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The Worksheet

The NFL Week 2 Worksheet

by Rich Hribar
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Week 1 is officially in the books and it’s already had quite the impact on the season. We’ve had two major injuries occur, losing David Johnson for the foreseeable future and Allen Robinson for the season’s entirety. Also, like many opening weeks, we’ve already begun to see the climate shift of things not being quite what we perceived them to be. That roller coaster will last another week or two as we begin to see trends develop. As those trends develop, this article will grow meatier.

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

 

Lastly, as the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is NOT a start/sit column, rather an expectations column. The labels for each subset of players for each game are simply a vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player that you can find at the end of the column. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 2 games with a PPR light…

 

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Texans @ Bengals

 

Houston Rank @ Cincinnati Rank
4.5   Spread -4.5  
16.8   Implied Total 21.3  
69.0 5 Plays/Gm 58.0 22
60.0 13 Opp. Plays/Gm 60.0 14
33.3% 22 Rush% 37.9% 17
66.7% 11 Pass% 62.1% 16
65.0% 31 Opp. Rush % 70.0% 32
35.0% 2 Opp. Pass % 30.0% 1

 

  • Andy Dalton has thrown five touchdowns with six interceptions, averaging 10.9 points per game over five career Thursday Night games. He has finished as QB17 or lower in four of those five games.
  • Only Denver (9.5) has allowed fewer passing points per game than Houston (12.2) since the start of last season.
  • Bengals Week 1 RB snap counts: Giovani Bernard (29), Joe Mixon (22), Jeremy Hill (10). Mixon had 11 touches, Bernard eight and Hill seven.
  • Houston averaged 2.9 yards per play in Week 1, the lowest in the league. They ranked 31st in the league in yards per play (4.7) in 2016.
  • The Texans allowed a sack on 21.7 percent of pass plays in Week 1, the highest rate they've allowed in a game since Week 2, 2005.
  • Deshaun Watson targeted DeAndre Hopkins on 47.8 percent of his throws.

 

Bust: Deshaun Watson (Watson has the benefit of being able to use his legs, but looking at the Houston implied point total and the way this offensive played Week 1 paired with a short week on the road, his first start couldn't be less desirable), Andy Dalton (he’ll surely best his negative score from a week ago, but Dalton has a history of struggling under the lights while facing Houston inherently comes with limitations throwing the football successfully), Joe Mixon/Giovani Bernard/Jeremy Hill (Hill and Mixon should run into more work in this one if the script plays out accordingly, but there’s still no way you can plug any of these guys into lineups confidently), Tyler Eifert (he saw just one target a week ago --his lowest total in a game since his rookie season—and is facing a team that has allowed just three touchdowns to opposing tight ends since the start of last season)

 

Reasonable Return: A.J. Green (Houston rarely has given up big WR1 scoring games to lead options, but Green will remain to be fed. His 10 targets in Week 1 were double that of the next Cincinnati player), Lamar Miller (Last week’s 19 touches for 96 yards are what we’ve come to expect from Miller as a middle to lower RB2 that is carried by volume), DeAndre Hopkins (he was in almost an identical spot a year ago against the Bengals --coming off a half against the Jaguars down big on the scoreboard in which the backup quarterback came in and jammed him with targets—and caught just three passes for 43 yards. Despite the potential of a rookie quarterback drawing his first start and the Bengals getting Adam Jones back, Hopkins should still have enough opportunity with to float a lower end WR2/WR3 week, but you’ll need another touchdown to push him up like a week ago), Tyler Ervin (he has little to no upside, but had five targets and three carries last week. With Houston having lost their entire tight end corps this week paired with Cincinnati naturally being tougher on wide receivers and inviting to backs in the passing game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ervin push eight plus looks and turn in a flex worthy week)

 

Bills @ Panthers

 

Buffalo Rank @ Carolina Rank
8.5   Spread -8.5  
17.3   Implied Total 25.8  
72.0 3 Plays/Gm 63 16
55.0 9 Opp. Plays/Gm 54.0 7
58.3% 4 Rush% 60.3% 3
41.7% 29 Pass% 39.7% 30
27.3% 5 Opp. Rush % 27.8% 6
72.7% 28 Opp. Pass % 72.2% 27

 

  • Christian McCaffrey out-snapped Jonathan Stewart 47 to 29, while Stewart tallied 20 touches to 18 for McCaffrey.
  • McCaffrey had 28 percent of the team targets, which was only behind Tarik Cohen (30 percent) for all backs Week 1.
  • Cam Newton has carried just 39 times for 101 yards with one touchdown over his past eight games. He's had single-digit rushing yards in five of those games.
  • Buffalo averaged 11.7 fewer points per game (19.1) on the road last year, 31st in terms of difference in home and away scoring.
  • Charles Clay led all tight ends in Week 1 target share with 32.1 percent of the Buffalo targets.
  • Over his past five games dating back to last year, Clay has averaged 26.7 percent of the team targets and 16.6 points per game. He's been a top-10 scoring tight end in four of those games.
  • Buffalo wide receivers totaled just eight targets (29.6 percent of the team total) in Week 1, the fewest in the league.
  • In 10 games as a road underdog with Buffalo, LeSean McCoy averages 18.1 points per game and hasn't finished lower than RB14 in any of those games.

