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The Fantasy Blueprint

The Fantasy Blueprint: Week 2

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: September 19, 2020, 2:21 pm ET

Posted Thursday and updated Friday, “The Fantasy Blueprint” will get you the stats and information that actually matter for fantasy football, and it will be produced in a way that doesn’t waste our time. If you don't know what "Fantasy Usage" is, read this. If you simply just want my weekly rankings, subscribe here for $3.99 per month and use promo code WINKS10 for 10% off. If you have other questions, reach out on Twitter (@HaydenWinks) and remember to "command + F" to quickly search for your players throughout the column.

 

Best Bets

Here are my five favorite bets using Rotoworld's Live Odds page. My record since 2019: 52-32-1 (62%). Unsustainable.

49ers/Jets: Under 41.5 - Kittle, Crowder, Bell aren't the only injuries.

Panthers/Bucs: Under 47.5 - TB was slow in Week 1, now without Godwin.

Ravens (-7) vs. HOU - Baltimore better coached, more talented, and healthy.

Chiefs (-8.5) vs. LAC - Chargers OFF looked bad vs. CIN, KC DEF underrated.

Saints/Raiders: Under 49.5 - Injuries will lead to slower pace, more runs.

 

 


Ravens (29.5 points, -7 spread) @ HOU

ravenstexans

Fantasy Usage

RB48 Mark Ingram

RB49 J.K. Dobbins

WR49 Marquise Brown

WR64 Miles Boykin

WR66 Willie Snead

TE1 Mark Andrews

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Comparing historical passing baseline stats to Lamar Jackson is a bad process. He’s a total outlier and should be treated as one. His 8.2% TD rate since 2019 is still probably unsustainable, but he won’t regress too far below that until the NFL figures out how to defend his dual-threat abilities and downfield weapons. The Texans’ coaching staff and defensive roster have almost zero shot at doing so, as Vegas’ 29.5-point team total suggests. Lamar, Mahomes, and Russ are in a tier of their own right now. … Mark Andrews took the routes run leap he needed to vault into the Kelce/Kittle tier at tight end. Including garbage time, Andrews ran a route on 87% of the Ravens’ Week 1 dropbacks after sitting at 61% last season due to injuries and Hurst’s role. Neither are barriers right now, making Andrews an elite fantasy option. The Texans just allowed a 6-50-1 receiving line to Kelce and were 22nd against tight ends in 2020. … Marquise Brown will be an efficiency outlier all season given his separation skills and fit with Lamar. Last week, he saw a team-high 114 air yards and ran a route on 81% of the Week 1 dropbacks -- a number far lower in 2019 due to Brown’s foot injury. Brown will be shadowed by the beatable CB Bradley Roby this Sunday while the Texans pray that Lamar doesn’t hang 40 points on their face. Brown is a high-ceiling WR2/3. … Miles Boykin and Willie Snead are on the field but remain distant third and fourth options in an offense that passed the ball only 36% of the time in neutral game script last week (31st). They’re always candidates to score a random touchdown, however.

Mark Ingram started Week 1 but lost snaps to both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards in the opener. Not ideal, especially if the two goal-line scores Dobbins had were game-plan related instead of just random timing. This committee will be difficult to peg early in the season, but we still want pieces of this offense against vulnerable defenses like Houston. Ingram and Dobbins are efficiency-based flex plays with low floors. I’ll take Dobbins over Ingram for the rest of the season, as I think he’s simply the better talent.

 

Fantasy Rankings

Brown is my WR20 this week. Subscribe to Rotoworld EDGE+ here to unlock the rest of my personal weekly positional rankings for only $3.99 per month. Use promo code: WINKS10 for 10% off.

 

Cowboys (28.5, -5) vs. ATL

CowboysFalcons

Fantasy Usage

RB11 Ezekiel Elliott

WR4 Amari Cooper

WR45 CeeDee Lamb

WR70 Michael Gallup

TE20 Dalton Schultz

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Despite the loss, the Cowboys showed signs of life in Week 1. They played at the fastest pace and passed at the seventh-highest rate in neutral situations, confirmation that Dak Prescott has top-four fantasy potential. That’s especially true at home against the no-pass-rush Falcons, who were just lit on fire by Russ Wilson (4 TDs) last weekend. Vegas projects Dallas to score 28.5 points, the second-highest team total of the week. … Blake Jarwin (ACL) is on injured reserve, opening up TE2/3 streamer appeal to backup Dalton Schultz, who had TE20 fantasy usage in Week 1. Unfortunately, Schultz is a 20th-percentile athlete and fifth in line for targets. Still, Schultz’s touchdown projection keeps him in the mix in deep leagues. … Amari Cooper was the most-involved receiver of Week 1 despite drawing CB Jalen Ramsey in coverage. He’s firmly inside the top-10 receiver rankings right now, particularly with Atlanta coming to Dallas for Week 2. Both Metcalf and Lockett shredded the Falcons last week. Expect Cooper to do the same. … Michael Gallup’s WR70 fantasy usage (5 targets, 76 air yards) from Week 1 was confusing. He was neck-and-neck with Cooper last season, however, so I’m giving Gallup the benefit of the doubt as a WR3 ahead of Week 2. His 96% routes run will translate to spiked weeks. … CeeDee Lamb ran a route on 88% of the Cowboys’ dropbacks and now solidifies himself as the third or fourth option with Jarwin on IR. Lamb is explosive with the ball in his hands and plays the valuable slot role (90% of snaps) that Randall freaking Cobb had fantasy success with last season. Lamb is a WR4 with upside.

Ezekiel Elliott stands to benefit from the Cowboys’ increased play speed and status as five-point home favorites -- he’s averaged 23.4 PPR points in 36 career wins. In this explosive offense, Zeke is in the conversation for the No. 2 overall spot in fantasy for Week 2 and beyond. Chris Carson finished as the RB7 overall last week against the Falcons. It’s an obvious smash spot. … Tony Pollard doesn't have any standalone value, finishing as the RB61 in fantasy usage in Week 1.

 

Bucs (28.5, -9.5) vs. CAR

BucsPanthers

Fantasy Usage

RB20 Ronald Jones

RB64 Leonard Fournette

NA Mike Evans

WR54 Scotty Miller

NA Justin Watson

WR36 Chris Godwin (doubtful)

TE15 O.J. Howard

TE28 Rob Gronkowski

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Arians’ post-game comments showed his displeasure with Tom Brady, but his on-field play-calling did as well; the Bucs were 29th in neutral-situation pass rate (36%). It’s a major concern for Brady’s status as a top-12 fantasy quarterback, especially with Evans (hamstring) and Godwin (concussion) up in the air. The saving grace is the home matchup against the youngest defense in the NFL. Brady is a rebound candidate in Week 2 as a borderline QB1/2. If he fails here, it’s time to panic. … Rob Gronkowski started and ran more routes (23) than O.J. Howard (22), but Howard is the better bet for fantasy production right now. Howard played in crunch time late in the game and lined up on the outside of Gronk in two-TE sets. Howard also outperformed Gronk in fantasy usage, TE15 to TE28. On tape, Gronk looked rusty, while Howard looked explosive. Even in an awesome matchup -- we can ignore the Panthers’ No. 4 defense against fantasy tight ends with Luke Kuechly retired -- Gronk is a touchdown-dependent TE2. Howard can be a top-20 option without a score. … Updated Friday: Chris Godwin (concussion) is officially doubtful. Justin Watson would slide into three-WR sets if Godwin misses, but only is a desperation play with the Bucs utilizing more two-TE sets this season. ... Mike Evans (hamstring) is still slowed but escaped Week 1 without a setback and is in a squeaky-wheel spot with coach Arians apologizing for not putting Evans in better spots in the season opener. With Carolina offering little talent on defense and with Godwin's targets up for grabs, Evans has WR1 overall potential in Week 2 if his hamstring cooperates. ... Scotty Miller (not a slot receiver) also benefits from Godwin's expected absence. He has 4.36 speed and ran a route on 76% of dropbacks in Week 1 with Godwin playing most of the game. Miller has 12-team flex appeal against Carolina's No. 24 defense versus fantasy receivers.

Ronald Jones had far more fantasy usage (RB20) than Leonard Fournette (RB64), who only played nine snaps following his mid-week signing. I’m expecting Fournette’s snap counts to rise throughout September, but RoJo is the favorite for Week 2 production in this tasty matchup against the worst run defense in the NFL (32nd in rush EPA defense and 31st against fantasy RBs). As 9.5-point favorites, Jones has boom-bust RB2 appeal. Updated Friday: Panthers ruled out starting DT Kawaan Short and second-round rookie DE Yetur Gross-Matos for Week 2.

