Carr. I wouldn’t have put money on that heading into the week but the Ravens just kept daring him to make throws and he made enough to rack up 435 passing yards, also the leader after one game. He is so cheap coming into this one that I think he can be considered, but I’m not convinced it needs to be a strong consideration. I would expect a lot of pass attempts because I don’t think the Raiders generate much on the ground but the Steelers defense played extremely well against the Bills offense. They wound up sixth in DVOA against the pass and of course, it’s not set in stone, but Vegas is on a short week and traveling. I firmly believe we can do better.
RB – I’m truly not that interested in Josh Jacobs this week as I’m not going to chase two touchdowns. One should have been a touchdown pass for Hunter Renfroe is not for pass interference and Jacobs absolutely has to score to pay off. Now, I do expect him to play more than 52% of the snaps and have more than 10 carries per game the rest of the way. He was banged up and sick coming into this game, but there’s still not a strong need to go to Jacobs. Pittsburgh has been stout against the run for years now and didn’t give us a reason to think that changed much in Week 1. It was nice to see Kenyan Drake see five targets in the passing game but he’s $200 more than Hines and I don’t think it’s all that close on playing Hines ahead of him.
Update – Jacobs is out but Jon Gruden is talking up Peyton Barber ahead of Kenyan Drake, and I want nothing to do with this backfield.
WR – I personally didn’t see near enough from Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs to take a shot here because they just weren’t involved enough. They got five targets each but the tight end in this offense is beyond the number one option in this offense. Those two made a splash play each but that was about it. If you’re going anywhere, it’s Hunter Renfrow. He only played 55% of the snaps but he’s running out of the slot and the Steelers just had some issues with that position. You could get a Cole Beasley-style game and Renfrow had a touchdown taken away. He had nine targets with a 6.9 aDOT and he’s barely over minimum salary. The only corner I somewhat avoid from Pittsburgh is Joe Haden and Renfrow will not see him virtually at all.
TE – Carr really doesn’t care if Darren Waller is covered, not covered, has three defenders within five yards, it just doesn’t matter. Carr is throwing it up for Waller to go get and he saw nineteen targets in Week 1. Needless to say, he leads the position in nearly every single category and is worth the spend. I can’t say I’m going to force him into builds but the matchup and any other factors don’t really matter. Waller is going to see a massive amount of targets every single week.
D/ST – Las Vegas played some serious defense on Monday night but the short week and travel won’t help this week. They also draw a Steelers offense that doesn’t allow sacks and don’t really turn the ball over. Pittsburgh only allowed 21 sacks last year and only two in Week 1 with no turnovers once again.
Cash Plays – Waller, Renfrow
GPP Plays – Jacobs, Drake
QB – It was an all-around gross game for Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1. A part of me says it’s the first game under a new OC on the road in Buffalo and that is a challenge. Big Ben played nearly no preseason and it took some time for the offense to show up (they did look better in the second half). The other part of me sees 5.9 yards per attempt and numerous missed throws and is quite concerned. He was 16th in air yards which is a step up from last year, so I’d be willing to give him one more chance. The Steelers are rife with playmakers at the skill positions but this would be an MME play only. He didn’t do much to inspire confidence but let’s see him at home against a lesser defense before putting the nail in the coffin.
RB – The stats didn’t look great for Najee Harris after just one game but that trend could turn quickly. The Raiders were allowing big plays to Ty’Son Williams on Monday night until the Ravens started feeding Latavius Murray for two-yard gains but one thing is clear in Pittsburgh. Harris is THE man as no other back played so much as a single snap. They left the rookie on the field for every play and he had 17 touches. I grant you that he and Big Ben were out of sync a couple of times in the passing game but it’s not like Harris got yanked off the field for any errors. I fully expect him to continue to get every single opportunity because this is what the Mike Tomlin-led Steelers have done for years. He’s got a game under his belt and is still wildly underpriced for his role and potential.
Update – I get there is concern about the offensive line, but almost the entire Raiders defensive line outside of Maxx Crosby is questionable. They already lost tackle Gerald McCoy. If you want to fade Najee in GPP, I’m behind that but I’m not fading in cash games.
WR – It basically went exactly as I thought last week for the Pittsburgh wide receivers as Diontae Johnson saw 10 targets and only played 75% of the snaps, partially due to an injury. He’s a PPR machine and saw the only RZ targets out of the receiving corps. He’s still not out of my range as far as salary and we should honestly expect him to lead in targets like he does almost every game.
