Week 2 was another down week for scoring in the NFL. We’ve now had just 121 offensive touchdowns through two weeks, the lowest total since 2006. Although we’ve had one fewer game played than most years, we’re still 27 offensive touchdowns short of last year's total through two weeks and overall, teams have scored 193 fewer points through the opening two weeks compared to a year ago. We have five games already sporting implied totals of 42 combined points or lower this week, so that lack of scoring could easily spill into the third week of the season. Whether that low-scoring trend continues or not, we still have lineups to set.
As for the token disclaimer, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.
Lastly, as the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is NOT a start/sit column, rather an expectations column. The labels for each subset of players for each game are simply a vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player that you can find at the end of the column. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 3 games with a PPR light…
Rams @ 49ers
|LA Rams||Rank||@||San Francisco||Rank|
|53.9%||30||Opp. Rush %||52.8%||29|
|46.2%||3||Opp. Pass %||47.2%||4|
- Todd Gurley had 10 runs of five or more yards last week, the most he's had in a game since Week 5, 2015.
- Gurley has received 17.9 percent of the team targets after averaging 9.3 percent of the team targets per game for his career coming into the season.
- In the 10 games in which Gurley has been favored over his career, he's averaged 21.7 touches for 98.6 yards from scrimmage with 10 total touchdowns.
- Jared Goff has completed 7-of-11 passes 15 yards or further downfield for 229 yards. He completed 8-of-23 such passes for 225 yards all of 2016.
- The 12 points scored by the 49ers are the fewest they’ve scored through two weeks in franchise history.
- Brian Hoyer's 7.5 yards per completion ranks last of all quarterbacks in the league.
- Just 22.6 percent (14-of-62) of Hoyer's pass attempts have resulted in a first down, the lowest rate in the league.
- The 229 rushing yards allowed by the Rams last week were the most they've surrendered in a game since Week 12, 2011 (268 yards).
Trust: Todd Gurley (last week was the first time we’ve saw him channel what we saw from his rookie season. Even if that was fleeting, the touches and receiving use has been there while he’s a favorite again this week), Carlos Hyde (the Rams are fresh off allowing over 200 rushing yards at home, while Hyde has had three or more catches in back to back games for just the second time in his career)
Bust: Jared Goff (as exciting as his improvement has been, he’s turned in QB14 and QB24 scoring weeks for fantasy and will be a road quarterback on a short week), Sammy Watkins (the good news is that he’s caught every target on the season, the bad news is that he’s had just seven total targets. Until he’s involved, he’s a blind dart if you’re putting him into lineups), Gerald Everett (his big game Sunday came on just three targets while the 49ers have allowed a combined 3-19-0 to Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham to start the season), Brian Hoyer (he’s yet to lead a touchdown drive through two games while facing a Wade Phillips defense on a short week)
Reasonable Return: Cooper Kupp (he’s received six targets in each game, but the yardage totals will remain pedestrian, keeping him as a flex option). Pierre Garcon (his targets were cut in half while locking up with Richard Sherman a week ago, but expect him to push back towards double-digits as the only option in the passing game)
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Ravens @ Jaguars (in London)
|34.7%||8||Opp. Rush %||44.4%||22|
|65.3%||25||Opp. Pass %||55.6%||11|
- Opponents have scored on just two of 25 drives (8.0 percent) against the Ravens, the lowest rate in the league.
- Baltimore has allowed a league-low .093 passing points per attempt to start the season.
- The Ravens' 10 takeaways are the most in franchise history through two games
- Blake Bortles' 66 career turnovers are the most in the NFL since he entered the league.
- In seven career games without Allen Robinson, Bortles has averaged just 10.9 fantasy points, 5.2 yards per pass attempt with six weeks at QB19 or lower.
- Buck Allen played 43 snaps Week 2 compared to 15 for Terrance West.
- In the eight career games in which he's played half of the team snaps, Allen has averaged 97.7 yards from scrimmage and 17.7 points per game with five top-12 scoring weeks.
- Baltimore wide receivers have just nine receptions, the fewest in the league.
Bust: Jeremy Maclin (he’s saved two games with touchdowns, but has totaled just six catches for 87 yards), Mike Wallace (he’s had just four targets through two games and the boundaries are not where to test the Jacksonville secondary), Joe Flacco (Jacksonville is allowing just 6.0 yards per attempt and has allowed just four top-12 scoring quarterbacks since the start of last season), Terrance West (his health is a concern as is his singular usage), Blake Bortles (London’s favorite quarterback comes home to face the league’s hottest defense)
Reasonable Return: Ben Watson (he did a fine Dennis Pitta impression last week and 39.8 percent of the receiving yardage against Jacksonville has been produced by tight ends, the highest rate in the league), Leonard Fournette (Fournette hasn’t been electric and may not be able to push past 20 touches in this matchup against a Ravens team allowing 3.8 yards per carry to opposing backs, but is still the main piece this offense has to lean on), Marqise Lee/Allen Hurns (they combined for 13 catches on 19 targets a week ago, and while Baltimore isn’t as soft of a secondary as the one they faced last week, that volume to put each in play as a WR3/flex option still exists)
Broncos @ Bills
|29.5%||5||Opp. Rush %||35.5%||9|
|70.5%||28||Opp. Pass %||64.5%||24|
- Only New England (46) has run more red zone plays than Denver (41) through two weeks.