 

Trust: LeSean McCoy (he had 27 touches a week ago and even though he’s attached to a large road dog in a tougher individual matchup, that hasn’t hampered his fantasy output before)

 

Bust: Kelvin Benjamin (he has another favorable matchup, but with Carolina expected to control the game again, he could be looking at another game in which he needs to do a lot on very little opportunity like was a week ago on five targets), Greg Olsen (he’s been a TE1 now in just five of his past 11 games played and similarly to Benjamin, if Carolina is going to nurture Newton back while involving McCaffrey so heavily, we may not be able to target this passing game churning out upside until they face a more formidable opponent), Zay Jones/Jordan Matthews (both should see more work than a week ago with Buffalo expected to be trailing, but neither have a rapport with Taylor and are behind McCoy and Clay in the pecking order)

 

Reasonable Return: Cam Newton (he threw just 25 passes a week ago –his fewest since Week 14, 2015—and if the Panthers are going to control the game, his legs may not be needed again, forcing you to rely strictly on his passing output), Tyrod Taylor (his rushing is more than enough to hold him as a mid-tier QB2 as he’s been in the top half of weekly scoring now in 22 of his 30 starts with Buffalo), Charles Clay (he and Taylor have found a familiarity with each other while Carolina has allowed 12 touchdowns to opposing tight ends since the start of last season), Christian McCaffrey (Carolina held true on their word that they would incorporate him heavily, but they also held true on their word that Stewart would be the back garnering the money touches. McCaffrey’s 18 touches resulted in an RB25 scoring week. If you’re expectation are to use him as a lower RB2/flex option, then you won’t be disappointed if he fails to score), Jonathan Stewart (he led the team in 4th Quarter touches and came in for red zone snaps while this is another game that should lend itself to both attributes)

 

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Bears @ Buccaneers

 

Chicago Rank @ Tampa Bay Rank
7   Spread -7  
18.0   Implied Total 25.0  
63.0 12 Plays/Gm 66.6 7
55.0 8 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.3 15
30.2% 25 Rush% 42.5% 9
69.8% 8 Pass% 57.5% 24
41.8% 21 Opp. Rush % 42.2% 22
58.2% 12 Opp. Pass % 57.8% 11

 

  • Jacquizz Rodgers had at least 17 touches in each of the five games which Rodgers was the lead back for the Buccaneers a year ago, scoring double-digit points in four of those five games.
  • The Bucs went 6-2 over their final eight games last year and over that span they were 27th in the league in pass rate (54.7 percent) and were 15th in plays per game after running the third most plays and passing 60.3 percent of them prior.
  • Tarik Cohen was targeted on 52.4 percent of his routes, the highest rate for all running backs in Week 1.
  • With 113 yards from scrimmage, Cohen was the third Bears' player to go over 100-yards from scrimmage in their first career game, joining Matt Forte in 2008 and Charlie Wade in 1974.
  • Jordan Howard played 56.7 percent of the team snaps Week 1. He averaged 70.6 percent of the snaps per game Weeks 3-17 as a rookie.

 

Trust: Jameis Winston (his second-best fantasy game a year ago came in this exact same matchup at home and now has more weapons to work with), Cameron Brate (no tight end had a higher percent of his scoring come from the slot last year than Brate --so the arrival of O.J. Howard isn’t the end for using him this season--while he was the TE2 in this matchup a year ago)

 

Bust: Mike Glennon (his homecoming to Tampa should be met with lower-end QB2 output), Jordan Howard (Howard’s 16 touches last week were aided by finding the end zone, but will be hard to bank on here as Tampa Bay allowed just four RB1 scoring weeks a year), Chicago WRs (Bears wideouts had just 35 percent of the team targets Week 1, which was second to last in the league. Until someone emerges here for opportunity, no one is useable)

 

Reasonable Return: Mike Evans (despite not having a challenging secondary, Chicago hasn’t surrendered WR1 fantasy games to lead boundary wideouts under John Fox and we saw that in play again last weekend against Julio Jones, while the last time these teams played, Evans had a 4-66 line), DeSean Jackson (any limitation for Evans should steer opportunity right into the direction of Jackson and Marcus Cooper has had his share of troubles with big play receivers over his career), Jacquizz Rodgers (the Bears do a sound job limiting backs in the run game, but as a big home favorite, Quizz should run into enough volume to post RB2 totals), Tarik Cohen (you can’t count on touchdowns or even 60 plus yards rushing weekly, but Cohen has the makings of a floor flex option in the ilk of Darren Sproles since Chicago has no dependable pieces in their passing game at this juncture)

 

Vikings @ Steelers

 

Minnesota Rank @ Pittsburgh Rank
7.5   Spread -7.5  
18.8   Implied Total 26.3  
63.0 13 Plays/Gm 54 26
59.0 12 Opp. Plays/Gm 62.0 16
47.6% 8 Rush% 31.5% 24
52.4% 25 Pass% 68.5% 9
35.6% 12 Opp. Rush % 40.3% 19
64.4% 21 Opp. Pass % 59.7% 14

 

  • Le'Veon Bell played just 71 percent of the snaps (43 of 60) on Sunday, his lowest snap share in a full game played since Week 5, 2014.
  • Bell's 47 yards from scrimmage were the lowest of his career, trumping his previous career-low of 51 total yards in the fourth game of his rookie season in 2013.
  • Antonio Brown had 61.1 percent of the Pittsburgh offensive yardage Week 1. The next highest receiver in terms of yardage share (Pierre Garcon) had 33.2 percent.
  • Ben Roethlisberger has been a QB1 in 10 of 12 homes starts over the past two seasons with 19 or more points in 10 of those games.
  • Minnesota has allowed just four QB1 performances and just one 300-yard passing game since the start of last season, tied with Denver in both categories for the fewest in the league.
  • Dalvin Cook's 127 rushing yards were the most ever by a Minnesota rookie running back in a Week 1 game.
  • Sam Bradford has thrown three touchdowns in three consecutive games dating back to last season, the longest streak in the league.
  • Bradford completed 8-of-9 passes for 219 yards on passes over 15 yards in Week 1.