 

Chiefs (28, -8.5) @ LAC

ChiefsChargers

Fantasy Usage

RB1 Clyde Edwards-Helaire

WR47 Tyreek Hill (vs. Chris Harris)

WR8 Sammy Watkins (vs. Casey Hayward)

WR43 Demarcus Robinson

WR125 Mecole Hardman

TE9 Travis Kelce

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Patrick Mahomes continued where he left off in the season opener but just attempted fewer passes than normal given the scoreboard. It’s not a concern moving forward, although the Chargers’ defense has historically held Mahomes in check (11.1, 15.2, 18.0, and 23.2 fantasy points). I’ll slide Lamar ahead of Mahomes for this week, but that’s not a slight on my MVP bet Mahomes. … Travis Kelce is already cashing in on his positive touchdown regression after somehow converting 2-of-19 red zone targets into scores last season. Kelce is the TE1 overall in just about every matchup and has all-time top-10 fantasy tight end potential within his range of outcomes. The Chargers’ seventh-ranked defense against tight ends from last year needs to be discounted following Derwin James’ injury. I’m throwing Kelce’s 8.4 PPR career average against these Chargers out the window. … Tyreek Hill’s week-to-week volume can come and go, but he’s the same locked-in WR1/2 as he was last season even in tough matchups like this one against CB Chris Harris. Hill has only averaged 13.6 PPR points against L.A. in four games with Mahomes but is one play away from finishing as a top-five receiver. The 28-point team total keeps Hill inside the top-10 receivers of the week. … As he did in the 2019 NFL Playoffs, Sammy Watkins played (29 of 35 routes) well ahead of gadget players Hardman (12) and Robinson (17). It’s not a surprise, especially considering how much Watkins’ mental health has improved recently. Watkins looked explosive, separated with ease, and ultimately led KC in fantasy usage (WR8) and production (WR10) in the opener. He’s a top-36 boom-bust fantasy receiver until proven otherwise, including against Defensive Player of Week 1 CB Casey Hayward. … Mecole Hardman (aka “Mecole Handcuff” or “Mecole HardNo in the seventh Round”) is the best insurance receiver in fantasy. He’s still a big-play threat, but not one that will see enough volume to flex even in 12-team leagues for now.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire looked the part as a shift ball carrier and, more importantly, was the Chiefs goal-line back as he played on all inside-the-10 snaps in Week 1. That role alone makes him a top-6 fantasy asset moving forward and there’s a much bigger ceiling if he’s more involved on third downs. Darrel Williams subbed in frequently on third downs, likely because of CEH’s inexperience as a pass protector, but I expect that to change in the near future. Kansas City was 28th in percentage of pass plays that a RB blocked on last season, and CEH was an elite pass catcher in college. I value CEH as a top-five fantasy back for the rest of the season. Williams (RB53 fantasy usage) is a strong insurance bench asset.

 

Packers (27.5, -5.5) vs. DET

PackersLions

Fantasy Usage

RB2 Aaron Jones

RB25 Jamaal Williams

WR1 Davante Adams

WR55 Marquez Valdes-Scantling

WR58 Allen Lazard

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Angry Aaron Rodgers went ham against an awful Minnesota CB corps and got an equally bad Detroit CB corps for Week 2. All three starting corners have been on injury reports with hamstring injuries, and none have a shot against Adams. The Packers were sixth in neutral-situation pass rate last week and have the fifth-best Vegas-projected team total (27.5) this week. Rodgers is a borderline top-eight fantasy quarterback. He had 19.0 and 18.3 PPR points against Detroit last year. … Five Packers tight ends ran a route in Week 1, but none of them had a 50% routes run share. … Davante Adams easily is the WR1 overall. He had 32.1 expected fantasy points based on his usage in Week 1. Second was down at 23.4. The Lions’ banged-up secondary has approximately 0% change at stopping Adams from seeing 10+ targets. Detroit was 31st against fantasy receivers in 2019. Updated Friday: CB Desmond Trufant (hamstring) is officially out and CB Darryl Roberts is questionable.  … Allen Lazard (WR55) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR58) had very similar fantasy usage last week, although Lazard started and ran more routes, 39 to 30 out of 45 dropbacks. Their volume will be up-and-down, but both are WR5 if Rodgers is back to playing well.

Aaron Jones had a great matchup in Week 1 and got another in Week 2 against Detroit’s No. 27 defense against fantasy tight ends. Jones’ 54% snap share will be problematic in worse game environments, but he has the goal-line role for now and still ran more routes (24 out of 45) than change-of-pace back Jamaal Williams. I’d very much consider selling Jones next week after smashing the Lions this weekend.

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Cardinals (27.5, -7) vs. WAS

CardinalsWashington

Fantasy Usage

RB27 Kenyan Drake (game script bump)

RB30 Chase Edmonds

WR3 DeAndre Hopkins

WR68 Christian Kirk

WR77 Larry Fitzgerald

TE50 Dan Arnold

TE51 Maxx Williams

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Fresh off an impressive road victory, Kyler Murray welcomes an elite front four to the Desert. He’ll be under pressure but has the weapons to pick apart this bad secondary and the legs to scramble past a below-average linebacker group. Murray’s chemistry with Nuk Hopkins is very encouraging for the upside of this offense. They ran the second-most plays of Week 1 thanks for their 5th-ranked neutral-situation offensive pace. Murray is a borderline top-five quarterback. … Dan Arnold (TE50 usage) and Maxx Williams (TE51 usage) are desperation punts against Washington’s No. 29 defense versus fantasy tight ends. … DeAndre Hopkins’ 40% target share and 54% air yards share was one of the big surprises of the week. He’s set up to smash as a locked-in top-three fantasy receiver in this fast-paced air raid offense, particularly with Washington playing at a much faster rate themselves. … Christian Kirk is in a spot for success, but he’s been bad for 12 months (6.3 YPT) and only saw 12% of the Cardinals’ Week 1 targets, good for WR68 fantasy usage on the week. I expect all of those numbers to increase, although I worry he won’t pay off as a WR3/4 on average with Kliff having better players to scheme the ball to. If Kirk fails here, it’s time to panic. … I’ll let you guys work with Larry Fitzgerald’s WR77 fantasy usage. … I’ve heard of worse min-priced DFS tournament stack plays than 4.3-speed Andy Isabella, who is expected to play a few more snaps as the clear-cut No. 4 receiver in four-WR sets. He’s well off the radar in season-long leagues.

Kenyan Drake (70% snaps) was spelled by Chase Edmonds (34%) more than expected, but that’s not too surprising because Drake has never handled more than 170 carries in a season including college. Drake still has the edge near the goal-line and on passing downs (27 to 15 routes run), plus will be one of the most-efficient ball carriers in this beautifully-scripted scheme. Drake is on the RB1/2 borderline as 7-point home favorites. Edmonds is a 14-team desperation flex and fantasy’s best insurance back in all formats. He looked really good on tape.

 

Saints (27.5, -5.5) @ LV

SaintsRaiders

Fantasy Usage

RB6 Alvin Kamara

RB18 Latavius Murray

WR20 Emmanuel Sanders (Fantasy Usage Model Value)

WR108 Josh Hill

WR112 Deonte Harris

WR124 Tre'Quan Smith

TE10 Jared Cook

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Drew Brees’ 5.3 YPA opener didn’t silence my concerns surrounding his age, and Michael Thomas’ (ankle) absence certainly won’t either. Luckily, Brees faces the No. 32 passing EPA defense this week. I’m expecting New Orleans’ neutral pass rate to stay balanced (52% last week), lowering Brees’ overall ceiling even in a great individual matchup. Brees is on the QB1/2 borderline. … Jared Cook was a negative regression candidate heading into the season, but catches a break with Thomas’ 11.2 targets per game since 2019 opening up. Cook’s 66% routes run rate make him a high-upside, low-end TE1 play against a defense that allowed the 25th-most fantasy points to tight ends last season. …  From The Fantasy Usage Model, “Brees’ age looks like an actual problem, but Emmanuel Sanders’ Week 1 usage wasn’t. He had WR20 fantasy usage on five targets because they came closer to the goal-line. That’s the advantage of playing for a good football team like the Saints. His Week 2 matchup against the Raiders couldn’t be better, especially after the Panthers’ receiver corps went crazy against them last Sunday. Sanders has flex appeal if Michael Thomas is active. If he’s not, Sanders must be in season-long lineups.” … Tre’Quan Smith (26 routes) and Deonte Harris (4 routes) round out the Saints’ offense but still offer zero floor in an offense that likely becomes more run heavy without Thomas. Smith, an inconsistent deep threat with a 37.5-inch vertical, is the favorite for No. 2 receiver duties behind Sanders. … 

Alvin Kamara is the biggest riser following Thomas’ injury, and he already had RB6 fantasy usage last week. Expect more dump offs and slot snaps for Kamara, who will have no issues with Vegas’ mid-range defense against fantasy backs. Kamara has one of the highest touchdown projections on the slate with the Saints’ 27.5-point team total. … Latavius Murray was more active in Week 1 (15 carries) than he was in 2019 with a healthy Kamara (6.2 carries), and that trend should continue with touches up for grabs. Murray is a low-floor RB3 whenever we can project the Saints for positive game script. Murray had a 30% touch share while the Saints were leading in Week 1. That was down at 20% while trailing.

 

Colts (25.75, -3) vs. MIN

ColtsVikings

Fantasy Usage

RB15 Jonathan Taylor

RB8 Nyheim Hines

WR21 T.Y. Hilton (Fantasy Usage Model Value)

WR19 Parris Campbell

WR83 Zach Pascal (questionable)

WR100 Michael Pittman (questionable)

TE19 Jack Doyle (out)

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

The Colts had a 14% higher neutral pass rate in Week 1 (64%) than they did in 2019 with Brissett. He’s not perfect, but Philip Rivers allows the offense to be more pass-heavy on offense. His chemistry with his check-down backs was strong, and he has a quality receiver duo as well. Rivers is a 300-yard passing candidate against a Vikings’ corner corps that was set aflame in Week 1. He’s a rock-solid QB2. … Updated Friday: Jack Doyle (knee, ankle) is out. Mo Alie-Cox will be a TE3 candidate, but the Vikings’ safety duo and strong linebacker corps makes playing tight ends a very risky proposition. … From The Fantasy Usage Model, “The Colts somehow lost to the damn Jaguars in Week 1, but T.Y. Hilton was very involved as expected. He had nine targets and 109 air yards (WR21 fantasy usage) while earning a 20% target share. Indianapolis will throw the ball far more than they did in 2019 with Philip Rivers under center, giving Hilton a clear path to WR2/3 production this season. There’s a potential for a ceiling game at home against the vulnerable Vikings’ corners in Week 2 (Davante Adams had 41.6 PPR points versus MIN last week). I’ll have Hilton inside my top-24 receivers most likely.” Hilton's individual coverage CB Cameron Dantzler (rib) hasn't practiced this week, too. … Slot man Parris Campbell looked great in Week 1 after an injury-plagued 2019 rookie season. Rivers has peppered receivers like Campbell before, and Campbell’s 4.3-speed plays well as a yards-after-the-catch machine. In a plus home matchup, Campbell can be confidently started as a WR3/flex, particularly in PPR formats. He had WR19 fantasy usage in Week 1. … Michael Pittman (24 routes) needs starter Zach Pascal (34 routes) to miss time to enter the fantasy mix. Pascal (knee) was limited in Thursday’s practice and is on track to play, rendering both receivers useless for fantasy football at the moment.