- Trevor Siemian leads the league with 34.4 red zone fantasy points through two weeks.
- After posting a league-worst 13.7 percent stuff rate in 2016, 30.6 percent of the rushing attempts against Denver have failed to gain positive yardage, the lowest rate of all teams that have played both weeks.
- LeSean McCoy has 24.5 percent of the Buffalo targets through two games after averaging 13.6 percent of the team targets per game over his first two seasons with the Bills.
- Since Tyrod Taylor joined the Bills in 2015, no quarterback in the league has more games with fewer than 200 passing yards (16).
- Taylor has 21 games with 30 or more rushing yards over that span, the most of all quarterbacks.
Trust: C.J. Anderson (he leads all backs with 49 touches through two games and Denver should control the game script here to keep that high touch count intact. Buffalo hasn’t allowed a top-30 back through two weeks, but has faced two timeshare backfields)
Bust: Zay Jones/Jordan Matthews (they’ve combined for eight catches through two games while facing the league’s premier secondary), Tyrod Taylor (his legs are always in play to give him a usable QB2 floor, but there are next to no expectations in place for this passing game this weekend)
Reasonable Return: LeSean McCoy (last weekend’s nine rushing yards is a bit of a scare if it’s a constant for McCoy’s rushing floor when Buffalo can’t pass the ball --something that should be the case here--but his usage in the receiving game is way up with the lack of wide receiving depth on the roster), Charles Clay (last week was a reminder that his floor is lower than most streaming options due to his offensive attachment, but Denver’s secondary should funnel targets inside while he and McCoy are the only reliable options in the passing game at this stage), Trevor Siemian (he’s started off as the QB4 and QB3, but has thrown a touchdown on 10 percent of his passes, something that is bound to recoil and should in his first road game. Buffalo hasn’t allowed a touchdown pass yet, but also hasn’t faced much of a rogues gallery to start. I’d expect Siemian to remain in the 200-250 yardage range with a shot at 1-2 scores), Emmanuel Sanders/Demaryius Thomas (the passing game only runs through two main streets while Buffalo just allowed top-36 scoring weeks to both Carolina receivers a week ago)
Steelers @ Bears
|36.9%||12||Opp. Rush %||46.7%||25|
|63.1%||21||Opp. Pass %||53.3%||8|
- Tarik Cohen leads all running backs in targets (21) and target market share (24.7 percent).
- Le'Veon Bell is averaging 4.5 receiving points per game after leading all backs with 12.4 receiving points per game in 2016.
- Bell has 45.8 percent of the Pittsburgh touches and just 24.4 percent of their total yardage, the largest gap in touch rate to yardage rate for all running backs.
- Since entering the league, Martavis Bryant has caught at least one touchdown in 52.2 percent of his games played, the sixth highest rate in the league.
- Mike Glennon's passing yards and rank by quarter: 87 (15th), 70 (25th), 28 (34th), 329 (first).
- Pittsburgh has allowed two or fewer touchdown passes in 20 straight games, tied with Giants for the longest streak in the league.
Bust: Mike Glennon (he’s been a travesty up until the closing quarter of games, finishing as the QB18 and QB26), Jordan Howard (his shoulder is a concern as well as being a huge underdog, while the Steelers have allowed the ninth fewest rushing yards to backfields to open the season), Zach Miller (he's had 15 targets through two weeks, but in a week filled with strong tight end streaming options, it's hard to chase the TE16, TE16 over the opening two weeks), Jesse James (the same goes for James, who you're only chasing a touchdown from. He's topped 50-yards receving just once so far for his career)
Reasonable Return: Le’Veon Bell (I expect Bell to turn things around as his share of the team touches were back last week after a light Week 1, but he hasn’t yet been involved heavily in the passing game while the Bears have allowed just three RB1 scoring weeks since the start of last season, the fewest in the league), Ben Roethlisberger (he’s been a QB1 in just two of his past 18 games on the road in early starts, which is hard to ignore no matter how much we like the team total), Tarik Cohen (his rushing output and scoring odds are lower than some assumed after Week 1, but his role in the passing game is unquestioned to keep him in play as weekly RB2/flex), Kendall Wright (he had four targets in one quarter after Kevin White was injured Week 1 and then Wright came back to get 10 targets last week. Touchdowns and yardage won’t be fruitful, but the opportunity is enough for a floor WR3 option), Martavis Bryant (he’s always a threat to score in any game and should be lined with Marcus Cooper, but just five receptions through two games still means he needs to make the most of his opportunities)
Saints @ Panthers
|45.2%||24||Opp. Rush %||36.2%||10|
|54.8%||9||Opp. Pass %||63.8%||23|
- Carolina has led for 81.4 percent of their offensive snaps, the highest rate to start the season.
- New Orleans has trailed by two or more possessions for 70.5 percent of their offensive plays, the highest rate to start the season.
- The Saints have allowed 793 passing yards, the most in franchise history through two games and the seventh most in NFL history over the opening two weeks to begin a season.
- New Orleans has allowed 13-of-15 pass attempts (86.7 percent) 15 yards or further in the air to be completed, the highest rate in the league.
- The Saints are allowing 44.1 passing yards to opposing quarterbacks per possession, the most in the league.
- Carolina has allowed just 5.3 yards per pass attempt (second in the league) while the Saints have allowed a league-high 11.2 yards per pass.