 

Trust: Le'Veon Bell (he was eased into things a week ago, but that should no longer be the case here. Even if he doesn’t stack rushing yardage, Minnesota allowed Saints’ backs to tack on nine catches for 74 yards a week ago), Kyle Rudolph (last week set up as a game in which the Minnesota wideouts were going to carry the passing game and this week sets up for Rudolph to do the lifting. Pittsburgh was 23rd in receptions allowed to tight ends a year ago and allowed 6-62 to Cleveland tight ends Week 1)

 

Bust: Jesse James (he’s an option only if chasing a touchdown as there won’t be many more games in which he is second on the team in target opportunity)

 

Reasonable Return: Antonio Brown (this should be a dynamic matchup between Brown and Xavier Rhodes as the Vikings allowed just three WR1 weeks a year ago and clamped Michael Thomas Week 1, but any shade here should be turned towards DFS as Brown is still easily a set and forget option in weekly leagues that can get over on any cornerback), Ben Roethlisberger (a stud at home versus a defense that stifles quarterback production. I don’t foresee Ben pushing past 300-yards here, but multiple scores are still in play), Martavis Bryant (last week was a reminder that Bryant is still a volatile fantasy option, but with Brown tying up with Rhodes, Bryant should find opportunities to make plays on Trae Waynes), Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen (Pittsburgh ranked fifth in limiting fantasy production to receivers a year ago and although this Minnesota tandem is far more formidable than Cleveland a week ago, allowed just 8-98-1 to wideouts a week ago), Sam Bradford (he’s been playing his best football under Pat Shurmur, but this will be a test on the road in which I don’t believe we’ll see him get over two touchdowns), Dalvin Cook (his rushing output should come down this week, but I’d expect more than the three receptions he posted)

 

Cardinals @ Colts

 

Arizona Rank @ Indianapolis Rank
-9   Spread 9  
26.8   Implied Total 17.8  
67.0 8 Plays/Gm 49 29
69.0 28 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.0 22
26.9% 29 Rush% 49.0% 7
73.1% 4 Pass% 51.0% 26
39.1% 17 Opp. Rush % 51.6% 27
60.9% 16 Opp. Pass % 48.4% 6

 

  • Carson Palmer has been a QB1 scorer in just four of 15 early start kickoffs since joining Arizona.
  • John Brown played 63 of 75 snaps, the second-most behind Larry Fitzgerald for all Arizona wide receivers.
  • After allowing 4.8 yards per carry to opposing backfields in 2016 (31st), Indianapolis allowed 2.1 yards per carry to Los Angeles backs in Week 1.
  • The 37-point loss by Indianapolis last week was their largest loss since losing by 55 points in Week 7, 2011.
  • T.Y. Hilton has now been a top-30 scoring wide receiver in just three of 11 games played without Andrew Luck.

 

Trust: Larry Fitzgerald (he just missed a monster game last week by missing out on a few plays we typically see him make and the Colts struggled mightily with the Rams’ receivers a week ago), John Brown (he saw nine targets last week with more opening up now with the loss of Johnson and the Colts allowed seven pass plays of 20 or more yards a week ago)

 

Bust: All Colts (Jacoby Brissett may be able to run his way into a QB2 line if he starts, but as we witnessed a week ago, this is a team to avoid for as long as Andrew Luck is shelved), J.J. Nelson/Jaron Brown (you can take a cut on one of these guys picking up for the lost targets Johnson occupied, but Nelson played just 30 snaps Week 1 while Brown was out there for 56 plays and failed to draw a target)

 

Reasonable Return: Carson Palmer (I know he burned you a week ago and I know he’s faltered steadily in early start games, but I would stream him again as the Colts defense is decimated and Arizona will have to use their passing game after the loss of David Johnson), Kerwynn Williams (this is muddled situation heading into the week, especially with Chris Johnson returning to the fray, but I still believe Williams gets the nod in neutral to favorable game conditions over the field. In the four games in which Williams has reached double-digit touches in his career, he's finished as the RB22, RB21, RB51 and RB21), Andre Ellington (he out-snapped Williams entering the game in negative game script a week ago, but should partially fill the open void left by Johnson in the passing game if in need of a PPR flex)

 

Patriots @ Saints

 

New England Rank @ New Orleans Rank
-7   Spread 7  
31.3   Implied Total 24.3  
74.0 1 Plays/Gm 59 21
65.0 23 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.0 18
47.3% 9 Rush% 35.6% 21
52.7% 24 Pass% 64.4% 12
41.5% 20 Opp. Rush % 47.6% 25
58.5% 13 Opp. Pass % 52.4% 8

 

  • Tom Brady has thrown three or more touchdown passes in each of the past five games in which he failed to throw a touchdown the week prior.
  • Brady's 14.7 average yard depth of target was the highest in the league Week 1 and 6.3 yards higher than his 2015 average (8.4), the highest gap of all quarterbacks.
  • New Orleans allowed eight pass plays of 20 or more yards Week 1, the most in the league.
  • New England running back touches and snaps Week 1: James White (47/13), Mike Gillislee (24/15), Rex Burkhead (10/4), Dion Lewis (6/2).
  • No wide receiver was targeted at a higher rate per route in Week 1 than Danny Amendola (46.7 percent).
  • The Saints allowed 22.8 points to wide receivers in the slot Week 1, the most in the league.
  • New Orleans (.808) and New England (.878) ranked 31st and last in passing points allowed per attempt in Week 1.
  • The 537 total yards allowed by the Patriots in Week 1 were the most they've allowed in a game since 1986 (584 yards to the Bengals).
  • Alvin Kamara led the Saints' backfield with 31 snaps in Week 1. Mark Ingram played 26 while Adrian Peterson played just nine.

 

Trust: Tom Brady (he’s had 10 days off to recalibrate while facing one of the worst defenses on a shortened week in the highest scoring venue we’ve had for fantasy football), Brandin Cooks (narrative of him returning to New Orleans aside, Cooks got ample deep shots a week ago and the Saints young secondary gave up splash plays on repeat Week 1), Rob Gronkowski (he turned in a low note in an expected tough matchup Week 1, but still garnered over 100 air yards in opportunity), Drew Brees (at home is where he’s at his best and facing a New England defense that struggled heavily versus the Chiefs’ passing game), Michael Thomas (another make good is in order for a stud that disappointed Week 1 and last week showed that the duo of Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler aren’t impenetrable)

 

Bust: Adrian Peterson (you can chase a squeaky wheel situation here, but even against a Pats’ defense that was shredded on the ground in Week 1, this game should get up tempo quickly and/or New Orleans could find themselves trailing, something that doesn’t aid Peterson’s strengths)