Marlon Mack’s torn Achilles vaults stud second-round rookie Jonathan Taylor into the RB1/2 borderline almost immediately. On tape, he looked explosive (video) with the ball in his hands and looked comfortable as a receiver, which was one of the few knocks on his elite prospect profile. With Rivers’ propensity to check down to his running backs and with Indy’s top-five offensive line, Taylor is a slam dunk top-15 RB as 3-point home favorites. … If Taylor is in the “Gordon role”, Nyheim Hines is in the “Ekeler role” as an underrated PPR asset a la Danny Woodhead (just with less physical traits). Hines’ 57% routes run rate sets up well whenever the Colts are in close games or trailing. He’s a top-25 back until proven otherwise in PPR leagues.

 

Titans (25.5, -9) vs. JAX

TitansJaguars

Fantasy Usage

RB4 Derrick Henry

WR33 Corey Davis (questionable)

WR42 Adam Humphries

WR26 A.J. Brown (out)

TE8 Jonnu Smith

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Ryan Tannehill surprisingly had 43 pass attempts in Week 1, but this is not the game environment for Tannehill with Vegas labeling them 9-point favorites. Tannehill will need Brown (knee) and Davis (hamstring) to be active to have any chance at QB2 value despite the Titans’ 25.5-point team total. … Updated Friday: A.J. Brown (knee) is out. That’s too bad because I wrote him up in The Fantasy Usage Model as a rebound candidate. … Corey Davis vaults into the WR3 mix if Brown is out and Davis (hamstring) is healthy. He went from DNP to limited in practice on Thursday. Assuming he’s healthy, Davis will be the favorite to lead the team in targets after seeing an 18% target share and 36% air yards share in Week 1 with Brown playing. The Jaguars’ No. 11 defense against fantasy receivers will regress in 2020 after the talent opt out this offseason. There are much worse WR3/flex plays than Davis. …. Adam Humphries gets a slight bump with Brown likely out, but he’s a low-ceiling slot receiver who has averaged 32.4 yards per game since 2019. … Jonnu Smith had TE8 fantasy usage in the season opener and has the athleticism to out-produce his opportunities when given space. Smith belongs inside top-12 TE rankings with Brown absent, especially with Tennessee projected for 25.5 points. He’s a short-term buy until Brown and his 18% target share return.

Derrick Henry is about to smash. Scroll down to the “Week 2 Rushing Matchup” chart at the bottom to see how much this matchup sticks out with Tennessee 6th in rushing EPA offense and Jacksonville 30th in rushing EPA defense. In his last three games against these Jaguars, Henry has posted 28.5, 11.6, and 47.8 PPR points. Here comes 20+ high-value carries and multiple goal-line opportunities. … Updated Friday: Rookie change-of-pace RB Darrynton Evans (hamstring) is out after what might've been a setback in practice. He practiced in full on Wednesday, went to limited on Thursday, and DNP on Friday. 

 

49ers (25.0, -7.5) @ NYJ

49ersJets

Fantasy Usage

RB17 Raheem Mostert

RB19 Jerick McKinnon

NA Brandon Aiyuk (questionable)

WR40 Trent Taylor

WR50 Kendrick Bourne

NA Mohamed Sanu (questionable)

TE14 George Kittle (questionable)

TE41 Jordan Reed

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Jimmy Garoppolo’s inconsistencies limit his ceiling, but the scheme keeps him afloat, as will this winnable road matchup against the “give up” Jets. If Aiyuk and Kittle play, Garoppolo will be a sure-fire QB2 with the 49ers’ 25-point team total. If Kittle is out, things will be dicier as San Francisco can opt for a more run-heavy approach. As if it wasn’t already clear, the Jets are a team to attack for fantasy. … George Kittle’s knee was nearly sacrificed in Week 1, but he’s a freak athlete who tends to play through injuries. He’s a true game-time decision. Assuming he plays, Kittle is no worse than the TE3 overall as the go-to receiver between the 20s and within the red zone. Losing Adams makes New York particularly vulnerable to opposing tight ends. Jordan Reed would be a TE2 flier if Kittle is unable to go. … Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) is fully expected to play and will operate as the top receiver immediately. He’s more of a straight-line player than you’d like from a No. 1 receiver, but he’ll be schemed open and has YAC ability. It’s best to take a wait-and-see approach with Aiyuk if possible. He’s a boom-bust WR3/4 in a dreamy matchup. … Kendrick Bourne ran a route on 97% of dropbacks in Week 1 but only turned them into WR50 fantasy usage. With Aiyuk in the lineup, Bourne only is a bench player in 12-team leagues. The same can be said for Dante Pettis (84% routes run) and Trent Taylor (39%), who will be pressed by mid-week signee Mohamed Sanu.

Raheem Mostert is the most talented back for the 49ers. The question is if Tevin Coleman’s 10% snap rate was due to air quality concerns or if that was a symbol of Mostert’s status as the main back. We’ll find out this weekend, but I’m fine with planting my flag on Mostert as an every-week RB2 moving forward. He’s a big-play threat who handled 63% of the carries and ran a route on a position-high 45% of the 49ers’ Week 1 dropbacks. … Jerick McKinnon only ran a route on 37% of 49er dropbacks but played in two-minute drills and looked healthy for the first time in years. McKinnon’s role will be game-script dependent, but he looks like someone who will be in the RB3/4 mix in PPR leagues. Being 7.5-point favorites works against McKinnon this week.

 

Browns (24.75, -6) vs. CIN

BrownsBengals

Fantasy Usage

RB56 Nick Chubb (game script bump)

RB21 Kareem Hunt

WR14 Odell Beckham (Fantasy Usage Model Value)

WR53 Jarvis Landry

TE39 Austin Hooper

TE22 David Njoku (out)

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Baker Mayfield was awful in Week 1, as he was for the entire 2019 season. I’m assuming he stinks until he proves otherwise. Luckily, he catches a vulnerable Bengals Defense at home on a short week. Mayfield has had success against Cincy historically with 20.1, 11.0, 25.0, and 25.9 point games since 2018. That’s why Vegas remains relatively bullish on the Browns with their 24.75-point implied point total. Mayfield is a low-end QB2. … Despite leaving early and ending on injured reserve, David Njoku (knee) finished with more targets and air yards than free-agency splash Austin Hooper, who only saw two targets and a measly 15 air yards in Week 1. Better days are certainly coming, but how many pieces can Mayfield keep alive for fantasy purposes? Hooper at least ran a route on 65% of the Browns’ dropbacks in Week 1’s blowout loss. He’s a zero-floor TE2. … From The Fantasy Usage Model, “Odell Beckham was one of the biggest positive regression candidates of the offseason, yet he ends up here as a value after his disastrous Week 1 performance. Despite 129 air yards and 10 targets (WR14 fantasy usage), Odell busted for 5.2 PPR points. He had a bad drop, but otherwise looked explosive as a big-play threat. The bigger issue is his chemistry with Mayfield, who I think is just bad at this point. The good news is that he catches the Bengals at home on a short week next. We’ll quickly learn if there’s any hope in Cleveland. I’ll be rolling the dice.” … Jarvis Landry (hip) appeared to be healthy in Week 1, leading the team in routes. It didn’t translate to much production (11.1 PPR points), although this week’s matchup is far easier as he gets away from Baltimore. Landry has averaged 11.4 PPR points against Cincy in four games with Mayfield. He’s a flex option. … KhaDarel Hodge ran more routes (26) than Rashard Higgins (10) and JoJo Natson (1) for those looking for cheap pivots in single-game DFS slates.

We knew this going into the game, but Nick Chubb was a victim to negative game script in Week 1. He had a smaller touch share while trailing (15%) than Hunt (33%), who will be subbed in ahead of Chubb whenever the Browns are down multiple scores. Since Hunt was activated, Chubb has averaged 14.2 carries and 1.8 targets in losses (10 PPR) and 20.75 carries and 2.5 targets in wins (15.4 PPR). Fortunately, Chubb is a six-point home favorite against a team missing DTs Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels. He’s a rebound RB1/2 candidate in Week 2, but a game-script dependent RB2 long term. … Kareem Hunt is the exact opposite of Chubb. In wins, Hunt has averaged 6.75 carries and 5.75 targets (13.4 PPR), and in losses, he’s averaged 6.0 carries and 5.6 targets (11.8 PPR). This isn’t the projected game script that Hunt has excelled in. He’s an RB3 in PPR formats.

 

Steelers (24.5, -7.5) vs. DEN

SteelersBroncos

Fantasy Usage

NA James Conner

RB32 Benny Snell

WR38 JuJu Smith-Schuster

WR22 Diontae Johnson

WR81 James Washington

TE31 Vance McDonald

TE33 Eric Ebron

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

This Steelers passing game will be far different than the year's past because Ben Roethlisberger’s injury-worn body. He’s been throwing shallower over time and likely finishes well below his 2018 totals in attempts (42 per game), as evidenced by the 32 Week 1 attempts and 50% neutral pass rate. Still, Roethlisberger passed the eye test in his return and can have big games when necessary. He’s a high-end QB2 at home against a banged up Denver defense who may be without top CB A.J. Bouye (shoulder). … Vance McDonald (TE31 fantasy usage) actually finished ahead of Eric Ebron (TE33) in opportunity even though Ebron ran a route on 66% of dropbacks. Ebron will be touchdown-dependent as the fourth-target on most dropbacks. Luckily, the Broncos struggled against tight ends in 2019 (20th), and the Steelers project for 24.5 points. … Low-aDOT Big Ben is arguably good news for JuJu Smith-Schuster, who turned WR38 fantasy usage into two scores in the opener. JuJu ran a route on 100% of Big Ben dropbacks, mostly rooming the slot (75% snaps). His chemistry makes him a strong WR2 moving forward. I still question if he can get back to WR1 status with the team’s passing volume trending downwards. … Second-year pro Diontae Johnson was inconsistent in the opener -- Big Ben pegged him in the back when Diontae wasn’t looking -- but he ended up finishing with a team-high 10 targets (29% share). Like JuJu, Diontae’s low average depth of target (6.0 yards) is a good fit with old-aged Roethlisberger. It may not be pretty every-week, but Diontae belongs on the WR3/4 borderline in most matchups. … James Washington (WR81 fantasy usage) is not a good fit with Roethlisberger right now, and he’s also fighting off impressive rookie Chase Claypool, who showed off his elite athleticism with a sideline grab in Week 1. Washington needs a random long touchdown to pay off in fantasy.