The other two get a little more difficult. JuJu Smith-Schuster played the most snaps and Pittsburgh values his blocking. Chase Claypool was stuck once again capped around 65% of the snaps and he’s going to be wildly volatile until that changes. His role is a deep threat since his aDOT was 12.2 and the other two weren’t over 6.3 yards. Johnson gets a tougher matchup on paper against Casey Hayward but Johnson is a good enough route runner he can still get it done. JuJu could see some of rookie Nate Hobbs and that would be a spot the veteran can make work for him. Those two combined for 18 targets and are my favorite plays of the corps.
TE – It didn’t appear that either Eric Ebron or Pat Freiermuth is going to make a strong fantasy impact right off the bat. They combined for just three targets and they both hovered around 50% of the snaps. With a player like O’Shaughnessy right at the same salary as Freiermuth and showing a strong role in the offense, it’s hard to go this route.
D/ST – Derek Carr was harassed all the time at 24.6% and was sacked three times while the Steelers got pressure at a 32.7% rate, the third-best rate in Week 1. Carr only had a 28.6% completion rate under pressure and the Steelers are very cheap for a favored defense at home.
Cash Plays – Najee, Johnson, JuJu, D/ST
GPP Plays – Claypool, Big Ben
O – Kwon Alexander, LB, Marcus Davenport, DE
Q – Marshon Lattimore, CB
QB – I can safely say Week 1 had to be the most bizarre outcome for Jameis Winston that I could have come up with. He only threw the ball 20 times and for only 148 yards but he made those attempts count with five touchdowns. Talk about running hot. The game was so out of control early that I don’t think we should assume this is his role now. It does appear that Taysom Hill is still a thing with a RZ rushing attempt but we likely just have to live with that. Winston is totally fine at the salary but I prefer others. I just don’t think we saw the true Saints offense in Week 1 and I have more trust elsewhere. To be frank, Famous Jameis as a game manager isn’t all that appealing for fantasy.
RB – I was frankly a little surprised to see Alvin Kamara get 20 carries since that is very much not his wheelhouse. He’s typically been more of a 12-14 carry player with 4-6 receptions on top of that so we need to decipher if this was a new plan for New Orleans or just game script. I tend to think the latter because Green Bay got trounced and all of the work in the passing game for Kamara came in the first half. After that, it was mostly about salting the game away and not getting hurt. We can’t take too much from the early ranks for Carolina’s defense either because the Jets didn’t utilize their backs to any significant degree. Kamara is the usual outstanding play but he’s in a bit of an odd salary tier. For $1,000 less, I can go with Chubb, or I can find a way to get to CMC in a poor matchup (on paper). Tony Jones was involved but this is not the week to take shots with him, especially with Williams and Hines in that same range.
WR – We more or less saw the Marquez Callaway bomb coming a mile away and I hope it didn’t burn anyone in GPP. He only played 62.5% of the snaps but game flow should be noted. With a matchup against Donte Jackson this week, Callaway is in much better shape since Jackson allowed a 1.56 FPPT. Deonte Harris played the opposing spot on the boundary and score a touchdown, going 2/72/2. I do think both are in play because Jameis is going to have to throw more than 20 times but I’d reserve them for GPP only.
TE – I was going to tell you to not fall for Juwan Johnson after he scored two touchdowns but DK has him listed as a receiver, not a tight end. Either way, Johnson ran all of eight routes and just happened to catch two touchdowns. Adam Trautman was the player we want as he posted a 30% target share and was targeted on 42.9% of his routes run, impressive marks considering Jameis threw all of 20 passes. He’s still only $3,000 and even if the Saints win, the game should be more competitive than last week. This is what the fantasy community hoped for with Trautman in the offseason.
D/ST – The Saints were able to confuse the Packers while running a blitz only 13.5% of the time and got pressure just 21.6% of the time. What’s interesting is the Panthers allowed a 33.3% pressure rate but only gave up one sack. I don’t want to chase the big game from the Saints but there’s nothing wrong with the spot. I want to see if Marcus Lattimore plays as well.
Cash Plays – Kamara, Trautman
GPP Plays – Callaway, Harris, Jameis
QB – Look, this one will be quick – Absolutely not with Sam Darnold. The Saints defense just laid waste to the Packers offense and even at $5,200, you can’t go there. They only allowed 201 passing yards and finished first in DVOA against the pass by against Aaron Rodgers. He might be the last option I’d play at the position.