 

Reasonable Return: Chris Hogan (last week was a reminder that in 2016 he also played a ton of snaps was a spotty at best fantasy contributor, but he has multiple avenues here to score vertically or stack relentless opportunity in the slot if Amendola is unavailable), Danny Amendola (sure, every target you wonder if he’ll get up, but if he’s active, the spot couldn’t be any better for him to roll over his first half from Thursday Night), Mike Gillislee (Week 1 provided clarity that he’s occupying the “Blount Role” and there are way worse games than this to chase touchdowns), Mark Ingram (he was RB20 a week ago as his mix of rushing, receiving and short yardage work still makes him the most desirable of the New Orleans’ rushing Cerberus), Coby Fleener (he’s been the TE2 and the TE5 in the two games he’s played without Willie Snead active), Alvin Kamara/James White (both players got more use in the running game than expected in Week 1 and can be used in flex spots this weekend in a potentially high scoring affair), Ted Ginn (you can chase a shot play or two in a game such as this)

 

Browns @ Ravens

 

Cleveland Rank @ Baltimore Rank
9   Spread -9  
16.0   Implied Total 25.0  
62.0 17 Plays/Gm 60 20
54.0 6 Opp. Plays/Gm 58.0 11
40.3% 14 Rush% 70.0% 1
59.7% 19 Pass% 30.0% 32
31.5% 9 Opp. Rush % 37.9% 16
68.5% 24 Opp. Pass % 62.1% 17

 

  • After ranking second in pass attempts per game (42) in 2016, Joe Flacco's 17 pass attempts Week 1 were the fewest he's ever had in a full regular season game for his career.
  • Terrance West had a touch on 70 percent of his snaps Week 1, trailing only Leonard Fournette (74 percent).
  • 16 of Javorius Allen's 21 carries came in the second half Week 1, the most of all players in the league.
  • After allowing 4.6 yards per carry (30th) in 2016, the Browns allowed just 2.1 yards per carry in Week 1.
  • DeShone Kizer's 18.6 fantasy points were the fifth-highest total for a rookie quarterback in Week 1 and second-most fantasy points scored by any Browns quarterback in Week 1 for their franchise history.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, Duke Johnson ran 28 of 31 routes (90 percent) of his routes from the slot, the second highest rate of slot routes in the league Week 1.

 

Bust: Duke Johnson (a move to playing WR exclusively is poor for his fantasy output as it just makes him another low-volume slot option. He needs dual usage to hold flex appeal), Kenny Britt (he’s been out-targeted by Coleman 20 to nine from the preseason through the opener and this offense isn’t good enough to support a steady WR2 for fantasy purposes), Isaiah Crowell (the touches will be here as evidence of last week’s 17 carries for 33 yards, but on the road with a bottom dwelling team total while facing a strong run defense, it’s hard to have him higher than a flex play this week), Joe Flacco (this game should provide another opportunity to limit and protect Flacco, which makes his floor a bit of an unknown)

 

Reasonable Return: Terrance West (he’s been an RB2 or better now in eight of the 10 games in which he’s received half of the Baltimore rushing attempts and should have similar game script to a week ago), DeShone Kizer (he’s the rare quarterback that you can stream due to rushing output for a QB2 floor and then stream the defense he’s playing against for sacks and turnovers), Corey Coleman (a boom/bust WR3 option), Jeremy Maclin/Mike Wallace (both can be used as WR3/flex options, but there’s a concern with volume potential for either), Javorius Allen (he'll be filling the role Woodhead had on a team that steadily given running backs opportunity in the passing game while also having more rushing upside than someone like Woodhead had)

 

Eagles @ Chiefs

 

Philadelphia Rank @ Kansas City Rank
4.5   Spread -4.5  
21.8   Implied Total 26.3  
65.0 9 Plays/Gm 65 10
61.0 15 Opp. Plays/Gm 74.0 31
36.9% 20 Rush% 41.5% 13
63.1% 13 Pass% 58.5% 20
27.9% 7 Opp. Rush % 47.3% 24
72.1% 26 Opp. Pass % 52.7% 9

 

  • Kareem Hunt's 249 yards from scrimmage in Week 1 were the most ever in NFL history for a player in the first game played of their career.
  • Hunt joined Jordan Howard as the only backs with double-digit rushing attempts in Week 1 that had every carry gain positive yardage.
  • Hunt added nine runs of five or more yards (second behind Ezekiel Elliott's 11) with four runs of 10 plus yards, which tied LeSean McCoy for the most in Week 1.
  • Tyreek Hill has averaged 22.2 percent of the team targets now in five games without Jeremy Maclin.
  • Hill has scored a touchdown of 60 yards or longer in five consecutive games, an NFL record.
  • Philadelphia has allowed the fewest receptions (49) to opposing tight ends since the start of last season.
  • When Eric Berry missed 10 games in 2014, the Chiefs allowed just 3.5 receptions, 35.1 yards and four total touchdowns to opposing tight ends.
  • Over his past 10 games dating back to last year, Zach Ertz averages 7.1 receptions, 75.9 receiving yards and 17.1 fantasy points per game. He's been a top-5 scoring tight end in seven of those games.

