Last updated: September 12th at 2:45pm ET
Team Totals: Patriots 33.5, Dolphins 14.5
Although last week’s restoration of a three-way RBBC frustrated Sony Michel drafters, Week 2 sets up beautifully for a rebound with the Patriots visiting Miami as nearly three-score favorites. Michel still led New England in Week 1 carries (15), and there should be more where that came from after Tom Brady puts the Patriots up before Michel puts the Dolphins away. Brian Flores’ Fins defense was ripped to smithereens by Baltimore on Opening Day, conceding 265 yards and two scores on the ground. … James White managed nine Week 1 touches on 47% of the snaps, and this week’s projected game script sets him up for similar usage. … Rex Burkhead’s 13 touches in New England’s blowout win over Pittsburgh came as a surprise, but he was highly effective (5.5 YPC, 8.2 YPR) on them and should now be owned in all season-long leagues. Both White and Burkhead are viable if lower-rung flex options against Miami. Damien Harris was a healthy Week 1 scratch and looks droppable in 12-team leagues. … Antonio Brown or not, we can’t overthink Tom Brady as a Week 2 fantasy start. The Patriots have the highest team total on the entire slate, and the Dolphins just coughed up six touchdown passes at home against the Ravens.
Brady’s Week 1 target distribution: Julian Edelman 11; Burkhead 8; White 7; Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett 4; Ryan Izzo 2; Jakobi Meyers 1. … Whether A.B. plays or not, Edelman has the steadiest role in New England’s pass-catcher corps in the slot, where Brown ran just 21% of his 2018 routes. Assuming he is fully bought in, Brown’s addition will simply increase the Pats’ juggernaut level rather than adversely affect Edelman or Gordon. It will knock Dorsett out of the top-three-receiver rotation, though. Edelman remains a locked-in WR2 with WR1 upside in PPR leagues. … Gordon played 79% of New England’s Week 1 snaps, catching 3-of-4 targets for 73 yards and a touchdown. He should stay planted in fantasy lineups as a WR2/3 with upside for far more. A.B. could help Gordon by distracting Dolphins top CB Xavien Howard out of shadow coverage. … Even after a monster opener (4/95/2), Dorsett simply won’t be playable in fantasy leagues if Brown is active. I’d assume they’ll split snaps down the middle in Brown’s debut. Even in this hypothetical timeshare scenario, I’d be willing to gamble on Brown as a WR2. The matchup couldn’t get softer, and the Patriots will be incentivized to feed Brown early-game targets.
The best way to approach the Dolphins’ Week 2 offense is to fire up the Patriots’ D/ST, which draws the most-cupcake of cupcake forthcoming schedules facing Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trevor Siemian, Josh Allen, Case Keenum/Dwayne Haskins, Eli Manning/Daniel Jones, and post-mononucleosis Sam Darnold in its next six games. … Miami’s offense is a near-full fade due to reasons laid out in last week’s Matchups. As expected, the Fins got clocked 40 to 20 in time of possession in their blowout loss to Baltimore, couldn’t sustain drives, ran a league-low 47 plays, and finished with ten points. The Patriots’ defense is even better than the Ravens’ this year. … The one Dolphin on whom I might take a DFS-tournament flyer is DeVante Parker, who led Miami’s wideouts in Week 1 snaps (76%) and targets (7). Parker flashed his dominant-if-typically-unfulfilled talent on a monster catch deep down the middle in double coverage against the Ravens. Parker popped in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards Model as Week 2’s No. 3 buy-low receiver. … From a sports-betting perspective, I like the idea of parlaying the Dolphins as a side along with the under. Virtually any 19-point spread in the NFL is way too high, and I believe there is a better than 50:50 possibility ex-Patriots DC Flores finds ways to slow down New England’s offense just enough for both bets to hit.
Score Prediction: Patriots 30, Dolphins 13