- Drew Brees has been inside of the top-10 in weekly scoring in just one of his past six games played versus the Panthers.
- Adrian Peterson's .31 points per touch are the fewest for all backs with double-digit touches on the season.
Trust: Cam Newton (he hasn’t used his legs and has remained questionable throwing the football, but the Saints secondary is the elixir to take for getting everything back on track for at least one week), Christian McCaffrey (has struggled on the ground to start, rushing 21 times for 57 yards, but he’s playing a ton of snaps and tacked on at least four catches in each game while the Saints have allowed the sixth-most rushing yards and the most receiving yards to backs to start the year)
Bust: Drew Brees (his lack of true offensive weapons has been present and is going on the road. I wouldn’t consider looking elsewhere in seasonal leagues, but I view Brees more in the QB10-15 range this week, rather than the top 5-6 where he typically resides), Adrian Peterson (there’s reason to question even rostering him at all at this stage), Alvin Kamara (there are just more stable flex role players at this stage of the season to wait on him earning consistent usage as he went from 11 touches to just four last week.), Ted Ginn (we’re still waiting for that one play as Ginn has been the WR41 and WR72 to start the year)
Reasonable Return: Michael Thomas (he bounced back with a WR20 week in Week 2 and a similar line should be expected here), Kelvin Benjamin (he’s finished higher than WR40 just once in four games versus the Saints without a WR1 week, so I can’t go all in here, but without Greg Olsen available, his targets should rise against the leagues leakiest secondary), Mark Ingram (it hasn’t been dazzling, but has turned in RB20 and RB25 weeks because he’s the most balanced player in the backfield), Coby Fleener (he’s been a TE1 now in all three games he’s played without Willie Snead active), Jonathan Stewart (when he fails to score, he’s a total bust, but there are worse games to chase scoring opportunities from your RB2/flex spot than this game), Devin Funchess (he received 22 percent of the team targets a week ago, turning in a WR34 week, something that should hold during the absence of Greg Olsen while the matchup couldn’t be better to chase points from)
Buccaneers @ Vikings
|25.8%||1||Opp. Rush %||41.4%||19|
|74.2%||32||Opp. Pass %||58.6%||14|
- Jameis Winston hasn't ranked inside of the top-10 scoring quarterbacks since Week 7 of last season with just three QB1 performances over those 11 games played.
- Tampa Bay has had a 56.1 percent pass rate over that span, 26th in the NFL.
- Minnesota has allowed just three top-12 scoring wide receivers since the start of last season, ttied for he fewest in the league.
- Dalvin Cook's 15 runs of five or more yards are tied for the NFL lead. Minnesota was dead last in runs of five or more yards as a team in 2016.
- Tampa Bay has allowed the fewest rushing points per attempt (.125) while Minnesota ranks fifth (.310).
Bust: Jameis Winston (he hasn’t shown the upside of belonging in a set and forget fantasy role while Minnesota has allowed just three quarterbacks to finish higher than QB12 since the start of last season), Mike Evans (you’re not going to sit him as he can score on anyone, but Minnesota has been a fantasy death sentence for feature WR1s as Xavier Rhodes has followed them all over the field), Cameron Brate (he was out-snapped by O.J. Howard since Tampa Bay was in ball control mode, but he ran 22 pass routes to 11 for Howard, the issue is relying on game script weekly for a tight end isn’t something we need to do), Case Keenum (Tampa Bay has allowed just two QB1 scoring weeks over their past nine games), Kyle Rudolph (he’ll need his red zone usage to show up here as just two tight ends to face Tampa Bay since the start of last season have finished inside of the top-10), Stefon Diggs (while anticipating Thielen to have the better matchup paired with Bradford missing the game, I expect Diggs to get squeezed a bit similar to last week)
Reasonable Return: DeSean Jackson (with Evans contending with Rhodes, Jackson should find Trae Waynes often enough to put up a big play or two. Waynes has allowed all 10 of his targets in coverage to be completed through two weeks), Jacquizz Rodgers (it’s another tough matchup on paper like last week, but is in line for another 15-20 touches regardless of how effectiveness he is per snap), Dalvin Cook (he’s going to stay as a RB2 option this week without Bradford and Tampa Bay has allowed just four top-12 scoring weeks since the start of last season), Adam Thielen (the Bucs just allowed a 7-69 line to Kendall Wright out of the slot a week ago, where Thielen can work on Robert McClain over Brent Grimes and second-year corner Vernon Hargreaves, but with Sam Bradford out once again, he's only WR/flex option)
Browns @ Colts
|40.2%||16||Opp. Rush %||45.0%||23|
|59.8%||17||Opp. Pass %||55.0%||10|
- 36.6 percent of the completions against the Colts have gained 20 plus yards, the highest rate in the league.
- 31.7 percent of DeShone Kizer's pass attempts have been 15 yards or further downfield, the highest rate for all quarterbacks.
- The Colts average 18.6 yards per possession, the fewest in the league.
- After allowing the second-most points to opposing tight ends in 2016, Cleveland has allowed a league-high 19 receptions and 47.2 points to the position to start this season.
- Jacoby Brissett has completed 11-of-26 passes to wide receivers for 149 yards. He is 9-of-9 passing for 99 yards to his tight ends.