RB – It’s astounding that Christian McCaffrey is the RB1 in PPR scoring just because he achieved that feat without scoring a touchdown. He racked up 187 scrimmage yards and tacked on nine receptions to lead all backs in scoring and it could have been even more. The Saints defense just whipped the Packers in every facet imaginable but I can’t and won’t take CMC off the table. I’m not saying he’s a must-have by any means, but if the field shies away…I’d be very interested. He led the team with 27% of the target share and I’d doubt that lets up anytime soon. Darnold is going to take his fair share of quick passes and let CMC do the work.
Update – The Saints defense is missing some key pieces (granted, that was last week as well) and I wonder if CMC goes berserk at very low popularity.
WR – If Robby Anderson hadn’t scored a touchdown, I’m not sure I would have known he was playing on Sunday. He matched the 81% of the snaps for D.J. Moore but saw three targets to eight for Moore while CMC led everyone. It’s going to be difficult to support three receivers AND CMC every week, and that likely leads to a lot of boom or bust weeks for Anderson. Moore has the safety of the number one options and we’ll need to see if Lattimore plays before breaking down any matchups. Terrance Marshall was another cheap receiver who let us down, but his opportunity was strong with two RZ targets and one EZ look. He was targeted six times on his 53% snap share and played a ton out of the slot. With that role, he’s going to have some weeks where he goes off.
TE – Dan Arnold is not involved nearly enough in the offense to play this week.
D/ST – Carolina played a strong game and got home six times and they got a pressure rate over 32% in Week 1. Winston looked strong in his first start, only throwing one really poor interception (that was called back) but he also didn’t have to do very much. The Panthers are priced at a point where they’d be alright but I’m not sure what the upside really is.
Cash Plays – CMC, Moore
GPP Plays – Marshall
QB – After seeing the amount of time Arizona got into the backfield against Tennessee, I’ll admit to some nerves playing Kirk Cousins this week. Arizona tied for sixth in pressures in Week 1 with 11 and got a pressure over 25% of the time. Cousins was under pressure the sixth-most of any quarterback last week and at least in 2020, he was 22nd in pressured completion rate. His stats look very solid at a 73.5% completion rate, 351 yards, and two touchdowns but he won’t stand up to that amount of pressure indefinitely. I’ll find the salary for Stafford or Hurts and if I’m playing a quarterback in this game, he’s coming from the other team.
RB – It was a pretty impressive effort from Arizona to hold Derrick Henry in check last week but the task doesn’t get any easier with Dalvin Cook on deck. His stats won’t show a lot but Cook had his normal volume with 20 carries and six receptions, even if he was mostly a disappointing day. Cook dominated the snaps and touches all while adding in a 14.9% target share which is why he was going as a top-three pick all offseason. Cook also brings a more stable floor to the able than Henry since he’s more involved in the passing game. If I’m spending up I’m just going to CMC since he has the most stable floor in fantasy because neither of their matchups stands out strongly. I believe there are better ways to get exposure to this game.
WR – It’s an odd place to start but let’s talk about K.J. Osborn and his potential. He’s nearly minimum on DK but he was the slot receiver for Minnesota and garnered an 81% snap share with nine targets. That’ll pay the bills easily at his salary and we should project a pass-heavy script for the Vikings again.
The duo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen played well and JJ had a touchdown taken away on replay that had no business being called back. Theilen led in targets and receptions, but the targets were almost dead even. Arizona played extremely well in Week 1, but this secondary is still made up of corners like Robert Alford, Byron Murphy, and Luq Barcoo. These two just come close to double-digit targets once again and make for perfect game stack pieces.
TE – Tyler Conklin ran a lot of routes at 28 but was only targeted four times. He caught all four and had a cement amount of air yards at 31 but we should likely expect him to help block in this game. Minnesota played three receivers a lot and I think that likely continues this week, it’s more the role we should expect for Conklin that has me not interested.
D/ST – The list of defenses we’re going to play against Kyler and the Cards is not very long and the Vikings aren’t on it.
