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The Worksheet

The NFL Week 3 Worksheet

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

We’re officially three weeks into the young season and after a promising Week 1 when scoring picked up from where we left off in 2017, Week 2 doubled down as teams went bonkers in the passing game. Week 2 saw NFL passers post the highest quarterback rating (102.6) over any week in NFL history as we’ve now seen 37 more passing touchdowns at this point of the season than we did through two weeks a year ago. We’ve even had four more rushing scores as all tides have risen, but after a downtrodden passing season a year ago, quarterback and wide receiver scoring has made a significant rebound to kick off the season.

 

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

 

As the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is an expectations-based column over a linear start/sit forum. The labels for each subset of players for each game is simply the vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player. Players that are high performers week-to-week are held to different standards than a secondary option in an offense. Every player runs into down weeks, and we’re trying to identify those moments, even for the star players you’re going to ride through thick and thin moments that don’t tally many low points during the season. That said, we’re still embracing some of the elements that will go along with a start/sit column as a byproduct of those expectations. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process.  Remember, you control your own team. If you are curious as to my personal weekly rankings, they can be found each and every week in the Season Pass section.

 

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Jets @ Browns


NY Jets Rank @ Cleveland Rank
3   Spread 3  
18.0   Implied Total 21.0  
30.0 7 Points/Gm 19.5 25
18.5 6 Points All./Gm 21.0 13
61.0 22 Plays/Gm 72.5 4
62.5 15 Opp. Plays/Gm 70.5 28
45.1% 7 Rush% 44.8% 8
54.9% 26 Pass% 55.2% 25
36.8% 11 Opp. Rush % 41.1% 19
63.2% 22 Opp. Pass % 58.9% 14

 

  • Cleveland's eight takeaways are the most in the NFL and their most as a franchise through two weeks since 2001.
  • The Browns have scored on just 2-of-8 drives after a takeaway, the lowest rate for any team with more than three takeaways to start the season.
  • The Browns lead the league in number of drives to cross midfield (18) but have scored on just seven of those possessions (38.9%), 31st in the league through two weeks.
  • The Browns have run just six plays inside of the red zone, the fewest in the league.
  • The Jets have converted just 1-of-6 (16.7 percent) red zone trips into touchdowns, the lowest rate through two weeks.
  • Quincy Enunwa's 21 targets are the most by a Jets player through two weeks since Laveranues Coles (22) in 2006.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Jarvis Landry: He’s dealing with a minor knee injury on a short week, but he’s still one of the safest-floor wideouts, catching at least five passes now in 19 straight games and has a high ceiling in this one facing off against Buster Skrine, who has allowed 9-of-12 passes to be completed in his coverage for 119 yards and a touchdown through two games.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Carlos Hyde: Although he’s averaging just 2.9 yards per touch, his 40 touches are tied for sixth in the league. His efficiency should be low once again against a Jets front allowing just 3.4 YPC to backs to start the season, but as a home favorite, his volume should remain intact.
  • Tyrod Taylor: A potentially low-scoring Thursday game is never a spot to chase a ceiling week, but his legs are always a factor in creating a usable floor while he has familiarity versus this defense, finishing as a QB1 in four consecutive games versus the Jets.
  • Quincy Enunwa: He’s not on the level of wideouts that have given the Browns trouble through two weeks, but Enunwa is one of just 10 wideouts to see double-digit targets in each of the first two games.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Sam Darnold: His promising start has netted just QB18 and QB27 results for fantasy purposes while both Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees underperformed versus the Browns.
  • Antonio Callaway: His game last week can be a building block and he should be added in all formats, but he’s still just a hold as he had just one catch on two targets through 58 minutes a week ago.
  • Duke Johnson: He has just 11 touches total through two games and the projected game script here should keep that touch total depressed.
  • Isaiah Crowell: He only has 10 and 14 touches through two games in this timeshare and doesn’t have the receiving background to keep him elevated if things off script like they did a week ago.
  • Robby Anderson: He’s been out-targeted by Enunwa 21-6 through two weeks and we’re not at a point where we can expect Darnold to support multiple wideout options weekly.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • David Njoku: He’s turned in back-to-back duds, but still has ranked second on the team in targets with seven in each of those games. At a paper-thin position such as tight end, his opportunity and talent are still enough to keep him in play as a streaming option.
  • Bilal Powell: He’s nothing more than a FLEX option but is the back that is least impacted by game flow, already out-targeting Crowell 8-3 through two weeks while the Browns have allowed 3.7 YPC to opposing backfields, but 12 catches for 114 yards and 50+yards receiving to both Alvin Kamara and James Conner through two weeks.

 

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Bills @ Vikings


Buffalo Rank @ Minnesota Rank
16.5   Spread -16.5  
12.3   Implied Total 28.8  
11.5 31 Points/Gm 26.5 10
39.0 32 Points All./Gm 22.5 17
60.5 24 Plays/Gm 69.5 7
64.5 19 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.5 21
36.4% 23 Rush% 36.0% 25
63.6% 10 Pass% 64.0% 8
46.5% 27 Opp. Rush % 37.4% 14
53.5% 6 Opp. Pass % 62.6% 19

 

  • The Bills have allowed a touchdown on 40 percent of their opponent's possessions, the highest rate in the league.
  • The Vikings have allowed a touchdown on 2-of-24 possessions (8.3 percent), the second-best rate in the league behind the Rams (4.8 percent).
  • Kirk Cousins' six touchdown passes are the most by a Minnesota quarterback through two games since Daunte Culpepper in 2004.
  • Stefon Diggs leads wide receivers in fantasy scoring over Weeks 1-2 over the past three seasons, catching 37 passes for 586 yards and six touchdowns in those six games.
  • Diggs is the first Vikings receiver to catch a touchdown pass in five straight regular season games since Randy Moss in 2010.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Kirk Cousins/Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen: All of the major players in the passing game are a green light as usual against the defense that has allowed the most touchdowns (10) in the league through two games.
  • Latavius Murray: With Cook now inactive, Murray will walk into a great spot and workload as the largest home favorite on the board against a defense that has allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs over the first two weeks.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Kyle Rudolph: He saw a significant target spike last week that was aided by Minnesota chasing the scoreboard but remains one of the better bets to potentially score at his position while the Vikings are may not having a higher team total this season.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • All Bills: There will be weeks to use Josh Allen as a streamer with his rushing ability, but on the road against a Mike Zimmer defense isn’t a spot to get cute and with LeSean McCoy nursing a rib injury, there’s no tangible volume to chase among the skill players in this tough matchup.