- Isaiah Crowell's .26 rushing points per attempt are the lowest for all backs with 20 or more carries on the season.
Trust: Jack Doyle (he’s the top streaming option this week after he and Brissett showed a connection against one of the league’s best defenses when it comes to defending tight ends a week ago while getting a Browns defense that has consistently bled out versus tight ends since the start of last year).
Bust: T.Y. Hilton (I can understand looking at the matchup and finally wanting to take a shot on him as your WR3, so swing away, but Hilton has been the WR62, WR54 and WR45 over his past three games without Andrew Luck), Donte Moncrief (he and Brissett have connected on just 3-of-9 targets so far), Jacoby Brissett (he’s not even in a class of streaming, rather deep sea fishing), David Njoku (he continues to share snaps and reps with Seth DeValve, making him a touchdown or bust option with smaller volume), Frank Gore (he just hasn’t had much of a workload to latch onto to start, with just 11 and 14 touches for 98 yards from scrimmage with no receptions), Kenny Britt (it’s possible that the loss of Corey Coleman infuses life back into his relevancy, but with just two catches for 15 yards and getting outplayed by a receiver fresh off of the practice squad isn’t an endearing look)
Reasonable Return: Isaiah Crowell (he’s gotten off to a rough start against two tough defenses in negative game scripts. The script should improve here to get him near 20 touches, but the Colts have still allowed just 2.7 yards per carry to backs over the opening two weeks), DeShone Kizer (he’s a mixed bag as you’d expect, with QB9 and QB33 scoring weeks, but has faced two strong defenses to start while his vertical passing tendencies line up well with where the Colts have struggled on the back end as they’ve allowed the QB14 and QB12 through two weeks), Rashard Higgins (with Corey Coleman out and Kenny Britt impersonating Dwayne Bowe, someone has to be an option and Higgins received 27 percent of the team looks a week ago, turning them into seven catches for 95 yards against a much tougher opponent), Duke Johnson (he was able to get involved in the run game a bit last week, something he needs to hold that weekly flex value)
Dolphins @ Jets
|25.9%||2||Opp. Rush %||54.3%||31|
|74.1%||31||Opp. Pass %||45.7%||2|
- Jay Ajayi accounted for 87.5 percent of the Miami rushing attempts and 53.6 percent of the team touches, both highs for the season for running backs.
- The Jets have allowed 12 runs of 10 or more yards, the most in the league.
- The 370 rushing yards allowed by the Jets through two weeks are the most they've allowed through two games since 1976.
- Opposing teams have scored a touchdown on 9-of-21 drives (42.9 percent) against the Jets, the highest rate in the league.
- The Jets have allowed a passing touchdown once every 11.2 pass attempts to start the season, the highest rate in the league.
- The Jets have trailed for 91.7 percent of their offensive plays this season, the highest rate to start the season.
- Jermaine Kearse has scored 36 percent of his 2016 point total on 15.7 percent of the targets he had all of last season.
Trust: Jay Ajayi (he looked great last weekend and will have the benefit of game script and matchup to his advantage), Jay Cutler (arguably the top streaming option for those in need this week against a team that has allowed the QB7 and QB5 to start the season), DeVante Parker (the opponent and game plan worked against him receiving a ton of opportunity last week, but he flashed the big play sizzle we saw all preseason on the opportunities he did receive. Expect him to be more involved Week 3 against a team that just allowed a hat trick of touchdowns to Michael Crabtree a week ago)
Bust: Kenny Stills (he keeps finding a way to reach the end zone, so if you want to follow his touchdown trail, there are worse games than versus the Jets, but he’s had more than three receptions in just three of his past 10 games played), Bilal Powell (he’s been out-snapped by Forte and now Elijah McGuire is working his way into the committee), Matt Forte (he was the RB16 last week, but played just 27 snaps, making it extremely hard to have faith just plugging him into lineups), Josh McCown (he’s added 4.5 rushing points per game to start the season if you want to pursue him elevating weeks with his legs, but still has yet to hit 200-passing yards), Julius Thomas (as with Stills, you can chase a touchdown against the hapless Jets, but it's a good week for playing the waiver wire at the tight end position, so it's hard to get this far down to having any faith in Thomas, who recevied just three targets in his first game with the Dolphins)
Reasonable Return: Jarvis Landry (with 13 catches for 78 yards last week, Landry was just the fourth wide receiver ever to have fewer than 80 receiving yards on 12 or more receptions. I’d anticipate Parker to be more involved this week, but Landry is still a safe floor option as a WR2), Jermaine Kearse (mentioned last week that at worst he’s a target sponge on a team that will consistently have to throw, keep using him as a WR3), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (he’s a swing from the heels coming off suspension, but ASJ was involved in the preseason and Miami just allowed 10-101-1 to the Chargers tight ends a week ago)
Texans @ Patriots
|51.6%||28||Opp. Rush %||34.4%||7|
|48.4%||5||Opp. Pass %||65.6%||26|
- Mike Gillislee leads the league in red zone rushing attempts (11) and rushes inside of the 5-yard line (five) to start the season.
- The Patriots have 45 rushing touchdowns in 41 games in which they’ve been favored by at least seven points over the past five years with at least one rushing touchdown in 68 percent of those games.
- Tom Brady's 15.5 yards per completed pass leads all quarterbacks through two weeks.
