Rich Hribar

The Worksheet

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The NFL Week 2 Worksheet

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Hopefully everyone had a great Week 1 with all of the high scores over the opening weekend. All offseason we talked about how 2017 was a down season -- particularly for passing games -- for fantasy scoring and the 2018 season came out of the blocks on fire in attempt to course correct that slide we saw a year ago. In week 1, we saw 18 more offensive touchdowns than we had in Week 1 of 2017 and on average, quarterbacks threw for +29.7 more yards per game than we had to start off last season. If you were unfortunate and ran into a buzzsaw Week1, we’re here to get you back on track and get back to even on the young season.

 

Things are still far too early in development to just run wild with what happened in one week as something that will be continuous this season. Major grains of salt still need to be applied when taking an evidence-based approach this early in the year. For the most part, early on we are focusing on initial usage notes to grasp onto moving forward, but if you’ve been following this post for the past few seasons, tangible information builds up and this post expands with information.

 



For those that are new here, 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.

 

As the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is an expectations-based column over a linear start/sit forum. The labels for each subset of players for each game is simply the vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player. Players that are high performers week-to-week are held to different standards than a secondary option in an offense. Every player runs into down weeks, and we’re trying to identify those moments, even for the star players you’re going to ride through thick and thin moments that don’t tally many low points during the season. That said, we’re still embracing some of the elements that will go along with a start/sit column as a byproduct of those expectations. 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. Remember, you control your own team. If you are curious as to my personal weekly rankings, they can be found each and every week in the Season Pass section.

 

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 All lines are taken from VegasInsider on Tuesday nights 

 

Ravens @ Bengals

 

BaltimoreRank@CincinnatiRank
-1   Spread 1  
22.5   Implied Total 21.5  
47.0 3 Points/Gm 34.0 6
3.0 1 Points All./Gm 23.0 16
74.0 6 Plays/Gm 50.0 32
61.0 11 Opp. Plays/Gm 77.0 30
46.0% 8 Rush% 40.0% 20
54.1% 25 Pass% 60.0% 13
36.1% 10 Opp. Rush % 28.6% 4
63.9% 23 Opp. Pass % 71.4% 29

 

  • Joe Mixon played 76.4 percent of the Cincinnati snaps Week 1 while accounting for 85 percent of the team rushing attempts, both the highest rates for any game he's played.
  • Andy Dalton has thrown five touchdown passes and six interceptions over six career Thursday games, averaging 10.6 fantasy points per game. He has finished as the QB17 or lower in five of those six games.
  • Dalton has thrown one or fewer touchdowns passes in 9-of-13 career games played versus the Ravens.
  • Dating back to last season, Joe Flacco has been a QB1 for fantasy in six of his past seven games with a low finish of QB14.
  • Flacco has thrown one or fewer touchdown passes in 13-of-19 career games played versus the Bengals with no more than two in any game.
  • Flacco's Week 1 target distribution: Nick Boyle/Michael Crabtree/Javorius Allen six, Willie Snead five, John Brown four, Mark Andrews three, Maxx Williams two, Alex Collins/Chris Moore one.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Joe Mixon (has 19 or more touches in each of his past four games dating back to last season, including a 97-yard effort in Week 17 versus the Ravens, but pace of play is still a concern for the Bengals while the defensive matchup against a healthy Baltimore defense is much stiffer this time around), Joe Flacco (still not expecting a ceiling game, but Flacco has been a good secondary passing option for fantasy dating back to season and just threw three touchdowns against a defense that allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the league in 2017 while the Bengals were a middle of the road pass defense overall versus Andrew Luck in Week 1), Alex Collins (his Week 1 was a disappointment despite finding the end zone, but this game won’t be a blowout and the Ravens only have he and Javorius Allen as healthy options for the game. Expect for him to more than double his eight touches from last week and be in the mid-RB2 mix), Michael Crabtree (despite Crabtree having 60-yards or fewer in eight straight games dating back to last year we’re going to follow the most targets from a week ago with Crabtree holding WR3 status and the highest odds a touchdown)

 