 

Giants @ Texans

 

NY Giants Rank @ Houston Rank
6   Spread -6  
17.8   Implied Total 23.8  
14.0 30 Points/Gm 18.5 26
20.0 10 Points All./Gm 23.5 19
64.5 16 Plays/Gm 66.5 11
56.0 3 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.5 18
31.0% 30 Rush% 45.1% 6
69.0% 3 Pass% 54.9% 27
47.3% 28 Opp. Rush % 50.4% 30
52.7% 5 Opp. Pass % 49.6% 3

 

  • The Giants and Texans are two of four teams (Arizona and Buffalo the others) that have not run a snap with the lead yet through two weeks.
  • The Giants are the only team in the league to run 100 percent of their offensive plays while trailing.
  • Saquon Barkley has accounted for 36.2 percent of the Giants offensive yardage, the highest share for a running back in the league.
  • Barkley is the first Giants rookie ever to have over 100-yards from scrimmage in each of his first two career games and their first running back to do so in each of the first two weeks of a season since Derrick Ward in 2007.
  • The Giants average just 2.6 yards per play on first down, the fewest in the league (league average is 5.6 yards).
  • In five career games played with Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller has caught 21-of-31 targets for 392 yards and eight touchdowns. He has finished as the WR6, WR8, WR21, WR3 and WR6 those weeks.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, Deshaun Watson has been under pressure for 47.6 percent of his dropbacks, the highest rate in the league.
  • The Giants have a 1.7 percent sack rate through two weeks, the lowest rate in the league.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Deshaun Watson: He bounced back with a top-10 week last weekend and the majority of his early-season issues have stemmed from the Houston offensive line allowing so much heat, something the defensive front for the Giants has not done much of to start the season without Olivier Vernon absent from the lineup.
  • DeAndre Hopkins: He’s still been a target monster, collecting 11 targets in each week.
  • Will Fuller: The regression police will still eventually come calling on him for catching a touchdown once every 3.9 targets from Watson, but his opportunity and yardage also continue to rise, having 113 and 125 yards on 13 catches over his last two full games with Watson.
  • Saquon Barkley: The efficiency hasn’t been there outside of one long run Week 1, but he has 20 and 25 touches in each of the opening two games with a high-receiving floor, which is why he’s been a top-12 option each week.
  • Odell Beckham: Last week was the sixth time in seven games that he was held under 100-yards by the Cowboys, but he still commanded nine targets and runs into a softer secondary with 34-year old Johnathan Joseph and Johnson Bademosi starting on the perimeter.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Lamar Miller: Houston has played continuously from behind to start the year, but that highlights one of Miller’s biggest bugaboos of getting over the RB2 hump. He has just four targets through two weeks after ranking dead last target rate per route run for running backs in 2017.
  • Evan Engram: His 14.8 percent target share is still lower than where it was last year when Beckham was in the lineup, but he saw seven targets a week ago and Houston ran into facing a Tennessee offense that was without Delanie Walker last week after allowing a huge week to Rob Gronkowski in Week 1.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Eli Manning: A road dog attached to a lowly team total that has turned in QB27 and QB26 starts to the year. His weapons haven’t been enough to carry over a bottom-10 option.
  • Sterling Shepard: Has started off with just eight catches for 72 yards while he’ll draw the toughest individual assignment in the slot against Aaron Colvin.

 

Packers @ Washington

 

Green Bay Rank @ Washington Rank
-3   Spread 3  
24.5   Implied Total 21.5  
26.5 11 Points/Gm 16.5 27
26.0 23 Points All./Gm 13.5 2
64.5 15 Plays/Gm 73.0 3
67.0 23 Opp. Plays/Gm 55.5 2
32.6% 26 Rush% 43.8% 11
67.4% 7 Pass% 56.2% 22
33.6% 6 Opp. Rush % 38.7% 18
66.4% 27 Opp. Pass % 61.3% 15

 

  • Just 9.2 percent of Alex Smith's throws have been 15-yards or further downfield, the lowest rate in the league through two weeks. 18.5 percent of his throws in 2017 were of that variety.
  • Chris Thompson averages 85.4 yards from scrimmage over his 12 games played since the start of last season. That ranks 11th of all running backs to play more than two games over that span. 
  • 28 of Adrian Peterson's 42 touches have come when Washington has either been tied or had the lead.
  • With Aaron Rodger's injury, Green Bay has run 93.8 percent of their offensive plays out of the shotgun, the highest rate in the league.
  • Washington is allowing 8.1 yards per pass completion, the fewest in the league.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Chris Thompson: he’s second among running backs in receptions through two weeks and now has been a top-12 fantasy option in 8-of-12 games dating back to last season.
  • Aaron Rodgers: We knew the fantasy points would be suppressed a week ago against a Minnesota defense that has steadily limited his ceiling and coming off his injury. But he still was 30-42 for 281 yards and made it through the game with hiccups dealing with his knee. Although the Washington pass defense has gotten off to a good start, they haven’t been challenged down the field by either Sam Bradford or Andrew Luck to start, something Rodgers will do.
  • Davante Adams: He’s now scored in four straight games dating back to last season and saw 12 targets against man-to-man coverage with Xavier Rhodes last week.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Jordan Reed: He’s being used as a security blanket rather than an offensive weapon with a 5.7 yard depth of target, leaving him as a floor play when he fails to find the zone.
  • Alex Smith: One of the highest floor quarterback since he can use his legs and rarely loses points with turnovers, he should bounce back as a high-QB2 as he hasn’t gone back to back games without a passing touchdown since 2014.
  • Randall Cobb: His struggles versus the Vikings continued, but is back on the WR3 board this week against Fabian Moreau on the interior, who allowed Larry Fitzgerald to post a 7-76 line in Week 1.
  • Jimmy Graham: Finally got involved with 19.1 percent of the team targets last week, but still has yet to draw a red zone target on the season, which we know are on their way.
  • Jamaal Williams: His 3.5 yards per touch haven’t inspired, but that came against two strong defenses in Chicago and Minnesota while he still has 34-of-44 backfield touches. With the Packers forced to play so much in the shotgun, his pass protection should keep him on the field with Aaron Jones returning and Washington is 24th in yards per carry allowed to backfields to start the season.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Adrian Peterson: his viability is contingent on game script, something that proved false chasing at home a week ago, while the Packers have allowed the fifth-fewest rushing points to backfields to start the season.
  • Washington WRs: As a group they rank 29th in collective wide receiver scoring with a high scoring individual week at WR53 from Paul Richardson as Smith has peppered targets to Thompson and Reed firsthand.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • Geronimo Allison: His ownership levels still are far too low for someone who has weekly FLEX value and has caught 11-of-14 targets through two weeks with WR20 and WR42 scoring weeks.