- DeAndre Hopkins leads all receivers with 48.3 percent of the Houston targets to begin the season.
- In four career games against New England (including the postseason), Hopkins has totaled 15 receptions for 250 yards and zero touchdowns.
- Just 22.2 percent (6-of-27) of DeShaun Watson's completions have gained 10 or more yards, the lowest rate in the league.
- Houston averages 3.6 yards per play, the fewest in the league.
Trust: Tom Brady (Houston made it tough on Brady in the playoffs a year ago in which he completed just 47 percent of his throws, but at home as a huge favorite attached to a lofty team total should have him firmly in the QB1 mix)
Bust: DeShaun Watson (his legs made the day last Thursday Night and he’ll need them again as a first-time starter facing a Bill Belichik defense)
Reasonable Return: Mike Gillislee (you know what you’re playing him for and are willing to take a few games where you get caught holding nothing but rushing yardage), Rob Gronkowski (his groin injury appears mild, but Houston has allowed just three touchdowns to opposing tight ends since the start of last season), Chris Hogan (he had 4-95 in this matchup a year ago and Houston will be without starting cornerback Kevin Johnson), James White (he leads the team with 164 yards from scrimmage and has been the RB29 and RB10 to start the year), DeAndre Hopkins (his history versus the Pats is poor, but remains a WR2 due to the pile of targets he gets fed in his direction), Lamar Miller (you know the drill with Miller, expect him to flirt with 20 touches for 85-95 yards from scrimmage to go along with thin odds at scoring a touchdown), Brandin Cooks (he was the short straw last weekend and hasn’t fully clicked with Brady yet, but you just keep throwing out there in games like this in which the Patriots will likely perform better as a hive than individuals sticking out heavily), Danny Amendola (hopefully New England will put an end to him retuning punts with his return and even though his snaps will be limited to passing situations, we saw in Week 1 that he can do damage on just a small amount of opportunity because his role is vital to this offense)
Falcons @ Lions
|26.0%||3||Opp. Rush %||29.5%||4|
|74.1%||30||Opp. Pass %||70.5%||29|
- Devonta Freeman's 66 red zone touches are the second-most in the NFL since the start of last season.
- After scoring on 55.8 percent of their drives in 2016 -- which led the league-- Atlanta has scored on 58.8 percent of their drives through two weeks, second in the league behind Oakland (68.4 percent).
- Julio Jones has gone over 100-yards receiving in 44.4 percent (36-of-81) of his career games played, the highest rate of all active players.
- Detroit is the only team in the league that has scored a touchdown on every red zone possession to start the season.
- Matthew Stafford is 5-of-5 passing with four touchdowns in the red zone to start the season.
- After facing a league-high 8.8 targets per game to backfields in 2016, Atlanta has faced a league-high 26 targets to backfields to begin 2017.
- Atlanta has also faced a league-high 24 targets to opposing tight ends.
Trust: Matt Ryan (the Lions have performed better as a secondary to open the season, but Ryan is head and shoulders above the signal callers they’ve faced so far), Matthew Stafford (his 9.7 percent touchdown rate will surely come back down to earth, but he’s thrown for six touchdowns in two of the roughest matchups for opposing quarterbacks, which he’ll trade for a higher-tempo point chasing affair at home), Devonta Freeman (he’s out-snapped Coleman 75-46 and out-touched him 35-20 to start the year if there was any concern of a larger split under Steve Sarkisian), Golden Tate (he was a let down on Monday Night, but in a game that should feature points, he once again gets the best individual matchup on the interior)
Bust: Marvin Jones (he only has three catches, but two have been touchdowns. Once again, he’ll draw the toughest assignment on the perimeter), Kenny Golloday (he's still just a blind fatih play in hopes of catching a touchdown as he ran just 16 pass routes in Week 2)
Reasonable Return: Julio Jones (you won’t need to push away from Julio locked up with Darrius Slay by any means, but Atlanta has shown over the past year plus that they no longer must force feed their offense through him when he draws better defenders), Eric Ebron (he expectedly bounced back last week in a batter matchup and this week gets the team that has faced the most volume directed towards tight ends to start the year), Austin Hooper (just two targets each week make him hard to latch onto, but Detroit allowed 10 touchdowns to tight ends a year ago and just allowed a TE9 game to a rookie in his second career game), Tevin Coleman (even with his role remaining the same, he’s held weekly RB2/flex status with RB30 and RB22 weeks), Ameer Abdullah/Theo Riddick (both backs should be very active in the passing game at minimum, with Abdullah having at least 17 touches in each game to start the year), Mohamed Sanu (he’s been the WR35 and WR23 with at least five catches in each game while Detroit has allowed the most points to slot receivers since the start of last season)
Giants @ Eagles
|49.6%||26||Opp. Rush %||32.1%||6|
|50.4%||7||Opp. Pass %||67.9%||27|
- The Giants haven't scored 20 points in eight consecutive games including the postseason, the longest streak in the league.
- Odell Beckham played 34-of-56 snaps in season debut on Monday Night.
- Over his past five starts in Philadelphia, Eli Manning has thrown four touchdowns to six interceptions, averaging 11.1 fantasy points per game with an average scoring finish of QB22.
- The Eagles allowed only 15.5 points per game at home in 2016, the second-fewest per game since the start of last year behind Baltimore (14.2).