Updated Friday: James Conner (ankle) left Week 1 but fully practiced on Thursday and Friday. I wonder how "injured" he was. It's possible he was flat out benched in favor of Benny Snell, who looked far better on tape in Week 1. Conner may draw a veteran start, but I wouldn't rush him into lineups in against Denver's No. 9 defense against fantasy backs, especially with RT Zach Banner (knee), RG Stefen Wisnieski, and RG David DeCastro all out this week. If possible, I'd trade off Conner shares. This backfield could be messy this week. 

 

Rams (24.25, -1.5) @ PHI

RamsEagles

Fantasy Usage

RB13 Malcolm Brown

RB40 Cam Akers

WR24 Robert Woods

WR56 Cooper Kupp

TE25 Tyler Higbee

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Jared Goff and the Rams had a conservative, balanced offensive approach in Week 1, possibly to hide themselves from a ferocious Dallas d-line. Philly can bring the heat as well, but I’m expecting more from Goff in Week 2 against a beatable Eagles secondary after finishing last in air yards per pass attempt (4.3 yards) in the opener. Goff is a high-end QB2 with volume and a sturdy 24.25-point team total on his side. … Week 1’s 13% target share and 63% routes run rate are slight concerns for Tyler Higbee, but the Rams’ conservative approach works against Higbee, who can work down the seam and after the catch. I’m certainly giving Higbee a chance to rebound against a Philadelphia secondary missing S Malcolm Jenkins. Logan Thomas scored 13.7 PPR points against them last week. Higbee is a low-end TE1, particularly if Gerald Everett’s back flares up. Everett did practice on Thursday and Friday. … Robert Woods handled 25% of the targets in Week 1 as Goff’s go-to receiver and managed 105 yards despite only seeing 18 air yards, which likely goes down as an outlier. Woods’ floor is high in all game scripts, but his ceiling comes while chasing points as McVay operates at league-high pace and pass rates while trailing. Woods is a rock-solid WR2 on the road. … In the nine games since Week 10 of last season, Cooper Kupp has averaged 12.3 PPR points while being out-targeted by Woods, 58-40. Kupp’s been pushed to the outside far more (45% in Week 1), which doesn’t line up with his strengths as a player. Expectations have to be adjusted for Kupp, who had a forgettable 16% target share in Week 1. He’s a WR3/flex play against Philly. … Josh Reynolds (18 routes) barely played more than third-round rookie Van Jefferson (17 routes), rendering both unusable in the short term.

Veteran Malcolm Brown started Week 1 and received three inside-the-10 carries as the unquestioned goal-line back. I’m not fully convinced this lasts all season long with second-round rookie Cam Akers (33% snaps) on his tail, but Brown is an RB2/3 for now after securing 60% of the Week 1 snaps. The Eagles’ No. 7 defense against fantasy backs is another battle Brown has to overcome on Sunday. … Darrell Henderson (7% snaps) is droppable in all redraft leagues.

 

Seahawks (24.25, -4) vs. NE

SeahawksPatriots

Fantasy Usage

RB22 Chris Carson

WR34 DK Metcalf (vs. Stephon Gilmore)

WR37 Tyler Lockett (vs. Jonathan Jones)

WR74 David Moore

TE21 Greg Olsen

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

The storyline of Week 1 was the Seahawks’ No. 2 neutral pass rate (68%). If this trend continues, give me Russell Wilson MVP tickets, please. I’m less convinced this will repeat in Week 2, however, because of the Patriots’ elite secondary. Still, Russ is capable of carving up whoever and belongs inside the top-10 even in the toughest matchup in the NFL. If he smashes here, Russ belongs in the Lamar + Mahomes tier. … Greg Olsen’s 57% routes run rate isn’t anything to get fired up about, but he’s a TE2/3 as long as he stays upright with Seattle expected to post high-end passing totals. The Patriots’ No. 9 defense against tight ends make me lean other streamers over Greg here. … DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combined for 91% of the Seahawks’ Week 1 air yards. The narrow target tree and their outlier efficiency save them from ever dropping below WR3 status, even in the most difficult of matchups like this upcoming one. Metcalf should catch more CB Stephon Gilmore, but Lockett’s individual matchup is extremely tough, too. In better matchups, they’ll be closer to the WR1/2 borderline.

If we look beyond Chris Carson’s Week 1box score, you’ll see his RB22 fantasy usage and a slightly concerning ground-game workload with Carlos Hyde out-carrying Carson, 8 to 6. We’ll see if Carson takes back some of that rushing workload this week in what should be a more run-heavy offensive approach. Either way, Carson is on the RB2 radar, just with a lower floor than originally expected with Seattle’s offense changing. Hopefully his 16% target share translates week over week. 

 

Bears (23.75, -5.5) vs. NYG

BearsGiants

Fantasy Usage

RB28 David Montgomery

RB44 Tarik Cohen

WR12 Allen Robinson (Fantasy Usage Model Value)

WR44 Anthony Miller

TE4 Jimmy Graham

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Mitchell Trubisky will be given chances to play through his inconsistencies, and he has enough weapons and athleticism to backdoor into QB2 weeks in the best of matchups. The Giants are one of those, as they were 29th against fantasy quarterbacks in 2019 and lost talent this offseason. Vegas’ 23.75-point team total puts Trubisky on the QB2/3 borderline ahead of the statue quarterbacks on bad teams. … Jimmy Graham ran a route on 77% of the Week 1 dropbacks and finished with TE4 overall usage after randomly seeing three red-zone targets. That production is easy to fade, as the Bears won’t find themselves in the red zone that frequently. Graham is a desperation TE2/3 who at least is on the field over Day 2 rookie Cole Kmet (20% routes run). … From The Fantasy Usage Model, “Will it be pretty with Trubisky? No, but the volume will be there for Allen Robinson regardless. In Week 1, Robinson had 10 targets and 148 air yards (WR12 fantasy usage), making him an all-too-obvious rebound candidate ahead of the Week 2 matchup against a woeful Giants secondary that was just roasted by all three Steelers receivers. Robinson also had 25.1 PPR points against New York last season.” … Anthony Miller had a sick touchdown late in the game and finished with WR44 fantasy usage, but it’s concerning that he only ran a route on 55% of the Week 1 dropbacks and technically didn’t even start with Javon Wims getting the nod. I’m convinced that Miller is the second-best receiver on the team, but he’s a risky WR4/5 until his snaps come up. That’s disappointing because the Giants were 29th against fantasy receivers in 2019. … Javon Wims and Ted Ginn can’t be started in any format.

David Montgomery (groin) started and was decently effective in Week 1. More importantly, he’s off the injury report ahead of Week 2’s home favorite matchup. The Giants are better up front than they are in the secondary, but it’s a matchup to embrace, not fade. Montgomery is a volume-based RB2/3 with touchdown upside. … Tarik Cohen’s Week 1 usage makes him a drop candidate. Despite running 41 plays while trailing, Cohen only saw RB44 fantasy usage. Out of 146 players since 2019, Cohen ranks 144th in yards per target (4.4).

 

Falcons (23.5, +5) @ DAL

FalconsCowboys

Fantasy Usage

RB12 Todd Gurley

WR11 Julio Jones

WR2 Calvin Ridley

WR6 Russell Gage

TE23 Hayden Hurst

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Matt Ryan has 4916 yards and 28 touchdowns on 41.8 pass attempts per game over his last 16 contests. The Falcons have the easiest offense to project, as it completely goes through the pass. That will be the case once again with Matty Ice heading to Dallas as 5-point road dogs. Ryan is a 300-yard, 2-TD candidate as a looked-in top-8 fantasy quarterback. It helps that the Cowboys were first in neutral pace in Week 1. … Hayden Hurst only had an 11% target share in Week 1 but led the position in routes run. That catch-22 can be explained by the Seahawks’ elite coverage group against tight ends, something the Cowboys don’t have with LB Leighton Vander-esche on IR and LB Jaylon Smith simply limited by his knee injury. Hurst is a rebound candidate who I’m confidently playing as a top-10 option. I’d try to buy low if possible heading into the week. … Julio Jones is a top-four receiver until proven otherwise. There’s nothing about this fast-paced matchup to move Julio off the Mount Rushmore for Week 2. … Calvin Ridley finished with WR2 overall fantasy usage (12 targets including three in the red zone) in the season opener. It’s the opportunity late Round 3 drafters were hoping for, and it’s the opportunity I’m betting on moving forward. Ridley is more of a low-end WR1 than WR2 in a plus draw in Week 2. …  Russell Gage’s WR6 fantasy usage will be an outlier this season, but he’s not someone to completely write off either. He ran a route on 83% of the Falcons’ dropbacks and has the slot role to himself (80% routes in the slot). He needs Ryan to dropback 40+ times to be a flex, but I’m not ruling that out. Gage is a must-add for bench depth. … 

Todd Gurley didn’t look to have the same burst he once had, but he didn’t look like a grandpa either. He’ll get what's offered by the OL and convert his RB12 fantasy usage into RB2-level production, even if that means he plays around 50% of the snaps to “stay fresh”, something that happened in Week 1 (45% snap rate). The Cowboys were 14th against the run last season and allowed Gurley-replacement Malcolm Brown to find the end zone twice in Week 1. Gurley is a fine RB2. … Brian Hill is the preferred insurance stash, but Ito Smith played just as much as Hill in Week 1. 