Bust (underperformance): Andy Dalton (he has struggled in primetime in Thursday games on top of persistent struggles versus the Ravens working against him), John Ross (he found the end zone last week, but was out-snapped and out-targeted by Tyler Boyd in the game), A.J. Green (the Ravens won’t completely dominate the Bengals like they did at home against the Bills a week ago, but still expecting more of a WR2 output for his ceiling this week as he has struggled in these recent matchups as a proxy of Dalton’s struggles, finishing as a lower-end WR2 or worse six of the past nine games versus the Ravens, including finishing as the WR28 or lower in three straight meetings), Tyler Eifert (the majority of the Bengals offensive is uninviting here, but Eifert played 22 snaps and ran 16 routes Week 1, we need more to latch onto before considering him a weekly play through thick and thin), John Brown/Willie Snead (you can break out either as a WR4/FLEX play if you need to as both scored and had similar opportunity in Week 1, but I don’t foresee the passing volume to be as high was what Cincinnati faced a week ago while the backs and tight ends have an inline to exploiting the weakest part of this Bengal pass defense)

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Javorius Allen (he’s going to play a lot with Kenneth Dixon out of the picture on a short week while the Bengals allowed Colts backs to catch 10 passes in Week 1), Nick Boyle (a deep streamer for anyone scrambling after losing Delanie Walker or just reaching, filling in for Hayden Hurst, Boyle ran the most pass routes of the Baltimore tight end hodgepodge, totaling six targets, catching three for 40 yards and even had a touchdown called back while the Bengals linebackers are target in coverage with Vontaze Burfict still suspended and their sound perimeter defense, allowing the Colts tight ends to catch 12-of-16 targets for 124 yards and a score in Week 1)

 

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Chiefs @ Steelers

 

Kansas CityRank@PittsburghRank
5   Spread -5  
24.0   Implied Total 29.0  
38.0 5 Points/Gm 21.0 18
28.0 25 Points All./Gm 21.0 14
55.0 30 Plays/Gm 80.0 2
74.0 27 Opp. Plays/Gm 85.0 32
49.1% 6 Rush% 43.8% 13
50.9% 27 Pass% 56.3% 20
29.7% 7 Opp. Rush % 44.7% 22
70.3% 26 Opp. Pass % 55.3% 11

 

  • The Chiefs haven't bested their implied team total in six consecutive games versus the Steelers dating back to the 2011 season.
  • Patrick Mahomes had the highest averaged depth of throw (14.6 yards) for all passers in Week 1.
  • Tyreek Hill has caught 21-of-24 targets (87.5 percent) for 351 yards (14.6 yards/target) from Mahomes including the preseason.
  • Mahomes has completed 20-of-39 targets (51.3 percent) for 239 yards (6.1 yards/target) to other Chiefs players over that span.
  • James Conner played 91.7 percent of the Week 1 snaps and was the only running back to account for 100 percent of his backfield's touches in Week 1.
  • After ranking 31st in points allowed to opposing wide receivers in 2017 (37.5 points per game), the Chiefs allowed 47.8 (25th) to the Chargers’ wideouts Week 1.
  • Kansas City allowed 19.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks on the road in 2017, the most in the league, while allowing 28.9 in Week 1.

 

Trust (spike starting production):  Antonio Brown/JuJu Smith-Schuster (they combined for 58.5 percent of the Pittsburgh targets and 63 percent of the team receiving yardage in a monsoon while the Chiefs are the primary secondary we’ll be targeting this season for wide receiver play and would’ve looked even worse versus the Chargers if the Los Angeles wideouts didn't leave multiple touchdowns on the field), Ben Roethlisberger (even with the minor elbow injury, we’re always into Ben at home where he once again averaged +5.9 points per game in 2017 as opposed to on the road and the matchup couldn’t be much better against a defense that has elevated quarterback scoring on the road), James Conner (he rolled his strong preseason right into Week 1 with an RB2 overall scoring finish as now Steelers running back filling in for Le'Veon Bell over his 19 career games missed has finished as a fantasy RB1 11 times and the Chiefs just surrendered 293 total yards to Chargers backs), Tyreek Hill (you can’t bank on the special teams touchdown nor the 1-yard pitch score to happen weekly, but Hill has been a dominant target for Mahomes with upside to score on any given play)