- Carson Wentz is the only quarterback that leads his team in rushing (61 yards) through two weeks.
- Alshon Jeffery (eight) and Torrey Smith (seven) rank first and second in targets 15 yards or further downfield.
- No team has fewer rushing attempts than the Giants (30) despite two teams playing just one game.
Trust: Odell Beckham (he was nursed back a week ago, but will be needed this week against a team in which he’s averaged 6.8 catches for 87.3 yards with four touchdowns in six career games versus), Zach Ertz (he’s the only player with at least 90 receiving yards in each of the first two weeks and the Giants have continued to struggle versus tight ends, allowing the TE3 and the TE7 to open the year)
Bust: Eli Manning (the QB26 and QB23 through two weeks on the road in a spot that has done him no favors recently), Paul Perkins (has turned 18 touches into 47 yards), Brandon Marshall (the boundaries are where we’d look to target the Eagles, but it’s hard to have any faith in Marshall after he’s failed to crack WR40 in 13 of his past 17 games), Alshon Jeffery (bump him up if Janoris Jenkins is out again, but the Giants have allowed just three top-12 scoring wideouts since the start of last year with a high finish of WR15 to a lead boundary target over that span), Sterling Shepard (has hit 60-yards receiving now in just three career games)
Reasonable Return: Evan Engram (he’s one of the only players on this offense to show a pulse, finishing at the TE14 and TE9 in each of the first two games of his career), Darren Sproles (a weekly flex option, he leads this backfield in snaps and touches), Carson Wentz (his rushing and passing volume have provided a safety net that he’s built up for a ceiling the first two weeks, but the Giants haven’t allowed more than two touchdown passes since 2015 and just two quarterbacks higher than QB12 since the start of last year), Shane Vereen (another floor flex option, he has been the best fit for this offense out of the backfield)
Seahawks @ Titans
|38.5%||13||Opp. Rush %||43.6%||21|
|61.5%||20||Opp. Pass %||56.5%||12|
- No team has scored fewer touchdowns on the road since the start of last season than Seattle (11).
- Per Pro Football Focus, Russell Wilson has been under pressure on 43.6 percent of his drop backs, second to only DeShaun Watson (46.7 percent) to start the season.
- Wilson has 74 rushing yards through two games. He had 79 rushing yards through 10 games played in 2016.
- Chris Carson played 76 percent of the snaps in Week 2, handling 54.1 percent of the team rushing attempts (20) for 93 yards on the ground.
- 55 percent of Derrick Henry's carries (11-of-20) have gained five or more yards, the highest rate for all backs with double-digit carries.
- 28.6 percent of DeMarco Murray's carries (6-of-21) have gained five plus yards, 39th for all backs with double-digit carries.
- Over the Titans past five games dating back to last season, Henry has carried 48 times for 253 yards (5.3 YPC) with four touchdowns. Murray has carried 64 times for 221 yards (3.6 YPC) with zero touchdowns.
Bust: Marcus Mariota (as noted last week, his yardage and fantasy output have dropped significantly against front-half pass defenses and Seattle has allowed one or fewer passing touchdowns in 14 of their past 18 games), TEN WRs (Corey Davis is nursing a hamstring, Eric Decker has been dreadful and Rishard Matthews will see Richard Sherman), DeMarco Murray (he’s also dealing with a hamstring injury, which has forced his snaps to drop, and dating back to the final leg of last year, wasn’t a back that was producing while banged up), Delanie Walker (Seattle has allowed just three TE1 scorers since the start of last season), Russell Wilson (a few factors are working against Wilson. He’s on the road where he’s been a QB1 in just two of his past nine games and his offensive line isn’t giving him to work with. At this point, he’s just a hold and you hope that his rushing ability continues for you to run into a higher-end QB1 week over the lower QB2 weeks he’s provided), Jimmy Graham (the Titans haven’t faced any tough tight ends to justify their 5-56-0 allowed to the position, but Graham’s four catches for nine yards don’t inspire any confidence), Paul Richardson (he’s opened the year at WR40 each week, needing this offense to ramp up to get into our flex graces)
Reasonable Return: Derrick Henry (he’s still only an RB2/flex option with Murray still active to take snaps away, but Seattle is allowing 5.6 yards per carry to backs to start the season), Chris Carson (even with his workload increase, he was still just the RB26 in Week 2 and remains a flex option against the team that has allowed the fewest rushing yards at home since the start of last year), Doug Baldwin (buyer beware as he has finished higher than WR32 in just one of his past nine road games, but no team has allowed more top-12 scoring weeks to wideouts since the start of last year than Tennessee, so I'm looking for those two forces to meet somewhere in the middle)
Chiefs @ Chargers
|Kansas City||Rank||@||LA Chargers||Rank|
|36.4%||11||Opp. Rush %||50.0%||27|
|63.6%||22||Opp. Pass %||50.0%||6|
- Kareem Hunt's 71.5 fantasy points are the second-most over the first two games of a career behind Billy Sims' 78.5 in 1980.
- Both the Chiefs and Chargers have allowed 38 red zone plays through two weeks, tied for 30th in the league.
- 37 percent of Melvin Gordon's rushing attempts have failed to gain yardage, the highest rate for any back with 20 plus attempts on the season.
- Kansas City is allowing 14.6 yards per completion, 30th in the league ahead of only the Colts (15.9 yards per completion).