 

Trust: Zach Ertz (he’s the hottest tight end going while losing Eric Berry should be a net negative despite Kansas City staying strong versus tight ends the last time that Berry was sidelined), Tyreek Hill (a lid popping player facing a secondary that is at its weakest on the perimeter and only enhanced with the loss of Ronald Darby), Alex Smith (expecting another four touchdowns paired with another 368 yards is out of the question, but Smith should have a floor at home against a team that allowed 18.8 points per game to opposing quarterbacks on the road a year ago), Kareem Hunt (his historical debut may end up being the best game of his career, but this is a system that has consistently churned fantasy production from multi-dimensional backs. At home as a favorite, lock him in)

 

Bust: Carson Wentz (Kansas City has allowed just four QB1 scoring weeks to opposing quarterbacks at home over the past two years), LeGarrette Blount (he had the second receiving touchdown of his career a week ago, but managed just 14 carries for 46 yards in a victory on the ground), Travis Kelce (I would anticipate another fringe TE1 week as the Eagles have been a thorn for limiting tight end production, allowing more than five receptions to just three tight ends over the past two seasons)

 

Reasonable Return: Alshon Jeffery (he should get a target bump as he’s going to predominately line up at left wide receiver, which will have him away from Marcus Peters), Nelson Agholor (he had eight targets in Week 1 with six of them coming from the slot, where he can find success versus Phillip Gaines and the Chiefs’ defense that just allowed a big game to Danny Amendola), Darren Sproles (five catches on eight targets in a victory last week, he carries weekly flex appeal as a road dog)

 

Titans @ Jaguars


Tennessee Rank @ Jacksonville Rank
0   Spread 0  
21.5   Implied Total 21.5  
63.0 15 Plays/Gm 60 19
63.0 20 Opp. Plays/Gm 69.0 27
33.3% 23 Rush% 65.0% 2
66.7% 10 Pass% 35.0% 31
46.0% 23 Opp. Rush % 33.3% 10
54.0% 10 Opp. Pass % 66.7% 23

 

  • Leonard Fournette had 58 percent of the Jacksonville touches, the highest rate for a Jaguars back in a game since Rashad Jennings (65.1 percent) in Week 7, 2012.
  • Fournette faced eight or more defenders in the box on 57.7 percent of his carries, the highest rate in the league Week 1.
  • Jacksonville ran the ball on 65 percent of their offensive plays Week 1, their highest rate in a game since Blake Bortles joined the team.
  • Tennessee used three or wide receivers on 65.6 percent of their snaps in Week 1 after ranking 32nd in the league in 2016 (45 percent).
  • Rishard Matthews led the team in routes run (41) ahead of Eric Decker (39) and Corey Davis (35).
  • Davis led the team in targets (10) and ranked seventh of all wide receivers in target rate per route (28.6 percent).
  • Marcus Mariota averages 26.9 points and 267.6 passing yards per game against bottom-half pass defenses versus 15.0 points and 185.8 passing yards per game in matchups against front-half pass defenses over his career.
  • Jacksonville has allowed 6.5 yards per pass attempt since the start if last season, the second lowest behind only Denver (5.8 Y/A).
  • After allowing just 5.0 yards per play in 2016 (fourth in the NFL), Jacksonville allowed just 2.9 yards per play Week 1, the lowest in the league.

 

Trust: Leonard Fournette (for at least one week, Jacksonville’s game plan went off without a hitch as Fournette tied for a league-high 29 touches. This week, the Jags are at home in what is expected to be another manageable script, so the touches should continue to flow), Delanie Walker (he’s been a TE1 in four straight facing Jacksonville, averaging 6-75-.5 per game)

 

Bust: Marcus Mariota (he struggled a bit at home last week against a poor defensive unit, but salvaged the game with a rushing score. Given his struggles versus higher-end pass defenses and on the road, I’d have him outside of the top-12 quarterbacks this weekend) , Corey Davis/Rishard Matthews (being locked up on the boundaries with A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey isn’t inviting for fantasy opportunities)

 

Reasonable Return: Blake Bortles (even without Allen Robinson, Bortles is in a spot where he can take advantage of a balanced approach against a Tennessee secondary that has surrendered a QB1 scoring week in seven of their past eight games), Marqise Lee/Allen Hurns (they only had four targets each in the opener, but both are on the table as flex options against a team that ranked 31st in points allowed to wideouts a year ago and was 26th in that category Week 1), DeMarco Murray (within the new offense, he had a touch on 30 percent of his snaps compared to 40 percent a year ago, but still out-snapped Derrick Henry 42 to 18), Eric Decker (he didn’t produce a week ago, but the snaps and targets were there. With Matthews and Davis facing off against the tougher Jacksonville perimeter, Decker should have opportunity funnel towards him in the slot against Aaron Colvin

 

Jets @ Raiders

 

NY Jets Rank @ Oakland Rank
15   Spread -15  
14.3   Implied Total 29.3  
55.0 24 Plays/Gm 63 14
72.0 30 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.0 21
27.3% 28 Rush% 46.0% 10
72.7% 5 Pass% 54.0% 23
58.3% 29 Opp. Rush % 33.3% 11
41.7% 4 Opp. Pass % 66.7% 22

 

  • Amari Cooper tallied 40.6 percent of the team targets in Week 1, his highest target share in a game for his career.
  • Cooper had four targets inside of the 10-yard line after receiving just seven such targets for his career entering the game.
  • Last week was the just the sixth time that both Michael Crabtree (WR19) and Cooper (WR13) both finished as top-24 scorers in the same week.
  • Derek Carr has averaged 20.2 points per game at home versus non-division opponents over the past two seasons.
  • Marshawn Lynch played 49 percent of the Oakland snaps Week 1, but registered a touch on 59 percent of those snaps, the seventh highest rate at the position.
  • After allowing 3.9 yards per carry to opposing backfields in 2016 (11th), the Jets allowed 4.5 yards per carry to backs Week 1 (27th).
  • Matt Forte played 35 snaps while Bilal Powell played 30 Week 1.