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Patrick Mahomes (his ceiling a week ago was aided by a pair of 1-yard touchdowns and he’s yet to find a groove with anyone outside of Hill, but Mahomes has the makeup to be a similar fantasy commodity to what DeShaun Watson was a year ago as a player that is going to push the ball downfield relentlessly and add production with his legs with the added bonus of being attached to a horrendous defense), Kareem Hunt (if he isn’t vultured twice by the passing game, his Week 1 is a bit better as he still had 16-of-21 backfield touches, but with Mahomes pushing the ball downfield so much, we have to proceed cautiously that his one target may stickier than we like)

 

Bust (underperformance): Sammy Watkins (his lackluster preseason spilled into Week 1, leaving him as only a blind contrarian dart in a game that has a massive game total and shootout appeal), Travis Kelce (things will get better for him than last week, but he’s trading one matchup he’s had little success with for another as the he’s posted just 18 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown over four meetings versus the Steelers while Pittsburgh has allowed just two touchdowns to opposing tight ends since the start of last season, the fewest in the league)

 

Dolphins @ Jets

 

MiamiRank@NY JetsRank
-1.5   Spread 1.5  
22.3   Implied Total 20.8  
27.0 10 Points/Gm 48.0 2
20.0 13 Points All./Gm 17.0 9
58.0 27 Plays/Gm 59.0 25
67.0 21 Opp. Plays/Gm 67.0 22
50.0% 5 Rush% 61.0% 1
50.0% 28 Pass% 39.0% 32
43.3% 18 Opp. Rush % 22.4% 2
56.7% 15 Opp. Pass % 77.6% 31

 

  • Kenyan Drake played 46 snaps Week 1 while Frank Gore played 18, with Drake totaling 17 touches to nine for Gore.
  • Over the past four games that DeVante Parker has missed, Kenny Stills has finished as the WR19, WR2, WR25 and WR8, averaging 19.9 points per game over those weeks.
  • The 48 points scored by the Jets were there most in a game since Week 1, 2012.
  • Both Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell played 24 snaps each Week 1.
  • Quincy Enunwa received 47.6 percent of the team targets in Week 1, the highest rate in the league.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Quincy Enunwa (he was easily Darnold’s favorite target, but still needs to find the end zone to vault himself over volume-driven WR3 status weekly), Isaiah Crowell (he’s touchdown reliant, but Miami can be run on a bit, ranking 20th in rushing points allowed to backfields a year ago and then allowing the eighth-most rushing points in Week 1), Kenny Stills (he should be considered a weekly WR3 option based on how he’s performed with Parker out of the lineup and his touchdown upside, but you’d still like to see more than the five targets he had a week ago to lean on when he fails to score)

 

Bust (underperformance): Sam Darnold (as positive as his first start was, he clocked in as just a mid-QB2 while Miami hasn’t allowed more than one touchdown pass in six straight games dating back to last season), Robby Anderson (his splits from last year with and without Josh McCown were a concern coming into the season and he had just one target Week 1. Despite being a player that can make a lot out of low volume, we don’t need to chase it against a secondary that has been strong against boundary wideouts dating back to last season), Ryan Tannehill (on the road with a low team total, he’s finished in the top-half of quarterback scoring in just 2-of-9 career games versus the Jets while this New York secondary is better than advertised), Kenyan Drake (he was the lead of the proposed timeshare, but the Jets are a stout run defense, ranking seventh in yards per carry allowed a year ago and first in Week 1 this year, while the Dolphins backfield rushed 39 times for 74 yards total in two games versus New York a year ago, leaving Drake as an option that needs to do damage in the receiving game), Jakeem Grant (his seven targets a week ago came on just 12 routes run, leaving those as a probable fluke for latching onto)

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Bilal Powell (despite the dead even snap split in Week 1 with Crowell, the Dolphins have been giving to combo backs, ranking 27th in receiving points allowed to backfields in 2017 and allowing five catches to Dion Lewis a week ago), Danny Amendola (he was a letdown a week ago, catching 4-of-6 targets for 26 yards, but he was still second on the team in targets while the weakest portion of the Jets’ secondary is through the slot receiver)

 