- The last time Philip Rivers was a QB1 versus the Chiefs was Week 17, 2013.
- Over those six games since, he's thrown five touchdowns to six interceptions while averaging 241.5 passing yards and 10.7 fantasy points per game.
Trust: Kareem Hunt (he’s been explosive to start the year and this is the best matchup he’s had on paper so far as the Chargers have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to opposing backfields after allowing the fifth-most points to the position a year ago), Keenan Allen (he’s over his injury ailments and has received over 25 percent of the team targets in each game. He moves around the formation to avoid Marcus Peters, but he’s not a pressing concern as Allen caught four passes in Peters’ coverage in one half a year ago), Travis Kelce (he’s been a TE1 in just two of six games against the Chargers, but currently leads all tight ends in target market share at 27 percent)
Bust: Tyreek Hill (he has the playmaking ability to hit on a single play, but boundary wideouts have struggled versus the Chargers over the past two years), Alex Smith (we know his 7.9 percent touchdown rate and 9.8 yards per attempt are going to regress and on the road in an inter-division game is a place where we can see that begin to happen), Phillip Rivers (he’s been shut down against the Chiefs over the past three years and the Chiefs have allowed opposing passers to connect on 50 percent of their throws, the second lowest rate in the league), Hunter Henry/Antonio Gates (they were a part of the game plan last week against the Dolphins, but won’t approach 10 combined receptions against Chiefs team that has allowed more than five receptions to just five different tight ends over the past five years)
Reasonable Return: Tyrell Williams (he’s only turned in WR37 and WR43 weeks to start, but will line up at left wide receiver, which has been the spot to attack the Chiefs in the pass game), Melvin Gordon (he hasn’t been effective per touch on the ground, but has high-volume with scoring opportunities and has caught 12 passes in two games)
Bengals @ Packers
|63.1%||32||Opp. Rush %||42.5%||20|
|36.9%||1||Opp. Pass %||57.6%||13|
- The Bengals have faced just 1.6 pass attempts per drive on defense, the fewest in the league.
- Aaron Rodgers averages 4.8 pass attempts per drive, the most in the league.
- Just 4.3 percent of Rodgers’ pass attempts (4-of-92) have come from inside the red zone, the lowest rate of all quarterbacks in the league to start both weeks.
- Martellus Bennett's .76 points per target are the lowest of all tight ends with double-digit targets on the season.
- Andy Dalton's .118 passing points per attempt rank last in the league through two weeks.
- Cincinnati has averaged 2:09 minutes of time of possession per drive, the lowest in the league.
- After allowing the second-fewest receptions to opposing wide receivers per game (11.0) in 2016, the Bengals have allowed just 13 receptions to opposing wideouts through weeks, tied with the Rams for the fewest in the league.
Trust: A.J. Green (he hasn’t hit yet through two weeks, but this is a matchup to get him going under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. 86.8 percent of the receiving yardage gained against the Packers has come from wide receivers, the highest rate in the league), Aaron Rodgers (he’s been a QB1 in six of his past eight starts at home with multiple touchdown passes in seven of those games), Ty Montgomery (this is another game in which he will have to work hard on the ground, but is another that he can exploit out of the backfield. 31.7 percent of the targets against Cincinnati have gone to running backs, the highest rate in the league)
Bust: Martellus Bennett (give him a bump if Jordy Nelson is out, but he’s still finding his way in the offense, scoring as the TE17 and T18 to start), Andy Dalton (the brutal start to his season will get better at some point, but turning to him after those two games while on the road in Lambeau is expecting a lot since Green Bay has allowed a QB15 week to Matt Ryan and a QB24 week to Russell Wilson already), CIN RBs (hopefully Lazor gets this mess sorted out, as the three-way timeshare has gotten us nowhere to this point), Randall Cobb (he's already doubtful with a similar injury that derailed his 2015 campaign)
Reasonable Return: Davante Adams (with Nelson and Cobb ailing a bit, he’s going to be leaned on as much as possible, but should sqaure off with Adam Jones often), Jordy Nelson (the Bengals have allowed just three WR1 weeks since the start of last year, but Nelson's slot use went up to 41 percent of his routes with Cobb inactive as opposed to 23 percent when Cobb was in the lineup a year ago, adding 6-165-1 from the slot to his totals over those three games on the way to two top-12 scoring weeks. That's advantageous this week as moving into the slot against Darqueze Dennard will move him away from Adam Jones on the perimeter), Brandon LaFell (with Eifert out and John Ross questionable, LaFell stands to push several targets against a soft secondary for those in dire need of a long flex play)
Raiders @ Washington
|39.3%||14||Opp. Rush %||39.5%||15|
|60.7%||19||Opp. Pass %||60.5%||18|
- 21.7 percent (13-of-60) of Derek Carr's pass attempts this season have come from inside the red zone, the highest in the league for all quarterbacks to play both weeks to start the season.
- 50 percent of Carr's pass attempts (30-of-60) have resulted in a first down, the highest rate in the league.
- Michael Crabtree has out-targeted Amari Cooper in 19-of-33 games played together and out-scored him in 18 of those games.
- Marshawn Lynch has played 49 percent and 40 percent of the Oakland snaps through two weeks, but has a touch on 58 percent of his snaps, the fourth highest rate of all running backs.
