Rich Hribar

The Worksheet

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The NFL Week 3 Worksheet

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Week 2 was another down week for scoring in the NFL. We’ve now had just 121 offensive touchdowns through two weeks, the lowest total since 2006. Although we’ve had one fewer game played than most years, we’re still 27 offensive touchdowns short of last year's total through two weeks and overall, teams have scored 193 fewer points through the opening two weeks compared to a year ago. We have five games already sporting implied totals of 42 combined points or lower this week, so that lack of scoring could easily spill into the third week of the season. Whether that low-scoring trend continues or not, we still have lineups to set.



As for the token disclaimer, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.

 

Lastly, as the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is NOT a start/sit column, rather an expectations column. The labels for each subset of players for each game are simply a vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player that you can find at the end of the column. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 3 games with a PPR light…

 

Rams @ 49ers


LA RamsRank@San FranciscoRank
-2   Spread 2  
21.0   Implied Total 19.0  
56.5 27 Plays/Gm 51.0 32
58.5 6 Opp. Plays/Gm 71.0 31
47.8% 7 Rush% 33.3% 24
52.2% 26 Pass% 66.7% 9
53.9% 30 Opp. Rush % 52.8% 29
46.2% 3 Opp. Pass % 47.2% 4

 

  • Todd Gurley had 10 runs of five or more yards last week, the most he's had in a game since Week 5, 2015.
  • Gurley has received 17.9 percent of the team targets after averaging 9.3 percent of the team targets per game for his career coming into the season.
  • In the 10 games in which Gurley has been favored over his career, he's averaged 21.7 touches for 98.6 yards from scrimmage with 10 total touchdowns.
  • Jared Goff has completed 7-of-11 passes 15 yards or further downfield for 229 yards. He completed 8-of-23 such passes for 225 yards all of 2016.
  • The 12 points scored by the 49ers are the fewest they’ve scored through two weeks in franchise history.
  • Brian Hoyer's 7.5 yards per completion ranks last of all quarterbacks in the league.
  • Just 22.6 percent (14-of-62) of Hoyer's pass attempts have resulted in a first down, the lowest rate in the league.
  • The 229 rushing yards allowed by the Rams last week were the most they've surrendered in a game since Week 12, 2011 (268 yards).

 

Trust: Todd Gurley (last week was the first time we’ve saw him channel what we saw from his rookie season. Even if that was fleeting, the touches and receiving use has been there while he’s a favorite again this week), Carlos Hyde (the Rams are fresh off allowing over 200 rushing yards at home, while Hyde has had three or more catches in back to back games for just the second time in his career)

 

Bust: Jared Goff (as exciting as his improvement has been, he’s turned in QB14 and QB24 scoring weeks for fantasy and will be a road quarterback on a short week), Sammy Watkins (the good news is that he’s caught every target on the season, the bad news is that he’s had just seven total targets. Until he’s involved, he’s a blind dart if you’re putting him into lineups), Gerald Everett (his big game Sunday came on just three targets while the 49ers have allowed a combined 3-19-0 to Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham to start the season), Brian Hoyer (he’s yet to lead a touchdown drive through two games while facing a Wade Phillips defense on a short week)

 

Reasonable Return: Cooper Kupp (he’s received six targets in each game, but the yardage totals will remain pedestrian, keeping him as a flex option). Pierre Garcon (his targets were cut in half while locking up with Richard Sherman a week ago, but expect him to push back towards double-digits as the only option in the passing game)



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Ravens @ Jaguars (in London)


BaltimoreRank@JacksonvilleRank
-4   Spread 4  
21.5   Implied Total 17.5  
64.0 12 Plays/Gm 60.5 22
62.0 19 Opp. Plays/Gm 66.5 27
57.8% 1 Rush% 52.9% 3
42.2% 32 Pass% 47.1% 30
34.7% 8 Opp. Rush % 44.4% 22
65.3% 25 Opp. Pass % 55.6% 11

 

  • Opponents have scored on just two of 25 drives (8.0 percent) against the Ravens, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Baltimore has allowed a league-low .093 passing points per attempt to start the season.
  • The Ravens' 10 takeaways are the most in franchise history through two games
  • Blake Bortles' 66 career turnovers are the most in the NFL since he entered the league.
  • In seven career games without Allen Robinson, Bortles has averaged just 10.9 fantasy points, 5.2 yards per pass attempt with six weeks at QB19 or lower.
  • Buck Allen played 43 snaps Week 2 compared to 15 for Terrance West.
  • In the eight career games in which he's played half of the team snaps, Allen has averaged 97.7 yards from scrimmage and 17.7 points per game with five top-12 scoring weeks.
  • Baltimore wide receivers have just nine receptions, the fewest in the league.

 

Trust: Buck Allen (the matchup isn’t strong, but Allen is an all-purpose producer on a favored team while Terrance West is still dealing with a soft tissue ailment)

 

Bust: Jeremy Maclin (he’s saved two games with touchdowns, but has totaled just six catches for 87 yards), Mike Wallace (he’s had just four targets through two games and the boundaries are not where to test the Jacksonville secondary), Joe Flacco (Jacksonville is allowing just 6.0 yards per attempt and has allowed just four top-12 scoring quarterbacks since the start of last season), Terrance West (his health is a concern as is his singular usage), Blake Bortles (London’s favorite quarterback comes home to face the league’s hottest defense)

 

Reasonable Return: Ben Watson (he did a fine Dennis Pitta impression last week and 39.8 percent of the receiving yardage against Jacksonville has been produced by tight ends, the highest rate in the league), Leonard Fournette (Fournette hasn’t been electric and may not be able to push past 20 touches in this matchup against a Ravens team allowing 3.8 yards per carry to opposing backs, but is still the main piece this offense has to lean on), Marqise Lee/Allen Hurns (they combined for 13 catches on 19 targets a week ago, and while Baltimore isn’t as soft of a secondary as the one they faced last week, that volume to put each in play as a WR3/flex option still exists)