Cash Plays – Cook, Thielen, Jefferson
GPP Plays – Osborn
QB – With quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Aaron Rodgers off this slate, there is no doubt Kyler Murray should be the QB1 in salary. He was absurd on Sunday, totaling five touchdowns and putting up over 34 DK points despite just 20 yards rushing. Kyler was 10th in air yards and just proved to be impossible to defend. Minnesota had their issues defending the Bengals and Murray is going to present a much larger issue than that. If he can put this up with just 20 yards rushing and only one RZ rush attempt, the ceiling could actually go even higher. If you have the salary, you play him with impunity. If Minnesota stays 21st in DVOA against the pass, he could go full nuclear. Don’t worry about the pace numbers overall either. This is what Zona looked like when the game mattered – sixth in pace in a neutral game, seventh in pace up by 6 points, 11th in pace up over 7 points, and seventh in pace the first half.
RB – Right up there with Hines as far as cheap running backs go, Chase Edmonds appears to be a glaring value. The Cardinals went up early last week and while James Conner did have 16 carries to 12 for Edmonds, the latter played more snaps at 58%, had more rushing yards, and had a 12.5% target share with four. I’d rather Conner be the hammer back and Edmonds gets the receiving work since that is more valuable to fantasy. Edmonds also ran a route on 68% of Kyler dropbacks so the potential for more receiving work is there for him in a game that should be more competitive. Minnesota just got wrecked by Joe Mixon and Edmonds is a very cheap source of 15 touches. Realistically, Conner is as well and he had a 3-1 RZ rushing attempt advantage, but I’d value the passing game role more.
WR – Let’s get this out of the way – DeAndre Hopkins is going to stuff corner Patrick Peterson in his locker if they try and use Pat P on Nuk this week. Hopkins was his monster self in Week 1, playing 88% of the snaps, eating 25% of the targets, and earning a 34.3% air yards share. You can play him without hesitation.
The “A.J. Green is revitalized” train didn’t last long, as he was fourth in production last week in a game that saw Kyler throw four touchdowns. They tried to get him the ball with six targets but Christian Kirk was second fiddle on just five targets and 56% of the snaps. Considering the Cards called off the dogs, these are very encouraging signs and Kirk played mostly in the slot, running the 10th highest yards per route at 3.89. He’d face Mackensie Alexander in the slot and he allowed a 1.56 FPPT last year. Randale Moore played just 29% of the snaps in his first contest and while some of his plays flashed, that’s not super exciting…..yet. I would reserve him for MME formats only, but I don’t think playing Kirk is chasing.
TE – No tight end recorded a fantasy point last week.
D/ST – The Cardinals are a solid option here as well. They aren’t over $3,000, the duo of Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt looks like a very good tandem, and they got a pressure rate over 25%. They also forced three turnovers and tied for the most sacks in Week 1. Kirk Cousins was under the gun 32.7% last week which was a top-six rate in football. There are a lot of factors going in Arizona’s favor, especially if they force Minnesota to pass a lot more than normal.
Cash Plays – Kyler, Hopkins, Edmonds, D/ST
GPP Plays – Kirk, Conner, Moore
QB – Alright, maybe I lied about Sam Darnold. Matt Ryan is the last guy I’d play on this slate and this is a perfect case of Week 1 stats not holding a lot of weight. The Bucs allowed the second-most passing yards (and lost an important corner in Sean Murphy-Bunting) but the Falcons offense does not equal the Dallas offense. We talked last week that pressure could derail the Falcons and Ryan since he was 19th in pressured-completion rate and the Eagles got pressure about a third of the time. Ryan only generated 4.7 yards per attempt and this spot does not speak well for a rebound.
RB – One of the lessons we re-learned in Week was 1 was you do not play running backs against Tampa Bay. It’s nice to see Mike Davis get treated like a workhorse with 75% of the snaps and 15 attempts with six targets, but Tampa is where RB production goes to die. With the Eagles showing you can really get pressure on Ryan, I fully expect the Bucs to replicate that success. Maybe Davis racks up some receptions (and he did last year in Carolina against the Bucs) but we have cheaper backs in better spots with passing game roles as well. Davis is easy to get away from.
WR – Everything was there for Calvin Ridley that we expected with a 24% target share and a 49.5% air yards share, but it didn’t translate last week largely due to quarterback play. It’s not a good matchup at all for than trend to reverse, but it’s also hard to see Ridley at $7,500 on DK and not want to take shots. The field will be playing everyone else and if Ridley gets under 5%, he just makes too much sense as a GPP target. He would be the only receiver I’d look at given the defense Atlanta is facing.