 

49ers @ Chiefs

 

San Francisco Rank @ Kansas City Rank
6   Spread -6  
25.0   Implied Total 31.0  
23.0 17 Points/Gm 40.0 1
25.5 22 Points All./Gm 32.5 29
60.5 23 Plays/Gm 54.5 30
72.0 30 Opp. Plays/Gm 74.0 31
43.8% 12 Rush% 47.7% 3
56.2% 21 Pass% 52.3% 30
34.7% 8 Opp. Rush % 23.7% 1
65.3% 25 Opp. Pass % 76.4% 32

 

  • The 80 points scored by the Chiefs are their second-most in franchise history through two weeks.
  • Patrick Mahomes' 10 passing touchdowns are the most ever through two weeks of a season.
  • Mahomes is just the second Kansas City quarterback to throw four or more touchdowns in back to back games, joining Len Dawson in 1964.
  • Through two games, Kareem Hunt has been targeted on just 2-of-33 routes (6.1 percent). He was targeted on 20.5 percent of his routes during his rookie season.
  • The Chiefs have had the lead for 86.2 percent of their offensive snaps so far through two weeks, the highest rate in the league.
  • Opponents have attempted 111 pass attempts through two weeks, tied with the 2013 Broncos for the most ever through two weeks in a season.
  • Kansas City is allowing 46.9 yards per possession to opposing offenses, the most in the league.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Patrick Mahomes: The biggest thing that happened last week was him completing 13-of-17 passes to Kelce and Watkins rather than relying on Hill. If everyone is going to get going in this offense, then his ceiling is going to be huge while he gets a defense that has allowed two top-10 scoring weeks to quarterbacks to start the season.
  • Tyreek Hill: He has caught just four of his 16 career touchdowns playing at home, but he has double-digit points in nine straight games dating back to last year while the 49ers have allowed five different wideouts to post 14 or more points through two games.
  • Sammy Watkins: Got on track a week ago with 100 yards on six catches and missed another long touchdown on an overthrow. The 49ers have allowed five different wideouts to post WR3 games or better with 14 or more points through two games.
  • Travis Kelce: The 49ers get Rueben Foster back, who was one the best defenders in coverage a year ago, but we’re fully invested into the entire Kansas City passing game this week.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo: San Francisco didn’t ask him to do much a week ago with just 26 pass attempts, but they won’t have that luxury this week while chasing points. Kansas City has faced 60 and 51 pass attempts through two weeks while surrendering the QB1 and QB3 overall in fantasy those weeks. Garoppolo doesn’t have the receiving units that have roasted the Chiefs those weeks, but the volume plus scheme make him a strong QB1 option in a great matchup as he’s posted 7.9 yards per attempt in each of his opening two games.
  • George Kittle: Last week was a reminder that he still has an uncomfortable floor, but he still played 50 snaps after playing 51 in Week 1, the 49ers just took the air out of the ball. With Garoppolo in such a good spot, all of the pieces here are worth a look and the Chiefs just allowed Jesse James and Vance McDonald to catch 8-of-8 targets for 164 yards and a touchdown.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Kareem Hunt: The Chiefs have 10 passing touchdowns to zero rushing touchdowns, which will surely flip to more scores on the ground if they continue to score at this pace, but the hang-up for Hunt right now is that his lack of involvement in the passing game has made him more touchdown dependent than his skillset warrants.
  • Matt Breida: This game sets up to push Alfred Morris out of the picture early while Breida has also been a far more effective back, out-producing Morris 210 yards to 118 through two games and still has him beat if you want to remove his 66-yard touchdown run a week ago.
  • Marquise Goodwin/Dante Pettis/Pierre Garcon: Everyone is worth consideration against a secondary that has allowed 40 receptions and four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers through two games. Pettis is dependent on the availability of Goodwin, but he ran just one fewer pass route (29-28) than Garcon last week with Goodwin absent.

 

Raiders @ Dolphins


Oakland Rank @ Miami Rank
3   Spread -3  
20.5   Implied Total 23.5  
16.0 28 Points/Gm 23.5 13
26.5 24 Points All./Gm 16.0 4
62.0 20 Plays/Gm 58.0 29
62.0 14 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.0 20
40.3% 15 Rush% 51.7% 1
59.7% 18 Pass% 48.3% 32
43.6% 22 Opp. Rush % 36.9% 12
56.5% 11 Opp. Pass % 63.1% 21

 

  • The Dolphins are 9-1 over Ryan Tannehill's past 10 starts and are 8-2 against the spread in those games.
  • The Raiders are 11-6 versus the spread in early start times since Derek Carr joined the team in 2014.
  • Tannehill has completed 78.9 percent (30-of-38) of his passes from the shotgun this season trailing only Drew Brees (84.6 percent) through two weeks.
  • The Raiders are allowing 132.5 rushing yards and 5.8 yards per carry to opposing backfields through two games, ahead of only Detroit in both categories.
  • Oakland has scored just seven points in the second half through two games, ahead of only the Cardinals through two weeks.
  • Completing 29-of-32 passes (90.6 percent) in Week 2, Derek Carr was the first quarterback to ever complete 90 percent of his passes with more than 26 pass attempts in a game.
  • Oakland ranks second in completion rate when targeting wide receivers (48.9 percent) while Miami ranks third (51.2 percent) through two weeks.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Kenyan Drake: the matchup is great as Oakland has been gashed for 113 and 152 yards on the ground by opposing backfields, but Drake is still hedging work to Frank Gore, totaling 17 and 15 touches in games that the Dolphins have controlled throughout.
  • Amari Cooper: He’s already off to his boom-or-bust ways, seeing three targets in Week 1 and then 10 in week 2, but his versatility in usage is promising as he’s already run 26 routes from the slot after running just 96 routes from the inside all of 2017.
  • Jared Cook: He went from 30 percent of the team targets to 12.5 percent but is still a lower-TE1 option against a defense that plays the boundaries well.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Ryan Tannehill: His play warrants more excitement in reality than fantasy, He’ll have good odds at throwing multiple touchdowns for a third straight game, but with Miami projected to lead once again, volume is once again projected to be limited. He’s thrown just 28 and 23 times over the opening two weeks while ranking 27th in passing yardage.
  • Derek Carr: Like Tannehill, his strong game last week just didn’t have the rollover to fantasy as he was the QB20, the 11th consecutive week that he’s been the QB15 or lower.
  • Marshawn Lynch: He has just 117 yards from scrimmage on 33 touches but has found the end zone each week to cover that inefficiency. While this matchup is better than the two he had to begin the season, we’re still not excited to draw attachment to a road dog going across country for an early game.
  • Jordy Nelson: He has had 35 receiving yards or fewer in 11 consecutive games dating back to last season.
  • Miami WRs: Kenny Stills is the one guy you’re looking at here, but Miami hasn’t thrown hardly at all while giving four different wideouts between 8-11 targets through two games before even factoring in that DeVante Parker should be back in the fold this week.