- Kirk Cousins has thrown for 240 and 179 yards through two weeks. He threw for fewer than 260 passing yards just twice all of 2016.
- Chris Thompson has accounted for a team-high 22.8 percent of the Washington total yards on just 13.4 percent of the team touches.
Trust: Derek Carr (he’s no stranger to hot starts and it should continue into Week 3 against a Washington team that has allowed nine 300-yard passers since the start of last year), Amari Cooper (Josh Norman has not shadowed lead wideouts to start the season and Oakland's duo doesn't have a clear guy for him to chase, meaning Cooper will naturally run fewer routes at Norman's base position), Kirk Cousins (he’s gotten off to a slower start than expected, but going home in a potential high-scoring affair to face a defense that allowed the QB6 Week 1 and the QB13 in Week 2 to Josh McCown last week should remind us of the Cousins we saw a year ago for fantasy purposes)
Reasonable Return: Marshawn Lynch (Oakland has kept their word of taking it easier on Lynch’s playing time, resulting in RB27 and RB23 scoring weeks, but Washington just woke Todd Gurley out of a deep freeze, so there’s still more than enough reasons to keep Lynch locked into your RB2 spot), Jared Cook (in a week filled with tight end streaming options, Cook finds his way onto the radar as Washington has been bludgeoned by tight ends to start, allowing a league-high 208 yards to tight ends through two games), Terrelle Pryor (his move to Washington has not gotten going like many had hoped, but if he can’t hit here, then we have real problems. Oakland allowed 16 receptions Week 1 to the Tennessee wideouts and then allowed a career-best game to Jermaine Kearse a week ago), Jamison Crowder (these Washington players all read the same, but I’m willing to come back to the well here in this matchup at home. Crowder will lineup in the slot against T.J. Carrie, if he can’t contribute here, then we may have to throw in the towel), Chris Thompson (he’s scored three touchdowns on just 13 touches, which is far from sustainable, but remains a flex option with upside if he can work his way into more rushing opportunity), Michael Crabtree (with Norman not shadowing receivers this year, he will find Crabtree more than Cooper, but that doesn't mean you have to run all the way away from Crabtree as he moves around enough to make noise on his own and carries the red zone usage), Jordan Reed (he’s had two dreadful matchups out of the blocks, but still managed five receptions in each. This week he gets an Oakland team that allowed over 1,000 yards to tight ends a year ago and 7-76 to Delanie Walker in Week 1. The issue is he once again is not entering the week 100 percent healthy.)
Cowboys @ Cardinals
|40.5%||18||Opp. Rush %||40.3%||17|
|59.5%||15||Opp. Pass %||59.7%||16|
- The Cardinals haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 3 of last season (15 games), the longest streak in the league.
- Dez Bryant's 4.1 yards per target currently ranks 55th of 60 wide receivers with double-digit targets.
- Bryant's 25 targets are the most he's ever had over his first two games of any season.
- Jason Witten's 30.8 percent of team receiving yards leads all tight ends.
- Week 2 Arizona running back snaps: Andre Ellington (30), Kerwynn Williams (18), Chris Johnson (17).
- Over the past five games dating back to last season, J.J. Nelson leads the Cardinals in targets (43), receiving yards (408) and receiving touchdowns (four) with 22 receptions.
- Over that same span, Larry Fitzgerald has caught 25-of-39 targets for 226 yards with one touchdown.
Bust: Arizona RBs (even coming off watching Dallas get run all over a week ago, this is a timeshare that you still cannot place any faith in), Dez Bryant (he’s going to be locked up with Patrick Peterson all night, but the positive news through all his tough matchups to start is that Prescott has not been afraid to keep coming towards him with opportunity), Cole Beasley (Arizona is their weakest versus slot receivers, but Beasley has finished outside of the top-40 scoring receivers in eight straight games)
Reasonable Return: Ezekiel Elliott (Arizona has yet to face a real running game yet this year, but allowed the fewest points to backfield in 2016. They can also play a similar game plan to what Dallas faced a week ago, which could cause frustration in the run game again. Still, we should expect him to hit double-digit yardage on the ground and Elliott has at least four catches in each game), Carson Palmer (after two early start road games, Palmer will get to finally come against a defense that we knew that was not as solid as their Week 1 performance. I wouldn’t expect Palmer to find top-5 success, but expect him to finish as QB10-15 as Arizona is completely one dimensional on offense), Larry Fitzgerald (it was disappointing to see his target totals drop so far in Week 2, but given that we’ve now seen back to back teams attack the Colts in the same area of the field, his involvement as the third wheel in that game makes sense. Tack on that Dallas will still be without nickel corner Orlando Scandrick this week and I’d expect Fitzgerald to bounce back towards double-digit targets), Jaron Brown (his 11 targets appear induced by a game plan that each team has incorporated against the Colts, and he still only reeled in four of those look, but he has been on the field 75 percent of the Arizona snaps so far and they cannot run the football), Dak Prescott (he’s been the QB12 and the QB11 in two of the toughest matchups you can find, and Arizona is prone to allowing rushing yardage to opposing passers given the aggressiveness style of their defense), Jason Witten (you can’t keep expecting touchdowns, but both of the opening two games have invited targets to come to Witten and with Bryant expected to have his hands full again in this game, Witten should be in line for another decent outing again while Arizona allowed nine receptions for 99 yards a week ago to Indianapolis tight ends)
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