Update – Bucs corner Carlton Davis popped up on Friday with a hamstring injury and that usually doesn’t bode well for someone playing on Sunday. I’m still not overjoyed with Ridley because Ryan has to get the ball to him, but the individual matchup would get a whole lot better.
TE – There is no getting around Kyle Pitts being a disappointment last week and I don’t feel a strong need to play him this week given our other options. Pitts had fantastic usage with 71% of the snaps, a route on 90% of Matt Ryan’s drop-backs, and was split out wide or in the slot for the majority of the snaps. He drew a 26.7% target share which was in the top-five and it’s only a matter of time before he has a breakout game.
D/ST – Not a chance against Tompa Bay.
Cash Plays – None
GPP Plays – Pitts, Ridley
QB – Tom Brady continues to not age, throwing 50 passing attempts in the first game with four touchdowns and two pretty fluky interceptions. He had his receiving corps drop multiple passes so he should have cleared 400 yards and this Atlanta defense does not look like a unit that can mount resistance. They were 27th in DVOA against the pass, allowed 264 yards to Jalen Hurts, and only had one sack and QB knockdown. It’s a high price to pay for a quarterback with absolutely no rushing ability but Brady was second in air yards and has one of the most talented receiving trios in football.
RB – The Bucs taught us lessons everywhere in Week 1 because we don’t trust Bruce Arians with his running back rotation. Ronald Jones had one fumble and was banished to the Nether-Realm, never to be seen again in Week 1. Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette totally botched an easy catch that led to an interception for Brady. That makes no sense other than BA just hates RoJo. If you believe that Jones is the starter…I’ll sell you a bridge.
Having said all of that, this is the spot for RoJo to rip off 125+ yards and a touchdown because everyone is going to play Brady and the passing game (and they should). We saw Mile Sanders have some success and even though Jones has no role in the passing game, he could easily have 15 carries here. If he does, he could put up a big fantasy game but this is an MME play only. I have no interest in Uncle Lenny since it took Jones fumbling to get him on the field for 64% of the snaps. I’m not buying into his seven targets either, and the article from bucswire.usatoday.com illustrates exactly why.
“We don’t like to throw to backs if we don’t have to,” Arians said. “They’re check-down people. We don’t bring backs in here to throw them 100 passes. We’ve got enough guys outside to throw 100 passes to.”
WR – We can start off by saying I fear no corner from the Falcons group. A.J. Terrell, Isaiah Oliver, and Fabian Moreau aren’t going to slow down this Buccaneers receiving crew. Antonio Brown got the biggest highlight-reel play when he broke loose for a long bomb score but we have to point out his snap rate was only 64.6% and his target share was only 15.2%. AB can turn that into production, but I was hoping for more. He was still 12th in yards run per route so that is helpful.
Chris Godwin played the majority out of the slot which is what we expected and sucked up a 30.4% target share. He was flat out a monster and it would stand to reason he’s going to continue that trend this week. He’s the most expensive but he also deserves to be based on what we have seen, including his four RZ targets. What is the most interesting to me is the potential buy-low on Mike Evans. He was terrible on Thursday Night, getting mostly locked up by Cowboys corner Trevon Diggs. Evans was still on the field for 93% of the snaps but only saw six targets and none came in the RZ. If he’s ignored relative to the other two receivers, we need to really pay attention to that.
TE – Old man Rob Gronkowski is still out here getting it down, playing the seventh-most snaps, and running the fourth-most routes among tight ends. His eight targets were also the third-most and he was an absolute monster. Realistically, he should not be cheaper than Pitts and I don’t think this was just a fluky game. Sure, he won’t score two touchdowns every week but this offense is going to be impossible to defend. Gronk should see plenty of one-on-one chances and he’s still more than capable of taking advantage.
D/ST – Tampa is in the same sort of spot the Rams are. They are a great play by the metrics but they are so expensive that it’s hard to get on board. Matt Ryan was pressured over 30% of the time last week and Tampa has all the tools to do that again. It’s just hard to drop this salary on defense, which is crazy volatile.
Cash Plays – Brady, Godwin, Gronk
GPP Plays – AB, Evans, RoJo
QB – Ryan Tannehill….what happened? He was very #NotGood on Sunday, uncharacteristically turning the ball over three times and getting pressured 31% of the time. Then there is this – after sitting third in play-action attempts last year, Tannehill had exactly two