 

Colts @ Eagles


Indianapolis Rank @ Philadelphia Rank
6.5   Spread -6.5  
20.5   Implied Total 27.0  
22.0 18 Points/Gm 19.5 24
21.5 14 Points All./Gm 19.5 9
68.5 8 Plays/Gm 69.5 6
60.5 9 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.5 11
36.5% 22 Rush% 36.7% 21
63.5% 11 Pass% 63.3% 12
34.7% 7 Opp. Rush % 33.3% 5
65.3% 26 Opp. Pass % 66.7% 28

 

  • Andrew Luck is averaging 8.3 yards per completion, ahead of only Sam Bradford (6.6) for quarterbacks that have started both games so far.
  • Marlon Mack returned to play 18 snaps in Week 2 while Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins played 24 snaps each.
  • Mack had a touch or target on 66.7 percent of those snaps, which was the third-highest rate for a running back in Week 2.
  • 39 percent of the rushing attempts versus the Eagles have failed to gain yardage, the highest rate in the league.
  • 60.2 percent of Jay Ajayi's fantasy output has been produced through touchdowns, the highest rate through two weeks.
  • Nelson Agholor's 22 targets (26.9 percent of the team total) are double from the 11 targets that he had after two games in 2017.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Zach Ertz: He leads all tight ends in targets with 23 through two weeks and was a top-10 scoring option in 9-of-11 games with Wentz on the field a year ago)
  • Nelson Agholor: This passing game has been forced to run through just he and Ertz. He has at least eight receptions in each of the first two games while he is tied with Ertz for the team lead in red zone targets (20) since the start of last season.
  • Corey Clement: With both Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles’ availability for Sunday doubtful, Clement could find himself in a backfield with rookie Josh Adams and Wendell Smallwood. Clement had 85 yards on just 11 touches last week and with the Eagles still heavy home favorites, they may not lean on Wentz as they would’ve right away while the Colts have allowed 22 receptions for 187 yards through two weeks to opposing backfields.
  • T.Y. Hilton: He’s found the end zone in each of the opening two weeks of the season with 11 targets each week while the Eagles have allowed three top-12 scoring wide receivers through two games, allowing big weeks to each opposing team’s top target in Julio Jones (10-169-0) and Mike Evans (10-83-1).

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  •  Eric Ebron : He gets a bump in snap and target share with Jack Doyle looking doubtful while he has scored in both games to open the season and has scored in four his past five games dating back to last season.

Bust (underperformance)


  • Carson Wentz: If you’ve followed this article throughout the years, you’ll know that I express pessimism for anticipating ceiling games for quarterbacks returning from long injury layoffs. Wentz was a quarterback that was due touchdown regression, has his initial rushing ability compromised and returns to an offense that really only has two tangible receiving threats.
  • Colts RBs: The Eagles are not a run defense we target, already ranking first in yards per carry (2.7 YPC) allowed to running backs after ranking fourth in 2017. Nyheim Hines is a deeper PPR play, but with so many better catch-only backs on the board, it's hard to vault him up to someone you have to get into lineups.
  • Andrew Luck: This new offense has helped in getting the ball out of Luck’s hands quickly, but hardly been lucrative for fantasy as Luck ranks 20th in passing points per attempt to begin the season.

 

Titans @ Jaguars

 

Tennessee Rank @ Jacksonville Rank
6.5   Spread -6.5  
16.5   Implied Total 23.0  
20.0 23 Points/Gm 25.5 12
22.0 16 Points All./Gm 17.5 5
62.0 21 Plays/Gm 65.5 12
60.0 8 Opp. Plays/Gm 61.5 13
50.8% 2 Rush% 39.7% 18
49.2% 31 Pass% 60.3% 15
45.8% 25 Opp. Rush % 38.2% 16
54.2% 8 Opp. Pass % 61.8% 17

 

  • The Titans have played 69 snaps tied or with the lead. Derrick Henry has out-touched Dion Lewis 24-14 on those snaps.
  • They've trailed for 55 snaps and Lewis has out-touched Henry to 22-5 with five of his six receptions.
  • Opposing passers have averaged 11.7 yards per depth of target versus the Titans through two weeks, the highest rate in the league.
  • Opposing teams have targeted wide receivers on 76.3 percent of their throws against Tennessee and wideouts have 86.9 percent of the receiving yardage, both are the highest rates through two weeks.
  • Blake Bortles has been sacked just once on 79 dropbacks (1.3 percent), the fewest in the league.
  • In four games without Leonard Fournette active, Bortles has averaged 323 passing yards (with over 300-yards passing in three games) and 22.6 fantasy points per game with nine touchdowns and one interception.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Blake Bortles: Playing Bortles himself is the easiest path to avoiding sorting out the wide receivers here and he should be another solid streaming play at home this week against a defense that has started the season off 23rd in passing points allowed per attempt that only gets bumped if Fournette is held out once again.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Keelan Cole/Donte Moncrief/Dede Westbrook: This is going to be a gaggle all season long given that Moncrief and Cole have 12 targets and Westbrook has 11, but all are WR3 options against a defense that is 27th in points allowed per target to opposing wideouts to start the season.
  • Dion Lewis: He’s the only Tennessee player worth consideration given his ability to stack up receptions against a team that allowed seven catches to James White a week ago.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Derrick Henry: His usage can only be counted on when game script allows, which we can’t count on here and even when it does like last week, this offensive line has too many injuries and the quarterback play is too weak to expect points.
  • Corey Davis:  His 20 targets have resulted in WR42 and WR51 scoring weeks while he’ll draw the best secondary in the league attached to poor quarterback play.
  • TEN QB: Whether or not it’s Marcus Mariota or Blaine Gabbert, this is a clear avoid spot on the road.
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins: A touchdown or bust option, he has posted just 25 and 23 yards receiving through two weeks and has reached 30 yards in a game just once over his past 11.

 
If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


 

  • T.J. Yeldon/Corey Grant: With Fournette inactive, both move into the RB3/FLEX range. Yeldon is banged up himself, so Grant should be considered in the Austin Ekeler-range.

 
 

Bengals @ Panthers

 

Cincinnati Rank @ Carolina Rank
3   Spread -3  
20.3   Implied Total 23.3  
34.0 4 Points/Gm 20.0 22
23.0 18 Points All./Gm 19.5 8
60.0 25 Plays/Gm 63.0 18
79.0 32 Opp. Plays/Gm 58.5 6
40.0% 16 Rush% 39.7% 19
60.0% 17 Pass% 60.3% 14
27.9% 3 Opp. Rush % 46.2% 26
72.2% 30 Opp. Pass % 53.9% 7

 