 

Trust: Derek Carr/Amari Cooper/Michael Crabtree (fire up the entire passing game core at home in this matchup), Marshawn Lynch (this may be another game in which his snaps are under the 50 percent mark, but with the script expected to be so overwhelmingly positive, he should be involved in the scoring action)

 

Bust: Matt Forte/Bilal Powell (if this remains a nearly a 50/50 split, neither player can be put into lineups), Josh McCown (a road quarterback with a just a two-touchdown implied team total is avoidable)

 

Reasonable Return: Jared Cook (he had a 5-56 line Week 1 while the Jets have allowed a touchdown once every 11.5 targets to opposing tight ends since the start of last year, 30th in the league), Jermaine Kearse (he’s a flex play as a target and reception sponge, pacing the team with nine targets  and seven receptions Week 1), Robby Anderson (a boom/bust flex option, he’s going to have games like last week where he gives you next to nothing based on the type of targets he gets, but still played the most snaps of all New York receivers, had eight targets and Oakland just allowed 16 receptions to wideouts a week ago)

 

Dolphins @ Chargers

 

Miami Rank @ LA Chargers Rank
4   Spread -4  
20.3   Implied Total 24.3  
57.4 32 Plays/Gm 56.0 23
67.2 30 Opp. Plays/Gm 68.0 26
43.8% 5 Rush% 39.3% 15
56.2% 28 Pass% 60.7% 18
43.7% 26 Opp. Rush % 52.9% 28
56.3% 7 Opp. Pass % 47.1% 5

 

  • Only San Francisco and Cleveland allowed more total yardage per game than the 396.8 yards per game allowed by Miami to skill players last season.
  • The Dolphins have allowed over 100 rushing yards to opposing teams in seven straight games, the longest active streak in the league.
  • With 23 touches Week 1, Melvin Gordon now averages 24.9 touches per game over his past 11 games as the feature back for the Chargers.
  • The Dolphins allowed three or more passing touchdowns in seven games last year, trailing only Cleveland (eight) for the most in the league.
  • Miami called just 31.7 pass plays per game on the season in 2016, the fewest in the league.

 

Trust: Philip Rivers (he threw three touchdowns on the road in the worst matchup for quarterbacks last week while coming home to a matchup in which he threw for 326 yards and three scores in a year ago), Melvin Gordon (a home favorite whose usage is as good as it gets), Jay Ajayi (he’s a road dog, but has volume on his side while the Chargers just allowed 128 yards from scrimmage to the Denver backfield), Keenan Allen (he received 30.3 percent of the team targets in his return to action against the best interior defender in the league in Chris Harris. Wheels up for him being a big target in this one.)

 

Bust: Jay Cutler (he has been a QB1 in just six of 22 games as a road dog over the past five years), DeVante Parker (he was Cutler’s favorite target in the preseason and had 5-103 in this matchup a year ago, but he did his damage on Craig Mager in that game while he will be squaring off with Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward Sunday), Hunter Henry/Antonio Gates (Gates played 39 snaps to 23 for Henry this past week, but neither are much of a fantasy option outside of attempting to chase a touchdown)

 

Reasonable Return: Julius Thomas (a tight end streaming option against a team that has linebackers that can be exploited in coverage. Los Angeles allowed 5-98 to the crew of Denver tight ends on Monday Night), Jarvis Landry (a seemingly forgotten man this offseason, with both Verrett and Hayward on the outside, Landry should be Cutler’s favorite target for at least one week), Tyrell Williams (Miami was highly susceptible to vertical receivers ago, including allowing 5-125-1 to Williams himself)

 

Cowboys @ Broncos


Dallas Rank @ Denver Rank
-1   Spread 1  
22.0   Implied Total 21.0  
71.0 4 Plays/Gm 68 7
53.0 5 Opp. Plays/Gm 56.0 10
43.7% 11 Rush% 52.9% 5
56.3% 22 Pass% 47.1% 28
22.6% 3 Opp. Rush % 39.3% 18
77.4% 30 Opp. Pass % 60.7% 15

 

  • Dak Prescott has scored 17 or more points in 13 games since the start of last season, tied with Matt Ryan for the most of all quarterbacks.
  • Just three quarterbacks have reached 17 points against the Broncos over that span, the fewest in the league.
  • In 23 career games facing top-10 pass defenses, Dez Bryant has averaged just 3.5 receptions for 47.8 receiving yards per game.
  • C.J. Anderson played 48 snaps to 21 for Jamaal Charles, out-touching him 21 to 10.
  • After facing the fewest rushing attempts per game to opposing backfields in 2016 (18.4), Dallas faced just 10 running back rushing attempts Week 1, the fewest in the league.

 

Trust: Ezekiel Elliott (he matched the league-lead with 29 touches on Sunday Night and faces a defense that inherently forces teams to attack them on the ground, something Dallas will gladly do)

 

Bust: Dez Bryant (his early season tour of facing elite secondaries continues against the team that allowed the fewest receptions to wideouts a year ago. He’s capable of salvaging a floor game with his scoring potential, but his track record against strong matchups keeps him with WR3 expectations coming in), Dak Prescott (he can boost his floor on the ground, but still has QB2 expectations on the road against the team that has allowed the fewest QB1 performances over the past two seasons), Terrance Williams (don’t chase last week’s game as his 68-yards are the fifth highest he’s posted over his past 17 games played), Cole Beasley (he hasn’t hit 60-yards receiving in any of his past 11 games)

 

Reasonable Return: Jason Witten (he led the team with nine targets a week ago when Dallas faced a team that pushes targets towards the interior and this is a similar matchup), C.J. Anderson (running back volume is shrinks with the pace Dallas forces teams to play at, leaving Anderson as a lower-end RB2 that will need to find the end zone), Trevor Siemian (he’s coming off a QB5 scoring week where his two best weapons were hardly utilized and it’s hard to believe that the Dallas pass defense is as good as the numbers suggest they were Sunday Night), Demaryius Thomas/ Emmanuel Sanders (after they both each scored outside of the top-30 Week 1, they’ll trade that tough matchup for one versus Anthony Brown and Nolan Carroll. The only concern is overall play volume for Denver)

 

49ers @ Seahawks


San Francisco Rank @ Seattle Rank
13.5   Spread -13.5  
14.8   Implied Total 28.3  
54.0 27 Plays/Gm 48 30
63.0 17 Opp. Plays/Gm 74.0 32
27.8% 27 Rush% 37.5% 19
72.2% 6 Pass% 62.5% 14
60.3% 30 Opp. Rush % 37.8% 15
39.7% 3 Opp. Pass % 62.2% 18

 

  • The 49ers have lost five straight regular season games in Seattle, being outscored 154-54 over that span.
  • Doug Baldwin ranked third in fantasy scoring for all wide receivers at home in 2016, averaging 20 points per game with 14 or more points in seven of those games.
  • Russell Wilson was a top-12 scoring quarterback in six of his home games a year ago, averaging 19.9 points per game.
  • Seattle backfield touches in Week 1: Chris Carson (27), C.J. Prosise (15), Eddie Lacy (7).
  • Just 55.6 percent of the Seattle rushing attempts gained positive yardage last week, the lowest rate in the league.