 

Bills (23.5, -6) @ MIA

BillsDolphins

Fantasy Usage

RB7 Zack Moss

RB14 Devin Singletary

WR15 Stefon Diggs

WR10 John Brown

WR28 Cole Beasley

TE24 Dawson Knox

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Something I’m struggling with is if the Bills’ new pass-heavy approach was a product of facing the Jets, or if this is here to stay. I’ll guarantee the Bills don’t run the 81 plays they ran last week, but if Allen drops back as often as he did in the opener, he’s a top-seven fantasy quarterback moving forward. The Dolphins Defense is only slightly better than the Jets’, making Allen a high-ceiling QB1. CBs Xavien Howard (knee) and Byron Jones (achilles) have been limited in practice all week, too. … Dawson Knox (TE24 fantasy usage) did little with extra play volume in Week 1 (49% routes run), rendering him to TE2/3 levels as a desperation play in a so-so matchup. The Dolphins were 14th against fantasy tight ends in 2019. … Play volume and matchup played in Stefon Diggs' favor in Week 1. He finished as the WR15 in fantasy usage while seeing 18% of the targets (9) and 31% of the air yards (89). With his playmaking, that's clearly enough volume to pay off as a WR3. Diggs' Week 2 matchup against CB Xavien Howard isn't one to shy away from. ... John Brown (foot) popped up on the injury report but already practiced in full. Assuming he's healthy, Brown belongs on the flex radar after finishing all the way up as the WR10 in fantasy usage. Brown's target share (20%) and air yards share (36%) were actually better than Diggs', so it's something to monitor moving forward. For now, we assume Diggs is the alpha while Brown has to pay off with downfield play making. ... Miami was 30th against fantasy receivers in 2019. ... Slot man Cole Beasley also had WR28 fantasy usage with Buffalo running a league-high 81 offensive plays. With that inevitably coming down by dozens, Beasley's days as a usable WR5 should be far and few between. Beasley only had 14% of the targets and 17% of the team's air yards in Week 1. ... 

Devin Singletary and Zack Moss have clearly defined roles. Singletary is the preferred ball career between the 20s (9 carries), while the bigger-bodied Moss handles work inside-the-10 (4 carries). The two rotated on passing downs, limiting both of their upsides as more than RB2/3s. In a plus matchup as 6-point favorites against the No. 26 defense versus fantasy backs in 2019, I like both as fringe top-25 RBs.

 

Vikings (22.75, +3) @ IND

VikingsColts

Fantasy Usage

RB23 Dalvin Cook

WR27 Adam Thielen

WR79 Bisi Johnson

WR96 Justin Jefferson

TE35 Kyle Rudolph

TE54 Irv Smith

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

The Vikings’ Week 1 usage was very problematic. They were dead last in neutral pass rate (31%) and 29th in neutral offensive pace. Unless that changes, Kirk Cousins’ ceiling makes him a risky QB2/3 bet and his floor is nonexistent. This week, he catches a beatable Colts Defense that allowed Gardner Minshew to go 19-of-20 passing. Cousins is a QB3. … Kyle Rudolph (15 routes) and potential breakout candidate Irv Smith (16 routes) split receiving work, rendering both useless for fantasy purposes until proven otherwise. … Adam Thielen could flirt with top-10 fantasy usage if the Vikings pick up their neutral pass rate. Thielen had a 30% target share and 54% air yards share in Week 1, fourth best in the NFL. The Colts zone-heavy defense works in the favor of Thielen, who I’ll have inside my top-10 this week. … Trickle-down economics didn’t work down towards Justin Jefferson (84% routes run) and Bisi Johnson (66% routes) in Week 1. I think Jefferson can be a deep-league bench hold, especially after seeing the snap totals he needs to eventually draw targets. … 

Dalvin Cook (58% snaps) and Alexander Mattison (37% snaps) split time more evenly in Week 1 than they did in 2019, but this could simply be explained by Cook getting up to speed after a limited training camp. I’m expecting bigger Cook weeks, and he already was rock-solid (17.8 PPR points) in Week 1 after seeing five inside-the-10 carries. Cook is a borderline top-six back in most matchups. There’s nothing about the Vikings’ 22.75-point team total to scare us off Cook this week. Mattison remains one of the best insurance backs in fantasy.

 

Eagles (22.75, +1.5) vs. LAR

EaglesRams

Fantasy Usage

NA Miles Sanders (questionable)

RB51 Boston Scott

TE5 Zach Ertz

TE6 Dallas Goedert

WR39 DeSean Jackson (vs. Jalen Ramsey)

WR51 Greg Ward

WR71 John Hightower

WR72 Jalen Reagor

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Last week, the Eagles had the highest neutral-situation pass rate (76%) in the NFL, and Carson Wentz led the NFL in air yards per attempt, as the Jackson and Reagor additions bring back a downfield element to the offense. The issue is the health of the offensive line, a problem that will be exposed by DT Aaron Donald this week. Wentz is a volume-based QB1/2 for as long as the line deals with injuries. … Zach Ertz is a 34-year-old Jason Witten clone, just with more volume. His chemistry with Wentz has saved him, but he really is a catch-and-fall player at this point. Still, targets will head Ertz’s way (TE5 usage in Week 1), and the Rams back-seven isn’t one to worry about (17th vs. fantasy tight ends in 2019). … The more-explosive Dallas Goedert deserves to steal targets from Ertz, and that’s what happened in Week 1. Goedert finished as the TE1 overall on TE6 fantasy usage while running a route on 61% of the Eagles’ dropbacks. With Sanders, Jackson, and Reagor not at full health, Goedert belongs on the TE1/2 borderline. … With Alshon Jeffery (foot) still not practicing, it will be a receiver rotation headlined by DeSean Jackson, who led the NFL in air yards (214). Still, it was empty-calorie air yards for the most part and he'll be dealing with CB Jalen Ramsey in Week 2 while the offensive line struggles with injuries. Jackson can win a deep ball at any moment, but his 14% target share works against Jackson as a WR3. He's a boom-bust flex. ... Rookie Jalen Reagor finished behind Greg Ward and John Hightower in fantasy usage last week. Reagor only saw 8% of the team's targets and his air yards were inflated by a careless downfield chuck. Before confidently entering the WR3/flex mix, I'd like to see Reagor run a route on more than 58% of the Eagles' dropbacks. He's still worth holding onto as he works back from his shoulder injury. ... 

Miles Sanders (hamstring) practiced in full on Wednesday, a sign that he’ll be active on Sunday. He’s had weeks to rest, but it doesn’t guarantee that he’ll have his every-down role immediately. Still, Sanders belongs inside the top-12 running backs with Rams mediocre against the run (20th in rushing EPA defense). Ezekiel Elliott just dropped 27.7 PPR points against them last week.

 

Texans (22.5, +7) vs. BAL

TexansRavens

Fantasy Usage

RB33 David Johnson

RB67 Duke Johnson (questionable)

WR17 Will Fuller (vs. Marcus Peters)

WR69 Brandin Cooks (questionable)

WR78 Randall Cobb (vs. Marlon Humphrey)

TE30 Jordan Akins

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Deshaun Watson headlined Josh Norris’ Week 2 bust column, and I can see why. After their scripted first 15 plays, the Texans Offense looked dreadful in Week 1, and they get an even tougher task in Week 2 against the pressure-heavy Ravens. Watson will have to use his legs and post garbage-time passing stats to backdoor into a top-12 fantasy finish this week. I’m still betting on that happening, but the floor is far lower here than normal. The Texans are only projected for 22.5 points by Vegas. That feels a tad high, too, with OT Tytus Howard (ankle) questionable to play. … Jordan Akins is the name to know at tight end after running a route on 80% of Week 1 dropbacks, but even then, Akins had TE30 fantasy usage. He’s not on the radar in Week 2. … Will Fuller lived up to expectations in Week 1. He had WR17 fantasy usage as Watson’s clear-cut top target (46% of Houston air yards), something that will continue as long as he stays healthy after transforming his body this offseason. In good matchups, Fuller will be a top-15 receiver for me, but this is a difficult task against CBs Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. The Ravens were 4th in passing EPA defense in 2019. Fuller is a low-end WR2 with a higher floor than normal given his target workload. … Slot man Randall Cobb (WR69 fantasy usage) and banged-up outside receiver Brandin Cooks (WR78 fantasy usage) weren’t a part of the game plan in Week 1 and can’t be trusted in an even harder Week 2 matchup. Until their target shares increase, they can be left on deep-league benches. They didn’t look right on tape, especially Cooks (quad) who has been limited in practice this week and is officially questionable to play. … 

Duke Johnson (ankle) has been limited in practice this week after leaving mid-way through Week 1 and is questionable to play in Week 2. Early in the opener, Duke saw the field alongside David Johnson, who looked more explosive than he did in recent seasons. Still, Johnson only had RB33 fantasy usage in Week 1 because the offense couldn’t get in rhythm. The fact that he appears healthy is good news long term, but game script (7-point dogs) and the Ravens’ ball-controlling offense are big battles to overcome in Week 2. Johnson is a low-end RB2.