  • Christian McCaffrey's 100 receptions are the most for a running back through his first 18 career games played -surpassing Reggie Bush (98)- and are tied for the fifth-most for any player through that amount of games played to start a career.
  • Cam Newton has six rushes of 10 or more yards, the most of any player through two weeks.
  • The Bengals are currently third in the league in points per play (.567). They ranked 23rd in that category in 2017 (.313).
  • Andy Dalton ranks fourth in the league in passing points per attempt (.605) after ranking 17th in 2017 (.421).
  • In the four games that Joe Mixon missed outright or played 17 or fewer snaps Weeks 13-16 in 2017, Giovani Bernard averaged 19.8 touches for 109.3 yards from scrimmage per game. He was the RB25, RB14, RB19 and the RB3 over that span.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Giovani Bernard: He was a locked in RB2 when Mixon was sidelined last season on a team circling the drain and has the receiving the ability to not be scripted out of the game while the Panthers have hardly been dominant defending the run to begin the season, ranking 30th in yards per carry (5.4 yards) to opposing backfields through two weeks.
  • Christian McCaffrey: He’s been relegated to a one-dimensional option in production as he has 18 carries for 87 yards on the ground to begin the season, but he’s played 85 percent and 94 percent of the snaps while receiving a jarring 35.2 percent of the Carolina passing targets. The Bengals have struggled to guard backs in space, allowing 10 catches for 54 yards Week 1 to the Colts backfield and then eight catches for 91 yards to the Baltimore backfield in Week 2 and will still be without the suspended Vontaze Burfict.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Cam Newton: He shouldn’t be expected to scoreboard chase like he did a week ago but will face off at home against a Bengal defense that has already allowed the QB12 and QB13 to start the season to Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco.
  • Andy Dalton: he has now thrown multiple touchdowns in three straight games dating back to last season and has thrown multiple touchdowns in 11-of-16 games since Bill Lazor took over as offensive coordinator a year ago, which is tied for second in the league over that span.
  • A.J. Green:  precepting him to keep the touchdown pace he’s on is a lot to ask and his target share (24.3 percent) is lower out of the gates than it was over the previous two seasons, but there’s no major threat in the Carolina secondary, who will ask James Bradberry to follow him around on Sunday.
  • Devin Funchess: He’s now posted 14.2 points per game with Greg Olsen out of the lineup with at least five catchers or a touchdown in four straight with Olsen inactive.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Tyler Eifert: He’s trending upwards as he ran 30 pass routes in Week 2 after just 16 snaps in route Week 1, but he’s sharing time with both Tyler Kroft (11 routes) an C.J. Uzomah (15 routes) still enough to make him a touchdown or bust option until the targets start heading in his direction.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • Tyler Boyd: A deep PPR FLEX, he’s received 17.9 percent and 21.4 percent of the Cincinnati targets through two games and although the Panthers didn’t allow anything tangible to the slot through the slot a week ago, they did allow a WR30 scoring week to the slot restricted Cole Beasley in Week 1.
  • Ian Thomas: Only for the most desperate, he only received three targets last week, but ran 43 pass routes last week filling in for Greg Olsen and dropped a would-be touchdown. The Bengals have allowed 12-124-1 to Indianapolis tight ends in Week 1 and 8-74-1 to Baltimore tight ends in Week 2.

 

Broncos @ Ravens


Denver Rank @ Baltimore Rank
5   Spread -5  
19.0   Implied Total 24.0  
23.5 15 Points/Gm 35.0 3
21.5 15 Points All./Gm 18.5 7
68.0 9 Plays/Gm 77.5 1
57.5 5 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.5 22
44.1% 9 Rush% 36.1% 24
55.9% 24 Pass% 63.9% 9
37.4% 13 Opp. Rush % 38.2% 15
62.6% 20 Opp. Pass % 61.8% 18

 

  • Phillip Lindsay is the first Broncos player to ever have over 100 yards from scrimmage in his first two career games and the first undrafted player in NFL history to do so.
  • Lindsay led the Denver backfield with 28 snaps played in Week 2, compared to 22 for Devontae Booker and 16 for Royce Freeman.
  • Lindsay has 15 carries of five or more yards, trailing only Joe Mixon (18) through two weeks.
  • Freeman has rushed 10 times for 28 yards in the first half this season as opposed to 13 times for 71 yards in the second half.
  • Demaryius Thomas has 25 percent of the Denver receptions, but just 14.7 percent of their receiving yardage, the largest gap in production for any wide receiver through two weeks.
  • Joe Flacco has been in the top half of QB scoring in seven consecutive games played, the longest streak in the league.
  • After ranking 10th in fantasy points allowed per target to opposing wide receivers in 2017, Denver has started the season out 25th versus the Seahawks and Raiders.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Joe Flacco: He’s on one the steadiest runs of his career, carrying over his strong finish in 2017 to start the season off as the QB7 and the QB13 while the Broncos have hardly been the passing defense of yesterday, ranking 30th in completion rate and 30th in yards per attempt allowed to begin the season.
  • John Brown: He was the talk of camp and that has spilled into the regular season. While we can’t count on a touchdown every week, the Broncos haven’t been the wide receiver nuking defense that we once knew them as, allowing three WR3 or better scoring weeks through two games.
  • Emmanuel Sanders: He has reeled in 14-of-15 targets so far for 231 yards, but the fact that he received just four targets last week and that Keenum should be expected to be lackluster here, has him as a floor play firsthand with the upside for more inside against Tavon Young who was torched inside a week ago by Bengals receivers a week ago for six catches, 80 yards and two touchdowns in his coverage.
  • Phillip Lindsay: This isn’t a spot to expect him to provide a lot of rushing value as a road dog, but his snap rate rose from 35 percent to 42 percent while he’s led the Denver backfield in touches in each of the opening two games.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Alex Collins: he’s still in play as a FLEX coming in as a home favorite but has just eight and 12 touches through two games while the Broncos have started off 2017 10th in total yardage allowed to backfields after ranking third in that department a year ago.
  • Michael Crabtree: He’s opened the season as WR41 and WR50 and now hasn’t topped 60-yards receiving in nine consecutive games dating back to last season.
  • Case Keenum: Another passer attached to a low team total as a underdog, the Ravens have allowed just three top-12 scoring quarterbacks in Baltimore over their past 17 home games dating back to the start of the 2016 season.
  • Demaryius Thomas: He has double-digit targets in each of the opening two games, so we can’t write him off completely with that type of volume, but he’s only a FLEX option this week in a game where Keenum may struggle to provide numbers. So far, he’s turned 21 targets into just 81 yards receiving while Emmanuel Sanders has been a far better option and Courtland Sutton is on his way to earning more targets.
  • Royce Freeman: It’s hard to reach on him as a road dog with Lindsay surging and Freeman looking 100 percent game script and goal line dependent.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • Javorius Allen: He’s a rushing liability unless he falls into the end zone, but he has outscored Collins in each of the first two games on equal touches while out-snapping him 72-69 and running more pass routes (46-36) so far on the season.