Eagles @ Buccaneers


PhiladelphiaRank@Tampa BayRank
-3   Spread 3  
23.5   Implied Total 20.5  
18.0 23 Points/Gm 48.0 1
12.0 4 Points All./Gm 40.0 29
64.0 15 Plays/Gm 62.0 19
65.0 19 Opp. Plays/Gm 59.0 7
42.2% 17 Rush% 54.8% 3
57.8% 16 Pass% 45.2% 30
27.7% 3 Opp. Rush % 22.0% 1
72.3% 30 Opp. Pass % 78.0% 32

 

  • The Eagles averaged just 3.6 yards per play Week 1, ahead of only Buffalo (2.5 yards).
  • Philadelphia running back Week 1 snap count: Jay Ajayi 29, Darren Sproles 29, Corey Clement 13.
  • The Buccaneers have allowed a rushing touchdown in seven consecutive games dating back to last season, the longest active streak in the league and their longest streak as a franchise since 1993-1994.
  • Nelson Agholor's 33 Week 1 receiving yards were the fewest by a wide receiver on eight or more catches since Jarvis Landry had 31 yards on eight catches Week 16, 2014.
  • After allowing the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers (38.0 per game) a year ago, the Buccaneers allowed 61.8 (30th) Week 1.
  • Tampa Bay allowed 8.1 yards per play (31st) Week 1 after ranking 32nd in the league (6.0 yards per play) in 2017.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 14.9 yards per pass attempt Week 1 were the highest rate for a passer with 25+ attempts in a game since Philip Rivers in 2009.
  • Fitzpatrick completed 8-of-9 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns on throws 15-yards or further downfield.
  • Fitzpatrick completed 13-of-32 such throws for 310 yards and one touchdown in 2017.
  • In the three games that either Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson missed last year, Chris Godwin had 25.1 percent of the Tampa Bay targets (28 total), turning them into 15 receptions for 277 yards and a touchdown while finishing as the WR35, WR21 and WR7 in scoring those weeks.

 

Trust (spike starting production):  Mike Evans (he looks physically better than at any point in his career while the Eagles have shown a willingness to allow peak WR1 production to opposing lead wideouts, ranking 20th in WR1 production allowed in 2017 and then allowing the WR6 to open the season), Nelson Agholor (the yardage was nearly laughable for the volume, but that volume should have no problems rolling into Week 2 against a defense that allowed 13 receptions to slot wide receivers a week ago)

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline): Zach Ertz (he still led the Eagles in targets and has been the most-targeted player with Foles under center, but the Bucs have been stingy to opposing tight end production, allowing the fewest points to the position since the start of last season), Jay Ajayi (he’s not going to do much in the passing game and needs to find the end zone, but that is possible here against a defense that has been handing out rushing scores longer than any other defense while you get the opportunity for him to close the game once again as a favorite), Nick Foles (he’s not someone you’re going to go out of your way to play based on how he’s performed this preseason and into Week 1, but a lot lines up here for him with the Bucs banged up in the secondary. If he were at home, there would be a greater case to be made in chasing the matchup, but he should be serviceable as QB2 option), Chris Godwin/DeSean Jackson (with Jackson now looking probable to suit up, both find themselves in the WR3/FLEX bucket),

 

Bust (underperformance): Peyton Barber (he has to fall into the end zone most weeks to reach RB2 status, but especially this week as the Eagles are a complete pass-funnel defense, ranking third in YPC allowed to opposing backfields in 2017 and stifling a much better Atlanta run game to 3.7 YPC to begin the season), Ryan Fitzpatrick (we’ve been down this road before with Fitzmagic posting an outlier type of game and then reverting back into the QB2 that he’s been throughout time. Follow the lowly team total here as a warning to avoid chasing last week), O.J. Howard (he should do better than the two targets he had a week ago if Jackson is inactive, but he’s only a boom-or-bust option)

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play): Mike Wallace (any time you can suggest a wide receiver with no receptions in Week 1, you have to do it, but Wallace was on the field a week ago for 34 routes and led the Eagles in air yard opportunity while the Bucs will potentially be starting backup cornerbacks with Vernon Hargreaves done for the season and Brent Grimes still dealing with a groin injury)

 


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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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