 

Lions (22, +5.5) @ GB

LionsPackers

Fantasy Usage

RB24 Adrian Peterson

RB31 D'Andre Swift

WR25 Marvin Jones (Fantasy Usage Model Value)

WR9 Quintez Cephus (Golladay’s role)

WR46 Danny Amendola

NA Kenny Golladay (out)

TE16 T.J. Hockenson

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

The Lions will be one of the most pass-heavy teams of the week. They were 3rd in neutral pass rate (67%) in Week 1, which was 13% higher than their 2019 average. Matthew Stafford can volume his way to top-12 fantasy numbers but needs Golladay’s playmaking to hit a ceiling. With his status up in the air, it’s best to view Stafford as a high-end QB2. In this exact road matchup last year, Stafford was held to 11.5 PPR points. … T.J. Hockenson’s 59% routes run rate was a major disappointment in Week 1, especially with the offense needing playmakers without Golladay. That will have to increase for Hockenson to break out. He has the physical tools to be a low-end TE1, but that’s wishful thinking right now. Hockenson was the TE16 in fantasy usage in the opener. … Updated Friday: Kenny Golladay (hamstring) is out. … From The Fantasy Usage Model, “It was a disappointing 9.5 PPR-point performance for Marvin Jones in Week 1 with Golladay (hamstring) sidelined. The good news is that Jones’ volume was there (WR25 fantasy usage on eight targets and 70 air yards), and he’ll be facing an easier matchup in Week 2 against the Packers than he had in the season opener against the Bears. If Golladay is active, I like Jones as an upside flex. If Golladay’s hamstring lingers, Jones will be a WR3 with upside in Week 3, while rookie Cephus carries some deep-league appeal following his 10-target, 129-air yard 'performance'.” … Slot man Danny Amendola lost snaps to two-TE sets but still ran a route on 66% of Lions’ dropbacks and drew WR46 fantasy usage. He’s a WR5 flier in PPR formats. Amendola had 1 and 2 receptions in two games against Green Bay last season. … 

It took approximately eight minutes for Adrian Peterson to take away the early-down role from Kerryon Johnson. Peterson ran with aggression and likely is the goal-line back moving forward, making him an RB2/3 in deeper non-PPR formats. On passing downs, it will be D’Andre Swift who easily led the backfield in routes run (49% of dropbacks) and targets (5). The game-losing drop is the storyline, but this pass-game usage puts him on the RB3 map in PPR formats. Swift was the RB31 in fantasy usage last week, a number that should only climb moving forward.

 

Raiders (22, +5.5) vs. NO

RaidersSaints

Fantasy Usage

RB3 Josh Jacobs

WR59 Henry Ruggs (questionable)

WR95 Hunter Renfrow

WR121 Bryan Edwards (vs. Marshon Lattimore)

TE12 Darren Waller

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Derek Carr has only reached 25 fantasy points in 2-of-33 games since 2018, a ceiling so low that he’s relegated to QB3 status in most matchups. That’s the case here against a quality Saints Defense (13th in passing EPA defense). Carr needs Ruggs (knee) to be healthy to have any appeal. The Raiders’ below-average 22-point team total backs that up. … Darren Waller had eight targets and a red zone look in the season opener, a good sign that he’ll repeat as a TE1 in 2020. This matchup against New Orleans’ strong safety trio takes the floor and ceiling away from Waller, however. Consider him a low-end TE1, especially if Ruggs plays through his injury. … Henry Ruggs (knee) did not participate on Thursday after exiting (and returning) in Week 1. If truly healthy, Ruggs is a nice flex play as he’ll dodge some coverage from CB Marshon Lattimore by playing 52% of his snaps in the slot. Gruden also got Ruggs two first-half touches in the backfield and sent him deep downfield twice, which resulted in a 51% share of the Raiders’ air yards. Ruggs’ speed gives him a ceiling. … Despite increased play volume and Ruggs’ second-half injury, Hunter Renfrow (WR95 fantasy usage) and Bryan Edwards (WR121 fantasy usage) were non-factors in Week 1. They’ll need Ruggs to miss to be viable dart throws. Edwards could be destined for Lattimore coverage, as well. …

Josh Jacobs’ strong rushing game was predictable against the lowly Panthers run defense, but it goes beyond that. Last season, Jacobs handled 22% of the Raiders’ touches while trailing. In Week 1, that number was at 42%. His six targets were a career high and a potential sign that he’ll go from the RB1/2 borderline to the mid-range RB1 mix. Volume alone makes him a top-10 back even if we’re nervous about the Saints’ No. 6 defense against fantasy backs.

 

Football Team (20.5, +7) @ ARI

FootballTeamCardinals

Fantasy Usage

RB10 Peyton Barber

RB35 J.D. McKissic

RB43 Antonio Gibson (game script bump)

WR35 Terry McLaurin (vs. Patrick Peterson)

WR60 Dontrelle Inman

WR87 Steven Sims

TE2 Logan Thomas

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

As we’ve talked about on the Rotoworld Football Podcast all offseason, the Washington Offense is much different in 2020 than it was in 2019. They were 31st in neutral offensive pace last year and jumped to 2nd in Week 1, the second-biggest pace leap in the NFL only behind the Bolts. It’s a positive for Dwayne Haskins, who will have some volume-based QB2 weeks. This is certainly one of those game environments, as the Cardinals were top-five in pace last week as well. Haskins still doesn’t look comfortable, but 35-50 projected pass attempts make him a QB2 streamer. Arizona was dead last against fantasy quarterbacks in 2019. … Logan Thomas finished as the TE2 in fantasy usage while running a route on 86% of the Football Team’s dropbacks in Week 1. That opportunity alone makes him a top-12 fantasy tight end, especially with Arizona’s league-worst defense versus the position on the schedule here. Thomas is a plus athlete and will likely see 6+ targets in this track meet. … Terry McLaurin was stuck in bad game script in Week 1 and still finished with WR35 fantasy usage. With more projected plays and pass attempts expected, fire up McLaurin for a big Week 2 even if he catches CB Patrick Peterson in coverage. He’ll be inside my top-20 receiver rankings. … Dontrelle Inman (WR60 fantasy usage) and slot receiver Steven Sims (WR87) round out this receiver corps, but they’re distant fifth and sixth options in an offense that wants to target their running backs out of the backfield. …

Peyton Barber has a defined role as the short-yardage and run-out-the-clock back. He handled 64% of the team’s 11 touches with a lead last week but only ran a route on 17% of the dropbacks. As 7-point road dogs, Barber should take a backseat to the two pass-catching backs here. Barber is an RB3. … Day 2 rookie Antonio Gibson touched the ball on 11-of-18 snaps in Week 1, as someone the team is obviously scheming the ball to. With game script on his side this week, look for Gibson’s snap counts and overall touches to increase in Week 2. He didn’t touch the ball once while leading in Week 1, but commanded a rock-solid 21% touch share while trailing and/or tied. He’s a boom-bust RB2/3 in PPR formats. I’d buy him if possible in season-long leagues. … J.D. McKissic also was involved, seeing a team-high 31 snaps and 21 routes. His usage likely gets chipped at by the more-explosive Gibson, but he’ll be on the field in Week 2 and game script is certainly on his side as road dogs. 

 

Patriots (20.25, +4) @ SEA

PatriotsSeahawks

Fantasy Usage

RB50 James White

RB52 Sony Michel

RB69 Rex Burkhead

WR30 Julian Edelman

WR48 N'Keal Harry

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

The Patriots Offense did a 180 with Cam Newton under center. They went from 1st in neutral pace last year to dead last in Week 1, while also tanking to 29th in neutral pass rate at down at 36%. If there’s a place Seattle struggles, it’s on the defensive line, which likely means New England runs the ball as much as possible. They should have some success with Newton options, but may be forced out of the run game if they trail in the second half. I’m on board with Newton as a top-12 fantasy quarterback the rest of the season, but I have to knock him a few spots as four-point road dogs. … The Patriots arguably have the worst receiving corps in the NFL, which locks 34-year-old Julian Edelman into a volume-based role as a WR3 in PPR leagues. He’s not even being asked to run block in two-WR sets -- please ignore his snap counts -- while running a route on 20-of-24 Newton dropbacks. Edelman’s 60% air yards share led the NFL in Week 1 and is a signal that better days are coming. He benefits in negative game script. … N’Keal Harry had a 29% target share and was an every-down player, but he looked sluggish on limited routes. His WR48 fantasy usage keeps him on fantasy benches until proven otherwise. … 

The running back rotation in Week 1 was a little frustrating. Sony Michel, Burkhead, and White all played exactly 19 snaps with Michel operating as the preferred goal-line back. He converted his lone inside-the-10 carry into a score, but Newton is a serious threat to vulture scores, leaving Michel as a low-floor RB3. … James White’s RB50 fantasy usage and 29% routes run rate are major concerns, especially with a dual-threat quarterback taking over. I expect both of those numbers to increase with projected negative game script in Week 2, but he has to prove that he’ll be involved while trailing before I play him.