 

Trust: Russell Wilson/Doug Baldwin (everything gets better for these guys in Seattle and with uncertainty still looming in their backfield, the Seahawks should lean on their best offensive players to establish an early lead), Jimmy Graham (he’s coming off what was arguably his worst game as a pro, catching just 3-of-7 targets for eight yards, but put up a 9-100-1 line in this matchup in Seattle a year ago and San Francisco will be without Rueben Foster)              

 

Bust: Seattle RBs (the expected game script here is something we’d normally pursue, but we still have little clarity on the situation to start thrusting guys into lineups. Thomas Rawls is expected to be back and Eddie Lacy appears to be out, but Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise are still involved while the 49ers allowed 3.5 yards per carry to the Carolina backfield a week ago), Brian Hoyer (the QB28 a week ago heading on the road with a subterranean team total)

 

Reasonable Return: Carlos Hyde (the 77 yards from scrimmage last week should be a proxy of what he posts here, but he also matched a career-high six receptions to boost a floor that he didn’t previously have), Pierre Garcon (six catches for 81 yards on 10 targets may be referred to as the 'Garcon Line' this season. A rock solid WR2 in reception formats), Paul Richardson (he out-snapped Tyler Lockett 41 to 26 and led all Seattle wide receivers with seven targets)

 

Washington @ Rams

 

Washington Rank @ LA Rams Rank
1   Spread -1  
22.5   Implied Total 23.5  
61.0 18 Plays/Gm 64 11
65.0 24 Opp. Plays/Gm 49.0 4
27.9% 26 Rush% 51.6% 6
72.1% 7 Pass% 48.4% 27
36.9% 13 Opp. Rush % 49.0% 26
63.1% 20 Opp. Pass % 51.0% 7

 

  • The Rams posted the most points per play (.719) in Week 1 after ranking last in the league in 2016 (.233).
  • The 46 points scored by the Rams last week was only the third time they’ve put up more than 40 points in the last 10 seasons.
  • Todd Gurley faced eight or more defenders in the box on 10.5 percent of his carries Week 1. That mark was at 25.5 percent in 2016.
  • Jared Goff had seven completions of 20 or more yards Week 1, the second-most in the league. He had 12 such completions all of 2016.
  • Terrelle Pryor's 166 air yards opportunity was the second-highest in the league behind DeAndre Hopkins (168) Week 1.
  • Rob Kelley had a touch on 30 percent of his snaps Week 1 (33rd for running backs) after receiving a touch on 52 percent of his snaps in 2016 (fifth).
  • After rushing for at least 85 yards in his first three career NFL starts, Kelley has hit 65 yards rushing just once over his past seven games.

 

Trust: Terrelle Pryor (his 6-66 line a week ago isn’t overly appealing at first blush, but he and Cousins left a lot of opportunity on the field while the Rams gave up big WR1 weeks to guys in Pryor’s athletic profile such as Mike Evans, DeVante Parker and Michael Thomas a year ago), Jared Goff (coming off the best game of his career, he draws another strong matchup at home against a team that has allowed nine 300-yard passers since the start of last season, tied for the most in the league)

 

Bust: Sammy Watkins (in Goff’s best game of his career against what we’re perceiving to currently be the worst defense in the league, Watkins was the WR34. Now he’ll be chased around by Josh Norman), Robert Kelley (he has progressively trailed off throughout his game log and needs to fall into the end zone to be useful), Jordan Reed (the Rams allowed the fourth-fewest receptions to tight ends a year ago and allowed just two in Week 1)

 

Reasonable Return: Cooper Kupp (the Kupp/Goff connection that we saw in the preseason spilled over into Week 1 as Kupp had 4-76-1 to start his career. With Watkins contending with Norman, Kupp should be the primary option for Goff once again), Todd Gurley (his rushing efficiency remained an issue against a soft defense, but his 5-56 receiving was a career-high in yardage. He’s a volume-based RB2 that can be a fringe RB1 weekly if that receiving holds up weekly), Jamison Crowder (he trailed Pryor and Jordan Reed in terms of opportunity, but still stacked seven targets and is a WR3/flex in a matchup inside versus Nickell Robey-Coleman) , Kirk Cousins (his preseason struggles showed themselves in Week 1 and this matchup could be tougher than anticipated on the road versus a Wade Phillips defense), Chris Thompson (always in play as a flex option and if Washington is going to swerve into not using Kelley on a per-snap basis like a year ago, his arrow can only go up)

 

Packers @ Falcons

 

Green Bay Rank @ Atlanta Rank
2.5   Spread -2.5  
25.8   Implied Total 28.3  
74.0 2 Plays/Gm 55 25
48.0 3 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.0 19
37.8% 18 Rush% 41.8% 12
62.2% 15 Pass% 58.2% 21
37.5% 14 Opp. Rush % 30.2% 8
62.5% 19 Opp. Pass % 69.8% 25

 

  • Ty Montgomery led all running backs in snaps played Week 1 (74), participating in a career-high 90 percent of the plays.
  • In the seven regular season games in which Montgomery played 50 percent of the snaps since changing to running back, he's averaged 17.7 points per game.
  • After allowing a league-high 14.5 receiving points per game to opposing backfields in 2016, Atlanta allowed a Week 1 high 23.1 points to the Chicago backfield receiving.
  • Randall Cobb accounted for 32 percent of the Green Bay targets Week 1, his highest share in a game since Week 14, 2015.
  • Green Bay allowed 10.7 more points per game on the road in 2016, the largest gap in home/road difference in the league.
  • Including the postseason, Matt Ryan has thrown 11 touchdown passes over his past three games versus Green Bay with at least three in each game, averaging 31.9 points per game.
  • In those same three games, Aaron Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdowns with at least three in each game and averaged 29.3 points per game.