 

Saints @ Falcons

 

New Orleans Rank @ Atlanta Rank
3   Spread -3  
25.0   Implied Total 28.0  
30.5 6 Points/Gm 21.5 20
33.0 30 Points All./Gm 21.0 12
60.0 27 Plays/Gm 62.5 19
61.0 10 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.5 17
30.0% 31 Rush% 40.0% 17
70.0% 2 Pass% 60.0% 16
50.0% 29 Opp. Rush % 34.9% 9
50.0% 4 Opp. Pass % 65.1% 24

 

  • Michael Thomas' 28 receptions are the most ever through the first two weeks of a season, surpassing the 26 receptions that Andre Rison had to open the 1994 season.
  • Thomas is the first player to have 12 or more receptions and a touchdown in back to back games since Drew Bennett in 2004.
  • Thomas has been targeted on 37.9 percent of his routes, the highest rate in the league.
  • Just 22.2 percent (8-of-36) of the New Orleans rushing attempts have gained five or more yards, the lowest rate in the league to start the season.
  • Just 14 percent of the offensive yardage gained by New Orleans has been via rushing, the lowest rate in the league.
  • The Saints are averaging just 1.4 yards per play on third down, fewest in the league through two weeks.
  • New Orleans is allowing 8.2 yards per play on third downs defensively, the most in the league through two weeks.
  • In the four games that Tevin Coleman has played over 60 percent of the team snaps over the past two years, he has averaged 20.3 touches for 92 total yards and 16.7 fantasy points.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Alvin Kamara: He’s done little on the ground but has the third-most receiving points out of all running backs, which is the best way to target this Atlanta defense in the first place out of the backfield. In their first game without Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, the Falcons allowed 14 catches for 102 yards to Christian McCaffrey.
  • Michael Thomas: This offense is a two-man game and Thomas has added a high ceiling to a safe floor because of it with 30 targets through two games. He’s also tormented the Falcons, catching 31-of-44 targets for 410 yards and three touchdowns in four career games versus Atlanta.
  • Julio Jones: He now has failed to score 45 consecutive receptions in regular season dating back to last season but failing to score didn’t stop him from roasting Marshon Lattimore and the Saints a year ago as he posted lines of 5-98 and 7-149.
  • Tevin Coleman: He tallied 20 touches for 125 yards a week ago, finishing as the RB13 without a touchdown. At home in another potentially high-scoring game, he’s a must start.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Drew Brees: This team is completely one-dimensional once again as they are 31st in rushing rate, but that hasn’t translated into major ceiling success for Brees typically in Atlanta. He’s been a QB1 in just 2-of-6 games versus the Falcons since Dan Quinn joined the team with two or fewer touchdowns in five of those games.
  • Matt Ryan: The Saints pass defense was a lot better in Week 2 than in Week 1, but the same applies to Ryan who found his grove by spreading the ball around more than he did in Week 1. Unfortunately for Ryan, just having a high team total hasn’t been a skeleton key to huge performances. In 12 games since 2012 with an implied team total of 28 or more points, he’s delivered just three QB1 finishes.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Ted Ginn: Last week we mentioned him thriving more at home as he’s averaged just 9.4 points per game on the road with the Saints and has been a WR3 or better in just three of those eight games.
  • Austin Hooper: He found the end zone a week ago, but his five catches were the most he’s had in a game since Week 9 of last season while he totaled just five catches in two games versus the Saints in 2017.
  • Ben Watson: He had a wide-open touchdown get overthrown a week ago, but he’s not making much noise outside of the red zone in this offense, totaling just 63 yards through two games on nine targets, leaving him as low-end TE2.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • Calvin Ridley: Atlanta’s first-round pick was in for 20 of Matt Ryan’s 31 dropbacks in Week 2, receiving five targets, with one inside of the red zone which he converted for a touchdown. In a potential shootout, he will draw a struggling Ken Crawley through two weeks that has allowed 10-of-14 targets to be completed in his coverage for 208 yards and three touchdowns through two games.

 

Chargers @ Rams


LA Chargers Rank @ LA Rams Rank
7   Spread -7  
20.5   Implied Total 27.5  
29.5 8 Points/Gm 33.5 5
29.0 25 Points All./Gm 6.5 1
64.5 14 Plays/Gm 63.5 17
57.5 4 Opp. Plays/Gm 53.5 1
37.2% 20 Rush% 46.5% 5
62.8% 13 Pass% 53.5% 28
42.6% 21 Opp. Rush % 35.5% 10
57.4% 12 Opp. Pass % 64.5% 23


  • 42.1 percent (8-of-19) of the Rams drives have ended inside of the opponent's 10-yard line, the highest rate in the league. The rest of the league is at 14.7 percent through two weeks.
  • Brandin Cooks' 246 receiving yards are the fourth-most by a Rams player through two weeks in franchise history and the most since Isaac Bruce (323 yards) in 1998.
  • Opposing passers have averaged just 5.1 yards per depth of target versus the Rams through two weeks, the lowest rate in the league.
  • The Rams are allowing .115 passing points per attempt, the fewest in the league. League average is .455.
  • The Chargers are allowing 15.2 yards per completion, the second-highest in the league ahead of only New Orleans (15.4 yards).
  • 70.5 percent of Melvin Gordon's scoring output has come from receiving production and he leads all backs in receiving points. 44.9 percent of his scoring output stemmed from receiving output in 2017.
  • 31.8 percent of the targets against the Rams have gone to running backs, the highest rate in the league. Chargers running backs have 28 targets, trailing only Detroit (29).

 

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Todd Gurley: Last year’s RB1 has come out scorching, starting the year off with RB6 and RB1 performances and this Chargers defense is still fighting through injuries.
  • Brandin Cooks: Any notions that he would be Sammy Watkins 2.0 in this offense have been ethered and last week the Rams used him in the slot on 38 percent of his routes to run him away from Patrick Peterson more often than typical, something we could see once again with Casey Hayward on the back end.
  • Melvin Gordon: His receiving work should be on full display once again as teams have funneled targets away from their wideouts to start the season versus the Rams. That paired with his extreme usage near the end zone give him one of the highest floors.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Robert Woods: He leads the team in targets (18) and air yards (268) through two games and has been a fantasy WR3 or better in seven of his past 10 games played dating back to last season.
  • Jared Goff: There’s a strain for him to consistently be hyper-efficient in the touchdown department since he ranks 23rd in pass attempts per game after ranking 22nd in 2017, and with Gurley scoring so many touchdowns, that often takes away from some his ceiling output. That’s why despite the Rams offensive success, Goff has only been a QB1 seven times since the start of last season but remains a high-QB2 option.
  • Keenan Allen: The Rams have smothered receivers to start, but this will be their most significant test. Allen is still a safe bet to push double-digit targets and will draw Nickell Robey-Coleman for roughly half of his routes while the Siamese Williams’ contend with Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Cooper Kupp: I don’t necessarily believe Kupp is a clear avoid, but his target volume is least stable week-to-week of the receivers and he’s the most touchdown dependent of the three. In 11 career games without a touchdown, Kupp has finished as a WR3 or better just twice.
  • Mike/Tyrell Williams: Neither are sturdy options to begin with, so they are clear avoids in one of the toughest matchups in the league.
  • Philip Rivers: While Rivers is inherently much better than both Derek Carr and Sam Bradford, we also inherently know the Rams are a defense that we won’t be challenging for high totals, leaving Rivers as a QB2 option this weekend.
  • Antonio Gates: He's a large bucket of "TD only" options at the tight end position, but he's been used very sparingly to start off, receiving just three targets on just 30 routes run through two weeks.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • Austin Ekeler: He leads the league in yards per touch a 9.3 yards while he should see increased usage in the passing game as the third option behind Gordon and Allen.