 

Chargers (19.5, +8.5) vs. KC

ChargersChiefs

Fantasy Usage

RB26 Austin Ekeler

RB34 Joshua Kelley

WR16 Mike Williams

WR23 Keenan Allen (Fantasy Usage Model Value)

TE3 Hunter Henry

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

The Chargers’ second-fastest pace offense is the only thing that gives me hope for Week 2’s potential blood path against Kansas City. The Bolts only mustered 16 points against the injured Bengals in the opener, and Tyrod Taylor only threw for 208 yards on 30 pass attempts. That falls right in line with Taylor’s 28-attempt and 201-yard career averages as a starter. I’m worried the offense gets exposed quickly, meaning Taylor will have to increase his rushing production (7 yards on 6 carries) to backdoor into a top-20 quarterback finish. I’d bet the under on 19.5 points for L.A. especially with C Mike Pouncey (hip) going on injured reserve and RG Trai Turner (knee) limited in practice. … Contract-year Hunter Henry was on the same page as Tyrod in Week 1, finishing with TE3 fantasy usage and 8 total targets. If there’s a weakness in Kansas City’s defense, it’s against fantasy tight ends (27th in 2019). Henry had five and six grabs in his two matchups against them last season. He’s a mid-range TE1. … From The Fantasy Usage Model, “There are more people than chairs when the music stops in the Chargers Offense. The first game was ugly, but Keenan Allen is a rebound candidate after converting nine targets and 88 air yards (WR23 fantasy usage) into 7.7 PPR points, especially with negative game script coming in Week 2. Expect a healthy number of targets for Allen while trailing to the Chiefs’ next Sunday. He’s scored 23.2 and 21.1 PPR points in his last two contests against Kansas City. I like him as an upside WR3.” … Mike Williams (WR16 fantasy usage) also was a candidate in The Fantasy Usage Model, but I worry about Tyrod’s ability to get him the ball downfield with pressure inevitably coming. Williams also only caught two balls each in his contests against the Chiefs last season. There’s a ceiling to chase, but he’s a boom-bust WR4 until proven otherwise. The good news is that he’s off the injury report (shoulder). … 

Austin Ekeler (RB26 fantasy usage) drew headlines after only seeing one target despite Tyrod’s 30 pass attempts. Coach Anthony Lynn noted that Ekeler’s targets will come down due to scheme and Tyrod’s dual-threat abilities. It’s not great for Ekeler’s total upside, but this is the exact matchup to test out those theories. If Ekeler doesn’t see 4+ targets as 8.5-point underdogs, it’s definitely time to panic. We also have to watch his goal-line usage after rookie Joshua Kelley subbed in for three inside-the-10 carries last week. I’ll give Ekeler the benefit of the doubt as a top-12 PPR back heading into the week. Kelley needs to be rostered in most formats as a strong insurance back with deep-league standalone appeal.

 

Panthers (19.0, +9.5) @ TB

PanthersBucs

Fantasy Usage

RB9 Christian McCaffrey

WR13 D.J. Moore (Fantasy Usage Model Value)

WR32 Curtis Samuel

WR41 Robby Anderson

TE42 Ian Thomas

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Teddy Bridgewater will be a backdoor candidate for QB2 production in some matchups, but I’m concerned with total play volume after the Bucs played at bottom-five pace with a run-heavy attack. Bridgewater’s low average depth of target can’t afford to not have volume on his side. The Panthers’ 19.0-point team total also clearly works against Bridgewater. … Ian Thomas (toe) is working through an injury and only had TE42 fantasy usage in Week 1 while running a route on 66% of the team’s dropbacks. He’s droppable in 10-team leagues and only a bench player in 12-teamers. … From The Fantasy Usage Model, “Bridgewater has a limited arm, but the Panthers will sling the rock a ton, even if D.J. Moore’s target share drops with Anderson providing more target competition. His WR13 fantasy usage from Week 1 is a sign that he’ll provide at least WR2-level fantasy numbers on a team that’ll be constantly forced into negative game scripts. I’m buying low on Moore, particularly with the Bucs secondary beatable and pass funnelly (if that’s a word).” … Curtis Samuel (WR32 fantasy usage) and Robby Anderson (WR41 fantasy usage) are both full-time players who will compete for targets behind Moore and CMC. They’ll have their weeks, but they will be somewhat unpredictable. There will be better weeks to trot them out as flexes given the Panthers’ 19.0-point team total. It’s best to ignore the Bucs’ No. 32 defense against fantasy receivers right now with their team philosophy changing post-Jameis. If forced to choose between the two, I’d go with Samuel and his 68% slot rate. … 

Christian McCaffrey may not see as many carries and targets as he did in 2019, but he’s still the best fantasy back until proven otherwise. He played on 97% of the Week 1 snaps and had a league-high 47% touch rate while trailing last week. Even against the Bucs’ No. 1 rushing EPA defense, McCaffrey carries top-five RB appeal as a talented volume hog. He’s posted PPR totals of 21.7, 7.3, 31.1, and 32.7 in his last four matchups against Tampa. 

 

Bengals (18.75, +6) @ CLE

BengalsBrowns

Fantasy Usage

RB29 Joe Mixon

RB41 Giovani Bernard

WR18 A.J. Green (Fantasy Usage Model Value)

WR67 John Ross

WR75 Tyler Boyd

TE17 C.J. Uzomah

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Joe Burrow looked like a rookie, but a good one. He improved as the game progressed, and he’ll learn to get the ball out quicker to overcome his horrendous offensive line. DE Myles Garrett will be a problem in Week 2, but the Browns’ injured secondary won’t -- CBs Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson are both out. Burrow’s underrated rushing ability keeps him inside my top-24 QB rankings despite Vegas’ low 18.75-point team total… C.J. Uzomah will be on the TE2 streamer radar moving forward after running a route on 71% of the Bengals’ dropbacks in Week 1. His five targets and 46 air yards were enough for TE17 fantasy usage. Mark Andrews has more talent in his toe nail than Uzomah has in his whole body, but Andrews did expose Cleveland with a 5-58-2 receiving line last Sunday… From The Fantasy Usage Model, “Even though it only equated to 10.1 PPR points, Green looked like a version of his old self and operated as the Bengals’ clear-cut top target (25% target share with WR18 fantasy usage) despite only running a route on 69% of the Bengals’ dropbacks as he works into playing shape. A softer matchup against the Browns’ injured secondary is the perfect buy low spot for Green, who was doubted all offseason by the fantasy community. Consider me a Green buyer as a WR3 rebound candidate.” … I’m more nervous about Tyler Boyd, who had WR75 usage despite Green’s two-thirds complement of snaps. Boyd needs the offense to improve to return to WR3/4 value, something that could happen based on the Browns’ banged up secondary. Boyd is a risky flex play… John Ross was very inconsistent Week 1, but he did run a route on 84% of the dropbacks and has 4.3-speed even if he’s dropping passes. Ross is a WR5/6 with big-play potential… Tee Higgins and Auden Tate ran nine routes each and will need an injury, benching, or switch to four-WR sets to be on the fantasy radar.

It was a tough matchup, but Joe Mixon’s Week 1 game was sub-par because he left with just two targets on 37% routes, while Giovani Bernard played in key passing downs late in the game. Mixon can still pay off RB1 value with his rushing and goal-line workload, but he needs to play more passing downs to reach a top-six RB ceiling. A road matchup as six-point dogs typically is a matchup to avoid, but the Browns are missing two linebackers in this matchup and were 29th in rushing EPA defense in 2019. Mixon posted 30.6 and 27.6 PPR totals against these Browns in 2019.

 

Giants (18.25, +5.5) @ CHI

GiantsBears

Fantasy Usage

RB5 Saquon Barkley

WR5 Darius Slayton

WR52 Sterling Shepard

NA Golden Tate (questionable)

TE7 Evan Engram

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Daniel Jones was hit-and-miss against the Steelers and gets another tough matchup in Chicago, who finished 4th against fantasy quarterbacks in 2019. Vegas only projects New York for 18.25 points, probably because of projected heavy pressure with Khalil Mack ready to torch these poor Giants’ o-linemen. Jones needs to utilize his legs to backdoor into a QB2 finish. … Evan Engram was fully denied in Week 1 (2.9 PPR points) in a difficult matchup. Things certainly aren’t easier on the road with this low team total, but Engram at least had TE7 fantasy usage last Monday night while running a route on a team-high 88% of dropbacks. He could be a buy low target if he busts here. … Perhaps aided by Tate’s absence, Darius Slayton windmill-dunked right on my face in Week 1 with WR5 fantasy usage and two touchdowns. Slayton’s playmaking is real, and he had the targets (9) and air yards (102) I wasn’t expecting. He’s still running far too hot in the touchdown department according to my expected touchdown model and needs to prove his status when Tate returns (likely this week), but Week 1 was nothing but positive. Slayton is firmly on the flex radar. … Sterling Shepard’s 88% routes run rate only translated to WR52 fantasy usage despite increased pass attempts (41) and Tate’s absence. It was a discouraging game in every way and enough for me to steer clear of him in Week 2 against the Bears’ No. 4 defense against fantasy receivers. … Golden Tate (hamstring) was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, putting him on track to make his 2020 debut this week. He’s impossible to trust for multiple reasons. Tate is a bench stash in 12-team leagues. I doubt he pays off this year, however. … 

Saquon Barkley will struggle to be a top-three fantasy back if the offensive line and play calling don’t improve. Barkley’s six yards on 15 carries obviously won’t repeat, and he still ended with RB5 fantasy usage for his involvement inside-the-10 (1 carry) and as a receiver (9 targets including two in the red zone). Barkley faces another uphill battle but has earned top-six trust regardless of matchup. If he fails here, Saquon is a player to buy if others panic. 

 

Dolphins (17.5, +6) vs. BUF

DolphinsBills

Fantasy Usage

RB38 Myles Gaskin

RB39 Jordan Howard

NA DeVante Parker (questionable)

WR29 Preston Williams (Fantasy Usage Model Value)

TE18 Mike Gesicki

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

We root for Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he’s not on the fantasy radar in bad matchups like this one. Vegas’ 17.5-point team total is enough to completely write him off. I bet Week 2 cameras pan towards Tua Tagovailoa on the bench as announcers wonder when Fitzpatrick’s starting job is taken away. … Updated Friday: Gesicki's matchup clears up a little bit with LBs Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano out. Athletic freak Mike Gesicki had the role we expected, running a route on 82% of dropbacks while playing detached from the offensive line on 87% of snaps. Gesicki’s “big slot” job is great for fantasy purposes, but the Dolphins’ early schedule against New England and Buffalo does him absolutely zero favors. Gesicki is better served as a TE2, who will have better games in easier contests. Buffalo was 2nd against fantasy tight ends in 2019 and shut down Chris Herndon to a 6-37-0 line on seven targets last week in what essentially is the same situation Gesicki’s in. … Updated Friday: DeVante Parker (hamstring) is officially questionable after being limited in practice each day. Parker may suit up, knowing he's not fully healthy and at risk of injury. With CB Tre'Davious White expected to defend Parker, he's not a recommended WR3 this week. … Updated Friday: Parker playing is a plus for Williams, who now will see less coverage from CB White and instead face the small (179 pounds) and slow (4.63 forty) Levi Wallace. From The Fantasy Usage Model, “With CB Stephon Gilmore in coverage, Preston Williams struggled to produce in the box score, but Week 1 was still a positive for his 2020 outlook. He handled WR29 fantasy usage with seven targets and 104 air yards, and Parker left after aggravating his lingering hamstring injury. If Parker is out for Week 2, I’d be willing to start Williams even though he’ll be draped by CB Tre’Davious White and the Bills’ stud secondary. The usage is too much to ignore.” … If Parker is out, natural slot receiver Jakeem Grant (5’7/171) kicks to the outside, which is a disaster in every way, especially against Buffalo. In that case, 2018 seventh-round slot man Isaiah Ford (career 6.4 YPT) would have the best individual matchup of the group. Still, neither can be counted on despite their projected snap counts.