 

Trust: Matt Ryan (at home with a huge total against a defense he has annihilated), Aaron Rodgers (he’s nearly matched Ryan fantasy point for fantasy point when these teams have faced each other recently), Julio Jones (Green Bay has thrown cloud coverage his way before under Dom Capers, but Jones has also put up 9-180-2 and 11-259-1 lines in two of those three meetings mentioned above with the quarterbacks), Jordy Nelson (he’s scored at least one touchdown in 12 of his past 17 games played), Ty Montgomery (if he’s not going to come off the field, then Montgomery has a chance to be the deal of draft season while facing a team that has been gashed by combo backs over the last year plus)

 

Bust: Davante Adams (we know that not all the players here will have superb games by default no matter how appealing the matchup is all around, and when dissecting guys that could falter, Adams stands out the most. Still a threat to score, his only good game versus Atlanta was when he played Ty Montgomery’s role out of the backfield and has been under 50 yards receiving now in seven of his past 10 regular season games played), Mohamed Sanu (he led the team in targets Week 1 with nine, but held below 60 yards receiving for the 27th time over his past 32 games played), Taylor Gabriel (he’s had more than three receptions in just three games as a Falcon, If you don’t hit a home run, then there’s no floor here)

 

Reasonable Return: Randall Cobb (his 13 targets last week were somewhat induced by opponent and game plan, but Atlanta is much weaker on the interior than boundaries when it comes to cornerback play), Martellus Bennett (he will have to damage on just a handful of targets, but Atlanta allowed the eighth most points to opposing tight ends in 2016 and followed that up by allowing 6-70 to Chicago tigt ends in Week 1), Austin Hooper (he only received two targets last week, but was on the field for 47-of-59 snaps. Green Bay allowed the eighth most receiving yards to tight ends last year and Jimmy Graham’s soft line in Week 1 versus them had more to do with himself than the defense), Devonta Freeman (he had just 84 and 58 total yards in each matchup between these teams a year ago, but his use in the passing game and near the goal line boost his floor and aids his ceiling), Tevin Coleman (his 40 percent snap rate and 11 touches were right in line with his use a year ago. In a potentially high-scoring game, he’s a flex option)

 

 Lions @ Giants


Detroit Rank @ NY Giants Rank
3   Spread -3  
20.0   Implied Total 23.0  
69.0 6 Plays/Gm 53 28
67.0 25 Opp. Plays/Gm 71.0 29
39.1% 16 Rush% 22.6% 30
60.9% 17 Pass% 77.4% 3
26.9% 4 Opp. Rush % 43.7% 22
73.1% 29 Opp. Pass % 56.3% 11

 

  • The Lions haven't had a 100-yard rusher since Week 13, 2013, the longest drought in the league.
  • Matthew Stafford has averaged 11.8 points on the road against top-15 pass defenses the past two years, finishing as QB16 or lower in all eight games.
  • Brandon Marshall has finished higher than WR40 just four times since the start of last season.
  • Golden Tate has five or more receptions in seven straight games, tied with Jordy Nelson for the longest active streak in the league.
  • In the six games in which the team has played without Odell Beckham since drafting him, Eli Manning has been the average QB20 with one week higher than QB14 and three weeks in single-digit scoring output.

 

Trust: Golden Tate (he has been a top-10 scorer in four of past six games dating back to last year, including a WR5 week in the previous matchup between these teams when he reeled in eight catches for 122 yards)

 

Bust: Ameer Abdullah (whispers of him being a workhorse this offseason proved false for Week 1 as he played 49 percent of the snaps. Detroit isn’t built to run the football and face another defensive front in which they are overmatched), Marvin Jones (he found the end zone last week, but still hasn’t been a top-30 scorer in a week since Week 7 of last year), Kenny Golladay (he played 44 snaps and forced his way into more opportunity going forward, but will be facing a Giants’ secondary that has allowed the fewest touchdowns per target to opposing wideouts over the past year plus), Matthew Stafford (this team is on dimensional, so Stafford can overcome any difficult matchup due to volume, but on the road versus a Giants defense that has allowed just three QB1 scoring weeks over their past 17 games is as stiff as matchups come), Brandon Marshall (it’s beginning to look like Marshall is strictly going to be a red zone or bust option), Paul Perkins (he’s a worse version of Abdullah. On a team that isn’t built to run while the pass catching specialist is the better fantasy option), Eli Manning (he’s strictly a QB2 at this point, finishing as a QB1 in just one of his past nine starts), Evan Engram (he played 46-of-57 snaps in his first career game and you can chase the matchup here, but Engram is still a blind faith option)

 

Reasonable Return: Odell Beckham (monitor him throughout the week as the Monday Night game gives him another day to be ready, but also another day where you’re at the mercy of not having a backup plan if we play the cat and mouse game from a week ago again while we still don’t know how ready he’ll truly be even if he’s active), Theo Riddick (a weekly flex that should catch 4-6 balls per game and unlike most reception dependent backs, Riddick has consistently gotten use in the passing game near the goal line), Eric Ebron (I’d anticipate the boundaries to be sealed off in this one, meaning guys like Ebron, Tate and Riddick will be the lifters for any success Detroit has. The Giants allowed the fifth most receptions to tight ends a year ago and allowed 7-59-1 to Jason Witten to start this season), Shane Vereen (he just simply fits the Giants offense much better than the other backs in New York and is a floor flex option), Sterling Shepard (his eight targets from last week may not hold if Beckham is back, but Detroit allowed the most points to slot receivers a year ago and gave up another 6-74 on the inside a week ago)

 

Context Key:

 

Trust = Player to outperform baseline expectations

Bust = Player to underperform baseline expectations

Reasonable Return = Baseline Play 


**All Vegas Lines are taken from Yahoo listings on Tuesday Evenings

     

Rich Hribar
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.