 

Bears @ Cardinals


Chicago Rank @ Arizona Rank
-6   Spread 6  
21.8   Implied Total 15.8  
23.5 16 Points/Gm 3.0 32
20.5 11 Points All./Gm 29.0 26
64.5 13 Plays/Gm 47.0 32
61.5 12 Opp. Plays/Gm 71.0 29
41.9% 13 Rush% 31.9% 28
58.1% 20 Pass% 68.1% 5
32.5% 4 Opp. Rush % 52.8% 31
67.5% 29 Opp. Pass % 47.2% 2

 

  • The six points scored by the Cardinals are the fewest through two games since 2006 when the Buccaneers scored three points over their opening two games.
  • The Cardinals have scored a touchdown on 1-of-19 drives to begin the season, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Just five of those drives (26.3 percent) have crossed midfield, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Sam Bradford is averaging 12.8 passing yards per drive, the fewest of all quarterbacks to start both games this season.
  • Arizona is averaging 19.2 yards per possession for skill players, the fewest in the league.
  • David Johnson has run just 38 pass routes through two weeks, which ranks 19th of all running backs. In 2016, he led the position with 31.8 pass routes per game.
  • 52.6 percent (10-of-19) of the drives against the Cardinals have reached the red zone, the highest rate through two weeks.
  • Opposing running backs have totaled 22 red zone rushing attempts against Arizona, the most in the league.
  • The Bears have 182 yards on 20 plays and two touchdowns on their opening drives in each of the first two games.
  • On their remaining 18 possessions, they have gained 22.4 yards per drive and 3.6 yards per play with one touchdown.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Jordan Howard: Going back to the well after a letdown on Monday night, opposing backfields have wrecked the Cardinals through two games as they allowed the RB5 and the RB8 in Week 1 and the RB1 a week ago.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Allen Robinson: He has 54 percent of the Chicago air yards -which trails only Julio Jones - and the Bears are moving him around more than he was earlier in his career, running nearly a dead even one-third split at all of the receiver positions through two games.
  • Larry Fitzgerald: He’s good to go after exiting last week with a hamstring injury and the Bears have given up starting weeks to primary slot options in Randall Cobb and Tyler Lockett to start the season.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Trey Burton: His 10 targets and 35 receiving yards through two weeks leave a lot to be desired while the Bears may not have to put the ball in the air much at all in this game.
  • Mitchell Trubisky: He’s been great when the Bears are on script, but then quickly has deteriorated each week while the Bears don’t have to lean on him here.
  • David Johnson: It’s still early in the season, but between the lack of nuanced usage, his offense being a potential wasteland and him dealing with a nagging back injury, his 2018 season is beginning to feel eerily similar to the one Todd Gurley had in 2016. There’s no way I can have him as an RB1 this week.
  • Sam Bradford: If there’s nothing nice to say…

 

Cowboys @ Seahawks


Dallas Rank @ Seattle Rank
1   Spread -1  
20.3   Implied Total 21.3  
14.0 29 Points/Gm 20.5 21
14.5 3 Points All./Gm 25.5 21
53.5 31 Plays/Gm 59.5 28
64.0 16 Opp. Plays/Gm 67.5 25
43.9% 10 Rush% 31.9% 27
56.1% 23 Pass% 68.1% 6
38.3% 17 Opp. Rush % 43.7% 23
61.7% 16 Opp. Pass % 56.3% 10

 

  • Eight of the past 10 Dallas games have seen 40 or fewer total points scored, including six in a row, which also includes a 21-12 game these two teams played last Week 16.
  • Ezekiel Elliott has accounted for 48.8 percent of the Dallas offensive touches, the highest share for a running back through two weeks.
  • The Cowboys have run just two plays inside of the 10-yard line through two weeks, the fewest in the league.
  • Dallas has allowed just one pass completion of 20 or more yards through two weeks, the fewest in the league.
  • Dallas is allowing just 4.3 yards per play through two games, ranking second in the league.
  • Seattle ranks 29th in third down conversion rate (28 percent) while Dallas ranks 31st (23.8 percent) so far this season.

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Ezekiel Elliott: The one lone bright spot in a sea of ineptitude, his workload is bankable, and he has scored at least one touchdown now in 16-of-27 career games.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Tyler Lockett: he’s been aided by finding the end zone in each game to open the season, but his target share jumped to 19.4 percent in Week 2 while he totaled 134 air yards compared to just 143 for the rest of the Seattle receivers combined.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Russell Wilson: his tightrope act of waiting until the second half is stretching thin while Dallas is good at two things defensively: rushing the passer (third in sack rate) and limiting chunk plays. Seattle’s entire offense is living off a few splash plays and they can’t protect Wilson. Tack on that these teams played in Week 16 of last year and Wilson threw for just 93 yards.
  • Seattle RBs: Rinse. Repeat. Chris Carson didn’t play in the second half last week as both Mike Davis and C.J. Prosise got some reps while Rashaad Penny has been ineffective.
  • Dak Prescott: He has now thrown for 212 yards or fewer in nine of his past 10 games dating back to last season and has thrown one or fewer touchdowns in eight of those games.
  • Dallas WRs: The Seattle RBs of WR units, they’ve had six different players combine for just 24 catches and 286 yards through two weeks with only Deonte Thompson having at least catches in each game to start the season.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • Will Dissly: He also has been aided by scoring in each of his firs two games, but he completely surpassed Nick Vannett last week, running 32 pass routes to just 16 for Vannett.

 

Patriot @ Lions

 

New England Rank @ Detroit Rank
-7.5   Spread 7.5  
26.8   Implied Total 19.3  
23.5 14 Points/Gm 22.0 19
25.5 20 Points All./Gm 39.0 31
66.5 10 Plays/Gm 70.0 5
70.0 27 Opp. Plays/Gm 59.5 7
41.4% 14 Rush% 23.6% 32
58.7% 19 Pass% 76.4% 1
41.4% 20 Opp. Rush % 53.8% 32
58.6% 13 Opp. Pass % 46.2% 1

 

  • Detroit has allowed opponents to score on 54.5 percent of their possessions this season, the highest rate in the league.
  • Sony Michel returned to play 13 snaps Week 2 while Rex Burkhead played 15 compared to 34 for James White.
  • Despite playing the fewest snaps, Michel had 11 touches, matching James White while Burkhead totaled six.
  • Detroit is allowing a league-high 6.9 yards per carry and 220 yards from scrimmage per game to opposing running backs through two weeks.
  • The Lions are allowing 2.6 fantasy points per target to opposing wide receivers through two weeks, 31th in the league.
  • Kerryon Johnson is averaging 4.9 yards per touch while Theo Riddick is averaging 4.6 and LeGarrette Blount is averaging 2.5 through two games.
  • Kenny Golladay has 11 first down receptions with Matthew Stafford under pressure, third in the league behind Michael Thomas (13) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (12).
  • Marvin Jones has 57.1 percent (4-of-7) of the Detroit targets inside of the 10-yard line and just 13.4 percent (13-of-97) from outside. 