 

Broncos @ Bills

 

DenverRank@BuffaloRank
-2.5   Spread 2.5  
21.3   Implied Total 18.8  
70.5 3 Plays/Gm 61.5 18
61.0 14 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.5 8
53.2% 2 Rush% 52.9% 4
46.8% 31 Pass% 47.2% 29
29.5% 5 Opp. Rush % 35.5% 9
70.5% 28 Opp. Pass % 64.5% 24

 

  • Only New England (46) has run more red zone plays than Denver (41) through two weeks.
  • Trevor Siemian leads the league with 34.4 red zone fantasy points through two weeks.
  • After posting a league-worst 13.7 percent stuff rate in 2016, 30.6 percent of the rushing attempts against Denver have failed to gain positive yardage, the lowest rate of all teams that have played both weeks.
  • LeSean McCoy has 24.5 percent of the Buffalo targets through two games after averaging 13.6 percent of the team targets per game over his first two seasons with the Bills.
  • Since Tyrod Taylor joined the Bills in 2015, no quarterback in the league has more games with fewer than 200 passing yards (16).
  • Taylor has 21 games with 30 or more rushing yards over that span, the most of all quarterbacks.

 

Trust: C.J. Anderson (he leads all backs with 49 touches through two games and Denver should control the game script here to keep that high touch count intact. Buffalo hasn’t allowed a top-30 back through two weeks, but has faced two timeshare backfields)

 

Bust: Zay Jones/Jordan Matthews (they’ve combined for eight catches through two games while facing the league’s premier secondary), Tyrod Taylor (his legs are always in play to give him a usable QB2 floor, but there are next to no expectations in place for this passing game this weekend)

 

Reasonable Return: LeSean McCoy (last weekend’s nine rushing yards is a bit of a scare if it’s a constant for McCoy’s rushing floor when Buffalo can’t pass the ball --something that should be the case here--but his usage in the receiving game is way up with the lack of wide receiving depth on the roster), Charles Clay (last week was a reminder that his floor is lower than most streaming options due to his offensive attachment, but Denver’s secondary should funnel targets inside while he and McCoy are the only reliable options in the passing game at this stage), Trevor Siemian (he’s started off as the QB4 and QB3, but has thrown a touchdown on 10 percent of his passes, something that is bound to recoil and should in his first road game. Buffalo hasn’t allowed a touchdown pass yet, but also hasn’t faced much of a rogues gallery to start. I’d expect Siemian to remain in the 200-250 yardage range with a shot at 1-2 scores), Emmanuel Sanders/Demaryius Thomas (the passing game only runs through two main streets while Buffalo just allowed top-36 scoring weeks to both Carolina receivers a week ago)

 

Steelers @ Bears


PittsburghRank@ChicagoRank
-8.5   Spread 8.5  
27.0   Implied Total 18.5  
61.5 19 Plays/Gm 62.5 16
61.0 11 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.0 12
39.8% 19 Rush% 28.0% 31
60.2% 14 Pass% 72.0% 2
36.9% 12 Opp. Rush % 46.7% 25
63.1% 21 Opp. Pass % 53.3% 8

 

  • Tarik Cohen leads all running backs in targets (21) and target market share (24.7 percent).
  • Le'Veon Bell is averaging 4.5 receiving points per game after leading all backs with 12.4 receiving points per game in 2016.
  • Bell has 45.8 percent of the Pittsburgh touches and just 24.4 percent of their total yardage, the largest gap in touch rate to yardage rate for all running backs.
  • Since entering the league, Martavis Bryant has caught at least one touchdown in 52.2 percent of his games played, the sixth highest rate in the league.
  • Mike Glennon's passing yards and rank by quarter: 87 (15th), 70 (25th), 28 (34th), 329 (first).
  • Pittsburgh has allowed two or fewer touchdown passes in 20 straight games, tied with Giants for the longest streak in the league.

 

Trust: Antonio Brown (the Bears have had success limiting lead receivers under Vic Fangio, but you need a special lockdown option to get in Brown’s way)

 

Bust: Mike Glennon (he’s been a travesty up until the closing quarter of games, finishing as the QB18 and QB26), Jordan Howard (his shoulder is a concern as well as being a huge underdog, while the Steelers have allowed the ninth fewest rushing yards to backfields to open the season), Zach Miller (he's had 15 targets through two weeks, but in a week filled with strong tight end streaming options, it's hard to chase the TE16, TE16 over the opening two weeks), Jesse James (the same goes for James, who you're only chasing a touchdown from. He's topped 50-yards receving just once so far for his career)

 

Reasonable Return: Le’Veon Bell (I expect Bell to turn things around as his share of the team touches were back last week after a light Week 1, but he hasn’t yet been involved heavily in the passing game while the Bears have allowed just three RB1 scoring weeks since the start of last season, the fewest in the league), Ben Roethlisberger (he’s been a QB1 in just two of his past 18 games on the road in early starts, which is hard to ignore no matter how much we like the team total), Tarik Cohen (his rushing output and scoring odds are lower than some assumed after Week 1, but his role in the passing game is unquestioned to keep him in play as weekly RB2/flex), Kendall Wright (he had four targets in one quarter after Kevin White was injured Week 1 and then Wright came back to get 10 targets last week. Touchdowns and yardage won’t be fruitful, but the opportunity is enough for a floor WR3 option), Martavis Bryant (he’s always a threat to score in any game and should be lined with Marcus Cooper, but just five receptions through two games still means he needs to make the most of his opportunities)

 


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Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.
Email :Rich Hribar



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