This Miami running back committee will be a total headache and should be avoided in most leagues. Power back Jordan Howard turned eight carries into seven yards (0.9 YPC) in Week 1, although he did score a goal-line touchdown. Howard is the best bet for RB3/4 production with Myles Gaskin next in line after leading the backfield in routes run (25). Matt Breida (23% snaps) can be safely dropped in most leagues.

 

Jets (17.5, +7.5) vs. SF

Jets49ers

Fantasy Usage

NA Frank Gore

RB58 Josh Adams

WR7 Jamison Crowder (questionable)

WR76 Breshad Perriman

WR62 Chris Hogan

TE13 Chris Herndon

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Sam Darnold has no chance with coach Adam Gase and this offensive line. Plus, there’s a chance Darnold just isn’t good enough himself. A 17.5-point team total against the 49ers defensive line is not the time to force a Darnold start in two-quarterback leagues, even if San Francisco's secondary is massively banged up. … Chris Herndon had an impossible road matchup against an elite linebacker and safety corps in Buffalo to begin the season, but he checked every box in terms of usage. Herndon was the TE13 in fantasy usage and figures to be a garbage-time machine moving forward. The 49ers were 5th against fantasy tight ends last season. Herndon is a high-end TE2. … Everyone knows the Jets stink, but that doesn’t mean we completely ignore volume. Jamison Crowder proved worthwhile as a WR3/4 in Week 1 with his 37% target share and WR7 fantasy usage. His efficiency will be suspect at times -- total duds are coming -- but Crowder should even out as a top-30 receiver, if not higher in PPR leagues. His matchup inside is easier than the ones on the perimeter this week, making Crowder a recommended play. Crowder is the dog in the “this is fine” gif. … Breshad Perriman has some skill, but there’s no way we’re trotting him and his WR75 fantasy usage out in fantasy lineups against the ball-controlling 49ers. The good news, if any, is that CBs Richard Sherman (IR), Jason Verrett, and Ahkello Witherspoon all did not practice Wednesday. … Chris Hogan is the third receiver if you’re into that.

Le’Veon Bell (hamstring) was about to have a three-down role and pay off as a low-end RB2, but he’s on injured reserve, opening up snaps and touches to 37-year-old wonder Frank Gore and total unknown Josh Adams. It’s an awful situation to invest in with Nick Bosa and company coming to eviscerate the Jets’ bottom-five offensive line. If forced to choose, I’d rather start Adams, who operated as the “lead back” after Bell departed in Week 1. It’s worth monitoring Kalen Ballage and Lamical Perine’s (ankle, DNP Wednesday) statuses as well.

 

Broncos (17.0, +7.5) @ PIT

BroncosSteelers

Fantasy Usage

RB16 Melvin Gordon

NA Royce Freeman

RB47 Phillip Lindsay (out)

NA Courtland Sutton (questionable)

WR31 Jerry Jeudy

WR73 Tim Patrick

NA KJ Hamler (questionable)

TE11 Noah Fant

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Drew Lock has been inconsistent in all of his six starts, averaging a brutal 13.5 fantasy points per game (QB34 since 2019). A 17.0-point team total against a stud Steelers Defense is the easiest avoid spot in the history of fantasy sports. … In the season opener, Noah Fant looked like a first-round prospect with 99th-percentile athleticism. His TE11 fantasy usage from Monday will drop once Sutton returns, but he belongs on the TE1/2 borderline for as long as Sutton misses. This road matchup is so tough that Fant must be downgraded to the TE2 mix even if Sutton is out. The Steelers were 10th against fantasy tight ends in 2019 and held Evan Engram to 2.9 PPR points last week. … Updated Friday: Courtland Sutton (shoulder) is a true game-time decision. If active, he won't be at 100% health and likely won't have full range of motion. He also would would face a strong Pittsburgh CB corps that was 8th-best against fantasy receivers in 2019. Sutton is a boom-bust flex play. ... Sutton being active would take any wind out of Jerry Jeudy's sails as a desperation flex. The matchup is a big barrier even if we thought Jeudy's talent popped off the screen last Monday. That's especially the case with KJ Hamler (hamstring) off the injury report. He'll play. ... 

Updated Friday: Phillip Lindsay (toe) is out, so Royce Freeman will slide into most of Lindsay's 1B role. His absence solidifies Melvin Gordon as a volume-based RB2 after coming off an RB16 fantasy usage home opener. Gordon ran a route on 52% of Denver dropbacks last week, something he'll have to do as 7-point road dogs. The matchup is a major concern up front for the Broncos. It's more likely that Gordon has a floor game than a ceiling game even with Lindsay missing. Royce Freeman will be a low-volume change-of-pace back if Lindsay is out.

 

Jaguars (16.5, +9) @ TEN

JaguarsTitans

Fantasy Usage

RB37 James Robinson

RB74 Chris Thompson

WR80 D.J. Chark

WR61 Laviska Shenault

WR65 Keelan Cole

 

The Fantasy Blueprint

Gardner Minshew might be the most underrated quarterback right now. Since 2019, he’s the per-game QB14 in fantasy and was the third-most efficient quarterback of Week 1. His scrambling (26.8 rushing yards in career starts) and deep-ball accuracy are fantasy assets, particularly in garbage time. He’ll need those traits in Week 2 as 9-point road dogs against Tennessee, but I think he’ll backdoor as a QB2 once again. In fact, I like Jacksonville to exceed their 16.5-point team total here. … Tyler Eifert only ran a route on 55% of the Week 1 dropbacks and was only targeted once. At best, he’s a touchdown-dependent TE3. … The Jaguars oddly only attempted 20 passes in Week 1, which hurt D.J. Chark’s chances of paying off as a WR2/3. He’s a rebound candidate with more targets coming, especially with CB Adoree Jackson on injured reserve. Chark has averaged 14.0 PPR points with Minshew in 14 games. … Second-round rookie Laviska Shenault has first-round athleticism and potential. OC Jay Gruden moved him around the field in Week 1, scheming him touches throughout the game (video). Shenault ran a route on 62% of dropbacks and took a few wild cat snaps as well, a boast to his touchdown projection. Total play volume is a concern with Derrick Henry tasked with running out the clock, but Shenault is a quality bench stash in 10- and 12-team leagues. … I got a prediction wrong last week with team captain Chris Conley, who barely played (9 routes) with slot man Keelan Cole (22 routes) sliding into the starting lineup. Neither Cole nor Conley are on the fantasy radar with Chark and Shenault operating as the more intriguing targets.

As expected, UDFA rookie James Robinson (5’10/220 pounds) was the power back with veteran Chris Thompson handling passing downs -- all of Thompson’s snaps turned into routes. Week 2 projected game script as 9-point road dogs favors Thompson over Robinson, although neither belong inside top-30 RB rankings given Jacksonville’s league-low team total (16.5 points).

 


Chart of the Week

passrate

This shows how often each offense called a pass play while the situation was in a neutral situation, which I define as being when the in-game winning percentage is between 25 and 75% and when there’s more than two minutes left in each half. The Eagles were forced into a pass-heavy attack with Miles Sanders injury, while the Seahawks were forced by a mean Twitter attack of the #LetRussCook hashtag. On the flip side, the Vikings and Bucs’ game plans were disastrously run heavy. Hopefully that changes.

 

Week2

 

The Cowboys are the offense of the week. They played at the fastest rate in neutral situations in Week 1, and Vegas has them projected for the second-most points of the week. Arizona also sets up really well. On the flip side, Jacksonville, New England, Miami, and Denver are easy fades.

 

Plays

 

These are still 2019 data points, but it’s important to find defenses that allow play volume. For example, the Jets Defense allowed a league-high 81 offensive plays to the Bills last week. That’s great news for San Francisco. 

 

 

Week2Passing

 

The Ravens and Chiefs are always in eruption spots because of their quarterbacks, but don’t sleep on the Cowboys, Packers, and 49ers aerial attacks this week. They’re teetering on eruption spots. On the flip side, the Jets, Broncos, and Dolphins are set up to fail in every way possible. The only receivers I’m interested in from those teams are Jamison Crowder and Preston Williams, assuming DeVante Parker and Courtland Sutton are out.

 

 

Week2Rushing

 

Derrick Henry might rush for a million yards this week, as will the Baltimore, Arizona, and Indianapolis committee backfields. Getting usage right will be key there. On the flip side, the Rams, Jets, and Bears are in iffy rushing situations in Week 2. 

 

Week2Spread

 

The points spreads are wider than normal this week. Odd. Anyways, the Vikings and Patriots are the two teams who will have to pass more than normal due to negative game script, while the Seahawks, Packers, and Cowboys could lean on rushing attacks more than normal. Expect Baltimore to run all over Houston and Detroit to pass all over Green Bay, too.

 

Week2Defenses

 

I’d be a tad careful with overrating the 49ers defense due to their CB injuries, but they’re still a great defense against the Jets. The Steelers are the best defense of the week followed by the Bills. Arizona could force extra pressure as big home favorites in an up-tempo game.