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Tom Brady: Coming off the toughest matchup he’ll face, he’ll draw a soft Detroit defense that ranks 29th in passing points allowed per pass attempt to Sam Darnold and Jimmy Garoppolo to begin the season.
  • Rob Gronkowski: He almost never doubles down on a dud. The last time that Gronk was a TE2 in back to back weeks in the same season was Weeks 4-5, 2011.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Chris Hogan: the last time that Hogan reached 80-yards receiving in a regular season game was Week 14 of 2016, but he’s the safest bet of all the New England wideouts to reach the end zone.
  • New England RBs: The Lions are a dream matchup for running backs dating back to last year. We don’t have much clarity on the potential usage for Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel, but both are FLEX worthy as the Patriots should finally have a game where they stack rushing volume and have scoring potential since they’ve yet to have a rushing attempt from inside of the 5-yard line yet this season. James White is still a safe floor option but shouldn’t be needed to command 23 percent of the team targets like he has to open the season.
  • Matthew Stafford: He predictably bounced back last week and is at home against a defense that allowed the QB4 and 33 points to Blake Bortles a week ago, but the Detroit team total is deceivingly low to count on high-end QB1 production.
  • Kenny Golladay/Marvin Jones/Golden Tate: All of the Detroit wideouts are top-30 options this week against a New England secondary that has allowed five WR3 or better scoring weeks over their opening two games.
  • Theo Riddick: 14 catches and 19 targets through two weeks, this game sets up for him to push towards double-digit looks once again.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Kerryon Johnson/LeGarrette Blount: The Lions haven’t come to grips that Johnson should be a full-time player already, but they're unlikely to have game script in their favor to stick with the run regardless.

 

If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


Phillip Dorsett: It’s hard to envision Josh Gordon being completely ready to go this week or have a large role if active, while Dorsett has drawn seven targets in each of the opening two games and Darius Slay is in the concussion protocol.

 

Steelers @ Buccaneers

 

Pittsburgh Rank @ Tampa Bay Rank
-1.5   Spread 1.5  
27.5   Implied Total 26.0  
29.0 9 Points/Gm 37.5 2
31.5 28 Points All./Gm 30.5 27
77.0 2 Plays/Gm 60.0 26
69.5 26 Opp. Plays/Gm 67.0 24
31.2% 29 Rush% 47.5% 4
68.8% 4 Pass% 52.5% 29
45.3% 24 Opp. Rush % 27.6% 2
54.7% 9 Opp. Pass % 72.4% 31

 

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick's 72.3 standard fantasy points are the most for any quarterback through two weeks in NFL history.
  • Fitzpatrick is the ninth quarterback to ever have back-to -back games with 400 passing yards and the first since Philip Rivers in 2013.
  • Fitzpatrick has four touchdown passes of 50 or more yards through two games. He had four such touchdown passes over his previous 50 games played.
  • DeSean Jackson has four receptions of 35+ yards through two weeks -most in the league- after having just one all of 2017.
  • In the seven games the Steelers have played since Ryan Shazier's injury a year ago, they have allowed 29.0 points (+11.2) and 361.1 total yards (+66.4) per game.
  • 35.1 percent of the Tampa Bay rushing attempts have failed to gain yardage, the highest rate in the league.
  • The Steelers have won 10 consecutive prime time games (including five on the road), the longest streak in the league.
  • Ben Roethlisberger has been a QB1 in all five of those road games, averaging 295.8 passing yards and 18.6 fantasy points per game.
  • The Buccaneers have allowed 78.3 percent of targets to opposing wide receivers to be completed, the highest rate in the league.
  • Pittsburgh wide receivers have been targeted 73 times this season, the most on the league.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster has moved into second place all-time in receiving yardage (1,157 yards) before 22-years old, trailing only Randy Moss (1,313 yards). He still has eight games to play before turning 22.
  • 37.8 percent of the rushing attempts against the Buccaneers have resulted in a first down, the highest rate in the league.

 

 

Trust (spike starting production)


  • Ben Roethlisberger: As we’ve noted for years through this piece, his road struggles are almost strictly tied to early start times, while he’s been fine otherwise. The Bucs have allowed the most passing yards in the league outside of Kansas City and their secondary is no match for top-shelf wide receiver play the Steelers have.
  • Antonio Brown: Not many wideouts can turn a 9-catch game into a complete disappointment, but Brown leads the NFL in targets (33) and should bounce back with another high-volume game and the last time that he had a rift with the staff a year ago, he came out and had 10 catches and 157 yards against the best secondary in the league.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster: He has three consecutive 100-yard receiving games dating back to last season and the Buccaneers are still their thinnest defensively in the secondary, even if they get Brent Grimes back for Monday.
  • Mike Evans: Haas opened up catching 17-of-19 targets with a touchdown in each game while the Steelers have allowed at least five catches for 90 yards to three different receivers to open the season and Joe Haden’s hamstring injury remains a question mark.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick: Now that I’m here, this is where the wheels fall off, right? While we can’t count on another 400-yard game and we know the 50+ yards touchdowns are inevitably going to run dry, there’s still a lot here to like for another starting-caliber week. There’s no denying the talent his pass-catching weapons have while the Steelers have steadily been a poor defense dating back to the way they closed 2017.
  • James Conner: Even when everything went wrong in the game script a week ago and he only had 13 total touches, he still was the RB8 and caught another five passes for the second consecutive game while the Buccaneers have allowed a rushing touchdown in eight straight games dating back to last season.

 

On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • DeSean Jackson: he’s also living his best life right now, catching 9-of-9 targets for 275 yards and three touchdowns. That surely won’t continue, but there’s no way you’re not letting things ride considering where this Tampa Bay offense and Pittsburgh defense has trended to start the season.
  • Chris Godwin: He’s a lot shakier than Jackson since he’s had just 41 and 56 yards to start the year but remains a WR3 option here with touchdown upside as he has two of the five team passing targets inside of the 10-yard line to begin the season.
  • O.J. Howard: He’s still in the boom-or-bust pile of tight ends as he has just five catches through two games, but he’s run 36 routes to 23 for Cameron Brate while the Steelers have faced seven and 10 targets to the opposition’s lead tight end to begin the season.

 

Bust (underperformance)


  • Peyton Barber: Barber has 34.3 percent of the Tampa Bay touches, but just 10.1 percent of their offensive yardage. That -24.2 percent gap in rate of touches to yardage is the largest for all running backs in the league.
  • Jesse James: Vance McDonald actually ran more routes than James last week, but they were at 29 and 28, respectively. With McDonald already getting that opportunity off of a long layoff, that should only grow, but if you have to play him or McDonald, the Bucs have allowed the TE11 and the TE3 to start the season.
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.